Posted on Mon Oct 21st, 2019 @ 9:42am by Captain Enalia Telvan & Lieutenant Mona Gonadie & Commander Rita Paris & Lieutenant Commander Mnhei'sahe Dox & Ensign Fiona O'Dell & Ensign Briaar Gavarus & Artan Pirate Helev t'Liun
Edited on on Mon Oct 28th, 2019 @ 9:57am
Location: The Golden Ghost and the Hera
When the T’liss class Bird of Prey, The Golden Ghost, known in Rihan as the Isahj’ey aehallh, uncloaked on the Federation side of the Neutral Zone with the command crew of the U.S.S. Hera, there was a palpable sigh of relief that more than a few of them shared. The mission to rescue Lieutenant Mnhei’sahe Dox and her mother, Jaeih, from the tender mercies of the Romulan Tal’Shiar had been successful and the Hera, which had quickly become home to the embattled young officer, had never felt so wonderful to be so near.
Goodbyes were given to the crew of the Artan-run, Rihannsu ship that had risked itself to aid in the rescue of one of their own Baronesses as her commander, the doctor (or Maenek, in Rihan) Helev t’Liun bid each a personal farewell on behalf of the Ghost’s crew.
Accepting graciously, Mnhei’sahe truthfully couldn’t wait to be off of the ship. While it had been the vehicle of her rescue and, on the outside, a classic T'liss class Bird of Prey from Rita Paris' era, the interiors had been modernized and updated to look a little too close internally to the modern d'Deridex-class ship that had been her prison for a month and the similarities had made the 5-day journey through enemy space and the Neutral Zone understandably stressful for the redheaded Rihannsu pilot. She had found sleeping in the chambers she had been assigned nearly impossible, as it felt entirely too much like the quarters she had spent so much time in while on her grandmother’s Warbird, The People’s Will.
As the majority of the transferred crew had simply beamed back over to the Hera, it had been a simple enough goodby. However, they had brought the three Cyclone fighters with them and they needed to be returned which would also serve as the means by which Rita Paris could safely disembark without risking transport. And while the other two Cyclones, with all of their holographic disguises deactivated and restored to their Gold, Red, and Teal paint colors, were easily slaved to Rita’s controls in her Golden chariot, dubbed the Getaway Driver, Mnhei’sahe had a request to make.
As the Crimson-Uniformed Lieutenant entered the flight deck of the Ghost, the ship's commander was heading towards the doors to exit the bay as she stepped up to the entering Dox with a more professional demeanor as she bowed lightly, speaking the native language of both women. “Baroness, I was just saying to the Captain and Commander Paris that it has been an honor serving you and yours in this endeavor. I am glad to have seen you before you departed. Group farewells tend to be… impersonal."
Somewhat nervous regarding the pomp and circumstance around being not just a Starfleet officer, but also a Baroness in the Artan Privateer fleet, Mnhei’sahe returned the bow respectfully, replying in Rihan. “The honor is mine, Doctor. You and your crew risked everything to help my mother and myself… and I will never forget that. I am in your debt. Thank you.”
With the lightest of grins, the slightly older, somewhat taller Rihannsu woman replied, "If you will excuse the unintentional name-dropping, our mnhei'sahe needed to be restored and balance has been returned. Our debt to you was my pleasure to repay. That said, know that the Golden Ghost and her crew will always be at your disposal should you ever have need of us again."
"It's a smaller Galaxy then one might think, Doctor. It's good to know we have friends. And…" as Mnhei'sahe spoke, her tone shifted to a quieter one as she glanced around a bit before continuing. "And… thank you again for the… assistance with sleeping. The medication you provided was… very helpful."
Smiling back, t'Liun simply nodded and matched Doc's hushed tone. "It is my duty as Maenek to ensure that all under my care have all that they need for their health, including sleep, Baroness. While we strove to provide every comfort to you, I do understand the issues you were having. Were I in your position in a ship that too closely resembled my prison, I doubt I would have been sleeping softly without assistance either."
Then she stood up a little straighter and brought her voice back up, "That said, I hope that when next we see you, the Ghost will be more comfortable for you, for her walls are yours. Safe journeys, Baroness Dox. May the Elements be with you, Jolan'tru."
Nodding back, Mnhei'sahe returned the old Rihannsu greeting, "Jolan'tru, Maenek."
As the doctor departed, Mnhei'sahe took a look around the Ghost's flight deck and smiled as she saw the vibrant colors of the three Cyclones. And standing next to them talking were Captain Telvan and Rita Paris. Both women had been successfully restored to their respective Trill and Human appearances and were clad in their normal uniforms as they finished whatever it was they were discussing and turned towards the approaching pilot as Mnhei'sahe stepped over to them.
"Captain. Commander. Before we return to the Hera… I was hoping to make a request." Mnhei'sahe asked, standing professionally in her crimson uniform and looking better than she had when she had first come on board.
"Pilot the Cherry Bomb over so that you can make a proper reappearance on the flight deck, to show the crew under your command that you're back, all is well and the status quo is restored?" Rita hazarded a guess. It was what she would have done, after all, and she suspected the request was of that nature.
Smiling slightly, as Rita Paris was uniquely adept at reading her, Mnhei'sahe nodded. "Aye, Commander. I've been thinking about it. About when I picked you up from Meroset 347 and we had talked about the importance of maintaining appearances in command, so I thought it would be appropriate to put my best proverbial foot forward."
"I completely concur, Lieutenant. I'd toss you the keys if they had any, but she's all yours. I'll bring Curiosity in on a slaved helm, but why don't you go ahead so you can enjoy your appropriate fanfare on the flight deck. I'll give you a five-minute head start, all right?" Paris clapped the young pilot on the shoulder with a smile. "Go start your homecoming, Miss Dox, There are a lot of people waiting to see you."
"Actually, I think I'll be piloting Curiosity back myself. Captain's prerogative." Enalia grinned that piratical grin of hers as she handed a datapad back to one of the Ghost's crew. "But I concur. I think that showing the flight deck crew that you came back under your own power will go a long way towards both their peace of mind, and your own mental well being. I also have a feeling that Mona is already waiting for you on the flight deck near the R&D bay."
Keeping her professional composure, and nodding, Mnhei’sahe replied with a smile nonetheless. “Thank you, Commander. Thank you, Captain.”
Turning slightly towards the Cherry Bomb, Mnhei’sahe paused and turned back with a smile. “Plus… I… I really want to see her again. The Hera. And there’s no way better way than in the Cherry Bomb, really.”
"Take a pass around her and take it in, Lieutenant. We understand," Paris declared. After all, they were all pilots, and they all understood falling in love with a starship, then seeing her again after a prolonged absence. Like returning to the arms of a lover once more. "Go, your preflights are already finished and you're expected."
A moment later, Mnhei’sahe was in the cockpit of the small, crimson fighter craft already feeling more at home in the cockpit custom-designed for her by her bond-mate and wife, Mona Gonadie. The brilliant inventor had made the controls of the Cherry Bomb specifically for Mnhei’sahe’s style of piloting, just as she had customized the golden Getaway Driver to Rita Paris’ personal style. Which made Mnhei’sahe feel remarkably good... as if sitting in that seat got her that much closer to her Mona.
Then, after a quick systems check and clearance from the Ghost, Mnhei’sahe quickly launched out into space and swung the ship up and around, bringing her over the classically styled Rihannsu Bird of Prey from another era that had shepherded her home. Then, as she crested the edge of the Ghost, the Hera came into view.
Seeming to rise into view like a beautiful sunset of pearlescent black glory, Mnhei’sahe’s eyes started to water at the magnificent starship that she called home and in her darkest moments had feared she thought she would see again. In that moment, as she brought the Cyclone around the port side of the Hera’s saucer, slowly arcing over the top to truly get a view, she called into the flight control for clearance. Because as beautiful as the Hera was and as much as she loved seeing her again, that beauty paled to the beauty she really wanted to see, and she couldn’t wait a moment longer.
The voice of Ensign MacNielle came over the comm, giving her clearance to land on the main flight deck. Wasting no time, Dox twisted the ship up and over the Hera’s dorsal side and flipped her back in line with the Hera’s alignment as the door to the Main Flight Deck into space slowly opened.
Bringing the Cherry Bomb in, she looked slowly around as the Hera’s tractor beams took over and gently brought the ship to a halt on the landing circle in the center of the elevated platform of the flight deck. The flight deck was busy, as always, with crewmembers moving to and fro across the deck hard at work. Ensign’s Gavarus and O’Dell were on the upper deck where the R&D Department was located, working on Mona’s pet-project, the Silver Banshee. The three-armed and three-legged Edosian pilot, Ensign Weiaex was crossing the lower deck with several Nacelle parts on a Mag-Lev dolly. Ensign Jessica MacNielle was standing at the control console with a noticeable grin, but there was no fanfare to be found, for which Mnhei’sahe was quite happy.
Over the comm, Ensign MacNielle called in, “Good to see you again, Lieutenant.”
“Thank you, Ensign. If you would, please, clear and prepare the deck. The Getaway Driver and Curiosity will be coming in momentarily.”
As the cockpit hissed open and MacNielle replied her acknowledgment, Mnhei’sahe powered down the ship according to protocol. Climbing out, she stood for a moment, hand still on the side of the small starship and took in the sight of the Flight Deck, which was one of her favorite places to be. It was where she worked the most, and there was only one place on the Hera she was more comfortable. And as she thought about that… and about her… she felt something.
Looking over to the office to the R&D Department, was its chief- Ensign Mona Gonadie.
Walking quickly, but maintaining her professional composure, Mnhei’sahe’s eyes were fixed on the sight of her love at her office as she walked past the control booth, “You have the deck, Ensign MacNielle.” Stepping past the Banshee, Mnhei’sahe noticed the even shorter, even more red-haired test Pilot, Fiona O’Dell nudge her friend and personal engineer, Briaar Gavarus and smirk while they watched. The flight chief chuckled, and smiled slightly at the pair as she walked past, even faster.
The tears and smile on Mona's face were certainly what drew the most attention, but the fact that she was already wearing a maternity uniform top almost passed notice as she jogged the short distance to her love, pausing just outside of arm's reach before slamming herself into Dox's embrace. "Oh... My Minay... We've missed you so very much."
With the embrace, the usual thrumming from Mona could be heard, but there seemed to be something else, almost imperceptible to it... More resonance to the frequency, perhaps.
Wrapping her arms tightly around her, clutching her Miradonian bride as if her life depended on it, was everything Mnhei’sahe had in her not to simply break down crying right there on the flight deck in full view of the entire crew. But she had Mona’s strength now as their bond… which had saved her mind and her life more than once… was reconnected for the first time in what had been the longest month of her life. Perhaps of both of their lives.
In that moment, the flight deck seemed to vanish as Mnhei’sahe scrunched her eyes shut and felt an almost overwhelming rush of energy from her Bond-Mate flood into her. As it had been for months since their bonding ceremony, Mona’s once blue energy was, like her own, permanently Lavender. Permanently merged as one. But swirling around that rush of lavender light that filled the emotional pilot was something more. Three somethings. Three radiances of swirling colors, changing and pulsing as the tendrils of light wrapped around their joined energy with an impossible warmth. A warmth that thrummed in perfect rhythm with Mona’s own.
Putting her heads on the sides of Mona’s brilliantly plumed face, both women’s cheeks wet now with tears of impossible joy, Mnhei’sahe looked deeply into those large, shimmering amber pools and chuckled as her own smile grew wide. “Is… Is that them?”
Mona nodded with glee, her own hands now exploring her lover's face as well, her own eyes lost in Dox's. "It is. They started humming five days ago. I took it as a sign... that you would be back soon."
“Five days…” Mnhei’sahe chuckled again. “That’s when the others came for me. I guess they’re smart.” Then she leaned her forehead against Mona’s. She knew that before long, everything that had happened to her would be known to Mona through the nature of their bond. That closeness that had linked the two women’s souls and now the souls of their three, unborn children.
“Every day…” The Rihannsu pilot whispered, “Every day, I thought of you. Reached out to you. This… this bond. It saved me. It saved me every day. It kept me from losing everything I was to them. YOU saved me, Jhu Dhael.”
"And you kept me sane, my Minay," Mona replied, letting her eyes close and the tears flow freely now. "I never want to be apart from you again. Wherever you go, I will be there."
“You were. You were with me the whole time.” Mnhei’sahe replied, even softer as she rested her head to the side of Mona’s. The rhythm of the Miradonian woman’s thrumming filled the Rihannsu Lieutenant with an impossible comfort as the two simply held each other for a long moment.
Then, pulling slightly apart, Mnhei’sahe smiled broadly down at Mona before looking around the deck. At the control booth, Ensign MacNielle quickly looked down at the control console and pretended to work, clearly not actually touching the controls. Over by the Runabout Selune, the orange-skinned Ensign Weiaex was signing off on the transfer of parts to a repair technician, both of them also trying to look like they hadn’t been watching and hiding grins. Then Mnhei'sahe turned her attention to the unconventional pair of Briaar Gavarus and Fiona O'Dell next to the Banshee mech.
Both of whom were trying very poorly to conceal the fact that the heartfelt reunion had reduced both of them to tears, as they tried to unsuccessfully conceal their tears and nose-blowing at the scene that they were both trying very hard to not eavesdrop on, yet were clearly doing precisely that.
Mona glanced over at her two troublemakers and grinned at them for a moment. "They did their best to keep me occupied while you were away. We designed another mech, though I doubt it'll get built. We've also been working on a new flight suit and so many other things. I also did some maintenance on your ship. I hope you don't mind. I didn't do anything weird to it other than modifying the copilot seat to Miradonian specs."
“Of course not, she’s as much yours as mine. And I’m glad they were able to help. They're better at that then they give themselves credit for.” Mnhei’sahe replied with a smile. Then she turned back to Gavarus and O’Dell. While she had developed a habit of being overly stern as the section chief, her recent experiences had left Mnhei'sahe seriously reconsidering how she was to lead others. And at that moment, she couldn't help but grin and let out a slight chuckle at the two oddballs that she similarly couldn't help but like.
Then, the technically-not-on-duty Chief called out, with a chuckle rolling in her voice. “As you were, people. The Captain and Commander are on their way. Let’s look like the professionals we are. Miss MacNielle, I am officially off duty, so see them in. Thank you."
Nodding and smiling, MacNielle replied, "Aye, Chief."
Adjusting her somewhat disheveled uniform top as everyone got back to work as if nothing had ever happened, Mnhei’sahe smiled back at the love she feared she might never see again and whispered. "I think they have everything under control here. What do you say we finally go home?"
"I say that's an inspired idea. Just wait until you see the new curtains." Mona giggled softly as she knew that curtains would be the furthest thing from their minds for quite some time.