Settling in on the Ghost
Born and Reborn
Location: The Golden Ghost
While the travel time to Mona Gonadie's home planet of Miradon would take approximately two days at warp in the Artan owned, refurbished Romulan Bird of Prey known as Isahj’ey Aehallh, or the ’Golden Ghost’, the flight from the Hera to the Ghost on Mnhei’sahe and Mona’s personal ship, the Khallianen, only took a few minutes.
The Khallianen would be required to deliver Mnhei’sahe, Mona, Mnhei’sahe’s mother Jaeih, and the rest of their group from the Golden Ghost to the surface of Miradon and anywhere else on the planet they needed to go, as the ship’s doctor restricted the VERY pregnant Miradonian mother-to-be from using Transporters unless absolutely necessary. So the Khallianen would take them where they needed to go. But considering the last time Mnhei’sahe, Mona and Jaeih took the small, re-furbished J-Type freighter anywhere as a family, it lead to the two Romulan women’s violent kidnapping at the hands of the Tal Shiar, the travelers were taking no chances.
Aside from being a Lieutenant Commander in Starfleet, Mnhei’sahe Dox was also a Baroness in the Artan Empire, and that came with some interesting perks. One of which was a flagship of her own, and that flagship was the Golden Ghost. Crewed by Romulan expatriates, many of which had been freed from the repressive Star Empire by Dox and her mother years ago when the two were smugglers, the ship was fiercely loyal to their somewhat reluctant Baroness. With their cloaking device, it was chosen as the best available means to transport the family to Miradon for the birth of their three children.
The docking in the shuttle bay of the Ghost was an uneventful procedure and the Dox/Gonadie family and their retinue, which consisted of the Vulcan refugee Az’Prel, the literal Goddess Hera, and Hera’s honor guard of petty officers Ethel Jablonski and Akane Liu, disembarked without incident.
The ship’s commander, an inscrutable Romulan woman named Helev t’Liun had been on the bridge when the group arrived, leaving her younger SubCommander in charge of the onboarding, which went fairly smoothly as officers escorted the parties to their respective cabins.
Since the Golden Ghost was a T’liss class Bird of Prey that originated from the same era that Rita Paris came from, the quarters provided were a good bit smaller than what the crewmembers were used to from the Hera, and doubling up was the rule of the day, Mnhei’sahe and Mona were roomed together. As were Az’Prel and Jaeih, and Jablonski and Liu. Hera received her own VIP accommodations, being the retinue’s resident goddess, and her two honor guard took up their usual positions outside of her chamber as per usual. Which, as a site on a Romulan ship, was anything but usual as the two muscle-bound women stood guard.
The mothers-to-be were stationed in the Command cabin, which was a bit larger and had been fitted with a much larger and more comfortable bed than was standard, even though it was still much smaller than their nest back on the Hera. But that served to make things cozier for the two lovebirds as they attempted to settle in for the trip.
Going through their bag in the corner, Mnhei’sahe seemed tenser than usual as Mona sat on the larger bed. “When we arrived, SubCommander… tr’Naek said that Doctor t’Liun would be coming by shortly to greet us and to give you a medical scan so that the MedBay has all your most current information on file. Doctor Power sent over all of our records, but she likes to be thorough.”
"They all seem like good people. And this seems like a good ship." Mona was rather attentive as she sat on the bed watching her lover. "But you don't like it, do you? These walls or the people being so respectful?"
Sighing, Mnhei'sahe was trying to keep busy, re-organizing the bags and moving clothes around needlessly. "They are... They are good people and the ship is... it's a good ship. They helped save my life once and got us to Mol Krun'chi without detection. It's... It's just all... a little too familiar, I suppose."
"I mean, the basic ship might be from Rita's era, but the interiors have all be refurbished. They're modern Rih... Romulan design. Same materials and fixtures." Mnhei'sahe corrected herself from saying 'Rihannsu', the actual name for her people in their own language. It was a word, she found, that seemed to just confuse others and she was trying to become more accustomed to using 'Romulan', even though the word stung a bit for her. "It's... It's just a bit too much like the quarters I was kept in on my Grandmother's ship."
"As for the crew... they swore themselves to my barony, but it's not like I served here on it. It's not... I haven't earned being treated like a Captain. I... don't like it. Especially here." Mnhei'sahe said, still fussing with their luggage and looking more flustered.
"No, but as you mentioned mere moments before, the entire crew are people that you and your mother liberated from the Empire when you were young. That, coupled with Enalia's belief in your potential to be a great Baroness someday, plus your proven ability to be a great Commander that's even taken command of the Hera in a crisis..." The brightly plumed avian waggled a finger at her mate, a knowing grin on her face. "Whether you feel you're ready or not, everyone else does."
"As for the interior... I'm not sure what to tell you about that. Maybe ask if we can paint the walls?" Mona suggested.
A smile cracked Mnhei'sahe's nervous face as she let out a light sigh. "Maybe I'll have you do a renovation in here at some point. I think Doctor t'Liun would go for a paint job. At least in HERE. Seriously, this room. It's... the same lighting fixtures. The same wall patterns. They put in the better bed, but every time I've been here, I try and find excuses to not sleep. Waking up here in the dark. It's... uncomfortably familiar."
"But... enough dwelling. I'm just going to make it worse thinking about it." The anxious, red-headed Romulan woman said as she put the bag back down and walked over across the mid-sized room to lean over and give her wife a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "I'll get used to the rest. But trying to remember some an entirely different crew roster is going to take a bit of doing."
"Hey... the girls. They're... a bit more energetic again." Mnhei'sahe said, noticing immediately how much more reactive their three children were through their empathic bond.
The round avian giggled softly, her grin widening. "Yeah, mom and Minnie talked with them and they perked up a bit. Plus I think they're as eager to be out of me as I am."
"I can imagine. Well, we're all pretty excited to finally meet them." Mnhei'sahe said with a smile as she gently ran her hand across Mona's cheek.
As she did, there was a chirrup at the door which was a lower, more harsh-sounding one than either woman was used to from the Hera. At the sound, Mnhei'sahe stood up straight and adjusted her crimson uniform top. "Ah, there she is. Come."
Pausing for a moment, the red-headed Romulan rolled her eyes and chuckled. "Right… forgot." As she stepped over and pressed the pad by the side of the door to open it. On the other side, in a simple gray uniform tunic and pants was the Commander of the ship and Chief Medical Officer, Helev t'Liun. Her hair had been trimmed to a much shorter, dark brown crop cut since the last time Mnhei'sahe had seen her, and she had a professional and neutral expression.
"Commander Dox. I apologize for my inability to welcome you directly as ship's business had to be attended to, but I ask your forgiveness." The inscrutable doctor said as she waited in the corridor, medical bag over her shoulder.
"Not at all, Doctor. Please, come in." Mnhei'sahe said, gesturing inside as the taller woman stepped in. "Doctor Helev t'Liun, this is my wife, Lieutenant Mona Gonadie."
"It's a pleasure to finally meet you. With our bond, I feel I know a lot about you already, but as we say on Miradon, you can't truly know someone until you dine with them. I hope we can enjoy dinner together tonight if you're not too busy? After all, I hear you have actual Rihannsu cuisine aboard and while I do my best..." With a wink at Dox, Mona continued with mischief in her eyes. "I'm curious as to how close I've actually gotten."
With the slightest hint of a grin in the corner of her mouth, t'Liun nodded slightly. "It is a pleasure and an honor, Lieutenant Gonadie. In her stays here, Commander Dox has spoken of you with great reverence, and I can see why. As for dinner, we have a full galley and are fully stocked with fresh ingredients, as is both your preference and, apparently the preference of our other passenger Hera, as Captain Telvan explained to me. But I look forward to dining with you all, to be sure."
"However, I must ask if I may perform medical scans. I wish to have the most up to date data as is possible for while you are here in my care," t'Liun asked, holding up her medical bag.
Mona held her hands up, her ever-present smile signifying her willingness. "I am at your disposal, Doctor. I am ever a willing patient for those that intend no harm."
Nodding, t'Liun pulled out a medical scanner and began running it in front of Mona as she spoke. "No harm whatsoever, Lieutenant. From this... bond... you both speak of, you will know that I'm quite... judicious in my desire for as much information regarding every person under my aegis. Based on your medical records from the Hera, we've already synthesizing a store of blood and plasma and now..."
"With these scans, your children as well." T'liun said as she entered data into her equipment. "Hmm... it looks like you have a minor deficiency in your corticosterone levels. Likely due to your pregnancy being three months longer than is common for your people. Nothing to worry about for any of you, and easily remedied with some dietary... tweaks. I'll have the galley supplement about 500 milligrams into your meals while onboard."
Raising her eyebrow, Mnhei'sahe tilted her head slightly. "You've researched Miradonian physiology, Doctor?"
Looking slightly incredulously at the question, t'Liun scoffed in an exaggerated fashion as she finished her scans. "The wife of my Baroness is coming on board, pregnant with three children and at the end of a third trimester she ordinarily wouldn't even had experienced if not for your Rihannsu DNA requiring more... baking, and you need to ask me if I've researched her biology. As soon as you made the request, I downloaded every text on her biology possible and performed 6 sim births already. Really.
Rolling her eyes, t'Liun allowed a legitimate smile out as she looked at Mona, "As for you, Lieutenant Gonadie, thank you for your time. You appear to be in excellent health and as long as you are on this ship, I shall keep you that way."
The colorful avian chuckled softly as she glanced over at her mate. "We like her. She's definitely a good choice for... Ah... I'll let the two of you discuss that later." She then turned back to Doctor t'Luin, a bit more serious. "You've probably run across their work, but Doctors Hanus and Gass De'Kay of the Miradonian Reproductive Institute have several wonderful interspecies prenatal care papers. Or so Doctor Power says, anyway. Their work is what he based his treatment on. I'd tell you if he was lying or not... but as a hologram, I can see right through him..."
Raising an eyebrow, the Doctor glanced at Dox momentarily, thinking on Mona's earlier statement and logging it mentally as she addressed the other, more medically relevant bits from the pregnant Miradonian, "Ah, yes. Multi-fractal, layered pupils with one of the broadest range of receptors along the EM spectrum. Miradonians can... see changes in temperature, humidity, atmospheric conditions, galvanic skin responses, and photonic layering. It's actually remarkable scientifically and makes you a remarkably effective lie detector. Several Miradonians serve in the Artan fleet in that exact capacity, in fact."
"And yes, I've read the work of Hanus and Gass De'Kay. Along with the opposing theories of Doctors Carrie and Herb Rotiserie who wrote several papers that all largely said that such a union would be impossible due to the nature of Vulcanoid blood and a fundamental incompatibility of the platelets in copper-based blood and a wildly different consistency of plasma concentrations." As she spoke it was abundantly clear that Doctor t'Liun had more than done her homework. "Doctor Hanus, in specific, developed the conversion formula that would allow for the proper genetic matching while keeping the mother from suffering from blood poisoning. Ingenious work that, until now, was completely theoretical."
"Lieutenant Gonadie. Barrone... Commander Dox... I would ask..." t'Liun knitted her brows slightly as she considered her words. "Once we arrive, I have full confidence in the doctors to care for your medical needs properly... but I would be remiss in my duties if I did not accompany you to ensure the health of the children. After all, genetically, they are half-Rihannsu and Rihannsu DNA is... aggressive. And its care is something of a specialty of mine. If there are any complications, I would... request to be at your sides."
As she spoke, Mnhei'sahe looked at Mona to see what she thought.
Mona nodded her approval. "We need to get her a Miradon medical visa. She's a keeper."
"I thank you for your trust in me, Lieutenant. You embody the spirit of your mate's name, and I shall endeavor to return your... honor." t'Liun said, bowing slightly as she referenced the Romulan word for honor, known as the 'ruling passion' or 'mnhei'sahe' in their native tongue. "In the meantime, the ship is yours and I remain at your disposal for the remainder of the journey. We are currently at warp 6 and are scheduled to arrive at Miradon in 53 hours. I hope your chamber meets your needs and... there was something else you wished to discuss, Commander?"
"The room is... fine... yes, Doctor. Thank you." Mnhei'sahe replied, slightly uncomfortably, nodding slightly. "And yes, there is. But we can discuss it over dinner if you'd prefer. There's no rush."
"Very well, Commander. As always, I am in your service." t'Liun bowed a little deeper and turned to the door. "Once you've settled in, evening meal is served at 18 bells in the officer's galley. Your party, myself and SubCommander tr'Naek. I shall take my leave and allow you your time. Jolan'tru, Commander. Jolan'tru, Lieutenant Gonadie."
"Jolan'tru, Doctor. It was a pleasure meeting you," Mona replied with a bright smile as Helev made her exit.
"Sorry, I slipped up." Mona was referring to the business her bond-mate had with Helev t'Luin relating to the acquisition of more Artan vessels to Dox's Barony and making the Doctor her Second, making her rank in the organization likely even more frustrating.
Pausing to let out a breath, Mnhei'sahe shoulders slumped making it clear just how 'on' she had been when t'Liun was there. "It wasn't a slip-up. I need to talk to her about it. I don't want to, but it needs to be done. I can't be in all places. I can't manage my responsibilities to the Artan's AND my responsibilities to Starfleet at the same time. To say nothing of my most important responsibilities."
Sitting next to Mona on the bed, the weary Romulan woman put her hand on her wife's belly. "To you. And to them."
"This is true. You can't be in all places at once. You need people you can rely on and my eyes tell me you... We... Can rely on her." Mona had turned serious as she rested a hand on Dox's hand. The thrumming coming from the chicks seemed to agree with her assessment.
"I trust her, but it's always good to get the chorus to chime in." Mnhei'sahe said with a light laugh. "She has had multiple opportunities to betray me if she had been working for the Tal'Shiar and instead put her own life on the line. Beyond that, when Sonak created a group mind-meld here so we could remove the programing of Lieutenant Ayamo Oulette during the Mol Krun'chi mission, she joined us. So... I've been in her mind and her in mine." Mnhei'sahe added, nodding as she recounted the events of 4 months ago.
"And I... hope she'll agree to my idea. To take on the role as my second to take over a bit for me here." Mnhei'sahe leaned her head on Mona's shoulder, softer than usual as her generally plush plumage had molted and regrown much thicked than usual in preparation for the children. "Rita... Rita, I think, is scared that I'll abandon Starfleet for the Artan's. Between the pressure to help Captain Telvan restructure this organization and my Grandmother naming me as a legal representative of the Romulan Senate, I'm feeling pulled thinner than ever. But I can't just... walk away from these things if I can do something to change them for the better. I just... I need help. I... I hope Helev will agree."
"I get the feeling she'll do anything to help you," Mona replied softly, stroking her lover's hair tenderly. "You have far more allies than are on the Hera, you know. When we finally retire from Starfleet many... many... many... years from now... We'll have a nice home to go to with the Artans."
"Indeed..." Mnhei'sahe said with a light sigh, her mind still running over everything vying for attention in her consciousness and doing her best to instead focus on the thrumming from her mate and their children, "...once I get them to redecorate in here."