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Posted on Fri Apr 3rd, 2020 @ 9:29am by Lieutenant Mona Gonadie & Az'Prel & Hera & Lieutenant Commander Mnhei'sahe Dox & Petty Officer 2nd Class 'Big Ethel' Jablonski & Jaeih Dox-t'Aan & Artan Pirate Helev t'Liun
Edited on on Fri Apr 10th, 2020 @ 4:01pm

Mission: Born and Reborn
Location: Miradon
Timeline: 2397

The Artan Bird of Prey called ‘The Golden Ghost’ settled into a wide orbit of the planet Miradon as, from its hold, the smaller J-Type freighter called the Khallianen launched into space towards the emerald and teal planet below.

On the relatively small ship was a proportionately large entourage consisting of the ship’s pilot and owner, Lieutenant Commander Mnhei’sahe Dox and her very pregnant wife, the Miradonian pilot, and inventor, Mona Gonadie. Sitting along the bench seats on both sides of the body of the ship was the commander of the Golden Ghost, the stern-faced Romulan doctor with short-cropped brown hair, Helev t’Liun. On either side of the women in the gray uniform were two other blank-faced Vulcanoid women, also in gray. On t’Liun’s left, Mnhei’sahe’s mother, Jaeih Dox. On her right, the Vulcan refugee from a collapsed reality, Az’Prel.

Across the hold, was a strikingly beautiful woman in a flowing, white robe with a warm smile on her face. On either side of her, the Goddess known as Hera, was the mountain of two-meter tall muscle known as Petty Officer Ethel Jablonski. And on the other side, the shorter, but just as wide and toned Petty Officer Liu.

Sitting in the larger and much more comfortable co-pilot’s seat, Mona Gonadie was rubbing her belly and wearing a pink and green pastel pregnancy jumper. In the pilot’s seat, finally out of her crimson Starfleet uniform, Mnhei’sahe was wearing a pair of green cargo pants, her favorite hiking boots, a black top and her favorite green denim jacket, her Starfleet badge on her chest and her red hair pulled back into a short ponytail. As they approached the medium-sized, class M planet that was the ancestral home of Mona Gonadie’s avian people, Mnhei’sahe flipped the comm panel above her at the cockpit. “Miradonian flight control. This is the Artan Cruiser Khallianen. Call number Nine, nine, x, seven, c, five, dash x, x, eight, three, delta, delta, six. Requesting clearance to land at the Quen'Quen spaceport.”

There was a brief pause as the comms picked up and in the background could be heard the sound of a multitude of squawks and bawks which were presumably Miradonian in nature. "Artan Ruiser Call-ann-en, cleared landing, C99 Oh 4 padd. Safe trip no hunters, proceed customs three three gate."

The traffic controller was obviously doing his best at not using the UT, but wasn't the most fluent at Federation Standard so Mona clicked her comms on as well, this time speaking in a form of Miradonian that sounded like a smooth and calm bird of the sky. "This is Mona Gonadie, copilot of the Khalliannen. Please repeat your last, control. We did not copy."

Almost with a sigh of relief, the controller switched to the same dialect and repeated his message. "Khalliannen, you are cleared for landing at padd see niner niner zero four. Please proceed to customs gate thirty three. We expect fewer hunters in system than usual this year thanks to volunteer patrols so please fell free to relax, have a safe trip, and enjoy your stay at the Aeries."

"Thank you control, We look forward to bringing our daughters into the universe under the eyes of the Goddesses. Khalliannen out." With a grin, Mona closed the channel and sent the nav beacon coordinates to her bond-mate. "We should be on the ground in 3 or 4 minutes unless we hit traffic."

"Under the eyes of a few goddesses. We should be well and truly covered in that regard, Jhu Dhael." Mnhei'sahe said as she spared a long smile for Mona as she punched in the coordinates and looked out the front windscreen as the small craft entered into the atmosphere. And as she did, the ship opened up into the vista of the skies of Mona's homeworld.
Around them, the blackness of space was slowly replaced by the deep teal of the sky that reflected against the fluffy, white, thick clouds as they passed through them over the rolling hillsides dozens of kilometers below.

Much of the land around the world's capital city of Quen'Quen was rural and farming area, filled with fields of iridescent crops and large round and curved houses. Even in the small cities, you could see the circular design to the streets and buildings. It was as if the culture refused to build anything with an edge.

As the small vessel closed in on the spaceport, the capital city hove into view, the spiraling skyscrapers looking more squat and rotund, yet far more avian than expected, with wing-like bridges spanning the gaps between most of them. Balconies jutted out further than seemed appropriate or even logical, seemingly tempting gravity.

As for the spaceport itself, it was obviously designed with the aid of offworlders as it was a mix of the Miradonian circular logic as well as the unmistakable triangle from the IDIC symbol at several points. Each docking bay was inside of a large ring of a building and on one side of this building, there was a large triangular attachment covered in tinted windows. What appeared to be a monorail system ran between six of these structures and another conical building covered in clear windows.

Mona pointed to one of the IDIC styled buildings. "There - our docking bay is in that one. Once we get situated and go through decon, we'll take a tram to customs at the conical building there." She then pointed to a third set of structures that looked more like a concrete ball of yarn. "And then we'll be released to find transportation. Either a rental or a taxi or... Well, flying is out since none of you have wings and I've been way too heavy since I was three."

With a glance over at her lover, Mona looked a bit sheepish. "What? I've always been a bit chubby."

In the back, Hera was grinning as she looked around the cabin, obviously picking up on the energies that had been absorbed by those there. She poked Ethel with an elbow to get her attention and looked up at the mountainous woman with a glimmer in her eye. "Do you find it interesting how that side of the shuttle has absorbed the motherly side of my aura and this side has absorbed the amazonian side?"

"Aw, well, never to correct ya Hera, but I figure Amazons come in all shapes, sizes and skillsets. Me an' Liu, we sure are different, but fer sure we're both Amazons. They are too. It''s just that not every Amazon's a soldier, I figure." Though it was simplistically stated, the implication of Jablonski's interpretation of the goddess' aura was perhaps not so different from those whom had become perhaps more maternal, although it may have been that observation was tainted by the true believer's perception.

Across the hold of the ship, the elder Romulan cricked her eyebrow and curled her lips slightly, looking as if she had just smelled something particularly foul. During her time working in the Hera's Intel Pod, she had done her most basic due diligence regarding what was unclassified regarding the goddess Hera, but in truth she had not gone digging as deep as she normally did. She knew that all the women that guarded the door two down from her own had all grown in some way physically during that time.

None quite as much as Ethel, who Jaeih notes spent the most time at Hera's side. It wasn't enough to form a logical deduction as she knew that correlation did not equate to causation, but it was curious enough. But, in a somewhat uncharacteristic decision, the trained former Tal'Shiar operative didn't choose to dig any deeper into the mysterious woman believed to be a goddess.

But now, it seemed that she, and possibly her bond-sister Az'Prel, were the subject of a conversation that was too interesting for her to overlook. "Padron me, but what are you two talking about? What do you mean regarding 'Amazons'? What... aura?"

As Hera looked expectantly at Jablonski, the big petty officer held up her hands in surrender. "Nuh uh, I'm not the priestess. I got no idea how alla this metaphysical stuff works, I'm just the physical one, 'no touchie', that's it. This answer's all up to you, great Hera."

The matronly goddess held up her hands in surrender and decided to give the short explanation. "As an Ambrisian and near-immortal being, I have an aura that grants certain gifts related to my domains. Those being generally women, marriage, birth, the heavens, and a few other minor things. They manifest in motherly aspects and Amazonian strength for most people."

Hera then motioned towards Ethel. "Ethel here has wholeheartedly accepted my aura's protector aspect and has become the defacto General of my absentee army. Rita has become my mortal daughter and in a way, my priestess, thus guiding my own path as well. As for you... I can see no one in recent history that has accepted more of the motherly aspect of my aura. It has likely brought out in you your innermost maternal side."

She then held up a finger, one eye closing as she peered at Jaeih over the tip of that finger. "However, know this... The decisions you have made would have been the same... It would have just taken you far longer to come to them otherwise, much to the detriment of those around you. Do what you will with that knowledge."

Listening, Jaeih crossed her legs and folded her arms across her knees as she narrowed her eyes ever so slightly. And while she was doing her best to keep her expression neutral, it was clear she did not like what she was hearing. "The... motherly aspects of your aura? I have been... 'accepting' this? For how long has this been occurring?"

Glancing towards the cockpit, the elder Romulan took a breath as her jaw clenched. "And... Commander Paris has become... your Daughter? You will have to forgive my... ignorance. She asked you to accompany us, correct? Why?"

Hera could tell from the body language from the older two pointy-eared folk across from her that they were now on the defensive and she was fighting an uphill battle. The Vulcan woman, it was hard to tell, but the Rihannsu... It was plain to see she wasn't going to accept the normal goddess mumbo-jumbo.

Rather, the elder woman folded her hands in her lap and matched skepticism with complete honesty. "In my weakened state, the range of my aura extends to roughly an eighth of a light-year. I assume you made a decision prior to entering within that distance that enabled you to absorb the specific aspect... Or energy band, if you prefer... Of my aura. As a semi-cosmic entity, it's not something I can prevent or disable, it's more of a reflex or autonomic function similar to your lymphatic system. As Commander Paris has found a way of redeeming me and guided me to become a better person, my aura has done the same for those that have desired to do so in their own lives within its range."

The mention of Commander Paris having 'redeemed' Hera has struck a chord with Jaeih, and she leaned back slightly, listening a bit more than before as a result.

"As for why Commander Paris asked me to accompany you on this family outing, I believe one of her catchphrases was 'stacking the deck in our favor.' If I'm not mistaken, every family outing and trip that Commander Dox has taken has resulted in disaster, thus she's ensured every escort available is within reach." Hera paused a moment to motion around her. "A cloaked starship as an escort, pirate patrols secretly nearby, the two of you, two of the finest Starfleet Security has to offer, and the literal Goddess of Childbirth to watch over the proceedings with her blessing."

She then leaned forward, the lights in the cabin seemingly dimming as she did so. "And those blessings I will give quite liberally in order to make sure all three of your grandchildren are born without issue... Of that, I assure you..." She then leaned back with a cheerful smile, the cabin lighting returning to normal.

If the slight display was meant to have an impact on Jaeih, it didn't show on the Romulan woman's face, whose eyes never wavered from their lock on Hera's as she replied. "Miss Jablonski. You would vouch for this all? And that Commander Paris trusts her? And you trust her?"

There was a slight frown that creased the perennially cheerful giantess’ face, but she nodded. “Ma’am, I don’t know all of it. I admitted that upfront, so I can’t claim it’s true, because I don’t know. I know I grew half a meter taller and a whole lot wider since serving as Hera’s honor guard. I know the Commander said that we were to treat her not as a prisoner, but as an honored guest, and the Commander does NOT screw around when it comes to the safety of the ship, yannow?” Jablonski spread her big hands, each nearly large enough to encompass Jaeih’s ribcage should she try.

“What I can say is Hera’s been nothing but good to Security. I believe in her, but… I mean, I believe in her, so I’m not even close to impartial, so I dunno if I am a good one to ask for that either. But… I believe in her because she’s real,” Jablonski stated simply, the big farm girl struggling to put her feelings into words. “She cares… about all of us Security gals. She takes an interest in our lives, in how we’re doing. She got me calling my folks once a week, just so’s they won’t worry. Hera doesn’t have an agenda ma’am. She just tries to help, to brighten up our lives, to listen when we need someone, to be there for us… kind of like… well, like a mom.”

There was a moment of uncomfortable silence in the cabin as Jaeih stared across at the three women. Then, she simply stood up from her seat and straightened her gray top and started towards the rear of the cabin. "If you will excuse me, I must use the refresher."

Sitting next to where Jaeih had just been, Doctor t'Liun of the Golden Ghost seemed imminently confused as she raised an eyebrow.

From the cockpit, Mnhei'sahe's voice came over the comm, "We are coming in for a landing and will be disembarking in a few moments.", to which t'Liun whispered in a lightly tense tone, "Thank the Elements."

Under the deep, teal skies of mid-day on Miradon, the Khallianen circled in to the designated landing platform in the IDIC shaped building and gently sat down in the large, circular platform beneath a half-domed ceiling. On the edge of the slightly elevated platform was a lift to a walking path that led to the interior of the landing complex. Clearly, the avian people took great pride in their flight facilities.

As Mnhei'sahe began the ship's power-down sequence, she gestured with her head to Mona, who was sitting next to the console of the cockpit that housed the ship's lockdown controls for security. Then, with a smile, the red-headed Romulan stood up and took her bond-mate's hands and nodded. "We're here. I've wanted to see this place for so long."

As Mona leaned back and sighed heavily, she rolled her head and stared lovingly at her bond-mate. "And now we get to explain to customs why we have such a large entourage. Thankfully, everyone is pre-registered through the Federation Embassy and not on the banned races list."

The brightly plumed Avian then got a gleam in her eyes. "You know... As soon as we're out of customs and into the city we're going to have to visit a Haw-Kaws... It's a bean drink shop similar to coffee. You can get it either super bitter or super sweet. You brought some latinum, right? The local economy still uses money so we'll have to get some exchanged."

"Regarding the size of our group... the explanation should likely be something less concerning than 'people try kidnapping or killing me on my vacations' I would imagine. Still, my status' as a Starfleet Officer and an Artan Baroness should make it easier to explain the extra personal security we've got." Mnhei'sahe said with an awkward nod as she helped Mona slowly pull herself to her feet. 

"As for latinum, we should be fine. I... still have a... halfway decent account from my smuggling days that I keep for just such an occasion. While we were on our way, I transferred some to a Miradonian bank and got us pre-loaded cards." Mnhei'sahe smirked lightly, pulling out a few Miradonian currency cards from her jacket pocket, just a little nervous about the fact that she did actually still have her fair share of actual money for trips like this that didn't require the use of Federation Credits.

"I am so glad you think of the things I never do," Mona replied as she hefted herself out of the co-pilot's chair with considerably less difficult than before, followed by a backstretch and several pops. "Oh yeah... I missed the gravity here. What the rest of the galaxy calls one gee, we call too much. Compared to Starfleet ship standards, we're now at point eight three."

"We'll have to be sure to update Ethel, in particular. Considering how strong she is, she'll have even less resistance to whatever she does." Mnhei'sahe said with a smile as she and Mona headed to the back to disembark. In the back, the others were sitting awkwardly as Jaeih came out of the back with a neutral expression on her face. 

"Shall we disembark, then? Shall I unlock the hoverchair for you, Mona?" Jaeih said flatly.

She could see that something was off, but her Miradonian eyes could only see what was there, not what had happened or what anyone was thinking. Thus, with a quizzical glance around, Mona nodded. "Aye, nona, thank you. The gravity is a bit less here so watch your strength. That being said, I'll still need the hoverchair." Rather than using Jaeih's name, she had used the Miradonian word for mother for some reason - perhaps by instinct, perhaps by nostalgia for finally being back on her homeworld.

Tensing up at the word that Jaeih knew well, having studied Mona's native tongue considerably, the elder Romulan nodded. "Excellent. I shall attend to that for you, then." Turning to the read hold, Jaeih unlatched the relatively small contraption that Ensign Briaar Gavarus had designed and built for the pregnant Miradonian. But it was that word that rattled in her brain: Nona. Mother.

Thinking on it, she cared deeply for Mona. She legitimately thought of the woman as her own. And while she didn't like the word, she knew in her heart that she loved her. She loved Mona. She loved Mnhei'sahe. She loved those yet unborn children. But now she had questions. And she didn't like those questions. She didn't like questioning herself, but for now, she would keep that to herself as she turned the power on and the compact but comfy looking device unfolded into a seat with a searing column and basket in the front.

Hovering, Jaeih pushed the chair over to Mona, with a more relaxed expression. It was easy with Mona and Mnhei'sahe in the room to forget that she was upset for the moment. "Here you are, my dear."

"Thank you," Mona replied as she settled into the chair, feeling the cushions adjusting to her. "I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but customs and immigration won't allow anything resembling a weapon in and they're pretty thorough on inspections. Since we're Federation and all they should be a bit more lenient, but..." She sighed heavily as she motioned towards the hatch. "You'll see what I mean. First up though is the medical screening."

As the hatch lowered and the planet's air rushed in with a strange mix of shuttle fumes and exotic floral scents, they were greeted by three decidedly skinny Miradonians in white and neon blue medical styled uniforms, complete with lab coats. The one with the largest and shiniest name badge stepped forward with one hand raised in greeting. "Welcome to Miradon! We'll be conducting your health and safety screening today. In the name of the Goddesses, we greet you!" Though he spoke in his native tongue, he spoke clearly enough for the UT to keep up and translate it without any issues.

"We have been notified by the Federation Embassy of your arrival and have prepared as best we could for your unique biological signatures and contagions. If you could step over to the unintelligible zone with any luggage and items you may have, we may begin." He then motioned towards a hatch marked pattern etched into the concrete of the floor and waited for everyone to disembark.

"I do so love unintelligible," Mona quietly confided to Jaeih with a grin. "I think it's one of my favorite colors in the unintelligible color spectrum."

"I will have to take your word for it, my dear." Jaeih said with a light smirk in spite of herself as she looked towards the etched area marked with a color she couldn't see. "Perhaps one day you will be able to describe it to me."

Looking at Mona, Jaeih noticed the telltale flutter of her daughter-in-law's amber eyes as her people's unique eyes processed a range of colors invisible to the rest of them and she had a thought. But it would be a subject for later as she grabbed her bag and headed to the so-called "unintelligible zone" along with the rest of the group and their bags.

As the crew filed over to the marked zone the three Miradonian physicians each pulled out a scanner and a datapad, directing each crewmember to stand separate from the others and turn around slowly while they held the scanner up to their eyes and looked the person over, head to toe before tapping something on their datapad. The crewmember was then directed to stand just to the side where the hatch marks were slightly different, no doubt in a slightly different color only visible to Miradonians.

When they got to Mona, they directed her to stand and to also turn, but they took extra care when scanning her, all three of them looking her over and asking her several rapid-fire questions that the UT couldn't quite pick up. Mona answered with yes and no to almost all of them, but pointed to Dox to one of them, presumedly when they asked who the other parent was.

After that, all three of them made notes, thrummed rhythmically to each other in a huddle, and proceeded to the last trio to be scanned. Ethel, Liu, and Hera.

While the two lesser ranked physicians handled the two Amazonian women, the third walked up to Hera and bowed slightly. "We greet you as a Devout of the Goddess Minay. Your aura is telling, is it not? I must ask why you accompany this woman." It was obvious that they had recognized her as more than what she seemed, at the very least.

The matronly goddess returned the bow and offered an explanation as politely as she could. "I am Ambrosian, a goddess of women, marriage, and childbirth. In my twilight my power wanes, however there is still work to be done." She then motioned towards Mona and Dox who were in the 'safe' zone. "These unborn have an important role to play in the future of the galaxy and I would see them blessed in what manner I am able. I ask for no special treatment during my visit."

The physician nodded, a scowl crossing his face. "I can not clear you medically with your aura so bright, yet I do not want to stand in the way of the holy..."

"Perhaps I may be of some assistance in this matter." Doctor t'Liun stepped forward, pulling a PaDD from her pocket. "My medical credentials, fully approved by the Miradon Ministry of Health and Welfare. I am also validated to practice medicine my the Artan ruling council in two quadrants, and by Starfleet."

The Miradonian physician took the padd to study it while Helev continued. "I have reviewed the medical files of all of us, taking special interest in Hera's unique biology and this aura you speak of. It has been determined medically by myself and Starfleet medical to have no measurable or observable negative effects, either physically or psychologically."

As she spoke, Jaeih stiffened up just a little as she listened and this time, both Mona and Mnhei'sahe noticed it.

Glancing slightly at her mother with a raised eyebrow for an instant, Mnhei'sahe stepped forward and introduced herself, adding in her Miradonian married name into the mix to hopefully smooth the encounter out. "Pardon me. I am Lieutenant Commander Mnhei'sahe t'Sendatu-onay Dox. I am Lieutenant Gonadie's bond-mate and I may be able to assist here."

Mentioning the middle name, which meant 'mended wings' in Miradonian seemed to at least register as the officials seemed to pay a bit more attention as Dox spoke. "In anticipation of this being an issue, Commander Rita Paris and Captain Enalia Telvan of the U.S.S. Hera, our vessel, have provided the following equipment." Handing a small medical shoulder bag she brought out of the ship over to them for study, Dox continued. "It is a portable frequency field blocker. It will reduce the range of Hera's aura and, according to Lieutenant Gonadie, even considerably dims the visual effect of that aura to normal levels. Will this satisfy your concerns and please the Moon Goddess's will?"

The three physicians huddled together and thrummed at each other for a few moments again, seemingly talking it over without actual words before splitting back apart and moving into action. "Your words are truth and we see the blessings of both Minay and Nicoo'la on you. We will accept your aid. Please administer the field blocker but know that as you have left the safe zone, we must scan you again."

Taking the returned bag, Dox activated it with a light hum and handed it to Petty Officer Liu to carry, as the security detachment would likely never be far from Hera's side. As she did, she stepped back into the designated zone to be re-scanned. "Of course, thank you."

As they watched the proceedings, there were a few small mutterings between them of 'Rihannsu', 'Vulcan', t'Sendatu'onay, and Minay. Occasionally, they would make notes and glance through one of their scanners, adjusting it somehow, but overall, they kept their council to themselves and, in some cases, only speaking half the words and seeming to complete the conversation among themselves in the same fashion that Mona's adoptive parents, Milla and Mardo Morafry, did when aboard the Hera last year.

Watching this, Mnhei'sahe made the connection, remembering that such communication was only between Miradonians that were bonded like the Morafry's or as she and Mona were, meaning that these three Miradonian physicians were a bonded group. The thought of that gave Mnhei'sahe a light smile as she squeezed Mona's hand while they waited.

The three physicians chattered back and forth in half sentences, each one scanning individually and poking at their datapads before all nodding together in sync, finally satisfied. They then performed cursory scanns of those that left the safe zone and turned to t'Luin. "Physician t'Luin, we turn over care off your party to you. May you walk in the Goddess's path and may Altha'donar light your way."

"Again, we welcome you to Miradon. You are all medically cleared for entry through customs. As soon as you leave this bay, you will choose a biocode option in order to quarantine and lock down this bay. If you need anything further from your vessel beyond that point, you will need clearance from port authorities in order to do so. Please enjoy your stay though the breeding season."

With that, the trio motioned towards the large double doors and allowed everyone to file out before Mona squawked something into the biocode reader, sealing the bay and pulling the key free, tucking it away in one of her pockets. "Ok, now we get on the tram and head to the main concourse." With a wave, the trio of physicians were off, presumably off to their next appointment as a tram arrived and the doors opened.

The group filed in and while there was plenty of seating, it was styled for Miradonian butts so it was all in the middle and there were no backrests. The entire top half was also transparent so you could see the entire sky. A voice came on and squawked something in almost a dozen different languages before the doors closed and the tram took off with a shudder - it obviously didn't have inertial dampeners. The trip was short and uneventful, the teal sky only having a smattering of white clouds scattered across it as several smaller ships flew in and out.

Soon the tram arrived at the main concourse and the party disembarked, easily finding the more visitor friendly colored lines on the floor pointing them in the direction of customs. Gate thirty three was one of the longer lines in a series set aside for incoming pregnant Miradonians and family, but it was in sight of most of the rest of Customs so they had a good view of something Mona expected.

Reaching up and tugging at Dox's arm, she pointed over at a Ferengi dressed in a heavy coat and wearing blackout glasses. "Keep an eye on him and watch what customs does. He's got holographics in place and his body language says he's lying without saying anything."

"I can see that from here, with only my old, Romulan eyes." Jaeih muttered lightly, leaning in towards Mnhei'sahe and Mona. As she did, Mnhei'sahe's eyes narrowed on the scene, taking it all in. She had telepathically shared in Mona's worst nightmares of exactly the kinds of horrors these hunters could inflict and, as the shared memories came will all of the emotional components, Mnhei'sahe had felt everything that Mona had felt in her childhood. The memories of those shared nightmares were still fresh to her in that moment.

As the line moved, a pair of security guards with a large cat-like animal in a work harness came up to the Ferengi and started asking him questions, making him defensive. As the Ferengi started waving his hands around, the working cat started growling, which triggered the two guards pulling out stun batons. This didn't sit well with the Ferengi who still tried to talk his way out of it until the cat jumped on him, disrupting the slight holographics overlay to reveal that the winter coat was actually a combat vest and that his features were quite scarred. His ruse obviously broken, he went to pull out a disruptor, but before it had cleared its holster, he'd been hit with the stun batons several times, knocking him to the floor.

"Hunter..." Mona muttered in disgust. "Probably thinking he can catch a newborn chick flying over the Aerie."

Looking over at the scene, Ethel Jablonski looked stunned and more than a little disgusted herself, "Now, just wait just a darn minute, here. Newborns? All this security is because these hunters come here to go after... newborns, Lieutenant Gonadie?"

"Yeah," Mona replied, her voice uncharacteristically flat. "A newborn chick can fetch several bars on the black market. That way you can raise it alive and feed it what you want and..." With a shudder, she left the rest unspoken and just rested her hands on her prodigious belly, staring down at herself with a scowl. "That's why the security... we used to have open borders and that's why we're struggling to maintain a population of three million..."

"They... sell 'em for... Oh, by Hera. This planet's a Federation affiliate! We should be doin' more t' help here, shouldn't we, don'cha think?" Ethel said, her own voice getting a bit more firm with resolve as the full implications of what Mona was leading to sunk in. 

"An independent Federation affiliate, yes. We have trade and commerce agreements, but no defense agreements unless it's an emergency. Sadly, while our flight, medical, food, and stealth technologies are highly advanced, we just hit warp eight tech and our weapons tech is far behind the galactic standard." With a heavy sigh, the brightly plumed avian did her best to cheer up. "Which is why I talked my way into Starfleet. To try to help make the galaxy a better place for my people and help everyone fly a little higher. With the caveat that I don't break the prime directive with anything I've learned with my own people, of course."

As Mona talked, Mnhei'sahe looked at Helev t'Liun, who only a day ago had accepted the red-headed Romulans request to take the lead as her second in the Artan fleet. The look was clear that while they wouldn't go into details then and there, that Mnhei'sahe would have Helev look into what the Artan fleet could do to help protect this world within the bounds of legality.

Not that the words needed to be said as Mnhei'sahe was holding her bond-mate's hand tight, thus ensuring that her thoughts were clearly sent across their telepathic bond. As such, Mnhei'sahe took a moment to smile down and give Mona's hand a squeeze. Across the space, the Ferengi had been contained and removed quickly and business resumed as usual.

The rest of the trip through customs and out through the vehicle structure was uneventful, thankfully. They were easily able to hire a transport large enough for all of them just on Federation credit and within minutes they had been whisked away to one of the largest hotels in Quen'Quen, the capital city of Miradon - a squat spiraling building with rainbow iridescent windows and balconies all the way up at least one hundred stories. Short for most planets, but here it was one of the largest on the planet.

And in the lobby was one of the Haw-Kaws drink shops that Mona had mentioned before - and they advertised in-room delivery.

Check-in was equally easy as they were expected. Mona had planned that out as well, ensuring that they all had their own rooms and she'd reserved an entire floor just in case. The down side was that it was the eighty ninth floor. It had nine suites several times larger than the VIP quarters aboard the Hera and since they were staying for at least two weeks, the reservation fees had wiped out what little she had in her Miradon Bank and Trust accounts.

Finally settled into their rooms, however... The view was breathtaking. The planet was slightly smaller than most, but the air was crystal clear so you could see all the way to the horizon with ease as the capital city spread out to give way to fields of crops and lightly wooded areas and even a few small lakes in the distance.

There was something first and foremost on Mona's mind though. Grabbing the menu on the dining table for Haw'Kaws, she punched up an order for a particularly bright and flashy 'Rainbow Surprise' drink as well as a pitch black bitter looking drink referred to as 'Altha'donar Double Dark'. It took about a minute for them to arrive, but both clear plastic cups with straws were beamed directly to the replicator pads in the center of the dining room table - Mona's bright, rainbow colored 'coffee' drink with ice and the other that she'd ordered for Dox sending out steam from the small vent hole.

"I hope you don't mind that I ordered you a drink," she said as she picked up both cups and brought them over to her bond-mate, offering her the hot, dark beverage.

In the bedroom of the expansive suite which, like most of the architecture in the region, was a series of circles connected by curves and arches, Mnhei'sahe was unpacking their bags into the dressers and closets that were built high into the walls themselves. It was easier than not in the slightly reduced gravity and the thickly built Romulan was appreciating the sensation as she replied. "Of course not. You generally know my tastes and you absolutely know the cuisine."

Walking out, Mnhei'sahe had tossed her jacket onto the bed and walked out to the table with Mona, hand in hand, at the edge of a large window that jutted out into space a little, a cross between a balcony and a particularly expansive ledge. But the window was open and the breeze that floated in was intoxicating. The air had a sweet smell, wafting in the scent of the cova fruit orchards on the edge of the city. In that, it oddly reminded the stout Romulan woman of the colony world where she had been born. She had never been on Miradon before, but thanks to her bond with Mona, the sights, sounds and smells all triggered a strange feeling of familiarity as she had within her the echos of her love's memories of the place. 

That piece of Mona, glowing like lavender within her soul that was a part of her forever.

On her arms, visible now without the jacket, were the ornately designed gold and black Asgardian bracers that Mnhei'sahe had been gifted. For while weapons were not allowed, the bracers had access to a pocket dimension that did contain a suit of Asgardian armor. The young Romulan took no chances with her wife's safety.

Sitting next to Mona in a large, bean bag like couch that faced the window, Dox took a sip of her drink and put her arm around her wife. "I... almost can't believe we're finally here. It's even more beautiful than it appears in your mind. Almost as beautiful as you."

"It's even more beautiful now that I've found you," Mona replied, leaning in for a kiss before sipping at her own drink. "I can't think of anything better than sharing a great drink with my bond-mate looking out over the skies of my homeworld." She then pointed out into that sky just as the twin moons shimmered into view, the smaller black moon closer to the planet and moving out from in front of the larger silver moon.

"And what perfect timing. Nicoo'la just finished the weekly eclipse with Minay. Today is the traditional day of rest, you know."

"We did not rest much today, did we?" Mnhei'sahe said, as she pulled Mona closer to her chest, the thrumming from her bond-mate amplified by the matching rhythms of their three children. "That said, it's interesting to finally see the real 'Minay' for myself."

"To my eyes, you resemble one another a great deal," Mona replied, sharing a bit of her sight through their bond so that as she looked from her lover with the purple and lingering trails of her original energy here and there at the edges to the sky with the two moons with a similar rainbow of purples and UVenergies streaming behind the planet's satellites, Dox could see a bit of what every native to the world could see just after the weekly eclipse. "They're this bright only for a few minutes, but you're bright all the time."

For just an instant, it was bizarre to see herself through Mona's eyes. The color of her own aura, the purple that was the combination of her original crimson with Mona's own blue seemed to ripple out of her, glowing with a brilliant radiance. And as Mona looked at the moon MInay, the same color of purple streamed from the moon into the sky around it.

After a moment, her vision faded back to normal, and again she was looking at Mona again from her own eyes, which now had tears in them. "You... see that... every time you look at... me?"

Mona nodded, looking back at her dearest love, a soft smile on her lips. "Every time, all the time. That's what everyone else sees when they look at us as well, though not nearly as strong as I do being in the bond."

"And now you know how I knew you were the one. No one lit up my life like you."


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