You don't own me
Timeline: Day after Dress Match
The night before...
As soon as Nexi walked out of his Quarters, Cato barked "Computer, seal the door" the audible click of the door locking could be heard. He moved to his terminal and began tapping away with both hands to bring up the internal sensors from his quarters. Quickly, he worked and managed to pull a signal origin from the transporter signal that Nexi used. Quickly honing in, (like it was hard), he smirked seeing that it was inside the cargo bay bulkhead. "Yeah, right." he muttered to himself. This ship was full of secrets, but this one was easy enough to crack. Cato didn't like to lose, he didn't like it when people got the drop on him like Nexi had before their fight. After noting the information on a paper pad he kept (just in case someone deleted data), he went about cleaning up his wreck of a quarters.
The next day...
Cato had only a three more days of confinement left, it had been a rough time for him. Quieting his mind gave him too much time to think, but that's probably what the point was. Cato had been completely good during his confinement, no bullshit no slippery tactics. Until tonight... After he wrapped up his visit in Sickbay and got the all clear to return to away team status, he headed back to his quarters. Pulling his uniform jacket, vest and duty shirt off he tossed it all on his couch. Pulling a slightly faded black t-shirt from his bedroom, he threw it on. MACO Special Warfare insignia on the left chest, his name on the right, Starfleet insignia on the right sleeve and MACO on the left. Placing his commbadge on the table in his quarters, Cato picked up the tricorder next to it before turning and walking out.
Soon enough, he had found the cargo bay in question and entered. Looking around, visually it didn't look any different. "The fuck..." he said under his breath as he opened his tricorder up and began getting his bearings for the origin of that transporter signal that was used last night. "Come out, come out wherever you are..." His voice trailed off, following his tricorder to one of the walls in the bay; He looked up and down it. The readings were consistent with a real wall, but something was off about it.
It only slowed him for a minute or two. Eventually he found the door that was so well hidden, it almost eluded even him. Bypassing the all too familiar security system rather quickly, the door opened somewhat silently. Cato flipped his tricorder closed, stuffed it into a pocket and moved inside absolutely quiet. Contrary to popular belief, this jarhead did have a 'stealth' setting. Thinking to himself, 'secret squirrel spook shit'. His eyes darted around the hidden, large bay. Eyes falling on an Orion Class Runabout, he saw the rear hatch was open. But then next to it was Nexi on a mat, luckily for him she was facing away while she was working out.
Silently, Cato approached and took cover at the nose of her runabout. He watched her silently, like she had done to him last night...
Nexi was on her workout mat by her ship, sprawled out in a split. She was wearing her usual baggy pants, but instead of her usual black long sleeve shirt she instead wore a simple tank to give her arms more freedom. Her boots, jacket, and weapons were nowhere to be seen, most of which had been left in her shuttle for the time being as she relaxed into her stretch on the mat. Then she pushed up onto her hands, slow and controlled movements as her body rolled into an upright position with her legs remaining in the split. Slowly, she brought her legs together and remained in the handstand for a while before once again lowering her feet to the ground and standing upright. She strode over to what looked like a rope that was suspended from the ceiling over the middle of the mat; the rope above her head was actually a set of straps, which she separated and worked both ends around her wrists. She put her weight on the straps to ensure her grip was good, then tucked her legs to her chest and began lifting her body while hanging from these straps to work the individual muscle groups in her arms, slow and with precise control over her movements. After the first set was complete, she moved right into another, this time raising her body while her legs were straight and extended, pulling herself up until she was hanging straight upside down. Once she repeated this move several times to complete that set, she let herself hang upside down for a little while, her eyes closed and her hair swinging in its loose braid, slow and steady breaths. Unlike with Cato's workout, there was no music to pump her up, only her own steely discipline as she hung from these straps.
"I know you're there, Cato," she suddenly said without any warning, her eyes opening to reveal an intense focus. "Did you forget I'm telepathic? I could sense you approaching," she said as she rolled her body back down into a tucked position and began rolling her legs from side to side, ending in positions that couldn't possibly look comfortable for her shoulders, and yet she was completely relaxed. "Also, the bay doors, not exactly silent," she reminded him with a grin.
"I know you're there, Cato" he said mockingly under his breath. Before a loud wolf whistle was let out as he moved around the nose of her ship. "You know..." he said running his hand along the angled, sleek hull of the runabout "I take back what I said, maybe you are just as flexible as T'Pral." he paused before changing the subject "So, this is where you run off to every night. Not bad, I'd probably disappear here too if I could." moving around to where she could see him. His eyes continued to look around and before they fell back to Nexi "We need to talk..." his voice trailed off, somewhat ominous in tone.
"No, a tactical kilt does not count as a dress," she said in reply to his 'We need to talk', grinning as she continued her exercises. She didn't know if that's what he actually wanted to talk about, but she knew it was on his mind. "Also, I don't 'run off', this is my home," she clarified.
"It's a figure of speech, I know you don't actually 'run' off... Hell, this is better than my quarters. I'd rather be here than in that fuckin' box." he paused before walking over and taking a seat in front of where she was doing her exercises. "How are you coming with the procurement of my item?" he perked a brow, it was overtly clear he was avoiding something he didn't want to tell her yet.
"I may have a lead on where it's at," Nexi said, grinning as she rolled back down and let go of the straps. She walked over to the side of the mat where she had left a water bottle and uncapped it to take a drink. "Why don't you tell me whatever it is you're dancing around and I'll tell you where your sword is."
"A brother of mine went missing seven days ago. I just got the message, probably because of what he had dug himself into after the MACO's got disbanded." He took a deep breath before continuing. "Spectre teams make me look about as reckless as a teddy bear." he said, giving her a comparison she could possibly relate to. "I managed to get the mission profile from a friend at Starfleet Intel. When I requested leave from Starfleet for a personal matter, it was denied. Motherfuckers act like they OWN me. No one fuckin' owns me!" he snarled through his teeth. "I'm resigning and going after him and no, I haven't spoke to Enalia... Yet..."
"Damn, you're an idiot," Nexi replied with a shake of her head and started walking to the rear hatch of her shuttle.
"Yeah? You got a better plan?" he barked, getting up from where he was sitting and started to walk after her at a normal pace. "Because I'm running out of options and time." He followed up with "It's not far from where we are, another god damned station. It's an experimental weapons research facility owned by Aspid Corporation and something fucking happened." Aspid was about as savory as a Ferengi who owned a pawn shop.
"Yeah, I got a better plan; here's your sword, by the way," Nexi replied as she passed through the back end of her ship, picking up his katana where it lay on her workbench and tossed it to him, then continued on through her ship without missing a stride.
Cato followed her into the runabout, catching his old red plasma infused katana... "No fuckin' way..." he smiled, glancing to his weapon for a second as he continued to follow Nexi through her runabout. "Then what the fuck are we gonna do?"
"We're gonna go get your friend," Nexi said simply, passing through her living area to the cockpit and took a seat in the forward station where she typed out a quick message:
'Enalia, going out for a bit, springing a friend from Aspid Corp, taking the jarhead with me.'
After sending the message to Enalia, she put in the notice with flight control to open the hanger doors, then started warming up the Wandering Star.
"Not wife material my ass..." he smiled before moving forward with her into the cockpit, but the orion was a single seater up front. Cato didn't like to ride back of the bus, so while Nexi was warming up her ship he threw his Katana over his head and under his left arm. "I guess this is going to be a never ending thing of me owing you."
Enalia was in her ready room when she got the message and had a message of her own. After having the shuttlebays locked down, she hailed Nexi. =/\="Please return the jarhead to his quarters for now. We happen to be heading to the area you're going for some... recon work..."=/\=
"Fuck, why you gotta ruin my fun, woman!" Nexi said with an exaggerated groan of frustration. "How am I supposed to run off and be a naughty if you keep legitimizing my field trips? I wanna kidnap me a jarhead!"
Enalia had to chuckle over the comm line. =/\="Because it'll take you what? Three days to get there? Two at best? The Hera will be there in six hours so we can secretly... Catalog a gaseous anomaly. That sounds fun, right?"=/\=
"I guess, mom," Nexi replied with a roll of her eyes. "But I can pretend I'm kidnapping the jarhead?"
=/\="As long as you take adult supervision,"=/\= Enalia declared right before cutting the comm line. She then sent appropriate orders to the bridge.
Nexi grumbled in Ferengi under her breath as she rose from her station. "She's just gotta suck all the fun outta everything!" she said with a scowl. "I'm gonna go take a shower... ya know, since we got like 6 hours..."
Since she stood up from her station and probably turned around... Cato wasn't far away, he removed his Katana and tossed it into the corner behind the flight station. "You're right, we have six hours." he bit his bottom lip. In the past month, Nexi had... Dragged his ass into the runabout while almost dead, visited him in sickbay with a stolen bottle of 400 year old whiskey, found his prized sword he stole from a Klingon General and in return had stolen out of his quarters aboard the Rodger Young AND was going to risk her life and her ship to save his friend just because?... "Why?" he asked, moving a step closer to her. Since she was telepathic, she'd be able to pick up on exactly what he was thinking and what he was feeling. Fuckin' humans and emotions.
"Why?" she repeated like she didn't understand the question. "Why not?" she then said in reply, then brushed passed him.
"Wait..." he gently stopped her, left hand on her right shoulder. She knew what he really wanted to do, what he was thinking... But something inside of him restrained him from being a dumb shit and fucking things up."Don't..." he moved in as if he was going to actually kiss her, but instead placed a soft kiss on her slightly sweaty forehead. "It's been a long time since I trusted or cared about anyone as much as you." He placed his hand on her heart and said "yIn SoH jIH" (I owe you my life). After that, he pulled away and grabbed his katana.
"Pfft, you don't owe me nothing," Nexi said as she continued on her way to her bunk, pausing at the door to look back at him. "I've lived my life out of ledgers, always owing just one more debt; now that my tab is cleared, I sure as hell ain't keeping anymore. I do what I do now because it pleases me to do so, not so I can hold this over you. Your life is your own, so live it, stop wasting it." And then she disappeared into her room to shower.
After that, he wasn't going anywhere. He followed her into her room, right behind her "The fuck do you mean stop wasting it?!" his eyes narrowed as he stood in her doorway. "I seriously wish I was telepathic half the fuckin' time so I could read you or at least know how you feel about me..." he paused as he took a deep breath "Nevermind, I'm a fuckin idiot. See you in a few." Not like he gave her a chance to respond... He turned and headed for the rear hatch of the runabout.
At this particular point in time, all she felt was that she needed a damn shower! Finally alone, Nexi took her time cleaning up, and when she finally came out of her room she was in her usual garb, weapons and all, wandering out the rear hatch to find where Cato had wandered off to.
Cato was using an equipment cart to do a workup on his newly refitted hostile environment combat armor. He and the Chief Engineer had been hard at work modifying the hell out of it after his encounter with the vole. Matte black, the menacing matte tungsten punisher skull was where the starfleet insignia would be and sported again on the left shoulder. That TR-116C2 had been cleaned up and now sported a matte black and matte tungsten color scheme. "got you a plasma rifle..." He said blindly, pointing to a rifle laying against a second cart; having heard Nexi move behind him. He was quiet and had a cooler sensibility about his emotion. He loaded his newly-updated plasma grenades and energy magazines with replicator matter onto all these new nifty pockets on his armor.
"I don't do rifles," Nexi said as she watched him work. "The only reason I was carrying one last time was because I needed to get used to Starfleet tech instead of my old Ferengi stuff; Enalia's been working on getting me a new weapon with the power of the TR-116 but in a smaller handheld form. Probably won't have the range or the gyro-stabilization, but weapons like this are too bulky for what I usually do."
"Ok." he replied before stripping his t-shirt off, along with his dog tags. Tossing them on the deck, he began to perform a sync with the biometric integration of his suit. "No communication with the station since the spectre team went aboard. Probably a biological weapon that broke containment..." He stated "Your old suit was trash, so after Thex modified mine, I had her scan and duplicate most of the components and whatever we couldn't duplicate, we found a suitable replacement. I built it off your measurements." he motioned with his head to the second cart again. "Was going to be a surprise after our date, but I figured that it'd be more useful now."
"Don't usually use the suit either," Nexi said, looking at the suit. "Only used it because- hey, what do you mean date?" she asked, giving him a funny look. "I thought it was just dinner on a bet! And what do you mean my suit was trash?! You had better not have touched my personal cloak or I will skin you alive!" So what if her EV suit was old and ready to be retired, who the fuck did he think he was doing this for her?! If it was to be HER suit, shouldn't she have some say as to what went into it or how it was designed to fit?!
"Shut... Up..." he said "I didn't touch your suit, or your cloak. You can do whatever the fuck you want with this, I don't give a flying fuck. It's a gift from me to you." he paused before continuing "Do you know why we use them? Just in case there's something that will kill us or worse on that station... Do you really wanna roll the dice? Because I don't." he eyed her as the computer in his HECA sounded "Biometric integration complete, don when ready". He set everything down and turned to face her. "It's dinner on a bet, unless you'd like it to be more than it is. Otherwise, don't get worked up for no reason." he said, grabbing his armor and throwing it over his shoulder "Yeah, I care about you more than I fucking should! Yeah I trust you with my life. Don't fuckin' break my heart or get me killed." Cato turned, heading for the rear hatch on the Wandering Star..
"Break your heart? You wuss," Nexi said with a scowl. "How can I break your heart when we're just friends? Yeah, I could sense you wanted to kiss me before, but I thought you was holding back because you knew there was a line there, like there should be; we gotta trust each other with our lives out there, there ain't no room for complications in what we do," she barked at the back of his head. "Attachments get you killed, and I ain't about to have your life hanging over my head. And take this other suit out of here, I'm working on a new one with Enalia."
"Recycle it." he yelled back at her. Stepping aboard he put his gear down in the aft area on the floor before walking back out without saying another word until he was closer to her. Grabbing a large backpack and throwing it over his shoulder, then grabbing his TR-116C2 with his right hand "Attachments... Yeah, about those." funny, she was going on a mission to rescue someone Cato called a brother yet had no blood relation with. "You told me to stop wasting my life, what did you mean by it?"
"You said you started running and never looked back; at some point you gotta stop running and figure out what you wanna get out of all that effort," Nexi said cryptically. "What do you want, Cato? Not from me, not from Starfleet or Intel. What do you want out of life? You decide what that is, you go for it and you don't make apologies. Doing anything else is just wasting your time and everyone else's."
He laughed "You know what, Nexi..." he wiped his mouth with the back of his left hand. "If I told you what I wanted, what I really wanted. You'd just start going on and on about attachments again. Yet here we are, going after one of my brothers from Special Warfare. So fuck that bounty hunter attachments will get you killed bullshit." he paused "I'll tell you what, we both make it back from this and not killing each other at dinner while wearing dresses... Maybe I'll just go for what I want and get my nuts zapped again." he smirked before walking away from her, again. Moving to load up the last of his gear aboard the Wandering Star.
"I know what you want right now, but I'm no one's joyride," Nexi said, then turned to leave the hanger bay.
Joyride... That struck a nerve with him to the depth of his core, dropping his gear onto the deck with a loud echoing crash he turned around and walked after her. "You think I just wanna fuck you?!" he bellowed "Bullshit!" he continued "You keep being there for me no matter what." he paused still going "You think I want you because of that? HAH! You know what I want? I want to flip the switch that sends me back to being a heartless fuck. Like you said, caring about someone fucking sucks." he turned and started to walk back to where he dropped his gear. "Oh! I do want you... But not like that! Like you said, you aren't wife material for him, but you might be perfect for this jarhead."
"You don't know me, Cato, you don't know a damned thing about me," Nexi said without halting her stride; no yelling, just a calm resolve as she walked away from him. He didn't know her, how could he feel those things for her? He was just a player, and she didn't need this mess in her life...