WHERE Shadow - The Rubaiyat
WHEN August 31, 2519
Main Street - Shadow
Clean and simple, the street bears no signs of ill use or disrespectful residents. But neither does it reflect on a truly image conscious group. A few of the buildings have green lawns where grass is just a bit long, white washed fences where the wash is no longer quite white. The wooden side walk is worn, but solid.
In general, there is a marked preference for two stories to a building here, along with front porches. Frequently, those porches are occupied by those with a few minutes available to talk to their neighbors or gossip.
Wynona returns the bow, and reclaims the cup of coffee she'd been working on from the porch railing "Well enough, I suppose. Time to get this here house painted, finally." She glances up, "Going to be a heck of a change to look at, I'll tell you that. Got a mite used to her the way she is."
Kai pulls her hat down and makes her way to the Black Water, shoulders down, pace slow. She looks tired, and doesn't seem to be paying a whole lot of attention to what's going on around her - for a change.
Shin Tung nods considering the task. "It looks like it will be a quick job with all the hands working. It will brighten up the street as well." He notes Kai heading for the Black Water and whistles shrilly. "Do you have a moment?" He calls out as he waves to Kai.
Kai turns at the whistle and shades her eyes, then offers a wave back and nods. She stops walking, turning towards Shin, a smile on her lips, another wave offered to Nonie. "Need to get some tea. Care to join me, Shin?" Her voice is still hoarse, but not as bad as it's been.
Wynona nods. "Still got a kettle on the stove in there, if you'd rather save the steps. I'm just going to start here under the porch, take care of any customers happen by."
Shin Tung says, "Pardon me Nonie I need to do something. I do wish to speak with you later. No let me get out of your way." He bows respectfully and turns and heads for Kai. As he joins her he nods. "I wouldn't mind. I do have something to discuss with you.""
"Thanks anyway, Nonie." Kai rasps and waits for Shin to join her. "Black Water? Or back to the Ruby? How private do we need this to be?"
Shin Tung speaks into his communicator, "Shia Robert. Replace it and load test the old one. If it dosn't hold up trash it.""
Shin Tung says, "Ruby if you wouldn't mind."
Kai nods and turns back to the ship.
You board the IMV Rubaiyat.
Passenger Hold -
There's little in the way of comfort in this space. Approximately twenty feet long and thirteen feet wide, this room is the epitome of 'convertables'. Two hideaway bunks fold up into either bulkhead, bringing the total of those who can sleep in their own racks to four. Foot lockers beneath each bunk hold personal effects and double as a quasi-futon couch when the racks are stowed.
A small table takes center stage in the room with a small kitchenette and bathroom on either side of the aft bulkheads. Quaint. That's what some would call it. Others would call it just plain intimate.
Kai climbs over the marble crates and then starts towards the kitchenette. "Sorry about the crowding. We're kinda small."
Cargo: Marble - 10216
A large durasteel box approximately five feet in length, three feet in width, and three feet in height. This container has a tamper-proof electro-wire seal preventing unauthorized access and is commonly used to transport goods.
A digital display proclaims its contents as: Marble
Shin Tung bows politely to Kai. "Sorry to be taking up your time." He reaches for the edge of a crate and vaults into a handstand at it's edge and handwalks across to drop to his feet on the other side.
Kai gets the tea started and then pulls her duster off and hangs it aside. She shakes her head and offers Shin a warm smile. "It's alright. Really. I wanted to talk to you anyway." She arches a brow at the acrobatics and grins, then shrugs out of her shoulder holster and drapes it over the back of a chair. The silk 'jacket' is drawn off last and laid over the holster, revealing arms, shoulders and the scoop front and back of the tank top, where pale skin is painted in a tapestry of pain. Blade, whip and burn marks cover her from collar to wrist. The braid down to mid-thigh flips about like a tail as she gets the pot out and the tea things and begins a 'proper' pot of tea.
Shin Tung moves across the area and takes off his Alligator coat and hangs it on a chair. He takes a seat with a smooth natural grace "It would be good to have properly perpared tea. It has been a stressful week." He pauses a moment and continues. "How is Rigby?"
David has arrived.
"Strained wrist, some cuts and bruises. Jana's seeing to him now." Kai replies a touch dryly. She warms the pot and measures out the leaves, then turns to Shin and reaches out a hand to touch one of his. "Are -you- alright?"
Kai is making tea and is stripped down to her tank top, pants and boots. The silk jacket and gun hung over a chair back and her scars quite visible from collar to wrist and where the top scoops away front and back.
"I have been better, but physically I got off easy. Gassed once, injected once and stiff knees." He watches and nods as the tea is being made. "I wanted to check on him and the others. You know Aurora was with us?" He looks at the scars a moment but make no comment.
David opens the hatch from the outside, using his keycard, and comes in, carrying a basket of fresh-made, bread, and a foot and a half of beef sausage. He says "Wei Kai, you in?" and pauses, as he sees Shin Tung. "Is this a bad time?" His face alters, seeming to become dull, slightly slack, and rather stupid.
"No, come on in, David." Kai offers him a tired smile and then nods to Shin. "Yes, I know. I heard she was unharmed, from Jon. Is that the case?" She turns to the kettle and finds another cup for the tea, making it a party of three. "David? This is Shin Tung. Shin? This is my dear friend, David." She sets the bowl of pears and apples on the table and the teapot and cups, letting it brew. "CLimb over the crates, David, sorry about the crowding. Guess it's a good thing we've taken to sleeping in the cockpit and engineering instead, eh?"
David simply steps onto the crates, and walks across them, in a crouch. The huge, bald man moves smoothly, as if used to this sort of maneuver. "Aurora's back aboard the Eury. I brought fresh bread, butter, and some apple pie."
"We tried to shield her and Fawn as much as we could. They both did their part though. I had to take one of our fellows to Ariel for treatment. He completely shattered a leg in the escape." Shin sighs slightly. "That is why I couldn't get back to you sooner on that wave you sent me. Honor demanded I stay with him till his ship was contacted and made aware of things. Thank you for the concern." He looks over at the newcomer and the things he has inhand. "I won't take much more of your time. I just didn't want to discuss the matter in public. There has been a news report on it."
Kai nods to Shin and then grins at David, moving to kiss his cheek and take the packages. "Shin, you've got to try some of Aurora's pie. She makes the best pies in the 'verse." She nods to David. "He's safe to talk in front of, Shin. In fact, David knows more about me than anyone left alive." A hand brushes Shin's shoulder as she passes, patting him gently. "I'm glad you're back and safe. I was worried."
You whisper, "Thank you, luv. That was awful sweet." to David.
Jana arrives from Engineering -
Shin places his hands in front of him and makes the polite bow/inclination used when seated. "It is a pleasure to meet you David. I hope Aurora is doing well after the ordeal earlier this week. She held up very well in a hard situation. She brings honor to her ship." Shin turns his attention back to Kai not missing the slight brush in passing. "Your First Officer also brings honor to this ship by his actions. He put himself in the position of leader and did a very good job. We got out without haveing to take a life and causing a minimum of property damage."
Kai is wearing just her tank top, pants and boots scars quite visible from collar to wrist and where the top cuts away. A pot of tea and three cups are on the table, as well as the bowl of fruit, and some things that David brought - bread, butter, and apple pie. The three are talking quietly and the cargo hold is packed full of crates of marble that need to be climbed over to get to anything.
The small form of the Ruby's engineer slips in, the girl quiet and rather calm. Upon noticing people other than Kai in the passenger hold, she pauses and looks around. "Hi.." she offers politely with a sincere smile before moving on, Jana working her way about the cargo towards the kitchen. "Kai, Jon's sleeping and I got all my work done, for now. Mind if I join you all once I get something to eat?"
You sense: Jana notices the scars but tries to act like she doesn't.
David says, "Kai, you need to sleep. Too much stress?" He looks over at Shin. "David Jones. Nightingale. Engineer." His voice is devoid of accent. Probably carefully so. He gets out the beef sausage as well, and begins to cut it into inch thick rounds. "Sorry I couldn't get hold of any cheese or wine."
"A pleasure to meet you. I am Shin Tung. Chief Engineer of the Zun Yan. How is Aurora adjusting to things?" He asks casually. His voice is low and cultured as he speaks. "Pleas tell Jon I asked after him when he awakes. I did come by to check on him." He nods to Jana as he makes that last statement. Bringing his eyes back to Kai he looks at her more closely and nods once. "David may be right Kai. You might want to take a small break and get some rest." Shin pauses a moment and continues in a friendly tone. "No matter how enjoyable the company I would hate to think my presence might be causing you to put matters aside." He waits patiently for a reply seeming relaxed and at ease in the company around him.
"I've been sleeping. Sorta." Kai replies, then nods to Jana. "Come have some of this. David brought good things to eat. Get a couple more cups for the tea?" She slides into a seat between David and Shin and rubs her hands over her face. "Just worried about stuff and trying to do runs. I slept some last night." She adds, after a moment. "Jana, this is Shin Tung and David. Gentlemen? This is Jana, my ship's engineer."
Jana nods and gets a couple of cups and then picks her way back towards the table, her eyes slipping from one side of the hold to the other as she grins. "Kai was right.." she mutters to herself before sitting down. The cups are placed upon the table and she looks first at David and then to Shin, the latter getting a nod as she acknowledges his request. "Sure. I'll let him know. He's alright, so don't worry. Banged up and his wrist's splinted." Laughing softly, she whispers towards him, "You should have seen how pissy he was about that." Kai's smiled to but she offers no apology for having aided in Jon getting grumpier than he was before she splinted his wrist.
David smiles at Jana, looking rather like an idiot, but his voice is quiet and educated, without an accent. "Nice to meet you, Miss Jana." He slices half of the meat, and distributes the nine pieces, Kai getting the third piece. A glance at Jana, and he slices one more, to give the starved-looking Jana another piece as well. Then he starts on the bread, using the combat blade on the meat with an near-surgical skill on it.
Sitting quietly for a moment Shin watches Kai then brings his gaze back to the others at the table. "So I take it you both know what happened earlier this week. I did notice Jon can be a bit excitable. Van seemed to be trying to push buttons though. We were all lucky to get out." He sighs softly and thinks back for a few moments letting it all run like a recording through his mind. "Lesser people might have broken, but we worked together and got out quickly."
"Thank you, David." Kai takes some of the bread and meat and then looks over at Jana. "Did Jon eat all the cheese or is there some of that left?" She starts to pour the tea, then lifts her cup and turns it in her hands. Once. Twice. Thrice - the palms rolling the thin porcelain rather carefully. Lips move silently in what appears to be a short prayer, then she takes a sip. "I'm glad you're all safe, Shin." She looks over at him for a long moment, then grins at Jana. "He'd best keep that on until he's healed or I'll have Doc Yasin put an old-fashioned plaster one on. Just to be obnoxious." Then, Kai turns and offers the cup to Shin. One hand supporting the bottom, palm flat, the other hand gently cupping the side. A faint bow is given, eyes on his face.
You paged Shin Tung with 'A modified 'offering of interest' ceremony. If he turns the cup and puts his mouth where hers was, then it means he's interested in her.'
David says "I don't know all of it. Aurora was downplaying it, so her fiance wouldn't go hunting the people responsible, and try to wipe out the place. But I know Aurora and the baby are fine."
Jon? Excitable? That's not something she hears often..well, at all, to be honest..and Jana can't help but to cast Shin a bemused look. "If you say so.." she eventually conceeds, although begrudgingly. "I couldn't say, myself. I've yet to see him in that kind of situation. But I am glad everyone's alright." David's given a nod of thanks for the food but speaks to Kai, then, her brow knitted as she shrugs. "I am not sure if there's any cheese left. I can go check."
Shin hisitate for just a moment and takes the cup gently his fingers griping the cup at the upper and lower edges on each side. He bows over the cup mostly a movement of the head and pulls the cup slowly to him. Reaching around the cup, not across, with his left hand he grips the cup near his right hand. Rotating the cup once, twice, three times in a counterclockwise direction before placing it slowly to his lips to sip lightly. "You do me great honor Kai-san. A most proper tea indeed." He bows his head once again to the Captain of the ship.
"Thank you for the information David. She was concerned about the unborn child. He fiance is a fortunate man. The institute was somewhat to blame but the real dishonor falls on the shuttle pilot. She is in custody and due to face charges for her crimes. I thank you for shareing as well David. I have not but heard of Auroras pies."
"He was a good leader and a stawart companion. He thought of all of us and not just himself. Personall I was impressed Jana."
A soft smile for Shin as Kai bows to him again, then picks up another cup and just sips the tea, leaving the 'ceremonial' one in Shin's hand. Tea set aside, she moves to cut the pie and offers slices to each, setting hers just out of the way before taking the bread and meat and eating that in neat bites. "This is delicious, David. Thanks. As for Jon? He's the only one of the old crew I bothered rehiring. The rest were...not worthy. I count myself lucky to have him aboard. He and Jana sleep in the engineering compartment, I've been making my bed in the cockpit. It's too crowded back here with the cargo, and this way, we get privacy."
David mutters, "As long as the intercom is off, anyway." He's blushing, all of the sudden, for some reason. He accepts the pie slice, with almost as much ceremony as Kai and Shin gave to the tea. Lifting it to his eye level, turning it, then placing it on the table beside his plate of bread and meat. "Yes, Jon is a good man to have near you, Kai. And I'll get you an inflatable mattress, and a sleeping bag, for you to rest in, if you'd like."
The kitchen is entered again and, with a soft 'ah-ha!', Jana looks up at Kai with a grin and a chunck of cheese in her hand. "Found it." Her seat is taken again and the cheese is set upon the table, the girl looking silly as a proud smile forms upon her face for having discovered the last of it in the cooler. She is listening to what's being said although it is hard to tell if she's paying attention to one subject more than the other as she just listens, keeping quiet for now as she does.
Setting the cup lightly on the table and taking the meat and fresh bread Shin nods in appreciation. "This will be a most definate treat one could ask for little more than the company and the fine repast. I am glad to be included. It lightens my heart and heals the damage of the earlier part of the week." He nods once at Davids words as if in agreement. "I agree with David. You are lucky to have him as your First. His honor is strong and to be valued." Shin smiles slightly at Jana. "The mighty huntress home from the hills." He looks about the area for a moment. "It is true we have more room on the Zun Yan but the crew quarters are still shared. In the end it is the crew that makes the ship. You are doing well with your command Kai."
Pulling out her knife, Kai slices the cheese to add to the meal, grinning at Jana. "I didn't think he'd finished it all." She glances at Shin. "Sometimes, I wonder. It's a lot of...people skills that I've not remembered. Things have changed so fast..." Her voice trails off and she focuses on the task before answering David. "I have a foam mat and bedding. I'm comfortable enough and it rolls up small into the corner. At least this way, they don't have to listen to my nightmares."
David whispers: But you don't have anyone to hold you to keep those nightmares away, either, Kai.
David leans over, to whisper in Kai's ear, then leans back and says "I suppose that's true enough, as far as it goes, Kai." He accepts a slice of cheese, puts it atop the meat, and has a piece of bread beneath it. Half the impromptu sandwich disappears into his large mouth, and he chews twenty seven times, before swallowing.
Kai stiffens slightly, then murmurs back to David, lashes lowered to hide her eyes. "No, but that's a luxury I cannot afford, it seems. No matter what, I seem to make poor choices in that. It's just better this way, for now."
Jana looks at David for a moment, her head slipping to a slight angle towards the right as she watches him eat, something about how he does so catching her eye for a moment. She offers him a smile so she won't seem rude but then looks away, her shoulders heaving in a slight sigh before she catches herself. There are some things that has the girl confused, things she doesn't know about and knows better off not asking about, so she keeps herself, and her mouth, busy with eating.
Ignoring the whispering Shin makes quick work of the bread and meat after adding a bit of cheeese. "Maybe I should have kidnapped Aurora for our ship. The bread is perfect." He retrieves the cup placing a hand on each side and lifting it to sip from. "Unfortunately I must return to my ship soon. We blew a power relay on engine 1 coming insystem. We have a new engineer onboard and I set him the task of doing the inspection and repair. I will need to inspect it myself and sign off on it ofcourse." He sips from the tea once again and sets it lightly on the table.
Taking a bite of her pie, Kai closes her eyes and mmms softly. "Gods...this is amazing." The pie is savored as she takes a couple of bites and then smiles. "Try the pie, Shin. You think the bread is good, the pie is ecstasy." A glance over at Jana and she murmurs. "Save a slice for Jon. I bet he'd enjoy it, and we can laugh at him not getting it on his splint."
David nods to Shin. "If you did that, Skeeson would get -very- upset, though, Shin. And Aurora cooks best when her fiance is available to savour it as well. So, you'd have to kidnap him also." The huge man works through his meat and bread, before starting on the pie. "If Jon doesn't want it, I can always eat it for him..."
Shin takes a bite of the pie and pauses. He raises a eyebrow and nods. "I had heard but this beyond description. I find myself at a loss for words." He takes another bite and shakes his head slightly. "Skeeson is a very lucky man indeed. Aurora should be running a resturant or desert shop. The pies alone could make her wealthy." Shin looks from one to another and sighs. "I am even more happy I could be of assistance to her. Maybe I can work that into a pie somehow." He slowly and carefully consumes the rest of the slice savoring each bite for what it is worth.
Kai smirks at David. "No...that's Jon's. You get Aurora's pies a heck of a lot more often than we do." She glances at Shin and seems captivated by the expressions on his face as he eats his pie, then blushes as she catches herself staring and looks down at the remains of her own slice. "So...David. How's Helene?" Yeah, safe. Talk about someone -else's- love life.
David says "I'll bring it up as a thought, for Aurora. A thank you pie, for each person." He blushes again, at Kai's question. "Well... enough. We're going slowly, by my request. So if she comes to her senses, and kicks me out, I won't have really hurt her."
Jana smiles over to David as he speaks, her face softening slightly as she regards him quietly. "I hope to meet all the people you're speaking about." she says in general, the statement meant for everyone despite how she is looking at him soley. "I feel like I am a part of a family but have yet to really meet anyone." Shrugging, she eats a little more of her food, her exoression a bit wistful.
"I would owe you for such a favor David. You are both wise and caring in your forethought. I think the woman may be lucky to have you. Another wise man once said to take the comfort love provides when you can as you may not have another chance. Do not be too slow." He takes the last bite of pie. He looks toward Kai and smiles. "I have been undone by your hospitality and grace." He smiles. Probably the first full smile anyone here has ever seen from him.
Another blush and Kai murmurs. "You do us the honor, Shin, by being here. And yes, Helene is lucky, if she bothers to notice." A breath and she looks at Jana. "We'll go visit the Delphi ships sometime and I'll bring you along to meet the others. They're good people."
David says "Yes, they're good people. I'm fortunate that Amery found me on Greenleaf. I'd been... working there, as temporary logging help, for several years." He finishes his own pie. "I may get Aurora's pie more often than others, but I'm not -stationed- on the Eury. I just... go there, a lot."
Jana leans back, having finished her own meal while she was listening. "I miss my family back home." Shrugging, she stands up and clears her place. "I should try to make it home, someday." Jana smiles as she sits back down. "But home..and family..isn't always where you live, I've learned."
Shin Tung says, "I can see why you visit them so much David. It would be a shame to miss such meals if you got a chance to enjoy them." He nods considering for a moment. "Family is important. You don't know how much till it is gone." He nods to Jana. "The Zun Yan is much like a family. The Captain likes to keep it that way and we watch out for each other." He cast a curious eye in Kais direction and ask her. "Might you show me the bridge for a moment?" He asks casually."
"Certainly." Kai murmurs to Shin and rises, sipping the last of her tea and setting down the cup. "Family is chosen and cherished, not always of blood, but of ties of memory and heart." A pause and she murmurs "Excuse us a moment?" She turns and heads to the bridge, braid flipping around mid-thigh like a cat's tail twitches.
You head into Cockpit -
Shin Tung comes onto the bridge and looks about only a moment before smiling at Kai. "We have shared tea. I noted the manner and would ask you if you are aware of the signifigance?" His voice is low and gentle. He stands close but no close enough to offend. "You did say you are a bit fuzzy on social ammenities." He gives you time to consider and a chance to recant if you wish.
A blush that deepens and Kai murmurs. "I...know what I did. I am aware of the significance. I was...unsure as to your intents, and wanted to find out, without being...blatant." She keeps her lashes lowered, fingers twisting together in front of her. Like a child, expecting to be chided.
Shin steps closer and takes her hands in his own, a bold move in oriental society, you may notice the heavy callouses on his hands as he lifts your hands. "I did not want to offend you and I wished to make sure. My intentions are honorable I assure you. We may have a chance for a spot of sunlight to enter our lives. It should be nutured and allowed to grow like a flower in spring. Let it seek it's time to bud and unfold into a thing of beauty and grace." He smiles at you in a gentle manner hoping you will understand. "I would not falsely lead you or mistreat the trust you are ready to show me." He waits patiently for a reply still holding your hands gently between you.
Kai curls her fingers around his and lets out a slow breath, lashes lifting just enough for those silvery-blue eyes to meet his. "I...am broken, Shin Tung. I am...damaged goods." She swallows nervously and continues. "But, you make me feel safe, and you make me feel as if I am worthy of care. David told me that I needed to find someone to hold me when I had my nightmares. I...would welcome that from you."
"Neither of us are perfect Kai. I am no stranger to pain and suffering." Shin pauses a moment a strange look crossing his face, fleeting but still there. "There may come a time when you will not want to know me. Things may come to light that should never be seen." He tilts his head to one side slightly. "You are worthy of care. My concern is if I am worthy of you. I will try to be worthy of your care and trust. I will not purposely hurt you. Still there is a chance." He stops to watch your face for a moment. "My duty and honor lie with the Zun Yan, but I will give you what I may if time and the ancestors permit it."
One hand lifts to touch Shin's cheek and Kai smiles, hope in her eyes. "You see my scars. They are only half of what was done, Shin. I need a man who is strong enough to see past them and love me anyway. I already know that I could let myself love you, but I am afraid. I can't allow another poor choice to cripple me. Time is a wonderful thing. We can let this grow and blossom as it should, dong ma?"
"How can your scars offend me when I hold as bad or worse within myself." Shin smiles slightly. "The body is only a shell that houses our spirit and mind. Abuse unwillingly done to you is not your fault. We all fall and must get up and continue. Sometimes we need help to continue our journey." He nods once, as seems to be his habbit, and continues. "I will place no demands on you and we will see what the future holds. If time lets your fear subside then it will be well worth the wait."
"No demands?" Kai looks at Shin and frowns slightly. "But...how will I know what pleases you? What you want?" She stands on her toes and leans lightly against him. "Might I make a demand, then? A kiss, perhaps, to see if the blossom has the fire it needs to bloom?"
"I will see if I can kindle those flames for you then." Shin releases your other hand to slide his own behind her back. Gently he cradles the back of her neck with his right hand and slowly leans in for a kiss. The heat of his lips betrays his desire as they lightly touch yours and then with just a bit more pressure. His large calloused hands touch only lightly but the strength to hold and mold you to him is evident.
Nervous. Trembling. Wanting. Kai closes her eyes and after the first brush of lips, she melts against him, fingers curling in the cloth of his shirt as she holds on and kisses. Really kisses. The kind that curls your toes and catches your breath. Apparently, there is more than enough heat to blossom that little flower.