Sunday, June 27, 2010

[USS Charon] SD241006.26 || Personal Log || "The Kevratas Run - Part Three" - Lt. Andraste

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"The Kevratas Run – Part Three"
by Lieutenant Nimue Andraste
and Ambassador Aerv Laehval tr'Ahalaen

= Three Years Ago =
= Akhiy Aevr =

Aerv tr'Ahalaen had always considered himself a man of the world. He
had walked upon more worlds than most Rihan had heard of. The complex
circles of national politics were known to him and, in his time, he
had dealt with the occasional smuggler or two in order to acquire a
less than legitimately obtained piece of art that had caught his eye.
All this, he had assumed, would prepare him for whatever lay in store
at Akhiy Aevr. That belief, however, did not last long under the
oppressive weight of the reality that was the Black Sight.

The smell of old sweat, blood and vomit filled the entire makeshift
station that had been thrown together here by Orion raiders. Filthy
specimens from a variety of less than reputable species were packed
into the small structure, which meant that was difficult to move
without gagging on the scent of an unwashed Nausicaan or bumping into
a Ferengi scratching his ears. Everyone was armed and their weapons
were openly displayed. A few had even been discharged, lending the
smell of burnt flesh to the already laden air.

Sharien and Ael huddled beside him, trying to take up as little space
as possible. Unfortunately, they and tr'Ahalaen himself stood out
like a clothed Ferengi female in this place in their fine clothes. He
had not thought to dress down for this occasion, though Aerv doubted
he had it in him to dress down enough to blend in with this bunch.

Struggling to ignore a scarred Orion who was giving Sharien repeated
unwholesome looks, Aerv tried to focus on the sleek, bright red lines
of the Hateful Chastity. Nimue's racer was obviously a Federation
design, though one Aerv was not familiar with. Probably a heavily
customized vechile. Obviously, Nimue had spoken true when she had
said that latinum was not a concern.

The small craft was a sliver of a thing, its powerful but compact
nacelles little more than two brilliant blue exhaust ports placed
underneath the slim craft in order to keep it compact. It had the
body of a small bird but reeked with the power of a Condor.

What had surprised Aerv, though he wondered why he still felt surprise
when it came to Andraste, was that the people at the event appeared to
recognize the Hateful Chastity. Nimue was not favored to win by the
odd makers. However, she was no dark horse either. Obviously, these
kinds of illegal races were something Nimue was familiar with. Aerv
had, of course, entered a token bet on his human guest as a gesture.

The runaway favorite, however, was a silver, modified Klingon fighter,
Khaiya. A hush had fallen in the large chamber as the pilot, a large
Vulcan by the name of Surmal, had walked through on his way to the
talon shaped, vicious ship.

Surmal of Vulcan was one of the largest individuals Aerv had ever
seen. He had several deep scars running across the front of his face
and was missing a ear. His bald head was covered with a variety of
tattoos, one of which appeared to be a cross running over the IDIC
symbol. The trademark slanting eyebrows of his people had also been
shaved, giving him the appearance of being completely hairless. The
idea of a slender, sylph of a thing like Nimue facing that monster in
any contest, even a race like this one, seemed preposterous.

It was several minutes until Nimue appeared. She waved to them
immediately but was accosted by several groups before she could make
her way towards them. Aerv, for his part, was quite content to have a
chance to simply watch her.

She was dressed in a baby pink, polka dot halter top over black pants.
Her wavy, chestnut hair was done up into a tight braid using a black
leather coil. The usual mischievous glint in her pretty eyes was
shining bright tonight with excitement. Her smile was a little
quicker than usual, her mannerisms even more animated. Unlike his
sisters, she seemed perfectly at ease being ogled by the unsavory men
walking past. She even nodded to acknowledge a few of the ones she

Finally, she was able to extract herself from her "friends" and made
her way over to them, shaking her head in amusement. "I can't believe
you guys came."

"I can't believe it either," little Ael chirped, peeking at her friend
from behind Sharien's skirt where she had been trying to hide.

"It is all rather…primal," Sharien agreed, looking around nervously.

"I know," Nimue exclaimed, "Isn't it great?"

"Yes," Sharien drawled, "Great."

"You guys look super uncomfortable. Just relax. Did you get a chance
to meet Surmal?"

"He seemed like he did not want to be bothered," tr'Ahalaen remarked dryly.

"Nah. I'll introduce you later. He's a sweetheart. Anyway, listen,
I gotta go strap in. It is a straight sprint, so no laps. The screen
will go blank for a while and then they'll slow the action down so
your eyes can actually keep up. You'll even get to see us when we are
in the asteroids, they've got it all set up. Enjoy the show." With a
smile, she added, "And don't worry too much. Remember, anything bad
you are afraid is going to happen has probably already happened. You
just haven't seen it yet."

"Thanks, Nimue, that is very comforting."

"I have that effect on people," Andraste replied airily, "For a while
there, I was going to be a counselor, you know. I'm not really sure
what happened."

Aerv raised an eyebrow at her, "It is probably for the best."

"Yeah. All righty guys, have fun. Toodles."

"A tout à l'heure," tr'Ahalaen replied as best he could. "That is, of
course, the original, unabbreviated, French source of your favored

"Of course," Nimue agreed, rolling her eyes at his sisters and she
began to drift away from them.

Ael sighed softly, "I hate watching her walk away."

"Oh, I do not now, e'lev," tr'Ahalaen answered, watching the sashaying
hips of the Starfleet cadet, "Watching her walk away has its own

= Later =

Aerv tr'Ahalaen found he had lost the ability to sit.

The racers sped across the obstacle course at speeds that, even
slowed, appeared too fast for the mortal mind to properly comprehend.
No one seemed surprised that Surmal and the Khaiya had jumped out to
an early lead, probably assisted by the Vulcan's quick reflexes.
Hateful Chastity was in fifth place, behind a raptor like ship called
the Variable Ending.

Aerv could see what Nimue had meant about this being Art. It was
incredible the grace and agility with which the pilots wove around
drifting asteroids, ducking death by inches, as they rushed towards an
uncertain fate.

The Chastity was pressing the Ending now, the nose of the red race
nearly touching the craft in front of her as they plunged into the
heart of a large asteroid. In the darkness, illuminated by the
running lights of the racers, he could see that the Ending was
drifting around dangerously in the tunnel, attempting to block the
attempted advance by Nimue.

In first of them, the Andorian Aener's Gaze clipped the side of the
asteroid exit, spinning out of control, and free falling towards the
entrance of the next large rock. Distracted by Nimue's pursuit, the
Ending did not react in time and collided with the Gaze, sending both
flyers up in a huge explosion.

Aerv heard a gasp from Sharien beside him. Nimue was only a split
second behind the Gaze. There was no way….

There wasn't even enough time for the thought to form in Aerv's mind
when he saw the Chastity bank up and then down hard, sending the rear
of the craft up and the slender nose through the small area clear of
debris between the two exploding ships, before completing a three
sixty flip, the aft side of the red ship barely grazing by the
entrance to the second asteroid, sending sparks up as Nimue gently
pulled her speeder away from the rock wall.

The crowd was screaming at the top of their lungs, applauding the
move. Ael was shaking next to him, whispering repeatedly, "Did you
see that? Did you see that?"

The viewscreen divided up to show a replay but Aerv ignored it. He
dared not take his eyes off the actual race. The second racer was
attempting to overtake the favored Khaiya. The silver ship, however,
responded by braking ferociously, causing the second place craft to
veer off course and collide with an asteroid. A malicious maneuver
had the crowed cheering even as the unfortunate victim of Surmal

It did give the Chastity a chance to close the lead, rushing forward
like a banshee out of hell as the two racers neared the finish mark
neck and neck. Like twin angels, they plunged into the final large
asteroid, the sides of both ships screeching desperately against the
tunnel walls, leaving a trail of sparks and smoke and heat for the
rest of the field to deal with.

Finding himself underneath the Chastity, Surmal thrust his own ship
upward, causing Nimue's vessel to bang even harder against the
asteroid wall. Aerv's own curses were lost in the roar of the craft
as they emerged into open space again. Chastity, however, was smoking
badly now and had lost more speed in the asteroid than the Khaiya. By
the time Nimue made it across the finish line, Surmal of Vulcan had
already begun his victory lap.

= Later =

As Andraste pulled off her black helmet, Aerv was surprised to see
that she was smiling happily. Ael rushed up the Starfleet pilot to
wrap her up in a fierce hug, causing Andraste to stumble back and
laugh. Sharien followed quickly behind, gushing condolences and
insults that were shocking from her usually innocent tongue for

"You aren't disappointed?"

Nimue looked at him and shrugged easily, "A little. That was awesome
though, so who cares." At the strangled protest in Ael's throat,
Andraste shook her head. Unzipping the dark jacket she had donned,
she explained, "The race is about winning. But it is also about
living. And fun. And two out of three isn't all bad."

Kneeling down to look the Rihansu girl in the eye, Nimue said
seriously, "You remember that. The way something ends isn't a measure
of its worth. Its just the way it ended."

Ael shook her head. "I don't understand."

Andraste leaned forward and kissed the girl's lightly ridged forehead.
"You will."

"Are you coming back to Kevratas with us?"

Nimue shook her head, "Nah. Oopdink and I need to get back to Astate.
We're running a little late." With a snake eating grin, she added,
"No worries though. I make pretty good time."

Aerv waited for his sisters to say their goodbyes and then walked up
to the young human woman. "It was…unusual meeting you, Nimue."

"I get that a lot."

tr'Ahalaen laughed, "I would bet that you do. Perhaps someday we
shall meet again."

"If you're lucky," Nimue answered, raising a pert eyebrow at him,
"Anyway, listen…second place isn't as glorious as first, but I still
get a brick of latinum. I'll have it sent to you. For bail."

Aerv chuckled. "For your bread thief?"

"You didn't think I would really cave on that fight, did you?"

"I did," Aerv admitted, "But I should have known better. You know, a
brick is going to be a lot more than he needs for that."

"He needs other things too," Nimue retorted, "And he deserves a break.
He's a good kid."

"And you had time to determine this, did you, while hanging upside
down from a tree and assaulting law enforcement personnel?"

"Yeah. I did. You'll take care of it?"

"My word is my bond."

"And his bond," Nimue joked. "Well…."

"Yes, Nimue Andraste. Jolan Tru."

She stepped forward then and placed both her hands lightly on his
chest. For a moment, she looked away from him, to the side, and
smiled. Then she stood on her tiptoes and kissed him gently. "Bye,"
Nimue whispered.

Aerv stepped back and watched her walk away one more time, smiling at
the softness of her lips still burning on his own.

= End Log =