|<<This takes place shortly after 'Extravaganza'>>|
=/\= USS Quantum Fury - General Mess =/\=
Starfleet had done few things right during Rob's transfer to the USS Charon, but it was times like these he was glad the bureaucrats on Earth had gotten around to rescuing him and the other survivors from Carida. There was nothing like a good Scotch, and contrary to popular belief most Starfleet vessels had enough real alcohol to keep him and the handful of other liquor-liking officers satisfied.
The last time he'd indulged his craving for the 'real stuff' he'd managed to start a bar fight, one that had left him and Landon Neyes in the brig aboard Starbase Versailles. The other patrons could hardly tell the difference between what he was drinking and what was normally served at the bar; Rob's behavior however, was quite different.
"You," still fairly sober, yet inebrieated enough to strike conversation with a superior officer, Rob pointed out the woman who had interrupted his short reunion with Landon, "fight any aliens yet?"
Aria lofted a thin brow at the tipsy Fleeter and sauntered over to him, curious more than anything of what the jackass could possibly be going with his question. One hand on her hip, chin dipped down slightly with eyes narrowed in a surprisingly engaging fashion, she decided to give it a go. "Have I." A simple answer to test the waters.
Normally Rob would have been annoyed by such a simple answer, but there was enough Scotch running through him at this point that her response didn't compute normally. "No, no, that's later isn't it," he put his glass down and eyed the woman; alcohol or no alcohol she was quite attractive. In the midst of his emotionally taxing reuniting with Landon, Rob had missed her beauty. He found it hard to believe she was known as a fighter, and to Commander of the Quantum Fury no less.
Rob took another swig, "Fighting," he stopped on the word, his own experiences flowing through his mind, "it's overrated."
Aria let a short giggle escape her soft lips, the sound sweet, like cherry blossoms. "The fight with the Romulan," she confirmed, "yes that is later." A twist to the right and she was mixing a drink for herself, another Black Dahlia. Given the man's sudden change in mood she figured she'd need another drink as much as she'd enjoy one.
The supple woman brought the glass to her lips, tipping its edge to grant her the sweet pleasure of its contents. It was a wholely intricate maneuver but whether deliberate or not was hard to discern. Her eyes fell upon the slurry man once again. "And why would you say my profession is overrated?"
Rob smiled and shook his head slightly as he put the glass back on the counter once more. "Our," he corrected her. "I may not have graduated from Quantico or wear those pips, but I've seen my fair share of it," the glass was back up to his glass before he finished his sentence, "I just don't find pleasure in it."
Normally Rob would have refrained from implying such a harsh idea, but the Scotch had loosened him up quite a bit.
She giggled again, lower lip nipped without thought. This was less of a sweet sound, more humor than mockery in the tone. "Oh no," she took a step forward. "I'm sure you've had your fair share of arena time, but it's not your profession," her voice slowing for the last word. "Your job is to protect. Mine is to kill, and let me tell you," a quick wiggle of her brows, "business is booming."
He paused, looking into his glass for inspiration--it didn't help. "I failed," his words were more empty than angry; he didn't expect her to understand. "I may not be trained to kill, but people died nevertheless," he finished the solemn statement with a another swig.
Aria's subtle writhing of that oh so succulent body of hers stilled, the curiousity in her eyes drying up, the playfulness in her sway seeping out of her. The mans tone had taken a decisive turn for the worst. "People die in combat. That's the name of the game. So what failure?"
Scotch or no scotch the statement made him sick, "The game?" He put the glass down more firmly this time. "Like the one you're about to have with that Romulan?"
The woman's eyes narrowed, it was slight but perceivable, and another step was taken forward. The Game, was a term for what she did that she used as a way to make peace with what those slender hands of hers had done and will do again, but the mention of that word, 'Romulan', it coiled around her gut, choking anger out of her - no, hate.
"Yeah," he voice almost hesitant, "that's right. With that Romulan."
Her physical response to the mention of the green-blooded miscreants intrigued him, "Well, their not Cardassians," he sighed. "What'd I give to spar with a fan-neck."
"We all have our demons, no?" Rob looked back at his glass but decided against another drink. "Except ours seem to be of the 'alien' nature."
She didn't want to talk about the Romulan or any Romulan for that matter. It wasn't something that sat well, the knot in her stomach saw to that. She would deal with this encounter the way she normally delt with talks like this. "Then why don't you just challenge him and get it over with?"
"Him?" Rob had forgotten about the Fury's first-officer.
Aria slowly nodded, indicating to where the captain and first officer had originally approached her earlier in the evening. "He was right there," she said matter-of-factly, "but I'm sure you can challenge him when it comes time for my match."
The thought of participating in a game fight suddenly didn't seem very appealing to him. "I guess I'll leave the public beatings to you."
Rob took a deep breath and stretched back in his tall chair, eyeing the Marine woman in the process. He hadn't even thought about the opposite sex since Carida, the memory of Chelsea and the others was still too potent in his mind. Now, with a few ounces of liquid-stupid in his veins the violent images didn't seem as strong as he looked at the woman. "I bet you like them too," he smirked, again referencing the upcoming brawl.
Her nerves, tingling with tension just a moment ago, calmed themselves as it appeared the issue of Romulans had dropped. Aria, feeling comfortable in the air around her once more, began to slip back into normalsy. That is, normal for her. "My dear security boy, are you insinuating that I get some sort of perverse pleasure out of brawling?"
"Yes," he replied sharply, "and again, that's 'former' security," he pulled the cuff of his undershirt out, showing her his new department color. "Now I get to deal with you folk and Starfleet, determining the best course of action for the Charon and the fleet," he words dripped sarcasm as he mocked the official job description of the Chief Strategic Operations Officer. "Fantastic, I know," he pulled his flask of scotch from out under his
pullover casual-wear jacket and poured his glass three-quarters of the way full before offering some to the woman.
She laughed, and this time it was a real laugh, her hand covering her mouth as she smiled. It wasn't his depression that amused her, but the totality of the encounter, Jerk, friendly, agravating, sad and self destructive. It was like he had lift a whole life in just a few short hours.
"Well don't you worry. I am more than capable of planning my own operation. Maybe some of my badassery will even rub off."
He raised his glass in approval. "Here's to that," his voice was a bit louder and stood out amongst the relatively quiet room.
He took a hard drink and shook his head as he swallowed the bitter liquid before turning back to the woman. "You mentioned your name before in the conference room, but I seemed to have forgotten it."
"I already donated that tantalizing bit of information once already." Her fingers glided effortlessly through her satin black hair, again the glass pressed to her lips, sacrificing its contents to her unsated thirst. "Why should I give it again so freely?"
She was toying with him, but at this point of alcohol consumption he didn't care. "You need a reason? I thought my kind demeanor and interesting life history were more than enough," he smiled slyly.
"Kind demeanor?" Now that was funny. She set her drink down and propped both hands on her waist. "You've been about as friendly to me as I could expect a bull shark to be."
Rob frowned, he hadn't tried to be overly abrasive with her and he'd expected a Marine's definition of friendly to be a bit more liberal than most. "Well then what exactly is friendly?" He raised a brow and stared at her intently.
She tilted her head up, looking towards the ceiling. Good question; she thought about it a moment, snatching up her drink to finish it off with a satesfied smile, her favorite drink. "Swooning would have been the sort of friendly I expect."
Lansine's wasn't surprised. "You 'expect' huh?" He bit his lip, weighing what to do next. "And did you expect me to do the same before I bored you to death with stories of my unhappiness?"
She shook her head firmly, turning again to mix another signature drink. "Not at all." The mixture swirled in her glass untill she was satesfied and brought it in for a quick taste test. "Actually I had expected something more along the lines of a verbal assault."
"Wrong place, wrong time," Rob smirked, referring to her interruption of Landon and his reuniting. "Water under the bridge," he raised his glass to hers.
The woman wondered then if it was the booze talking or the real thing, but tapped her glass to his anyway. That was good form after all. "Mmmm, I would say time will decide whether or not that is true."
He would have probably agreed under more sober conditions but Rob smiled nevertheless. "Well then here's to our future relationship," he slammed the rest of the glass of Scotch, "Aria," he said after finishing; he had remembered her name mid-drink.
She couldn't help but grin and follow suit with her drink. "So I don't have to throw you a bone after all," she tipped her head to him in congradulations. She wouldn't have told him her name again, and was fully prepared to make him go look it up. "Good for you."
"You'd be what a few of these can do," Rob replied quickly. "Those too," he pointed to her drink.
Her eyes darted to the empty glass, her lips formed into a fleeting smile. "The vice can certainly do some funny things to you." Her face suddenly became very serious. "But I should stop. I have a sparring match to prepare for." She set the glass down and graced him with a wide smile. "See you at the fight."
=/\= End Log =/\=
Colonel Aria Falcon
Marine Force Recon
Lieutenant Robert Lansine
Chief Strategic Operations Officer