Aftermath is History
Location: Briya Valriya's Quarters
Timeline: 0530, morning after "Flirting with Pandora's Box"
Mindo heard the buzzing timer from his communicator, but when he reached out to shut it off, his hand hit thin air. The buzzing continued. Mindo groaned and stirred from his laying position. Groggily he looked and saw his uniform lying discarded on the floor. It was then he realized he was naked under the covers, and at first he did not recognize the other naked body next to him. As he forced himself awake, he recalled the torrid yet beautiful night he'd had before... with a woman he hardly knew. What was her name? Briyana? Yeah, that sounded right. He went to move out of the bed and realized his legs were sore. He remembered then that they had been rather abused by his hovering attachments at Briyana's insistence. Briyana... no, now that didn't sound right, after all.
In about an hour and a half he had to be up and ready for his report on the signal to Captain Temple. After that he'd saved an hour for brunch with Cailus and Shae, who he hadn't seen since their return. He decided to get dressed and make breakfast for him and his partner. He carefully put his feet onto the floor and sauntered over to his uniform jacket and turned off the alarm. His pants and jacket had been hastily ripped off the night before, as had his boxers. He would have to replicate new ones.
Briya yawned and on the verge of waking, reached out to corral Mindo from his deserted side of the bed. Her sleepy arm pulled back an empty snare. She slid her outstretched arm down thirty centimetres and patted the bed again. Nothing. Her gentle wakeup routine went into agitation cycle and her legs kicked at the sheets to free them. She was about to call out blasting Mindo for not being there in the morning when…
Behind him Mindo heard movement, and he dropped the tattered clothes, went back over to the bed, climbed up and sat on the mattress, still naked as a jaybird. "Good morning," he said, softly. At that point he remembered her name correctly and added, "...Briya."
Briya pulled the sheets up to cover herself and rubbed her eyes. “A conventional expression of meeting or parting in the morning to you as well, Mindo.” She squinted her eyes but let the suspicion of a slight go. She’d only narrowly averted panic mode by lucky timing and was determined not to be a troublesome partner the morning after. She dropped her hands down in mock defeat and smiled gaily, deciding that whatever neglect or insult she had supposed on Mindo’s part was entirely fictitious in her own head. “Sorry, Mindo. I’m not the most morning of people.” Her eyes wandered to appreciate Mindo’s nakedness. “Thank you for not rushing to dress and dash.”
Mindo chuckled and looked back at the tattered, fervently ripped-off remains of his uniform. "I'm afraid I don't have anything to dress into. As for dashing, I don't report to the Captain for another hour and a half, and everything I need for that is less than twenty yards from your door. And besides," he continued as he crawled to Briya, bringing his lips gently to hers, "I still don't really know who," kiss, "you," kiss, "are." He pressed an index finger on the tip of her nose. "Merp!"
“Mmm,” she murmured into his lips as she kissed him back. Her hands began reaching for parts of the Fesarian until she thought better of it, and deciding against her deeper desires, began to resist and pull away with obvious reluctance. “Mmmindo we can’t.” She playfully put a pillow in his face and scrambled out of bed. “I’m not telling you no as in never again, just no not now. You have too much work to accomplish before your shift or we’ll both go naked today.” Briya knelt down to retrieve Mindo’s uniform - or what was left of it. After holding it up to appreciate its diminutive size, she hugged it against her body, managing to cover up very little. “In last night’s state of uncontrolled salacity, you neglected to administer your tender care to my most needy of receptacles.” Embracing the one-piece not-polyester standard issue but shrunken down black and yellow Starfleet uniform as a prop, she swished and swayed from side to side like a hollow brass pole terpsichorean, which among many other passions and pursuits, she had actually trained in and performed publicly.
Mindo sat up on the bed and admired her lithe and perfectly serpentine figure deftly performing a soothing, erogenous waltz. "And... what is that, exactly?" Mindo asked, beginning to realize perhaps he really had misinterpreted her from the start. Was there something she needed his services for besides a good thorough snogging? Or were the events of last night brought on by his own carnal urges? He had gone into the situation late in the day, when he was hoping for a drink and possibly someone to share the night with. Then he remembered the toolkit that lay dropped in the other room...
Little tools... son of a-
"Wait," he said, “Do you actually need me to fix something?"
“Ding Ding Ding,” Briya chimed, dropping the uniform and scurrying back onto the bed on her knees. “I was wondering how long it would take you to get there. I was also wondering how many cubic meters of a starship’s internal volume is reserved for the various shafts necessary for Turbolift operations. But let us focus on the first one.” She grabbed both of Mindo’s hands and placed them firmly upon her bosom. “In Engineering last night I flashed you a flashy techno-bobble, worn on my leg. It is my M.S.T.I.M. or one of three but the remainder of their set are not currently in my possession. Mobile Suspended Transporter Integration Module - M.S.T.I.M. I make peace and love, not science, but as I understand the limitations of standard transporter technology, it holds usable biological patterns in a transporter buffer, and they can only hold it there for about a half hour or so before the patterns will degrade. Sure, most people could recover from losing a couple dozen neurons, a random sampling of non-adjacent glial cells, or having a few holes open up in their toenails. But if they were to rematerialise with a perforated carotid artery or missing a sizeable piece of grey matter, their prospects start looking a lot more grisly.”
Briya could feel Mindo slipping away and seemed to realise she’d gone off tangent again so she cleared her throat, reaffirmed Mindo’s grip on her chest and continued. “However, this pattern buffer was not encoded for long term storage of complex organic matter. Instead, within the buffer are the patterns for my personal effects; wardrobe, luggage, various tools and toys, etc. By placing all of my personal effects in a suspended data stream I’m able to travel with ease. But the device is malfunctioning and if I cannot rematerialise the volume, I shall be forced to wear your hands thusly until the end of time. May we agree that as enjoyable as this may be, it would interfere with your ability to perform your other duties?”
Mindo removed his hands from her chest, only to have her put them back again. "So you are using a miniature pattern buffer to carry your luggage," he said, "...and it's malfunctioning." Mindo smiled. "You're in luck! I happen to know this technology very well.”
“You do?!” Briya released her steady grip on Mindo’s wrists.
“Let me get my tools in the other room and I can have a look at it."
She scurried across the bed to grab her M.S.T.I.M. device which lay on the nightstand alongside Mindo’s two spent thrusters. “Your little tools,” Briya specifically emphasised as if Mindo might otherwise retrieve some other sized set of tools. Not that Mindo was working with a little tool.
Mindo returned with his toolkit in hand and opened it after climbing back onto the bed. He grabbed the small flask inside and took a few sips before setting it back.
“Ahem,” Briya cleared her throat rather obviously. She eyed the flask in disappointment. “Aren’t you going to offer the lady a drink?”
Mindo grinned. "Where are my manners?" he asked, handing her the flask.
Briya took a nip from the flask and nearly cringed from the proof, capping it and stashing it away in the took kit. “You could clean the hull with that vintage.” She picked up the malfunctioning transporter buffer and turned it over to Mindo. “That’s strange... last night there was only one green indicator light. I’m told the green indicator light means there is a problem with the data stream. I don’t suppose two green indicator lights would mean it has fixed itself?” There wasn’t much hope in Briya’s voice, but Risians were an eternally optimistic people.
Mindo grabbed the tricorder from the kit, as well as the proper input converter, and attached the small buffer to the top of the tricorder.
Briya bit her bottom lip and sat back to watch Mindo work. She altogether enjoyed watching engineers work.
Mindo's brow furrowed as he examined the readings. "It appears there is quite a bit of corrupted data."
“Corrupted data,” she questioned anxiously. “That doesn’t sound good.”
He examined the readings further. "I believe I can get it back, though. I'll need to integrate it with our transporter. It's been heavily modified to fix this kind of problem. When half our crew went missing after we encountered a large nebula, Commander Nash and I discovered their partial readings in one of our pattern buffers. After a lot of heavy modifications to the emitter array, we were safely able to bring them back using the transporter."
“I love it when you talk shop. Do you think this integration with your transporter will require the use of all the tools in your kit?” She had that hopeful, suggestive tone again.
Mindo adjusted the tricorder and seemed to be content with the data as he looked up and nodded to Briya. "There's still a fair amount of uncorrupted data on your device. I can use the modified transporter that returned our crew intact to rematerialize your items. Since your items are not as complex as living organisms, this should be a cakewalk."
“You’re a genius,” Briya pecked Mindo on the cheek and bounced out of bed. “When I’m in possession of my full arsenal of apparel and accoutrements, we will make last night look like a cakewalk.”
Mindo grinned. "I accept that challenge!"
Briya paused and considered before turning to regard Mindo. “I realise we know nothing about one another and hope that will not shine an unfavourable light on the passion we so recently shared. If in your expert opinion you deem there to be sufficient time before critical failure of the buffer volume, I’d enjoy spending some moments getting to know one another - in a nonphysical manner."
Mindo chuckled. "Given my current state of total undress, I suppose I have nothing to hide. What's on your mind?"
"I do wish to continue our passionate proceedings," Briya said, "and at this early stage, I have absolutely zero expectations of you or your feelings towards me. I have hopes and desires, but no expectations. Even so, Mindo, I’d feel less than honest with you if I did not just come right out and say it; I find your neotenous humanoid nature to be absolutely appealing, in the most adult of ways.”
Mindo smiled and leaned back on is elbows. "And I've never been one to turn down relations with a Risian," he said.
“Put that thing away,” Briya simpered, tossing a pillow towards Mindo’s exposure.
Mindo batted the pillow away, but sat up, bringing his knees and feet together. He still didn't understand why so many races, Risians included, acted so contradictory about the naked form. She certainly hadn't had a problem with it a few hours ago. Nonetheless, he continued. "As for expectations, as a Starfleet officer I've found it best to always expect the unexpected." There was a pause for a moment, and his demeanor slightly shifted. "I hope I wasn't too forward with you last night. Fesarian sex drives can be eminently potent if not kept in check. You caught me in a great state of fatigue last night and I acted against my better judgment."
“Too forward? Mindo, you were perfect last night and twice in the early hours of the morning. As well, I am a forward woman in these matters and I welcome it in my playmates. I will admit, your eminently potent sex drive was an uncharted treasure, but for my vanity’s sake, I will assume it was my presence in particular that set it free as opposed to any port in the night. And on that note, as pilot of your own ship, I’m sure you have discovered many safe harbours, but mind you not all bays are as prepared for such well-meant verbal slander. Or dirty linens,” Briya added as she selected a sheet to swathe herself in - because she could affect genuine modesty as needed.
"Well, we are docked at a place called Paradise," Mindo said. "An apt moniker for such an encounter. Especially when said encounter comes from the Paradise planet. But feeling you... the movement of your body and the passion from your mind..."
She sat down beside him on the edge of the bed. “I too enjoy the parallel between words and events, but you sounded differently just then, more somber. Is it Paradise that makes you so serious or was…a moment - you said ’passion from your mind’ - an interesting phrase. Did you choose its use deliberately?”
"I did," Mindo said. "Sometimes in the act of... well, 'in the act,' Fesarians can link mentally to a person's feelings or emotions. Nothing telepathic, at least not with other races. Some kinds of people have more intense feelings than others. I've found Risians to be one of them. Our minds are very compatible."
“Compatible...” Briya beamed; she liked the sound of that. Initially. But the longer she turned the word over in her mind, the less agreeable it sounded. Compatible - as in her parts fit his parts? It was fun, but that was hardly flattering. She frowned at Mindo and abruptly stood. “Compatible?!”
"You were different," Mindo said. "There was something in your feelings that was more... 'personal.'"
She squinted and pursed her lips. “Isn’t all lovemaking personal?”
"Making love is personal," Mindo replied. "Screwing is just fun! For me, the first time was the latter. I didn't really know you and I didn't really care. The second time, and the time after that, it felt like making love. That's why I didn't leave this morning. That's why I'm still here."
“Hmm…” Briya wasn’t entirely sure that she wasn’t still upset over the comment. “Screwing: One. Lovemaking: two. I suppose those are better odds than a random toss-up. But Mindo…” Briya pointed at the Engineer’s toolkit as if that would explain it all. “…this was no random toss-up for me; I chose you in particular. Perhaps that explains our enhanced compatibility.” She may have embellished slightly on Mindo’s descriptor.
Mindo smirked. "Well, your only other option at the moment was Greep. That had to be a factor... but your attraction to me seems to be focused a lot on my occupation. Is there something about engineers that gives you the tingles?"
“Greep? Don’t be daft. What I need I cannot get from a beak. According to the crew manifest there are many options yet unexplored from Engineering. Your Assistant Chief Samson, for example? The computer indicated him to be an Earthborn human, but there were no images. Even so, he’s an Engineer. You see, I am partial to builders and the techie sort; always have been. My father accused me of having social engagements with every Engineer in his department while I was employed aboard the Criterion, but I know that to be entirely false because there was this one young woman who absolutely refused to consort with me beyond those duties required of her as a crew member. She was worried it would interfere with her career path. Which was nonsense and I told her as much because if anything it would only serve to advance her career.” Briya tittered in fond memory of those times.
"Driven women can be so sexy, though..." Mindo ruminated, definitely regarding his own company.
“It almost seems unfair that you are so skilled with the toolkit and also telepathic - empathic,” Briya corrected herself. "How exactly does that work with Fesarians? Do you feel other’s feelings or just become aware of them? Can you sense my feelings even now?”
"No," said Mindo. "When it happens, a part of my mind is simply aware of them. I only feel them significantly when my partner's feelings are particularly strong. Most races that is not the case. With Risians it can be more common." His mind turned to Lieutenant Fick, the Pandora's Risian helmsman. The times they had shared were cut off abruptly by a death threat from a jealous Klingon. But Mindo still had feelings for Fick for some time after that. They were similar to the feelings he had for Briya now.
The Risian fiddled with the ends of her donned sheet, a distant look on her face. It was clear she was deep in thought, working something out.
"Don't read heavily into it, Briya," Mindo said. "It's not your feelings I feel." He took her head in his hands and brought her lips close to his. "Only my own." He tenderly kissed her.
She returned the kiss, but was determined not to succumb to it, which meant her lips could not linger on Mindo’s for long. She withdrew and patted him affectionately on the cheek. “So we each feel our own feelings, of which Risians are in ample supply, and with whom you have ample experience. That is good. Risians can be...a handful for the unacquainted. You are my first Fesarian and I now consider them to be a well represented species.” She gave Mindo a frisky wink. “So....” And for a moment Briya almost sounded at a loss for words. But not for long; never for long. “So, aside from Engineering and sexual prowess, what would you have me know of Mindo — do you have a surname, Mindo?”
Mindo nodded. "I do, but it's unpronounceable to non-Fesarians." He paused briefly, and then laughed. "Kidding! It's 'Do.' Fesarians push their names together. Terrekal's surname is 'Kal,' Balok's was 'Ok...' and so on. Your surname would be 'Ya,' I suppose. Actually, that's a pretty prominent name. I went to school with a guy named Binya. His father owned several distilleries around our planet. They produced some of the finest tranya I've ever tasted. I have a lot of respect for Binya aside from that, though. He's the only popular guy who was nice to me."
“Min Do,” Briya tried the name out on her tongue. “Chief Min Do. It has a certain charm. But my surname; I already have one - Valriya."
"And how did you come by that one?" Mindo asked.
"Risian naming customs allow all parties involved an equal claim to designations. Mother, father, child; they all get a say. My father’s last name is Valdern and my mother’s Valriya. I’m told they met one another while standing in queue, but I suspect that to be a bit of drollery. They are joined now, but as I say, there are no requirements that she take his last name and likewise I was free to choose which I would adopt. While I was young, it made very little difference. Did I tell you I grew up aboard a ship?"
"It may have been mentioned," Mindo said, a smile forming on his face.
"The Criterion," Briya continued. "A luxury liner transporting passengers to and from Risa. There were plenty of other children, but the crew was not so large that last names were often put into action for the young ones. At any rate, everyone knew my mother and father and that I was their little girl. My father was what Starfleet would call the Chief Engineer and ship’s 2nd officer; my mother the Director of Hospitality."
"Huh, interesting,” said Mindo, connecting certain dots in his head.
Briya continued. "As you can imagine, hospitality is a serious business on board a luxury cruise staffed by Risians. I suppose I was always following in my mother’s footsteps, but when it became official and I took over her position as Director it was just easier to take on her last name as well. It was one less thing that needed to be changed.”
"I never knew my mother," Mindo said. "She died when I was a baby and my father took me in. He hated me, and I hated him for hating me. He also died when I was young, and I spent my adolescence in a rundown orphanage. He came from a rich family, but by the time of his death he'd recklessly spent all the family fortune. Being poor, I was constantly bullied by the richer kids. I grew to hate life in Eloi, and had no money to travel elsewhere on the planet. So I left Fesaria and joined Starfleet, making money a moot point. I loved my Academy years because Earth has no currency, so there's no ridicule of the kind I faced. And the amount of tolerance and gravitation to diversity in the Federation was a new and different thing for me. The most exciting part was all the sex with different races. Well, at first it was great, but I learned fast that most cultures don't think of sex as just recreation. I couldn't hold a girlfriend or boyfriend very long. In fact, most of the time I was unaware those people thought we were in a committed relationship! It's a problem I've faced a lot. Even here!" he said, remembering K'Laus' threat on his life just a few years prior.
Briya laid a hand on Mindo’s shoulder, and all of a seriousness went on, “All children deserve stable resources and living arrangements, free of harm and threat, especially while they discover how to bring joy into this world. It saddens me to hear of your unhappy childhood. Alas, I cannot change your past, as I have well and truly misplaced my temporal dislocater device, but I will make it my highest endeavour to prevail upon you the need to press into service my company while enjoying yourself each day moving forth. In a noncommittal, benignly overt affiliation, of course. With copious sums of sex. But not just now,” she was quick to add, glancing down at the crippled transporter buffer. “You have other matters that require your attention.”
"Bree, you're the most wonderful thing to happen to me in a long time," Mindo said. He pulled a device from his kit and after tampering for a few seconds, the two green lights became one yellow one. "That was step one," he said. "The next step involves the transporter, which is not far from here. The replicator in your quarters is not able to replicate clothing. If it's alright with you, I'll get a towel and go to Engineering and replicate us some clothes. Then you can accompany me to the transporter room where we will find out if I can save your actual wardrobe. Sound good?"
“It would save a step if I grabbed two towels, one for you and one for me, and we proceed to Engineering directly - and together. I would not want you falling into the arms of another Risian along the way. However, for the sake of propriety, perhaps it would be best if you made the initial foray on your own. Your department may take less notice of their Chief swinging through the work place wrapped only in a towel, as I’m assuming this has happened to you on previous occasion.” Briya was not being mean spirited and indeed had difficulty maintaining a straight face.
"Everyone loves a naked Fesarian!" Mindo said with a grin. He hopped off the bed and got a towel from the bathroom.
Briya raised herself up from the bed with regal poise and issued a good-natured decree. “Go forth, my Champion of Drapery, and I will shelter here awaiting your rapid return with clothing in hand to protect my modesty. Then we shall venture onward and united that one may remedy the transporter and test the mettle of your technological know-how.”
Mindo saluted. "Yes ma'am!"