A cross ship JP by @Ravenna Carter and @GhantXerix that I particularly enjoyed reading. I thought in particular the gradual effect that Xerix experienced from the meal was well written, and the bagel and hotdog line made me smile! Nicely done, you two!
(( Flashback: 2394, Aboard the Celestial- En Route to Risa))
::Ghant Xerix switched the controls on the Celestial, his father’s Risian yacht to autopilot and stretched lazily, squishing himself back into the plush chair. The Betazoid/Risian hybrid was thoroughly looking forward to some much needed R&R at his uncle’s cottage on the Galartha cliffs overlooking the ocean. He ran a hand through his dark, unruly hair as he heard Ravenna coming up from the rear quarters of the vessel.::
::He had met Ravenna Carter in a dreadful lecture on the History of the Federation.::
((Flashback- a few weeks prior, Starfleet Academy, SFO))
:: He had been just nodding off to a rather peaceful nap when he was rudely awoken by the SLAM of heavy books onto a desk. His head spun to observe the source of this distraction from peace::
Carter: I’m sorry. That was NOT supposed to be that loud. I can’t believe I’m late on my first day! Today is just not my day. Hi, I’m Ravenna Carter. :: She extended her hand to the Cadet next to her::
Ghant eyed the human as she spoke. Red haired, slight of frame. And her accent...Brooklyn or perhaps Greenwhich village, but definitely Terra’s New York area.
Xerix: Ghant Xerix:: Taking her hand and shaking it:: I’d say it’s a pleasure to meet you but I’m not much of a liar. And relax. Professor Sh’ren is always late, and barely notices who’s in attendance. This is ...*was* the best spot on campus to get some shut-eye
::Ghant said all of this with a smirk, hoping the young woman would catch his sarcasm. He didn’t understand how humans managed to understand one another, simply relying on facial expression and body language. Betazoids knew how each other felt before the person feeling it did.::
Carter: Nice to meet you, Ghant. I can move if you would like to continue your nap, but I was mostly just planning on getting caught up on my reading.
::Ravenna was about to pick up her bag when Ghant spoke up.::
Xerix: No, no. Carter, was it? Please, I’d enjoy the company. You know, there is this wonderful new format for reading materials, called a PADD. You could carry all those books in your back pocket.
Carter: I like the feeling of books. It relaxes me. I do have a PADD for more important things that are academy related.
Xerix: ::He grinned at her honesty:: What part of New York are you from?
Carter: How did you know I was from New York? ::She was taken aback. Most people didn’t listen to her long enough to figure out where she was from.::
Xerix: My minor is in linguistics. I could cut your accent with a knife. Not that I mind. New Yorkers are fine people.
Carter: I’m from Brooklyn. Born and raised. At least for the most part. ::She couldn’t hide the sadness in her voice.::
::Ghant ignored the tone. Humans usually freaked out when they realized how transparent they were to the telepathic races::
Xerix: My favorite steakhouse is in Brooklyn. Peter Luger. Have you eaten there?
Carter: That’s a lot out of my price range. You’re a Betazoid, aren’t you? I recognized the name, but I think I just placed it.
Xerix: Half. My father is Risian. My mother was Betazoid. I tend to favor that side because I was raised there and am much more familiar with the culture. Risa is beautiful, but it’s a vacation spot. In fact, I’m going to be there in a few weeks.
:: Ravenna trudged her way to the [...]pit of the yacht. She hadn’t slept a wink, her hair looked like it had been brushed with an egg beater and she looked like a thriller reject. She was still surprised that she agreed to come along. She wasn’t sure why Ghant had asked her in the first place. She wasn’t rich, attractive, or someone who would fit into his lifestyle in any way. She didn’t feel worthy of such a vacation.::
Xerix: For the last time, Carter. I’m not a snob. I have friends from all walks of life. And I’m glad you agreed to come with me. You deserve a break. But we will have to work on your appearance a bit.
::Ravenna playfully swatted his arm for the appearance comment.::
Carter:I know I look horrifying, but did you have to mention it? Not all of us can afford to be freshly pressed all the time. ::She shot him a smirk as she plopped down in the co-pilot’s seat.::
Xerix: :: He gave her serious side-eye:: Replicators are a thing now. You can have fresh clothes for free at any time. Like right now.
Carter:What? And deprive you the opportunity to see my grubby field clothes; never!
::Ghant opened his mouth to form a witty retort when Standiford appeared with a tray piled high with snacks and drinks::
Standiford: Don’t mind him, Miss Carter. He’s just your run-of-the-mill blue blood, sticking his nose in the air at anything he feels is beneath him.
::His holographic companion, Standiford had been in his life as long as he could remember. When he thought anything serious, it was usually her voice he heard in his head. She set the tray of refreshments down, smiling at their guest::
Carter: Ah yes, and I am the lowly charity case. ::She gave Ghant a sideways glance to see if he was still listening.::
Xerix:Oh please. Note to self: invest in ear-plugs so that you don’t have to hear Ravenna’s pity party the entire trip.
Carter: You are too easy! How long until we get there, oh captain, my captain.
Xerix: ::in a melancholy tone:: Another 2 days..Gods help me.
((Flashback: 2394, Galartha, Risa))
::Ghant touched the Celestial down on a landing pad behind the cottage. As he opened the rear hatch, he was greeted by warm, slightly humid sea air, and the delightful sounds of waves meeting rocks. Off in the distance, various boats meandered here and there.::
Xerix: Welcome to Risa, Miss Carter.
Carter: Wow, it’s so beautiful. ::Ravenna turned around, taking it all in.:: I can’t believe you can just visit whenever you’d like!
Xerix: ::extending his hand to take her bags:: Here, let me help you with tho….Dear Gods Ravenna, how many books did you bring?
Carter: All of them? ::She gave Ghant a sheepish grin.::
::Ghant rolled his eyes as they entered the cottage, which was just as beautiful as he remembered.::
Xerix: Well I’m going to unpack and get dressed, we have reservations at Marseille De Sol. It’s a new fusion restaurant. Risian and Terran-French.
Standiford: I took the liberty of having this ordered for you.
::Ravenna took the package from Standiford and thanked her. The outfit was not something she would ever have chosen for herself, but they were absolutely stunning.::
Carter: Thank you, Standiford!
Standiford: It’s my pleasure.
::Ravenna took them back to her room, which was as stunning as her new outfit, and got changed for dinner. She was shocked beyond words that they fit perfectly. She put her hair up in a style befitting the wardrobe, and went off to see if Ghant was ready.::
::If he didn’t know it was her due to his telepathy, Ghant would have thought a comely stranger had entered their cottage. In place of the gawky and poorly dressed academy student, stood a radiant young woman who had been poured into a floor length one-shouldered Tyrian purple dress with crystal embellishments. Her hair was elaborately knotted and coiffured, being pinned into place with lavender-colored crystal wreath pins. ::
::Ghant’s throat bobbed as he swallowed hard, taking in the view. Standiford had added a purple sash to his tuxedo, and the pair of friends looked absolutely stunning together.::
Xerix: Sorry, I’m looking for Ravenna Carter, have you seen her?
Carter: HAHA sorry, she has left the building, though she instructed me to escort you to dinner in her stead.
Xerix: You look picturesque. Truly stunning.
Carter: Ummm, thank you. I am not used to dresses, it feels really weird. You look very handsome. Purple suits you.
Xerix: Thank you. Shall we to dinner?
Carter: Please, I am starving! I only fit into the dress because I have withered away to skin and bones!
((Marseille De Sol))
::The restaurant was positively resplendent, with peachy sunset-toned ceilings, stunning frescos, and gorgeous coral arrangements as table decor. Ghant and Ravenna approached the maitre’d’s pulpit, getting quite a few eyes as they went.::
Xerix: Good evening. I believe we have a reservation. Xerix
Maitre’d: :: His emotions went from disinterested to surprised:: ...Yes sir, right this way.
::As they followed the man to their table, Ghant was enjoying the looks and feelings being given to them.
Maitre’d: Your chef will be with you shortly.
Xerix: Thank you
Carter: Chef? What happened to the waiter?
Xerix: Yes, apparently they cook everything tableside right in front of you.
Carter: Well, this is very fancy. I almost don’t feel like I fit in… and everyone is staring!
Xerix: Of course they are. You’re the most beautiful woman in the room. Besides, I rather like the stares.
Carter: I know. I know. Calm down. You’re lucky you were raised in this. I have been friends with you for a matter of weeks, I haven’t gotten used to this yet.
Xerix: You’re very nervous.
Carter: I just have a bad feeling. I don’t know why. But let’s just enjoy dinner.
::A server approached with champagne and amuse-bouce. Ghant passed one of each to Ravenna and then for himself::
Xerix: Oh, do try the caviar, it’s not replicated. Machines never get it quite this right.
::Ravenna spotted the maitre’d watching them intently and it set her further on edge. He was ignoring the other guests in favor of watching them. It felt wrong. Though she didn’t have any prior knowledge on how these restaurants were run.::
::The caviar was especially salty and delicious, and paired so well with the sweet champagne. He downed the entire glass::
::You would think that Ravenna would be calmer knowing that Ghant knew what they were feeling, but it didn’t help. She was determined to make it through dinner without having a full-blown panic attack though.::
Carter: ::taking a bite:: You know how you LOVE potatoes… I found my potato. I do however love the champagne… I’m saving it for dinner though.
Xerix: ::Gesturing for more champagne::Oh ha ha.
:: The chef came to the table, pushing a cart laden with seafood and various accompaniments.
Chef: Hello! I’m Chef Lanat, I’ll be preparing your meal.
Xerix: Ghant Xerix, and this is Ravenna Carter.
Carter: Pleasure to meet you.
Lanat: Before I begin, where are you both from? I like to tailor my meals to the patrons eating them.
:: Ghant didn’t bother mentioning his mixed heritage::
Xerix: I’m from Betazed.
Carter: Earth, New York
Lanat: Well, I hope you enjoy. How did you folks travel to Risa?
:: Ghant started to feel in a strange humor. The small amount of inhibition he had was completely gone::
Xerix: Aboard my yacht.
Lanat: Oh how nice. The weather is perfect this season
::Ravenna kicked Ghant under the table. That was a weird question to ask and she was starting to feel like a target. Ghant was getting loose, even for him. They had both had the caviar, but he had downed the Champagne, she hadn’t.::
:: He eyed her, confused as to her attitude.
Carter: Excuse me, I hate to be a bother, but can you bring me an unopened bottle of Moscato, please? The fruitier the better. I want to save the champagne and I’m afraid my companion has a few drinks on me.
Lanat: ::Gesturing to the server:: Of course, Ma’am.
Carter: Thank you very much. And can I get a fresh glass?
Xerix: Ravenna! How rude. Honestly, I can’t take you anywhere without a scene.
Carter: I know, how uncivilized of me; you must forgive my upbringing… How about you slow down on the drinks?
::Lanat seemed to take all this in as he placed some shellfish into a pot of broth in front of them. The delicious aroma of spices making Ghant’s stomach announce its neglect::
Xerix: So Lanat, where would a handsome chef like you be from?
::Ravenna rolls her eyes. Only Ghant would make a scene while seemingly being on a date with someone else. She had to remind herself not to get mad at him for this. They had been targeted from the beginning.::
Lanat: Oh, I’m not really from anywhere.
Carter: What does that mean?
Lanat: ::looking a bit perturbed at the human:: My family ran a cargo freighter. That was my home.
Xerix: I bet you’ve got to explore so much.
Lanat: ::Plating Risian lake prawns over seagreens:: I think that’s an understatement. How long have you two been together?
Carter: How did you know he was part Risian? You said you customize the meals. ::She ignored the last remark.::
Xerix: Ravenna, we are on Risa. And I believe they are in season.
Lanat: Just so, sir.
Carter: Right… My apologies. It must be fatigue from the long flight. We came all the way from Earth. We are Starfleet cadets and we are on Academy Leave right now.
::Patrons began exiting the restaurant. Even though the twin suns had barely set, it was well into the late evening. Ghant began feeling very fatigued as he devoured the prawns.
Lanat: I see.
Carter: Do you have any meals customary of New York on Earth? I am so very homesick.
Lanat: ::With a tone of condescension in his voice:: Yes, perhaps I can whip you up a bagel and shmear? Or perhaps a hot-dog?
::Ghant couldn’t suppress his laughter at that. The man was as bitter and jaded as Ghant himself pretended to be. And, he regarded without a hint of concern...the man was planning on holding them ransom. And then killing them.::
Carter: What? Can’t do steaks here? And Ghant, Dear, I believe YOU are making a scene now.
Xerix :: He couldn’t hide his surprise at the term of endearment, it making a much larger impression than her reproach:: Forgive me, Dear.
::The restaurant was emptied entirely of patrons now. Just a few servers cleaning up and the maitre’d eyeing them from his pulpit::
Carter: And while you whip up the steaks, I still haven’t gotten my Moscato I ordered an hour ago. This is some rather sorry service we are getting here.
Xerix: Carter, relax. Please.
Lanat: My apologies. Sheksan, where are the refreshments for this table?
Carter: Unopened, please. And I’ll pour it myself.
::Ghant’s eyes began to droop. He could scarcely hold himself upright. Succumbing to the lethargy, he passed out. His head bounced spectacularly into the table, which did nothing to wake him::
Carter: Ghant! ::Rushing to the other side of the table, she checked for a pulse and any sign of response, she came up with nothing.:: What did you give him? He needs medical attention!
::Ravenna pulled a tricorder out of her purse and was relieved to find a thready pulse appear on the screen. Whatever he had been dosed with, it was having unintended effects on his complex physiology. She realized she was in this entirely alone and she had spent a long while making their attackers mad.::
Lanat:Sheksan, kill her. She’s worthless to us.
::Sheksan pulled out an old, if lethal-looking disruptor pistol, making his way over to the table.::
Carter: ::yelling:: If you kill me, he dies and you can’t provide proof of life. He becomes worthless too and you won’t get the ransom you are after. ::Calming down:: He is not a full Betazoid. You didn’t take that into consideration when you drugged him. Now he is dying.
Sheksan: She has a point, Lanat.
::Lanat took a large, terrifying knife out of it’s sheath on his side::
Lanat: Well you had better heal him, and quick. Otherwise you’ll end up as tomorrow night’s special, human.
Carter: Then you need to tell me what you gave him and I need a medkit. Sheksan, can you escort me to the Celestial. I need to change out of this dress, I have clothes left aboard.
::Lanat eyed her carefully. She was substantially smaller than Sheksan.::
Lanat: Fine, if she tries anything, kill her.
::It was a tense walk to the Celestial and Ravenna had since ditched her heels. They made it on board and she went to change in the backroom, but was blocked by Sheskan.::
Carter: Excuse me? I’m not changing in front of you. I am not going to do anything, your boss has my friend, remember?
Sheskan: I still don’t trust you.
Carter: Whatever. Fine. Just like gym class.
::Ravenna got changed as quickly as she could, but when she turned around, Sheskan had turned his back to her.::
Carter: Thank you.
::They made their way back to the restaurant. Ravenna was now prepared to fight if she had to and she was also free to move and help Ghant.::
Lanat: Acontium spp. Being Betazoid, it should have just relaxed him.
Carter: Well, that didn’t work, now did it? Is that the only thing you gave him?
Carter: You mixed it? ::these men were stupid:: With what?
Sheskan: Actaea pachypoda.
Carter: Well at least it is two Earth poisons. Why Wolfsbane and Doll’s Eyes?
Sheskan: Well, I liked the names.
::Ravenna couldn’t believe the answer she had just been given.::
Carter: You picked two poisons because you liked the names? How is Ghant not dead?
::Lanat handed her a medkit along with the vials they had used.::
Carter: If this is what you gave him, I can’t help him. He needs a hospital. And a blood transfusion. ::The medkit had contained a syringe and a tricorder. Nothing else.::
::Lanat looked like he was ready to shove Ravenna into the meat grinder.::
Lanat: Well, for your sake I hope you think of something.
::Ravenna, while cringing at the thought, decided making Ghant throw up was a good start. Conventionally, this was frowned upon, but she was a trained medical professional, not a good samaritan on the street.::
Carter: oO I hope they have the same gag reflex.Oo Sheskan, I need you to act like a backrest for him, and as soon as he throws up, we need to put him in a recovery position. Can you handle that?
Sheskan: Yes I can.
:: After maneuvering Ghant to the floor and getting Sheskan into position, Ravenna took the handle end of a butter knife and suck it in the back of Ghant’s throat. It worked on the first try. Ghant threw up and Ravenna moved him into the recovery position: He was lying on his right side, his right arm helped balance him and his left arm was a pillow. His right leg was kept straight and they bent his left leg as another prop. If he threw up again, he wouldn’t aspirate.::
Carter: Luckily, he has advanced healing factors. He still needs a hospital though. ::She looked at the readings on her tricorder. She was relieved to see his vitals were improving. Getting the extra poisons out of his stomach had improved his chances.:: Did you plan on keeping us here, or was there a different plan?
Lanat: You would be wise to shut your mouth, Miss Carter. I don’t need you.
Carter: I never was good at keeping my mouth shut. Call it a flaw. ::She was moving away from where Ghant was lying. Not wanting him to be jostled in the impending commotion.::
::Lanat had had enough of Ravenna. He went for his knife and Sheskan went for Ravenna.::
::Ravenna had bit off more than she could chew. Ghant was out cold still and she was unarmed. This was how she would die. She would be tomorrow night’s special.::
Carter: Ghant if you can hear me. I swear I’m going to haunt you for all eternity!
::Sheskan started to charge Ravenna, but she dodged and kneed him in the ribs instead. He fell to the ground but managed to knock Ravenna’s legs out from under her. She yelped as she collided with the edge of a table, effectively putting a tooth through her lip.::
::Lanat stayed where he was; sure that Sheskan would end their little pest.::
::Sheskan got to his feet and walked over to where Ravenna was on her hands and knees, spitting blood. He kicked her in the ribs with as much force as he could. He could feel the rib break against his boot.::
::Ravenna threw up and collapsed where she was like a worn-out rag doll. She felt like she was dying.::
::Sheskan turned his back to her in a victorious manner. He thought she was done for.::
::Ravenna crawled to her feet, using the same table she had hit her head on for support. If she was going to die here, she was taking the ogre with her. Gathering every shred of strength she had, with the help the adrenaline rush she was getting, she picked up a skillet from the chef station from the table and bashed him in the head with it. The force of the hit caused her to wobble. Her breath came out in pants. Ravenna stumbled over and grabbed Sheskan’s arm and brought it around behind him. She lifted up until she felt and heard it break free from the socket with a stomach-churning crunch. She knew this injury well. He wasn’t going to be attacking her anytime soon. She collapsed where she stood, hitting the ground with a dull thud.::
::Ghant was wokened not by the noise, but by the raw emotions. His head was still swimming but lucidity was washing over him.::
::Lanat was disgusted by Sheskan’s performance and decided he was completely useless. He glided over and stabbed his accomplice in the chest and twisted. It made a gross squishing noise.::
::Ravenna couldn’t move. She was at the mercy of Lanat. She could think of nothing except her dad. She would be seeing him again really soon. She lost consciousness just as Lanat was hovering over her; his knife still dripping blood.::
:: Ghant slammed his knee into the man’s ribs, and in the next moment he clenched his hands together and bashed at his head. Violence and rage took ahold of Ghant, threatening to strip him of morality. ::
::Lanat swung wildly with the cruel-looking blade, missing Ghant’s abdomen by a few millimeters. Ghant caught the hand holding the knife and smashed it repeatedly into a nearby table. Lanat had him in size and weight but fear and anger more than made up for the difference. Lanat caught him with a punch to the face, adrenaline making the blow seem not that bad. Ghant recovered and hefted the cast iron soup pot, landing a blow to the back of the man’s skull. He nearly hefted it for another blow when he realized it would kill Lanat.::
::He instead reached for the fob in his pocket. Pressing one of the buttons put him in direct contact with Standiford.::
Xerix: =/\= Standiford, call starfleet security! We’ve been attacked. We’re at the restaurant. ::He sprinted over to his friend while he talked:: Ravenna is badly hurt.=/\=
Standiford: =/\= They’re on their way. I’ll meet you at the hospital =/\=
::Ravenna stirred a little, but couldn’t move much. The pain came flooding in, but she stayed unconscious.::
::A dozen starfleet officers beamed into the restaurant, phasers drawn. Ghant put his hands up, tears forming in his eyes.::
Xerix: I’m Ghant Xerix, we’re starfleet cadets. We were attacked by this man, and that dead one he killed. My friend is badly hurt.
((Timeskip- the next morning))
::Ghant hadn’t left Ravenna’s side for more than a moment since the attack. Standiford had brought him clean clothes, but he sorely needed a shower. He felt so guilty for the attack, even though the officers said there was little they could have done to protect themselves. The Maitre’d had escaped, Sheskan was dead, and Lanat was behind a forcefield somewhere.::
::Ghant ran a hand through his wild hair for the hundredth time that morning, lost in his thoughts when he was suddenly aware of a consciousness ::
Carter: Where am I? ::Her voice came out as a croak, having not been used for several hours.::
::Ravenna couldn’t bear to open her eyes, her head hurt so badly. The blood pumped in her ears. Her ribs hurt on every inhale and screamed on every exhale; shallow breaths were her friend.::
::Ghant was so relieved to hear her voice, tears threatened to loose at any moment::
Xerix: Risa, the pleasure planet where everything is always idyllic.
Carter: I don’t feel Idyllic. I feel like I got hit by a yacht.
Xerix: I’ll bet! You saved my [...], Carter.
Carter: You would have done the same for me. Just promise me one thing.
Carter: Next time I say something isn’t right, please listen to me.
Xerix: I don’t think I could possibly trust someone who doesn’t enjoy caviar.
Carter: How? How do you remember that? You were pickled in champagne, wolfsbane, and doll’s eyes. You should be dead, and definitely unable to remember that.
Xerix: My memory wasn’t affected. Just my judgment. My brain isn’t human.
Carter: Lucky you! My very human brain hurts right now. I got in a fight with an ogre and almost lost. What happened to them. I saw Sheskan get stabbed and then fade to black.
Xerix: He’s dead. And Lanat is in jail. He keeps mumbling about troublesome humans ::He said this last part with a grin, hoping to bring some humor to the traumatic event::
Carter: He underestimated me because I’m human. He didn’t bother poisoning me. He was going to kill me when you passed out.
Xerix: He isn’t the only one who underestimated you. Schlepping those books around has given you some definite abilities.
Carter: Why us, or rather you?
Xerix: The detective said they were going to kidnap me and hold me for ransom from my father.
((Timeskip, two weeks later))
:: The sounds of the ocean crashing onto the nearby cliffs was the only thing Ghant could hear. The heat from twin suns baked down on them as they basked on the gorgeous beach.
::Ravenna was plastered in sunscreen from head to toe. She was a bit toasty but otherwise comfortable chilling in a bikini. A massive green and yellow bruise remained from her broken rib and internal bleeding. She had finally recovered from her concussion, so she had lugged her books along with them; she was overjoyed to be medically released and allowed to read again. She knew every word of every book, but it was her happy place. Ghant looked peaceful and relaxed on a towel next to her; taking in all the sun he could. He had earned it. He had taken excellent care of her once she had been released from the hospital.::
Carter: ::setting her book aside, looked at Ghant:: You know, aside from getting the crap kicked out of me, this has been a rather exciting vacation.
Xerix: Exciting wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. But other than your near-death experience and my being poisoned, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed yourself.
::Ghant took a long drink from the beverage beside him. An AMF, whatever that stood for. It was blue and delicious::
Carter: Exciting doesn’t have to always be positive, but I have rather enjoyed myself. Even outsmarting the bad guys was a thrill. I’m just glad you didn’t die. You scared me to death.
Xerix: Yeah? I was utterly calm when I seen you lying in a lifeless heap. Not concerned in the least.
Carter: ::laughing then wincing:: always with the sarcasm. Is that the only language you speak?
Xerix: it’s the one we communicate best in, Bestie.
Ensign Ravenna Carter
USS Constitution B
Lieutenant JG Ghant Xerix