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Lt. Cmdr Reinard & Lt. Chen - "Date Night"


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((USS Vigilant, An Unspecified Location))
::Chen had only just barely been able to concentrate on his shift. He’d spent almost the whole of the previous evening making preparations, checking replicator patterns, making reservations and setting up what he hoped would be a super-enjoyable evening for Greir. He knew that they had both been on alpha shift, which had finished just over an hour ago. It was now 1702 hours and time to set things into motion. Having been monitoring internal sensors in a specific section of the corridor on deck 2, Chen had visual confirmation that everything was clear to initiate a site-to-site transport for a particular item that he wanted to help kick-start the evening. Ensign Coxon in the transporter room had been particularly accommodating, agreeing to grant permission for use of the system without him having to explain in too much detail what he was trying to do. She’d said something about a game called ‘knock-a-door-run’, which he was still meaning to look up.::
::With the item in place, he touched a panel on a nearby console to establish contact over the comm.::
Chen: =/\= Chen to Reinard. =/\=
Reinard: =/\= Reinard here, go ahead. =/\=
::Chen knew that his one and only regret for the night would be that he would not get to see Greir’s reaction to what was about to happen. He had a feeling it was going to go down well.::
Chen: =/\= There’s someone at your door with a clue for tonight. I’ll see you soon. Chen out. =/\=
((USS Vigilant, Deck 2: Greir Reinard’s Quarters))
::Greir had been pacing about the room for a while with restless excitement. He was really looking forward to tonight and the fact he had no idea at all about what they were going to be doing added an extra layer of excitement.::
::He rushed to the door and did his best impression of calm as he opened the door. He was expecting someone to be there and was a little surprised until he looked down and saw what was waiting for him.::
::He stooped down and picked it up, barely able to contain his excitement!::
Reinard: oO What a thoughtful gift! I’m so glad to have this back, and what's this? It didn't have this before. Oo
::Greir had discovered the little note in the owl's claws. Greir could only guess that he'd had to claw through the replicator patterns to find this. It looked as though it was standing on it. He took it out and unfurled it. The clue indicated he needed to get to holodeck 1 and bring a jacket.::
::Greir took the owl and put it back in its pride of place. He was going to have to fix that cabinet now. Then he rushed over to the replicator and pulled up his wardrobe and looked in the jackets folder. He didn't have time to waste and picked his very favourite one of all.::
::The jacket had a fine fleece lining on the inside, was blue on the outside and complemented his markings. He put it on and did the zip, which was off-centre to his right, 3/4 of the way up. He folded the top down so it formed a neat v-shape and strutted off down the corridor feeling confident. He was, as always, the most stylish guy on the ship. In his opinion he should be modelling this stuff.::
((Deck 5: Holodeck 1))
::It didn't take long for Greir to arrive at holodeck 1. Chen was stood outside, waiting for him, clad in a dark grey hoodie with a diagonal zip and a pair of smart but comfortable jeans that hung over the tops of his favourite, trademark black boots. He knew Greir would turn up looking like a million bars of latinum and he smiled as he saw just how stylish his choice of jacket was. Needless to say, his antennae were focussed on Greir from the moment he came into view. He held out his palms for a traditional Laudean greeting, just like their previous dates.::
Chen: Hey! How’re you doing?

::Greir touched his palms to Chen’s in response to the greeting and let it linger for a while.::
Reinard: I’m doing well thank you. I see you are as slick as ever. Are you doing well?
::As usual, Chen didn’t want the palm-touching to end, but the first part of their date lay inside the holodeck.::
Chen: I’m doing great, and I had a feeling you’d rock up here looking amazing. I’m loving the jacket. Good call with the fur, you might need it.
::His own jacket was much flimsier and more likely to protect him from the wind than anything else. Not that the program was going to involve much of that. He had control over the weather, with something spectacular planned for part way through their visit.::
Reinard: Thank you. ::Looking pleased with the complement:: It’s one of my favourites.
Chen: I bet the suspense is killing you, right? Shall we go inside?
::Chen couldn’t actually bear to wait any longer himself, but he was absolutely playing it as cool as a cucumber.::

::The suspense was almost too much to bear but Greir didn’t want to reveal how much he’d been looking forward to this. He played it a bit cool.::
Reinard: ::Smiling:: I have been looking forward to this.
Chen: So have I. C’mon!
::The doors to the holodeck slid open effortlessly to reveal a hilltop vista. A path stretched out for miles before them, twisting and turning across the peaks and valleys of the landscape. Fronds of new, blue-green grass pushed through the soil and coated the hillsides; they were reminiscent of a giant land sculpture of the ocean, each hill representing a rolling wave, tumbling gently towards an unseen shore...::
::...and talking of shores, while the landscape to the right of them descended into a patchwork of fields, ploughed and awaiting their own first signs of life, to the left of them an aerial view of a reasonably sized town gave way to an expansive beach and the ocean itself. The sun, blue by nature but shining as an off-white, hung low in the sky. It would not be long before it set.::
::Chen and Greir stepped inside. The doors closed behind them and faded into nothingness, completing the scene. The change in temperature was noticeable almost immediately. Chen was as used to it as he was the ambient temperature of a starship, so he knew it would not take him long to adjust, but the cool air and the cold breeze would probably make Greir glad of his jacket soon enough.::

Chen: What do you think?
::Greir took a few moments to really look around and fully take in his surroundings. Due to the fact that much of his career had been spent on a star base he hadn’t visited too many other planets. He’d been on holo adventures of course but he had a feeling he knew where he was and it seemed to make this even more special. This place was among the most beautiful places he’d seen.::

::The simulation sure was realistic and he could already feel the cool air on his face, neck and hands. He didn’t think it would be long before he zipped the jacket all the way up and if he was still cold the hood would soon be coming up over his ears too. His hands automatically found their way into his jeans pockets since his jacket didn’t have any.::
Reinard: This is your home world? It’s really spectacular! Definitely ranks among one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen.
::Chen was really pleased that Greir had cottoned on so quickly to where they were, and that he appreciated the view. He’d thought long and hard about what to do on their date.::
Chen: Thanks, and you got it in one! Welcome to Andoria or, more specifically, the hills above my home town. That’s the Anshim ocean over there where I used to go swimming as a kid. ::He pointed at the town.:: That’s Irimari. My house is somewhere down there. You can’t really see it that well from here, but I know somewhere we can stop that has an even better view. I can show you a little better from there.
::Hands in the pockets of his hoody, Chen turned to face Greir. The breeze was blowing across them both and ruffling their hair.::
Chen: I guess now would be a good time to let you in on the plans.
::If he didn’t then he had a feeling he would get tickled again, although it hadn’t been a particularly unpleasant experience the first time.::
Reinard: Yep! Sounds good to me. What do you have in mind then?
Chen: I figured we could go for a walk, take in the view, and then do dinner at mine. Sound good?
Reinard: Better than good! ::Enthusiastically.:: You can tell me more about what it was like growing up here as we go. You must have loads of fun stories to tell!
::Chen’s beaming grin became a sentimental smile, bordering on wistful. There were fun stories, sure, and there were also ones he wasn’t yet ready to tell. In spite of that, this particular place always filled him with good memories. It would always be special to him and even more so after tonight.::
Chen: I sure do... and I know you like a good story. I’ll tell you while we walk.
Reinard: Fantastic. ::Brightly::
::Slipping a hand out of his pocket, he hooked arms with Greir before returning it to the warmth of his hoody. The two set off along the path. Chen was pleased as punch, proud even, that he could walk this path with someone like Greir. It felt comfortable, and he liked that. Once they had started off, Chen’s antennae assumed an upright, neutral position, occasionally moving to focus on interesting sounds. As they were sensitive to temperature, their interpretation of the stimulus of the chill spring breeze felt particularly refreshing.::
Chen: This right here? This is probably my favourite place. I used to come here all the time for walks, sometimes with friends but usually on my own. It had everything I could ever want. For one thing, I got to look down on the town, kind of like a bird’s eye view. ::He stopped talking for just a second, making eye contact with Greir before returning his eyes to the path.:: You can probably guess that sort of thing would appeal to me from my current duty post, right?
::Greir looked about as he listened, he could see the appeal of going walks in an area like this. He was finding the walk relaxing and it felt good to be walking companionably with Chen. Somehow it didn't surprise him that Chen liked the bird's eye view of the town. It struck Greir that they had the same trait even if they channeled it differently.::
::Greir's curiosity was quite focussed on learning as much as possible about other alien species, their culture, history, psychology etc. Chen's was more general and not oriented to any one thing. From what Greir had been able to observe, he was more proactive than Chen and would ask questions and seek answers where Chen was happy to observe quietly.::
Reinard: It does strike me that you like to know what’s going on. I like that we both have a curious nature.
::It seemed like that was one of many things they had in common and maybe that was one of the reasons why Chen felt so much like Greir understood him.::
Chen: I know, right? So do I!
::The sound of the ocean could clearly be heard and, with occasional interruption from the evening breeze, provided an accompaniment to Chen’s story.::
Chen: It’s kind of too high up to really see what’s going on, and a bit too far away. Maybe that was part of the appeal, feeling like I was watching but not having to worry about anything. And then there’s the ocean. I used to just stare out over it for hours sometimes. Sunsets were always the best. The sun goes a really deep blue when it sets. For a while, it completely changes the colour of the sea, almost like it’s dissolving into it. On a rainy day, it hits the bottom of the clouds, too. That’s quite a sight.

::Greir was starting to feel a chilly. He buddied up to Chen a little more by bringing the arm Chen was hooked around closer to himself, bringing Chen a little closer.::
::It seemed they had yet another thing in common. Greir's first memory, which was a powerful and positive one was of being on the beach with Rori. He'd spent a lot of time at the beach in his early years and grown up to love it there.::
Reinard: Sounds magnificent. I used to enjoy spending time on the beach at sunset, or sunrise too. Just looking at the sky... ::Smiling warmly:: So are we doing a spot of cloud watching tonight?
::Greir looked up and around to see if there were clouds rolling in from one direction or another. As enchanting a picture as Chen had just painted, there was something else that he wanted Greir to see that didn’t show up when the sky was clouded over.::
Chen: Not tonight, no. Something even better happens when we have clear skies.
Reinard: What’s that then? ::Curiously::

::Chen prepared to squeeze his elbows to his sides as he answered.::
Chen: OK, don’t tickle me but it’s such a great thing that it absolutely has to be a surprise. You’ll see it after sunset, so you don’t have long to wait.
Reinard: Well alright then, whatever you say.

::Greir unhooked himself from Chen, did up the top button of his jacket and then zipped it the rest of the way up since he was starting to feel the cold now. He reattached himself to Chen quite casually.::
::Chen could have walked this path with his eyes closed. Every now and again, a fork would lead down to one side or the other, headed down towards Irimari or the nearby farmland. They were currently about mid way between two forks and yet Chen steered Greir off the path, towards the town side of the landscape.::
Chen: I love this whole area, but my absolute favourite place is this way
::He was quite excited and looking forward to seeing Chen's favourite place. He was loving the adventure.::
Reinard: Great!
::The gradient of the hill increased slowly as it descended until it became steep enough that Chen had to detach himself from Greir so that they could both keep their balance. They took careful steps until they reached what seemed like a U-shaped indentation into the side of the hill; it was around eight feet wide at its mouth. The cleft’s floor was level enough that Chen could safely drop into it; it was around six feet down, which meant that only the tips of his antennae could be seen above the grass.::
Chen: Come on down, this is it!

::Greir's head had been slowly retreating into the top of his coat as the cold got to him. His hands were now tucked under his armpits and he was wishing he'd brought a winter jacket instead. He much preferred being warm but would never admit to feeling the cold. He didn't want to risk that Chen might end the program early for his comfort.::
::He didn't want to miss what Chen had brought him here to see. He looked down into the sheltered spot Chen had dropped down to for a moment before dropping in.::
Reinard: Is there lots of little sheltered bits like this in the area?

Chen: ::Shrugging:: There are a few I guess, but this is the best one.
::It quickly became apparent as to why. What seemed like a random chunk that had been taken out of the hillside turned out to be the best vantage point across the Irimari bay. The town itself, at the foot of the hillside, now lay directly in front of them, the expansive beach and the Anshim ocean lying beyond. On the horizon, the deepening blue sun had already begun to touch the water.::
::By now, Chen was used to the temperature. Sheltered from the wind by the sides of the cleft, he stood unflinching in the cold. He realised that Greir could be a bit chilly by now, though. He sat down, beckoning for Greir to do the same, then wrapped an arm around him to keep him warm.::
::Greir responded by sitting down next to Chen and smiling with contentment as Chen's arm came around him.::
Chen: You warm enough?

::Greir was starting to feel the cold now, especially since he'd stopped moving and was sitting on the cool ground. He was trying not to shiver and it was making his muscles a bit tense. He pulled his hood up and shuffled sideways until he was so close to Chen that he was almost in the Andorian's lap. He tipped his head to the side to rest it on Chen's shoulder and wrapped his arm around Chen, tucking it under his arm.::
Reinard: Now I am.
::Chen’s breath caught in his throat for a moment. He wrapped his other arm around Greir. The date had only just started and it was already exponentially more awesome than he had imagined it would be... and he’d been expecting that it would be pretty [...] awesome! The sun continued its descent and he knew that it would be exactly as he had described. All they needed to do was watch and wait.::

Chen: So what kind of thing do you want to know about growing up on Andoria?

Reinard: Well, everything really but why not start by telling me about some of the things you used to get up to?
::Chen thought about the escapades he’d been in as a young chan. There were quite a few. He remembered getting his knuckles rapped on more than one occasion for his overexuberant approach to recreational activities.::

Chen: Well... you saw the fields behind us. We had friends who had a farm there, and my parents would take me over there to visit them in a hover car. It was too far to walk because I was really young... probably about five or six?
::He couldn’t remember exactly how old, but he did remember doing it quite often.::

::Greir remembered seeing the fields and pictured them in his head.::
Reinard: Oh very nice, I bet that was fun. What did you get up to on the farm then?
Chen: ::Laughing:: I used to get myself into trouble every single time because I would always get a stick and chase all the kuyar around the yard. They’re farm birds, like Terran chickens.

::Greir chuckled softly as he imagined it.::

Reinard: What was that for... did they steal your snack or something?
::Chen could almost see his zhavey’s face now. She was always reproachful, but even then he’d had a sense that she’d been trying not to find it funny.::

Chen: Oh no, in my head they were these great big monsters. They’re quite big when you’re six years old. The stick was a sword and I was going to chase them all away to make sure the farm stayed safe.
Reinard: I bet you thought you were being very brave and helpful too. ::Amused::
Chen: Well, ironically they kind of needed them to sell and to lay eggs, so if I had scared them away then I don’t think I would have been very popular. Fortunately they can’t fly, so there was no danger of that.
Reinard: Yeah, if they could have flown away you’d really have been in trouble then. Banned from the farm probably.
::Chuckling again in appreciation of the tale.::
::The sun was sinking lower and lower. The sea around it was reflecting an increasingly deeper hue of blue as the sky began to darken. It looked as though distant clouds were just becoming visible, but Chen knew better. The big surprise would soon be revealed!::
::A lot of his memories from his childhood seemed to involve running around and play-acting as a warrior. His chavan in particular had encouraged it, right up until the day word had reached home that he and some friends had decided to re-enact the Tale of the Breaking.::
Chen: Maybe that’s why I got into holoadventuring so quickly. I remember playing the part of the warrior Thirishar once when I was a bit older and in school. He’s this legendary Andorian who completed a series of quests for Uzaveh the Infinite, who I guess is our deity.
::He wasn’t really sure on the specifics. He had never bought too far into Andorian religion and felt that it was held over the people too much to force them into living a certain way. It didn’t seem to have a lot to do with moral code.::
Chen: It was going quite well until I decided that the most realistic thing for Thirishar to do would be to kill Uzaveh. I mean, he completed all his quests and then Uzaveh basically insults him and splits him into four people. You’d be a bit annoyed if that happened, surely?
::He was smiling through the story. Now he was older he could understand why he’d gotten an ear bending and it was pretty amusing.::
Reinard: ::Jovially:: Well there is a logic to that.
Chen: I got some heat for that one. But hey, I guess it just comes down to the fact that I don’t really agree with my people on some things. Like the fact that you need four people to be ‘Whole’.

::Greir was aware that Andorians had four genders and that all four were needed for procreation.::
Reinard: I’m guessing that’s their way of encouraging people get together and have families? Is it all arranged? I’m guessing getting four individuals, one from each gender to all agree on a grouping could be quite difficult?
::Chen was so genuinely pleased to hear that Greir had reached that conclusion that he actually gave him a bit of a squeeze.::

Chen: That's exactly what it is. Yeah, they arrange bonds and things, and you don’t always get to meet the people you’re supposed to be bonded to. Once the bonds have been decided there’s this pressure from on high that you have to get together, bond and have a kid, and it’s all in the name of averting a reproductive crisis. Meanwhile, the true answer to that crisis is sitting in a Starfleet scientific institution and no-one on the government will accept it.

::He didn’t mean to go off on a rant, but this was a topic that lay close to his heart.::
Reinard: I’m guessing that’s their way of encouraging people get together and have families? Is it all arranged? I’m guessing getting four individuals, one from each gender to all agree on a grouping could be quite difficult?
::Chen was so genuinely pleased to hear that Greir had reached that conclusion that he actually gave him a bit of a squeeze.::

Chen: That’s exactly what it is. Yeah, they arrange bonds and things, and you don’t always get to meet the people you’re supposed to be bonded to. Once the bonds have been decided there’s this pressure from on high that you have to get together, bond and have a kid, and it’s all in the name of averting a reproductive crisis. Meanwhile, the true answer to that crisis is sitting in a Starfleet scientific institution and no-one on the government will accept it.
::He didn’t mean to go off on a rant, but this was a topic that lay close to his heart.::
Reinard: So they place the continuation of the species over certain personal freedoms, even when there are other possible solutions available?

::Instead of answering right away, Chen took in a deep breath, antennae dropping forward slightly. One one hand, he hadn’t come here to rant about his homeworld, he’d come to have a memorable night with an awesome guy. On the other, Greir was the first person that he’d met in years with whom he was comfortable with sharing every last one of his secrets.::

Chen: I... yeah. They do. It’s OK, though, I mean... those of us who find that a problem just find somewhere else to go.

::Although Chen hadn’t put himself in that category Greir had to wonder if that was the way it was for him. It certainly seemed that way given what had just been said.::
Reinard: It’s a shame that people feel that way but none of us live on ideal worlds.
::Talking about such things always left Chen feeling a little conflicted and he didn’t want this to become the focus of their visit to the holodeck. One day he would tell Greir everything about his reasons for leaving Andoria, but not tonight, and not after Greir had so recently been upset by his own family problems.::

Chen: Exactly. Everyone just has to make the best of the hand they’re dealt. I believe in doing that, and since I came aboard the Vigilant I seem to have been dealt a really, really good hand. If anyone from home came to talk about the ‘Whole’ then I would tell them I felt that way right now.

::Although Greir wouldn’t have used those words he agreed with the idea of making the best of what you’ve got. Greir felt very special to think that he made Chen feel whole and there was only one proper response to a statement like that.::

::He lifted his head and shifted his position so he could get a good look at Chen. He looked into the Andorian’s eyes for a moment as if considering something and then leaned in to give him a soft, lingering kiss.::
Reinard: Someone as special as you deserves to feel whole.
::Chen’s eyes had drifted closed during the kiss and there were butterflies fluttering around in his stomach. Hearing Greir say those words, they reopened, green eyes staring into gold, unwilling to look away. No-one had ever paid him a compliment like that before.::
Chen: I don’t think I knew what whole meant until I met you. You’re one of a kind, Greir.
::He slipped an arm under Greir’s and around his back. His antennae had moved forward enough that he could strongly sense the heat from Greir’s forehead, a display that was the ultimate in Andorian affection. They lifted up as he moved forward to return Greir’s kiss. He didn’t want to break away; his other hand found its way up to the back of Greir’s head, settling on the soft fabric of his hood as the kissing continued.::
::Greir's heartbeat and breathing were elevated and it was safe to say he was no longer feeling the cold. He murmured quietly in satisfaction for a moment as he trailed his fingers through Chen's hair.::
::Greir gently stroked Chen's antennae with his fingertips. To him, this was the perfect moment. It wasn't so much that he felt whole but that their energy flowed synchronously, like they were one.::
Reinard: We were made for each other Chen. Our energy flows as one.
::Chen was drinking in every sensation, enjoying every moment. The contact with his antennae was electric. He had been losing himself in the moment but when Greir spoke he listened, a smile instantly spreading across his face and eyes sparkling.::
Chen: Is that part of Laudean belief?
Reinard: Some cultures believe in a soul mate, a one true love. We don't believe there is only one match for a person. When you do find someone who is truly right for you... when you find the perfect match you can feel it.
::He wasn't talking about feeling it emotionally although that was also an important factor. He was referring to the energy fields each person gave off.::
Reinard: I can feel the way your energy meets mine, the way it flows together. It's the most amazing feeling there is. Indescribable really.
::Chen hadn’t heard Greir talk about his fielding before. He found it spellbinding, especially in this context. They could both feel things that the other couldn’t; Greir could sense Chen’s energy fields, and Chen’s antennae could detect Greir’s body heat. It sounded as though all stimuli had led them both to the same conclusion.::
Chen: The perfect match?
Reinard: Yes, every sense I have, everything I know about you tells me that you are the perfect match for me. I care very deeply for you and that feeling is only getting stronger.
::He was not particularly shy about discussing his feelings. It surprised him as he knew himself to be generally a lot less generous with sharing any personal information about himself. ::

::Chen let his hand drop gently from the back of Greir’s head to rest on his shoulder.::
Chen: I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever cared more about.
::The sun had finally drifted below the horizon and the last of the light had vanished. The form of a blue/green gas giant was now clearly visible, looming large in the sky. Becoming aware of his surroundings again, Chen noticed that the night sky was just as perfect as he remembered it could be. During his time at the academy, he had seen full moons, but this was something altogether different; they were looking at the edge of a planet, lit by the sun, and it easily reached from the horizon to a height at which they would need to crane their necks to see.::

Chen: Take a look at the sky.

::Greir settled himself back into a comfortable position and looked up at the sky, taking it all in. It was probably one of the most unique, wondrous and beautiful sights he'd ever seen. It was far beyond what he'd been expecting to see.::
Reinard: ::In awe:: This is truly spectacular! Thank you so much for sharing it with me.
Chen: Worth the wait?

Reinard: Very much so. You know, I knew academically that Andoria was a moon but didn't give a lot of thought to what that actually meant or what it would actually be like. I've always been more focussed on the people rather than the places. ::As if to prove his point:: Did you bring friends when you came here to look out to this?
Chen: Y’know, this is the first time I’ve been here with someone else. I mean, I would go hiking on that path with friends, but no-one ever got to come here.
Reinard: ::Curiously:: Hmmm, is there a reason for that?

::There weren’t a great many things that Chen got possessive or sentimental over, but this place had always been one. No-one had ever been with him because he had never wanted them to. Up until now it had been a closely guarded secret, and if any of his friends had ever found it he would have just played it down and kept walking.::
Chen: Because I never asked anyone... ::he realised his next statement was going to sound a bit ridiculous but went for it anyway.:: This is my place and no-one else was invited until now. I guess no-one made the cut ‘til you came along.
Reinard: Thanks Chen. If I’d had a place like this on my home world to show you I would have loved to. I don’t have a holoprogram for Til’Ahn though. To my knowledge no one has made one.
::Even though this was technically just a facsimile, Chen felt good knowing that he’d shared this place with Greir. He also hoped that this would not be the last time they would come here.::
Chen: Next time we get the chance to swing past Andoria, we’ll visit the real thing. And who knows? Maybe we can persuade someone to make a holoprogram of Til’ahn. ::He shuffled over so that they could both look out at the sky and put his arm around Greir again.:: So what’s it like being able to field? It must be amazing, detecting energy fields?
::Chen was thoroughly taken with the idea; it was a completely different sense to anything he could imagine and one that he knew he couldn’t fully comprehend.::

::Greir found describing any sense to be quite a challenge. How could he make it such that Chen could have any kind of comprehension about what it was like? The only thing that came close was for him to liken it to something Chen was familiar with.::
Reinard: I guess it must seem amazing to other species, certainly the Zalkonians seemed very interested in the ability. To us it is as normal as sight or hearing. I’d say it’s closest to touch, like when you feel the wind on your face and you can gauge how strong it is and the direction it is going. However it’s not a physical sensation that you feel with your skin so much as a mental sensation. Does that make any sense at all?
::Chen nodded. He knew that Greir wasn’t going to be able to describe it exactly in words but he appreciated the attempt to try. He responded enthusiastically.::

Chen: It does, yes. So when you’re walking down the corridor in the Vigilant, you can sense the energy from the EPS conduits? And the lights?
Reinard: Well yes, but i’m not always aware of them. It’s like being in a crowded room in a way. You’re aware of everyone being there but you can’t pay them all attention at once and will usually just be focussed on a small number of people or things. You can change your focus any time.
::That made sense to Chen, it was like being able to see all of your surroundings but only focusing on one thing.::
Chen: And from me too. Is that only when I’m close?
::He was absolutely fascinated by the idea that different people could be fielded too. He imagined it as seeing them glowing in different colours, although he knew that Greir’s sensory input would not be visual.::

::While it was possible for Greir to sense the energy fields of other people it was only at close range and only if he was paying attention. He wasn’t really in the habit of fielding people as he had no particular need to. If he was in a counselling session he would be more inclined to do so. Detecting energy changes in a person could be a good indicator of changes in mood though it didn’t make him empathic. He supposed for fielders who really put time into learning the subtleties it might come close.::

Reinard: Well you do have to be close, but it's a conscious effort.
::In other words he was doing it quite on purpose because he was very interested in Chen and everything about him. All of his senses were more alert when Chen was around.::
::Chen was equal parts flattered and thrilled that Greir had deliberately chosen to field him just then, especially after what it had led him to say. He turned to make eye contact once again and felt his antennae swing forward to give him the same level of focus.::
Chen: ::Beaming:: You fielded me on purpose? That’s awesome!

::Greir felt the heat rise a little. He hoped that hadn’t come over as being creepy, like undressing him with his mind or some such but Chen seemed pleased at least. Not only that but he realised he’d been talking a lot more about himself than normal and revealing some very personal feelings. When the energy flowed so perfectly like this though, there were no secrets. Sharing was as natural as breathing but it was time to shift the focus.::

Reinard: What about you? Those antennae are extremely fascinating, and I hear they not only provide unique sensory information but are used expressively.

::Greir had started doing his homework on Andorians at long last, not that he would admit to such a thing but he was pretty confident he was right. Mostly he just wanted to see what Chen’s view was and what he might be willing to say regarding it.::
::Chen blushed a little. Greir had seemed pretty keen on touching his antennae on a couple of occasions, which was something that Andorians did not allow under normal circumstances. It was only because he felt the way he did for him that he had permitted it, and enjoyed it. Hearing that Greir knew that Andorians used their antennae for expression, which didn’t surprise him given his choice of profession, spurred him into an honest confession.::
Chen: You’re right, we do use them for expression. That happens without me thinking about it, almost like if a non-Andorian was smiling or scowling. I mean, I can stop them from moving if I concentrate, or move them however I want...

::He illustrated by looking upwards and wiggling the one closest to Greir.::
Reinard: ::With a wide, beaming grin:: That is so awesome!

Chen: Really? What about this?
::He wiggled both antennae independently of each other, which took a fair amount of concentration, but he felt it was worth it.::

Reinard: ::Chuckling:: Very impressive. I guess it’s like having extra fingers? But cooler... if we attach a small handkerchief to each one... we could make flag signals?
::Chen raised both eyebrows at the idea. Antennae were precious things, and as much as he was happy to give Greir access to them, he really didn’t like the idea of having things attached to them. He knew that Greir was only joking, so he held back his defensive instincts as much as possible.::
Chen: Maybe let’s not attach stuff to them... I think we could maybe just stick with antenna signals for now?
::He was still smiling and hadn’t taken any real offense, but the idea of that ever happening, even as a joke, was something he didn’t want to contemplate.::
Reinard: ::Smiling warmly, with a twinkle in his eye:: I'm just kidding Chen. I'd never attach anything to your antennae, heck i'd never be caught dead with a handkerchief anyway. Do I look like some doddery old fool? I just think it's really really cool how you can move them independently if you want to.
::Feeling more than a little bit silly, Chen laughed with relief, pleased that there wasn’t going to be an awkward moment.::

Chen: I’m glad. And you definitely don’t look like some doddery old fool. oO Far from it, in fact! Oo
::He decided to pick up the previous topic before an awkward silence ensued. As he reached the moment of his confession, he found himself blushing a little more, although he didn’t think twice about sharing the information he wanted to share.::
Chen: When we were doing that holoadventure, I was a bit worried that I was going to get busted because of my antennae. I kept pointing them at you without realising. That happens whenever we’re interested in something, or attracted to someone.
Reinard: ::Casually:: I had noticed, though at that point I wasn't sure whether it was just something you always did when talking to other people.
::It gave Greir butterflies in his belly to know that all this time, Chen had been attracted to him and he hadn’t even realised. Being a counsellor he felt he should have known but he hadn't had much chance to observe Chen's body language with other individuals. He held back from saying more than he already had because he was not and did not want to be perceived as a stalker. Especially right after confessing to willfully fielding him.::

Chen: But yeah, apparently they let me hear better than quite a few other species, and they can sense heat too. When you touch them I can feel you touching my skin, like any other part of my face, but I can sense the heat from your fingers even better than I normally would.

Reinard: That’s really awesome, and I bet the enhanced hearing helps you in your job too! Do you find being able to sense heat at all useful?
::It was certainly a useful ability to have, particularly in his line of work.::

Chen: Definitely... if you’re sneaking around trying to lift information from someone’s computer then it’s great as an early warning system if they’re about to get the drop on you. It lets you react first.
::He illustrated a sharp blow to the back of the head in mid air to underline his point. Of course, things in the field were never that simple, but every sense counted, that was for sure.::

::Greir was mighty impressed by both the reply and the accompanying action but then he'd always been drawn to strong men like Chen.::
Reinard: I never really thought of it like that, how brilliant is that!?
Chen: I’m pretty sure we have it because it means we can detect things like ice bores back home. They produce heat through exothermal reactions in their bodies which are strong enough to burn you if they say... drop on your head.
::Or on your back, which had happened to him once as a kid.::
Reinard: Yes that would explain it. ::Shuddering:: Sounds mighty painful.
::He remembered the trip to hospital. Fortunately, 24th Century medicine was advanced enough that he didn’t have to live with scars from the blisters that the experience had caused.::

Chen: Yeah, you do not want to be standing under a swarm of those guys when they come dropping into an ice tunnel. I can think of more fun ways to pass the time.
::As if to agree, Chen’s stomach grumbled loudly, adding its own voice to the conversation.::

Reinard: Either this area has some low level tectonic activity you forgot to mention or your stomach has taken to talking to you.
::Laughing sheepishly, Chen couldn’t help but agree. They’d been sat still for a while again, so it wouldn’t do Greir any harm to get back into the warm, either.::
Chen: ::Clearing his throat:: I think maybe my stomach was asking you if you’re ready to head back to my quarters for some food?
Reinard: Well hold a moment till I consult my stomach. ::He gave it a few prods and it answered with a rumble of its own:: Stomach says yes. Looks like you’re on!
Chen: Alright, then let’s go! Computer, arch!

::Inevitably, the landscape lost a little of its impact when the exit to the holodeck appeared a few paces in front of them, but that could be forgiven. Chen had thoroughly enjoyed the first part of the evening and he was really pleased that it didn’t have to end there. At one time he would have been preoccupied with hopes that the second part of the night would go as well as the first, but as things stood he was just looking forward to spending more quality time with Greir. Things seemed to be going better and better.::
((Deck 3: Chen’s Quarters))
::They talked about this and that on the short journey up two decks to Chen’s quarters. This would be the first time that Greir had visited Chen’s place, and he had spent part of the evening before making sure that his normally spick and span digs were as tidy as they could possibly be. His newly assembled trophy cabinet was in pride of place in his living area, alongside the currently deactivated wall-mounted screen that usually displayed a map of the alpha and beta quadrants. Inside, the silver bone he had claimed from his first holoadventure sat in the most visible place, at eye level on the second shelf down. Behind it, a miniature version of the man-tanks they had defeated stood guard.::
::His personal console faced the wall, closest to the door. The rest of the room was sparsely decorated but built well enough for comfort. A comfortable-looking sofa upholstered in black fabric faced the screen, while beyond, by the wall nearest to the replicator, a circular table made from eketha wood stood with two chairs. At the far end of the room lay Chen’s bed, decked out in silvery grey sheets and a Starfleet issue chest of drawers with some small carvings, made from the same wood as his dining table.::
::As they entered the room, Chen unzipped his hoody and dumped it on the chair facing his console. Beneath it, he was wearing a long-sleeved, snugly fitting V-neck top in the same grey. He rolled up his sleeves right away.::
Chen: Welcome to my castle!
::It wasn’t as big as Greir’s quarters, but Chen didn’t think for a second that would matter.::
::Greir looked around Chen’s quarters as he took off his jacket and was pleased to find it was as clean and tidy as he’d expected it to be. He thought of Chen as being an organised fellow who looked after himself so if he’d found the messy, smelly quarters of a slob he’d have been turned off a bit. He always felt that the way you kept your quarters or living space was a direct reflection of yourself. A person whose life was chaotic and out of control lived in chaotic conditions. So what he saw reinforced his perceptions of Chen.::

::Chen looked very appealing and sexy in his tightly fitting top which showed off that excellent physique. As much as he wanted just to stare and admire it he thought the better of it. His own top was a little more loosely fitting and in a shade of blue that exactly matched the blue of his coat. That was how particular he was about matching. It had a typically high collar, short sleeves and detail picked out in black.::
Reinard: Thank you Chen and may I say what a fine castle it is. ::Smiling::
::Once again, Greir’s choice of clothes made him look incredible. Chen was pleased that his quarters had gone down well. Knowing that they were both hungry he made a beeline for the replicator. He was looking forward to eating in some ways, but he had been really enjoying Greir’s company. Hopefully he would be able to stay a while, even if they were both on duty the next day.::

Chen: Thanks! I’ll get some food on the table before our stomachs start talking to each other again. How much do you trust me?

::He had already made his menu choice for the night and had a feeling it would go down well, but hyping up the mystery would add an element of fun to the mundane act of ordering replicated food.::

::Greir was a little surprised with the question.::
Reinard: What on a scale of one to ten? I don’t think you’re about to poison me otherwise I wouldn’t have come. ::Smirking::
Chen: ::Smiling:: OK, then I’ll get dinner sorted. While I do, there’s a bottle in the bottom of my chest of drawers over there. Could you grab it for me?
Reinard: Sure.
Chen: ::Smiling:: OK, then I’ll get dinner sorted. While I do, there’s a bottle in the bottom of my chest of drawers over there. Could you grab it for me?
Reinard: Sure.
::Greir was nosey by nature and had no particular reservations about rifling through Chen's things when he'd been more or less invited to.::
::He headed over to the chest of drawers and pulled open the bottom drawer. He immediately saw the bottle, which was square and pulled it out. The liquid was a yellowy green, almost lime colour. He turned the bottle this way and that, it seemed to glow when the light hit it.::
::Greir noticed there were some clothes in the drawer too. So he carefully laid the bottle to the side and started rooting through Chen's clothes. He unfolded them to get a good look and held one or two that caught his eye up as if to see if they'd fit.::
:: There was a blue hoody with details in orange. It looked cozy and something a fashion conscious guy such as himself could pull off easily. On closer inspection he saw there were two small holes in the hood for the antennae to go through. He stuck his fingers through the two holes and wiggled them.::
Reinard: ::Chuckling softly to himself:: This is so cool!

::Ordering two portions of Andorian honar and two glasses, Chen waited for the food to materialise before carrying it over to the table. The food was in two wide, cylindrical containers made from plain white ceramic that steamed merrily away as Chen got things set up.::

::Greir carefully folded everything and put it all back neatly as he’d found it. He picked up the bottle and stood up with it.::
Reinard: Is it this one, with the square bottle and slightly glowy yellowy-green liquid?
::Chen gave him a thumbs up from the dining table.::
Chen: Yeah, that’s the one! It’s a type of Andorian Ale called Glow-ale. I’ve been saving it for a while, but I figured tonight’s a good night to crack it open. Stuff like that is always better when you share it.
::Greir gently nudged the drawer shut and then took the bottle over to the table.He'd never tried the drink before and wasn't sure how strong it was or if he'd like it. He didn't even know if it was made with 'real' alcohol or synthehol. He wasn't about to admit to his lack of knowledge though to find out.::
Reinard: I quite agree. I'm sure it'll be great as you have taste impeccable.
::Wait. That hadn't come out quite right and had sounded differently in his head but it was too late to correct it.::
::Chen’s antennae twisted together as he saw the mixture of confusion and amusement on Greir’s face.::
Chen: Don’t worry. We both might be talking like that after a few glasses of this. And thanks by the way!
::Chen broke the seal on the bottle and poured some into both glasses. The familiar smell quickly reached his nostrils. It would be a night of nostalgia it seemed as he shared the things that reminded him of home with his new-found soul mate. He took his seat at the table and waited for Grier to do the same.::
Chen: I think you’ll like this. It’s called honar, which is a kind of Andorian fish stew. I remembered you saying when we first went out on DS6 that you were a fan of seafood, so it seemed like the perfect thing for us tonight.
::It was in a creamy sauce and contained meat from several varieties of native fish and shellfish, flavoured with herbs, and some vegetables that were similar to onions, which had been grown locally to Irimari. There were small plates of steamed seaweed and rice-like grain sat next to each of their bowl-like receptacles.::

::Greir loved Chen’s attention to detail and the fact he’d remembered his love of seafood. It was really very thoughtful of Chen to put on a fish dish just because he liked it. Greir would have been happy with anything short of bugs but was very impressed and flattered by the choice. His stomach rumbled with delight as he sat down with Chen!::
Reinard: Excellent choice, I can’t wait to try it. ::Enthusiastically::
::Chen could not have been happier with his reaction. It looked like he was building on the success of their visit to the holodeck and he could only see things getting better from here.::

Chen: Then go for it! I think that’s what your stomach just said!
::His own was quite likely to join in the conversation again as well if he didn’t put something in it soon. Picking up a spoon and fork, he got started on the honar, which was a very close approximation to the real thing.::
Chen: What do you think?
::Greir sampled each different piece of seafood in turn. He forced himself to eat it slowly and taste everything properly. It was all delicious though he was starting to develop favourites among the selection. ::
Reinard: This is very good indeed. I love it, what an excellent choice!
Chen: We used to have this whenever the skimmers came in with a big haul. If ever I saw zhavey at the market then I used to get overexcited. I haven’t had it in years.
::Back home it wasn’t really considered to be a treat, especially, it was just that his family made a big deal out of it. Now Greir was part of that ritual too.::

::Greir was no stranger to the coast himself and had grown up in a fishing family. The food in its way reminded him of his own home and upbringing. Of visiting his home town during the summers and going fishing with his dad.::
::Those were much happier days. Back then Gjord had seemed a lot more proud of him. His recent troubles came flooding back to him. He didn't want these arguments and bad recent memories to leave a bad taste in his mouth and sour the evening however. He forced his mind back to the happier days.::

Reinard: I grew up by the sea as well, at least I did in the summer when I was reunited with my brother and parents. My father is a fisherman. He used to make things like this all the time too and we grew up to have a fine appreciation for seafood!
::For a moment, Chen was worried that he’d forced Greir to think of his family, but the piece of information that he’d just offered was positive. Not only that, but the amount of things that they had in common, even indirectly in this case, was fantastic.::
Chen: ::Finishing off his mouthful before speaking.:: See, that’s why I thought honarmight be a good choice. Do you like seaweed too?

Reinard: Sure, it’s in my favourite skin care range. ::Thinking it was a strange question.::
::Chen looked at him in wonderment.::
Chen: You can use it on your skin?
Reinard: Yeah absolutely, it’s meant to have restorative properties. Why?
Chen: ::Laughing:: OK, because that’s what that is... ::he pointed to the plate of greenery next to Greir’s honar.::

::Greir picked up up and gave it a slightly nasty look. They had something like this on Til’Ahn so it wasn’t completely unfamiliar. He wasn’t sure he liked the texture of it.::

Reinard: Am I supposed to eat it?
::The easiest way to show Greir that he didn’t have anything to worry about was to grab a mouthful of the seaweed himself, which Chen did. As it had been steamed, it tasted less salty than the seaweed he’d eaten during his academy days, on Earth. He swallowed it before answering.::

Chen: It’s definitely edible. I know the idea of it sounds a bit strange, but it’s not as bad as you might think. I think it’s quite tasty, but if you don’t like it then don’t worry.

::Greir watched Chen for a moment and looked as if he was weighing it up before following his example. If Chen was going to eat it then he’d give it a try. Maybe this seaweed was nicer than the average lot. In his view they called it a weed for a reason and it wasn’t to encourage consumption.::
Reinard: You know, it’s not so bad. ::Smiling with relief.::

Chen: Great!
::He wouldn’t have been offended if Greir had decided not to try it; in some ways, replicating Andorian food had been a little bit of a risk and he didn’t expect Greir to like everything he did. That was part of the fun of getting to know each other better though; the reward came through finding those areas of common ground in which they could share. Chen wanted to know everything about Greir and he’d kept him talking about food for long enough for the time being. They both continued eating for a moment before Chen spoke up again.::
Chen: So, I’ve been wondering... what is it that got you into counselling?
::Greir chewed on a mouthful of food as he considered it. He'd been asked enough times but he'd only ever given a straight answer when it had been asked by an interviewer.::
Reinard: I've always been interested in history and what makes people tick. When my people made first contact with so many new species in such a short time I was fascinated. I wanted to learn everything I could about these new species, who they are, where they've come from and what makes them tick. All things considered, it seemed a natural career choice. My family had other plans for me.
::He wondered not for the first time if all of this was just his way of running away from his responsibility.::
::That sounded like far too familiar a story and Chen couldn’t believe that they would attempt to make such a presumptuous decision for him.::

Chen: They didn’t want to let you follow your own career path? What did they want you to do?

::He hadn't really talked of it before but sitting here with Chen, it didn't feel uncomfortable or awkward. He trusted Chen completely and actually felt happy to discuss it. It felt as though he might be able to understand.::
Reinard: I was to be a fisherman and help run the family business. As much as I like fish and fishing, I prefer it in small doses. To do it every day would be a very repetitive and dull job. I have a low tolerance for boredom.
::Chen remembered the reference to the family business from the previous night, although Greir hadn’t gone into as much detail. It seemed like this was a deep-seated problem, which was a shame because it really shouldn’t have been. On the plus side, Greir seemed happy enough to talk about it without it seeming to bother him too much right now.::
Chen: I guess it really would get boring very quickly. Intelligent people like to keep their brains busy, right?
::Being able to read people’s facial expressions and body-language was an important part of Chen’s job, but he knew that what he was used to dealing with only ran skin deep. What really lay underneath was intriguing; he had no clue where to begin in dealing with it.::
Chen: What part of counselling do you enjoy the most? Or parts, I guess... it might be hard to narrow it down to one thing?
Reinard: ::Scratching the base of his neck:: It'll sound very corny but I just like getting to know people and helping them get to grips with any problems they may be experiencing. It was good on the star base because I was the family support specialist and I found that a particularly rewarding role.

Chen: Do you miss it? Y’know, now you’re wearing a red collar and you’re the super awesome first officer?

::Greir's ego was inflated predictably by the compliment and he wore an impish grin.::
Reinard: Yeah, I do miss it. I've done it so long and become so good at it that it's second nature. This new role is... different and i'm still adapting to it. I had not been specifically looking for a move into command. Sometimes I wonder if I should have turned it down. The hardest thing is seeing a counselling issue and walking away from it, leaving it to the other counsellors.
::Thinking how that might be if he was in Greir’s shoes, Chen couldn’t imagine walking away from a potential intelligence find and leaving it for someone else to pick up.::
Chen: I can see how that would be hard. But, I bet a lot of the skills you learned as a counsellor are transferrable, right? Like, managing personnel and keeping them on your side at the same time, analysing what skills people have and giving them the right job? That sort of thing?
Reinard: Yeah absolutely. My concern is that there are some situations I'm not as prepared for as I'd like.

::It was a very rare admission indeed and though he didn't say it, he was referring to combat scenarios. He could handle a phaser if he had to but in the history of his career he had very rarely needed to.::
::Fitting into a new role could always be a little intimidating, of course, but Chen was confident that Greir would be all over it in no time. Positivity was one of the parts of Greir’s character that Chen found himself drawn to and he didn’t seem to be one to rest on his laurels. Before too much longer, Chen had no doubt that he would be able to see Greir in any situation, telling the crew at large that “he’d got this!”::
Chen: Well, I’m glad you didn’t turn it down. The Vigilant’s lucky to have you for people to look up to.
Reinard: Thank you Chen. I just want to do the very best I can for them and I’m confident I’ll grow into it. It's just a matter of time.
::They had continued eating as while they were chatting. Chen waited until Greir had scooped up his last mouthful before grabbing his plate for recycling.::
Chen: Definitely. You’re gonna nail it! I have every confidence in you. In fact, Captain Herrera better watch out, or you’ll be in his seat next!
Reinard: With the rate my career has been progressing I would not be surprised to find myself in his seat very soon. ::Smiling:: That was delicious, thank you again.
::The honar had been quite filling, but after the walk in the brisk air of a simulated Andorian hillside, Chen was ready to follow up with dessert right away.::
Chen: You ready for the next course?

Reinard: I sure am! ::Brightly.


::He was quite excited to see what else Chen had in mind for them though he hoped it wasn’t a huge portion. Hungry as he’d been when he sat down he was now reaching a point where he’d had enough.::
::This was where the Andorian theme came to an abrupt end. There was only one choice of dessert in Chen’s eyes: ice-cream. He’d found himself hooked on the stuff after the first time he’d tried it.::
Chen: Well... this is a bit more of a human treat, but I was thinking of having some raspberry ice-cream. You up for that? The replicator can do more flavours than I can count...

Reinard: Sounds good! Raspberry will be fine.

::He didn’t realise he was falling into the newly developed habit of just going for whatever Chen was having. He’d had the human dessert before once or twice and liked it well enough, especially if it was in a fruity flavour. He was getting tired of talking about himself and wanted to put the focus back on Chen again.::
Reinard: What about you, what got you into intelligence?
::Chen returned to the table with the freshly replicated dessert and placed Greir’s in front of him. He ran his spoon around the inside of his bowl, scooping away at the edges of his ice cream as he considered the question.::
Chen: You’ll laugh, but it’s because I was a nosey kid!
Reinard: ::Laughing lightly as it reminded him of himself:: Really? I mean really?
Chen: Seriously, I had to know everything that was going on with all of my friends, and it got to a point where I became interested in what the other kids at school were up to and I would listen in on conversations all the time. Man, did it get me into trouble sometimes!
::Eavesdropping was something that seemed to universally tick people off. He’d been on the receiving end of one or two tongue-lashings and in one or two fights during his time at school for knowing more than he should have.::
Reinard: I bet it did but I bet it came in useful too.
Chen: I guess as I grew up I kept that same level of curiosity about what was going on, but I channeled it into something more useful and more relevant. I always used to like watching the news and keeping track of what was going on. Things went from there, I guess.
::Eavesdropping and ‘stealing’ information from a social setting had dropped way off the bottom of his agenda in those formative years. He still found the skills he’d inadvertently practised as a young chan useful in his current line of work, though.::
Reinard: That makes a lot of sense. What do you enjoy most about being an intelligence officer then?
Chen: I think the thing I enjoy most about my job now is the fact that whatever information I can find out can potentially be used to help keep people safe. I like being on the cutting edge of that. That’s one reason why being so close to Zalkonian space is so appealing.

::The fact that he would be one of the officers directly involved in picking up news from the Zalkonian border meant a lot to him, as did the fact that he was once again cementing himself as a valuable asset to Starfleet.::

Reinard: Why the Zalkonians? Is it because we know so little about them, or because of the last mission... or something else entirely?

::He had initially found the Zalkonians fascinating and had initially considered joining them when they’d made first contact with his people. So he was curious to know what Chen’s interest in them was. He wondered how many Laudeans had joined the Zalkonians and what had happened to them.::

Chen: It’s because they’re an unknown. There’s this political power that seems to be growing in strength and we have no idea what they’re up to because they’re so secretive. We’ve already found out enough to know that we were right to suspect that they’re dangerous. Anything I can help find out while I’m here will help the Federation to protect themselves from whatever they’re planning. Even better, though, if we can stay enough steps ahead of them, it might help to keep the peace.

::And if it did, either through his own contributions or that of the crew as a whole, then he would consider that to be a major victory. Protecting people had always been important to him as well... which had led to even more fights at school. He didn’t want to bring that up, though. He didn’t want to make himself look like a thug in front of Greir.::
Reinard: Yes that last encounter with them was pretty troubling. There are a lot of unanswered questions and it still doesn’t sit well with me what they did to Gullah.

::Greir licked both sides of his spoon slowly as he contemplated the mission and its outcome. With Chen now doing a lot more of the talking he was savoring the taste of his ice cream and making good progress with it. ::

::Gullah’s fate was probably the least of it all but he had invested so much time and effort into helping him only for him to be snuffed out so unceremoniously.::
::Chen paused just before scarfing another spoonful of ice cream. He’d heard what had happened to Gullah and he always found it difficult to come to terms with the fact that some regimes were comfortable with executing their citizens on a whim. His antennae lowered a little as he contemplated it.::

Chen: I agree. And that’s why I hope that the more we can find out about the Zalkonians, the better geared up we’ll be to prevent something like that from happening next time.
Reinard: I sure hope so anyway. ::Pushing his spoon around his now empty bowl absently::

::Down to the last drops of melted ice-cream in his bowl, Chen was beginning to realise that the tone of the conversation was getting more serious than it really needed to. He’d been hoping to take Greir’s mind off work and his responsibilities rather than remind him of them. The night was a treat, for both of them.::

Chen: :Smiling:: Well, that got pretty deep, I guess. Are you done with your bowl?

Reinard: Yes thanks, that was a good choice again Chen. ::Smiling::

::Dropping them into the replicator to tidy up, Chen returned, and picked up his glass and the bottle of glow-ale.::
Chen: I think we should find somewhere more comfortable to sit. Then I’ve got a really deep question for you...
::He pulled out a small table from alongside the sofa and set the bottle and his glass down, then took a seat, waiting for Greir to do the same. He watched him as he walked over from the dining table; his antennae were focused on him again and now he knew what that meant he would be able to read Chen like a book. His first instinct was to move them, but then he realised it was OK and he didn’t have to hide anything any more. That was a good thing; he could already feel his heartbeat beginning to rise as Greir approached. He hoped he was going to stay for a long while as he knew that he could not get enough of him right now.::

::Greir sat down suitably close to Chen without sitting on him or pinning him in the corner. He crossed one leg over the other and slightly turned it so it was pointing towards Chen.::
Reinard: So what’s this really deep question? ::Flashing his eyebrows up and down mischievously::
::Chen grinned mischievously as he revealed this mysteriously deep question.::
Chen: OK, so my question is... ::he paused to build suspense:: just exactly how is it that you manage to look so [...] good all the time?
Reinard: Well the average guy would have to browse the latest fashion news and constantly keep on top of the latest fashions. Take pride, time and care in careful grooming. You know all the time consuming stuff. I don’t have to worry about any of that, I just fall out of bed and admire myself in the mirror. I just have that much natural sex appeal you see... ::Somewhere between serious and joking::
::Chen’s antennae went half-way towards twisting together, which was a tough ask when they were riveted on Greir. The thing was, it was true. He remembered stubbly Greir and his grin widened. This guy would look good if someone put him in a storage bin and cut a hole in the top for him to poke his head through. Chen turned himself to face Greir as he delivered the line about sex appeal; he wasn’t wrong about that. He felt like he was being drawn in by a magnet. He reached over, tracing the detail on Greir’s neckline with a finger before grabbing onto the shirt and pulling him closer.::

Chen: [...] right you do...
::Greir hadn't expected that response but wasn't about to complain as it was most welcome indeed. He allowed himself to be pulled in and twisted the fingers of one hand in the fabric at the bottom on Chen's top idly.::
::He was kissing him again before he even had time to consciously think about it. He hadn’t wanted to stop back on the holodeck and he felt like it was a miracle that he’d managed to hold himself back through the meal. The hand that had pulled Greir in rested on his collar bone for a moment before sliding up to gently touch his neck.::
::Greir felt a nervous excitement and thrill he hadn't got from any of the dates he'd picked up over the last few years. He'd only been on a few dates with Chen but was already heavily invested in him emotionally. He hoped the perfect date would have a perfect ending.::
::He had a very clear idea in his head about where he wanted this to go and was used to being in charge. His free hand pressed firmly on Chen's shoulder, at the base of his neck as he slowly shifted himself into a more dominant position. The hand that had been fiddling with his t-shirt tugged it up a bit so he could feel Chen's strong muscular chest.::

::Quite happy for Greir to take the lead, Chen settled into a comfortable position, his hands slipping around Greir's waist. He felt his shirt rise and Greir's hand touch his chest and his breathing quickened. He let himself enjoy the sensation, his own hands tugging at the back of Greir's shirt and finding their way underneath it to caress his back.The more Greir touched him, the more he wanted him to touch him; almost reluctantly, Chen pulled back from him for a few seconds, keeping eye contact for as long as possible as he took off his shirt and dropped it onto the floor.::
::Greir enjoyed looking into those beautiful green Andorian eyes that had a strange, almost liquid quality to them that made them especially appealing. Once the shirt hit the deck however it was increasingly difficult to maintain eye contact. When he could resist it no longer he finally allowed his eyes to roam all over Chen's body, with his fingers quickly following suit.::

::By now, adrenaline was coursing through Chen's veins and his antennae, still facing towards Greir, were beginning to writhe slowly. His hands found their way to Greir's back once again, this time travelling further under his shirt. He continued to feel sparks from the contact and caught tantalising glimpses of Greir's body as the hem of his shirt lifted at the front. Giving in to temptation, he teased it further and further upwards, pulling it over his head before allowing Greir to finish the job and add it to the pile.::

::Greir was enjoying every touch and glanced down at himself briefly after discarding his shirt before returning his attention to Chen. His breathing was much quicker now but he barely noticed as he returned Chen's affections with increased vigor and passion.::
::Their energy seemed to flow as one and the feeling was pure and blissful. As he kissed and nuzzled Chen's neck his eyes drifted shut. He shifted a little again, letting his body do what it wanted, which right now involved pressing down on Chen.::

::Chen could feel Greir's heart racing, just like his own. He welcomed the warmth of his body, responding by weaving his forearm around the small of his back, pressing them together. His fingers spread wide as they explored his skin. His other hand reached up to absently ruffle through Greir's hair and the writhing motion of his antennae became more exaggerated. He had never felt anything this intense before and it took him a while to find his voice before he could speak.::

Chen: I wanna keep you for the whole night...

::He wanted to keep him forever, and if the night could fill that space then Chen would have no objections at all. The hand that had been playing with Greir’s hair slipped down onto the muscles of his upper back. His heart continued to pound as he revelled in the chance to explore the perfect physique that he had wanted to see for so long.::

::Greir put a finger up to Chen's lip. Things were getting more and more intense and he decided it was time to take things to the next level. He wanted to claim this Andorian as his own and that's fully what he intended to do.::
Reinard: ::Into Chen’s ear, confidently:: You're mine.
TBC
A JP by
PNPC Lieutenant Chen
Intelligence Officer
USS Vigilant
NCC-75515
SIMmed by: Captain Diego Herrera
and
Lt Cmdr Reinard
First Officer
USS Vigilant
NCC-75515

END

Edited by Kotir Arith
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Just a quick note - some of the dialogue is duplicated. This was my own error that I made, since it was originally a 10 post sim which I combined into one for the basis of the top sim. So please don't let that human error spoil this awesome sim :)

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