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Ensign Ruwon & PNPC Ditala - Safety in Stealth

Trellis Vondaryan

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((Ruwon’s Quarters - Deck 14 - USS Za))
[Time Index - 3 Hours After ‘Mother’s’ Death]
::Ruwon got back to his quarters late at night - certainly far after his shift had ended. Given the circumstances of the firefights and the invasion, he didn’t doubt he’d be up again in just a few hours.
But he had one rather pressing issue to deal with before he collapsed. He stood just inside the door and looked around his silent apartments. The lights had dimmed automatically as ‘night’ set in, and to most the place would have looked untouched. His cold cup of coffee still sat on the kitchen table. A book lay on the couch. The door to his bedroom was open, the sheets undisturbed since he’d folded them back into order that morning. 
Ruwon knew the place a bit better by now, though. The couch retained the creases along the arms it’d had this morning. The ottoman was still underneath the coffee table. The kitchenette cabinets were still open from when Ditala hadn’t been able to find her favorite cup. 
There was one tell, though: a slight smear of rubber on the glass top of the lounge’s side table. Ruwon walked up to it, balancing on one knee and reaching up to the ceiling above. 
He knocked three times on the ceiling panel, then drummed it with his fingers. A few moments later, it slid back. 
Looking down at him from the dark void above were the glittering eyes of Ditala. She took only a second to make sure it was him before she ducked out of sight and pulled the panel all the way back. ::
Ditala: Dad! You took forever! 
Ruwon: ::He held his arms up to her as she swung her legs out:: Sorry, Arrie. Things were complicated this time around. 
Ditala: No kidding? I was in here for...for forever! Wait, hold on - ::She reached behind her in the hidey-hole and pulled out a disruptor.:: Take this first. 
::Ruwon set the gun aside before helping the girl down. She braced herself on his shoulders so she could click the entrance back into place; it sealed against the other panels invisibly, hiding the fact Ruwon had carefully cut it loose over a month ago.:: 
Ditala: What happened? 
Ruwon: ::He put her down on the floor, standing up. She then took stock of him - the dirty uniform, his messed up hair, the circles under his eyes.:: Hijacking, Arrie. By worms. 
Ditala: ::Ditala wrinkled her nose.::...right. Sure.
Ruwon: It’s a bit more complex than that. But they’re all dead now. ::He sagged onto the couch. It’d never felt so welcome.::
Ditala: ::She frowned.:: How many of ours did it take to accomplish that? 
Ruwon: ::He reached out and ruffled her hair.:: One dead.
Ditala: Just one?
Ruwon: It’s something of a miracle, given the circumstances.
::Ditala picked up her gun and set the safety before turning it off, her face a mix of uncertainty and impassiveness. ::
Ruwon: Arrie - we’ve got a new rule.
Ditala: ::She looked up.:: We do? 
Ruwon: Yes. ::He sat back up again.:: We need a password.
Ditala: Why?
Ruwon: ::He hesitated, running a hand over his face.:: Let’s just say there’s a chance when I come to get you, I might not be...me. 
::His daughter eyed him thoughtfully, then nodded.::
Ditala: Okay. ::She thought for a moment.:: Pufferfish. 
Ruwon: Pufferfish. 
Ditala: We’ll change it monthly? 
Ruwon: ::Ruwon nodded, then smirked slightly.:: Why pufferfish? 
Ditala: ::She shrugged.:: We learned about them in class today. If you eat ‘em wrong, they’ll kill you.
::He laughed softly - tiredly. He wanted to sleep...well, take a shower and then sleep. Maybe he could sleep in the shower stall...he sat up and looked at his daughter with what might have been fatherly concern, had he had the face for it.::
Ruwon: Did you do your homework?
Ditala: Dad! I was in that crawlspace for - for hours!
Ruwon: ...and?
Ditala: I didn’t have much else to do, so….
Ruwon: ::He ruffled her hair.:: That’s my girl.
PNPC Ditala
Child / Civilian
Ensign Ruwon


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