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JP Capt. Shayne and Cmdr. MacKenna - Where The Wild Things Aren't (Part 2)

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One of the awesome things about our format here is how it allows us to explore an evolving dynamic between our PCs and NPCs. And one of my absolute favorite dynamics has always been the burgeoning relationship between @Randal Shayne and @Kali Nicholotti's Ash MacKenna. This piece here is just one example of a whole slew of truly striking and sweet developments that I've been rapturously following between the missions.

Please enjoy!


((Off the Grid, Raft-One))


Shayne: I don’t know- shall we? 


He was actually asking. This was somewhere he was most definitely not in control, and his thin thread of self-trust rested entirely upon her slim shoulders. 


They continued forward, the sounds growing louder. The light was closer now, though not much more distinct. Shayne still had to squint in the low light still, but more as a result of what he saw as opposed to what he couldn’t. 


The primary source of the light was above the scene; a chandelier with lit and melting candles. Burnished bronze that looked both dispensed with and intricately added to the area, bent and warped reflections. Rich wood furniture- tables and chairs and short stair cases to an upper level- were accompanied by a bar. The scent of foods, both familiar and not, lingered in the air, and the place was reasonably filled with people- Federation species and others mingling, talking, drinking, playing kal-toh and poker and kotra. Wait… kotra… that was a Cardassian game! And sure enough, one of the players, now looking at Shayne and Ash curiously, was very distinctly Cardassian. What was this place? 


As for Ash, she simply moved in and about as if she’d been there many times before. Of course she hadn’t been but once or twice, but there were more than one of these so-called refuges around the galaxy. She had simply been a little surprised to have found one there, at Raft-one. 


Though perhaps she should have been, given the history of their administrator. Offering an unfocused nod in the direction of the questions left unspoken, Ash led Shayne to an out of the way table.


MacKenna: Don’t mind them.


After all, it was in the very nature of a spy to be wary and questioning, even in places where protections allowed for most of their guard to be down.


Shayne: You know these people?


He followed MacKenna’s lead as best he could, but couldn’t keep the look of surprise off his features. 


MacKenna: Not as much. I know what they are, not necessarily who.


The table, made of hard, solid, and real wood, polished to a shine that helped to reflect the low lighting in a private sort of way, was almost welcoming as they took their seats. Looking up, she let her eyes settle in his for the first time since they’d entered. Now she could relax as much as being out among people would allow her to. 


Shayne: I’m… I don’t understand. This place can’t be on the primary directory. I would have noticed it. 


A rather dapper looking fellow appeared, dressed to the hilt with a small towel across one arm and provided them each with an actual menu. With a slight bow, he rattled off a few of the specials and then retreated. On the thick paper, embossed with shimmering black and gold inks, were listings of exquisite entrees that might have even made Quentin blush. From one of the rarest fish on Risa, prepared traditionally and served on a bed of oskoid, to aged beef from the one cow slaughtered that year from the first herd transported to Mars, what could be acquired there, was not like anything that could be acquired elsewhere.


MacKenna: It’s a haven. We don’t really talk about it, we just enjoy the momentary ability to breathe. 


She paused a moment, looking over the menu.


MacKenna: Anything look interesting to you?

Shayne answered honestly, but his eyes were darting around the room. 


Shayne: Yes. Everything.


The redhead couldn't help but grin across the table at the man she loved. Setting the menu down, she stood back up and reached over for his hand to lead him out from the table. In any other setting, at any other time, she wouldn’t dream of this, but in such a haven, where the shadows allowed some obscurity, there was a sense of empowerment. 


MacKenna: Dance with me.


Not far, on the outskirts of the room, shadows teased of dark places that made all within the room feel at home. Ash found such an edge that happened to be also a part of the not-empty, but not packed dance floor and she wrapped her arms around his neck.


Shayne nearly blanched. 


Shayne: Here?! With them?!

He kept his voice to a low hiss. He wouldn’t say no to even this immediately- Ash deserved better- but his dismay was absolute. This wasn’t like her. 


Everywhere, and nowhere, the sounds of live music - just the type you’d expect in such an establishment - drifted around them like a lazy river. The curious looks of others had long since faded, and the shadows kept them from any sort of spotlight. Leaning her head against his shoulder, Ash knew that regardless of what else came, this was the night they needed.


He wanted to panic. If not panic, then startle, or detach from the moment in a display of misplaced tactical acumen. But the head on his shoulder, the hair that laid on his tux, belonged to the woman he had learned to love the long way around. He felt her heart against his; it always beat a little quicker than his own, and yet here… here it was slow. Calm. Soft. She was safe here. Not as a fact. As a truth. She was safe here. And if that was the case, so was he. His questions ran rampant, his need for answers was unabated, but in this enclave between worlds, in this twilight zone of what might be, he decided to simply hold her tight, and dance, long into the night. The answers would wait. 


He had a dance to attend. 




Commander Ash MacKenna

Chief Intelligence Officer

USS Arrow





Captain Randal Shayne

Commanding Officer

USS Arrow

NCC 69829


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