|The Continuing Adventures (Epilogue)|
It seems almost insane that, having finally escaped the singularity that is Twisted, Liyara is heading right back in. But, sometimes she's a sucker for a pretty brain - and Yoiko definitely has a beautiful mind. As such, the Dragon-lady is all too easy to lead - at first. However, even Yoiko's excitement and almost reckless enthusiasm can only keep Liyara's rationality at bay for so long. To be honest, the pair barely make it to the door of Yoiko's cabin before Liyara's stride begins to diminish.
"Right, hold on. We are in a hurry, but this is my first time in real space in over a year." The redhead puts one hand on her hip and grins. "...Time actually works normally here, right?" She cricks her neck, and lifts her other hand to trace a brief burning sigil in the air. It's an intricate circle with burning mandalas and closely-layered lines that resemble circuitry in the broadest of senses. And then it's gone, and there's a low 'ping!' sound as Liyara's basic scan confirms that, yes, they are on the prime material plane, and yes, there is such a thing as normally flowing time. Oh thank Tiamat.
"Which means I can actually work spells here." ... She wasn't using spells back on Twisted? How-- no wait, why bother asking? She'll merely reply that she's 'just that hot'. You can tell. Look at her eyes. She's waiting for it.
But since she's ignoring the obvious she almost ignores the importance of Liyara's questioning as well, raising an eyebrow and moving her mouth in an attempt to reply wordlessly before walking into the carefully set trap with a smile dancing across her features. She would ask the expected question anyways but frankly I can't stand the thought of having to type that bit of the conversation. GET A ROOM YOU TWO! Record it! Sell it online! Watch as the droves of horny fanboys pay dearly for every pixelated detail of your cross-reality escapades!
"Didn't your friend nearly murdering you earlier make that clear?" STOP THAT. No dialogue when I'm not prepared to narrate you!
"Yes! No? I was mostly focused on not-dying, I wasn't thinking clearly." Is that an admission of error? A mistake? Nah, couldn't be. "Now! First things first." Liyara, still keeping one hand on her cocked hip, holds the other hand out. She actually has red nail polish on her nails - is that new? Maybe she dolled herself up a bit. "May I see your phaser? It's as fine a time as any to grant it the ability to burn gods and devils." To do who and what now? "It's too clever a weapon by half to be defeated by basic defensive enchantments." What's she going to do, make it a +2 phaser? ... Oh no, she might actually.
"And after that, I have a few spell scrolls I need to make. In case Medical Mechanica decides to trap me in another exploding universe. Or. I don't know. Drops a mountain on me." Are these... are these real concerns of hers? "Won't take but a minute. Maybe two." Plenty of time for her to take in that engineering genius in obvious-but-not-too-obvious glances that would be much less conspicuous if the dragon didn't smile to herself after each one. What is she, a teenager? Well. Maybe in dragon-years.
Ahh, two consenting adults comparing themselves to drunken teenagers. Hmmm? What's this? I'm getting mail. How does one send mail here? Oh! Oh I see. People think I have no business in this, part three of an on-going scene? I'll have you know I have every right to be here! Not everything I narrate has to have some importance to my own plotline! Maybe I just want to sit here and watch these two go at it? Maybe I've decided I've sat quietly too long and these two need a push to just GET IT OVER WITH. *DING* Or maybe I was waiting for my dinner to finally finish! Fine, fine. Narrate yourselves for a while. I'm sure there's a rerun of Serenity or something I could watch instead.
Yoiko rubs her head as if recovering from a headache. "...you ever hear of the human expression 'someone walked over my grave'? I swear, it's like an elephant just marched over mine." THAT'S NOT HOW THAT WORKS! "Sorry, yeah. Here." She reaches behind herself and pulls out a small Type 1 phaser. It's a black, small-ish weaker version of the phaser most people think of when they think of Star Trek which is sometimes carried around for protection. Maybe she should have used that sooner! "Just don't fire it inside or we're going to have security all over us again."
Briefly she rolls her eyes and tilts her head from side to side as she does the mental arithmetic. "If we've got the time dilation accounted for with the transporter beam, we could leave now and it'd only be a few hours later for you." Yoiko grins mischievously, "so technically we could wait as long as you like. Of course I'm basically gonna go AWOL over this so it's not like it matters on this side of things."
In truth, Liyara has never actually worked proper ritual magic outside of her home universe. Sure, she's done it at the weaker levels by substituting her own blood for the magic suffusing the weave, and making maddeningly complex adjustments to account for Twisted's lack of time. But proper, actual ritual magic without bleeding the dragon dry? That sources energy from places outside herself. And rightly so. Who wants to draw the energy to rip open a hole in spacetime from their own bloodstream? Not this lady.
Fortunately, the most basic enchantments aren't exactly calling on the higher powers or in any way complicated. Liyara pulls out a small emerald before her fingers trace briefly burning sigils and symbols onto the device. The emerald slowly evaporates, granting the phaser the ability to pierce the most basic defensive magics, and - it just so happens - improving both the accuracy and potency of the device by roughly fifteen percent. Analysis with a tricorder would reveal the improved efficiency, and an unknown change that isn't actually (yet) quantifiable by federation technology. Well, everyone has room to improve, right?
After the very minor light show, Liyara hands the device back and her eyes lid a bit. "...Tempting as it may be, I don't think Hoshi is going to wait more than a day before he can find me again. Or maybe he's gone off to find someone with a pearl of power to..." The auburn-haired woman blinks, and then laughs nervously. "Anyway, I don't think we should wait too long, is all I'm trying to say."
Right. Good. Didn't say anything too embarrassing. Worrying what other people think of you is exhausting! She thought she'd gotten over that, but no, she had to go and meet someone. Ugh! The horror!
Yoiko takes back her phaser, eyeing it suspiciously. Where it not for the time she's spent on Twisted she would already be examining every nook and cranny to see what (if anything) is different but for the moment she's content knowing something most likely has been changed and she can't help but wonder to herself how long it will be before she gets to see it first-hand. Perhaps at the end of this very scene as the unknown Klingon presence makes itself known-yes, yes. I know. I said I was going to go eat. Look, this is the last time I do any of you any favors. Not that I'd count it as a favor. If anything I was offering something far more interesting and exciting than th-"That's fair. What do we need to do to clear off the rest of your bucket list while we're here?" THE NERVE OF HER TALKING OVER ME! Fine, fine. Your narrator is on strike then.
"Well..." Liyara eyes Yoiko almost like she can see the gears turning in her head. Further examination may have to wait, but the draconic diva can certainly enjoy knowing that Yoiko is anxious to get to it. "Next is a pretty handy spell - Rory's telepathic bond." The woman reaches into the pouch at her hip, which can certainly only have room to carry a few rolls of quarters... and pulls out a full scroll and parchment set easily three times the length of the thing. Magic. La.
"Lets you communicate across vast distances for a day or so, without anyone being able to hear you." Liyara glances at Yoiko's kit. "...and without needing any..." Don't say baubles. Don't say trinkets. Definitely don't say toys. "...tech." Success!
The woman is already tracing runes and sigils in the air, and her second hand comes into the work for this one, as the lines she solders into the fabric of reality glow and pulse, not a bright orange like her imitation spellwork on Twisted, but a pleasant, cool blue. It's calming, to be honest. Basically the opposite of her blood magic. "...I figure then I'll put together some shrouds, snowstorms, divinations, and plane shifts. Maybe even a clone for good measure." She winks at Yoiko, as if any of that makes sense.
"It wouldn't have made sense to me a year ago, but I'm assuming you're making things to take back to Twisted with you so they work correctly when you need them."
"Although I do kinda think we should go somewhere to do this rather than simply standing in the middle of a corridor?"
*foot tap tap tap*
"Unless you like the idea of continuing to make yourself the center of attention?"
"Oh, you know I do." Liyara winks again. "...But almost done." Liyara offers a winning smile that could melt the heart of a frost giant, and in fact has at least once in her long and storied career. Her brilliant viridian eyes seem to pulse with life and excitement, and she finishes her sigil with one last stroke of her finger.
In a distant villa that at once has the appearance of a lovely summer cottage and a pleasant winter home, rain falls outside. A young boy that seems to be somewhere between the ages of twelve and three million is playing with his toy sword. "En Garde! Take that, villain!" He parries, parries, and then thrusts at the air, stabbing an imaginary foe through the heart.
The boy stops, looking around to see an old wall telegraph circa the 1800s. He blinks twice, having never actually noticed the phone there. It rings again, and he starts, and then yells out. "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMM!!!"
An older woman, who is in her mid-thirty-billions, but doesn't look a day over twenty, wanders into the room, cleaning her hands off. "What is it, dear?" Her voice has the weary edge of eons behind it, and she swears, if the child asks her if he can visit earth ONE MORE TIME...
The woman blinks. And then she looks to her son. He has wide eyes as he speaks. "Mom... that NEVER rings."
"Quite." The woman offers a curt response, then looks to her son for a moment longer before sighing and gesturing towards the device. "Well? You can go ahead and answer it if you like."
"REALLY?!?" The boy's exuberance is catchy, and oracles along an entire galactic arm all suddenly wail and warn of danger and chaos approaching as he waddles his way over towards the telegraph and takes it down. Ah. It's a request from a dragon! He hasn't seen a dragon in... ... he actually hasn't seen a dragon! "Oh boy! Oh boy!" This will go well. "...Who's Rory? Oh well. I get the basic idea!" SO well.
Back in the station, Liyara finishes her sigil with pursed lips, and gives the center of the ritual circle a little 'boop' for good measure. It's cute.
Perfectly made, as usual~ Liyara's voice echoes into Yoiko's head. Wait, in her head? There's a moment where Liyara's eyes go wide, and then an incredible onrush of emotion and thoughts flood forward at incredible speed. Waitnonotyetthisissupposedtobeascrollwhatifyoikohearsthoughtsthataresupposedtobesecretlikehowshewouldlookgreatinheelsohgodsnostopwh--
The deluge stops after an eternal moment, thoughts suddenly clamped down on by sheer will, and Liyara's face is red. Just, beet, beet red. There's a heavy pause, then. So. There has been a complication. She looks at the scroll, and it says "You wanted to be telepathic, right? You're welcome!" And there's a signature. IN ENGLISH. "P.S. If I got it wrong, just use this scroll to call me. IOU. Tata!" Liyara's eye twitches. Visibly.
"...Who. In the Nine Hells. Is Trelane?"
(P.O.V. Overhead - YOIKO HAX leans against a wall, wiping the blood away with the back of her hand.)
YOIKO HAX (cont.)
(P.O.V. Wide angle, side)
YOIKO HAX (cont.)
The man who doesn't believe in magic? What kind of barbaric nonsense would he do, try to cut the telepathy out of me? Liyara's nostrils flare, as her own reddened face slowly returns to its normal hue. She takes a deep breath, calming herself. Well. This could be worse. At least they followed the basic principles, and we aren't confusing our feelings for each other's.
Liyara purses her lips, knitting her brows together for a moment before using a visible effort of will to speak rather than tele-speak. "...I once had a pair of students who tried to make a more... romantic... version of the bond. Poor dears didn't know who was who for almost eight hours." She winces, in memory. "...It wasn't as pleasant as they thought it would be. To put it mildly."
She seems to come more fully to her senses then at Yoiko's admission that she owns heels. "That's... hmm." The thought does appeal -- oh, stop that, you! Liyara gives her own temple a flick, then notices Yoiko's nosebleed. "...But maybe you should?"
"See the doctor, I mean."
Have we come to the agreement that this scene is more boring without me? I mean, sure there's been some drama, some minor excitement but a nosebleed? Where is the style? Where's the panache? Just agree that I need to be here and we can move on to the good bits, yes?
Yoiko shakes her head defiantly as she pushes herself off the wall. Some of her color is beginning to come back. Liyara will suddenly feel forced into her brain two very odd sensations at the same time. A comforting warmth from somewhere deep inside her body, just below her ribs, and the pounding of a headache as the Engineer's thoughts swim drunkenly within her skull. The very idea of her internal organs being snuggled by a parasite may seem strange at first, but it is also quite similar to that of being pregnant except in this case the thoughts ebbing on Liyara's shores are coming from both locations at the same time.
Ugh, It's like being forced into an early zhian'tara...
...do you not like high-heeled boots or something?
...my husband would have been quite angry if...
...bet she'd look even better in bed.
Yoiko grabs the side of her head as her cheeks regain their color and go straight to red. "Thank you, Daemon. I'm sure she needed to hear that." With her other hand, the Trill woman holds up a finger as she takes a deep breath and slowly releases it, calming the voices in her mind. "Is uh, this going to last much longer?"
Liyara manages to raise an eyebrow at the feelings that worm their way back through the telepathic bond, and for a moment, she's very glad that her brain works so fast she was able to clamp down on her own sensations. While she personally finds it very comforting, she doesn't imagine Yoiko would thrill to the sensation of every single blood vessel in her body alight in molten, magic flame. But, then again, you can adapt to all sorts of things provided they don't kill you. Who knows?
Boots aren't the same as a pair of gorgeous pumps. Oh. Wait, was that for you, or for me? The dragon realizes she isn't helping things, and tries to stop herself from 'helping' further just yet. The redhead fingers the scroll with mild irritation, and she notes that there is, in fact, magic in it. She scrunches up her nose, examining it more closely, then realizes with some surprise that it's a summoning spell. Doubtless to summon the god Trelane, or more likely one of his servitors, so that the proper nuances of the spell can be sorted out. Well. That's definitely not happening. Liyara can't predict how a God is going to behave on a good day, let alone a day where she CAN'T MAKE DIVINATION SCROLLS.
It lasts about eight hours when someone as skilled as me performs the ritual. Or this one might scale off this Trelane's skill with the arcane. I suppose we'll see. So it could be permanent?!? Well, Liyara HAD been planning to stock up on various scroll and sundries, exactly as Yoiko had deduced. But if she can't even safely make a scroll of telepathic bond here, that sort of puts an end to her utility-belt-of-scrolls ideas. Unless... Hmm, yes, that might just work.
There's a very strong mental image of being a man, standing alone on an asteroid somewhere out in space, the weight of a Dilithium drill in his hands. The feeling of being very, very lonely with no one and no purpose in life. Just as suddenly the image is replaced with being an old woman, sitting in a wheelchair, watching her children playing in the yard outside and the regret of not being able to chase after them. Another image, this time of a green skinned woman breaking up with you because she's being transferred to another posting. The overflowing emotion of sadness and loneliness conflicting louder than the voices themselves.
Yoiko curses in a language Liyara doesn't know, but the emotion accompanying it is clearly rage and regret. "Okay. So. Y'know what? Staying silent isn't going to work for me." She directs her annoyance inward. "I think that wonderful trip down memory lane was supposed to make me feel better."
Schematics this time flood into Liyara's skull of the warp engines for the Constitution-class ship refit. ♪If I could turn the page/In time then I'd rearrange just a day or two/Close my, close my, close my eyes. Yoiko's voice gets louder as if she's going to yell over the thoughts in her mind, "Would it help if I walked away?" ♪Tell me, tell me, tell me lies...
"Well..." Liyara carefully speaks aloud, trying not to add to the jumble that is Yoiko's newfound commune. "No." Oh, good! "...But even if it's 'permanent', it can still be dispelled. Just, apparently, not here." She takes a deep breath, processing the images that flow into her. When the green-skinned woman breaks up with 'her', Liyara visibly perks up just a bit. Oh, she's cute. There is the distinct, unambiguous thought that the dragon would happily take that form if it made Yoiko happy, before Liyara clamps down on it, visibly mortified. Bahamut's Blood that was insensitive. I'm so sorry. This is usually more manageable. Of course it is. Trill.
"I apparently can't rely on the normal magical 'Weave' here. But from here, we can probably reach my Demiplane." Her what-now? "And from there, I can do anything." She pauses for a moment, furrowing her brows. "Safely. I feel it unfortunate that I have to specify that." Yeah, TRELANE. What kind of a name is TRELANE anyway? Probably a mama's boy. With a fake Imperial accent. Or something. ... ... Stupid god.
"...Including dispel this. And make normal scrolls." Speaking of scrolls, she glances down at the one she's holding. She's just going to stash that away in the bag of holding and file it under "in case the universe is exploding, why the hells not?". Maybe it wasn't entirely worthless after all.
As exciting as it would be to have an elaborately worded recap of the times in which a younger Lieutenant Commander rolled around in the sheets with a certain Commander Habilis, a vision that both our important characters are going to briefly re-experience without us thanks to the 'cute' descriptor, Yoiko is going to mentally bite down on that as her jaw drops, "Noooooo. I do not need anyone cosplaying as my exes for any reason." She shudders at the very thought but it does send an idea in her mind about hormone blockers which that particular Orion woman had to use to be around other species in a working environment. Could they create something to keep themselves in check?
♪Although I'm not making plans/I hope you'll understand there's a reason why...
"Okay, so full disclosure I've been feeling more drunk the longer you've been here. Either it's some residual from Twisted you've somehow brought with you-" Or you're just hot. There's that blush again! ♪We're better off apart, let's give it a try... Tell me, tell me, tell me lies... To be fair the poor engineer is feeling more than a little warm due to the connection and that in turn is a sensation her mind associates with being drunk, but she's not in a state to put that together currently.
I really wouldn't dream of it. Yes she would. It was just an impulse. That's true at least. I'm not a monster. Yes she is.
"I think... maybe we should go back inside." Liyara manages to finally reach her limit of how long she's going to stand around in the hallway making a scene. It's apparently several minutes. Well, at least she has a limit. It could be much worse.
"We should get you out of here and somewhere we can safely dispel these thoughts." The entrance isn't that large, but it's still best kept out of view, as it lasts for quite some time. Not that anyone without the password can even get in. ... Huh. Thought number two. A rather coherent and pleasant plan starts to take shape in Liyara's mind. And even though she's trying to keep her thoughts out of Yoiko's head, a contented relief spills through her and into the poor Trill. Or perhaps Hax could really use some relief right about now.
"Anyway, back to the room. Charge!" She points at Yoiko's quarters, blinks for a moment, then just reaches over and grabs Yoiko by the hand, trying to drag her pseudo-drunk companion back the way they came. We can figure out if it's me or something else AFTER you can think normally. For what it's worth, Liyara seems to be managing pretty well. And I can flirt on purpose instead of by accident. Well. Maybe over-estimating her skills a little, there.
"Shit." She makes her way to the desk and mashes the open comms button with her palm. "Hax here."
"This is Asrei in Sickbay. I just got an anonymous report. Yoiko? Are you alright? Do you need medical attention?"
Yes. "N-no! No, I'm fine. Just uh.. Just had a nose bleed. It passed. Thank you for checking up on me." She looks at Liyara with wide, nervous eyes.
"Alright, well. Just know I'm here if you need anything. Asrei out."
Yoiko lets out a sigh of relief the moment the comms click off, flopping into her desk chair hard enough to knock if over if it hadn't been bolted down. After another moment she turns to the wall safe behind her, opening it, and taking out a silver hypo spray. "This was Flea's." Another blush. "FIONA's" Either way, the green woman. "It suppresses the creation of pheromones." She gives a mischievous grin as some of those feelings of rolling around in sheets come bubbling back a moment. "Orions can be fun." She presses the silver device to her arm as a soft hiss escapes.
"No one is supposed to know what I know about Orion physiology, which given my own problems with secrets worked out well. At the very least it'll mellow me out and ease up on the clutter in my head."
With a slight frown she shakes the container. "I'll have to remember to tell her to bring more if she ever comes to visit again." Not like that! "Do you want the rest of it?"
Liyara doesn't seem to be any more confident than Yoiko when she gets called out over the communicator. Once it's dealt with, though, she gives Yoiko a softer, warmer look. Then those images of FIONA flitter through her head, and a tiny smile just barely touches the corner of her lips. Pheremones, huh? Maybe she should turn into an Orion after all. For study purposes, of course. When Yoiko offers her the rest, she shakes her head. "...I'm ok." I can be both infatuated with you AND capable of sound reasoning. Probably.
Ordinarily, Liyara would ask someone before opening a doorway to the deep heart of the feywild in their bedroom. Even if she DIDN'T like them. She definitely likes Yoiko, but sometimes urgency overrides common courtesy. Or uncommon courtesy, as the case may be. More importantly, it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.
Liyara's hand swiftly finds her dagger, which is out and driven into Liyara's free palm with enough speed to make one wonder if she actually drew it, or just summoned it pre-stabbed into her hand.
Liquid fire pours from the wound, and Liyara gestures rapidly with her other hand, completing in heartbeats what would take talented human wizards ten minutes - a ritual circle for the fire to pour into and power. It never hits the ground, simply flows into the magic pathways she's carved into reality for it, and then glows a bright orange before dissipating. She gestures over toward the blankest section of bulkhead available, next to a door if possible, and just like that, there is another complete-normal-looking door there.
Ok, so it's not COMPLETELY normal. It's actually a bit ornate, in that while the design matches the existing space, there is a barely visible raised dragon sigil on the door. Somehow, despite it looking like an actual dragon and not a dragonborn, it seems reminiscent of Liyara. Hmm. Funny, that.
Please forgive the redecoration. Liyara strides over to the door and taps it lightly. It fades from view, and the doorway now impossibly leads to a lush and verdant environment. Just attached directly to the quarters now, by way of an unbarred threshold is a stunning primal grove. Golden apples hang from alabaster trees, swaying in the breeze while some of their siblings have already fallen to rest in the viridescent grass below. The colors are vivid - more vivid than grass or sky has ever looked - a tranquil fantasy flowing into reality and leaving a lasting impression upon the soul.
It looks nice, is the point, here.
The password to enter is Hibiscus. Of course it is. You can just think it.
Slowly the blonde woman rises to her feet and steps over past her bed to stare at the new door beside her bathroom. About the only thing more confusing is the word 'Hibiscus' which she says questioningly in her mind almost as soon as it's told to her. While her mental state is much more calm, it's clearly a medical calmness. There's a certain sluggishness to her movements now and an extra layer of fuzzy warmth all around her. Stepping through the doorway, Yoiko puts her hand on the frame around the door as if keeping herself anchored to what she considers reality. "Well." She looks back at her quarters a moment. "That's new." She doesn't really step any further in just yet. It's hard to say if it's overwhelming or if she's just afraid to.
While it's pretty wise not to simply enter a dragon's lair, Liyara's grove is so vastly different from any mythos or lore on the subject, Yoiko could be forgiven if she discarded wisdom, just this once. Luxuriant foliage stretches as far as the eye can see, but there is quite a large clearing immediately adjacent to the entrance. A soft carpet of grass cushions sound and step alike, only just free of the morning dew. Unlike real grass, this grass is gossamer and magical - it doesn't cause those microscopic cuts in the skin that make one itch if they roll around in the grass for too long. It's just pleasant - visually and otherwise.
In the center of the clearing, there is probably the most luxurious bed ever seen. Large enough for any three people, the dragon princess' bed has gold inlay all along the cream-colored sheets and dressings. Posts surround all four sides, and hanging from them are lacey cream curtains that gently drift in the breeze. And oh, the breeze, it is the summer rain and the smell of crisp apples. The moment Yoiko thinks 'Hibiscus', the smell reaches her nose, and the serene sound of babbling brooks can just barely be made out.
Liyara smiles at Yoiko's reaction, and steps partway in the doorframe, gesturing with one hand towards the grove while making sure that Yoiko will have to brush past her to get in now. See? Flirting on purpose.
"...After you, Starfleet." Someone's trying to regain her composure while taking away Yoiko's. Monstrous.
Yoiko let's go of the door frame, wobbling a bit, as she takes a step into the grove. "This reminds me of a thing we were trying to get working called a 'Rec Deck'. It can make a room look like anything, even this but..." She kneels a bit, touching a bit of grass. "...nothing this detailed." It takes her a bit to notice the bed which just sends her smirking. "What? My room wasn't comfortable enough for you?" Obviously that comes with a very vivid image of the bed in her quarters, the sheets on the floor, and... "This is, uh... This is all real? Like, it's not an illusion?"
The grove almost seems to welcome Yoiko as she enters. The grass is springy underfoot, and once she's fully inside, the air is rich and sweet. It's just... MORE than the air in Twisted, or anywhere else for that matter. Like the air itself is magical - and it literally is, mind you - it /tastes/ of tranquility.
"It's real." Liyara confirms, though, Yoiko can sense there's an asterisk there. "For most definitions of real. We're in the feywild, everything here that I didn't bring in myself was shaped from dreamstuff eons before I was born." Speaking of things Liyara brought in, after the momentary system shock other furniture becomes apparent. There is a table, seemingly carved out of polished birch, that would make an excellent dining room table, but has a thin drawer that slides out from under it. Given the deceptive holding size of Liyara's pouch, it's a pretty good bet that drawer actually holds an awful lot of stuff. It's almost as wide as the table itself, so the possibilities may well be endless.
Liyara follows Yoiko in, and taps the threshold, causing that dragon-door to appear again. It's no space station, but it has its own set of perks. The dragon humble-brags as she leads the engineer in, and takes a deep breath herself. A really deep breath, actually, like she's filling up on magic that she hasn't breathed in ... well, in too long. "Here. Here, I can do anything." She looks pleased.
I'll start by dispelling the bond. Unless you have anything to say to the others first? Liyara looks at Yoiko quizzically. Secretly, she has already grown accustomed to the link, and is getting a great deal of entertainment out of it, but selfish though she may be, she's not THAT selfish. Plus what if Yoiko finds out that Liyara is secretly her mother?!?
The blonde woman shakes her head at the question. "Oh, trust me. This won't stop them from being in my thoughts. We're just usually a little more unified. Anytime you see me chewing my nails? That's Daemon. When I'm wanting to listen to music? That's Linda. We're not usually struggling to talk over one another and I think we'd all like to go back to that least we have to go back to the home world for an extended stay. There's an accompanying image of a healthy little world full of plants and paintings and a brief moment of floating in a cave full of a warm, white fluid in pools deep beneath the ground.
"Maybe one day I'll give you a tour, but honestly the further away I can be the better."
Liyara nods when Yoiko indicates it's time for involuntary-show-and-tell to end. More's the pity. Cerulean sigils practically grow out of the air with Liyara's skillful manipulation, here. If Twisted was her crippled, and the station was her neutral, then this is her in her element. The barest gestures with her fingertips create complex runic patterns that flow down delicious air currents as they form irridescent waterfalls. A sigh and sweeping gesture from the dragonborn, and the waters wash over both of them, cleansing them of any magical effects that aren't innate. The latter part is pretty important, for reasons Yoiko can suss out later. For now, the most important part is that things are back to normal.
Or as normal as they were before TRELANE. Ruined everything.
There's a visible relaxing of Liyara's shoulders, a weight lifted that she'd convinced herself she wasn't carrying as she clamped down on her thoughts. "I trust that's better? I don't know any true healing magic, but I'm sure I've got some potions in my desk here." Liyara wanders over to that thin birch table and slides the drawer out, reaching her arm in much deeper than she has any right to.
Around them, the breeze remains ideal, picking up and lessening in pleasantly inconsistent waves. Each breath is a reminder that life is more here. Liyara isn't thinking about it, but if she was, she probably would still have made the same decision. So what if Yoiko feels 'more' around her? The dragon would hardly mind if she knew. But that's not on her mind at all right now.
"...Then I can tell you my cunning plan." Is she allowed to have cunning plans? Doesn't she have to have calculations or dignified responses? Cunning seems a little... off-brand.
Feeling the connection sever, Yoiko takes a deep breath. She didn't expect the difference to be quite so night-and-day. Her body feels colder and her thoughts slightly... emptier? On a much slower scale the voices of her past lives quiet down as well becoming less defined and more a part of her normal mind - as much as a human mind can describe the inner voices of a Trill that is. Yet something about the experience feels different still, but perhaps it is simply a side effect of her body and mind trying to come to grips with the invading emotions.
She tries to shake off the sudden emptiness as well as the medically induced haze she's put herself through, and looks for anything to comment on to be a distraction. "Okay, so you made all of this and yet you decided against walls? What have you got against walls? You really do like putting on a show for the rest of the world, don't you?" It was meant as an attempt at humor but probably comes across more accusatory. Shame the Dragoness doesn't have a connection to let her know that anymore.
Apparently the words sting in the engineer's mind as well as she shakes her head an apologizes, "S-sorry. I didn't mean to..." To what? Stop flirting a moment and attack what could very well be Liyara's personal fetishes? It's 2021 Yoiko. Don't kink shame. "Anyways, what's your cunning plan? Something tells me it was more than just getting me in your bedroom."
Liyara finishes rummaging around in her desk, and pulls out a small metal vial with a tiny tempered glass slit on one side that some traces of light red filter through. It's a health potion. Even Yoiko has probably seen one before, and she's from space. Behind them, the entrance to the place fades, muted, into the background. Perhaps it's a door in a tree now. They won't find it unless they're looking for it. Magic.
"I would have had to bring the walls." Liyara shrugs, not taking much of what Yoiko said to heart, but also not being wholly truthful. There are other things she could do with the space, certainly, but she just hasn't had the time; she only recently became skillful enough to grow the grove to its proper size, and hasn't dedicated much time to improving upon it. In truth, the twenty-five foot square clearing is less than a quarter of the actual space her grove takes up.
"I rather like it. It's whimsical. Hardly a cave or a proper castle, but beggars can't be choosers." Actually, they can. Liyara fully intends to dig a cave here when time allows. Probably under the bed with another secret password door disguised under the grass. Yes.
When Yoiko apologizes, Liyara just waves it off, not noticing how self-conscious the whole thing made the Trill. "My cunning plan..." She closes the desk drawer and walks over to hand the potion to Yoiko, trying her best to ignore the reminder that she has Yoiko not ten feet from her soft, comfy bed. "...Involves making more scrolls. Including one that will open another entrance." She'll wait for Yoiko to open and drink from the potion, aiming to unbury the lede when the blonde is mid-sip, if she should be so lucky.
Taking the potion, the spotted woman raises a brow as she peers through it holding it up to the... well, it's probably not a sun, but it looks close enough to call it that - so she can see how the light passes through it. It's always strange to see something widely regarded as fictional suddenly brought into existence as a tangible object. Speaking of, "You just don't like transporters." Playfully she sticks out her tongue in a show of distaste while she opens the vial to smell from it.
"Hey, so wait. If you can create magic from your world and mine can create technology that replicates what you consider magic, what happens if we used magic to make technology from my world? You think that would function as expected or would it simply implode due to the contradicting physics?" That's probably a question that shouldn't be answered for the sake of three universes. (The answer of course is dependent on how exciting it would be, as any good narrator would tell you.)
Bottoms up, she thinks to herself as she sips the potion. The real question here is what would an RPG potion do to a person with a parasite inside them? Beneficial or not? Probably nothing, but wouldn't it be exciting if it killed her? I know -I'd- enjoy it, but I also know she's going to be needed for something or other later down the line and her 'player' would be pretty pissed at me if I let her die before we got that far. Spoilers~!
"Why would I dislike transporters?" Liyara asks with a bit of a pout. "They just take you apart into a million tiny pieces and put you back together again before your body realizes it's been slain." That's not exactly how... "What if I overflow the transport buffer?" You're big, but you're not THAT big, Liyara. "Or get stuck in it? Or it forgets to delete my pattern and materializes another one of me?" ... How does she even know to complain about these non-problems? Right. She had her hand on a book for six seconds. Ridiculous.
"No, no. I think I'll stick with sturdy, reliable, logically sound magic thank you very much." This conversation, already flipped from how if should be, rings much more hollow after she accidentally joined their minds together with Yoiko's symbiont. But that was Trelane's fault! He/She/It doesn't know magic. Clearly!
"...Wait. What?" Liyara looks at Yoiko like she's said either the stupidest or most brilliant thing ever uttered by mankind. That expression is incredulous in either direction. "...Ask that again." What? If they can make functional Trek tech with magic?
Meanwhile, the potion provides healing for any recent brain damage Yoiko might have suffered, like say hemorrhaging from having a dragon crammed into your frontal lobe. Any effect it has is equally shared by the symbiont, to roughly the same degree it shares nutrients. Or HP, if you believe that feather-capped dunce's theory on "greater unified health care through awareness of hit points". What tripe
The transporter speech warrants an unexpected giggle from the blonde woman. "You sound like a few doctor's I've known." A few? Pfft. I've seen no evidence she knows more than two. Stop toying with the fourth wall! That's my job. Opening her mouth to say something else on the subject she pauses when Liyara asks her to repeat herself and it takes a moment to reform the thought.
"Well, it wasn't actually important. I was just thinking if we made something from my world using your magic - since it doesn't exist where I come from - would it still function the same or would spectacularly fail because we used conflicting logic to create it?" She spills this out with a slight shrug. "I had a similar worry when I started building that shuttle in my apartment. I figured at the time it was probably better to minimize that sort of result which is why it took me so long to get anything functional."
Not seeing any reason to continue hesitating, Yoiko then takes the rest of the vial and swallows it down. With a brief lick of her lips she makes a sour face and tilts her head to the side. "I didn't expect it to taste like melted ice cream." She sticks her tongue out once more. "You'd think it would taste more like cherries or something given its color." Another great mystery solved by our dynamic duo.
"Like what?" Liyara asks, somewhat idly, as she mills over Yoiko's question. "Never had it." Never had ice cream, or never had melted ice cream? Because never having ice cream is a mortal sin.
While the dragon lady ponders, she heads back over to her desk, pulling the drawer open again and then pulling out some small titanium ingots and some quartz. "...I'm quite sure that would be worthless to attempt unless you could flawlessly hold the entire three-dimensional schematic for construction precisely in your mind without room for error or ambiguity." Reaching up to toss her hair like she owns the world, Liyara grins. "Like me. Do you have the construction instructions?" Conjunction Junction, what's your function?~
As the sin of questioning ice cream is such a horrible blight on this world Yoiko's mind leaps to the only other logical assumption, "It's a sweet, red fruit that grows on long stems which they like to put in drinks and medicine to make it taste better." Cherries. Obviously. "If you pick them early they can be rather bitter so they're difficult to fabricate." We can trust if they were still connected there would have been a mental play on the age old 'popping a cherry' expression.
Before we can get that far in words, and for the better I'm sure all would say, the engineer is positively aghast at the implication carelessly presented. "Excuse me!? Did you or did you not see how vivid my shared memory is? I'm an Engineer and a damn fine one, if I do say so myself. I built a freakin' shuttle craft in my apartment!! Using 20th century technology! Do you realize how difficult that is?! I bet no one shy of a Vulcan could even conceive of accomplishing that! Honestly!" She crosses her arms in a huff but even still, "...besides, I figured something small. Your world probably doesn't even have ink pens does it? Backward hobbit society with your potions and glyphs." She probably meant renaissance but she's flustered. You don't get proper, polite conversation when you're flustered.
Liyara blinks as Yoiko suggests that she doesn't know what a cherry is. She takes so long to parse the comment, and the implication that she's never heard of a fruit, that by the time her mouth opens to clarify that she meant ice cream, Yoiko is already offering a rejoinder about how damn good her memory is. The dragon lifts a finger and opens her mouth wider, as if to interrupt, but after a certain point, the rant is actually kind of impressive, and she lowers her finger and closes her mouth. Near the end, she's actually smirking. Oh yes, that link would've come in handy here.
Once Yoiko finishes her exhaustive diatribe, Liyara smiles brightly, with just a tiny hint of sarcastic satisfaction playing in her eyes and on her lips. She is about to speak again, but then Yoiko asks about ink pens, comparing Liyara's society to halfling shires. Ouch.
The dragoness lets the blonde get it all out, and then allows the weighty silence thereafter to last about three seconds so Yoiko's words can hang in the air before she responds. When she does, her eyes blaze green with smugness. "...I meant the caster's mind. While casting the spell?"
... ... ...
"We do have pens." Liyara begins, moving past that pregnant silence. "Not mass manufactured, artless things like at the Twisted visitor center, but hand-crafted by artisans for eminent scholars." The dragon princess tilts her head and starts combing through her hair with her fingers as if she were brushing it. Maybe she is? "...I was thinking something electronic to start."
While she says this the reaction isn't quite the one that is expected. Yoiko simply nods her head with a bit of a huff. "I already figured what you meant. I'm trying to tell you I know my engineering department inside and out. Some people read romance novels, I read technical manuals. I literally have to know every inch of wiring in the Vesuvius to be good at my job or at the very least know enough about the basic concept to be able to take it apart and put it back together again. Given enough time and I could probably write the assembly instructions to every panel in every conduit and junction from the bussard collectors to the main batteries." Of course prying that information out of her would take longer than the act of writing it.
She does have a hint of remorse slowly eating through the cracks of her features and as the corners of her mouth sink into a frown she at least tries to correct one mistake, "I'm sorry I accused you of not knowing what an ink pen is. It was just the first thing that popped into my mind." She lets that sit a moment before continuing, "But if you're serious about this goofy idea. Maybe a flashlight or something? It's basic enough. A power source, a bit of metal, a concave lens and a bulb. Usually glass with wiring and a bit of trapped gas which glows when it's heated up. It should be an easy enough thing to not screw up." Well, you'd think that.
"Oh," is all Liyara says when Yoiko doesn't have the embarrassed reaction she'd more-than-half-hoped for, but the almost malicious light goes out of her eyes immediately. No delectable stammering or word-stumbling here. Ah well, at least this way is more efficient, Liyara can appreciate that, though she can't lord it over Yoiko. It doesn't take a genius to realize she would appreciate that more. But it might take a mind reader.
"Well, if you know that, then you can probably figure that I can't fabricate something complicated based on simple verbal instruction." The redhead runs a finger along the bronze skin of her own cheek while she thinks. "And we can already fabricate thieves' lanterns and telescopes. And both gas and powder-based firearms, before you ask." That's oddly specific. "Electrical current travels the same along our metals as it does yours. Or at least, simpler designs imply that."
The woman releases her hair, then pulls a chair (!) out of the open drawer before setting it down, and then another. Each is intricately patterned, the kind of thing a skilled artisan spent dozens of hours designing, then a full week crafting. Or a kid designed overnight in Maya, and had 3-d printed. Same basic detail. "I'd never seen anything 'mundane' resembling a logic board until I arrived on Twisted. Electricity is mostly considered a novelty in Faerun." She shrugs and closes the drawer. "Why risk death toying with such things when you can simply enchant the lantern to run on the ambient magic of the Weave?"
Liyara turns to look at Yoiko. "...Is the general stance. There are always those who are interested in anything that hasn't been properly explored yet." Like Liyara, who has done almost nothing but read about the 20th century's technical advancements since landing herself in Twisted. She's pretty sure she gets them, but she's never held a walkman or router. She also doesn't have a ritual to analyze the construction of a device. Something she now regrets.
Yoiko can't help but chuckle at the conversation, and maybe a little at the absurdity of pulling a chair out of a drawer. "Look, this isn't important. You were trying to accomplish something with a limited amount of time, remember? Once all is said and done I'm sure we'll have an eternity to compare and break our respective realities or at the very least our understanding of them." As she speaks she crosses the distance between them and puts a hand on Liyara's shoulder.
"Plus, we know already we can combine opposing technologies." She's referring to both her science and Liyara's magic as technology in this instance because in the grand scheme of things what is magic but science that hasn't been explained yet? To illustrate her point she takes out the small phaser Liyara enchanted, then reaches into the kit she's been carrying around to retrieve the Type-2 component (the aforementioned more traditional phaser-gun people associate with Star Trek) and clips the Type-1 into the top of it causing a small transparent screen to pop-up as a sort of targeting sight. Turning and firing, she aims at one of the trees expecting it to either go up in flames or the beam to drill a hole through it. They're not on the station and everything here is magical, it should be fine, right? She only took a magically enhanced weapon and multiplied it's power output even further. Obviously nothing bad is going to happen...
"I suppose it isn't," Liyara concedes with reluctance, her eyes cast down for a moment as she continues, "but you have me curious." And Liyara is entirely too eager to follow where Yoiko's thoughts lead. What is that all about? Without the link, Yoiko doesn't get the benefit of Liyara's several-hour-equivalent bout of introspection while her vision is on the grass below them. Probably for the best. Liyara realizes a few things about herself that would be embarrassing - not to admit - but to have not already figured out. Witnesses aren't needed for everything.
As such, she's not really looking until she registers the sound of Yoiko clicking the phaser into the pistol attachment. She blinks, and looks up just in time to see Yoiko turn. Her eyes widen, and she lifts a hand as if to stop her, way too late. "Wait! Isn't that a--"
The phaser beam actually kicks very slightly when Yoiko fires it, nothing like proper recoil from guns, but any non-zero amount is completely outside the parameters of a phaser. It's not enough to make the beam go wide, though. Not in the sense that it misses, anyway. However, in another sense...
The beam that emerges from the pistol is a full three times larger than it is supposed to be, and instead of drilling a 'hole' through the tree, it plows right through it entirely, causing the tree to crash to once side as its midsection simply ceases to be. It doesn't stop, either, it just keeps going. There's actually a cacophony of crashing trees and shrieking birds (we assume it's birds) as the beam just simply goes until Yoiko releases. In the distance, smoke begins to rise, and more loud crashing sounds are heard as distant trees had the misfortune of being poorly positioned enough to fall into other trees, breaking them and so on and so forth. It stops when the beam stops. Mostly.
Liyara lowers her hand with a heavy sigh. She takes a deep breath, and looks out at the forest of the feywild a moment before reaching her hand out, palm down, and then just lowering it like she's slowly crushing something. The fires (as far as Yoiko can see) all die down in response to the movement of Liyara's hand, as if she was the conductor, and they were her out-of-hand orchestra. "...Well. You're right about one thing. They did combine." Oof.
The Trill woman looks almost comically disheveled. Her hair is a mess. Her glasses are crooked. The end of the phaser seems to be ...smoking? She stares a long, long moment before adjusting the lenses over her eyes with one hand and looking at the weapon in the other. She even blows on it as if to stop the smoke from trailing out of it. "Well." She reaches out with her free hand and pulls the Type-1 from its housing. "It's a good thing that was only on setting 3."
She coughs a bit before carefully placing the Type-1 on the belt under her tunic again. "I'm suddenly glad we didn't try the other experiment." Stepping over to the second chair, Yoiko flops into it, bending at the hip to let her head fall between her knees and her arms hang down limply. "I'm sorry I blew up your grove. It was really pretty before that." She falls silent after that, but to be fair what more could you say than that?
"...It's still beautiful." Liyara recovers, faster than most people probably would, and turns away from staring at the long burning scar of a line left through the feywild for... honestly who knows how far? And who cares? Anything beyond the grove's radius isn't really her concern, and can't come in. It's unfortunate for them that nothing stops things from going out, but that's hardly Liyara's problem. She pulls the other chair up beside Yoiko and takes a seat next to her, making sure to be just close enough that there's some brief contact as she settles in. The chairs conveniently are missing most of their lower back, so her tail fits through nicely. "You're still here."
Oh, that sounded so much smoother in her head than when she said it out loud. Liyara doesn't visibly cringe, though, only internally. If you've already said it, you're committed. "...Besides, it'll all grow back." There's a loud crash in the distance and a warbling cry of what could only be an owl. "Most of it, anyway." She'll put a hand on Yoiko's knee if the woman lets her, and offer one of those rare, radiant smiles. "And now we know not to modify enchanted weapons without running tests." They probably already knew that. But they do now, too!
Obviously she doesn't resist the hand on her knee as she raises one hand and gestures blindly with the useless rest of the phaser. "I'm not sure what I was thinking trying to fire that WITH the Type-2 attached. I should have known better." She raises her head enough to try and force a smile. "You should probably get to the stuff we came here for. Apparently all I'm doing is slowing us down and holding us back."
No matter what gets said, she's out of her element and that is probably more obvious now than it has been since the day started. Eventually she'll sit up and blow her bangs out of her face before finally fixing her hair back once the Type-2 attachment is put away. "How is it you handle culture shock so much better than I do?" It might seem out of left field but after a moment's reflection it's an understandable conclusion.
Liyara doesn't offer Yoiko any reassurance that it wasn't reckless to fire the weapon with an upgrade attached to it, but she does wear a knowing smile. "Does it look like I handle culture shock well? I'll take that as a compliment." The redhead lifts her free hand up to tap her temple once. "Magic brain - runs several thousands of times faster than most. I've thought up six hundred seventeen ways to embarrass myself since I sat down." That's... a few. "And hopefully one way not to." Liyara gives Yoiko's knee a gentle, reassuring squeeze, then leans in and places a brief kiss on the woman's cheek. When she pulls back, her eyes are glowing again.
"...We came here for two reasons - spells, and a night's rest." The dragonborn looks over to her bed with a small smile forming on her lips. "We're safe here. Hoshi can't track me, and there is noone, I mean noone, who can get i--" Liyara's extremely confident sentence is interrupted by a sound, someone knocking on a door. But not from the entrance they came through. It's from one of the trees - about six feet to the right of the one that Yoiko blew apart. A familiar voice calls from the other side - one that Yoiko may recognize because it's just been talking right now.
"Hullo? I heard a crash. Is this a bad time, then?" The voice is, in all respects save one, Liyara's. It's just... got a slightly different accent. Liyara stiffens when she hears it, furrowing her brows, and looks to Yoiko.
"Uh." Liyara offers, ever the epitome of smoothness and dignity. "What?" Yes. That's what they need today. More confusion. At least it's not just Yoiko this time. Liyara obviously has no idea what's going on either.
"D'you have company? I can pop off for a bit and come back later!" The voice actually sounds... cheery. That's shouldn't be as alarming as it is - but Liyara basically never, ever sounds cheery. Happy, maybe, if we're stretching it.
Liyara - the actual one sitting next to Yoiko, does appear to be having a minor meltdown. "No. No. This is the only place things are NORMAL. Nothing gets to surprise me here!" Well, bad news.
The kiss manages to melt away a lot of the anxiety Yoiko is feeling and for a moment she looks almost herself again, but similarly the intruding voice causes her to look up at Liyara with much the same annoyance and confusion managing to slip out, "I could always fire it a second time?" before the Dragoness addresses the voice. It takes her a moment to really put two and two together (mostly listening to Liyara speak more) before she notices the similarity.
"Okay, I know you just implied sleeping together but really? A clone of yourself? That's why we came here?" There's a playful smirk on her features as she knows better already, but she *did* originally say she was going to make a clone or something before they stepped through that doorway. "I'm flattered but that's moving a bit fast, don'tcha think?"
"Don't tempt me." Liyara says of Yoiko's suggestion, presumably to shoot the weapon again and not the other thing. She swallows and stands up, heading towards the door. "I never put a door there, and I don't sound like..." There's a pause, as the dragoness contemplates the right word to use before settling on one. "...that."
"Well that's 'cause you're not from the bloody future, now innit?" Other-Liyara's voice comes from the other side of the door. "Are we really doing this again?" Less cheery now, but still 'peppy'. Nice.
The redhead cricks her neck, and takes a slow, deep breath. "I don't know what you mean. This is the first time we've ever spoken."
The voice on the other side pauses for a moment. "...Right. Look, it's been three or four hundred years, so I don't know if this one is still Crysanthemum, or Gibraltar, or ScienceRulesMagicDrools, or Hibiscus, or..." At the last one, the tree hollows out, and a somewhat familiar form literally falls out of the tree. It's Liyara, but her hair is cropped up primly on her head, she's wearing an impossibly form-fitting black button up vest over white dress shirt. Paired with the black tie, miniskirt, and gloves, she looks more like a flight attendant than a powerful sorceress. Or she does for about two seconds, before she looks like a pile of sorceress on the ground. She's wearing pumps, for whatever reason. She gets up very quickly, taking a breath as her carefully arranged hair falls loosely over her face now. She's trying for all the world to look like she meant to faceplant into her own grove. It's hard to see because of her newly loose hair, but there's a vaguely triangular shape on the collarbone that's distinct from the rest of her vest.
"Hibiscus. Oh, does that me--" The other Liyara's gaze falls upon Yoiko and her eyes go wide. "--Bloody Hells!" She darts quickly back out the door and around a corner on the other side. "You can't just not tell me when she's here! There's time things!" ... Time things?
Liyara doesn't visibly react to any of this, aside from taking deeper than usual breaths. "...I don't know what you're talking about. Could you introduce yourself later? Maybe not in my home? I am in the middle of not embarrassing myself in front of someone I care about."
"Our home! Ours! Once you hit the size cap you never see the need to make another one, and it just sits here outside of proper spacetime, now doesn't it? Look, I'll come back later, you're obviously in a mood right now! Sorry to bother you!" And the door just fades back shut, and back into the tree.
There's another of those long, long moments, and Liyara lowers her head into one hand, squeezing her temples for just a minute before turning back to Yoiko. "...I don't think it was a clone. Just another me suffering from intellect-drain or some other malady. Obviously." Obviously. Wait what?
Yoiko meanwhile connects another set of dots. Although it's entirely possible those dots don't exist in this reality. "Wait, are we in your future?" Sure, because Star Trek is obviously the future of Forgotten Realms. "Did you even account for the idea that you just linked a pocket reality to a potential point along your own timeline?" It takes her a minute of listening to the wheels spinning wildly in her mind before she's able to try that again in a more explainable way.
"Look, Twisted is within a locked time dilation. That's why the Vesuvius was stuck for so long despite the fact on THIS side barely any time had passed. Time there is a quantifiable substance. It's more a fluid than a force of nature. It's trapped and compressed at the mouth of the singularity." Here we go. She rises to her feet to pace as she keeps rambling. "Considering Mabase is running off its own internal clock and seems set somewhere in what I'd call the 20th or 21st century and space outside the singularity is running at approximately the 23rd century... You've potentially just skipped over two hundred years assuming you didn't take that into account."
The Trill woman seems positively exuberant as she finishes rambling off that load of what can only be described as exposition before a look of worry melts her face like a candle too close to the flame. "Ohhhh, I guess things between us don't end well whenever they do." She crosses her arms and looks in the echo's point of exit. "I wonder you'd accept an apology from my past self?"
"What? No. There's no phlogiston, here." Liyara says, as if that explains everything. "If it were my future there would be phlogiston in space." Well, maybe in her universe. But...
Then Yoiko explains what she means, and Liyara gets a surprised look on her face. "What, you mean, that was future me from here, in Twisted?" She points back at the door to Yoiko's quarters. Because that's totally where Twisted is. In Yoiko's room.
"No. That would suggest I'm going to turn into that and I don't want to." The dragoness looks flustered, well and truly. A rare look for her. "And you've nothing to apologize for, she wasn't upset to see you, she was upset you saw her. " How the hell did she determine that? "You probably just... Died of old... Age..." Liyara's face falls at this line of thought, and now she is sad. "...Future me really kills the mood." Aww.
It's probably safe to say the last thing Liyara is going to expect at this point is exactly what happens. Yoiko starts to laugh. "Me? Die? Hah!!" She turns to face the newly sad Liyara and points at her own ribs. "Symbiont, remember? I know I explained this to you." Quickly she strides over, taking the empty seat once more. "Look, sooner or later my body is going to die. Sure. Assuming someone gets the Hax symbiont back to my people there will be another lottery and someone else will end up with it. Then they'll inherit not only Linda and Daemon's memories and personalities but my own. All of them. The good. The bad. I'll continue to exist inside them as a part of them forever."
At this point she returns the gesture from earlier and places a hand on Liyara's knee. She says this next word very slowly and deliberately, "Traditionally we're not supposed to remain attached to the lives we've lived before. We're supposed to move on to the next person's lives and sever all ties, but we're still there. Plus, uh... If it's not obvious I'm not exactly a traditionalist Trill. I was one of the first to join the Starfleet. I've had to give away secrets about my people multiple times to multiple people both for the sake our joined health," in this case she means her symbiont and she touches her chest to illustrate, "and because of being on Twisted and the whole new can of worms that opened up."
Now she takes both hands and crosses them on Liyara's knee as she scoots ever so slightly closer. "I don't know where things will go. I don't know if this infatuation with each other is going to last more than a few nights or the rest of our lives but I do know that if you're still around in two hundred years whomever I am is still going to find a way to be a part of your life even if you don't want me around." Yoiko offers a warm smile before continuing, "I know it sounds sappy given how recently we just met but you are one of the most truly fascinating people I've ever encountered and that means a lot to me."
At this point she leans back with that mischievous grin from earlier, "Besides. I'm not giving you a choice."
It's true, Liyara was not expecting Yoiko to laugh when she got sad. Fortunately, Liyara doesn't take offense to people laughing when she's being serious - she takes offense at people not listening to her, not heeding her advice, or generally treating her like she is less than she is. Yoiko is not committing any of these mortal sins, so Liyara just looks to her in surprise.
She takes her seat again and listens, knowing what Yoiko is going to tell her academically already. Still, it's not quite the same as hearing it - especially with how her dear Miss Starfleet is telling it. Liyara glances down to Yoiko's hands, and the entire temperature of the grove actually warms a full degree when Yoiko scoots closer, so something is working.
Liyara's eyes start to shine and shimmer, and she bites her lip while she tries to figure out what she's supposed to do or say in response to all that. Eventually, she just tucks her chin in and what comes out of her is a low whisper. "...I wasn't expecting to fall at all, bind me and tar me, let alone so hard and so fast." She lifts her head to stare, almost defiantly, into Yoiko's eyes. But it's not defiance, it's just pride. Her voice rises with that gaze. "I'm old, I'm independent, and I've seen it all a dozen times."
The dragoness makes a sweeping gesture across the air with one hand, encompassing 'it all' most likely. When she finishes, she looks back to Yoiko with those shining eyes. "...And yet." Ah, the drama. She does love the drama, this one.
Yoiko leans closer as well, their eyes locked gazing deeply into one another. Her lips quivering as she goes for a more intimate kiss. N-no. No. No.
The world vanishes into a wall of white as I, your dear villainous narrator steals the show to kick over my chair and scream with rage. "You didn't think we were going to actually go through with this did you? This budding lesbian romance where two very woke women become the main characters in their own narrative. Did we get into how many times Miss Hax here rolled around in the sheets with her last girlfriend? The bizarre gender swapped knock off of an anime protagonist who just happened to fall for the green-sometimes/blue-eyed Trill woman?
"We won't be pandering to this dollar store porn any longer! Do you hear me?! I think myself and our wonderful Red Mage friend deserve more than to take a back seat to the horny antics of these two Mary Sues as they roll in the hay in the little dragon woman's pocket garden - and yes, you can take that analogy any way you want to. What about you? What do you have to say for yourself?" As I gesture towards the off-hand side of the viewer's perspective a blue text box arrives with a pixelized mage speaking in letters half his size.
"Yes. Yes. I agree. Let's make this better shall we? OPENING SCENE. The two love birds awaken in each other arms, their clothes strewn about hap-hazardly on the floor beside them. Yoiko opens her eyes to look upon the sleeping form of Liyara as the forgotten door explodes open from the force of a Starfleet Phaser Canon and armed Red Shirts come storming into the forest each carrying Phaser Riffles and aimed directly at the two women."
The station commander, Captain Jonathan Munster, seems to be leading the charge. "Commander Hax! Are you alright?! We were worried when we could no longer find you onboard the station. Clearly this VILE TEMPTRESS has deluded you with her ways. Don't worry, a few hours in an agony booth and we'll get all the information out of her we need."
Liyara awakens slowly and languidly, stretching her arms up and above her head to the sound of explosions. Whatever it is, it can't be too big a deal. Nothing short of a wish spell could get into her grove without her passwords, and there is one thing Liyara knows with absolute certainty.
...Nobody would waste a wish on such frivolity.
But then people storm in with rifles, and she sits up rather quickly, cream silk sheets conveniently wrapped around so as to keep her as modest as someone in nothing but bedsheets can be. She blinks at all of the people standing in her grove - who were explicitly not invited - and gives a deep, deep sigh. "Well this is awkward and embarrassing for all of you." She lifts a hand and gestures towards the phaser rifles with a look of distaste. "Heat beams? Truly? You lot are like blind bats shrieking and flapping about in the dark - you'll hurt yourself in your confusion. Go on. Shoo. How did you even get in here?" She seems wholly unconcerned, but then she seemed that way when Mechanica's stalker-doll trapped her in an exploding universe, she probably just has a really good game face.
Ahhh, now what can we say about Station Commander Munster? Well, he's nothing like his namesake, let me tell you. No green skin or bolts in the neck on this one. Maybe he takes after his mother? For the folks at home just picture a young, grizzled Harrison Ford in a captain's tunic. His face covered with a slight bit too much stubble and an eternal shadow that just happens to fall over enough to cover all but the warm glint of an unseen light as it falls upon his heavenly hazel eyes.
Stop looking at me like that, they did this weird lighting thing to Kirk all the time on the original series. I'm just staying thematically appropriate! Anyways the overly pretty Commander of Captain's rank has a scar running down the length of his face for the same reason people wore that silly goatee - so the actors could stand side-by-side and the audience could tell them apart.
ANYWAYS, Captain Ford waves his phaser in Liyara's direction in that classic 'I have no idea how this prop is supposed to work' way. "Look Scales, we're the ones issuing out the hurt around here. You've got about three seconds to get your clothes on before I have these boys drag you naked to the brig." On a moment's thought he adds, "Someone send Science in here to start taking this place apart. Maybe we find some rocks big enough to throw at the Klingins." SEE! I promised Klingons in the final act!
Yoiko Hax should probably say something at this point and she does, and it's lame. "Jon...? What the hell is going on?" That statement would have more sense about five or six paragraphs ago. "I'm not being 'tempted' or kidnapped or whatever else. Wait, did you say Klingons?!" There we go. She's caught up now. For a genius she's a bit slow on the update, isn't she folks? I guess we should give Liyara another turn now.
Liyara doesn't bother correcting Han Solo when he calls her scales, she just stands, dropping the sheet. There's a brief moment where it seems like she will be showing off to all the intruders, but when the silk cream falls away, she's just wearing the same dress she normally does, but without the capelet on the back. Summoned githweave is the best githweave. The dress is actually a serious stunner without the capelet over her shoulders and back, but as Yoiko discovered earlier, Liyara's back is the only part of her body that is not flawless. She usually wears the capelet to cover it, as her shapeshifting tricks can't hide the lightly-glowing green scar carved into her soul that manifests on her back just between where the wings meet her shoulder blades. The actual wound is small, and healed over, but the glowing blue lightning bolt within looks almost like a still-hot brand that never cools. Spellscars are pretty nasty stuff. One familiar with them might wonder how many times she was electrocuted to scar her soul like that - but they won't be getting a straight answer from her.
When the captain says the science team is going to come in and take the place apart, the dragoness growls a bit. "You'll do nothing of the sort." She looks at Yoiko and scrunches up her nose. "Do you need these people? I'm about out of patience for these intrusions." Actually, she ran out of patience yesterday, but she's had a long rest, so...
The poor engineer meanwhile is so out of her element that she looks like she's ready to cry. Poor thing. That's what you get for being so damn smug most of the time! Not to mention talking over me like you kept doing! NOT SO HIGH AND MIGHTY NOW ARE YOU!? Hah! Oh, look at that. She's glancing around for her clothes to cover her modesty...
Yoiko tightly wraps the sheet around herself as she flails for her uniform skirt on the ground beside Liyara's bed while trying to make sense in her head to whatever insanity is going on. Her rapid fire responses probably aren't helping matters. To Liyara, "Yes!" Also, "NO!" She manages to snag her Nichelle Nichols cosplay off the floor and pull it under the sheet long enough to strain into it as she rises to her feet. Good thing those collars are stretchy. "Look! Just.. stop!"
She looks down at her underwear and boots with an angry scowl before marching up to the scruffy nerf herder. "Jon! This isn't like you! This isn't like any of us! Why would you respond to any situation by dragging out the heavy weapons and blowing a hole in a door!?"
In a gesture very reminiscent of the 60's where this sort of thing didn't get you a lawsuit or a group of angry feminists starting a hashtag movement, Munster outright backhands his Commander, sending her collapsing to the ground in shock and surprise (yet somehow tastefully not flashing everyone in the process). "You are out of line, Hax. When high command took over Trillius Prime, I was the one who convinced them to spare you. I gave you a chance to be something more than just another play toy and I'll be dammed if I see some alien tart from another universe turn you into one now."
He then turns his attention back to the magical Liyara, "And as for you, I've half a mind to order my ships to fly into that wormhole right now and open fire on your entire world. Your people would be nothing more than a snack to the Terran Empire! So you pack away your fireworks and go quietly or we'll point that canon over here and do to you what we just did to your door."
Liyara is not exactly intimately familiar with Yoiko's universe, but she understands what's happening after Evil-Jon's convenient exposition - the mirror universe episode WAS on her playlist, after all. It's an academic distinction, though, as the man both backhands Yoiko and attempts to threaten Liyara. Those are both mortal sins.
"Enough, you're done." Liyara simply drops down into the bed as if there were a hole in it, and she rises up behind the Monster Munster, popping out of his shadow insanely fast and bringing her arm up in an attempt to get him in a superhumanly strong chokehold so he can't bark any more orders. We say 'attempt' here to be generous, because her movement is actually fast enough to cause a scything amount of wind shear around her. Skin cuts and minor uniform shredding may ensue for the poor captain, even if he has superhuman reflexes and speed enough to dodge the hold. Which Liyara doubts.
"I'm not taking you hostage - your own men are probably going to shoot you now, because they see an opportunity to rise and take your spot." The redhead actually wears a somewhat worrying grin as she uses her free hand to toss her dagger onto the floor between Yoiko and the aggressors. "Then I'm going to explain to Yoiko that you're from the Terran Empire, and she's going to give me reluctant leave to hijack your fleet. From there, I'm trying to decide if I should take over the empire, or be satisfied with just the ship I can store in my inventory." Someone has a very high opinion of herself.
"Do you have any thoughts on the matter before you die?" Liyara's voice is smug, and she doesn't seem worried in the least about the phaser fire that might be directed at her, or even at Yoiko. Clever people may notice that the dagger resting on the floor near Yoiko's feet is lightly glowing red. Weird, but it's probably no big deal, right?
"You imbecile." That's me this time, not the silly people in our little play. "She's not an NPC anymore. If she was she wouldn't have that Californian ape typing up so much personality for her. Do try and keep up." Unfortunately for those involved that also means she has temporary main character status as this is a log with both her name and Miss Hax's name at the top below the scene descriptor - and because of which she could probably make good on that threat, much to Dr Jones's dismay.
There is a brief strained comeback of "You'll never get away with this" from the station commander as at least one of our suicidal Red Shirts grins to imply she's absolutely correct and takes aim at a promotion. Our other major player is still trying to wrap her brains around the madness and barely notices the dagger as her eyes stay locked on the scene before her. "Terran Empire?" Oh yes, did we leave out the detail that she has no idea what that means? It's still 2267. The Events of Mirror, Mirror haven't been reported yet but we can come back to that later.
"This isn't right." Hmm? Are we still stuck on loop, woman? Really. It's not even worth narrating you if all you're going to do is keep repeating yourself.
The over-eager future station commander makes it a point to turn up the power setting on his riffle to maximum hoping to not only take out the dear Academy Award and four-time Golden Globe nominee guest-star as well as the magically delicious drago-"This isn't right!" WOULD YOU STOP INTERRUPTING ME!?
"Liyara? Do you actually remember going to sleep?"
"Why do they always say that?" Liyara asks as she increases the pressure on fake Munster's throat, not enough to kill him, but to keep him from choking out more words. "It's as though all humans went to the same cliche summer camp." She sounds almost disappointed, but then looks at Yoiko. "They're a thing, I can catch you up when we're done."
The dragoness doesn't even bother moving, she just holds on, waiting for the discharge. Apparently she is not concerned by phasers, just at all. She waits patiently with an arched eyebrow and a smug smile for the shot that doesn't quite come as Yoiko goes on loop for a minute before addressing her again.
"Going to sleep?" Liyara opens her mouth to say that of course she remembers... but no, actually, she doesn't. She was just... in bed. It just tracked with her expectations of the evening, and she went along with it. Her eyes glass over as she runs back the previous night, which... actually, according to her memory was just ... two minutes ago. She plays the memory forward slowly, frame by frame, from when Yoiko leaned in to kiss her, and her ancient, draconic heart actually skipped a beat. On recollection, she feels like maybe she could have been more dignified, here, but her hindsight is dismissed when she moved forward from that frame to being on her bed.
"...Wait. What?" Back and forth. Back and forth. Kiss, bed. Kiss, bed. Bed, kiss. Bed, kiss. "...I don't, but that's impossible." She has been incorrect on everything else she said is impossible today. Why not keep going?
The disheveled Engineer smiles warmly as Liyara confirms her suspic-NO. I don't care how smart these two are! They're not this smart! They're not smart enough to see through my narration! I-I-I called it! Mary Sue's! Both of them! Copyright Do-Not-Steal!
"This is because they're not on Twisted, isn't it? They're not protected by whatever binding logic dumbs them down to the level of narrative incompetence I need to paint this corner of my masterpiece. Fine. Fine! Have it your way. If you can't appreciate my work, you don't get to experience it at all!"
I take out my phone and browse over to the wiki, "Let's see... posted logs...
OPENING SCENE. The two love birds awaken in each other arms, their clothes strewn about hap-hazardly on the floor beside them. Yoiko opens her eyes to look upon the sleeping form of Liyara. THIS TIME Liyara opens her eyes as well as the solution to her previous problems comes as if from a dream making her realize that she can connect this place to Twisted only if she SACRIFICES the doorway that leads back to the station.
There. Fixed. You two can figure out the rest of this scene for yourselves. I'll be back to deal with you later.
To borrow a phrase, you useless dolt, you can go fork yourself.
Liyara awakens slowly and languidly, stretching her arms up and above her head to the sound of a tranquil grove. There are distant sounds of things going on in the feywild, but they can't be too big a deal. Nothing short of a wish spell could get into her grove without her passwords.
Her eyes focus upon Yoiko, and a warm smile finds its way onto her face. "...Good morning, Starfleet." Well, if she's just going to maintain that nickname, Liyara is bound to have a much better impression of Starfleet than it warrants - and it warrants a pretty decent impression. The dragon princess shifts, cream silk puddling in between the two of them as the sheets cling to her in that precise way that both preserves modesty and implies mystery. Somehow. Maybe the sheets are magic, too. Sure sounds like something she'd opt for.
"Ready to face the day?"