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August breathed a quick sigh of relief.
"Thank you. The last thing I want to do is make you uncomfortable. Your little mind trick actually could do wonders for headaches." He laughed.
Your passion is power. Focus it.
Your body is a tool. Hone it.
Transhummanity is a pantheon. Exalt it!
Chuckles, "Really? I've never been on the receiving end of any of my external abilities. And you've never withdrawn your permission. So now, what is for dinner?"
At least with Lovecraft, nobody pretends the gods are nice. And wherever you end up, there is guaranteed to be tentacles.
The elevator opens up to a open cafeteria. Only most of the place looked more like a feasting hall or campground eatery, with trees lining the place and several large fire pits. Transhumans of all kinds ate and spent time together around them.
August escorted Leng to the kitchen. Hundreds of drones of varying sizes, but the largest being no larger than a balled fist, scurried about the place. One scuttled up to the counter.
"Yes, yes, Captain. You here to order?" It barked in a vaguely feminine digitized voice.
"Colette, could you perhaps fork so you could have a conversation for a moment?" August asked. The lights went out on the node for a moment. When they blinked back on, the voice was far more chipper.
"Bonjur, Capi-ten! Who is this lovely mademoiselle on your arm?"
"This is less spartan than I expected really. I like the trees. That said, what's good this evening?"
The node displayed a menu.
"I have several of my own recipes or I could work on something that you are more familiar with."
She smiles and takes a seat, "Surprise me."
"Oui!" She squeaks as the menu disappears and the node scuttles off.
"You'll like it, trust me. I'm glad you like my humble abode in general actually."
"Looking forward to it. It's a very nice place. How did you say you got this ship? It seems more like a yacht than anything practical."
"I told you, it was sold to me by it's former owner. Originally it was indeed a far more spartan transport. Over the years, I tried to make things more comfortable for the crew and passengers, considering the former staying on permanent for the most part, myself included. As well as more practical applications, such as improved weapon systems."
"Those would have come in handy the first time we were aboard." Jimini suddenly made his presence known as he settled down next to them with his tray of food.
"Uhhh certainly yes it would have. Regardless, I think your food is ready. I'll go check!" August made himself scarce for the moment, leaving Leng and Jimini alone.
Leng relaxes and soaks up the environment, sniffing the air casually for the smell of cooking and green things growing.
"He hasn't told you has he? Exactly how it was he got this ship."
"Not really, no. Or he's skipping over things, rather a lot of them. The spaces here are far too large and it's interplanetary but can land? That's very very rare."
"We've done pretty well for ourselves. Enough for modifications, but when he and I first boarded, it was the cheapest ride out of an anarchist had." Jimini cut his meal with the utensils in his feet.
"Hmmm... I suppose..."
"Your boyfriend's a hero. Argus gave him this ship out of thanks."
"Boyfriend might be pushing it on the second date... but we'll see."
"Fine don't ask." Jimini gave up on the story, but he remembered it in his mind.
"I'm back! Indonesian Beef satay. You'll love them!" August brought back a plate of food for his date.
"Oh no Jimini, I want to hear the story. Please go ahead."
She smiled as August returned with food, "Oh my, satay? And you cook? That's the third best way to a lady's heart you know."
Leng sat up to survey dinner.
August looked to Jimini.
"Look Boss, if you're not gonna tell her. I will." August sighed as he served dinner. "Colette made these, not me. Best I can do is grill.
What Jimini was getting at was, after finding no home amongst the Anarchists, Spike found me a ship for low rep travelers bound for Extropia. Jimini and I met in one of these very dorms. En route though, our ship was mutinied and seized by stow away pirates.
Jimini and I were able to subdue one and I armed myself with his machete. I worked my way to the bridge, where Captain Argus had been captured, and I overheard the pirate's plan to sell us all to the Nine Lives Cartel. I . . . acted and retook the bridge. After freeing the Captain, Jimini rallied the rest of the passengers to rebel against the pirates."
"When we reached our destination, and things settled down, Captain Argus 'sold' the ship to me. His price already payed in full by what I had done for him and everyone aboard."
August looked around.
"A good many of those around you were with us on that first journey, and we've all stuck together since."
"Nine Lives? Those are ugly ugly people. You did good work then and so long as everyone's happy with how it worked out who am I to complain."
She tastes the satay and sighs happily, "This. Is. Delicious."
"So you didn't care for the anarchists?"
"I'm just glad you didn't become appalled at my methods! Some see my predilection for edged weapons and think I'm Jason Voorhees. I think a more accurate assessment is they didn't care for me."
"Or us!" Said Colette.
"Yeah there's a reason most of us were on this ship in the first place." Jimini said.
"The feeling was somewhat mutual at that point. These days, I view it more as a differing of lifestyle choices. They've not compelled me to return, and they were not barring my exit. Every anarchist, chooses to remain among them. Who am I to judge their choice wrong just because it's not my own?"
"I'm hardly bothered by that. After all, I've dealt with people with unhappy facinations with knives before. And in any case you didn't panic when you found out what I was."
"Indeed, but I've never met one of the Lost before. Even if I had, what reason would I have to assume you were dangerous just because of your origin?"
"Well most people have watched the news in the last six years or so, the Futura project did fail in a really spectacular way. I've seen the reports that were made public, we did produce a very..."
She pauses for a bite of satay, "Large number of serial killers. By the way, what brand of skin moisturizer do you use?" Leng grins.
August was taken somewhat off guard by the sharp subject change, and Leng could probably sense his confusion.
"Uhhhh . . . I usually just let the ship's decontaminants do their job. Though I'm pretty sure we use a premium brand. You'd have to ask Fae-3 for the specific one."
"That was a joke August. As in 'It puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again'. I can find some humor in our reputation you know. This satay is delicious by the way. It might need a cocktail to go with though."
"Oh. I see. Certainly, why didn't I get you something to drink in the first place?" August slapped his brow. "Man I'm being such a terrible host." He gets up and kisses her hand. "Forgive me, my lady. I'll be right back."
((OOC: See what I was saying before?))
She smiles and chuckles while nibbling at the satay and the rice which accompanied it.
((OOC: Don't worry about it))
August quickly returns with two drinks and hands Leng one.
"Coletter said she made something special for you."
"I said I made it for votre belle." One of her nodes chirped, it's presence unnoticed until now. August just chuckled lightly while handing her the glass. He sat down and used his claws to pop open a bottle of soda.
"Cheers." she raises her glass and sips.
"So is there any other dark secrets I should know about?" August said jokingly.
"The biggest one at the moment is that I've forked myself for this evening, so I'm on two dates; one with you and the other with a very nice young lady. We'll reintegrate and compare later. Thank goodness you're not bioconservative, yes?"
"No, but . . ." August rubbed the back of his head. "The fact that I'm sort of on trial here against someone else is a bit off putting I must admit. Am I doing well thus far?"
"I didn't say that you were on trial dear. Just that there was going to be some comparison. After all," she smiles, "I've got years to catch up for an frankly I'm not even entirely sure of my orientation."
"Say one word Jimini, and you're fired!" August nipped his first mate's inevitable snark before it left his beak. "Perhaps you'd like to see another part of the ship when you're done with that my lady?"
She finishes her beverage and nods, "Certainly August, lead on. Let's see what else the ship has to offer."
Taking Leng's hand, August guides her to the elevator and they go up and up and up. At the very top, the door opens and the system drones,
August escorts Leng out into the open air, the Martian wind blowing gently about. The sun is beginning to set, turning the ground from rust brown to almost crimson red and making the skyline of New Shanghai glow gold.
"Now this is truly an amazing view, close to how Mars wants to be seen I think."
She grins, "Oh look, I can see my house from here... or the area where it is."
"It truly is a beautiful view." August said dreamily while looking nowhere out over the scenery.
"Again, you flatter me August." she turns and looks him up and down, "Still, the view does have a lot going for it. What did you have in mind for the evening?"
"My plans pretty much ended here." He walked up next to Leng and wrapped his hand around her waist. "I'm up for anything you wish to do." He kisses her on the forehead.
Leng turns her face up and pulls the leonid morph closer for a lingering kiss while the sun sets over the Martian landscape.
[*Sparkle Pony nudges Spike* Now that's a good sign. Should we start XP recordings?]
After a long, romantic kiss, August parted his lips softly, leaving one last parting peck.
"Hehe, would you care to see the Captain's Quarters now?"
"Why yes, yes I would. After all, where someone lives tells you ever so much about them."
She offers her hand, "Lead on."
August leads his date to his room.
It is as he originally described it, Spartan. The bed was folded into the wall and the most prominent feature were a number of weapons lying on racks on the back wall. Most were swords of various kinds but there were also a few polearms, staves, and knives. All from various pre-Fall cultures and even a few post Fall reinventions.
On the opposite wall was a hologram projector sitting atop a kind of altar, the image shifting from Miyamoto Musashi, to Johannes Liechtenauer, to Bruce Lee, and others. In front of the imager was a smart matter statue that continually changed from a Crucifix, to the Buddha, to the Kabbalah Tree of Life, and other religious iconography.
Next to where the bed folded out was a work desk. The fabled typewriter sat atop it and off to the side, a basic food fabber.
"Well . . . Casa de Leonid! What wallpaper are you in the mood for?" August asked as he toyed with the AR settings for the walls.
She considers it, "Something more living and natural, and less iconographic of manhood? No offense but it's not exactly restful as is... but I like the room, it's simple, functional, uncluttered, intended for use without frippery... hmmm..."
Leng smiles a bit playfully, "I thought you were an extropian, but you don't have an altar to Ayn Rand?"
"I don't think she would be too fond of that herself." He took off his shoes as he left them by the door. "I do keep her in mind though as she IS a big inspiration for me, along with Walt Disney. They have both inspired much of my works." He pointed to the typewriter on the desk.
"If you're not comfortable, we don't have to stay here. I just thought you might want to see where I call home." August set the wall paper to the backdrop of low tide waves on a beach.
She kicks her shoes off, "This is good, I like the ocean... it's something that we lack out here beyond Earth."
"Here's nice. And I get Disney, I like his work a lot. Ayn Rand... can't say I care for her writing though."
"She's an acquired taste sure." August unfolded the bed and sat down on it, patting the vacant space next to him. "I like her larger than life characters. Too much emphasis was placed on making characters flawed back in her day. Anyway, I don't want to bore you with my writing styles." He laughed.
"Actually you are wrong about the ocean. Europa has a bigger ocean than all of Earth and no land masses to break it up."
She raises and eyebrow and sits down where she was invited, "Oceans where you can stand on a beach and enjoy them, not ones you have to drill through half a mile of ice to get to I mean. You know, scenic ones."