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Old August 17th, 2019, 09:28 AM
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The Pakkrat The Pakkrat is offline
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U. You really think that the Extents can take Corridor Sector? Uessae sat above me in the wooden longboat while I struggled to make sense of the name on the watercraft prow. The letters were not familiar and yet had to be Vargr. They looked nothing like Anglic or Vilani or that other Terran language. And I didn’t know if it was Zhodani or not, but it looked to me like Vargr. I did not look up at Uessae for trying to do so would end the dream I had learned by now. I dunno, Uessae. But as it turns out, just considering the answer to a dream question with an attempt at rational thought can boot me from deep sleep.

We wined. We dined. We shopped some more, for Needs this outing. This took the rest of the week as the refurbishment of life support and the repairs completed on the Thuegueus II. Soon enough, into the Wonday, I got to move back into the Fast Far Trader.

Lidus Ka showed me her meager, 27-year-old UPP, resume and certifications. Ancients! Who did she piss off in ED5?! But Rich, Corporate Princess was a passable Astrogator and I needed Uessae at the helm. So, meh, I signed her on as a Navigator and Security what with that high caliber Hunting Rifle and all the add-ons I saw her purchase for Daddy's Gun.
I told the ladies to get unpacked in their Staterooms, Uessae again with me in the Captain's Cabin on the portside nose of the Imperium-made Empress Marava.

And I'll be damned that there was a present waiting for me in Engineering. "Initial Systems Tests, ladies," I called over the ship intercoms to keep them busy while opened the gift.

Uessae answered with, "Can't wait to try everything on."

So that's who bought and planted the gift. Uessae. The ex-Navy Captain Uessae Noedhin knew how to delegate. She must have had the gift wrapped and delivered to the ship rather than bring it with us back to the hotel.

Rather than take the bait immediately, I composed myself and began the process of testing the Drives, pre-flight checks, seals checks and other minutiae of an Engineer. Like a lure on a fishing hook or bait in a snare, the wrapped gift in a deep maroon red beckoned.

“Bridge online now that I’ve tossed my kit in my cabin,” called Lidus. “How about you, Captain-Owner?” Doubt wormed its way into my mind about which of the ladies sent this gift to be delivered to my Vargr Cave in Engineering. I could not leave Engineering without opening the gift. That’s why it was here. Its sender meant for me to open it alone, else it would have been in the Captain’s Cabin or in the Galley or Commons instead.
Like a brand, the tag atop the wrapped gift read: To Ri

While I had my suspicions about whether it was Uessae or Lidus as the gift sender, I tried deductive logic. Lidus does not call me Ri. Like Blacktongue, the Vilani woman called me Fixer or Engineer or “hey you”. But this was my name on the gift tag.

If I opened the gift, I’d have to try it or use it or otherwise be able to show that I acknowledged the gift delivery. And once I did that, the sender would have me. To open the gift or to beg out that I missed it.

No. That wouldn’t work. The gift was right there on the Engineering Console. An utter moron could not have missed it.

“Outside walkabout checks out,” called Uessae with her Comm-12. “Aeronautics checks out.” I was running out of time.

All the shops we had been to, Uessae and Lidus had come out with some bag or box for me to schlep. What was in that maroon gift on my Console? I would not be able to run all my checks without having to move or touch it.
Ancients! I’m such a coward. With a huff, I walked over to the gift calling, “Engineering almost checks out. Three Drives and all...”

I carefully unwrapped the maroon red bow ribbon cinching the top of the gift. The stays widened the opening.

Oh no. They didn’t. I lifted two garments and one accessory out of the gift. The accessory was tagged and labeled as a pair of Infrared Goggles with an adjustable strap for Human or Vargr craniums. Okay, that’s kinda cool.

The first garment was a folded into a compact size set of Jack bodysuit armor with...(I read the tag on the inside of the collar)...titanium studs. Black and made of some kind of treated organic leather, the Jack was to cover the abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms down to the wrists. It enclosed with both a zipper and buckles at the waist, collar and wrists. I set that item aside like it was gonna get me somehow.

The last item at the bottom of the gift was a black Jack and titanium studded male’s brief for Vargr. Those two females! They had seen me spying them from the lingerie shop. Conferring together, they must have ordered online and had these items delivered so I could not look in their bags.

I had the bravery to try on the Infrared Goggles first. Lowering the lights in Engineering, I was able to pick out the heat signatures of the individual Drives, my own body’s heat and the ambient heat in the compartment. Nifty. Thoughtful, the ladies must have enticed me a little with this bit of helpful technology, luring me further into the contents of the gift. With the goggles raised above my eyes, I was now cursed to try on the Jack items. But no way was I going to step from Engineering in just the two. Nuh-uh.

They were going to ask how the two Jack items fitted once I returned from Engineering. I know this. It’s how Uessae works. As an ex-Navy Captain, she is keen on manipulation. Well, I could try them on, just so I could honestly give them an answer while not wearing the Jacks before them. That much I could do in the least.

“Sensors check out,” called Lidus from the Bridge.

“Seals on airlock and cargo are Green,” answered Uessae.

I hung my Merchants coat on the Engineering Console chair. I still had on a shirt and could fit the torso Jack over it. The leather creaked as I slid my arms into the sleeves. But to get the other, lower Jack on, I’d have to strip completely.

* * *

Ri: No way am I going to record this segment of my life. This is just too embarrassing and devious of the ladies to do to me. But it fits. I don’t have a mirror.

* * *

Turns out, I did not have to record trying on the Jacks and the Infrared Goggles. Before I could take the two leathers off and return to my Merchants garb, Uessae AND Lidus opened the iris valve door and entered my Vargr Cave. Uessae leading but looking over her shoulder said to Lidus, “It doesn’t say Keep Out yet after the Life Support and repairs, so we can still enter his turf.” Then the ladies beheld me in all my leathered-up, titanium-studded glory standing there in Engineering like a cub with its claw in the treats jar.

“Hot damn,” said Uessae Noedhin.

“Wow,” added Lidus Ka.

I was never going to hear the end of this. “I-,” I tried to generate some excuse or proper explanation.

“Those abs,” commented the ex-Navy Captain.

“And that butt,” critiqued Lidus who leaned against the threshold of the iris valve, keeping it opened. I felt my pride, dignity and Vargr Charisma sink through the deck floor as the ladies unabashedly gawked at me.

“Turn around for us, Ri.”

“How’d you get his measurements right?” Lidus asked Uessae.

“I read his Merchants coat, but I did have to guess at the lower piece a little.” I almost took off the upper Jack, but Uessae stopped me. “Don’t, Ri,” the Aekhu said. “You look good.”

“Nice touch the titanium,” complimented Lidus to Uessae with congratulations.

Trapped as I was before the two, both Uessae and even Lidus Ka brandished their Vargr Charisma and emulated Vargr Charisma at me. I was like an infant cub’s teething toy in their eyes. Seeing them mentally salivate over my exposed hips, thighs and legs, I turned and at least slid on my red pants. “You two are diabolical.”

“No, Ri. You look diabolical.”

From somewhere in the back of my brain, I was treated to some form of elusive memory. The Solomani call it deja vu, I think. “Well, Engineering checks out, you two.”

“You check out, Ri,” smiled Uessae as the two turned to leave my Vargr Cave. I saw Uessae begin to pant and Lidus fan herself with a hand as they left me in Engineering. “You could say thank you, y’know,” called Uessae from down the corridor just before the iris valve closed.

This Jack coat, despite the zipper and the titanium buckles has no pockets. I bet I looked like something from Lidus’ punk world to her. I returned to finish the Engineering checks, leaving on both Jacks and scraping my Charisma back up off the floor.

A simulated weapons check in both Hardpoints, my walkthrough of the Cargo Hold and an inventory of the Galley, Pantry and Ship’s Locker, I met the dastardly ladies in the Commons. Now bestowed with their ‘gifts’, I had to continue wearing them for the rest of the Day.

Though my ship title is Captain-Owner, my ship position is Engineer-Purser which means I’m also the Steward aboard the Thuegueus II. I began to prepare our first meal on the refurbished AFT-BS44 Fast Far Trader. Lidus tried out the seating in the Commons as she looked about the compartment. “I like this.” Uessae took a seat at the table and watched me cook. She was still hungrily eyeing me work while wearing her gifts.

I was morally obligated to thank the two ladies for the gifts by preparing a savory dish, a lasagna with three kinds of meat, two spices and a red sauce.
“Did the Infrareds work well, Ri?” Uessae asked by trying to redirect her attention to somewhere other than my abs or my posterior despite the fact that I was now covered. Maybe it was a combination of knowing I was so attired and preparing a meal in the Galley for her.

“Precise,” I nodded. “I can make out the Drives, my own heat and even the ambient background.”
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Last edited by The Pakkrat; September 17th, 2019 at 06:13 PM..