SIM:MacKenna (Shayne) Turnabout In-Rude-er
((Deck 2, Shayne and MacKenna’s Quarters, USS Arrow))
Movement to his side reminded him of the difference between dream and reality, but for the first time in living memory, that difference favored the truth. The warmth of her form, nestled against him, was unmistakable, and it seemed to live in his mind even in rest, even in unconsciousness. When it shifted, he noticed, but didn’t mind, and when her lips lovingly brushed against his forehead, it was all he could do to stop from smiling. Here, in the twilight between wakefulness and unconsciousness, he could ride a high forever, and value it for having happened, instead of missing it.
But as she rolled out of his bed- their bed- and began attending to something in the main room, Shayne’s curiosity, and suddenly vivacious desire to feel life as it happened, drove him to action. With practiced, gentle quiet, Shayne moved out of the bed, throwing on his bathrobe that hung from a hook nearby. Silently, he slipped it on, and peaked his head out of the sleeping compartment.
There was MacKenna, her red hair a beacon in these subtle, darkened quarters, laying out… what the devil were they, flowers? Flowers. She… had gone to sleep in his quarters. Now she was making it their home.
The home of a family.
The thought should have sent him into apoplexy; his hatred of children was legendary, and his dismay at the thought of being assigned to captain a starship where they were permitted was so unpleasant that he still recalled it years after his assignment to the Arrow. But where there ought to be horror, there was only… a glow. The warm, rich glow of the hearth, fierce in its intensity, and yet subtle in its presence and applications. It was the hearth of community, of companionship, of love and affection and family, and just because he didn’t often indulge it aboard ship didn’t mean he was unfamiliar with its gracious presence. He felt it now, in the warmth of the quarters, in the fiery red of his beloved, in the bond that brought him ever closer to MacKenna, until finally, his soundless steps brought him to just behind her.
He thought about announcing himself more clearly, but if there was any place for play, and to feel safe in that play, it was here, in the privacy of their abode, in the torrent of their delight. And so, with smooth, gentle motions, he reached out, and slid his palms along her sides, placing his dozy head loosely upon her shoulder and swaying ever so gently with her.
Shayne: Good morning.
He spoke in the whisper of the early day, and kept his eyes upon her work and craft. Even so, he knew she was smiling- within herself or with her face didn’t matter to him. All that mattered was the smile.
MacKenna: Good morning.
Shayne stepped to her side as she showed him her early morning tasks.
Shayne: Whatcha got there?
MacKenna: I've not been home in a while, but when I was home, mom always had fresh flowers out.
Shayne lowered his eyes as MacKenna’s grew weary and nostalgic.
Shayne: Then let’s make this a home.
MacKenna: I hope you don't mind.
Shayne looked at her with the calm peace of a sloth, and the fiery enchantment of a wizard’s glint. He adopted a flower into his hand, and gave it a gentle peck on its petals, before leaning in and offering a similarly affectionate smooch to his beloved.
Shayne: Home is where the hearth is.
Before she could respond, the door to their quarters chimed. Had it chimed before, too? Shayne’s face vacated itself of blood. Who the hell would be calling at this hour? And while he was in his veritable skivvies, no less?! But the captain was always on call, and he’d rather be embarrassed than negligent. With a quick glance downward to ensure that both he and MacKenna were technically decent, Shayne called out.
Shayne: Come on in.
And then the nightmares that had been given no home in light of recent events finally came home to roost.
Maria Alvarez, free-spirited ensign and impassioned pain in Shayne’s backside, entered, bearing distinctly not gifts. She unceremoniously dumped the PADDs onto the nearest flat surface, and the loud clacking sound caused Shayne to wince. The captain had to resist the ridiculous urge to stand before MacKenna in a defensive stance, as if Maria were a predator come to spread mayhem.
Alvarez: The reports you asked for, cap. Arrow will be fully resupplied ahead of schedule, though we still have some “nice-to-haves” to check off our list. :: She passed him a padd off the top of the pile. :: This one was marked urgent. For my money, Starfleet forgot to mention a shipment of critical and now-mandatory foot cream we're supposed to have handy is running late. :: She grinned. ::
Shayne growled to himself as he accepted it.
Shayne: Thank you, Ensign, for your perspicacity.
Please leave, please leave, please leave- that was all Shayne could think of, not even bothering to skim the PADD just yet. But Alvarez had other ideas.
Alvarez: You’re not going to introduce us?
Shayne’s eyes squinted, and then his heart fell through his bowels. Was she…? Oh, no...
Shayne: Hm? Yes. Yes! This, this is Commander Ash MacKenna, Starfleet Intelligence. Newly assigned as our liaison for this sector. Commander MacKenna, Ensign Maria Alvarez, Arrow’s Ops Officer.
Shayne tried to ward off the feelings of jealousy as Ash extended her hand, almost flawless in its reconstruction. That was his hand to hold. But even he quickly realized the ridiculousness of that, and withdrew the thought.
Alvarez: Pleased to meet you. Maria, if you would. :: She shot a look at the captain, dangerous ideas swirling in her brown eyes. :: I guess I can understand why you wouldn’t want the two women in your life meeting.
Shayne knew there would be trouble. He hadn’t thought that Alvarez would scrape this low to find it. So stunned was he that his customary control was momentarily abandoned.
MacKenna: Indeed, seeing as how we have, met.
But Alvarez wasn’t hearing of it- literally. As Shayne’s eyes widened like a man who couldn’t understand what was happening to him, the ensign forged forward.
Alvarez: You didn’t tell her about us!? But I thought you were going to!
Shayne: What the *$&% do you mean, us?! There is no us!
Shayne’s words were snarled and raucous, but behind his eyes was a desperate panic, and beneath even that, a patch of trust that now lied raw and red. It stung.
MacKenna: A friend?
Alvarez: There’s no use denying it, Randal. You know you can’t pull one over on an intelligence operative. She was going to find out everything about our “relationship” eventually anyway.
For an instant, Shayne left his soul behind.
It wasn’t the first time it had happened, though the last time had required some alien intervention. But the sudden, spasmodic rage that seized him was unlike anything else he’d ever experienced. It was blind, driven savagery, and it was fortunate that it dissipated so rapidly. Alvarez… she’d always wanted him to loosen up, shake a leg, or at the very least, let her go about her life her way. But now… now she was stepping on newly forged home turf, and however slightly, threatening what good he and MacKenna had carved out of the endless night together. A blood vessel in his eye popped as every muscle in his body, as one, tensed.
Shayne: ::In a voice like gravel running over stone:: “Randal…?"
MacKenna: No, you ruined it. It's over.
His head whipped toward his partner, caught even more off guard. Was she… she was pulling his leg, too!
Alvarez: Oh please. Don’t deny that we share something special! All those long conversations, the confessions over a shared drink…
Though murder was explicitly rare in the Federation, on the occasions that it happened, it was thoroughly investigated. If there was enough evidence to form a holographic recreation, investigators would do that to prove a point or examine events more closely. This happened as needed on the hundreds and hundreds of planets and colony worlds, and yet none of these recreations, recreations that featured sentient beings in the throes of slaughter, could compare to the withering look that Shayne invoked against Alvarez.
Alvarez: Sorry, cap, but that’s what you get for being so private. Had to activate the Alvarez security protocol. Be sure you were… y’know… you. :: A beat. :: You should have seen your face!
...god, was he tired. Tired of being so annoyed. Tired of being so afraid, so trigger-happy. Tired of Alvarez not cooperating once in her damned life… but the first step in not being so tired was actually relaxing, and in that spirit, Shayne tried to smile. He did so, technically, even as his teeth ground.
Shayne: I may yet, Ensign.
MacKenna: Perhaps we should start again? Ash MacKenna, newly assigned Intel Chief.
And there was Ash, stepping in- thankfully. The captain honestly wasn’t sure he could speak civilly quite yet.
MacKenna: Operations? Well, I'll save you some trouble. I'm assigning myself quarters with the Captain.
And with that, Shayne felt the pressure alight from his heart. The squeeze of his hand was like a reignition of his pulse, and with the reminder of her presence, he was soothed. For now. He tried not to look smug, even though he knew that Alvarez had gotten him nice and good.
Shayne: It seems that certain matters aboard have gained the attention of Starfleet Intelligence. You wouldn’t know anything about these incidents, would you, Ensign?
Now it was Shayne’s turn for some biting fun.
Shayne: Well, I’m sure you have nothing to hide. Right?
He blinked pleasantly.
Captain Randal Shayne
Return to Ash MacKenna