SIM:Tan, Alleran/The Seeds of Passion, Part I

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((On the way to Captain Riley's Quarters, USS Independence-A))

Tan: Actually... I was hoping this would be a regular thing for us, these little dates of ours. I have another couple planned after this one although I'd dearly love to see more of Earth. We could take it in turns, if you wanted?

:: Tan could sometimes be sneaky with these kinds of things. For Somers, the attraction he felt for her was mostly physical- so his attempts to woe here were, accordingly, usually attempts to get physically intimate with her. For Riley, however... despite her incredible natural beauty, Tan found the woman's personality very compatible with his. He didn't know how she felt- sometimes he thought she blushed when he was around, but he could never be sure- and so his little 'slip' was entirely intentional. He was testing the waters, here- would Riley even notice? Would she go along with it, would she get that shy, flustered look he'd thought he'd seen a few times, or would she firmly put him in his place? He liked her so much... if she was "unobtainable", as Commander Ehlanii had so bluntly put it, he had best find out sooner rather than later. It would hurt less in the long run this way. ::

Riley: I would like that very much. ::Sidney felt her heart rate quicken at her response. She almost caught her breath as her stomach once again protested, she was starting a dangerous game, one in which her track record was not very good.::

:: Tan found himself tongue-tied at that. He felt himself glow warm all over- a tingling feeling running from the spots on his forehead down his neck, down his chest, right to his toes. Her answer... with just a few words, Riley could light him up like a torch. Her voice, her attitude, her eyes, her face, her body, her hair... everything just came together in this wonderful package that spellbinded him, capturing his attention and refusing to release it. He found himself staring again. ::

Tan: Y-yes, sir.

Riley: Please, Lieutenant, I am off duty, as are you. There is no need to call me Sir. Please, call me Sidney. ::She looked into Tan's deep brown eyes and smiled.::

:: Tan looked relieved, meeting her gaze and holding it. He knew Riley appreciated her protocol and procedure- he was doing his best to fit in to the new ship, to accomodate her command style... it was just not one he shared. He preferred to be informal where-ever possible. If he asked someone to call him sir, it was because either there was a large difference in rank or he was very angry with them. He felt a slight pang- there WAS a large difference in rank between the two. He pushed that thought aside. ::

:: As it was, the request to call her by her first name both humbled and pleased him. He was obviously making a favorable impression on her- at least, he hoped so- and he found her first name to be... strange and alien, but very beautiful. Sidney... Sidney. He caught her look, returning it in earnest. ::

Tan: Of course... Sidney. And please, call me Alleran.

:: They rounded the corner. Riley's quarters were just down the corridor... Tan's nervousness spiked. Oh my...! Mental images flashed into his head, too strong and vibrant for him to dismiss. Riley would be *naked*... in *that room*... right THERE...! He was certain he was glowing like a beetroot. ::

Tan: oO Get a hold of yourself! Oo

Tan: Well, uh- we're here! Ah... hehe!

::Sidney turned a surprised look on her face, was that nervous laughter from Tan? Entering the code on the key pad, Sidney stepped through the door.::

Riley: Please, come in Alleran.

:: Sidney had stopped, looking around as if to see if anyone else was in the room. He figured it might have been the adopted daughter he'd heard about. Despite the verbal welcome, he waited until she smiled and motioned for Tan to enter.::

:: The Trill did so, slipping inside, nose twitching pleasantly. He marveled at the inside of Sidney's quarters. The place smelled fresh and clean, with a faint twist of Riley's scent. This was clearly her home... in so far as Starfleet Captains had a home that wasn't managing one crisis after another. He admired the large blanket with some kind of Earth cat on it. Pictures... so many pictures. Judging by all the pictures of what he presumed to be family and friends, she was obviously loved by so many people. He felt a sting of regret. There were no pictures in his quarters and almost all his paintings were still back at Starbase 118. Most erroneously, he didn't get a picture of Thelev before he left... he'd have to get one from Thetis, or pull up one from his profile. The only painting he had was... was the new one of Sidney which he would show her in due time. ::

:: Suddenly, Sidney's gaze stopped on the bluish-gray cat who seemed to be waddling across the room. Tan burst into an immediate smile. ::

Tan: Oh! And who is this, mmm?

Riley: I hope you don't mind cats. This is Andy. ::Sidney motioned to the rag-doll cat.:: We've been together a long time.

:: He knelt down, rubbing the cat between the ears, his smile wide. Andy... that was a male name. ::

Tan: I love cats! Wow, he's gorgeous! Look at you...! Aren't you a cute little thing, yes you are! Yes you are! Aww, you like that, don't you? Hehe... mmm. My cat, Zlix... she got left behind on Deep Space 17.

:: There was a tinge of regret, worry. ::

Tan: She's- hehe. She's kinda fat and pampered and overfed, so I hope she's okay. Probably some Vaadwaur's pet, now...

::Sidney turned and smiled, motioning with her hand to the left indicating a place near the back of the room.::

Riley: The bathroom is that way. The layout is a little different from the rest of the quarters on the ship. ::She gave a small smile.:: One of the perks of being a Captain. I'll be back in less than five minutes. ::She turned and headed for her bedroom.::

:: Tan watched her go. His heart pulled at him, impulsively, to go with her- to say something... anything... tell her how he felt. Make wild proclamation and promises... ::

Tan: I'll... be done in a moment.

Marlee: oO Good boy. C'mon, you can do this... don't be an idiot. Good things come to boys who know when to shut the hell up. Oo

::After Tan finished speaking, Sidney closed the door. Standing, he gave the cat a last, playful rub with his foot then wandered over to the replicator. ::

Tan: One set of civilian clothing, Alleran Tan's file. Set... seventeen.

:: He collected the bundle, stepping into her bathroom. It was clean and very well ordered... it, like her bedroom, carried the lingering hint of her light, pleasant scent. He changed, folding his dress uniform neatly and stacking it in the corner. He'd leave it here and collect it later. It would be a good excuse to come back. ::

:: Tan chose a dark green folded tunic, sleeveless with gold edging, a thick leather belt clipped around his waist. The garment flowed down halfway to his knees and was worn over a snow-white, elbow-length sleeved undershirt. Below that, he tugged on a pair of full length earth-brown pants, his hair carefully messed up to create a casual, easy-going look. It was a style all the rage on Trill last year. Trill... he hadn't been back there since joining Starfleet and, as much as he tried to keep in touch with his family and friends there, joining had changed him a great deal. In some ways it was like he barely knew them anymore, seeing them through very different eyes. He did want to eventually go back... Trill was his home planet, it would always be his home planet... but Starfleet took you places far, far away from your comfort zone, to places you couldn't even imagine. ::

:: Places with smoking hot alien Starfleet Captains, apparently. ::

((Five Minutes Later))

:: Tan leaned up against the door to the bathroom. He'd finished changing first but was quite content to wait- he daydreamed about the night he had planned, idly rubbing Andy's side with his toes. Exactly five minutes later, Sidney opened the door and stepped out into the common area. Tan looked up, a reflexive smile on his face- and nearly fell over. He couldn't help but quite obviously stare. Everything about her outfit was perfect. It was subtle and beautiful- colourful without being gaudy, sensual without being unbecoming, formal without being intimidating... strong and feminine and confident... definitely sexy, with just a tiny hint of vulnerability. She was... extraordinarily shapely, he realized now. He liked that. She had a woman's figure, carried with grace and wisdom... tempered with a playful spark of fun. ::

:: She was absolutely perfect. ::

Tan: You look beautiful.

:: The comment just slipped out, almost subconsciously. It was true... she was stunning. He had never, in two lifetimes, seen anyone look so very pretty as Riley did at that moment. He would remember this picture, this scene, for the rest of his symbiont's life... for what could easily be a thousand years or more this would play over and over again in his mind- clear and crisp, exactly as he saw it now. ::

Riley: Thank you. ::She blushed a shade which complimented her attire.:: Shall we go to dinner? I don't know what you have planned.

:: He felt tongue-tied. Stepping closer to her, he folded his hands behind his back. ::

Tan: I- um. I was... hoping to have it there, actually. I'll replicate a basket. ... are- are you sure you want to wear that? I... it's just so, so very *nice*, and-... and... it's going to be wet...

Riley: Oh, I am prepared for water. ::She smiled brightly.:: However, how did you say it? It wouldn't be a surprise would it? ::She winked at Tan and waited to gauge his response.::</nowiki>

:: "Positive" would be a conservative way to describe it. "Adoring" would be more fitting... another full, complete flush. Tan suspected there was another layer under there.. under that wonderfully subtle dress of hers. His mind went crazy, imaging... distracting images literally danced in his mind, wearing- ::

Marlee: oO Focus... all in good time. Oo

:: Feeling humbled, he extended his arm in a gentlemanly fashion. ::

Tan: I can have the computer wind back the beginning a bit- we'll have enough time to eat before the main event.

::Sidney moved gracefully to Alleran's side and took his arm gently. She found herself marveling at how easy it was to fall in at his side. To her, there was something comforting about the fact they were the same height. It was perhaps the first time she'd not had to reach up to take a man's arm. Taking the Trill's arm felt surprisingly comfortable and natural.::

Riley: Wonderful, let's go. ::There was a soft sense of happiness in her voice. She let herself relax as much as her mind would let her as they walked down the corridor. She found herself content to let Alleran lead the way.::

:: Tan lead her towards the holodecks, making idle chatter. In the back of his mind he knew Riley would turn plenty of heads with her outfit- he wouldn't... couldn't... blame anyone for staring. He couldn't take his eyes off her- not now. Not now... ::

::Sidney was aware of the eyes which looked her way, however, she focused her attention on the Joined Trill she was with. She found his chatter fascinating and the fact his eyes lingered her way made her cheeks retain a rosy glow.::

:: He swung by a replicator, ordering a mix of food both sweet and savoury. With a cheeky grin, he asked the computer to pack it into a traditional Earth picnic basket.::

(( Holodeck 3, USS Independence-A ))

Tan: Computer, load program Trill bravo nine six. Begin from time index... minus sixty. An hour... that should give us enough time to eat and chat, wouldn't you say?

::Sidney paused, not being sure what he had planned she wasn't sure. She found herself almost regretting it would only be an hour. Shaking off the feeling she responded.::

Riley: An hour sounds good.

:: The doors swished open. The room inside was darkened, a stark contrast to the bright light of the Independence's corridor lighting. When the doors slid closed, Tan could see a lot better.::

::It took a moment for the Terran/Deltan's eyes to adjust to the new lighting. When they did, she found the sight absolutely beautiful.::

:: It was late evening, bordering on night-time. A million bright, twinkling stars shone up above through the blue-green sky above- it was perfectly clear, although to the east a raging thunderstorm, occasionally punctuated by white flashes of lightning, was slowly bearing down on the area. Fortunately was quite a way off yet and there wasn't a breath of wind. The air smelt of natural smells- the faint smell of the coming storm mixed with a slightly tangy scent, probably arising from the pink-tipped plants. ::

:: They were standing on an extremely wide dirt road which was bordered on all sides by large fields of waist-high plants stretched to the horizon. The wheat-like flora were tipped with what appeared to be a seed pod, glowed a dull pink in the gloom as though faintly bioluminescent, throbbing as some fluid slowly pulsed through the bulbous appendage at the top. The dull blue soil underfoot clung to a hint of its warmth, still slightly heated by the day's light. ::

:: Tan's voice was quiet, although it carried far in the tranquil night air. ::

Tan: This is the field of Passion's Rest.

::Sidney's voice held a sense of wonder. Her gaze falling over the natural scene, she drank it in visually.::

Riley: It's amazing. I've never seen anything like it.

:: Tan swept his free hand across, indicating the whole area. As Alleran talked Sidney marveled at the bluish tint to the dirt road and the color of the plants. It was so different from Earth, so different from any planet she'd ever experienced.::

Tan: This is on my home continent. Trill culture is as diverse as humans- a little less, I suppose- there's quite the legend to this place. I'll tell you as we eat, if you like. The storm won't be here for a while.

Riley: Of course

:: He set down the picnic basket and extracted a thick, heavy circular blanket spun of a soft Trill fiber. He spread it out on the ground, laying down on his back and beckoning Sidney to join him. As he did so, she removed her sandals and ran her foot through the soft, warm bluish dirt before she gracefully sat down next to him. And then, he began to tell the story of the Four Virtues, occasionally popping bits of fruit and fish into his mouth.::

::Listening intently, the Terran/Deltan felt herself relax even more. The sound of Alleran's voice, the intoxicating smells, the warmth of the atmosphere, the surroundings in general, made her feel calm and content. The story of Trill's creation was both beautiful and tragic. She found herself listening more than eating.::

(( The story of the Trill legends is here (but it's still a work in progress) --> http://www.starbase118.net/forums/index.php?/topic/5188-children-equally-of-the-earth-and-the-sky/ ))

Tan: ... and this place, this whole field, is where Passion and Humility broke in half and parted ways after their alliance. These plants... they're called the Seeds of Passion. The tips are little drops of Passion's blood. The sap is spicy and delicious, but... intoxicating. It's a metaphor for how the Trill view highly charged emotions. A little is good for you and very tasty. Have too much, and... and you'll be very, very sick.

:: In a cheeky gesture, he held up one of the blue bits of Lira fruit as though feeding it to her. Sidney gave a bright happy laugh at the gesture. Truth be told Alleran Tan looked rather silly holding the fruit the way he was. She shook her head, blushed an even deeper pink and took the piece of fruit. It was surprisingly sweet and juicy. She found herself wondering why she hadn't tried any of the blue fruit before. Perhaps it was because he had paraded around with them as antenna only two days before. She looked down at the blanket and then looked back up at the plants.::

Riley: The Seeds of Passion? Trill is such a beautiful place, I can't think of anything quite like this on Earth.

:: Tan shook his head. He'd seen pictures, heard stories... ::

Tan: This is a very beautiful place I'll admit, but Earth has its wonders as well. The Aurora Borealis, a sunrise over Kenya, Niagara Falls, Sidney Arlyn Riley, the Great Barrier Reef, Mt Fuji... I've heard it said that one could spend half their lives on that planet and still never see everything.

::Sidney lay back gracefully on the blanket and looked up at the stars. As she watched the twinkling stars and listened to Alleran, her senses suddenly becoming aware of new smells around her. The dirt had a soft earthy but sweet smell which accented the smell of the flowers. The soft blanket had a clean smell which reminded her of cotton.::

::However her sharp Deltan senses caught another scent, one which was in contrast to the rest of the smells around her, a soft musky smell. It was sharp, crisp, and clean, and would have been intoxicating in its own right if it hadn't been overpowered by the Seeds of Passion. As Tan talked she tried to determine its source. She took in a deep breath and was rewarded with the clean, sharp, musky scent as she turned to look towards him. Blushing deeply she realized the scent belonged to the Trill next to her.::

::As she turned back to the stars, she felt her bare arm brush Alleran's lightly. Sidney said nothing, but felt something akin to an electric charge course through her arm. Her mind drifted back to the story Tan had finished, just moments earlier...::

Riley: So is Passion considered a bad thing to the Trill?

:: Sidney's touch was electrifying. He gave a light, pleasant shiver- slowly shuffling closer to her, draping that arm around her shoulders. He drew her to him, his side pressing against hers, giving her shoulders a light squeeze. ::

Tan: Too much of it, yes... especially joined Trills.

Riley: Anything can be bad if taken to extreme. ::She paused.:: However, passion tempered with the other virtues can be a good thing. ::She paused, looking over at Alleran her bright green eyes locked with his.::

:: He held that look, smiling lightly. Pleasantly. This was simply wonderful- time seemed to gradually slow down. He could spend eternity like this. ::

Tan: Passion is... one quarter of the disc. It's another metaphor. Imagine a circular dinner plate divided into four quarters with paint, with each quarter being a virtue. The plate is spun on a stick... if your plate is balanced, it will spin long and clean before eventually toppling. If your plate is unbalanced, then it will wobble. If there's just too much of any one... it falls off and breaks before its time.

:: The wind picked up, lightly blowing his hair. The storm would come soon... both literally in the holodeck and figuratively outside, at Deep Space 17. They had spent so much time talking... it was wonderful, really... but the Trill had more questions for the beautiful lady. He started with a rhetorical question- one he knew the answer to- but one that would lead the conversation where he needed it to go. ::

Tan: Sidney... are you seeing anyone?

TBC...

Captain Sidney Riley
Commanding Officer
USS Independence-A

And

Lt (jg) Alleran Tan
Helm/CAG
USS Independence-A