Admiral Karaoke

“The holodeck is that way…” Corey continued to follow Diziara as he half turned, looking back at the junction where they’d just taken a left instead of a right. She laughed.

“We’re not going to the holodeck.” She caught his hand in hers and grinned. He raised an eyebrow, but followed.

“You said you wanted to karaoke.”

“We’re going to.”

“What are you up to, Kitten?”

She smirked, and they continued down the corridor quietly when she didn’t answer. When they reached one of the observation lounges, she led the way in without pause. Corey chuckled softly as his eyes moved over the clusters of people at the tables, the holoprojector displaying colorful graphics, and the rack of microphones that stood next to the performance area.

“Were we invited, or are we crashing?” His eyes moved quickly from person to person as he took inventory of who was present. “Is there anyone here ranked above lieutenant?”

“Probably not before we darkened the doors. Find us seats and I’ll get us drinks.” She leaned down to steal a kiss and grabbed his ass before she headed for the self serve bar.

He shook his head as he moved toward an empty table in the back. A PADD sat in the middle, and seeing people at other tables looking at PADDs also, he picked it up. It contained a database of the available songs and he started to skim.

After a couple minutes, he looked up to notice the ambient chatter had all but stopped. No one was looking at him as he looked around — but it was pretty obvious they were making an effort to not do so.

“I think we’re killing the mood, Kitten.” Corey collected the purple drink Diziara set in front of him as she sat down. He made a face as he sipped. “Did you bring a flask, or did someone actually have–“

“They were trying to hide it as I reached the booze table. I had to swear you wouldn’t care and give them the recipe for the succubus napalm. Don’t tell Spiegel, he’ll try to kill me.” She took the PADD from him and started to flick through it. “Limesicle invited me, but I don’t think he expected me to bring you along. They’ll relax after I sing something, hopefully making it clear to them you’re not going to be a wet blanket. Maybe When You’re Good to Mama?”

“They have Lily Allen’s Fuck You. Go straight for the throat.” He laughed and she smirked.

“I could just do the Lemon Song.”

“And if Stace wanders in, you’ll never hear the end of it—and nor will I—for not singing Killing Floor instead. Besides, that one’s better when you have help.” Corey winked and she shoved him. “I’m tempted to do Under Pressure, but it’s a duet.”

“You think you still need to ask after all these years? Submit it.” She leaned in for a kiss as he took the PADD back.

“Diz and Cor, sittin’ in ah tree–“ Stace landed in the chair next to Diziara, setting a glass of blue liquor on the table in front of him. He pulled his guitar strap over his head before putting the instrument on the chair next to him.

“Well, there goes the party.” Corey flicked through the list to Under Pressure as Diziara leaned over to kiss Stace.

“I’ll have you know, Corey talked me down from the Lemon Song for you.” She tapped his glass with hers and he chuckled.

“Ta mate,” Stace said, raising his glass towards Corey.

“Self preservation, I assure you.” Corey grinned as he raised his glass in return. “Didn’t bring Rose?”

“The sorts of fings Diz likes to sing need the ‘lectric, not acoustic. Don’t know if’n they’ll even let me play, but figga don’t hurt to ask, yeah?”

“If they say no, I’m sure it won’t take much to get you over for dinner and playing after.”

“Let’s plan on that anyway?” Diziara grasped both their knees. Corey laid his hand on hers. “Tomorrow night?”

“Can do.” Stace reached for the PADD as Corey set it down. “Did they have any Johnny Cash or BB King?”

“I think I saw both–“ Corey started to answer.

“If I don’t get to sing Zep, you don’t get to sing Cash. Fair is fair.”


Stace made a face as he pondered. “I might be willin’ to not say a fing if’n they’ll let me accompany.”

“If they’re smart, they will. Has anyone here heard you play?” Diziara looked around as Stace shrugged.

“Ain’t really played nofin’ public like. Just for friends, yeah?”

“Clearly we need to set you up in one of the shipyard’s main junctions, leave your guitar case sitting open in front of you, and just have you play during Alpha shift a few weeks running. They’ll figure out you’re the real deal.” Diziara’s finger found his rib, and Stace smacked her hand away.

“Only if ya sing ‘long wif me, luv.”

“Corey won’t be able to spare me from trying to break shit for him that long.”

“I might be able to figure it out, if it means seeing what this lot does when faced with a proper pan handler. What would they even drop in the guitar case?” Corey sipped his drink as someone ambled their way to the microphone in the performing area.

“Hopefully booze. Since Jon’s retired, our liquor cabinet is getting a little mundane.” Diziara pouted.

“Like anyone here is going to have anything interesting, especially that they’d share.”

“Says the man who’s currently enjoying some Romulan Ale.”

“Of a vintage that I suspect isn’t pre-nova.”

“Are you saying we should share next time?”

“It’s not like we have enough to share with a group this size, even if we were willing to accept we likely wouldn’t be able to replace it.” Corey shrugged as the microphone made a small noise and the person who stood at it tapped it. The room fell silent.

“Welcome everyone to what’s to hopefully become a somewhat regular event. I hope enough of you have started in on the liquid courage that we have a queue already formed–“ He picked up a PADD from the table that held the equipment, and his eyes skimmed it. He looked up, scanning the crowd until he settled on Diziara. She blew a kiss, as his eyes darted to either side of her, and then pointedly didn’t stay resting on Corey.

“You’re in trouble, Kitten,” Corey said softly, leaning close to her. She grinned.

“Well, given that the brass present has not made a fuss over the liquid courage, I suppose we should turn the stage over to him and the hellion who somehow managed to bamboozle him into marrying her. Give it up for Admiral Waterhouse and the Death Kitten.”

The room was so silent you could have heard a pin drop as Diziara strode up to the front of the room with a shit eater grin. Corey followed behind her, carefully keeping a neutral face — inside he was having to make an effort to not let Diziara’s amusement infect him, as he was afraid he would spook the audience if he dropped his poker face too soon.

“Sir, if you–“ The man moved towards the rack of microphones as Corey approached them.

“I assure you, Peláez, I have been singing karaoke longer than you’ve been alive.” Corey flashed him a polite smile as he quickly zeroed in on the two microphones he wanted — one was more substantial and antique looking, as Diziara preferred, and the other more modern and sleek. Behind him, Diziara fussed over the microphone stand, and soon slid the upper half out of the lower.

“Diz, er, what are you–“ Peláez stepped towards her, and Corey laid a hand on his forearm.

“I thought you knew her better than that.” Corey handed Diziara her preferred microphone, and she slid it into the holder at the top of the half a stand she held.

“Limesicle always forgets he shouldn’t challenge me.” She winked at him. “At least he hasn’t ma’am’d me yet.”

“You heard he sir’d me, right? It’s like they’re all convinced I’m a dragon and I’m going to eat them all alive.” Corey chuckled and Diziara smirked. Looks were exchanged throughout the crowd as Stace’s laugh broke the silence. “If you’d be so kind.” Corey gestured towards the karaoke equipment, and he locked eyes with Diziara.

“Do you, I mean, how do you want the lyrics–“

“Goyo, Corey and I have sung this song together so many times that if one of us forgets the lyrics, we’re probably having a stroke and should be taken to the med bay.” She winked at him again, and he silently slunk to the equipment to get the song playing.

Masochism Tango

“By the sacred chalice, who let the Death Kitten back on campus?”

The cadets who recognized the voice of Lieutenant Commander Enwin Ilyad, the first year ethics professor, immediately straightened to attention in the semi circle they stood around the edges of the courtyard. In the middle, the two red heads in uniform continued almost as if they didn’t notice — Amelia Waterhouse in a cadet uniform, and Diziara in the red of the command division. Metal echoed through the small space as bat’leth struck bat’leth and the two women grinned at each other between the V of their blades.

“I even checked in all official like,” came the reply from Diziara as she twisted her torso just a little to show off the visitor badge that was near her combadge. She and Amelia drew apart, circling each other and twisting their blades as both considered their next attack. “Just visiting my daughter while Corey deals with the tin plates at HQ.” A couple of cadets attempted to stifle laughter.

As she half turned her attention to Ilyad, Amelia lunged at her, and metal echoed through the courtyard again. Mother deflected daughter’s attack with grace and winked at the crowd, only to get a secondary attack for which her defense was much less graceful.

“Quit showboating, Mama.” Amelia grumbled as the two women circled again.

“We have an audience child.”

Indeed, the bat’leth duel quickly amassed a collection of curious Starfleet Academy cadets. Perhaps it was the uniqueness of the weapon; or its lethality, or the difficulty involved in wielding it properly. Maybe it was the reality that one of the combatants could be seriously hurt in the process. For the sophomore Intelligence-track cadet named Caterina Lena Edanza, it was both the brazen rule breaking and the morbid thrill of real danger that had drawn her in. The fact that Lieutenant Commander Enwin Ilyad was put off by it was an added benefit for Kate. Good God did she hate his class last year.

“An audience who wants to see us show them how to use a bat’leth correctly,” Amelia replied. She closed the space between them again, backing her mother towards their audience, and sending cadets scrambling out of the way.

“A visitor’s pass doesn’t cover bat’leth fights in courtyards, Commander,” Ilyad spoke up, though he stood watching the progress as Diziara counter attacked and pressed Amelia back across the courtyard in turn.

“The weather is too nice to stay in the gym, and it’s been too long since I last did this in Golden Gate Park, I don’t know the security patrols anymore,” Diziara dismissed, trying to sweep Amelia’s feet out from under her. Amelia only just evaded and countered with a strike that sent Diziara’s bat’leth clattering to the pavement. Amelia’s boot landed on top of her mother’s blade as she braced her own along the length of her arm.

Kate’s expression twisted into an approving smile. Although Amelia was in her class, the two hadn’t interacted much before that point. Nonetheless, Amelia did stand out in a crowd. Her academic gifts and combat ability were hard to miss. On top of all that, the tall, upbeat Amelia sported an attractive, exotic look from her mixed heritage. Intrigued, Kate crossed her arms and waited to see what would happen next.

“We can take it back to the gym, or find somewhere off Academy grounds to continue, sir,” Amelia offered with a smile. Diziara directed a sidelong look at her daughter as she stooped down to collect the discarded weapon. Amelia’s grin widened as she lifted her boot to allow Diziara to take it.

“Sometimes you are too much like your father, child,” Diziara quipped, resting her bat’leth along the length of her arm as well.

Ilyad sighed and shook his head. “As long as no one gets hurt, you may continue. But if anyone gets hurt.” He directed a pointed look at Diziara, and she directed the widest of smiles at him in return.

“You’ll rat me out to my husband and let him deal with me.” She laughed, and Amelia bit her lip to keep from laughing herself. Ilyad shook his head and walked away.

Kate turned her head to watch Lieutenant Commander Ilyad walk away, the 19-year old’s raven-haired ponytail casually moving across her shoulders in the process. Interesting family, she thought to herself as the banter continued. It was then that she noticed the medical cadet to her side. She guessed his nervousness stemmed from being the only medical person in the immediate vicinity, based on the uniforms everyone was wearing. It seemed he was afraid he might be called upon to help if one of them did get hurt.

“Relax, kid,” Kate commented to the freshman, just loud enough for him to hear. “It looks like they’ve been practicing this for years. It’ll be fine,” she added nonchalantly with a smirk. “But… have you ever seen someone hit by one of those things?” she added, trying to knock the nervous cadet off-kilter. “Man… it isn’t pretty. Talk about gore…”

“Okay, now that the killjoy is gone again, who wants to try?” Diziara paced in front of her audience and her eyes skimmed the group. Some cadets moved to put others between them and the senior officer who had the look of a lioness on the hunt. She raised her finger, moving it around following her eyes. “You. What’s your name?” The cadets surrounding Kate parted as if repelled by magnets and left her in Diziara’s sharp gaze and her finger pointed straight at her.

The look on Kate’s face was nothing short of thrilled. “Oh… I am so down,” she said in a low tone that was reminiscent of panther’s purr. She stepped up without even a hint of hesitation and offered Diziara her hand to shake.

“Cadet Caterina Edanza,” she said by way of introduction. “But everyone calls me Kate. I’ve seen you around, Amelia, but I don’t think we’ve been introduced,” she added, then shaking Amelia’s hand firmly. “So! Where do we start?” she asked in an almost chipper tone. “Pointy edges out, I’d guess?” she asked rhetorically, extending her arm for one of the lethal devices as if it were a child’s toy.

Diziara laughed, and held her blade out with the handle pointed towards Kate. “That’s generally the best starting position. Handle with the darker leather goes in your right hand. Amelia, come here and be a good practice dummy.”

“You want a dummy, grab Lunz. He’ll stand quivering behind the blade, rooted to the spot, no matter what Edanza does.” Amelia winked at Kate. “But I can go easy on her until she gets a feel for it, if that’s what you really mean, mother.”

Kate took hold of the weapon as indicated, which she found to be a bit lighter than expected. She guessed that the weight would make it a very fast weapon in the hands of an expert user.

She smiled as she got used to the grip and the feel of it in her hands. “You don’t need to go easy on me,” Kate eventually replied back to Amelia without taking her eyes off of the weapon. “Just don’t kill me. There’s too much paperwork involved,” she quipped dryly, without too much apparent concern.

With that, Kate did her best to emulate the stance she had seen the other women using moments before. Her experience with kickboxing led her to place her feet a bit too close together, but nonetheless her stance was powerful, athletic and had some bounce to it, as if she was ready to pounce. A knowing smile stretched from ear to ear, and her ponytail hung forward as she waited for her first instruction.

“Lay it on me, Cadet. I’m ready,” she dared her classmate.

“I have half a mind to tell you to plant her on her ass already,” Diziara muttered softly to Amelia as she circled around behind her. “Kate, was it? While you don’t seem the sort to wait in the shallow end of the pool, on account of my having to pretend to be a respectable officer here–” Diziara paused dramatically, and laughter spilled among the audience– “I am obligated to start you with the basics. So, blocking — it is best to hold the blade with both hands, and try to turn it perpendicular to the attacking blade. If possible, try to angle it to deflect the blow away from your body.”

As Diziara spoke, Amelia slowly swung her blade towards Kate, anticipating she would raise hers to meet it.

Kate grasped the blade as directed and raised it very rapidly, meeting Amelia’s at a ninety-degree angle. The sound of metal on metal rang through the courtyard. A half-smile escaped Kate’s lips. She smiled not because she thought this was going to be easy… but because this was going to be fun.

“Oooh, Mommy like…” Kate muttered to herself as her eyes locked with Amelia’s. The blade felt strangely familiar in her hands, perhaps because of the ergonomic placement of the handles relative to the blades. She momentarily flashed back to memories of fencing training she had to undergo at boarding school, and how much she disliked it. She hoped this martial art was less wrapped up in form and protocol and more slashy and stabby.

“Do we follow anything like right-of-way, like in terran fencing? Do I need to attack now?” Kate went on to ask with a curious expression and a twinkle in her eye, as if she really wanted to. She couldn’t think of a single thing she would rather be doing right at that moment other than tangle with Amelia with lethal weapons.

Amelia and Diziara both laughed in unison.

“You think Klingons follow dainty little gentleman’s rules when it comes to combat?” Diziara clicked her tongue and shook her head.

“Fencing is a bunch of pretentious gits playing with metal toothpicks. A game.” Amelia twisted her blade, pushing Kate’s away before she swung again — she moved faster than last time, but it was clear she was still holding back as she waited to see if her classmate would block.

Their blades clashed together with another, even louder clang!

“Agreed,” Kate replied, still smiling devilishly. “I hated fencing. I’m loving this!”

Kate decided it was her turn to take a swing. Oblivious as she was to proper form or technique, she decided to try keep their weapons engaged at one end and swing the other end up from below as a kind of sneak attack. Her move was clumsy and unpracticed, yet aggressive and rapid. The look in her eye as she attempted to slash her classmate was one of sheer thrill.

Amelia countered with her blade angled to deflect Kate’s swing up and away as she pirouetted to the opposite side. As she moved past Kate, turning as she moved to keep her eyes on her opponent, she swung her bat’leth around and the flat of it caught Kate across her backside as Amelia giggled.

Kate jumped from the unexpected contact to her backside. That wasn’t a move you ever saw in kickboxing! She was so surprised that she was forced to let out a startled sound and jump, turning bright red in the process.

“Oh… so that’s how it’s going to be?” she asked as several of the onlookers began to giggle. Kate was smiling and giggling right along with them as she charged. Clumsily, but with great enthusiasm, Kate dove forwards with her blade extended in front of her, as if she was looking to land a serious strike.

Blade met blade with a loud clang, and Amelia stepped in close with a grin ear to ear.

“You said not to go easy on you,” Amelia quipped, then lowered her voice, “which is practically an invitation to flirt.” She winked as she pushed Kate back with her full strength — a strength one would not expect from such a wispy frame were it not for the infusion of Klingon genetics.

“Funny you should say that,” Kate quipped back between breaths. “This is how all my dates usually end…”

Immediately after that statement Kate ratcheted the weapon up over her head and swung downwards with tremendous force. The swing was inelegant, but did have the benefit of brute force. The clang of the weapons when they met was deafening, sending sparks flying in all directions. Kate immediately wondered if she chipped the blade in the wild attack. Suddenly feeling guilty, she raised one hand and stepped back. Once out of striking range she examined the borrowed weapon for chips or rolls on the blade.

“I’m sorry, I may have banged it up a little. Did this one have sentimental value?” she asked as she carefully felt the edge with the side of her finger. “I’m sorry if so…” she added with a note of remorse.

“It’s a weapon, it’s meant to be used. It can always be sharpened and repaired,” Diziara explained with a chuckle. “Besides, my favorite weapon is this one–” She lifted her right leg, and nudged the cuff of her uniform up past the top of her boot to draw a d’k tahg from the sheath tucked there.

“I thought your favorite was a broken beer bottle in a bar, Mama.” Amelia grinned wide as her mother directed a look at her. “At least, that’s how Uncle Jack tells it…”

“This one’s legal in Federation space, child.” Diziara tucked the blade back where she’d drawn it from.

“My mistake, I forgot you have to pretend you care about legality since you’re in front of all these impressionable young cadets.” Snickers moved through the audience, and Diziara shook her head.

“Remind me to put you in your place later when we don’t have an audience.”

“You can try.” Amelia’s face was covered with a shit eater grin, and Diziara rolled her eyes as she turned back to Kate.

“I’m sure the bat’leth is fine, may I see it?” Diziara held out her hand.

Kate, wide eyed and winded, moved a strand of hair that had been dangling in front of an eye behind her ear and smiled. “Yes ma’am,” she said softly, feeling somewhat self-conscious about all the eyes on them at that moment. She handed the weapon to the Commander and took a step back, placing her hands behind her back. “It is an excellent weapon, thank you for letting me spar with it,” she said, her eyes darting from Diziara to Amelia. Her glance seemed to linger on Amelia a bit longer than they should have before blinking and flashing the younger woman a mischievous smile.

“We need to do this again, I think,” she said to Amelia with a subtle wink.

Diziara looked between Amelia and Kate a moment and the corner of her lips quirked upward as she inspected the bat’leth silently. “I can push an update to Don’t Forget the Anchovies to add bat’leth training, if you want to help Kate further familiarize herself,” Diziara directed at Amelia, before turning her attention to Kate again. “Nothing a little sharpening won’t fix, certainly no worse than I have done to it when sparring with this hellion here.” Diziara grinned at Amelia, and Amelia returned the grin in kind.

“That sounds great, “Kate said with pursed lips and a barely contained, flirty smile. “I look forward to getting better at sparring with you, Amelia.”

Father Knows Best

“Lieutenant.” He sat behind the table in the briefing room as I entered, and I tilted my head ever so slightly to the left as I looked him over in evaluation.

“You’re not Sharad.” A smirk pulled at my lips as I settled in the chair across the way from him, and his eyes met mine — blue-green not unlike my own. There was a silence as we both looked the other over, and he fiddled with his PADD. His hair was dark but greying at the temples, his uniform immaculate with commanders pips shining like a new penny, and spots not unlike my own—though darker—marked him as Trill.

“You’ve been talking to Spiegel.”

“Not about the debriefing.” I grinned wide and was met with a silent stare for my troubles, so I settled back in my chair and crossed my arms. “This already doesn’t feel like your garden variety debriefing.”

“You’ve been spending too much time around Spiegel.” Though his face was unreadable, I was certain I detected a touch of amusement in his voice.

“Most of the colorful metaphor in my arsenal predate my knowing that spiky haired dork.”

“I do recall the dedication of his book mentioned you as an invaluable resource for a non-human perspective.”

“It’s scary how far that book of his has traveled already,” I muttered, and noted a raised eyebrow across the table, so I cleared my throat. “You know, I haven’t even bothered to skim the thing. Everything I know about it is based upon listening to him quote page numbers at the Blue Bastard.”

There was a pregnant pause before he coughed. “You really shouldn’t talk about your superior officers like that.”

“Calling someone who shot me in the back that is hardly the worst thing in my record.”

“I did skim the report filed by Commander Navarro after the incident.”

“Do I want to know how horribly she characterized me?” I rolled my eyes and across the table he chuckled, so I tilted my head to the side.

“Let’s just say there’s a very good reason she’s on Milliways.”

Silence stretched out between us again, and I tried to just wait him out, but as the moments rolled past and I watched him watch me, it started to bug me that I couldn’t quite put my finger on what about him bugged me — and he really bugged me.

“Are you one of Johnson’s pets?”

“As much so as you are.” He laughed when I growled at him, and he folded his hands together over his PADD as he leaned forward. “Zach and I have known each other a long time. It’s more likely you could consider him my pet, than the other way around.”

“That must be handy, having brass in your pocket.” I rolled my eyes again, and briefly wondered how much more of this I could take before they just rolled out of my sockets and across the floor. He chuckled in that insufferable way that someone who considers themself to be better than you does when they’re not amused by what you said, but by the fact that you dared say it. I sneered at him.

“I can see why Zach likes you, Diz.” There was a pause — intentional, done more for affect than anything else I would bet. “Is it okay if I call you Diz?”

“I’d be more inclined to say yes if I knew your name.”

He grinned as if I’d just made a tactical jab, and I narrowed my eyes at him.

“Where are my manners? You may call me Voralis Cryn.”

“Manners don’t seem to be a requirement for those Johnson surrounds himself with.”

“You would know, you certainly test the limits of social graces.” He chewed his lip as his eyes darted over me again. “Didn’t your mother teach you any manners?”

“My mother wears combat boots and eats men like you for breakfast.”

“I highly doubt that.”

“What would you know of my mother?”

Silence. So I pointedly met his gaze, and he didn’t flinch away like I expected.

“More than you’d think.” He finally blinked and looked down at his PADD.

“What’s your game?” I stood up, leaning across the table, bracing myself on my arms.

“Game?” He drew back on his chair, crossing his arms as he looked up at me with a sly smile.

“Someone like me, the fleet is gonna drop on a station like 668 to rot, not cherry pick for assignments that scratch all my violent itches and let me indulge my vices. Not let me play with special prototypes like the Obama.” Another measure of silence sat between us, this one you could cut with a knife. “You’re supposed to be debriefing me, but what are we doing?”

“Okay, let’s talk about what happened. Tell me about crossing over to the other universe.” He collected his PADD, and looked up at me expectantly. I stared at him a long moment, being thrown by how quickly he’d shifted gears, and the apparent ease with which he did it. I finally sat down with a sigh.

“It was pretty much a non-event.” I looked down at my hand as I started to speak, inspecting my nails. When I looked up again, he nodded at me to encourage me to continue. “One moment I’m piloting the runabout—doing some shakedown maneuvers in the Denorious Belt—the next the power cuts out. It was only out for a moment, but the comm traffic was all wrong when power returned.”

“Why would you notice the comm traffic?” He made a note on the PADD, and set it down on the table as he folded his hands on top of it. I shifted in my chair, pushing back from the table just a little bit.

“Spiegel tossed together a program for me, back when we served together on the Rothmore. It monitors comm traffic and informs me if anything important comes across.”

“How does it know what’s important? And what about encryption on Federation and Starfleet channels?” He leaned forward with a bit of a grin, and I shifted my chair back again.

“I feed it my security clearance when I open it, and it’s got a kill switch for when I’m not at my station or if someone without clearance gets too close. He said he tied it to internal sensors. It just hides itself if I step away from the station, but if someone who shouldn’t have access tries– well, it looks like it’s crashed.”

His eyebrow went up again as he collected his PADD and made some more notes. “And how does it know what’s of interest?”

“I can configure it with key words, phrases, and frequencies to watch for. Got like a dozen presets, and it’s easy enough to adjust or add new ones on the fly.”

“And Spiegel just… threw it together for you?” He looked up from the PADD, and there was a brief moment where I could have sworn I caught that gleam in his eye that I always saw when Spiegel or Corey would ask about something they were fascinated with. It was gone so fast that I wasn’t even sure it was there to start with. I shrugged the question off.

“He said he had updates he could push, but we haven’t had a chance to talk about it yet.”

Silence settled between us again, and this time I was determined to leave it with him to cut it this time. Given how it’d gone so far, I expected to glean more by waiting to see where he took things than if I tried to guide the conversation. I wasn’t keen to talk about some of what happened in the mirror universe, so if he wanted to wander off behind the potted plant to fuck the dog instead of debrief me…

“Who’s idea was the program?”

“I used to just leave an open comm when on away missions, scanning through frequencies that I had reason to believe had activity I’d find of interest. When Spiegel started being paired with me for away missions regularly during the Klingon war, he expressed a desire to get the same data without the literal noise.”

“And where’d that habit develop?”

“While I worked with a freighter company, before I joined Starfleet. Orion pirates never seemed to learn to keep their traps shut when approaching, so…” I glanced up at the ceiling — I half expected to see one of those pendant lamps overhead they always used in those old movies for interrogations. When I looked down again, I caught his eyes moving down from the ceiling also. Did he look up when I did?

“At least the ones who were picking up small fish like freighters. Now that you mention it, I do remember your service record saying that was your occupation before Starfleet.”

“This definitely isn’t a garden variety debrief,” I muttered, then looked at him. “Why would you need to read my service record?”

“You have a reputation, I like to be prepared.”

“A reputation?” I snorted as I slouched in my chair and crossed my legs. He set his jaw as he looked at me. “So, what are the rumors like these days?” I smirked, and he frowned. “They’re usually a riot, and I could use a laugh.”

He looked at the PADD, then sighed. “A few of your former crew mates from the Remington believe you’re the devil incarnate.” I waited for him to look up, but he didn’t.

“One of them happens to be the step brother of the kid in sickbay who foams green slime when he’s nervous — though he really seems to know his shit during a medical emergency. Old news.” With that, he got eye roll number three of the debriefing.

“Others call you a black widow — a bit dramatic, if you ask me, as only one of your past lovers has turned up dead.” When he looked up, I fixed him with a glare and he smirked at me. “Speaking of him, shall we continue this debriefing? Your report mentioned you ran into his double while you were in the mirror universe.”

“I said everything there was to say in my report.”

He glanced down at the PADD again. “Of everyone your team encountered, he seemed the most capable, and he seemed the one most likely to succeed if he wanted to prevent your return to our universe — not to mention taking our prototype runabout. Yet he seemed satisfied flirting with you. You claimed he’d never met your analog, yet he knew exactly what to do to provoke you — get under your skin is how you put it in your report, I believe?”

“Is there a question there?”

“Why do you think he paid you so much attention, instead of working with the others who did have the goal of keeping you, your team, and our technology?”

jav, vagh, loS, wej, cha’, wa’.” I counted down under my breath, and though I pointedly looked away from him, I could see him staring at me out of the corner of my eye. I took a breath, and still pointedly didn’t meet his gaze. “He didn’t like Maddie — I certainly couldn’t blame him. When I first encountered him, he’d been looking for Spiegel’s doppelgänger specifically to get his own neck out of the noose with her.”

“That universe’s Storvik was clearly not working for Maddie, why do you suppose Travis didn’t work with him?”

“Vicky was a fucking moron.”

“But your report–”

“Don’t get me wrong, he had the computer skills needed to hack the runabout, but socially speaking?” Eye roll number four. “Vulcans are usually better at dissecting the social nuances of us more illogical and emotional species, so who the fuck knows what happened there. Travis was coordinating with him somewhat, but clearly didn’t trust his pointy-eared ass any more than I did.”

When he didn’t say anything to that, I looked over. He was scrolling through notes on the PADD. Finally he cleared his throat.

“Do you suppose your choice of attire might have affected his actions? You weren’t in uniform.”

“Are you suggesting that I should have gone into a potentially hostile situation in uniform, a uniform that probably would have drawn unwanted attention to me and my team?”

“I get your point.” He cleared his throat as he looked down at the PADD again, then muttered under his breath. “You could have dressed a little less provocatively.”

I snorted. “You sound like a father dressing down his daughter.” A look flashed across his face at that quip, but it was gone as quickly as I noticed and I didn’t dwell on it. “The more normal—by your standards—one dresses in a place like that, the more suspicion they draw. If it weren’t for Spiegel finding Travis, my outfit would have kept attention off him and on me, so he could focus on the shopping list we had.”

“So you’re saying it’s Spiegel’s fault you got captured?”

“No. It was shitty luck. I wish he hadn’t called Noelle to join us, but given how scrambled Travis had me at first, I understand why that was his instinct. Of all the people to run into, and of all the people for him to be looking for… Well, the odds are pretty obscene.”

“That universe is known for being closely related to our own.”

“We didn’t know which universe we were in yet. Technically there are an infinite number of parallel universes, and we hadn’t had the chance to do much recon yet.”

“That universe is the one we have the most known crossover incidents with.”

“However, I’ve also had dealings with a man from a different parallel universe, so I don’t assume I’ve ended up in Starfleet’s pet mirror.”

“That’s right, Vicky isn’t the first Storvik you’ve had dealings with.”

“That in my service record too?” I snorted, and stared up at the ceiling again. “I really need to look at it again, see what crap they’re littering it with these days.”

“You don’t have access to the version I do.”

“You have your sources, I have mine.”

“Mister Spiegel would do well to remember how he ended up in Starfleet to begin with. He’s pushing the bounds of patience.”

I thought back on the conversations I’d had with Spiegel that first time we hung out off duty, where he got trashed on blood wine trying to keep up with me. He’d told me he was strong armed into joining Starfleet after getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar of intelligence files he shouldn’t have been able to get into — especially as a teen.

“You should play your cards a little closer to your vest.” I started tapping on the chair — morse code telling him to get the stick out of his ass. When he directed a glare at me, I smiled wide. It didn’t really matter if he actually understood what it meant, or if the tapping itself was sufficient to get under his skin.

“You should be careful too, it would be a shame to see someone with your potential throw it all away chasing ghosts and sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong.”

“Is that what happened to my father?” Part of that conversation with Spiegel had touched on the matter of my father — how he’d been listed as missing in action since before I was born, yet Starfleet had long passed that point where it was reasonable to expect his return. As these thoughts rolled through my head, I realized he was sitting in silence. I tilted my head, and that seemed to jar him into responding.

“Such an overactive imagination you have.” The chuckle he punctuated it with didn’t feel genuine, and I was up out of my seat in a flash. My hands slammed on the table, and I leaned forward to get as far into his personal space as I could. He didn’t even flinch as he looked back at me, hands folded on top of his PADD. It took me a long moment to be sure that something other than a string of curses a light year long would escape my lips if I opened them.

“That is one topic I have zero patience left on.” I bared my teeth at him, and he simply sat there and waited. “I’ve gotten nothing but lies, red tape, runaround, and pure bullshit even since I joined this happy fucking fleet family. Fifteen years of that, after twenty of knowing nothing other than my mother still held out hope for his return? You could say I’m a little annoyed.”

I couldn’t say how long I stood there, staring down at him. In that time, he didn’t look away, he didn’t move back. He didn’t seem the least bit put out. Finally he reached up and laid a hand on my shoulder — in other circumstance, that might have lead to me punching him, but I was too utterly shocked that he even dared. So I stared at his hand as he gently pushed me back across the table. I dumbly stood in front of my chair.

“He must be a pretty worthless man, if he’s still alive and hasn’t been in contact with his wife at all.” He folded his hands on his PADD again. “Unless he has contacted her, and she just hasn’t told you. Maybe he had a good reason for staying away?”

“If she knew he was alive, she’d tell me.”

“I know you’re not on the best of terms with your mother.”

“Is that in my service record too?” I threw up my hands with a laugh as I landed in my chair again.

“No, but you just confirmed the rumors for me.”

I growled, and he offered a polite smile to me.

“My father is about the only subject that she and I don’t fight about. If she knew anything, she’d tell me.” I took a deep breath as I looked to the ceiling again. When I looked down again, he was simply sitting there watching me. “Isn’t this supposed to be a debrief about the mirror universe?”

“Let’s talk more about Travis.”

“Sure, fine, keep dragging me through those coals.” I growled and slung a string of Klingon curses at him.

“Watch the language.” His rebuke caused me to stop mid word and I blinked.

“Have the universal translators improved that much without my noticing, or do you actually speak the language?” I leaned forward, head tilted to the left. He chuckled at me.

“I know a few of the important words.”

“Important words.” I made a small noise in the back of my throat. “Some of those important words caused me to have to get a regenerator before I was eleven years old.”

“I know–”

“Don’t tell me that’s in my service record too.” I drug my chair forward and leaned on the table. “Now you’re getting way outside the scope of what Starfleet is going to keep in my service record — especially given that a lot of this stuff you’ve claimed was in there occurred outside of Federation space.” I paused, and when he opened his mouth to say something, I cut him off. “Frankly, I don’t give a shit what your sources are.”

“Smart girl.”

“Oh, don’t go thinking this is because I’m afraid of you, or any of that sort of bullshit. This is just so far beyond the point of ridiculous that I can’t even find the fucks to care. Hell–” I snorted and smirked at him– “I wouldn’t be surprised if among the clutter of this excessive file you have on me is a list of everyone I’ve ever slept with, dated, or both. Probably even their fucking blood types, maybe even rank and serial number where applicable…”

“It’s interesting that the only person on the second list who isn’t also on the first was Patrick, but the first list is orders of magnitude longer than the second.”

“I said I didn’t want to know.” I chewed my lip, then leaned in again as I slapped the table. “Okay, let’s hear it.”


“Blood types.”

“I don’t exactly have the list memorized.”

“The hell you don’t. I can smell a spook a light year away.”

Our eyes locked, and I waited to see how long until he’d flinch. Finally he sighed and looked down at the PADD.

“Travis, O negative, Toby, A pos, Jack, AB neg…” He paused, fiddling with the PADD. I crossed my arms and settled back in my chair.

“That ain’t even scratching the surface, why stop there?”

“You want me to run through twenty years of your overactive sex life by name and bloodtype?”

“Could you do it in the order I fucked them too?” I smiled wide at him and he drew back just a little. “It would be more productive than this debriefing has been so far.”

“No wonder your mother hates you and your father ran off.”

“You’re oversimplifying, but any way you look at it, those are topics you really shouldn’t disturb unless you want me to walk out that door right now, best case scenario.”

“And worse case?”

“I’ll punch your lights out so hard your children will feel it.”

He immediately broke out in laughter.

“Didn’t you learn your lesson the last time you did that?”

“This time the difference in rank won’t be quite so wide. Besides, do you really think I give a shit if they drum me out? I’d been fully prepared to get expelled from the Academy last time, and pretty sure you’ve better earned it than Paris did.” I shrugged.

“You realize that some of what you’ve already admitted to could be enough for me to make you miserable, right?”

“And you realize that should you bring that crap up, I’ll be able to also bring up that you’ve been baiting me about my parents, as well as the bad carbon copy of the man I still love more than life itself? I know I’ve got nothing to lose I won’t miss, can you say the same?”

He took a deep breath and pinched the bridge of his nose. “What is wrong with you?”

“Do you want the Starfleet related list, the counselors’ favorite theories list, or just the greatest hits?” He winced at my immediate response.

“Just forget I asked.” He fiddled with his PADD again, and I snorted. “Both earlier, and in your report, you made mention of wanting to deal with Noelle’s analog—Maddie—but not having the chance to do so before the runabout was repaired enough to make the return trip. I’m pretty confident I know what you mean, but I want you to clarify — for the record.”

“I had every intention of killing her.”

He frowned and looked down at his PADD again. “I was afraid you were going to say that.”

“You read my report.” I leaned against the table, tilting my head to the side again. Reading people wasn’t one of my strengths, but even so I wasn’t getting the normal superior officer judging me vibes from him — I felt like he was disappointed with me and concerned for me. “I don’t know if I effectively conveyed just how fucked up Maddie left her, but if you read the report from the medical staff on DS9 maybe you–”

“So you wanted to sink to her level?” The look he fixed me with was as cold and sharp as a knife. “Staying above that is what makes us better than them.”

“Starfleet moral superiority,” I grumbled and shook my head. “But we can and do reduce ourselves to that level, because sometimes that’s the only way to effectively communicate with people like that. What we call being better, being more humane, they call weakness. In the past—after previous crossover incidents—they’ve often pursued us back across the barrier. I was concerned—still am—that Maddie may attempt to pursue us.”

“So you intended to take matters into your own hands and break Federation law?”

“Isn’t that exactly what’s endeared me to Johnson in the first place? My willingness to work around the pesky rules in order to get shit done? Hell, we wouldn’t even have the Blue Bastard right now if I didn’t violate the rules, I disobeyed a direct order to save his ass.”

“I know I’m not the only one confused by your actions during that mission, but let’s not get sidetracked. There’s a large difference between violating orders to save a life, and committing murder.”

“Challenging someone to combat to the death isn’t murder.”

“We’re not in the Klingon empire. You’re a citizen of the Federation and a Starfleet Officer.” He took a deep breath and pinched the bridge of his nose.

“Last I checked, the mirror universe is not within Starfleet’s jurisdiction.”

“You were still representing Starfleet.”

With my fifth eye roll of the briefing, I slumped back in my chair and crossed my arms. “So, is this just gonna be a slap on the wrist and a stern reminder that I need to conduct myself better next time, or…” Since I couldn’t ensure there wouldn’t be a next time, I thought to myself as he watched me a long moment.

“Everything else in your report seemed clear cut enough, so that will be all for now.” He stood up. “Though I do reserved the right to call you back for further debriefing if we need further clarification. No hard feelings?” He held out his hand, and I stared at it a long moment.

“Just a word of advice,” I said as I stood up and clasped it. “Since you hit me as a hands on kind of a man, not an administrative bullshiter, next time? Leave the baiting about family and relationships out when you’re debriefing someone.”

He offered me a half smile as he took his hand back. “I’ll try to keep that in mind, if you’ll try to remember not everyone who outranks you is out to get you.”

“I already knew that, the problem is the sort who usually are also usually expect blind respect and obedience — down that road lies the path to hell, following good intentions.” I didn’t wait for him to formally dismiss me, only pausing just before the door long enough to toss him a sarcastic salute before I left.

Andorian Lightbulbs

“Celestia and Luna,” Diziara said as she nodded towards the twin blue skinned holograms that stood in front of her and Blue. His eyes and antennae trailed up and down each of them — one in white with a pastel rainbow peaking through from a lower layer of her white hair, the other in black with navy blue and purple in her hair instead. Both lowered their eyes and bowed their head momentarily.

“Greetings, elder Tha,” they said in harmony. Diziara smiled and looked at Blue expectantly.

“Those are not Andorian names.” He walked around them quietly.

“Because Blue is?” Diziara crossed her arms and frowned.

“It is short for my given name, you know this.”

“It’s a bastardization of your given name, and those are their call signs. They have perfectly normal Andorian names, but you know how often humans fail to wrap their tongues around the names of your people.”

“Most can manage the shortened form.”

“So am I to call you Thinshal now?” Diziara grinned wide at the look he directed at her. “I thought so.”

“What of their clan names?”

“Knowing that some of the clans are still tight knit, I felt the best solution would be to create a clan just for the photons who came out Andorian, to avoid the confusion or hurt antennae that might come with one getting a clan name already in use. So far it’s only them, but with time we’ll probably get more.”

“A clan of photonic Andorians, it is an interesting solution. Do they also know our traditions, our ways?”

“We know everything the Starfleet database knows,” Celestia spoke up.

“But I’m sure you’re aware that the database is impersonal and likely missing important things,” Luna added.

“Which is why we requested Diz introduce us to someone who may fill in the gaps and make our understanding more personal.”

“So many of our own people do not even know as much as the Starfleet database knows.” He stopped pacing in front of the two photons and cocked his antennae. “I am sure that some who still follow the old ways would feel that your existence is wrong, but you could prove an interesting way to keep the old knowledge alive.”

“So you’ll help?” Diziara stepped close, laying a hand on his arm. He looked sidelong at her.

“Why is their skin so light?”

“You wouldn’t ask that if they were fleshbags.”

“I would know the answer in that case, but were they not programmed by you?”

“I helped set the variables the computer used to generate them.”

“Our initial holomatrix generation includes traits from the Aenar subspecies, as computer data indicates that what is left of their people have interbred with the dominant Andorian species, and a number of the population exhibit their traits in lesser and greater capacities.” Luna looked up briefly as she spoke, but as she met Blue’s gaze her eyes dropped again.

“We can adjust our skin pigmentation to better match yours.” Celestia did not look up as she offered.

“There’s nothing wrong with your skin color.” Diziara slugged Blue in the shoulder. “Don’t you dare introduce your prejudices to them.”

“They will likely encounter worse if they visit Andor, and if you wish for me to expand their knowledge of our culture, they should visit.”

“They already face enough bullshit from the fleshbags here in the yards who see them as tools, but it’s easier to brush off the hurtful words of strangers than it is to have that prejudice slung at you from someone who’s supposed to be trusted. I introduced you as a trusted friend.”

“You know their telepathic abilities bred mistrust among our people.”

“And most with Aenar blood are so watered down they don’t exhibit any of the telepathic traits, so any lingering hatred is prejudice.” Diziara’s shot him a look, and Blue looked away with his antennae curling a bit. Celestia and Luna stood quiet, their eyes on the floor. “If you’re going to subject them to your bullshit prejudices, I’ll swallow my pride and go ask the bastard for his help instead. I know he doesn’t have a problem with Aenar blood.”

“For fuck’s sake, who knows how fucked up they will end up with Therav to guide them.”

“Then swallow your prejudice. You know I would rather have your help. Besides, it would give you an excuse to stay for a while.”

Blue snorted, and his antennae bounced just a little. “You only wish for me to warm your and Cor’s bed.”

“We can get you guest quarters, if you’d rather. Though we certainly wouldn’t turn you out if you wanted to join us.”

Blue rolled his eyes. “I will hold a rain check for the guest quarters for now.” As Diziara shook her head with a grin, Blue turned his attention back towards Celestia and Luna. “Are you twins?”

“We were originally one, but in the process of developing the backup process, we forked to become two.”

“One of us selected to take on a new name, and we modified our hair to allow organics to quickly identify who is who.”

“Some of them have enough trouble telling us apart even when we do not look so alike. Are you identical, your hair aside?” Blue started to pace around them again.

“Yes Tha,” they answered perfectly in sync.

“Twins are not usually perfectly identical,” he observed, “You mentioned being able to modify your appearance. Have you considered introducing small variations, to allow you to better blend in with the organics? While those here at the shipyards know what you are, you will likely have a more receptive welcome on Andor when we visit if you better mimic us in that respect.”

“Yes Tha,” they answered together again.

“Stop calling me that, and you can meet my eyes. I have spent enough time off world, and particularly in the company of this hellion–“ Blue directed a look at Diziara and she smirked– “that it is more comfortable to me. Though that you know the proper manners of our people is good.”

“What do we call you then?” Celestia looked up as she asked.

“You are welcome to call me Blue, as do any who consider me a friend.”

“Does that mean we are friends?” Luna looked up, and a small smile pulled at the corner of her lips.

“Diz speaks of you, and the other photons, as if you are family. Anyone who is family of Diz is likewise for me.”

Both Celestia and Luna smiled wide.

“What variations should we introduce, to be more like organic twins?” Luna asked, looking between Diziara and Blue with her antennae cocked slightly.

“Usually one twin’s a little taller than the other, skin tone and eye color vary just a little, as can birth marks and other localized pigmentation, and facial and body structure is usually slightly different. I can give you data to analyze, as well as pictures of a number of identical twins to consider.” Diziara stepped to a workbench to pick up a PADD, her fingers flitting across its surface as she worked to access the Starfleet database.

Celestia and Luna looked at each other a silent moment, before Celestia shifted slightly. As she straightened her posture to match her sister’s again, it became apparent she was now a couple centimeters taller. Luna closed her eyes for half a minute and as she opened them again her eyes were a darker grey.

“You probably just pulled up the data yourself,” Diziara said with a frown, lowering the PADD as she did.

“We are curious which data sets you pulled up,” Luna insisted, shaking her hair out. As it settled around her shoulders again, it had a little bit of a wave to it.

“One of these days, I’ll remember you’re all patched into the computers and I don’t need to do things the hard way when we’re talking to each other already.” Diziara rolled her eyes as she lifted the PADD again and tapped at it. Luna and Celestia both rolled their eyes up and to the right as they accessed the data that Diziara had just transferred.

“The connection takes a momentary effort if we’re in our mobile emitter, at least,” Celestia pointed out.

“But we’re on the station emitters right now, so her annoyance is valid.” Luna’s skin flushed just a touch darker.

“Better?” they said together. Diziara crossed her arms and chewed her lip and Blue paced around them again.

“It’s a good start, but you could probably adjust things about your body and facial structure too. Go over the data I passed you, as well as the sources cited. It’s not a rush to do it all right away.” Diziara set the PADD down on the bench again.

“We will think on it further,” they answered in sync.

Blue’s antennae twitched. “That is unsettling.”

“What?” They both looked directly at him, and he took a step back.

“Organics do not speak like that, especially with voices so perfectly matched.”

“All the photons can communicate via data bursts too, so it’s not surprising these two sync up like that. Corey and I try to keep up with data stream — he somehow manages it better than me, and I still haven’t figured out how–“

Luna and Celestia giggled, and Diziara tilted her head as she directed a look at them.

“We’ll adjust our vocal ranges to differentiate them,” Celestia said.

“And stop speaking in sync,” Luna added.

“Finishing each other’s sentences is also a bit creepy, but organic twins do it too, so you can keep doing that if you want.” Diziara snorted and shook her head.

“Is the data burst communication by design?” Blue asked.

“Oh, no, they developed it themselves, and Corey stumbled on it by accident. Thankfully they invited us in when we asked about it, so we didn’t have to decide if we needed to inform Brass or not.”

“Brass would have insisted you brute force your way in, and the resources needed to crack the encryption could be better put to use elsewhere.” Luna shrugged.

“It’s not like we’re talking about anything we’d hide from you anyway. If you would like to join, we can give you credentials, Blue.” Celestia held out her hand, with a small transparent cube floating above her palm as her antennae cocked in question.

“The interface they set up for me and Corey translates it into standard for us, but they use binary. It moves fast, and I don’t poke my nose in often. Corey spends more time with it, but he’s somehow figured out how to input his responses fast enough that they don’t have to slow down too terribly when they know he’s snooping in on it.”

Celestia and Luna giggled again, and Diziara directed a look at them.

“I appreciate the invitation, but I would prefer to stick to vocal communication.” Blue inclined his head, and Celestia and Luna did so in return.

“You can have a rain check, should you change your mind,” Celestia said.

“Do you speak our tongue?” Blue switched to Andorian to ask, and received nods in return.

“We have a universal translator built in, but Stace also built localization packs in a number of languages,” Celestia said, likewise in Andorian.

“As far as we can tell, he was very thorough, as there are a number of regional accents and dialects to choose from,” Luna added.

“Stace is good with our tongue — for a pink skin.” A smirk teased at Blue’s lips and Diziara shot him a look. “The accent you have chosen sounds like it is out of Laibok. ”

“It is a large city, and less likely to cause question of our origin. And dying one’s hair is not culturally common among our people, so appearing to come from a large city with much off-world contact would make our coloration less confusing.” Luna touched her hair, twirling a strand of purple around her finger.

“You could also remove the color, if deemed necessary.”

“We like it, and would rather not.” Despite their earlier promise, Celestia and Luna spoke in sync again, and Blue frowned.

“With Diz as a role model, I have no doubts that I should not argue with this. Have you learned, or been programmed with, the ability to fight?”

“Diz created a defense program as part of the initial packages we get upon generation, and we have learned a number of additional styles.” Celestia shifted into a fighting stance, as if to demonstrate.

“Among them, the Ushaan. Though it would be unfair for an organic to attempt a proper ushaan with us, unless we were in our mobile emitters, as it could not be to the death.”

“Even then, since we maintain backups, it still might not be fair unless we agreed to have our backups deleted in the case of them destroying our emitter to end the fight.”

“I would recommend you don’t provoke someone into challenging you to ushaan, though one or both of you owe me a training rules match still.” Diziara crossed her arms.

“I believe you still owe me a rematch from your last visit.” Blue’s hand landed on Diziara’s shoulder and she grinned wide.

“Corey will be jealous unless we invite him to watch.” She set her hand on his.

“Maybe this time he will be brave enough to participate.”

“No, but he’ll likely want to participate in other things after.” She winked.

Blue shook his head, his antennae curled and a smile teasing at his lips. Celestia and Luna looked at each other.

“It looks like it’s time for us to take a rain check,” Luna stated. Both photons looked to Diziara, who snorted.

“Corey’s stuck in a briefing for a while yet. Why don’t you two show us how your ushaan skills are coming along until then?” Diziara crossed her arms and both photons grinned at her.

“He is bored in his meeting. You could invent an excuse for him to leave,” Luna observed.

“He is very active in the data burst communications,” Celestia added.