NCC - 81102
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One in the Hand, Two in the Bush

Posted on Sat Jun 26th, 2021 @ 11:47am by Commander Magnus Hawkins & Lieutenant Aurora 4827/A

Mission: Mission 1: Dirty Little Secret
Location: Aurora's quarters
Timeline: MD 16

The end of the shift came like the end of a dream. Transit to their destination left little to be done by way of administration as the Odyssey was a well-oiled machine fresh out of drydock with only a few hiccups that the crew had mostly identified and were keeping well in hand. That observation made the fact he was making a social call with the Chief Engineer so shortly after their tête-à-tête in the lounge a rather conflicting one.

Hawk knew this was more than just a visit. It had been an invitation. Even though no expectations were formed on either side, the promise of something blossoming in the very near future churned a primal passion within his gut that he normally kept on lockdown. Questions arose within him as he approached the door to Aurora's quarters.

Would he scare her away when she saw the real him?

Would she reject him under the same terms?

Would he discover some deal breaking secret about her?

Would this become an indiscretion that followed the both of them for the rest of their careers?

"Just dinner," he repeated softly to himself over and over. "This is just dinner."

But, as he pressed the chime on the door, he couldn't deny that he hoped there was more than lasagna on the other side.

Aurora was a much better engineer than a cook, but at the Academy there had been informal clubs where cadets would gather and work on hobbies to help blow off steam and socialize. True, there was very little free time to be had, especially that first year where the pressure was well and truly applied to see who could handle the stress and who cracked. But second year tensions eased as instructors began to determine what students excelled at and what habits to wean them from. The cooking club had been fun, although more than once someone had to be rushed off to the infirmary when they discovered some alien cuisine their metabolism couldn't quite handle.

One Aurora-grey-was finishing up her shift in Engineering, while violet worked on the lasagna. Green looked at herself in the full length mirror and wondered if she should have stayed in uniform. Ultimately she decided the dark gray slacks, slippers and coral color silken blouse was the right call. One could almost call her "elegant". She debated on whether or not to let her hair down, put it up in a bun with her jade combs? Leave it in a pony tail? What would he like? In the end she undid the pony tail and let the hair fall around her shoulders.

The door chimed as violet finished setting the table. Taking a deep breath, green padded over to the door and opened it with a warm smile she hoped did not look too nervous...

There Hawk stood, in a pullover with a few small toggles down the chest and sleeves rolled up to the quarter position, breath stolen by Aurora's simple and elegant ensemble, sunny smile, and overall beautiful expression. No more fantasy. Here he was. In a position of vulnerability like which he found himself, there were two options: retreat or advance.

"Enchante," Hawk said, reaching for Aurora's hand to lay a soft, classy kiss of greeting on it. He locked eyes on her over the top of her knuckles. "Everything smells wonderful."

Three hearts fluttered at the featherlight touch of lips on her skin, violet almost dropped the pot and the lasagna. In the turbolift one of the Operations ensigns looked at gray oddly as she seemed to have something stuck in her throat.

Green smiled and stepped aside to let Hawkins enter, she was certain her skin had turned three shades towards crimson. She waved at the dinner table and at the four settings. Smiling apologetically she said, "Sorry. I had planned on two of me eating something else but it's been such a long time since I made lasagna that I, well, made more than enough for four. I promise I will not try to subject you to any sensory overload."

"Thank you," Hawk said, making entry. In a way, he was outnumbered, which was triggering to his tactical sense, but in another, the worst thing that could happen was far from unpleasant. "No need to apologize," he added. "We agreed that if we're going to do this right, then I needed to be with all of you together."

The sight of the other Aurora, Violet, preparing food did something to him viscerally, but he turned back to Green since she was closest.

"So... in order to facilitate that... do you have a preferred manner of address? Or any kind of pattern or arrangement that you like to follow?" Hawk turned his face to both of them, not lingering on either one for too long, but favoring them with a curious smile. "Your eye colors are different, which are easy to distinguish, but I've seen all three of you on duty." His smiling gaze fell back onto Green since she was the one who'd invited him inside. "I'm happy to rotate, or not, however you want."

It was only then that he noticed the crimson blushing on Green's face and realized the potential double entendres that were afoot. Rather than apologize right after telling her no apologies were necessary, he decided to let it ride.

Aurora laughed, she had heard it all before and could tell when someone was being crude or not. As he and green sat she said, "I know it can be a bit confusing so I really never developed a preference for one body or another. You can focus on one of me if you like. To make things easier I'm going to be talking to you through green while the other two-"

The doors swooshed open and gray strode in, heading directly to the fresher without a word.

"-keep quiet."

"All right then, Green." Hawk flashed her a broad smile. "Tell me about yourself. What brought you to Starfleet?"

Violet visibly hesitated, then set the lasagna on the table. Green cleared her throat and said, "Well, it's a rather long and complex tale. A friend of mine actually made a holo novella about it. It was all a bit dramatized."

Violet held up a bottle of wine as if she were a server at a posh restaurant, green said, "The Sangiovese goes best with lasagna," as violet poured the wine into Hawk's glass green explained, "I was raised in captivity by my people."

There was a slight tremor in violet's hand as she poured the wine...

Even a blind man could spot the tells that were dropping all around him. What had been meant as an innocent question had turned heavy in the blink of an eye. Hawk decided to back off a little. "Well, you're free now. Hell, you're a Starfleet officer serving on a secret mission. All things that I'm glad for." He offered her a smile and said, "Maybe your story is best told in holo-novella form. We could walk through it together sometime and you tell me where your friend got it wrong." It was only a half-serious offer meant to take the burden of sharing her past out of the moment. "Or not," he added with a chuckle.

For some reason, Hawk felt word vomit come up. It had been a long time since he'd been open with anybody.

"I lived in exile from my people," he said. "Or, at least, the people of the world where I was born, and all for the crime of being born." His eyes began to glaze ever so slightly as memories began to sweep him back to another time. "Fought for every scrap I ever had. Did things... bad things that I'm ashamed of now, all just to survive. And all before reaching the age of manhood."

Feeling emboldened by the need for human connection, Hawk slid his hand across the table and took Green's -- both of her hands -- in his firm grip.

"The best thing about the past is it can't define who we are anymore." He meant for his voice to be soft, but the passionate sincerity made the baritone rumble deeper. The glistening behind his eyes seemed almost out of place. "All that matters is the present and the future we make with it."

Green responded by entwining her finger's in Hawks, she felt it wrong to say anything, that it would just ring hollow, false. Instead she just nodded and allowed the moment to linger. She felt an urge to kiss but then there was the distinct sound of violet's grumbling stomach. A laugh escaped both green and violet's throats and she gently slipped her hand from his.

As gray returned, now wearing dark green slacks and a black blouse and slippers, violet expertly carved up the large lasagna. Green felt much more at ease as she explained, "I was born as a science experiment, an attempt to create an organic unimatrix not unlike the Borg. Only instead of three minds linked they got one mind in three bodies. There were...experiments. Most of them unpleasant."

As violet and gray dug in green explained, "One by one the other test subjects disappeared, after a while I had no illusions about my fate. My initial plan was to seek asylum among my own kind-other Auroras-but when I discovered the existence of the Federation and that there was a Starfleet facility in orbit the plan changed. It took a year to prepare and even then it would have failed had it not been for Captain Th'ataahler."

She nodded to a holo on the desk of a stern looking Andorian woman in a Captain's uniform.

Hawk gave a knowing nod. "The Federation is not an accident or a natural thing. It's an artificially constructed beacon of light and hope in a universe whose natural state is darkness. Were it not for the captain who rescued you or the diplomat who adopted me, well... better not to think on what might have been." It had been awhile since he'd had a real conversation. Hawk couldn't help but smile. "Thank you for sharing your story."

The smell of the lasagna wafted to his nose and triggered a rumble in his stomach that at least two of the three bodies could've heard. "Guess I'm hungrier than I thought!"

Digging in as well, he tried to maintain a gentlemanly disposition with proper table etiquette. After the first few bites, though, hunger began to get the better of him. It was all he could do to keep the food on his fork between the plate and his mouth.

"This is dull-i-cious," he managed to say around a mouthful that he had to gingerly chew, hot as it was. The sight was as if he had not eaten for days.

Violet practically beamed with pleasure and Hawk's appreciation. Green began eating and gray asked, "So, that's a little about me. Can you-Oh, sorry. Here I had promised to only talk through green. Okay, only talking through gray now. Promise. Ah, so, do you have any family? Anyone you left behind? Or is it a subject you don't want to elaborate on? If that's the case I most certainly understand. I...well, I do not mind giving an abbreviated account of my history but certain things, well, will never see the light of day."

Chewing quickly in order to respond, Hawk chuckled a bit before wiping his mouth. "No family, no. I never knew my birth parents. My mother was presumably human and my father... Klingon." It was impossible for him to say the word without lacing it with disdain. "My earliest memories were running with a street gang that unified itself around the common identity of being bastard children of the planetary governor. Nobody could prove it though and no one cared to. Being one of Karnak's Bastards was just a supremacy thing."

After a moment of reverie, he idly said, "It was a rough life. Doubtful any of them are still alive." Blinking himself back to the present, he looked at Gray with a mixed expression of pain and gratefulness. "I'm lucky to be here... in more ways than one."

Aurora felt herself blush, she was not certain his inference was in regards to her. As Violet covered her expression with stuffing her face Green said, "Well...Starfleet seems to have a habit of attracting refugees and misfits, people who do not seem to fit in anywhere else. People running away from somewhere or not certain where else to go."

"Starfleet has a place for everyone," Hawk agreed. "It's... frankly, a breath of fresh air to have a conversation with someone who can appreciate that so strongly. As much as I do, even." The emotional content of his statement struck Hawk sideways. What was he doing here? Baring his soul to... to... who was this Aurora? Hawk looked at Green who had been talking, Violet who appeared to be blushing through a mouthful of lasagna, Gray who was out of sight, and he came to a realization. "It's made me realize something."

Was he going to say it? Maybe he shouldn't. Feelings were... complicated. But then again, if he wasn't honest, he was nothing.

"I am dining with the most incredible woman I've ever met."

Violet had to turn her face away, it had gone almost crimson with embarrassment. Aurora found herself unable to articulate a response through gray or green as well. She had been flattered in the past before, but seldom so...sincerely. Two of the three bodies lifted glasses to hide their expressions of surprise, to give herself time to compose a response. Any response. A mind used to dealing with nigh-impossible engineering problems found itself utterly at a loss dealing with matters of the heart.

"Thank you," gray finally said as green found a bit of wine had gone down the wrong pipe. Violet got up and began gently patting green on the back as gray said, "I'm sorry, I'm not used to, well, naked sincerity like that. gray smiled self consciously, "Really, I am nothing as special as all that. I mean-"

Green took an uncertain breath. Gray's smile turned a bit wry, "Well, all right, maybe I am a touch unusual. But Incredible? Remarkable, perhaps..."

Somehow the joke sounded desperate and lame to her many ears...

A smirk played at Hawk's lips. "Are you calling me a liar?" The question was a playful one despite the juxtaposed solemnity of his tone against his face. What it played at, though, could be anyone's guess. Once again, Hawk wondered what he was doing here, but seeing the diverse reactions of one woman -- the adorable, the thoughtful, the classy -- made him realize he didn't care anymore. It was freeing to sit and talk and laugh with someone who could appreciate complex personal histories. "I'm wounded," he said at length, clutching his chest in mock pain.

"Should I call Sickbay?" Aurora inquired as the trio shared a smile. She felt the electricity she had experienced earlier had grounded a bit, which she was grateful. She was not certain where this was going, only that for a moment it had felt like it was about to go at warp speed.

Gray scratched her nose as green said, "That might be my cooking you are experiencing. Dessert might be the cure..."

"Dessert sounds good," Hawk said honestly. Did she mean literal dessert or something more... metaphorical? The way the different Auroras were reacting, the room was a little hard to read. Whatever the case, Hawk was enjoying himself. He didn't want the evening to end. "What are we having?"

"Well, since lasagna is such a heavy meal," Gray explained as Violet stood and made her way over to a cabinet, "I thought something light might be in order. And since lasagna is a traditionally Italian dish..."

Violet returned with a small refrigeration unit. As green removed the dishes she opened it up, revealing two bowls of what might have been ice cream. One dish was red, the other yellow.

"Sorbet," Gray explained as Violet set the two down, "Strawberry and lemon. You choose."

Hawk rubbed his chin and let off a smirk. "Would it be weird to have both together?" he asked. "Sweet and tart are my favorite combination."

It was all Aurora could do to not make a sexual innuendo at that point. Certainly Violet had to find something else to do elsewhere in the room so Hawk couldn't see her blush. Instead Gray took the initiative and said, "Well, normally one doesn't get everything they want, but in this one instance..."

She picked up a spoon, scooped up a section of strawberry sorbet, then added some lemon on top before presenting it to him, belatedly realizing that action could be misconstrued...

Hawk would have to be blind at this point not to notice the furtive glances and shifting between bodies. For better or worse, Aurora had taken his charms to heart. What remained, then, was what he would do so armed with this knowledge.

As he took the offered spoon into his mouth, Hawk savored the combination as he knew he would. "Mmm..." As the spoon slid out, Hawk grinned. "Perfect."

With another spoon in hand, Hawk scooped both strawberry and lemon together.

"Your turn," he said.

But rather than raise it to Gray's mouth, Hawk held the spoon to his own lips. Holding just a small bite, he leaned his face toward Gray's and offered her sorbet along with something extra.

Aurora knew she had started this, she knew she should have ended it right then and there. It was moving way, way to fast. But it had been a long, long time, and Hawk was

"Hell with it," she muttered as Gray leaned forward and tentatively, then hungrily kissed him...

The escalation from soft to forceful kissing was more than welcome. Hawk cupped the sides of her head as he rose to his feet, not wanting to break the magic that was sparking between them as he did so. Once Aurora was pulled to her feet, Hawk pulled her close with strong hands holding Gray's body tightly against his.

Saying that Gray melted might have sounded like a cliche, but she felt so hot as her body molded against Hawk's like softening wax.

"How do you want to do this?" Hawk sensually whispered in her ear. One of his hands left Gray and reached out blindly for either or both Green and Violet. "I want all of you, Aurora."

Gray's eyes widened. Then she smiled. Hawk felt Violet and Green's hands touch his shoulder, his thigh.


Gray murmured, "All right, mister. You asked for it...!"


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