Location: Ship's Bath
Katae walked up to the entrance to the bath. A few items tucked under her arm for use after. She thought briefly about the last time the bath had been used. It was the during the first Year End celebration aboard the Aeon. There had been a lot of changes, four years of war, death and destruction. She had fallen into old habits, and was determined to break them.
At a touch of the control the doors slid open with just the faintest sound. The lights came up to a higher setting. The sound of splashing water could be heard coming from the fountain. Soft flute music started playing.
She stepped into the bath and entered the changing room. She chose a locker and and placed the blue folded fabric item carefully on one of the shelves. Katae then started removing her uniform. Folding each piece and laying them on a lower shelf. Standing there in her undergarments she shook her hair. It was longer than she usually kept it. It almost reached her shoulder blades. Need to get that tended to. she thought.
Taking off her remaining items, she placed them into the locker and closed it. She walked into the main bathing area sat on a short wooden stool while she gave herself a shower.
Thank you, I just was wondering what to do with myself, and of course I was thinking about training but I realized getting shouted at about swordsmanship is my kind of fun, not theirs. The XO sent to Katae, from where she stood halfway in, and halfway out of her quarters in the lounge.
A few minutes passed, and already smiling in that reserved way that sometimes settled onto her face just as much as any grim, stoic mask they taught her sisters during samurai training, Misaki wrapped herself in a towel, took a spare uniform from her quarters, and somewhat naked, made her way to the bath.
"I am the second one here. I suppose that's fitting. Your hair is lovely, by the way. I just ordered a lot more accessories and treatments, if you want me to do something with it, what I offered the crew of course, always extends to you." Her voice raised a bit, so the CO could hear her over her shower, the soldier made sure not to spend more than a glance admiring the other woman's form, as she put her things away.
Moving with her usual put together grace to the stool next to her, the Chusa set down her favorite shampoo and conditioner, and started to wet her long hair carefully.
Katae turned partway towards Misaki allowing her to look at back at her XO, while letting the water run across her body and rinse the last of any soap from her skin. She gave Misaki a brief smile. She noted the grace with which her XO moved, I wonder if that is purely from being a Nekovalkyrja or her training as a Samurai? Graceful was never a word used with me growing up, coltish, spirited, and efficient, but seldom graceful. I was to mother entirely too much of a tom boy. she thought causing her smile to fade.
"Thank you Misaki-san, I would appreciate having it cut back to my preferred length. As it is now, it is rather scruffy for my taste. I prefer my natural color, it was this way back before I enlisted. Growing up I always kept it short, better for moving through the forests. I could never pull off having lovely long hair like yours."
Turning back, she turned off the shower and stood up. She picked up her towel from where she hung it and took her towel off the hook. She turned and walked over to the bath. Katae paused for a moment to admire the ceramic tub. The tiles were a beige with other soft shades blended in. She walked into the tub and moved to her right and moved to one of the benches. She placed her towel away from the edge of the water and settled in.
Yoshiro arrived at the bath and got ready to get in. He had taken a shower and washed up before he came so he didn't have to worry about washing up but he decided to give himself a quick cleaning before getting in. After placing his personal items in the locker and grabbing some soap and cleaning himself off once more.
Eli arrived shortly after being led by the wrist by Freyja. "Hey, slow down Freyja-Hei!" he laughed a little, stiffening at the sight of another person leaving the changing room. He cleared his throat. "Hello again, Tanaka-Hei." he greeted, somewhat curtly and with a small bow.
She quickly dropped Eli's arm when she saw that Tanaka was there in the changing room, "Hello Tanaka-Hai." she tried to hide the fact she was just dragging Eli down here. She forgot that she didn't bring anything like towels or soaps, let alone something to change in to afterward. She quickly about faced and headed to her cabin to grab a few things. some that she would keep hidden until they were done in the waters. Returning she handed Eli the Soaps and shampoos that she had promised and then started putting her stuff into the locker of her choice.
"Hello, Freyja-hei, Destin-hei." He said with a smile. "How is everything for you so far Destin-hei? Everything ok?" He wanted to make sure that his crewmates were all right.
"I'm doing quite alright, thank you. " he sighed heavily, as if trying to expel a large amount of stress as he began unhooking the top of his working uniform. "Been a long couple of hours though." he said with a hint of self-deprecating bemusement as he folded up the shirt and began working on his pants.
She grabbed some things that she would keep hidden until they were done in the waters. Returning she handed Eli the Soaps and shampoos that she had promised and then started putting her stuff into the locker of her choice.
"That is good. I started training as a starship operator so I have a lot to do. I am glad that we have this time to relax." Yoshiro said "It is going to be hard work but I am glad that I took the chance to do it."
Eli jumped a little at Freyja's return after dropping his pants but made a great deal of trying to keep a stoic face as he was handed the soap and shampoo. "It seems like a worthwhile pursuit." he replied with a somewhat strained tone. "Hard work isn't necessarily a bad thing though." he looked at the showers and then back at Freyja. "I swear, this ship is trying to burn any modesty left in me right out." he laughed a little. Despite his protests and his obvious awkwardness in the situation, there was a marked difference from his overly forced formality mere hours ago.
Freyja was stepping out of her skirt as Eli complained about modesty, it caused a little giggle to escape. She finished buy folding her panties and setting them on top of the pile of cloths. she ran a hand over the smooth material of the clothing she was going to put on afterwards. She stepped out of the changing area and pulled up and stool to start washing herself, it was the third time that day she had washed. once before, once during and now once after, the little mousy smile grew on her face as she scrubbed away grabbing the bottle of shampoo from next to Eli to scrub her hair. Once she was done and rinsed she stepped back to the changing room and grabbed an hair band, she pulled her hair back, into a ponytail, for the first time in her life her glasses were left in the locker as an after thought.
Eli nodded to Yoshiro and sat down on a stool himself, and began the process of washing his own hair and body. "Creator it feels good to stop smelling like a hospital", he muttered. He did his best to avoid looking anywhere except immediately in front of him or at his own body though. Finishing up, he turned around as he grabbed a towel and wrapped it around himself and nearly did a double take at the sight of Freyja with her hairband. Still, although the reaction was obvious, he didn't say anything, and just nodded and walked into the baths behind Yoshiro.
Yoshiro settled in to the bath, letting the warmth and the atmosphere relax him. He listened to the music being piped in to the bath and smiled. "So, Freyja-hei how is the kit that you brought in doing?" He asked with concern in his voice. He couldn't imagine what it would be like for him if he were to be stranded somewhere and not able to communicate with the people that would rescue him. He fidgeted a bit, suddenly and obviously aware and really uncomfortable with the female nudity around him. It wasn't that he felt offended, he just wasn't used to it.
"She was doing pretty good when we.. I left the Med Bay. she was awake and talking, well as much as she could." there was a hint of a new found confidence in her voice, She walked over to the warm waters bowing to the CO and XO before climbing in and taking a seat in a corner with Eli following shortly behind and sitting nearby.
"She seems to have a rather fiercely independent streak, for better or for worse", Eli added with a nod.
"I just hope that the kit is okay. I wouldn't be able to understand what it is like to be stranded somewhere and not being able to understand what to say or what to do with the people that saved me but I sure feel for her." Yoshiro said, still fidgeting a bit and hoping no one noticed his sudden shyness.
Of course, Yoshiro wasn't the only one acting shy. Eli seemed to be doing his best to make himself look as small as possible, a somewhat futile effort given his bathing companions. "I just hope we can get her to talk a bit more. She seemed rather uninterested in carrying a conversation earlier and tends to not vocalize at the same time as she uses the pad to show us images. It makes building a translation database rather frustrating." he sighed. "But, maybe we shouldn't talk about work, this is our chance to escape it for a bit, right?"
"That's right. Sorry about that." Yoshiro apologized and smiled. "I just worry too easy I guess. I don't want the kit to feel like we're a danger to her or anything."
"I don't think there's any real danger of that at least." Eli replied. "How long have you served on the Aeon, Tanaka-Hei?" Eli asked, trying to change the topic.
"Well, I served for awhile. Don't really know how long off the top of my head. Been so busy with my infantry posting that I really didn't keep track." He said apologetically. "I'm sorry if that doesn't answer the question."
Eli snuck a glance at Freyja's new look before replying: "Ah, don't worry about it."
She saw that Eli kept looking at her, maybe she shouldn't have taken her glasses off and pulled her hair back, maybe he didn't like it. Freyja started shifting nervously, as she tried to listen to the conversation.
"Hey Freyja-Hei-" he called, trying to get her attention. "I never said thanks for the help in fabrication earlier." he waited for her to make eye contact before adding telepathically, "also, you look good." he smiled, nodded, and turned to face the Taisa.
Freyja blushed, "uh.. Your welcome, and thank you." they were probably about as sneaky as heart-attack, in other words they were very obvious. She sent and telepathic message back, "so do you!"
Katae listened and watched as the next wave of crew members came in. She nodded to those who acknowledged her presence. She could sense there were some undertones to the conversation between at least two of them. Recognizing Eli's voice she shifted slightly on the bench. She took a sponge from the side of the pool, immersed it. She then brought it up to her shoulder and squeezed it sending hot water over her shoulder. She was definitely curious about the Elysian. Not because Eli was a male, but because of his culture, and now that he was here, she was curious about how he would handle the water with his wings.
Eli nodded respectfully as she noticed him. "Good morning, Taisa." Eli sighed despite himself. Despite the greeting, it certainly didn't feel like morning after all the earlier events.
"Good day Destin-San, Oinari-San, Tanaka-San, thank you for joining us." she said with a smile.
Freyja stood and bowed again, "Thank you Ma'am for inviting us to join you." she sat back down deep into the warm waters. She was sure that the Taisa knew what was going on, it made her nervous, and want to hide. what if she orders the two of them not to be together the thought made her slip off the bench and slide under the water. "EE.." bubbles finished her sentence before she surfaced, and regained her seat.
Eli laughed at Freyja's fall, "Careful there, Freyja-Hei." he said with a smirk before continuing the conversation with the Taisa. "Thank you for inviting us. I must say, it's good to relax after that bit of excitement earlier."
Katae laughed good naturedly at Freyja's unplanned immersion. "Well I am pleased to see that you folks are getting comfortable around each other. It is important for a crew to get to know each other as people, and not just soldiers."
At that moment two Nekovalkyrja came walking into the bath hand in hand. Gi and Yani looked at Katae and simultaneously said, "Nice to be back in the bath again Ise-San." The two walked into the warm water and found a bench to sit together. Once seated they whispered to each other, and giggled. Then Yani gave Gi a brief kiss, then turned her attention back to the others.
"Of course, Taisa." Eli nodded, feeling the weight of accumulating water on his wings from the water in the air start to drag them down and his face beginning to flush from the heat.
She looked at Freyja and Eli. If she was reading their body language properly, there was a new friend ship or possible more budding. I wonder if that request from Oinari-san earlier this morning had something to do with it. Eli is definitely not a typical Elysian, of which I am very grateful. she thought.
"Just for your information, this is the second time that the Crew Bath has been actually used since the Aeon was commissioned. The bath may not be as fancy as I have heard some ships are, but it fits for our needs. With the worst of the hostilities over, I am hoping that we can make use of it more often." she said with a smile. "Meeting in the bath is liberating, no barriers."
Freyja was glad that the Taisa changed the subject, she was worried the why she was watching the two of them that she knew what was going on. "It is very lovely Ma'am, I really didn't even know it was here until you sent out the invitation."
Eli smiled at the Taisa's remark. "I suppose there is some truth to that." as he shifted somewhat uncomfortably. He sighed and decided to slip all the way into the water, letting the warm bath water cover the whole of his body. It felt good and he closed his eyes with a content look on his face.
Katae straightened on the bench, causing her breasts to become partially exposed above the water. "I guess I should start the getting to know you part.
First, let me share a few things about the Aeon and I. The Aeon is my first command, and I have had the pleasure of being her first and only commander. That was back in YE 30. The Aeon is also the sister ship to the Eucharis, which I am sure you folks have heard some of the exploits of. Of the original crew, five of them are still on-board. Yani and Gi there are two of them.The Aeon is also the first ship in the fleet to have an SSS Liaison person assigned, Josea which most of you have met.
As for myself, I like a good cup of coffee.Our cook Sachi-san makes a wonderful cup. I enjoy a good story, be it in a book, or being told by a person. I like working with plants, in fact in our wardroom, you will see a couple of Bonsai trees that I created. I like sushi, and been a few drinks with close friends to me is a very good night out."
"I was the XO on the Eucharis, before this." Misaki noted from where she had followed Katae into the bath, though she had taken a bit longer, having put her hair up with a sturdy clip, she wore only a cool rag atop her head, and cut a look aside at the Taisa, "It was an honor I will not forget. I have not had a bath with my crew in a long time. Bonding like this, and other ways increases combat efficiency."
"I will take care of your hair in my quarters or yours, if after this suffices?" She sent the CO silently.
"We can use my quarters when we are done here." She replied to her XO.
Yoshiro was just plain nervous with all of the females in the room. Nudity would not have been an issue but this was all new to him. He was a soldier for god's sake and he would endure. He bowed to the Taisa as he was spoken to. Then as the Taisa started speaking Yoshiro listened to the story and then caught the partial exposure of the Taisa's breasts and he grabbed his nose to stop it from bleeding. He turned away, mumbling "Maybe this wasn't a good idea" and hid himself temporarily from the others.
Freyja saw Yoshiro's nose start to bleed, she started to giggle, she felt bad for him but, on a ship largely female it was silly.
Yoshiro was glad that he was not profusely bleeding and was blushing as he turned around. He had made a fool of himself but he was not going to lose what was left of his tattered diginty. He endured the problem that he had caused himself but knew that there was more to come.
The XO noticed Tanaka's predicament, but didn't actually say anything, giving him something of a curious, if surprised look, she looked for Saki past the group, then settled in just a touch more, though it seemed as if she were purposefully taking a graceful pose, her back sat straight against the bath.
"Looking for Saki-hei, ma'am?" Eli tilted his head. "She seemed to think she had to stay working in the cargobay." he glanced at Yoshiro and smiled a little, emphasizing a little with his predicament. The only reason he was probably doing any better was because of his little 'tiral by fire' earlier.
"I was. I wanted to inform her I have some time to train her in close quarters combat, at least in our style." Replied the XO, not making particular to do about her nudity, though she clearly also made no moves to make the male soldiers feel better. "I have ordered some weapons sent, as well as other personal items, the Empire provides for her soldiers, it is sometimes difficult to think of anything, but this time I had you all in mind, we can go over them when we are underway and have time."
"I look forward to it, ma'am. Freyja-Hei and I are already planning on some friendly sparring sometime, but I enjoy studying different forms of close combat." he nodded in gesture to Freyja. "I will look forward to learning from somebody of your caliber and experience, ma'am." he finished as he began to sink a bit from the weight of his wings. He frowned and pulled himself up to sit by Freyja.
Freyja smiled as Eli shifted and she moved her hand to hold his hand under water, squeezing it gently.
Yoshiro took a look at the symbol that he saw on the back of Misaki's neck. He noticed that it was a barcode but for some reason he saw no numbers, rather he saw kanji. He didn't recgonize it .
"hmm...I wonder..." He said and then realizing that he may be seen as a weirdo he looked away. He knew that the way he had been acting being considered a weirdo wasn't a far stretch. "Kurusu-chusa, may I inquire about something?" He asked
"You may, Tanaka-hei." The XO replied, slowly following his eyes, giving him a once over when she seemed satisfied with a question only she knew, and reached back behind herself for a new wet rag to replace the other with as she listened to his query.
"The symbol on your neck, is that a symbol for the samurai?" Yoshiro asked. He did not recall ever seeing that before, of course he remebered that she had said that she had trained as a samurai before. "I have never seen that before but then again..."He trailed off and became quiet, not wanting to make a fool of himself more than he had.
"Yes, it is for a samurai, I both am, and am not. I trained with them until the final oath, and then was sent to officer training. Samurai do not have normal careers, I am a test to see how that would work, and how effective I would be working under and over others in the field when not always directly tied to the Zaibatsu..though that was blurred when I was a XO for Ketsurui-hime." Misaki replied in a matter of fact way.
"A full samurai would very rarely smile, but I have used my advanced combat abilities to protect my commander and crew since the war began, and I am greatful to be the tool of the Imperial-clan's impetus to improve our combat and peacetime effectiveness." She finished, clearly having had to explain this to more than one crew in her long frontline career.
"I see. Thank you for the information. " Yoshiro said with a smile. "I also would like to ask if you would train me in close quarters combat. I figure that if we get into trouble with an enemy any advantage would be useful." He knew that the war with NMX was winding down and he wanted to be prepared for the next enemy that may come along.
"I can train you with the others interested, if that includes Destin-hei as well?" She coolly added, "I cannot teach you everything, parts of the training are things only samurai are trained for, and only an Eihei can do, but that still leaves a wide range of techniques and battle-tested killing art that I can impart. It will make you a more effective soldier in your power armor to be a more effective soldier out of it...if you can learn what carries over, and what does not." Misaki replied, almost apologetically adding, "I did not mean to lecture you all about killing for the Empire during our bath."
"In many diplomatic situations, a samurai is all there is to protect one of the head family, and there might be no one to fight for yourself but you and the soldiers next to you." She moved slightly, artfully squeezing the cool cloth out over the top of her head, closing both eyes serenly. "I was not able to end as many of the enemy as I would have hoped last mission, this should help keep our readiness that much higher." The blue and white-haired officer left out it was a good chance to bond further, but imagined the newer recruits understood, even coming to what was on the whole, their first real duty posting.
Katae reached over and took Misaki's hand under the water giving it a brief squeeze. "Perhaps we should save that discussion for training, this is supposed to be a social gathering, relaxing and getting to know each other." She said with a smile.
She turned Yoshiro, "Yoshiro-San, perhaps later you should have Sunflower check your nasal passages to see if there is a problem to avoid such unpleasant episodes in a more critical time. Speaking of which I hope she will be joining us and can convince Kata'nova to come with her."
Freyja looked over at the CO "Ma'am I could go up to the Med-bay and see if I could help out iwth that?" Freyja really didn't want to move though. She was happy ad confertable for the first time, and there wasn't a fighter craft anywhere near by.
Thank you. I went deep into it there for a minute. Misaki thought to Katae, easing back slightly the short distance she had scooted her behind away from the back of the bath, to return her squeeze, which she was relieved to note felt rather natural, and nice. "Yes, when we're training." I suppose you know why I forced myself to take a hobby, now.
You are welcome. Hobbies are good to help us from forgetting that we are more than just soldiers. she replied.
Yoshiro nodded to the Chusa. When the Taisa spoke about seeing the doctor he nodded dumbly and was glad that the Taisa had not known the real cause of the nosebleed or so he suspected. If she knew, the Taisa was being very diplomatic about the situation, but the others would probably give him a hard time about it. "I'll do that as soon as we are done here." He said and sighed. He really needed to work on this as soon as he could.
"Freyja-San, there is no need. I already spoke with Sunflower, and she assured me that she would be joining us, and would encourage our guest. Besides, if you leave who will keep Eli-san company?" she said with a slight grin.
The corner of Eli's mouth twitched at this remark; a stunning level of self-control the only thing that kept him from a more extreme reaction.
Freyja blushed, Her hand squeezed his uncontiously, "Ye...es Ma.."am?"
She's about as sharp as I expected. Eli noted, letting the thought transfer telepathically to the girl holding his hand.
Yoshiro relaxed and thought about home and his family. He lost his father during the Battle of Yamatai and he felt like he should have been there. He suddenly felt a bit lost. He sighed a bit and thought again of home. He promised himself that he would write as soon as he was able. He decided to get his mind away from the thoughts that he was having and decided to strike up a conversation. "Taisa, what was commanding the ship like before I got here? You must have had some fantastic missions and all." He asked as he grabbed a cool rag and placed it on his forehead.
"Well before the war, it was exciting. We explored a number of new planets and made some interesting discoveries. The start of the war was almost the end of the Aeon. We were heading out with an expanded crew, leaving Gemini and leaving the KMZ. We flew right into the battle of UX-25 or the fight for Star Fortress Scorpio. It was a terrifying sight seeing all those ships of the enemy and our ships dying around us. A single squadron of Plumeria was not strong enough to fight the kind of numbers of battle pods and ships we encounterrd. What turned the battle for us was a group of four Tansaku-Class Science ships. They had come to the KMZ to be safe and flew into the battle. We took turns protecting each other with our shields. We also were able to kill a good number of NMX before reinforcements had arrived. Unfortunately it was not a stellar victory. We drove them off, but they barricaded the entrance, and Scorpio was very nearly destroy." She said, her expression going a bit slack as she recalled the loss of many crew members who suffered final death.
Eli shuddered a little at the grim turn of conversation. The NMX hit a bit too close to home for him.
She looked up at the man next to her, she felt sad for him and his losses, Freyja thought to herself she would try to be there from him as much as possible. She knew she wouldn't ever be able to replace them, but she could help try to fill the void. She realized she just spent the past few seconds staring at Eli, she quickly found a drain on the floor of the bath and fiercely studied it.
"But that is not what we are here for, this is supposed to be a social activity. You can check our logs if you wish to see, one a positive note we did rescue the Eucharis in Elysia Novus.
I will share a personal piece of my past, Growing up I never considered a job in the military. My family comes from a clan of hunters, and that was how we made our living. Mostly taking people out on expedition hunts, or occasionally on a contract." she said with a smile.
"Not so different from myself actually. I hadn't planned on a military career until quite recently." Eli mused and looked around, feeling a little bit awkward remembering that many of the people serving on this ship probably didn't have a "growing up" period of their lives at all.
"Er. So, the Taisa mentioned food earlier. What are your favorites?" Eli asked.
"Well to start with sushi, I have been known to spent a good amount of shore leave looking for a good place. I love mangoes even if they are a bit messy to eat, and I love a thick steak that is cooked and seasoned just right, cooked on a flame to get a nice sear. With dinner I prefer a nice wine, when relaxing I like a nice brandy." Katae replied.
Freyja looked up and was a little bummed that Eli changed the subject, the fact she didn't have a childhood made her want to hear about others'.
Freyja thought back to the fact that Eli and her were suppose to spar at some point, and with her SAINT training, she really didn't know how to fight with out going directly to killing blows, or dirty tricks.
"Kurusu-Chusa Would you be wiling to work on my hand to hand in private, I haven't used them since they were uploaded?"
Oh dear, private coaching from the XO? I won't stand a chance! Eli sent via playful telepathy through their held hands while keeping a perfectly straight face.
"I'm rusty and I would hate for my lack of practice, to hurt you." Just like Freyja's concern about hurting Eli, her lie just hurt her.
"Of course. I will attempt to not use any attacks that would be beyond what you might encounter normally until you are ready. There is much to build upon beyond initial training." Misaki replied, offering Freyja her sincere, if measured smile.
"Readiness is very important, you could be thrown into a survival situation or only have one chance to free yourself as a POW-but I will not continue into a combat lecture. I would be happy to assist you."
"Thank you ma'am, I just feel that I would be a bit self conscious if people were watching. I understand readiness, before being transferred here I was part of a combat air squadron, basically lived in my flight suit near the flight deck. My fighter had to be at it's top readiness, Never knew when we would run into a combat patrol."
Eli flexed his wings in the water, sending a reasonably sized ripple of warm water radiating around him. He was starting to feel the heat a little bit and thus wasn't really paying attention when he accidentally hit Freyja with one of his wings.
Freyja nearly fell off the bench, but she got her revenge she lightly leaned back on the wing, it felt like a fluffy, wet, but fluffy hug. It cause a warm fuzzy feeling where all the pangs and what not happened earlier. It caused her to smile warmly
"Oh- sorry about that Frejya-Hei." he smiled and pushed her forward gently. "I don't suppose anybody has any idea what kind of worlds we might end up on during this trip?"
Katae smiled at the 'accidental' hitting of Freyja by Eli. "Not at the moment. Kata'nova does not know where her world is in relation to us. Her ship may have had navigational data, but as we know it was destroyed on the planet. So I plan on visiting a number of planets, after all we do not have a time table for finding her people. So we may as well do things right."
When he pushed her forward to move his wing back out of the way she pouted a little, but his next question was quite interesting.
"I am looking forward to doing something new and going somewhere new. I just hope we can make new allies and friends when we do." Yoshiro said.
Gi turned from Yani and looked at Yoshiro."Making friends that is always a good thing. Have you made any good friends here on the Aeon Tanaka-San?" the purple eyed Neko asked with a smile.
"I have. But I hope to make more."He said with a smile. "I have found that friends make the job we do a little easier."
The group was joined by a brown haired male with a towel around his waist. He turned towards Katae gave a slight bow, "Sorry for the delay Ise-San. I was preparing my report to Saiki-Chuji." He said, he then started down the stairs and removed his towel before it got wet. He moved to find a place to sit and settled into the water.
"That is how it is done, though in casual settings sometimes a verbal greeting alone is acceptable." Misaki put in when the new arrival showed up, a bit impressed he even tried to show decorum while half-naked.
Eli noded towards Gustav. "Morning, glad you could join us."
Saki gave up. She continued working in the Cargo-Bay but the bath sounded to nice and pleasing. So she at least finished with the APC. Then she quite literally flew to her quarters, tossed her uniform aside. She took a bathrobe, clean training uniform, towels and her toiletry kit and made way to baths.
When she walked in, she first put her things into a locker and took of the bathrobe. Taking a shower-gel and shampoo she made her way to where showers were. It was easy to see that there were many crew members here already. Captain and XO were easy to spot, so was the Elysian.
Saki bowed to greet everyone and then went and sat herself on the stool. She was actually quite dirty from the work. Her hands needed some serious maintenance and she had a black smudge on her cheek.
Josea looked at Saki, "Arai-San, next time you need some help with cargo and such. Give me a shout. I am always willing to lend a hand." He called out to the blue haired Neko's back.
Katae looked at Saki, "I am glad you decided to show join us Arai-San, all work and no play makes for bad performance. Besides there will be plenty of time on our first fold to finish stowing gear." she said with a smile.
"Thank you Gustav-san, if I am not mistake you are busy with the translation program. I would not want to bother you with trivial work." Saki responded to the first person who talked to her. Her head then turned to the captain and she gave her another small bow.
"I understand ma'am," was the response and mild polite smile. "I just dislike leaving unfinished work and wanted to have everything ready before we are underway. Better safe then sorry. Though I must tell bath was too luring, same as a chance to spend some time with the whole crew."
Katae chuckled, "Well it is my fault, I decided it was time this crew got to have some time here, so it was last minute. I will promise to schedule them in advance."
Josea waited for Katae to speak then added his own response, "Arai-san, please call me Josea, we are off duty. In fact all of you may call me just Josea when off duty, we've been through enough together."
"You should call me Saki, then." The blue-haired neko smiled at the SSS liason. She spent some times washing her skin with nice warm water, before taking a brush and scrubbing her whole body with shower gel. It surely needed it. At least she did not sweat anymore. Saki was sure that sweating was the most annoying part of being NH33.
"Likewise, Eli-san or other casual honorific will be fine for me when off duty." he smiled, "I'm a bit more used to being addressed by my first name after all." he squeezed Freyja's hands underneath the water and added telepathically, and just Eli is fine as well, when we're off-duty.
Freyja stuck her tongue out mockingly with out thinking. She blushed when she realized he sad that in her head..."Josea nice to talk to out off duty. I don't like honorifics at all. I'm just Freyja, or my surname is Oinari, ether works." she didn't say that she rarely felt she deserved the honorifics.
"It is a pleasure to meet a member of the Elysian people." He said to Eli in Seraphim. "That is fine with me Saki. Need a hand washing your back." he called with a chuckle.
With a blink and a smile at the sudden greeting, Eli replied. "Likewise, a pleasure to meet many of the Yamataian people. I look forward to working with you Josea." the strange language lilted out musically across the bath. "I must say, you speak Seraphim with surprising grace for-." Eli stopped himself. The word he was going to use without thinking literally translated to barbarian; a word casually used without malice by most of his people. He decided to reword it to something a little more tactful, "...for somebody not native to Elysia."
Saki suddenly blushed at the remark. "Uhh.. thank you I am fine," she said and looked into the wall in front of herself. She then turned again to face Josea. She put her hand in front of hers holding the washing brush. "I have a brush," she said to explain in very clumsy way and for Josea to not be insulted by her saying no.
If you need assistance from his...humor, I will get out. Misaki sent helpfully to the fumbling soldier, looking back to Josea after that. She was unused to having so many males about, but was beginning to decide the ones on the Aeon seemed particularly adept at morale building.
"I am a linguist, I have learned a number of languages. And if one is going to speak a language, one should learn to speak it the way it is meant to sound. I got to practice during my training with a friend I made during my schooling. Nice to have someone to practice with."
He chuckled seeing Saki show the brush that she had, "Brushes are okay, but not as good as having someone with skilled hands." he said with a laugh, "But I was only being playful."
"Although I do have good hands, being a musician helps." he said with a grin.
Katae chose to speak at this moment, "So I have mentioned what kind foods I like, what about the rest of you. Anyone want to share?"
Smiling she piped up 'I like butterscotch. Mainly as a hard candy." Freyja thought back to the first time she had some, it was in the pilot ready room on Vicky.
"I must admit to having a soft spot for Yamataian candy." Eli scratched his cheek in a gesture of embarrassment. "But other than that, I tend to like eat pasta and other grains."
"I ate staples, even through officer school and on the Mihama. I only had anything different when the crew pushed on leave, I'm afraid I do not have a favorite, the cook on the Eucharis helped.[/i] The XO replied honestly.
"Yamataian staples, I mean." She clarified. Oh yes, rice, rice, fish, and more rice.
"Mm. I'm afraid I've had more experience with my fish being cooked, so adjusting to Yamataian fare was a bit rocky at first. Of course, not that the food at Basic was particularly amazing to begin with." Eli remarked with a an exaggerated grimace.
"I love pudding," chimed in Saki, who was glad that the attention went for washing of her back. Saki was not still sure how she feels about men and having one touching her back sounded so strange to her.
looking up at Eli she spoke, "You should try Hibachi, it is really good. With strips of meat and it is really yummy." Freyja heard Saki's statement about Pudding, "What kind of pudding do you like?"
"All of them really," Saki responded with a shrug, returning to brushing and clearing of herself. "Though I think strawberry and vanilla are my favourite. Though Pudding is probably more of a desert. For regular food I do like takoyaki. Oh and nepleslian burgers are pretty good."
"You don't say. Nepleslian burgers are my favorite too." Trowa said as he stepped into the bath. He had heard that last comment as he entered and couldn't pass up the chance to jump in. He had removed his eye-patch when he showered and hadn't replaced it. His left eye, now uncovered, glowed red.
"Oh, welcome, Yamamoto-San. Good to see you, feeling any better?" Eli asked casually, although he immediately regretted it. He fluttered his wings slightly in the water in agitation with himself, brushing Freyja lightly in the process.
Saki went silent suddenly and blushed a bit more. She looked at Yamamoto and smiled a bit nervously. This was first time she saw him without an eye-patch. His artificial art was not really ugly. Though she did not even know he had one. she always expected an empty eye-socket. "Welcome, Yamamoto-heisho," Saki said nervously. She still did not do anything to cover her nude body. She was not really shy about that.
"Oh please. We can drop our pants but we can't drop the formalities?" The Nepleslian sighed. "Call me Trowa." His glowing eye turned toward Eli briefly, then smiled. "Much better. Amazing what a cup of Sachi's coffee can do."
He chuckled and shrugged, "fair enough. Come have a seat with us."
Saki smiled again looking at Trowa's face. "Please call me Saki then." It was only fair, if her offered her to use his first name, she should do the same thing. They did knew each other for a bit and saved each other life now and then. Then Saki realized that Trowa was naked. She could not help herself as her eyes traced down his body for a seconds, before she turned back to her shower.
"Don't mind if I do." Trowa grinned as he settled down in the warm water. It felt really good. He looked up at Saki and winked. "I already do." It had not escaped his attention that Saki seemed bashful around him. Nor did her quite attractive body. Now it was his turn to slightly blush. He quickly dipped his head under the water and came up smiling as though his pleasure was entirely from the water.
Saki finished washing up and stopped the running water after she rinsed herself. She then stood up and tip-toed to the bathtub. She found herself a free spot and slipped inside. It felt good to just sit in warm water and soak. She did notice that Trowa did not wash up before going into the bath. She wondered if he took a shower before coming here. Probably so, one does not go into bathtub, before washing up.
With a squeeze of Freyja's hand, Eli communicated, Saki and Trowa, are they...? he let the thought trail off. Maybe he was just imagining things through the heat and steam of the bath.
Freyja shrugged "I don't know, they were the ones I first meet on my first mission aboard, they were together fighting...
She didn't know what to say she really didn't know. Heck she didn't even understand these things a few hours ago.
Hmm. I see. Eli realized a little too late that he had been conspicuously glancing between the two in question during this little exchange. He silently hoped that neither of them noticed.
"Gi-san, what do you like to do when you are not on duty?" Yoshiro said, curious as to what she liked to do.
Trowa noticed that Freyja and Eli seemed to be rather close. Interesting. That suddenly reminded him of their guest, Kata. "Heard that something happened to your new friend Freyja. She alright?"
"Well, Yoshiro. When I have free time, I sometimes do painting, or write poetry. While on the ship its more painting. I like to capture some of the images of the places I've seen. Occasionally I will paint scenes with the people I was with. I also enjoy spending time with Yani, searching for teddy bears." Gi replied.
"Last I checked, She was awake and Sunflower said that she would be up and around soon." Freyja smiled.
"Don't you think we should be more careful around her?" Saki suddenly asked looking at Freyja. "She is a member of alien species and we know nothing about her. I am not saying to lock her up under armed guards, we should just be careful."
Freyja nodded, "I think I got it underhand, she isn't all that scary, even nice." She almost told Saki that she was more then proficient enough to keep the kit from causing trouble.
"Nice people can be as dangerous as rude ones," Saki stated and simply shrugged. She made her point and what others will do with it was not her problem.
"Saki has a point. Look at me." Trowa spoke up in an effort to keep the conversation light. "Appearances are not always what they seem. But I think that all the necessary precaution is being taken. The Taisa knows what she's doing."
Freyja leaned back and relaxed, grateful that Trowa spoke up. "She is really a good kit, if you got to know her."
"And how wll exactly did you get to know her?" Saki asked with raised eyebrows. "In these. how many was it? Two or three days? When you can't even talk together. Let's not make assumptions. She might seem nice, but in reality we do not know anything about her."
Katae had a content smile on her face. This was perfect, exactly what she had been missing. The crew being able to just be themselves. She was learning a lot in just this one gather than she had in the time they had served under her.
"As for Kata'nova, I am willing to extend to her a measure of trust. It is highly unlikely that she would have crashed her ship on purpose. If not for Freyja's intervention she would of died. Besides how we treat her now, says a lot about us. And hopefully when we finally find her people, she will communicate that to them. She has access to non-essential areas, so it is not like she can sabotage the ship or anything. She seems a likable person, and given the circumstances she finds herself. I think she's doing quite well."
Yoshiro was relaxing and watching the festivities and relaxing. "This is so relaxing." He said with a content smile. "Painting, huh? My younger sister loves to paint as well, Gi-san." He remembered the picture that his sister drew him before he joined.
"Painting?" Eli perked up. "I'd love to see some of your work sometime Gi-San. I'm only a mediocre artist myself, but I enjoy seeing other people's work."
Gi smiled, "That can be easily arranged Eli. I keep several of them in the room, the rest I have stored. And you can check out a few of Yani's. When we leave the military we are wanting to open an Art Store."
"Sounds good. I'll make sure to do that sometime." he replied with a nod.
"It seemed like a military exploration." Misaki ventured, "I sent for some ceremonial Katana to present them with, perhaps we should get some flags made, as well? It might please them, though other things should be included in a diplomatic gift. This is...not like Azorea." Which was, incidentally, the most diplomatic experience the veteran ever really had, "I just hope it goes as well as that did."
"Actually that is probably a very good idea. In fact I think I will take it one step further. I encourage each of the crew members to come up with something that represents our Empire to them. It could be, as you demonstrated, a sword, our flag. We will make a diplomatic package out of the ideas. For example, some samples of our cuisine." Katae suggested.
Freyja thought about the idea, she loved it, but she didn't know what to do, she knew flying and spying..."Ma'am may I have permission to used the Fabrication bay to make some starfighter toys, maybe ones that were remote controlled?" She could give them a small toy, showing her love for flying.
Katae smiled at Freyja's suggestion. "I think that would be a perfect idea. Something that not only represents our Empire, but a personal aspect as well. Permission Granted.
Anyone else have any ideas?"
Kata'nova quietly poked her head into the room; her ears moving from front to back as she looked around. She was a bit nervous right now, despite what had already gone on, she wasn't sure if she should join them or not.... "Vnn... nbz J kpjo zpv?"
Sunflower walked up along side of Kata, she took the kit's hand, and motioned to the water. "Come on, the warm water will be good for you." From the speakers. A translation came out. "<unintelligible sound>... May I Join ....."
"Kata'," Freyja waved and smiled, "you're up and moving!" Freyja debated about getting out and helping Kata', or staying in the warm water next to Eli.
Eli was about to voice a suggestion but it slipped through his mind as Kata entered the door. He smiled. "Of course! Please come in, glad to see you're doing better!"
Kata gulped, and stared toward the water and then up at Sunflower before looking back at the group. "Dbo J sfbmmz kpjo?"
"Yes." Sunflower repeated.
Josea smiled and called out to Kata'nova. "Come on in, the water is lovely." He said, motioning for her to come into the water.
Saki gave the alien a gentle smile and a nod of head. Even if the blue haired neko did not trust Kata, it did not mean she won't be friendly. Saki always tried to be nice to others and this was no different situation.
Kata nodded slowly and disappeared into a side-dressing room, she had noticed that these people were naked; and figured that's how this worked. Once she was undressed, she checked her bruises over and found that the wounds she had gotten before were gone, especially the hole in her side which had healed up completely - although she could still feel a little bit of pain from time to time.
Her tail moved casually across the ground, until she decided to exit the room and enter the bath. Her light red skin color, which was actually coming from the very thin fur coat she had on, shown through and her tail - which was a combination of black near where the tail connected with her body and had a yellow tip.
She curled her hand into her hair and grabbed the tip of her tail as she looked around the bath with an obvious expression of nervousness.
Waving the kit over Freyja spoke, "Come on get in it's warm." She quickly drew a picture of Kata' and herself playing in the water, with big goofy grins on. "See..?" She showed the image to the young kit.
The young girl blinked and stared at the image for a moment; it didn't take sense to her, so with a shrug she took a few steps into the water, waited, then dove right in.
Misaki watched the wayward explorer quietly, falling silent for the back and forth, though her expression was something more akin to sizing up an enemy before a duel, than anything terribly welcoming. After the diminutive woman finally joined them though, she did ease, and slid back, forgetting continuing their earlier conversation- no need to spoil the surprise.
"Welcome to the Aeon I am Kurusu Misaki."
Saki looked at the girl she pointed to herself and said. "Arai Saki." Then she showed the girl her palm and formed a picture of shield with her volumetrics there. A good image of defense and protection, she then pointed at herself again.
Katae smiled as she watched their guest join them. This was an important step in her opinion, because it was a sharing of their culture, and interacting in a very casual environment.
Sunflower seeing Kata enter the bath in a rather enthusiastic fashion, removed her towel and then walked into the warm water. The water felt good as she sunk into it and let the warmth work its way into her muscles. She found an unoccupied spot along the pool to observer for a bit.
Kata'nova relaxed a bit, she knew that the warm water must've been great for her fur, but it wasn't like she would know this... after all, she lacked the ability to feel anything external to her body such as if someone touches her or if something was to run against her skin. Pain was something she could still feel, but it had to be rather intense or within a certain degree for her to actually feel anything.
Thus, when her tail slapped against the water rather lightly she didn't feel that, all she saw were the ripples that went outward. However, while her sense of touch was pretty poor if not non-existent, her sense of smell was quite different.. he could smell all of the chemical that made up the bath and some of which made her nose twitch slightly.
She stayed quiet, not saying anything as her neck dipped under the water to just below her head.
" So, doc, how is your patient doing so far?" Yoshiro asked Sunflower.
"Her recovery is proceeding well, I will be checking her again later to ensure that her body completely defeats the infection. But there is no risk to the crew at this point." Sunflower replied as she relaxed in the water.
"She seems a bit shy. I wonder if nudity is something they are not used to, in their culture? Or it could even be water that sits still, I suppose...well, welcome either way." Misaki added, making sure that their guest saw her looking their way. She wanted to have a look at her fighter, even without any great knowledge of engineering it interested the vet to know what a culture they'd never met before could come up with in the terms of military strength.
Katae leaned towards Misaki, "From what we have been able to discern, she is young for her kind. Not young like a Nekovalkyrja, but physically young as in a child. Josea believes she is a child soldier since she was flying a fighter craft. Makes me wonder what kind of desperate situation her people are that they enlist children to fight."
"Why would that be desperate, I was fighting with in a year of my creation..." Freyja understood the difference between herself and a natural born being, but if they matured fast enough why would that be an issue? "Maybe they mature faster then most other races."
"You are correct Freyja-san it may not be a desperate situation.
We know she is thirteen of her people's years old. They do not mature until sometime after sixteen. By our best translation she is part of the child or youth group of their military.
I grew up in a civilian home as a Geshrin. So to my way of thinking enlisting children to be soldiers seems a desperate act. It may not be, but we will not know until we meet them, or we learn more from our guest." Katae responded.
Nodding she studied the Taisa, 'She had a childhood! She was very lucky indeed.' Freyja smiled and leaned up against Eli.
"You said she is thirteen of her people's years? Do we...", Eli started and shook his head. "Sorry, too much about work." he smiled. "Freyja does have a point though."