#iz���s thoughts Tumblr posts

  • dibbutalsoblood
    10.08.2021 - 2 monts ago

    I have an iz oc but i never really thought much about him, but here have his design(i got lazy with the pak legs sifjajxjsj)

    #my art#trashy art#iz#invader zim #His name is pronounced as Thomas except the s is an x- #iz oc #i dont have a headcanons or info for him since i never really thought about those stuffs i just thought it was nice and fun to have an iz o #edit: the same goes for the smol bot there but pinky was however made by Thomax
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  • hoglinz
    20.07.2021 - 2 monts ago

    BIG MAN

    #tommyinnit#tommy fanart#dream smp #dream smp fanart #cw eyestrain #diz took shorter than i thought ell oh ell #i love drawing in diz style sm #alzo screw u my tommy dezign iz s-tier
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  • tamerajedwards
    12.10.2021 - 4 days ago

    Third C -v-a-Cc-i-ne? Hmm not so sure on that one. Jury is still out for me!! 🤔🤔🤔🤔😳😳😳

    So two of my co workers got their 3rd va-cc-ine. Pf-iz-Er B-oo-S-ter over the weekend.

    Both had no reaction to first two. This one made them very sick!! They still made it through the weekend. One has really swollen arm lymph node. 😢

    Honestly... I thought I would be ready. But I haven’t even gotten my regular f-L-u s-hO-t either. We are all still at risk for D-El-T-a. So right now I’m feeling like nothing will work other than my N95 and social Di-st-anc-ing. None of us know when the nightmare will end. I need for God to show me what is right for me. My immune system is delicate and sensitive. My biome group is from England and Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 and following the studies done people from this group have more allergies and heightened sensitivities. There is nothing wrong with that. God made us that way to be hunters and gatherers. It has carried through the generations. My body actually over reacts to things it shouldn’t and needs to calm down because it works too good. That’s what allergies are- Did you know it’s like a car or a piano that is over tuned? It’s better than a sluggish system. So that being said, I want my body to be calm before getting either v-A-Cc-ine.Dang I should have been a doctor. Stay vigilant my friends! Do what’s right for you and your family.xo

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  • waxhouse
    07.10.2021 - 1 week ago
    #gabriel may x reader #gabriel may#gabriel malignant#malignant 2021#malignant spoilers#emily may#madison mitchell#slasher imagines #slasher x reader #slasher x you #gabriel may x you #gabriel malignant x reader
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  • ofkingsnqueens
    24.09.2021 - 3 weeks ago

    𝚒𝚗𝚝𝚛𝚘𝚍𝚞𝚌𝚒𝚗𝚐...                       IZZY DANIELS              stats         intro          tag

    B A S I C S 

    full name: isabella marie daniels nicknames: iz, izzy, isa, ella, bella, marie (her grandma only) gender:  cis female pronouns:  she/her sexuality:  bisexual  aesthetics:  a pair of old converse you refuse to throw away, torn apart pointe shoes, wild messy hair moving with the wind, the earth after it has rained, a thunder parting a blue sky. age:  23 date of birth:  june 4th, 1964 zodiac sign:  gemini residence:  she lives in a small apartment with her father, above another small apartment that he uses as his office. occupation:  cashier at Shrike’s Grocer’s, halftime ballet assistant in a studio outside of the mall. 

    A P P E A R A N C E 

    faceclaim:  zendaya coleman height:  5’10 build:  slim, athletic. eyes:  big brown eyes, highly expressive hair:  curly, brown, huge, always messy or put up in a tight bun for ballet. piercings:  none.  tattoos:  there’s a little “love, mom” in her mother’s handwriting high up her thigh, almost hip bone.  other distinguishing features:  she talks with her hands a lot, is very loud when she speaks and has no respect for others unless it’s a library or a theatre.  style:  comfort over everything all the time. although special events will call for her to actually dress up, and hell, she kills it. she can’t wear heels more than ten minutes though. 

    P E R S O N A L I T Y

    traits: (+) loyal, responsible, dedicated. (-) impulsive, loud, selfish mental health:  she’s still going through the grief of her mother’s loss, and just got over a very strong depression.  physical health:  she keeps herself pretty healthy, because dancer life.  likes:  any red candy, loves sour gummies. she likes the fall, she loves christmas and her birthday, loves getting presents and being thought of. she loves bunnies and small animals.  dislikes:  fakeness, avocado anything, white chocolate is gross, cereal that is not colourful.  fears:  ducks, alligators, robots creep her out, death, oblivion, loneliness. phobias:  big crowds hobbies: dancing, doodling, roller skating, singing, movies. skills:  cooking, makeup (somehow), roller skating, ice skating, ballet and tap. quirks:  rolling her eyes, biting the inside of her cheek, tapping her fingers on any surface, biting her hair, singing when she thinks nobody is watching. 

    F A V O R I T E S

    ice cream flavour:  peanut butter chocolate time of the day / night:  noon.  weather:  cold and cloudy, soup and sweater weather.  breakfast food:  eggs and bacon. dinner food:  STEAK and baked potato.  colours:  burgundy, orange, brown, green– earth like tones, but dark.  music: mainly classical she has danced to, anything that’s on the radio will become her dirty little secret. 

    M I S C E L A N E O U S

    a cherished item:  her first pointe shoes she keeps hanging in her bedroom.  first love:  her ballet teacher’s assistant when she was 14. he was 16. love at first sight.  usual mood:  done with life, grumpy and exhausted.  1 thing they want to do / experience before they die: be first ballerina, get to the new york city ballet while she’s still young.  character inspo: maeve (sex education), eleanor (the good place), buttercup (powerpuff girls), rue (euphoria), anastasia (anastasia), robyn brooks (high fidelity), fleabag (fleabag), megara (hercules), helga (hey arnold), arya stark (game of thrones)

    #character stats #izzy.stats #izzy #ok this is the last one for the day #i've done nothing
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  • myweeklysongcharts
    21.09.2021 - 3 weeks ago

    10th of September, 2021

    (=) Overlord Of The Thunderstorm - HOYO-MiX ft. Yu-Peng Ho - peak: 1

    (new) YO-KAI Disco - Yousuke Yasui - peak: 2

    (-) Inazuma - HOYO-MiX ft. Yu-Peng Ho - peak: 2

    (-) GLITTER - Perfume - peak: 1

    (-) Sing It Back - Moloko - peak: 1

    (-) Rapid As Wildfires - HOYO-MiX ft. Yu-Peng Ho - peak: 5

    (+) Ghost City Tokyo - Ayase - peak: 7

    (-) 不自然なガール - Perfume - peak: 7

    (new) Karakuri Spirits  - Yousuke Yasui - peak: 9

    (-) Rich Girl - Gwen Stefani ft. Eve - peak: 1

    (-) Can't Get You Outta My Head - Kylie Minogue - peak: 4

    (-) Battle! Ho-oh - Game Freak - peak: 5

    (-) MAGO - Gfriend - peak: 1

    (-) Hématome - L'Impératrice - peak: 6

    (-) Next Level - aespa - peak: 1

    (new) Peaceful Hike  - HOYO-MiX ft. Yu-Peng Ho - peak: 16

    (-) Plein De Bisous - Lewis OfMan ft. Milena Leblanc - peak: 3

    (-) Paradis (Reprise) - Paradis - peak: 7

    (-) Alcohol Free - Twice - peak: 2

    (-) Comb My Hair - Kings of Convenience - peak: 10

    (-) Out On Sunny Sunday - Lamp - peak: 1

    (-) Fever - Kings of Convenience - peak: 1

    (-) Panorama - IZ*ONE - peak: 10

    (-) Yours - Maye - peak: 17

    (-) Lilac - IU - peak: 1

    (-) San Fransico Street - Sun Rai - peak: 19

    (-) ASAP - StayC - peak: 3

    (-) Kiss Me More - Doja Cat ft. SZA - peak: 4

    (-) SOUL LADY - Yukika - peak: 3

    (-) Vérité - Claire Laffut - peak: 3

    (new) ポリゴンウェイヴ - Perfume - peak: 31

    (-) You Right - Doja Cat ft. The Weeknd - peak: 15

    (-) So Bad - StayC - peak: 8

    (-) A thought on an autumn night - JANNABI - peak: 11

    (-) Happen - Heize - peak: 8

    (-) Lost N Found - Lovelyz - peak: 1

    (-) Cheapest Flight - PREP - peak: 28

    (=) 優しい彗星  - YOASOBI - peak: 1

    (-) Doesn't make sense - DAYBREAK ft. Heize - peak: 2

    (-) Toi Et Moi - Paradis - peak: 1

    (-) Figaro - 9MUSES - peak: 1

    (-) Rocky Trail - Kings of Convenience - peak: 6

    (-) I am not your ocean anymore - Baek Yerin - peak: 15

    (-) Peur des filles - L'Impératrice - peak: 7

    (-) Rollin' - Brave Girls - peak: 7

    (=) Écoute chérie - Vendredi sur Mer - peak: 9

    (-) Sofia - Clairo - peak: 21

    (-) Battle! Elite Four (R/S/E) - Game Freak - peak: 25

    (-) Dun Dun Dance - Oh My Girl - peak: 10

    (-) Battle! Guardian Deities - GAME FREAK - peak: 37

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  • myweeklysongcharts
    14.09.2021 - 1 mont ago

    3rd of September, 2021

    (new) Overlord Of The Thunderstorm - HOYO-MiX ft. Yu-Peng Ho - peak: 1

    (new) Inazuma - HOYO-MiX ft. Yu-Peng Ho - peak: 2

    (-) GLITTER - Perfume - peak: 1

    (-) Sing It Back - Moloko - peak: 1

    (+) Rapid As Wildfires - HOYO-MiX ft. Yu-Peng Ho - peak: 5

    (-) Rich Girl - Gwen Stefani ft. Eve - peak: 1

    (re) 不自然なガール - Perfume - peak: 7

    (-) Can't Get You Outta My Head - Kylie Minogue - peak: 4

    (-) Battle! Ho-oh - Game Freak - peak: 5

    (+) Ghost City Tokyo - Ayase - peak: 10

    (-) MAGO - Gfriend - peak: 1

    (-) Hématome - L'Impératrice - peak: 6

    (-) Next Level - aespa - peak: 1

    (-) Plein De Bisous - Lewis OfMan ft. Milena Leblanc - peak: 3

    (-) Paradis (Reprise) - Paradis - peak: 7

    (-) Alcohol Free - Twice - peak: 2

    (-) Comb My Hair - Kings of Convenience - peak: 10

    (-) Out On Sunny Sunday - Lamp - peak: 1

    (-) Fever - Kings of Convenience - peak: 1

    (-) Panorama - IZ*ONE - peak: 10

    (-) Yours - Maye - peak: 17

    (-) Lilac - IU - peak: 1

    (-) San Fransico Street - Sun Rai - peak: 19

    (-) ASAP - StayC - peak: 3

    (-) Kiss Me More - Doja Cat ft. SZA - peak: 4

    (-) SOUL LADY - Yukika - peak: 3

    (-) Vérité - Claire Laffut - peak: 3

    (-) You Right - Doja Cat ft. The Weeknd - peak: 15

    (-) So Bad - StayC - peak: 8

    (-) A thought on an autumn night - JANNABI - peak: 11

    (-) Happen - Heize - peak: 8

    (-) Lost N Found - Lovelyz - peak: 1

    (-) Cheapest Flight - PREP - peak: 28

    (-) Doesn't make sense - DAYBREAK ft. Heize - peak: 2

    (-) Toi Et Moi - Paradis - peak: 1

    (-) Figaro - 9MUSES - peak: 1

    (-) Rocky Trail - Kings of Convenience - peak: 6

    (+) 優しい彗星  - YOASOBI - peak: 1

    (-) I am not your ocean anymore - Baek Yerin - peak: 15

    (-) Peur des filles - L'Impératrice - peak: 7

    (-) Rollin' - Brave Girls - peak: 7

    (-) Sofia - Clairo - peak: 21

    (-) Battle! Elite Four (R/S/E) - Game Freak - peak: 25

    (-) Dun Dun Dance - Oh My Girl - peak: 10

    (-) Battle! Guardian Deities - GAME FREAK - peak: 37

    (-) Écoute chérie - Vendredi sur Mer - peak: 9

    (-) For Lovers Who Hesitate - JANNABI - peak: 33

    (-) 二人 - Nishigori Yoko - peak: 1

    (-) I Believe In You - Kylie Minogue - peak: 42

    (-) Mrs. Cold - Kings of Convenience - peak: 28

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  • myweeklysongcharts
    14.09.2021 - 1 mont ago

    27th of August, 2021

    (new) Overlord Of The Thunderstorm - HOYO-MiX ft. Yu-Peng Ho - peak: 1

    (new) Inazuma - HOYO-MiX ft. Yu-Peng Ho - peak: 2

    (-) GLITTER - Perfume - peak: 1

    (-) Sing It Back - Moloko - peak: 1

    (+) Rapid As Wildfires - HOYO-MiX ft. Yu-Peng Ho - peak: 5

    (-) Rich Girl - Gwen Stefani ft. Eve - peak: 1

    (re) 不自然なガール - Perfume - peak: 7

    (-) Can't Get You Outta My Head - Kylie Minogue - peak: 4

    (-) Battle! Ho-oh - Game Freak - peak: 5

    (+) Ghost City Tokyo - Ayase - peak: 10

    (-) MAGO - Gfriend - peak: 1

    (-) Hématome - L'Impératrice - peak: 6

    (-) Next Level - aespa - peak: 1

    (-) Plein De Bisous - Lewis OfMan ft. Milena Leblanc - peak: 3

    (-) Paradis (Reprise) - Paradis - peak: 7

    (-) Alcohol Free - Twice - peak: 2

    (-) Comb My Hair - Kings of Convenience - peak: 10

    (-) Out On Sunny Sunday - Lamp - peak: 1

    (-) Fever - Kings of Convenience - peak: 1

    (-) Panorama - IZ*ONE - peak: 10

    (-) Yours - Maye - peak: 17

    (-) Lilac - IU - peak: 1

    (-) San Fransico Street - Sun Rai - peak: 19

    (-) ASAP - StayC - peak: 3

    (-) Kiss Me More - Doja Cat ft. SZA - peak: 4

    (-) SOUL LADY - Yukika - peak: 3

    (-) Vérité - Claire Laffut - peak: 3

    (-) You Right - Doja Cat ft. The Weeknd - peak: 15

    (-) So Bad - StayC - peak: 8

    (-) A thought on an autumn night - JANNABI - peak: 11

    (-) Happen - Heize - peak: 8

    (-) Lost N Found - Lovelyz - peak: 1

    (-) Cheapest Flight - PREP - peak: 28

    (-) Doesn't make sense - DAYBREAK ft. Heize - peak: 2

    (-) Toi Et Moi - Paradis - peak: 1

    (-) Figaro - 9MUSES - peak: 1

    (-) Rocky Trail - Kings of Convenience - peak: 6

    (+) 優しい彗星  - YOASOBI - peak: 1

    (-) I am not your ocean anymore - Baek Yerin - peak: 15

    (-) Peur des filles - L'Impératrice - peak: 7

    (-) Rollin' - Brave Girls - peak: 7

    (-) Sofia - Clairo - peak: 21

    (-) Battle! Elite Four (R/S/E) - Game Freak - peak: 25

    (-) Dun Dun Dance - Oh My Girl - peak: 10

    (-) Battle! Guardian Deities - GAME FREAK - peak: 37

    (-) Écoute chérie - Vendredi sur Mer - peak: 9

    (-) For Lovers Who Hesitate - JANNABI - peak: 33

    (-) 二人 - Nishigori Yoko - peak: 1

    (-) I Believe In You - Kylie Minogue - peak: 42

    (-) Mrs. Cold - Kings of Convenience - peak: 28

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  • sword-and-lance
    12.09.2021 - 1 mont ago

    Prompt #11: “Preaching to the Choir”

    ((okay fuck it I got an idea for this one too and I’m on a roll now so why not

    one of Dae’s hunters comes to talk to Dae, after her return to the Swarstral. Contains mentions of Garlean war crimes!))

    ===

    “War Leader.”

    Bronze Thorn’s voice was immediately recognizable to Daeyona, but she still started lightly anyway--and for a moment she was grateful she had been in the middle of swapping whetstones instead of being right in the middle of sharpening her main knife.

    Thorn just raised her brows. “...Don’t hack your other hand off.”

    Daeyona, however, didn’t take any offense and just took the odd sense of humor on its face, wiggling the fingers of said good hand. “It would mean I’d never cut myself on accident again. Might be convenient.”

    “Would be less convenient if Sights has to constantly fix it. Or that asshole cat man that tried to kill you--”

    “Hmph.” The mention of Runya immediately set her expression in a bit of a frown, and it deepened when Khann--who was lazing around behind her--coughed a barking laugh. “You, knock it off. You’re still a darkside and I can still un-summon you. And Thorn, I hope you’re not also here to slap me. Had enough of that from Maebh, and Iz, and Amba, and--”

    “No,” the younger Roegadyn interrupted bluntly, readjusting the heavy axe on her back before sitting on a nearby rock. “Just wanted to tell you not to die like that again.”

    Daeyona blinked. “...I’m also not fond of dying.” The answer felt like an obvious one, though. “Especially not when the Abyss keeps spitting me back out in the stupidest and most inconvenient places.”

    “We don’t like you dying either.” Her voice held a bit more steel to it now. “Some of them think you’re basically immortal, and maybe you are--I don’t know shite-all about it--but some of us wonder if you’re not gonna come back next time.” Still, she wasn’t quite looking Daeyona in the eyes, but a point above her head instead. “Silver Wolf says that there’s a big difference between being willing to do something risky and searching out an excuse for doing something risky. So I...” She finally let out a short growl of annoyance, though, visibly fishing around for words and failing to find them.

    “Look, could you not do anything so stupid like charging headfirst at a giant angry robot dragon next time? Your friends’re too nice to really get after you for it but I’m no--you know what I mean.”

    But as much as Thorn had stumbled over her own words trying to say it, Daeyona still got it and though she had momentarily been tempted to dismiss it as just a teenaged Roegadyn overreacting...well, she had a point, though, didn’t she? No amount of not wanting to admit it would let the thought back out of her head, either, and now it was Daeyona that was looking down at the silvery steel of the knife, not at her.

    ...She actually felt guilty, in a way that no amount of tears or anger could have really provoked.

    “Ha, she got the better of you, didn’t she?”

    But Daeyona just clicked her tongue and didn’t respond--which was as good as a yes. She did glance back over at the other Roegadyn, and the brighter light of midday left the various marks and scars, ordinarily well-hidden by their hunting-pack’s tattoos, standing out against the dark skin and bright arcs of color alike. (Old relics, of work camps that were too euphemistically named; more than one hunter in their ranks had them from whip and flame and blade--and not always the flats, at that. And all of them had ones far less visible in their minds, Thorn being no exception, with all her sheer capacity for violence and the hard edges always etched into her expression, even when she was asleep.)

    (Now she really did feel a twinge of guilt like a physical force, in her chest.)

    “S’ not a competition, you weird dog,” Thorn muttered, unslinging her axe just to lean forward onto the handle. “This clan’s all some of us have. We’re kinda invested in making sure one of the three people running it--and the most powerful fighter of them--stays with us, thanks. Especially with those weird hell-towers popping up like daisies all over.” And she suddenly looked back at Daeyona, as if remembering something. “Oh, ah. Halone or that Abyss...thing...didn’t tell you about any of those, did She?”

    That finally got Daeyona to shake her head and shake the spiraling thoughts off with it. “Mm, no. I’ve been trying and getting nothing. And if Bull can’t get an answer from Halone after a sky-sleep, I’m not getting one either. Even as a sylbei. It doesn’t work that way.”

    Thorn huffed and rocked her axe contemplatively, the steel of the head crunching lightly in the rocky soil beneath it. “Was kinda hoping maybe that Abyss spirit might’ve been able to tell you while you were in there. You said she likes to be weird and mysterious at you.”

    “She just wanted me to stay there that time,” Daeyona retorted with a shake of her head, earning her a bit of a sharper stare, but no commentary. “...I’m tired a lot. She thinks I’m interesting. But...I wanted to come back. I’ve still got things to do.”

    “And if we stop the end of the world or whatever those things are trying to make?”

    “There’s still a lot of shite in the world.” Something about Daeyona’s eyes darkened. “Even if the Empire disappears entirely--”

    “Twelve can hope so.”

    “--it isn’t like the world’s going to stop having problems or injustices,” she continued, just ignoring the remark for right now. (Partly because she wouldn’t and couldn’t argue against it.) “And I like being around all of you, even if you’re being a bit cheeky right now with your war-leader.”

    “Preaching to the choir with that first bit,” Thorn grumbled. “Ala Mhigo was shite, Doma is shite if that poncy jackass of a leader is really what they’re all like, the city-states are shite for only showing up when it’s in their interests...” But though Thorn bristled, she did stop going on. “And I’d hope you like being around, being war-leader.” But there was something a bit relieved hiding in the words, despite herself. “But okay, fine, as long as you promise to not die to something shite-stupid, I won’t slap you or anything.” 

    She paused, though, after she got up and took a few steps. “...Speaking of Silver Wolf. And your weird dog. Inner Beast for me is a boar.” She sounded proud of herself, even. “Kinda wish you had seen it.”

    And at that, Daeyona finally smiled, just a bit. “Well, given the mad shite that’s going on with those towers, I might see it soon enough.” And Thorn had a point: she should make damned sure that she was around to see it, and not just to fight alongside her friends and hunters, but to live alongside them, too, for years to come.

    There was a difference between seeking risk and just taking risk when it would have greater rewards.

    She would just have to find that line and stay firmly on the latter side of it. Not what she was used to doing, but she would try.

    (They all deserved that much. They all deserved to not be hurt like that again.)

    #; writing#ffxivwrite#ffxivwrite2021 #yeah that one jjk quote has been hanging around in my head rent-free ever since i heard it #in part because it's a lesson that /Dae/ needs to fucking learn lmao
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  • starfleetstgmgr
    05.09.2021 - 1 mont ago

    Mycosis: Chapter 7

    A Star Trek: Discovery/Strange New Worlds fanfic. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6
    Pairing: Christopher Pike x Leah Pike (OC)
    Rating: Explicit (please note the rating change as of Chapter 7's posting)
    Chapter Word Count: 6.3K
    Warnings: Ethical dilemmas, some sexual content
    Summary: Captain Christopher Pike and Ambassador Leah Pike continue their adventures as the Enterprise explores strange new worlds.
    The Enterprise has been dispatched to escort the science vessel Solomon on a humanitarian aid mission to Yomora. The dominant sentient species there, a plant-based life form, is being affected by a previously unknown fungal disease and has requested the Federation’s aid.
    Author’s Note: This story takes place in my A Matter of Time universe and is the second work in my Star and Dove series. A summary of the important stuff from A Matter of Time can be found in Part 1. If you’d like the entire story of how the Pikes met and got together, I of course recommend reading the full work (200K words, E rating, complete).

    Chapter 7: Heat

    Dr Boyce and Dr Sato had sent images back to the Enterprise and the Solomon as they had been working throughout the day, and Leah thought she knew what to expect when they arrived on the surface. The bud that the doctors had been observing had grown larger quickly, and the last time they’d reported in, it had been about the size of a watermelon. She’d been expecting to see that.

    She had definitely not been expecting to see the remnants of the bud clinging to the inside of the tree, covered in fungus and looking like a ruptured, scooped-out fruit. And by the looks on their faces, Pike and Captain Sato were equally shocked.

    Sato recovered first and looked to the doctors. “Jason, what the hell happened?”

    Dr Sato was holding a tricorder, but his grip was so loose that he seemed to have forgotten about it. Sweat had beaded on his brow, and his cheeks were still flushed above his beard. There had clearly been a considerable amount of excitement before they had contacted the ships.

    “It all went so fast,” the doctor murmured. “Phil and I were watching the monitors and checking on the growth rates. We were expecting it to slow down based on what Iz said, but that hadn’t even started yet...and all of a sudden, the fungus showed up.”

    Boyce pointed to a screen that was displaying an image of the bud. “It was a tiny spot. The size of a fingernail. Ten minutes later it had covered half the visible surface. And five minutes after that…” He gestured at the tree. “That happened.”

    Pike swallowed. “What exactly is that that happened?”

    “The skin split open and there was...nothing. Nothing in there.”

    “Not nothing.” Boyce corrected Sato. “That’s why we had to show you. Look at this.”

    He tapped a key on the display, activating a video recording. They watched as the events that Doctor Sato had described played out; it was happening so quickly that they could actually see the fungus continuing to grow over the surface of the bud.

    The ripping sound was audible even over the recording. A crack appeared and grew, reaching up and down and creating a fissure running nearly the entire length of the bud. It split, widening…

    Boyce paused the recording and began zooming in. He magnified the image again, and again…

    Spores.

    Thousands, millions, probably billions of spores drifting out from the crack in the bud.

    Leah stepped closer to the tree, peering inside. The hollowed-out base of the tree was deep, and the late afternoon sun wasn’t helping, but Sato and Boyce had set up extra lights for their monitoring and she could see well enough to confirm what she’d thought.

    “It’s empty inside,” she murmured. “There’s nothing left in there. Did the fungus just...consume it?”

    Doctor Sato nodded. “Our scans confirmed it. The fungus absorbed the biomass of the developing shusla and used it to accelerate its own reproduction.”

    “That’s not all,” Boyce added. “This is only an idea, but we think this may have been how the fungus originally spread so quickly. That spore release was massive. A few hundred, spread out over the landmass, would easily be enough to blanket the continent.”

    “Then is that the solution? Just have them stop trying to grow shusla for a while and the fungus will eventually die off?”

    “Unfortunately, no.” Boyce shook his head. “The plants that are infected are still releasing spores into the air, just a lot more slowly. It will continue to spread even without this.”

    Leah took a deep breath and turned. Iz had been standing off to the side; she’d noted them when their party had first beamed down, but the shusla had yet to speak. It stood quietly, observing the Starfleet officers with its usual alertness.

    She took a few steps over to them, lowering her voice as the doctors continued to speak behind her. “Iz, I’m so sorry.”

    The feeling of the need to apologize was strange, but it seemed like...she didn’t even know. Had the origin plant just lost a child?

    As she waited for Iz to answer, the scent of Chris’s aftershave brushed her nose. It drifted up from her collar, her grounding scent; she’d hadn’t felt the need to use it for this mission until now, given that relations with the Yomorans were overall on good terms...but the incident with the Romulans had changed things.

    So: grounding scent. And the two armed security officers that had accompanied them from the Enterprise. Just in case.

    Iz regarded her for a moment, and if she didn’t know better, she would have said its expression was quizzical. Maybe it is. Maybe it’s picking those subtleties up from us, too. “Why do you apologize, Ambassador?”

    “We asked you to do this and…” She gestured back behind her at the tree. “This happened.”

    “It was known what would happen.” Iz shrugged. “We understood that it was necessary for your scientists.”

    Leah nodded. “And we thank you for doing it. Was the…” She paused, not knowing quite how to even phrase her question, and not wanting to pry. “Was the shusla...was it aware?”

    “No.” There was no reassurance in Iz’s voice, simply a statement of fact. “Awareness does not develop until later. This was...not significant. You required the knowledge to assist us.”

    Leah let out a breath that she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. Iz certainly knew better than she did about what had happened; she did feel better, despite the lack of actual reassurance, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that something had been lost.

    Iz peered at her. “What is next, Ambassador?”

    “I’m not sure.” She looked over her shoulder, to where Sato and Pike were still speaking with the doctors. “Perhaps Doctor Sato and Doctor Boyce have some new ideas based on what they observed.”

    They did indeed.

    As she stepped up, Boyce turned to her. “Ambassador. We were just saying, we think there’s a way we can protect the developing shusla from infection by the fungus.” He turned to include Iz in the conversation. “Captain Pike was right earlier. It’s like a baby; it needs to reach a certain stage of development before it can receive protection from the origin tree. It has to become aware before it can connect to the root network and go through the biochemical changes that result in protection. Iz, when does that happen?”

    “On the fourth day of development, Doctor Boyce.”

    Boyce was back at the display, changing it to show a series of chemical compounds. “We can synthesize what it needs and deliver it as an injection. We’ve got enough readings where - I think - we can identify the right cocktail. If we replicate the chemistry of a mature plant, it stands to reason that that should protect the shusla.”

    Dr Sato nodded. “Iz was gracious enough to connect to its origin earlier so that we could observe. The shusla have nearly identical chemistry while they’re connected to the network through their origins. That’s the case during development as well, it’s just a matter of them being mature enough to fully realize the connection.”

    Iz looked at Dr Sato. “Do you wish us to accelerate our process, Doctor Sato?”

    All five of the humans looked at Iz, but Pike was the first to speak. “Accelerate the process?”

    Iz’s black orbs shifted. “Yes, Captain Pike. It is possible for the shusla to develop faster if required. We do not do so often, as it places stress on the origin. But if this would enable you to test your theories more quickly…”

    Boyce leaned forward. “How much can you accelerate?”

    “We can reduce the time to approximately two days.”

    Captain Sato nodded, his brow furrowed in thought. “Chris, you said that the Enterprise would need a day to handle the atmospheric work, is that right?”

    Pike nodded. “If we use the shuttles along with the main phaser batteries, yes. A day or so.”

    Captain Sato crossed his arms. “We probably don’t want any of our personnel on the surface while that’s going on. Jason, will that be long enough to be ready with the compounds?”

    “It should be, yes.”

    “Then that’s...a three-day timeline to test. If that works, we’ll have a temporary solution to both sides of the problem.”

    “Temporary?” Iz looked from one to the other, questioning.

    Leah swallowed; this was her area and her responsibility. “Iz...when we analyzed the infected plants, one of the discoveries that we made was that they’re taking in carbon dioxide at a much higher rate. The phasers will help your atmosphere and warm your planet temporarily, but with so many plants infected, the effect will be short-lived. It may not even last long enough to start to kill off the fungus permanently.”

    Iz didn’t reply for a long time, and when it did, it was with a simple question. “But you believe this will achieve the desired effects?”

    She glanced over to Boyce and Dr Sato, who both nodded. “Yes, Iz. We think it will work. But again, it’s temporary at best - ”

    “Then continue, Ambassador Pike.”

    Iz seemed to think the discussion was over; it went silent. The officers looked at each other, and finally Captain Sato let out a breath.

    “Well, all right then, everyone. Let’s get to work.”

    In the morning, Pike didn’t waste any time once alpha shift had come on duty and gotten settled; starting the phaser barrages was the first order of business.

    He glanced around the bridge from his seat in the command chair, confirming that all of the crew were in their places. “Lieutenant Mann, status?”

    “Phasers are ready, sir.”

    “Amin, do we have confirmation from the shuttle bay?”

    “Yes sir.” Amin tapped a key on her console. “All shuttles are reporting ready for launch.”

    “All right.” He settled back in the chair a bit more, smiling slightly. “Someone should come up with a clever name for this before we start. Any ideas?”

    Nicola turned around from the comms. “Operation Inferno, sir?”

    Pike winced. “We’re hopefully not going to actually burn anything…”

    “Northern Lights?” Number One offered.

    “Hmmm…”

    “Operation Flare?”

    Pike paused, his eyebrows lifting at Amin’s suggestion. “Hmm. I like it. Operation Flare it is. All right, Lieutenant, now that we have something to call it...let the shuttle bay know they can launch for Operation Flare.”

    “Aye, sir.” With a trace of a smile, Amin bent back over her console.

    “Yellow alert.” Pike rested his hands on the arms of the chair, using his feet to turn it slightly. “Ambassador, have the Yomorans reported ready?”

    “Yes, Captain.” Leah smiled at him. “They’ve been advised and have given us the final go-ahead.”

    “Have we confirmed that no personnel are left on the surface?”

    “Aye, Captain.” Number One nodded. “All crew are accounted for aboard both the Enterprise and the Solomon.”

    Amin’s console chirped, and she looked down briefly. “Shuttle bay reports launch, Captain. All shuttles moving into position.”

    They’d calculated the most effective placement for the shuttles, and he could see some of them moving out ahead of the much larger Enterprise. Little grey dots against the blue and green of the planet.

    “Shuttles four and five are in position, sir. Two minutes for the remainder of the shuttlecraft.”

    “Thank you, Number One. Go ahead and take us to the low orbit position.”

    “Aye, Captain.”

    Pike looked straight ahead at the main viewscreen, watching as the ship slowly moved closer to the surface. The Enterprise wasn’t designed to enter an atmosphere, but the low orbit position was well within tolerances. The planet grew larger in the viewer, and he took a moment to admire the swirls of blue across the landmass, set off by the greener shade of the water.

    “We’re in position, sir. All shuttles are reporting ready.”

    “All right then.” He let out a breath, smiling. “Let’s get started. Lieutenant Mann, begin the phaser barrage and advise the shuttles to do the same.”

    “Aye, sir. Firing phasers.”

    The modified phasers were rather spectacular, seeing them in action. Instead of the normal lancing beams, the batteries worked together to generate a wide pulse that spread out from the ship; it looked as if the Enterprise were a rock dropped into the planet’s atmosphere, and the phasers were the resulting ripples.

    They could see one of the shuttles on the main viewer. The small craft only had two phaser emitters in the front, and so the effect wasn’t quite as stunning, but the little ripples still pushed out into the atmosphere.

    It felt a little anticlimactic, as the barrage continued; it would do so for the entire day. Pike looked over at the tactical station. “Is all well, Lieutenant?”

    “Aye, sir. Phasers are firing as planned. Output is within the expected parameters.”

    “Spock.” He swiveled in his chair again, turning towards the science station. “Report?”

    The Vulcan looked tired; none of the scientists had gotten much sleep over the last few days, but he was as neat and impassive as ever. “Aye, Captain. We have registered a point-zero-three drop in oxygen levels thus far. The rate is as expected; we will complete the operation in approximately twenty hours.”

    “Twenty hours of continuous phaser fire…” Pike smiled again briefly. “That’s got to be some kind of Starfleet record. Okay - maintain position and fire, everyone. Good work.”

    Leah sighed, staring at her screen. It was the end of the day shift, and she’d managed to make progress during the day on her backlog since there wasn’t much to do on the planet until the phaser barrage was done…

    ...but she still had a lot to do. A lot.

    And some of it couldn’t wait. The latest reports from Kaminar needed to be reviewed...she knew that the Ba’ul and the Kelpiens were anxious to get their application going, but there was a reason this process normally took time…

    She alternately blessed and cursed Nicola for having figured out how to resolve the communications issue. She had to admit that the plan was brilliant: before the work on the planet’s atmosphere had begun, the shuttles had carried a series of relays into the asteroid field. The boost from the little devices was just enough to keep comms open and fairly reliable.

    Which meant that she was getting messages again in real time. Again...blessing and a curse.

    At least she’d been able to speak to Ramirez and confirm that they’d received Chris’s report about the Romulans. Starfleet was deliberately not moving ships towards the Neutral Zone, in hopes of keeping the incident relatively low-key. And the Romulans hadn’t made any overtures yet, good or bad.

    It was probably too much to expect that the whole thing would just go unremarked...but the Federation had gotten some warning.

    Leah sighed and logged off her console. As she stood up and collected the PADDs she wanted - needed - to take back to their quarters that night, she thought again about the cadet program she’d proposed to Ramirez a few months ago. A cadet would certainly be a help, if nothing else to just handle some of the document proofing and other basics. He can hardly begrudge me that, with everything he keeps giving me. I need to remind him to send me some candidates. If there’s a class that’s going to graduate in a few weeks, he might have someone.

    She stepped through the door of their quarters, noticing that the room was empty; Chris hadn’t come off duty yet. She set the PADDs down on her desk and stretched, contemplating whether to change now or stay in uniform for a little bit longer. The latter might make it easier to concentrate on the work she needed to get done…

    The door opened, pulling her out of her thoughts, and she smiled as Chris walked in. He returned her smile as he reached up and unfastened his collar.

    “How was your afternoon, love?” he murmured.

    She glanced at the PADDs on her desk. “I got a lot done...but I still have a few things to do this evening. Since Nicola got comms working again…”

    Chris chuckled, unzipping his jacket. “I hear you. I still have plenty of crew evaluations to work on. Want to eat and then put some music on while we work?”

    That sounded great.

    The work felt less overwhelming with a full stomach. They’d both wound up wanting fish for dinner, and she’d opened a bottle of prosecco to go along with it. The bubbles were a nice treat as she reclined back against Chris, both of them still in uniform, but relaxing on the couch with their respective PADDs.

    They’d been quiet for some time, just working companionably. If someone had told her a year ago that this was a way she would enjoy working...curled up with her husband...she would have laughed at them. But she loved Chris’s touch; she loved just feeling him next to her, even when they didn’t say anything. It was satisfying, knowing that they were able to perform their duties while still taking time for one another.

    “How are the evaluations going?” she finally murmured, continuing to scroll through the Kaminar reports.

    “Not bad.” Chris chewed his lip. “We’ll have a good dozen standard promotions this round. I need to set a meeting with Louvier to talk about the engineering staff...Lieutenant Dvorc will make Lieutenant Commander and should really be getting her own ship. She wants it, too.”

    Leah winced; Louvier was going to miss the Tellarite. “Anyone else you think we’re going to lose?”

    “There might be some shuffling on the science team, yeah. Spock is recommending transfer for Ensign Orasky; he thinks they’ll be happier on a research base.”

    Leah leaned back for a moment, closing her eyes and listening to the music. Chris had put on a soft classical program, and what was playing at that particular moment was Bach’s Goldberg variations; perfect for a quiet evening.

    “How about you, sweetheart?” She felt his arm move where it was draped around her; his fingertips stroked gently over her shoulder. “How’s Kaminar?”

    She opened her eyes and looked back down at her PADD. “They’re doing a very good job with the reports, I haven’t had to make many changes at all. We’re still assembling everything for their initial membership application package, but this is a good sign that we’ll be able to move quickly on it.”

    Chris pressed a soft kiss on her hair. “Saru was always so meticulous,” he said quietly. “I’m not surprised to hear that.”

    Leah breathed in deeply, thinking back - those early days on the Discovery, the mystery of their mission and getting to know such a wonderful, unique crew and ship...and falling in love. She gripped Chris’s hand tightly where it rested on her arm.

    He shifted the hand, interlacing their fingers and nuzzling his face against the top of her head. “He’d appreciate everything you’re doing,” he murmured. “How hard you’re working for his people. Hell - love, you’re making a difference right now in what they find in the future.”

    She laughed. She’d hadn’t thought about it that way recently...but Chris was right. Everything they did now would have repercussions that the crew of the Discovery would find in the future.

    “It’s like we said before they left,” she answered him. “Our job is to make sure they have the best future possible.”

    She felt him nod against her head, and she turned enough to be able to look at him. Smiling that crooked smile, eyes warm and kind and loving.

    It was so hard to resist kissing him anytime, and much harder when they were together like this. And she didn’t even really want to try.

    As her lips met his, Chris hummed softly and contentedly. She dropped her PADD, moving to get her arms around him, and heard his PADD clatter down as he tossed it on the table. And then his other arm was around her too, drawing her against him tightly.

    A tender, gentle kiss quickly turned deeper. She could taste him, the slight sweetness of the prosecco and the unique taste of Chris that she loved so much. She slid her hand under his collar, up over his neck, and felt him shiver at the touch.

    She moved again, onto his lap this time. He let out a soft moan against her lips, which turned more urgent as she dragged her hands down his chest. His uniform jacket was unzipped and she reached lower, her fingers going for the hem of his shirt…this was vastly preferable to continuing to look at the Kaminar reports...

    He broke away, groaning quietly, even as her fingertips dipped beneath his shirt and brushed his skin. “Sweetheart...I’m still on call…”

    She stopped; of course. Of course he was. The ship was still firing phasers and would be all through the night; of course he was still on call with the weapons being active. Not that he wasn’t always, but if something went wrong, he’d need to be on the bridge in minutes.

    She let out a soft sigh, closing her eyes briefly to settle herself down, and felt Chris lean his forehead against hers. He was still holding her, and his arms still felt wonderful, even though they’d stopped things going further.

    “I want to,” he murmured. “But I’d hate it if we got interrupted...and I had to leave before I could make sure you were taken care of.”

    Leah chuckled. “We’ve been pretty lucky so far on that front. It hasn’t happened yet.”

    “Yet.” Chris echoed her chuckle. “I know it probably will eventually. But tonight seems like we’d just be tempting fate.” His arms tightened, and his voice dropped lower. As he continued speaking, he punctuated his words with gentle kisses on her lips. “Although I also hate saying no to my beautiful - amazing - brilliant - sexy wife…”

    She smiled, returning the kisses and lightly stroking his hair. “This isn’t helping, darling…”

    Her voice was soft; there was no bite in the words, and it made him smile back at her. He gave her one final kiss and then backed off, caressing her cheek gently.

    “All right. I promise - once we’re done shooting Yomora’s atmosphere, I’ll make it up to you. But for tonight, back to work?”

    She sighed, and her smile turned a little rueful. “If we must.”

    It definitely felt warmer on the surface, although Spock wondered if some of it was the residual energy from the phasers. Operation Flare had concluded successfully a few hours before, and the scientific team was now back on the planet, ready to test out the compounds that the Solomon had synthesized during the operation.

    Iz was with them, and regarded the equipment curiously as Boyce and Dr Sato began setting up near its origin tree. “What will be done if this is successful, Lieutenant Spock?”

    Spock glanced at the shusla. “That is dependent on you, Iz. If you have the means to reproduce what we have made, then we will of course provide the information that is necessary for you to do so. If you do not, other options exist.”

    “What other options?”

    The Vulcan paused for a moment, thinking. It wasn’t his area, and he wanted to be careful with his promises. “A trade agreement is certainly possible. Ambassador Pike will assist with the details. Even so, the Solomon and the Enterprise have rather extensive capabilities on their own. If necessary, we can leave behind a large supply until arrangements are made.”

    Iz nodded, seeming satisfied with the reply, and Spock turned his attention back to the tree.

    A small bud had started to form already, a new shusla beginning to grow. Sato and Boyce didn’t waste time; they immediately attached a thin, flexible tube to the bud, and watched as a clear liquid began to flow into it.

    Boyce peered at the container full of liquid. It was another design of Sato’s, with several compartments for the different chemicals that allowed them to adjust the mix quickly. “Jason, how are the initial readings looking?”

    “Good,” Sato murmured, watching the tricorder in his hand. “So far, so good.”

    Spock kept his voice quiet, not wanting to disturb the two doctors, as he looked over at Iz. “Given the reduction of the growth times, we should know in a matter of hours as to whether the treatment is effective.”

    “That is our conclusion also, Lieutenant Spock.”

    Spock raised a brow. “We observed that the infection by the fungus occurred very quickly. If the growth process is accelerated, does the speed of the infection also accelerate?”

    Iz shook its head. “We have limited experience with this, Lieutenant Spock. But it did not appear so, when we first became aware. It was thought that growing the shusla faster might prevent the infection, but it occurred at the same stage in development and with the same rapid effect.”

    There was a series of chirps from the tricorder, and Sato glanced over at Boyce. “Phil, can you adjust the oporovin hydrochlorinate? Increase to five parts per milligram.”

    Boyce grunted an affirmative and pressed several buttons on the container. Sato looked down at the tricorder and nodded. “Good, that’s done it.”

    Spock raised his voice to catch their attention. “Doctor Sato, Doctor Boyce. If you do not require any further assistance, I will return to the Solomon. Doctor Ayo was on the verge of completing the preliminary analysis on the planet’s atmosphere; it is likely that she has finished.”

    Sato nodded. “Go ahead Spock, we’ve got this. We’ll let you all know right away if anything happens.”

    “Ambassador Pike? You’ve got a live transmission coming in from Xahea.”

    Leah smiled, setting her coffee cup back down in its saucer. She’d taken the morning off of her regular bridge shift to continue to catch up on her communications, awaiting the results from the scientists before she met with the Yomorans again. And this particular transmission was very, very welcome.

    She tapped a key on her desk. “Go ahead and put it through, Nicola. Thank you.”

    A few moments later, the face of Her Serene Highness Queen Me Hani Ika Hali Ka Po appeared on her screen. Although of course, they were not on such formal terms, and the queen had threatened Leah on more than one occasion to make sure of it.

    Her smile became a grin. “Po. It’s wonderful to hear from you.”

    The teenage ruler was grinning back at her. Po was eating something from a bowl, and she held up a spoonful of it even before saying anything. Leah peered closely at the screen. “What is that that you’ve got?”

    “My latest creation,” Po said proudly. “It’s an ice cream based on your cookie recipe.”

    Leah blinked. “You made ginger cookie ice cream?”

    Po nodded, and Leah heard beeps coming through on the transmission as she tapped something out of sight with her hand that wasn’t holding the spoon. “I’m sending you the recipe now. Your synthesizers should be able to replicate it.”

    “That sounds wonderful. Thank you - I can’t wait to try it.”

    “So.” Po finished what she was doing, and settled back in her seat. “Where are you?”

    Leah shook her head. “I’m sorry, Po. I can’t say where we’re at. Classified mission.”

    “Oh. Well, that would explain why your signal is so scrambled. How long are you going to be doing that?”

    “I’m not sure, to be honest. Why? Was there something that you needed?”

    Po’s brow creased, and she didn’t say anything for a few moments. Leah held her breath. The Federation’s relationship with Xahea had improved significantly over the last months, but Po had continued to safeguard the technology that she herself had developed to recrystallize dilithium. So far, Ramirez was letting Leah continue to let things evolve naturally; she hoped that luck would hold.

    “Can you visit?” Po asked finally. “When your mission is over?”

    “I…” Leah thought about how to say what she needed to. “It depends, Po. You know I’m a Starfleet officer, I go where they send me. The Enterprise has a five-year deep space mission. If there’s something that you need me for, I can certainly speak to the SDC about it, but I…”

    Po cut her off. “I want to talk about dilithium.”

    And there it was. Leah stopped herself from jumping up, stopped herself from punching the air. She focused on thinking about exactly which of their bottles of wine she was going to drag out of storage and demolish in celebration, and that helped.

    She nodded slowly. “Po, if that’s what you want, I think I can safely say that I’ll be able to come. But I want it to be your choice alone.”

    “You never made me feel like that was what you wanted.” The queen gave her a shrewd look. “You never asked. But I know the Federation still wants it. Don’t they?”

    “They do. But again - it’s entirely your choice.”

    “I know.” Po’s expression turned mischievous. “I’ll only negotiate with you. Will that make it so that you can come? You and Captain Pike?”

    Leah chuckled. “Yes. I think that would do it. I’ll speak to Commissioner Ramirez right away and begin making arrangements. It may take a little time, and we’ll have to finish our current mission.”

    “I understand. You let me know when you’re ready and you can come.”

    She sat back in her chair for a moment after the transmission ended, just thinking. She should really call Ramirez. Right away. What she’d told Po had been accurate; it would take time to make the arrangements. It made her smile a little, imagining Ramirez’s glee at executing another triumph over the FDC.

    But maybe it wouldn’t hurt to delay just a little bit.

    “Computer? Locate Captain Pike, please.”

    “The good news is that the temperature is rising.” Ayo manipulated the holographic display above the desk, turning the diagram of the planet around. “It’s already up a full degree Celsius since the Enterprise started the phaser volleys.”

    Laavan watched the display meditatively. “And the effects on the fungus?”

    “Nothing yet. But we know from our tests that it’s going to take at least five degrees before the fungus starts to die off.”

    “And - “ Laavan took a deep breath, her brow creasing with the faintest hint of disquiet. “How long before the oxygen output from the infected plants cancels out our efforts?”

    Ayo sighed. “That’s the bad news. The phaser barrage was very effective. But from our analysis of the atmospheric composition before and after...if nothing else changes on the planet…” Ayo adjusted the display again. “We weren’t sure how quickly the planet would warm up after the Enterprise finished. We may not be able to get ahead of it enough. There are just too many infected plants. They’ll catch up in a matter of days, and from our projections, the planet won’t get warm enough in that time to start killing off the fungus.”

    Spock stared at the display. “Is it possible that the removal of the oxygen in the atmosphere could assist us? Even if it is not adequate on its own to kill the fungus?”

    Ayo nodded, although her expression was not encouraging. “I see what you’re thinking, Spock. Like making it sick enough where it’s not fighting back so much. But no - I don’t think so. In our testing it took both lower oxygen and a higher temperature before we detected any impact.”

    “The Yomorans will be disappointed,” he said slowly, looking back over to the display. “We had been hopeful that the phasers would be effective.”

    “Well, that’s the thing. It did work. If the fungus wasn’t quite so widespread, it would solve the problem.”

    Laavan reached out, turning the model of the planet. “We should not give up yet. Doctor Ayo...have we accounted for seasonal changes on the surface? Perhaps the equatorial regions…”

    Ayo shook her head. “Not enough. It’s the warm season on the planet right now. Even close to the equator, it’s not going to get warm enough fast enough.”

    “We must inform the ambassador,” Laavan said. “She will need to discuss this with the Yomorans and determine how to proceed. And Captains Sato and Pike should be told as well. We have yet to hear from Doctor Sato on the surface...let us hope that he and Doctor Boyce are having more success.”

    Leah was nearly running by the time she reached Chris’s ready room, and she slowed her steps only slightly to get through the door. He was bent over his desk, tapping intently - probably continuing to plow through the crew evaluations - but stood up abruptly as she came in.

    The expression on his face creased into one of concern and he came around the desk quickly. “Leah? Is everything all - “

    And that was all he got out.

    She hadn’t stopped moving, and she launched herself straight into his arms. He caught her as she jumped, stumbling a little bit but managing to keep his feet as she wrapped her legs around his waist. She squeezed him tightly and she couldn’t help it, she started to laugh, and felt Chris adjusting his arms to hold her more securely.

    “Sweetheart,” he murmured, sounding bewildered. “What is it? Tell me...”

    “Xahea,” she breathed. “It’s Xahea. It’s Po.”

    She felt him stiffen. “Is she all right?”

    “She’s fine. She’s fine. Everything is fine.”

    Leah started laughing again, but even under the laughter, she heard Chris’s breath catch as he realized what might be happening. “My god.” His arms loosened slightly, letting Leah slide down a little bit so that he could look her in the face. “Is it the dilithium? She’s ready to…”

    “Yes. Yes. Yes. She wants me to come to Xahea. She wants us to come. I have to call Ramirez, I have to…”

    His face split in a wide, astonished grin, and he cut her off, his mouth crashing down over hers. Leah returned the kiss eagerly; this was a triumph of monumental proportions, and there was still a long way to go between Po being ready to talk and an actual agreement, but…

    Chris whirled, setting her down on his desk, and reached over to press the lock on the door.

    “You did it, sweetheart,” he murmured, cradling her face in his hands. “You did it.”

    She didn’t even argue with him. She couldn’t; she couldn’t stop smiling long enough to say anything else. Instead, she reached up and pulled his mouth back to hers for another kiss, and he shivered as her fingers slid into his hair above his collar.

    Her heart was pounding against her ribs as Chris pulled his mouth away from hers. He pressed kisses along her jaw, down the column of her neck, and mumbled in frustration as his lips touched her collar.

    She sighed as he undid the fastening and lowered the zipper of her jacket to get it out of the way. “Chris…”

    “You’re so brilliant,” he murmured. His breath tickled the soft skin of her neck, and she shuddered as he continued kissing down. “I always know that...but this...no one else could have done it. No one else would have given it time, would have known how...no one except my wife.”

    His lips were hot, his kisses becoming more urgent. She dug her hands into his shoulders as he mouthed her neck and then nipped; he was always gentle but the touch of his teeth made her twist and cry out, her breath coming more harshly.

    Chris backed off, breathing deeply. She looked up at him, meeting his eyes, seeing the heat in them...and the question.

    Yes. God, yes.

    She pulled him back into yet another kiss and he understood her answer; his hands were on her zipper again, lowering it the rest of the way. She shrugged out of the jacket as she felt him tug her shirt free of her pants, and a moment later she let out a ragged sigh as his fingers found her skin.

    He pressed her back and she went, leaning back to lie down on the desk. This was definitely against their rules, and they were both on duty...and besides all of that, their quarters weren’t that far away and there was a couch right here too, just a few steps over...but no, that was still too far. Much too far.

    She trembled as he followed her down to the desk and propped himself on one elbow, her legs still wrapped around his hips. The other hand, still beneath her shirt, slid slowly over her stomach and began working on the fastenings of her pants.

    “I love seeing you do this,” he breathed, even as he finished with the buttons and pulled the zipper down. “I love seeing you outshine all the rest of them…”

    Leah whimpered again; his hand slid into her pants, pushing past the fabric barriers and he groaned at the feel of her, wet and warm and welcoming, and rising up eagerly against his touch. “Chris…Chris...”

    “Can I show you what you do to me?” he whispered.

    She nodded, far past caring about the desk, about their rules, about calling Ramirez...his thumb was pressing against her gently but firmly, beginning to move in the slow circles she liked so much, and her hands reached out to grasp the edges of the desk, her eyes drifting closed to better concentrate on how he was touching her…

    “Bridge to Captain Pike.”

    Chris let out a harsh gasp. His hand stilled, and Leah gritted her teeth to keep from crying out.

    She could see his jaw clenching as he touched the comm key on the desk with his free hand. “Go ahead, bridge.”

    “Sir, there’s a transmission from the surface - it’s Doctor Boyce. And the Solomon is hailing as well, for Ambassador Pike.”

    “Acknowledged, Nicola. Stand by.”

    “Aye, sir.”

    The expression on his face was amused and frustrated all at once, and Leah couldn’t help laughing a little bit, gently kissing the side of his face. “Well, so much for our streak of not getting interrupted…”

    Chris sighed, still with a faint smile. “I’m sorry, my love.”

    “Me too.” She raised a brow and glanced down at his hips. “I don’t think I’m the only one who wanted to keep going…”

    He chuckled, straightening and taking her hand to help her sit up, and then sliding a hand over her cheek. “To be continued tonight. I promise.”

    Part of her wished that neither of them cared, that they’d put the comms off and ignore duty. But it was a small part; that wasn’t who they were. Chris wouldn’t be the man she loved if he were willing to do that.

    So she smiled at him, grey eyes full of promises right back, as she hopped off the desk and straightened her clothes. “To be continued tonight then.”

    At her nod, Chris reached over, tapping the comm key once more. “Bridge? Put Doctor Boyce through.”

    Continue to Chapter 8: Burn

    #fanfic#fanfiction#my writing#mycosis #christopher pike fanfic #star trek fanfic #star trek fanfiction #captain christopher pike #christopher pike x oc #christopher pike x leah pike #christopher pike fanfiction
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  • nyuwings
    28.08.2021 - 1 mont ago
    #alex 🐰#lovelies 💕 #sorry for how late this is #I think I may only long on for the weekends for a couple weeks 😅 #*log on
    View Full
  • tauntlvajy
    24.08.2021 - 1 mont ago

    My Hermit Academia (MHA) file #1 (QUIRKS)

    CLASS 1-A STUDENTS (HERO COURSE) (22):

    Hypno T. Ized, quirk: Hypnoparalysis (when he looks at people with his right eye and activates his quirk, he can paralyze said people, same goes for his left eye but with hypnosis, the time limit of these two abilities is currently unknown. if used too much he will get a migrane and in extreme circumstances; start crying blood)

    Joe Hills, quirk: Poetic Imagination (he is allowed to create anything his imagination can think of as long as he says it out loud, he has found that talking in poems makes the item stronger, if he overuses his quirk he'll lose his voice)

    Cleo Zombie, quirk: Wake the Dead (this allows her to raise the dead but only if she knows the corpses name, side effects include being able to see and communicate with ghosts and becoming the undead yourself)

    Xisuma Z. Void, quirk: Commands (in a specific radius, he is allowed to do anything to one person of his choice, going over makes him heavily nauseous, the max he knows he can do is five people before he collapsed and became sick for the next week)

    Mumbo Jumbo, quirk: Redstone Control (being able to manipulate redstone only to an extent he thought this quirk was virtually useless before he found out since most artificial items are powered by redstone he can control all of those too, it only works in a certain radius, he can go past but he will faint afterwards)

    Etho S. Lab, quirk: Ice Age (he is able to create and manipulate ice to a powerful degree, however consequences include only having moderate control over it, otherwise it's his emotions doing all the work, however he is also partially made of ice therefore cannot handle summer and hot temperatures well)

    Vin T. Beef, quirk: Weapon Summon (he can summon swords, axes, pickaxes, shovels and hoes from will but the material they are made of is affected by what he's holding, only a range of materials work, he can summon at most two at a time, he is not sure if he can go over that)

    Doc M. 77, quirk: Explode (Being able to create explosions from thin air will come with consequences, he takes damage whenever he explodes something, the amount usually depending on the size of explosions, the normal sized ones that he uses daily barely affects him since he built up a pain tolerance)

    False Symmentry, quirk: Combat Copycat (she can copy quirks by touching someone for 5s as long as it's a head-on combat quirk such as Wels' or Doc's quirks, there doesn't seem to be a limit for how many quirks she can copy)

    XB Crafted, quirk: Hallucnations (using his imagination he creates hallucinations that affect everyone in a certain radius however this only works if the people are not aware that they are hallucinations)

    Iskall Kallium, quirk: Sniper (while he can shoot bullets from his index fingers, his left eye is also a laser scope, damage to the left eye made his aim a little rusty but he can still get most of his shots in)

    Jevin Slimirs, quirk: Slimeshifting (his quirk causes him to be made of blue slime which lets him morph into anything however he keeps his slimy skin in all forms, his body can also split into chunks and seperate from each other, he is not limited to any amount or size of chunks)

    Stress Monster, quirk: Mother Nature (she is one with the plants, they listen to anything she says and she is also partially made of them however they stop being under her command once their roots seperate from the dirt)

    Ren Diggitydog, quirk: Houndshaping (he can turn into any sort of dog/wolf, however including that he's also able to do things no ordinary dog could)

    Bdubs DoubleO, quirk: Sleep (he can make any amount of people go to sleep immediately however if he does too many, he will pass out)

    Tango Tek, quirk: Helldemon (he is able to turn into a creature resembling a demon with the ability to morph and create fire or lava but if he overuses his quirk he will start overheating and may get heatstroke)

    Scar Goodtimes, quirk: Overpowered (this quirk allows him to become 'overpowered' however when he's not using the quirk he is bound to a wheelchair, overuse of this quirk can cause permanant weakness to him so he only uses it in small bursts, just enough to let him be stronger than normal but not enough to cause damage)

    Zedaph Plays, quirk: Animorph (he can gain the body parts of any animal he knows about, he cannot replace his head [facial features are replacable] otherwise he will lose his conscience, an accident with his quirk when he was younger caused him to be stuck with ram horns)

    Impulse Sive, quirk: Time Management (he can slow down or speed up time however this causes him to have a bad sense for the concept of time due to him unknowingly speeding up/slowing down time when he was younger)

    Cub Fan, quirk: Body Hop (he is actually a ghost but no one knows that, he possesses people for an unlimited amount of time and hops from body to body able to override their current conscience and replacing it with himself, he is currently possessing his corpse and does not have a need to eat, sleep, drink or breathe)

    Grian Fletcher, quirk: Wing Set (he has 2 sets of wings that he alternates around, they give him different abilities, Elytras, for everyday uses and Watcher Wings that give him the ability to create and manipulate bedrock but as of now very little of it)

    Wels Knight, quirk: Body Blades (it allows him to turn his limbs [and possibly other parts of his body] into blades, the size and strength all depend on how much stamina he has)

    Keralis, quirk: Luck Flip (whenever he flips a coin and it lands on heads, it means whatever attack he makes will hit, if it lands on tails his attack will be deflected and hit him instead, it’s a 75/25 chance, the 75% being heads but sometimes he can push the boundaries of his quirk and make it 100/0)

    TEACHERS (HERO COURSE) (1):

    Tin F. Chef (HERO NAME: TinfoilChef), quirk: Wrap 'n' Bake (he can cover people with tinfoil he creates, the foil then starts baking the person alive, usually he doesn't use too much of his quirk in case he properly harms people so he usually only causes small burns to villains, enough for them to get arrested

    CLASS H-1 STUDENTS (SUPPORT DEPARTMENT) (2):

    Gemini Tay, quirk: Horn Vines (she has deer horns and legs, vines grow from her horns which she can grow and move to her will)

    Pearl E. Moon, quirk: Microscope (she can zoom in at large amounts at a time however if she uses her quirk too much her vision will be temporarily impaired)

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  • myweeklysongcharts
    23.08.2021 - 1 mont ago

    20th of August, 2021

    (+) Sing It Back - Moloko - peak: 1

    (-) GLITTER - Perfume - peak: 1

    (-) Rich Girl - Gwen Stefani ft. Eve - peak: 1

    (-) Next Level - aespa - peak: 1

    (-) Can't Get You Outta My Head - Kylie Minogue - peak: 4

    (-) Battle! Ho-oh - Game Freak - peak: 5

    (-) Hématome - L'Impératrice - peak: 6

    (-) MAGO - Gfriend - peak: 1

    (-) Plein De Bisous - Lewis OfMan ft. Milena Leblanc - peak: 3

    (-) Paradis (Reprise) - Paradis - peak: 7

    (-) Ghost City Tokyo - Ayase - peak: 10

    (=) Alcohol Free - Twice - peak: 2

    (=) Comb My Hair - Kings of Convenience - peak: 10

    (=) Out On Sunny Sunday - Lamp - peak: 1

    (=) Fever - Kings of Convenience - peak: 1

    (=) Panorama - IZ*ONE - peak: 10

    (=) Yours - Maye - peak: 17

    (=) Lilac - IU - peak: 1

    (+) San Fransico Street - Sun Rai - peak: 19

    (-) ASAP - StayC - peak: 3

    (-) Kiss Me More - Doja Cat ft. SZA - peak: 4

    (-) Vérité - Claire Laffut - peak: 3

    (-) You Right - Doja Cat ft. The Weeknd - peak: 15

    (-) So Bad - StayC - peak: 8

    (=) SOUL LADY - Yukika - peak: 3

    (=) A thought on an autumn night - JANNABI - peak: 11

    (=) Happen - Heize - peak: 8

    (=) Lost N Found - Lovelyz - peak: 1

    (=) Cheapest Flight - PREP - peak: 28

    (=) Doesn't make sense - DAYBREAK ft. Heize - peak: 2

    (=) Toi Et Moi - Paradis - peak: 1

    (=) Figaro - 9MUSES - peak: 1

    (=) Rocky Trail - Kings of Convenience - peak: 6

    (=) I am not your ocean anymore - Baek Yerin - peak: 15

    (new) Rapid As Wildfires - HOYO-MiX ft. Yu-Peng Ho - peak: 35

    (-) Peur des filles - L'Impératrice - peak: 7

    (-) Rollin' - Brave Girls - peak: 7

    (-) Sofia - Clairo - peak: 21

    (-) 優しい彗星  - YOASOBI - peak: 1

    (-) Battle! Elite Four (R/S/E) - Game Freak - peak: 25

    (-) Dun Dun Dance - Oh My Girl - peak: 10

    (-) Battle! Guardian Deities - GAME FREAK - peak: 37

    (-) Écoute chérie - Vendredi sur Mer - peak: 9

    (-) For Lovers Who Hesitate - JANNABI - peak: 33

    (-) 二人 - Nishigori Yoko - peak: 1

    (-) I Believe In You - Kylie Minogue - peak: 42

    (-) Mrs. Cold - Kings of Convenience - peak: 28

    (-) Pool Party - Brave Girls - peak: 39

    (-) 三原色 - YOASOBI - peak: 37

    (-) Battle! Elite Four (D/P/Pt) - GAME FREAK - peak: 2

    View Full
  • myweeklysongcharts
    23.08.2021 - 1 mont ago

    13th of August, 2021

    (+) GLITTER - Perfume - peak: 1

    (-) Rich Girl - Gwen Stefani ft. Eve - peak: 1

    (=) Next Level - aespa - peak: 1

    (+) Can't Get You Outta My Head - Kylie Minogue - peak: 4

    (=) Battle! Ho-oh - Game Freak - peak: 5

    (+) Hématome - L'Impératrice - peak: 6

    (-) MAGO - Gfriend - peak: 1

    (-) Plein De Bisous - Lewis OfMan ft. Milena Leblanc - peak: 3

    (-) Paradis (Reprise) - Paradis - peak: 7

    (+) Ghost City Tokyo - Ayase - peak: 10

    (new) Sing It Back - Moloko - peak: 11

    (-) Alcohol Free - Twice - peak: 2

    (-) Comb My Hair - Kings of Convenience - peak: 10

    (-) Out On Sunny Sunday - Lamp - peak: 1

    (-) Fever - Kings of Convenience - peak: 1

    (-) Panorama - IZ*ONE - peak: 10

    (+) Yours - Maye - peak: 17

    (-) Lilac - IU - peak: 1

    (-) ASAP - StayC - peak: 3

    (-) Kiss Me More - Doja Cat ft. SZA - peak: 4

    (-) Vérité - Claire Laffut - peak: 3

    (-) You Right - Doja Cat ft. The Weeknd - peak: 15

    (-) So Bad - StayC - peak: 8

    (+) San Fransico Street - Sun Rai - peak: 24

    (-) SOUL LADY - Yukika - peak: 3

    (-) A thought on an autumn night - JANNABI - peak: 11

    (-) Happen - Heize - peak: 8

    (-) Lost N Found - Lovelyz - peak: 1

    (+) Cheapest Flight - PREP - peak: 28

    (-) Doesn't make sense - DAYBREAK ft. Heize - peak: 2

    (+) Toi Et Moi - Paradis - peak: 1

    (-) Figaro - 9MUSES - peak: 1

    (-) Rocky Trail - Kings of Convenience - peak: 6

    (-) I am not your ocean anymore - Baek Yerin - peak: 15

    (-) Peur des filles - L'Impératrice - peak: 7

    (-) Rollin' - Brave Girls - peak: 7

    (-) Sofia - Clairo - peak: 21

    (-) 優しい彗星  - YOASOBI - peak: 1

    (-) Battle! Elite Four (R/S/E) - Game Freak - peak: 25

    (-) Dun Dun Dance - Oh My Girl - peak: 10

    (-) Battle! Guardian Deities - GAME FREAK - peak: 37

    (-) Écoute chérie - Vendredi sur Mer - peak: 9

    (-) For Lovers Who Hesitate - JANNABI - peak: 33

    (-) 二人 - Nishigori Yoko - peak: 1

    (-) I Believe In You - Kylie Minogue - peak: 42

    (-) Mrs. Cold - Kings of Convenience - peak: 28

    (-) Pool Party - Brave Girls - peak: 39

    (-) 三原色 - YOASOBI - peak: 37

    (-) Battle! Elite Four (D/P/Pt) - GAME FREAK - peak: 2

    (-) After School - Weeekly - peak: 14

    View Full
  • myweeklysongcharts
    23.08.2021 - 1 mont ago

    6th of August, 2021

    (+) Rich Girl - Gwen Stefani ft. Eve - peak: 1

    (-) GLITTER - Perfume - peak: 1

    (-) Next Level - aespa - peak: 1

    (-) Plein De Bisous - Lewis OfMan ft. Milena Leblanc - peak: 3

    (+) Battle! Ho-oh - Game Freak - peak: 5

    (-) MAGO - Gfriend - peak: 1

    (+) Hématome - L'Impératrice - peak: 7

    (+) Paradis (Reprise) - Paradis - peak: 7

    (-) Alcohol Free - Twice - peak: 2

    (new) Comb My Hair - Kings of Convenience - peak: 10

    (-) Out On Sunny Sunday - Lamp - peak: 1

    (+) Ghost City Tokyo - Ayase - peak: 12

    (-) Fever - Kings of Convenience - peak: 1

    (-) Panorama - IZ*ONE - peak: 10

    (-) Lilac - IU - peak: 1

    (-) ASAP - StayC - peak: 3

    (-) Kiss Me More - Doja Cat ft. SZA - peak: 4

    (-) Vérité - Claire Laffut - peak: 3

    (+) Yours - Maye - peak: 19

    (-) You Right - Doja Cat ft. The Weeknd - peak: 15

    (new) Can't Get You Outta My Head - Kylie Minogue - peak: 21

    (-) So Bad - StayC - peak: 8

    (-) SOUL LADY - Yukika - peak: 3

    (-) A thought on an autumn night - JANNABI - peak: 11

    (-) Happen - Heize - peak: 8

    (-) Lost N Found - Lovelyz - peak: 1

    (-) Doesn't make sense - DAYBREAK ft. Heize - peak: 2

    (-) San Fransico Street - Sun Rai - peak: 26

    (-) Figaro - 9MUSES - peak: 1

    (-) Cheapest Flight - PREP - peak: 28

    (-) Rocky Trail - Kings of Convenience - peak: 6

    (-) I am not your ocean anymore - Baek Yerin - peak: 15

    (-) Peur des filles - L'Impératrice - peak: 7

    (-) Rollin' - Brave Girls - peak: 7

    (-) Sofia - Clairo - peak: 21

    (-) 優しい彗星  - YOASOBI - peak: 1

    (-) Battle! Elite Four (R/S/E) - Game Freak - peak: 25

    (-) Dun Dun Dance - Oh My Girl - peak: 10

    (-) Battle! Guardian Deities - GAME FREAK - peak: 37

    (-) Écoute chérie - Vendredi sur Mer - peak: 9

    (-) For Lovers Who Hesitate - JANNABI - peak: 33

    (-) Toi Et Moi - Paradis - peak: 1

    (-) 二人 - Nishigori Yoko - peak: 1

    (-) I Believe In You - Kylie Minogue - peak: 42

    (-) Mrs. Cold - Kings of Convenience - peak: 28

    (-) Pool Party - Brave Girls - peak: 39

    (-) 三原色 - YOASOBI - peak: 37

    (+) Battle! Elite Four (D/P/Pt) - GAME FREAK - peak: 2

    (-) After School - Weeekly - peak: 14

    (-) あの夢をなぞって - YOASOBI - peak: 8

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  • myweeklysongcharts
    23.08.2021 - 1 mont ago

    30th of July, 2021

    (+) GLITTER - Perfume - peak: 1

    (-) Next Level - aespa - peak: 1

    (+) Plein De Bisous - Lewis OfMan ft. Milena Leblanc - peak: 3

    (-) MAGO - Gfriend - peak: 1

    (new) Rich Girl - Gwen Stefani ft. Eve - peak: 5

    (-) Alcohol Free - Twice - peak: 2

    (-) Out On Sunny Sunday - Lamp - peak: 1

    (+) Battle! Ho-oh - Game Freak - peak: 8

    (-) Hématome - L'Impératrice - peak: 8

    (-) Paradis (Reprise) - Paradis - peak: 7

    (-) Fever - Kings of Convenience - peak: 1

    (-) Panorama - IZ*ONE - peak: 10

    (-) Lilac - IU - peak: 1

    (-) ASAP - StayC - peak: 3

    (-) Kiss Me More - Doja Cat ft. SZA - peak: 4

    (-) Vérité - Claire Laffut - peak: 3

    (-) You Right - Doja Cat ft. The Weeknd - peak: 15

    (+) Ghost City Tokyo - Ayase - peak: 17

    (-) So Bad - StayC - peak: 8

    (-) A thought on an autumn night - JANNABI - peak: 11

    (-) SOUL LADY - Yukika - peak: 3

    (-) Happen - Heize - peak: 8

    (-) Lost N Found - Lovelyz - peak: 1

    (+) Yours - Maye - peak: 22

    (-) Doesn't make sense - DAYBREAK ft. Heize - peak: 2

    (new) San Fransico Street - Sun Rai - peak: 26

    (-) Figaro - 9MUSES - peak: 1

    (new) Cheapest Flight - PREP - peak: 28

    (-) Rocky Trail - Kings of Convenience - peak: 6

    (-) I am not your ocean anymore - Baek Yerin - peak: 15

    (-) Peur des filles - L'Impératrice - peak: 7

    (-) Rollin' - Brave Girls - peak: 7

    (-) Sofia - Clairo - peak: 21

    (-) 優しい彗星  - YOASOBI - peak: 1

    (-) Battle! Elite Four (R/S/E) - Game Freak - peak: 25

    (-) Dun Dun Dance - Oh My Girl - peak: 10

    (+) Battle! Guardian Deities - GAME FREAK - peak: 37

    (-) Écoute chérie - Vendredi sur Mer - peak: 9

    (-) For Lovers Who Hesitate - JANNABI - peak: 33

    (-) Toi Et Moi - Paradis - peak: 1

    (-) 二人 - Nishigori Yoko - peak: 1

    (new) I Believe In You - Kylie Minogue - peak: 42

    (-) Mrs. Cold - Kings of Convenience - peak: 28

    (-) Pool Party - Brave Girls - peak: 39

    (-) 三原色 - YOASOBI - peak: 37

    (-) After School - Weeekly - peak: 14

    (-) あの夢をなぞって - YOASOBI - peak: 8

    (-) We Ride - Brave Girls - peak: 10

    (-) Battle! Elite Four (D/P/Pt) - GAME FREAK - peak: 2

    (-) Rule My World - Kings of Convenience - peak: 28

    View Full
  • northsideroad
    19.08.2021 - 1 mont ago
    #I litteraly destroyed the whole pure ask concept lmaooo #I wish i can simply respond with short cool pure answers without having to be so damn self centered smh #Anyway welcome back to the real world that is Tumblr.com my dude :) #No really hope you didn't died too much dealing w writings and stuff #Don't forget to take deep breath and nourish your body of quality resting times or you know what's up already 🔫🗞️ #Ask #My dear Naruto bud
    View Full
  • clints-lucky-arrow
    17.08.2021 - 1 mont ago

    The Nomad - Chapter Twenty One

    Din Djarin/The Mandalorian x F!Reader

    Summary: Landing on a snow-covered planet brings some much needed fun and respite to your little Clan. Grogu tests out his new shoes, and yourself and Din battle for the Crest in a snowball fight.

    Enemies to Lovers. Slow Burn. Eventual Smut. Morally Grey MC. Established Star Wars Character as Parent.

    TRIGGER WARNINGS: Explicit Language. Graphic Violence and Injury. Imprisonment. Familial Abuse (Non-S*xual). Childhood Trauma. Parental Death.

    Previous Chapter || The Nomad Masterlist || AO3 || My Main Masterlist || Taglist || Next Chapter

    Word Count: 4.3k

    Likes, comments, and reblogs are much appreciated!

    A/N: This chapter is dedicated to the unbelievable @pedrosgirlx​. 

    Iz has always been a phenomenal supporter of both myself and the story, and I am honestly so lucky to call her a friend. She asked a while ago for a super fluffy Mando piece, and was kind enough to agree to let me include the idea that I had in ‘The Nomad’ instead of doing it as a standalone celebration piece.

    My darling Iz, you are one of the best people ever, and I adore you. I am so happy to know you, and am looking forward to the next NPS movie night where I can actually see your face!

    The Crest can feel stifling at times. Not that it actually is - it’s as fucking cold as ever in there - but the weight of secrets can be suffocating. A pressure that rests upon your chest and lays thick over every waking thought, not allowing escape or distance. It’s why sleep doesn’t come all too easily nowadays, and when it does, it’s plagued by images of the past. As if something has cracked open, and memories are spilling free. 

    Maybe it’s the psychological effect of finally finding people you care about again. Having lost that before, those recollections are resurfacing as a subconscious warning. A reminder to hold on and keep what you have close. To protect it, and cling to it with all of your might. Perhaps that’s why you can’t bring yourself to voice your secret yet. Just in case it drives him - them - away. However, you are holding out hope that the right moment will come to pass. A time where the information might not cause such a split, and you can recover.

    It could be naivety or cowardice, but for once, you don’t care. No matter how selfish it is. You can’t do anything to lose these bonds again. And while you are truly set on this course, it does little to help assuage the shame that swells every time that the Mandalorian looks at you with a gaze that somehow feels trusting.

    He is unaware that you are lying to him, and that feels nearly unbearable at times. You’re not used to feeling guilt in the past, but have started to become a little more familiar with the sensation as of late. Being constantly exposed to it will do that, after all.

    It’s why you avoid him at times. In the moments where doing so won’t be too obvious. Like now, when you lift your head from the cover of the hammock and look towards the closed door of his bunk. He is inside, probably fast asleep. The last bounty had been tiring, and the agreement was to take a day or two on an isolated planet to recuperate. Just some time away from the buzz of the galaxy to breathe some fresh air and let all of the cuts and bruises heal.

    Fresh air. That sounds nice.

    And so, you shift, clambering quietly out of the hammock. Your steps are nearly silent, as per usual, but the much smaller berth hung directly over yours swings slightly all the same. A green face peers over the edge, and large black eyes fix upon your face. He must have been awake anyhow. You smile up at him, grin curling the edge of your lips, and he coos in response. Small arms extend towards you, and you take him with a low sigh.

    A moment for yourself would have been appreciated, but you don’t begrudge some more bonding time with the child. 

    You deposit him safely inside your own hammock, which rests at a much more convenient chest-high level, before turning to search for his shoes. While his little bed rests above, your own is directly underneath, so there is no danger of him going crashing to the floor during the night. It works better this way, anyhow, as it allows Din to be able to sleep safely inside his cubby without having to leave his helmet on, and Bug gets time out of the floating cradle.  

    His feet kick happily as you pull the boots onto them. Din's indignant voice echoes through your mind, even though the man himself is still hidden and asleep. 'He doesn’t need shoes! It’s a waste of credits that we don't have.' However, when you drink in the sight of him admiring the set, you can’t help but smile. While you’re not entirely sure if they were needed or not, you'd prefer being safe than sorry. Besides, despite everything, he does look rather cute in them.

    The child clings to your chest as you carry him across the floor of the ship, hand lifting to hit the button that lowers the hangar door. Cold air blows in as it descends. The cloak snaps at the back of your heels, twisting in the gust. Bug snuggles a little closer to your chest. His little ears flutter as you make your way down the ramp.

    Around you, there is nothing but white. Vast and pristine hilltops peak, but the Crest rests upon a steady line of one of the lower. It's a beautiful place, and feels almost untouched by the rest of the galaxy. Somewhere that you could stay forever, if it was not so cold. That might grate after a while, but for now it is alright. Snow crunches underfoot as you step clear of the ship, and head to the edge of the hill.

    Looking out over the valley below, you find your tongue darting out to wet your lips, preparing to start a hushed conversation. "Have you ever seen snow before, Bug?" He doesn't answer with words, but it's not like you expected him to. Still, you can glean what it is from the slightly curious angle of his head. "Back upon my homeworld, it used to come sometimes in the winter. Not every winter, mind you, but enough. I always liked it."

    That small hand rises to brush the side of your face. The gentle prick of claws is palpable against your bare skin. After all, you chose to buy him those boots instead of purchasing another mask for yourself. Something about doing otherwise would have felt too selfish, and there was just no way that you would have put yourself above the child. That had been proven before, and nothing bad changed since Nevarro. Nothing except the fact that you thought you might care even more.

    "My father used to take me sledding," you tell him, smiling at first. It fades quickly, which is now the usual response at the thought of Dooku. Not wanting this moment to sour, you shake it away, and press on. "We'd go to the hill behind the castle. He'd watch, of course. Rather than joining. But it was nice to have him there, and I liked to go fast." That last part is said with a rueful chuckle. "I enjoyed the tinge of danger. That probably says a lot, doesn't it? Not much has changed."

    The kid coos, before letting out a loud giggle. You can't help but think that he agrees. Smiling, you glance back over your shoulder, eyes narrowing conspiratorially as an idea begins to form. Bug inclines his head a little further, as if sensing the growing excitement in your chest. Leaning down, your lips brush a light kiss over his wrinkled forehead, before lifting him up and setting him on your shoulders.

    His hands twist into your hair, and you grin as you turn towards the underbelly of the Crest, attention setting on the rusted panel that covers the engine. It's a little more worn than the rest, mostly due to being moved so much. However, it makes it easier to reach up and work it loose. The panel is heavy enough, and your arms bunch with the strain of carefully lowering it. As you lean back, knees bending slightly to accommodate the weight, the child tips slightly backwards, his grip tightening in your hair. 

    Grunting to hold the thick sheet of metal underneath one arm, you reach up with the other to take careful hold of the tip of the child’s boots. Holding him while he readjusts himself. Once certain that he is stable, you set off for the hillside. Snow sinks underneath your boots as you do, making your gait a little uneven as you go. The child’s loud babbles fill your ears. You don’t understand a single word of it, but he sounds happy. And that’s all you want.

    The poor kid has been through enough shit. It’s about time that he got to be a kid again. Coming from someone who lost that opportunity at eight years old, you know just how important it is. It’s something that you wished someone had done for you once Papa was gone, but they hadn’t. You’re not going to have that cycle repeat again.

    It’s why you set the durasteel panel down onto the angled slope of the hill, trapping it underneath your foot before carefully lifting the infant from your shoulders. He giggles loudly, hands tanging into the collar of your cloak as you settle him back against your chest before gingerly sitting down. Inside your chest, your heart-rate has started to increase. Palms warming with excitement, you hold the child a little closer, adjusting yourself into the centre of the sheet. One hand curls on the front of the metal, while the other wraps around the warm little body nestled against your own. 

    Clutching him tight, because you will pitch yourself head-over-heels before letting him hit the ground.

    As the panel shudders a little, held back by your weight towards the rear, the front protrudes over the lip of the hill. Two large black eyes stare up into your face, dark and trusting. You shoot him a reassuring grin, leaning down once more to press a kiss atop his head. "Ready, Bug?"

    He squeals in response. Loud and excited, and trust gleams visibly from his scrunchy face. With a chuckle, you take the acceptance for what it is, but spare one final clip before pushing off. "Just don't tell Mando, okay?"

    Not that he could.

    You push off. The sheet tips forward, over the edge of the hill. Sending you both sledding down the slope. Picking up speed swiftly while the cold wind zips past your face, and the loud shrieks of the child fill your ears. Sledding together. Lurching over bumps in the snowdrift as you hold him close and feel the laughter burst from your chest.

    When the panel tips at the end, you topple. Rolling into the embrace of the glistening flakes with the kid caged securely in your hold. Held against your chest, but not squeezed. Simply caged from the rough descent until you come to a sprawling stop, belly-laughing as you do. As your hands fall free of your torso, the child sits up with bright eyes. His laughter joins yours, rising into the grey sky above as your breath mists before your face.

    Snatching him up once more, you sit before pushing yourself upright. Crumbles of white snow stick to your cloak - now much more green than black as the dye has continued to leach away - and to the rest of your armour. There are no bracers on your wrists, no lightsaber in the hilt on your hip, because that prickle of intuition whispers that you don't need it here. You can relax for now. That voice has led you in the right direction for long enough that you trust it.

    And so, you place the giggling green toddler back on your shoulders, one hand wrapped around his ankle to ensure he stays in place, as the other drags the durasteel panel back up the hill. Moving in an awkward half-crouch, you make your way back upward. Sweat gathers in your palms, and an exerted warmth obscures the chill of the elements. You can feel the pounding blood warming your face, skin prickly. It feels good. Cathartic, in a nice way.

    Even better when you reach the top of the hill once again, stumbling slightly over the hidden root, and then go again. Flying down the hill as babbling shrieks fill the air, mixing with your own mirth. This time, you don't topple, but when you look back, a familiar form stands back on the peak of the hill, directly amidst the forged starter point of your descent. It's neatly tracked into the snow. You see his helmet tilt, tracking the angle, and even if he didn't see the metal panel underneath you, what was happening would have been clear.

    Arms lifting, Din’s hands settle firmly upon his sides. The approval radiating from the gesture is clear. Knowing that you’re in for an earful, you just sigh, breathing a low curse that billows softly from between your lips. Clambering to your feet and reaching down to heave the panel back into your grasp, now seems as good a time as any to make the proverbial Maker. Well, ‘Maker’ is a droid expression, but there’s a nice ring to it that seems suitable here. Apparently sharing in your concern, the child looks up from his position clasped against your chest, brow crinkled in concern.

    “It’s alright,” you tell him soothingly, pausing to shoot another uncertain look up at the beskar-clad form of the Mandalorian. “Dad won’t shout at me too much as long as you’re here. And if he does, we can just zoom away again.”

    With that plan of possible escape in your mind, you begrudgingly head up towards him. He is silent. Giving nothing away. Not until you are right before him, and kneeling gingerly to place the panel on the ground. He watches wordlessly as you rise to your feet, mouth contorting in an expectant grimace. Light reflects as the helmet tilts, veering away slightly to scan down the hill once more. 

    Adjust the child against your chest, you wait for the tirade. Some discourse of how it was irresponsible to do that, and that you could have hurt the infant. However - much to your surprise - it doesn’t come. 

    Din looks back, and a strange uncertainty colours his tone when he finally speaks. “Why didn’t you wake me up?”

    “I...” you pause, uncertain. A quick scan of his frame proves that his stance is uncomfortable, but not irritated or defensive. Your intuition reflects nothing but a vague disappointment, and a strange sort of longing emanating from the armoured man before you. Still baffled, you push on, stumbling slightly over a coherent answer. “I didn’t think you’d be interested in coming out with us.”

    It’s not the whole truth. You know that. This had been to get away from him. Yet, here he is, and something is telling you that he almost feels left out? No. Not almost. Exactly. The Mandalorian feels left out. And that is even more fucking confusing than anything else you’ve ever experienced in your damn life. 

    The stoic man that you had first met - the very one who had sold you out to the Imperials - was now disappointed that you hadn’t woken him up to go sledding with you. That’s just bizarre. Confusion is replaced by that creeping guilt you have become increasingly accustomed to feeling in his presence. However, this time it’s for an entirely different reason. Extending an arm, you gesture at the durasteel sheet.

    “Have at it, Mando.” You’re still not entirely comfortable exclusively referring to him as ‘Din.’ “How about you take the kid back down with you? He loves it.”

    To your surprise, he does. Clambering more than a tad awkwardly back onto the makeshift sled, and then zooming off down the hill with your squealing infant in his lap. That rough brown cape billows behind his shoulders as he does, and you can’t help but laugh. The sound ebbs away into a soft smile as something fond and warm lurches in your chest. A feeling of comfort and stability that has taken long to form, but now keeps you cosy amidst the cold. 

    You take turns. Always passing the child between you as you zip down the slope. Soon, the other is running beside the sheet, yelling wildly as they rush down the hill. Once, you try to stamp on the back of the sheet to throw the Mandalorian off balance. Unfortunately they are moving too quickly, and you end up tumbling awkwardly into the snow. Flakes cling to your hair as you rise, but you can only shake them loose and chuckle in amusement. 

    Pushing yourself up, you jog after them. Snow scuffs around your boots as you do, and the cold air is sharp within your throat. Your breath rises in visible puffs of steam. Surveying the land, all that meets the eye are quiet mountaintops lining the valley. There’s no one here to witness this soft moment, and you can’t help but be thankful for that. It may hurt your rather vicious reputation, but it could also allow a stranger to become privy to just how much these two mean to you.

    The Imperials probably knew that by now. If they did, it is only a matter of time before your remaining half-brothers are dogging at your heels. A slight fear rises in the back of your throat at the thought. It was hard before - back when it was just you - but it almost feels worse now that you have something to lose. Two people who can be used as leverage against you. Your head shakes in an attempt to batter away the rising panic as you arrive before your companions, noting that Mando stands firmly, legs slightly parted and his hands clasped behind his back. 

    Something in your expression must be funny, as Din’s head tilts to the side. As usual, the weight of his gaze is palpable even underneath the visor. That piercing sensation bursts through your skull again. A flash of a slightly crooked nose below a set of soft brown eyes. Flinching, your teeth grit in pain, one hand rising to press against your temple. It’s at that extremely perfect - and by that, you mean totally inopportune - moment that the Mandalorian hurls a snowball right into your face.

    Flakes of snow go right down your throat. Doubling over, a choked wheeze bursts free. A loud squeak of concern echoes from the child, and he watches you from the ground with concern in his bright eyes. You lift a hand to motion that you will be alright, and then glance at the Mandalorian. His own arm is slightly outstretched. Hovering in the air as if perhaps reaching out to you, but not making contact.

    Not knowing what else to do, you just extend the middle finger. A rumble of nervous laughter comes from the confines of the helmet. He seems a little unsure on whether to fully laugh or not.

    "I'm sorry," he admits. "That was an accident."

    You are about to reply - maybe to playfully call him a prick - but something happens before you can. Seemingly on it's own, a thick ball of snow launches clear of the ground, and slams heavily into the Mandalorian's chest. He goes down hard, as if hit with an electrified blaster shot.

    For a moment, you just stand there. Mouth hanging open in a show of shock. Staring as your mind churns, trying to figure out exactly what happened. That's when movement catches in the corner of your vision. Bug lowers his small arm, an expression of anger furrowing his wrinkled green brow. The realisation hits you almost immediately. Nearly as hard as the mound of snow that he had flung into Din.

    "Your son and your ship," you guffaw, clapping a hand over your stomach as laughter shakes your entire frame. "I'll be taking your beskar next, Mandalorian."

    "Not happening," he snaps, brushing himself off as he climbs to his feet. The helmet tips disapprovingly at the kid, before it angles defensively towards you again. "And you don't have the Crest."

    Smiling, your arms just cross smugly over your chest as your brow arches playfully. “Are you sure about that?”

    He swears, and the sound is music to your ears. While your relationship has come light-years from where it started, annoying him still remains a valid source of amusement for you. 

    That sensation only grows when the visor meets your gaze dead on, and a firm challenge distorts his modulator. “Play me for it.”

    Oh. A bolt of excitement ripples through your veins. This will be interesting. There’s no way that you’d ever turn down such an opportunity. Not in a millenia. And so, a smirk tugging the sides of your lips upward, your head dips into a smooth nod. “You’re on. But don’t start whining when I win.”

    “No chance of that,” he retorts, and then he is dropping down.

    Hitting the metaphorical deck and scooping a surge of snow into his hands in one swift motion. It barely leaves you with enough time to lunge to the side and avoid his first toss. An exclamation of annoyance bursts from your lips - after all, it’s not like anyone called ‘go’ - but you don’t stop to argue. An assassin and a Mandalorian were never going to fight entirely fair with one another, even in a friendly competition. There’s too much pride at stake for that.

    Your cloak whirls at your heels as his next shot narrowly misses your side. Tipping forward, you launch your own projectile at him, but he ducks. A yell of laughter tears from your lips as you hurl yourself to the ground to escape the next shot. He follows as you scrabble backwards across the ground. Snowball after snowball thuds mere inches from your sides, until he has exhausted his stash. 

    Figuring that you’re also allowed to play a little dirty, you launch yourself onto your hands and knees before your body jackknifes. His legs are swept sharply from under him by yours, and Din goes down with a shout of alarm, arms flailing. Another roar of laughter shakes your chest as you attempt to lurch to your feet. However, that victory is celebrated too soon. A gloved hand wraps around your ankle before you can properly stand, and then he pulls. 

    As you’ve said before - the fucker is strong. 

    Flakes fly as you sprawl into the ground across his body. Your knees slam into his chest, and an ache of pain radiates through your legs. Din uses your moment of breathlessness to his advantage. He struggles, rolling your body until he has you pinned down, one hand waving as he desperately tries to press the side of your face into the snow. The objective has changed here, and being able to subdue the other would be considered the ultimate victory.

    For a second, a memory flashes through your mind. That second meeting, where he had pressed a gun to your temple before shoving you into the ground. Cuffing your hands as he leaned mockingly upon your back. The position may have changed this time - you’re on your back, and he is struggling between your legs - but you are not going to allow him this satisfaction again. 

    That’s why you manage to get a knee up. And sure. Yes. It’s definitely a really fucking dirty trick, but he doesn’t fight fair either. Honestly, the whole position is a little distracting. Not that it matters, as your sole focus becomes slamming your knee up  - as hard as possible - into the unprotected space between where his cuirass ends and the beskar plate upon his thigh begins. Not quite into his crotch, but pumping it swiftly into the curve of his hip with all of your might.

    The reaction is instant. He cries out in pain and indignation, and that grip on your face weakens. Legs wrapping around his waist, you twist, shoving on his shoulder as you do. Sending him spinning onto his back with you now atop him, fingers clawing into the ridges of his helmet as you struggle to hold him down with one hand. The other fumbles, trying to pick up a handful of loose snow to dump over his face and end this. 

    And then, a small dusting of snow pours down the side of your face. It’s not akin to the large psychic snowball that had struck Din earlier. Instead, it’s just a crumpled spray that dusts your cheekbones. One that cools rapidly upon your lips as it lands. It’s not compact in the slightest, for the little hand that attempted to make it into a snowball lacked the strength.

    All the same, you act like it’s a knock-out blow. Eyes rolling in mock disorientation, the grip that you hold the Mandalorian loosens as you topple yourself off his chest and onto the snow. Standing above, the child cackles loudly, celebrating his perceived victory. You blink exaggeratedly, still pretending that he had delivered a harsh blow, and it only seems to make him happier.

    A gruff voice brushes against your ear. “Is that something we should be concerned about?”

    It’s Din. He’s a lot closer than expected. That visor is only inches away, and the black glass reflects your own face back at you. You try not to look too hard, as the proximity of the curved glass seems to make your nose appear much larger than it actually is. Or at least, you hope it’s that way. 

    Brushing the thought from your mind, you inhale his now familiar scent  - metal and leather - before answering. “What do you mean?”

    “That.” The Mandalorian replies. His hand sweeps out to gesture at the manically laughing infant. “The happiness at the thought of violence.”

    You pause for a minute, mulling it over, before shaking your head. “I think he knows the difference. That we’re just pretending right now.”

    A snort comes from inside of the helmet. “Didn’t quite feel like you were completely pretending.”

    Ah. The knee-in-his-not-groin. Fair.

    He must read the slight sheepishness on your face, as he waves it off without needing a response or apology. Still, he makes no move to get up. Neither do you. And sure, it feels a little odd and scary to just lie there beside him, but it feels good too. Clouds pass in the sky above, and there’s a pressure on your chest as the child climbs onto your torso, cuddling into the pit of your throat. Off to the side, the Mandalorian’s hidden eyes trace the side of your face. 

    You can feel the whisper of something soft and warm in how he looks at you, but you don’t look. For an unfathomable reason, you can’t help but feel like it’ll change something if you do. And far too much is different already.

    A/N: Okay everyone, slight change of plan here. My taglists have grown too long, which is obviously amazing that people are so interested in my content, but unfortunately it’s gotten to the stage where I can’t adequately manage them anymore. 

    Due to this, I have created a writing reblog account @clints-lucky-reblogs​. 

    You can follow this story by turning on post notifications on that account. Please be aware that it will also give you updates for the other fics that I post, but please remember that anything marked 18+ should not be viewed by minors. I will not post anything explicit without a read more line, and you can filter the tag ‘#naughty hours’ if you do not want to see NSFW material.

    I will only reblog each story that I post once on that account, so there should not be an overwhelming amount of additional content.

    ANYHOW! As usual, thank you for all of the support! Some of you know that I’ve struggled a bit mentally these past few weeks, and I appreciate all of the encouragement that you guys have given, and hope to be back on track in the near future!

    PLUS: We got more Nomad art! Honestly, I know that I say it a whole bunch, but the reaction to this story has been amazing. You’re all so nice, and supportive, and I just blush like crazy every time I get an amazing piece like these. 

    Please check them out, and show these incredible fellow readers how much we appreciate them!

    Food For Mom (Chewed) - Created by @uncle-kenobi​
    “What Do You Think You’re Looking At?” (Defensive Nomando)  - Created by @uncle-kenobi
    Rendition of Chapter Seventeen: Nomad in the Desert - Created by @starbattled ​
    Nomando Reunion (Alternate Universe) - Created by @starbattled
    The Nomad: Comic Cover - Created by @starbattled​
    Nomad Doesn't Want to Cuddle with Din. Definitely Not. - Created by @uncle-kenobi

    Likes, comments, and reblogs are much appreciated.

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  • starfleetstgmgr
    11.08.2021 - 2 monts ago

    Mycosis: Chapter 4

    A Star Trek: Discovery/Strange New Worlds fanfic. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
    Pairing: Christopher Pike x Leah Pike (OC)
    Rating: Explicit (please note the rating change as of Chapter 7's posting)
    Chapter Word Count: 6.3K
    Warnings: Ethical dilemmas, sexual content
    Summary: Captain Christopher Pike and Ambassador Leah Pike continue their adventures as the Enterprise explores strange new worlds.
    The Enterprise has been dispatched to escort the science vessel Solomon on a humanitarian aid mission to Yomora. The dominant sentient species there, a plant-based life form, is being affected by a previously unknown fungal disease and has requested the Federation’s aid.
    Author’s Note: This story takes place in my A Matter of Time universe and is the second work in my Star and Dove series. A summary of the important stuff from A Matter of Time can be found in Part 1. If you’d like the entire story of how the Pikes met and got together, I of course recommend reading the full work (200K words, E rating, complete).

    Chapter 4: Fauna

    Iz was waiting when Leah beamed down the next morning, in its usual pose of silent alertness. Although she’d noticed it using gestures more and more, there was still no expression on its face - not even any surprise to see that this morning, she wasn’t alone.

    “Good morning Iz.” She smiled. “This is Captain Christopher Pike, of the Enterprise. ”

    At her side, Pike nodded, his hands folded behind his back. “Iz, thank you for allowing our crew to visit the surface. The ambassador wasn’t exaggerating when she said how beautiful your world is.”

    “We have sent the location to your ship,” Iz answered. “Your crew is welcome.”

    After a moment, Iz turned to Leah. “Ambassador. What is your desire today?”

    “Well…” She paused, thinking over everything that she’d learned so far and how much there was yet to discover. As she thought, Pike spoke up.

    “I understand that you use the mycelial network for space travel. We’re familiar with it. Would it be possible to see your ships?”

    There was a pause, and then Iz nodded. “Yes. It is some distance away. It will require communication with other shusla.”

    At that, Iz turned and moved off, in the direction - Leah thought - of its origin tree. She looked over at Pike, who was already looking back at her with some confusion.

    “Did I say something wrong?”

    “No, you didn’t,” she murmured. “They don’t say much that isn’t essential. You get used to it.”

    He nodded, making a face at her. “It’s strange, not seeing any expressions. And the way it moves...it almost seems like it has to think about it.”

    “They didn’t use any gestures at all when we first got here. Iz has only been doing things like nodding or shaking its head for the last day or so.”

    “Hm. Interesting.”

    Pike took a few steps, surveying the area around them. The amphitheater had been turned into a base of operations, with the various pieces of equipment that had been brought down from the Solomon and the Enterprise stacked up on the flat “stage” area. A few personnel had already begun working, and as he watched, the transporter beam activated again.

    Dr Boyce was among those that materialized, and Pike lifted a hand, moving towards the inclined ramp that led down to the stage. Leah followed him.

    “Morning Captain,” Boyce rumbled, as they drew close.

    “Phil,” Pike answered. “How are things going?”

    “We met this morning to review our progress. Still working on analyzing all those records you got, Ambassador. And Doctor Laavan was wondering if you had that timeline that they were going to figure out?”

    Leah shook her head. “I’m sorry, Phil. I haven’t asked yet, and Iz went off to arrange for us to see their ships. I’ll see about it when it gets back, although it might be a little while.”

    Phil shrugged as he opened a case. “There’s plenty to do without it - for me, at least.” He started pulling small dishes out of the box and setting them on the flat surface beside him. “Doctor Sato set these up yesterday. Going to see if any of them will keep that fungus from disintegrating; give us more samples to work with.”

    The stage area cleared shortly afterward, with Boyce heading off towards what Leah was now thinking of as the quarantine area, along with most of the other personnel that had come down so far. As they departed, Iz returned, meeting Pike and Leah on the stage.

    “You may view our ships,” it informed them. “It will be easiest if your ship transports you. We will provide coordinates.”

    “It’s that far?” Leah raised her eyebrows. “Will you be joining us there? Or we can transport you with us...”

    “No, Ambassador.” Iz turned its focus to her. “Another shusla will guide you once you arrive.”

    Leah looked up at Pike once more, but he was already pulling his communicator out. “Captain Pike to Enterprise. Ambassador Pike and I will be beaming to another location on the surface.”

    “Understood, sir. Coordinates?”

    “Stand by, Number One.”

    “Aye, sir.”

    Leah looked at Iz as Pike closed the comm device. “Iz, do you have the information that we spoke of yesterday? The ages of the shusla?”

    “Yes. It is ready for you, Ambassador. I will retrieve it while you view our ships and have it upon your return.”

    The transporter deposited them in a new clearing, and Leah looked around. For the moment, they were alone; there were no shusla in sight.

    But there was plenty else to occupy their attention.

    Pike was staring, his eyes wide. The clearing was as large, and possibly even larger, than the one she’d seen yesterday with Iz and Dr Franklin. It was entirely open, with no sectioning or animal habitats, but was instead filled with small craft.

    “They look like hazelnuts,” he murmured. Leah saw that he was right - they looked like big hazelnuts, but were much smaller than the typical spacefaring vessel. Even a shuttlecraft was larger than these; they were barely taller than Pike himself. Much closer to an escape pod or a combat flyer than anything the Federation used for exploration.

    Leah stepped over to the nearest of the little pods, running her hand over the smooth surface. “It even feels like a hazelnut.”

    She heard a rustle then, and both she and Pike turned around, seeing a shusla coming up from behind them. It stopped a few steps away and regarded them with the same bright, aware gaze that Iz and all of the rest of the shusla they had met had had. “Ambassador. Captain. I am Zy.”

    Leah inclined her head, seeing Pike doing the same out of the corner of her eye. “Zy. Thank you for allowing us to view your ships.”

    Zy nodded. “This way, Ambassador.”

    She actually had a foot in the air, and Pike had gotten a step or two ahead of her, when she froze.

    Zy had nodded. Zy had nodded.

    Iz had begun using gestures within a day or so of the Enterprise and the Solomon arriving. The other shusla in the area had done so as well, but it had all happened around the same time. She’d assumed that they’d all picked it up from the various Starfleet personnel.

    She fumbled in her pocket for her communicator, lowering her voice and letting Pike and Zy get ahead of her. “Ambassador Pike to Enterprise. ”

    It was Number One’s voice on the comm when the reply came. “Go ahead, Ambassador.”

    “Commander, how far are we from the main location right now?”

    There was a pause, and then Number One came back. “You’re approximately two thousand kilometers from where you’ve been normally, Ambassador. Why do you ask?”

    “I’ll explain later, Number One. Thank you. Pike out.”

    Two thousand kilometers. And according to Iz, the shusla didn’t regularly travel far from their origins. The shusla here...they wouldn’t have encountered any of the Starfleet officers or any of the shusla that they’d been working with. And yet Zy’s nod had been almost natural, displaying none of the initial hesitation that Iz had.

    Something else was going on.

    She set it aside for the time being, walking quickly over to the ship. Pike was looking at her curiously, and she reached over to him, lightly brushing her fingertips over his lower back.

    “Everything all right?” he asked.

    “Yes, I just needed to check in with the Enterprise for a moment. Everything’s fine.”

    His look was still curious, and she looked back at him, letting her eyes tell him the same thing she’d told Number One - that she’d explain it later. And it was one of those times that her captain and her husband being the same man was a definite advantage, because he easily understood what she was saying without words.

    Zy had been waiting in silence, and now it placed its hand on the ship. It pushed, and a whole panel of the side of the ship slid to the right, opening a way inside the craft.

    The shusla entered first. Pike had to duck to clear the door; Leah was able to make it without, but barely.

    The interior of the craft was small and compact. There was barely enough room for the three of them, and the inside itself was...was incredible. The walls were almost hairy, resembling the shell of a coconut, and there were spindly plants growing up the sides, clinging to the hairs. They looked familiar...she’d seen this before, it was like…

    “It’s like Discovery,” Pike murmured, echoing her own thoughts. “The way they grew the spores.”

    She nodded in silent agreement, still taking in everything and slowly turning in a circle to see the entire inside of the craft. Zy stood silently, waiting.

    Behind them, occupying a large section of the wall, was another plant, but this one was clearly different than the ones she recognized from Discovery.

    “Zy, what is that?” She pointed. “I don’t think I’ve seen any other plants like it so far.”

    “My origin,” Zy answered. “The origin plants which travel to space do not live on the surface.”

    Pike lifted a brow. “Are you saying that they’re...are they specially bred to be able to explore space? Why is that necessary?”

    “It is not normally possible for an origin to leave the planet. These must be severed.”

    Severed? Leah blinked at Zy’s choice of words, but Pike was still talking.

    “So you and your origin can leave the planet and explore. What happens when you come back?”

    “The shusla that are explorers may connect to other origins. We share our discoveries.”

    Iz had never mentioned connecting to other origin plants; Leah had never explicitly asked, but it had stated that it returned to its own origin at night. Implying that that was preferable.

    “Is that...unique?” she asked hesitantly. Iz had seemed unwilling to share additional information. “Do shusla often do that? Connect to origins that aren’t their own?”

    “No, Ambassador. It is not common.”

    Her brow furrowed as she thought, and Pike continued to look around the craft. “We’re familiar with the mycelial network; we’ve been in it before. Do you know the species that lives there, the jahSepp?”

    “Yes, Captain.”

    Pike started peppering the shusla with questions about the jahSepp, but Leah was focused internally. She was putting together pieces from what both Iz and Zy had said, and was coming to the conclusion that there had to be some other way that the plants had to communicate among themselves. It made sense, after all - the shusla themselves were modeled after humanoids, and she wouldn’t be surprised if they’d been adapted to be able to communicate verbally after the Yomorans had made contact with other civilizations.

    And another method of communication...might explain the nods.

    “Zy,” she said softly, interrupting Pike, “How did you talk to Iz? How did it tell you we were coming?”

    Zy looked at her, black orbs bright. “The tomash.”

    It was another word that didn’t translate, and she shook her head. “I’m sorry, we don’t know what that is…”

    “It’s an underground root network.”

    They had beamed back to the main landing area after finishing the tour of the shipyard, and Leah was breathlessly filling Spock in as he leaned over one of the makeshift console stations, quickly punching keys to adjust the Solomon’s sensors for a new planetary scan.

    His eyebrow was arching as he worked. “And the network spans the entire continent?”

    “I think so. Zy wasn’t as specific on that front, but it’s definitely how the plants communicate with each other without using the shusla. ”

    Pike was standing behind her; he was close enough that she could feel his warmth. “The plants are all connected to the network. The ones that go to space...Ambassador, correct me if I’m wrong, but I got the impression that they do start out connected and they have to leave it?”

    “Yes.” She nodded. “That was what Zy meant when it said severed. They have to leave the network and I don’t think that they can ever go back to it. If they did, I assume they’d have to sever again.”

    Spock finished his work and then straightened up. “I have sent the adjustments to the Solomon. We should shortly have information regarding the extent of this network. But Ambassador - you stated that the ships carry both origins and shusla?”

    “That’s right.”

    “It would seem then that the plants which journey to space must first join the network and then grow shusla,” Spock mused. “And, as we know, the plants which grow shusla have also attained sentience.” He tapped his fingers on the console. “Perhaps we should learn more about this network. We know very little, so far, regarding the process by which the plants achieve sentience. If the network is part of it…”

    Pike picked up on Spock’s train of thought. “Let’s say they have to join the network as part of the process. If the fungus inhibits it, if that’s what’s wrong - maybe there’s a way we can compensate for that, even if we can’t eliminate the fungus entirely.”

    “Correct, Captain.” Spock looked down at the console, which was chirping at him. “Ah. It appears that we have the initial results of the new planetary scan.”

    Spock gestured, opening up a hologram above the station, and Leah’s breath caught. It was beautiful.

    The root network almost looked like a mandala, spanning the entire continent in a series of loops and swirls that was oddly symmetrical for something purely organic. She leaned closer, resting a hand on the console as she peered at the display.

    Pike was doing the same thing. “This is incredible. It’s all over the continent.”

    “Indeed, sir. The Yomoran life here is connected everywhere.”

    “This explains how they were using our gestures,” Leah murmured.

    “Pardon, Ambassador?”

    “Spock, did you notice how none of them used gestures when they spoke? When we first beamed down?”

    He nodded. “I did. Admittedly, it was difficult to recognize at first. But yes - I was aware of it. And I have also noted that the Yomorans have begun to emulate us in the use of body language.”

    “That’s right. But when Captain Pike and I met with the shusla at the shipyard, it was using gestures too. What if when the shusla connect to their origins, they not only share their experience with the origin itself but with the entire network?”

    “It would explain their methods of space exploration,” Pike added. “They send - well, I guess it would be an ambassador, of sorts - out there, and then it reports back by the shusla connecting to the network.”

    “An intriguing thought.” Spock turned his eyes to Leah. “We know from the Yomorans that the fungus both inhibits the growth of the shusla and also the attainment of sentience by the immature plants. If the shusla rely on the root network for communication, the two effects may be related.”

    “So what does that mean for our investigation?”

    “I believe it is more critical than ever that we obtain the timeline information that was promised by the Yomorans. I find it difficult to consider that this fungus appeared without some sort of environmental cause. Formulating a timeline based on the reports we have received is the first step to determining whether that is, in fact, the case.”

    Pike frowned. “What if it’s a mutation? That could happen even without an environmental component.”

    “That is correct. However, Doctor Sato and Doctor Boyce have been working to sequence the genome of the fungus. Thus far they have found no evidence of a recent mutation.”

    Leah sighed. “I suppose that would have been the easy way out.”

    Spock’s mouth quirked. “Perhaps.”

    They were interrupted by the arrival of Iz, stepping onto the stage area with one of the Enterprise’s PADDs in hand. It extended the device to Leah once it had drawn close.

    “The additional information you requested, Ambassador.”

    Leah reached out and took the PADD, and immediately passed it over to Spock. “Thank you, Iz. Our scientists are eager for this.”

    Spock nodded an affirmation. “Indeed. Captain, Ambassador, I will excuse myself and return to the Solomon with this new data.”

    Pike smiled faintly. “Good luck, Mr Spock.”

    As the Vulcan moved away, Leah glanced over at Pike, a slightly teasing expression on her face. “Even though there aren’t any horses, were you interested in seeing the animals while you’re down here? I wouldn’t mind another look.”

    “Yes, I’d like that. Iz? Would that be all right?”

    “Yes. This way, Captain Pike.”

    It made Leah smile, to see the relaxed and inquisitive expression on Pike’s face as he took all of it in, strolling through the large clearing and looking at each of the different life forms that were housed there.

    He stopped next to the little blue and brown mammals that she had noticed during her first visit; one of them, more daring than the others, leaned halfway out of its box and softly cheeped at him.

    Leah turned to look at Iz. “Iz, I didn’t ask yesterday. How do you keep the animals from eating things they shouldn’t? If most of them are herbivores, how do they not eat the plants that are sentient?”

    Iz considered for a moment before answering. “All of our species which may undergo the process have natural protection against such things.”

    “I see. And the plants that can’t, don’t have those protections?”

    “That is correct.”

    Pike turned away from the little animal that was still cheeping at him. “Are you referring to some sort of toxins?”

    “Not precisely, Captain Pike. But unpleasant enough to discourage the animals.”

    “And what happens if there are some that keep trying?”

    Iz shrugged. “It has not happened in many rotations. We have carefully managed our populations and ensured that all are highly intelligent and learn quickly. The young are taught what is allowed.”

    Pike’s expression turned thoughtful. “So...you’re selecting for intelligence with your animal populations? Intelligence and the ability to learn?”

    Iz’s eyes brightened. “That is correct, Captain. Is it not so for your species?”

    “Well, no. At least...for humans, our species...we don’t forbid anyone from reproducing if they choose to. There’s no one deciding who should and shouldn’t.”

    Iz looked from Pike to Leah. “But you are a pairing. You are both intelligent members of your species.”

    “We are, but…” Leah paused for a moment, thinking. “People - humans - don’t usually choose partners based on exact certain traits, or whether they think those traits carry on to their children.”

    “But are your offspring intelligent as well?”

    She could feel Pike’s eyes on her at Iz’s question. It had been the better part of a year since that decision on Boreth; she still had never quite understood what had happened, other than that somehow, it had been the price for the time crystal that they had needed to send Discovery into the future. No children, not for them.

    Spock’s intervention, and that of Dr Burnham as the Red Angel, had saved them from paying the far worse cost of Chris’s entire future, and she would make the same decision again in a heartbeat. But it was still a price that had been paid, and it ghosted through her mind from time to time; she suspected that it did the same through his as well.

    “We don’t have children, Iz,” she heard Pike say quietly, and she pulled her thoughts back to the present. “Sometimes people don’t.”

    Iz was clearly confused. “Propagation by those that are intelligent is essential for the species.”

    Leah chuckled softly. “There are a lot of humans out there, Iz. I think our species will be okay.”

    They moved on then, continuing a slow walk across the clearing, and she tried to put it out of her mind. Pike was sticking close to her side, and he slowed his step for a moment, letting Iz get ahead of them briefly.

    “You okay?” he murmured quietly.

    “I am,” she murmured back. “You?”

    “Yeah.”

    They exchanged a look. They were both okay, but it had still been a reminder of that price. His hand gently brushed hers, taking it for the briefest instant before letting go again.

    Iz had stopped at the edge of the clearing next to a large bush, and Leah recognized the green fruits that were hanging from it. As they caught up, it reached out, plucking a handful free and offering it to them. “Refreshment?”

    “Mm. Thank you.” Leah accepted the fruits and offered Pike one. “Captain, I think you’ll like this; it’s very unique.”

    He took one from her and popped it into his mouth, chewing contemplatively. “Hm. Yes, that is very unique. Almost spicy.”

    Iz nodded. “Our animal life finds the spice unpleasant in its raw form. It is a deterrent from consuming all except that which is permitted.”

    “Wait - “ Pike stared at the fruit in sudden horror. “These are from a sentient plant?”

    “No, Captain. All species which may attain sentience are protected. Some do not succeed; this particular plant is no more sentient than that rock.” Iz gestured at a large boulder nearby. “But the protection persists.”

    “I see,” Leah murmured. “It keeps your animals from damaging anything that might be sentient. And there’s no other way for them to know?”

    “Correct, Ambassador.”

    She looked over at another bush that was growing the same fruits. “And that one over there? Is it sentient?”

    Iz glanced in the direction she was indicating. “No, Ambassador. It is less common for the smaller species to complete the process. Most often it is the larger forms, as you have seen.”

    “But how do you know which plants are which?”

    “Zy spoke to you of the tomash?”

    Leah nodded. “Yes...yes, it did. The network that connects...well, all of you. All of the sentient plants on the continent.”

    “Yes. All who are connected to the tomash recognize others that are connected.”

    “Are you saying…” Pike looked like he was having trouble processing it. “Are you saying that you know every single plant that’s connected to that network?”

    “That is correct, Captain Pike.”

    She understood how Pike was feeling - it was unimaginable. There had to be billions of plants on the surface...it would be like being able to identify every single human living on planet Earth by sight alone.

    “Enterprise to Captain Pike. Come in, Captain.”

    At the sound from the communicator, Pike reached into his pocket. “Pike here. Go ahead, Number One.”

    “Sir, sensors are picking up a Romulan scout ship outside of the asteroid field.”

    He raised a brow and exchanged a glance with Leah as he spoke back into the comm. “Just one?”

    “Yes, Captain.”

    “And what’s it doing?”

    “Nothing, at the moment. Just sitting there.”

    “Communications? Is it transmitting anything?”

    “Unknown, sir. We can’t get a strong enough reading from the sensors through the field.”

    “Acknowledged, Number One. I’m on my way back. Stand by for transport.”

    “Aye, sir. ”

    He closed the communicator again, stowing it away, and looked at Leah again. “Ambassador? We may need you back on board for this.”

    “Aye, Captain.” She turned to Iz. “Iz, I apologize, but we’ll need to head back to the Enterprise now. I’ll plan to return tomorrow morning.”

    Pike led the way out of the turbolift, faintly registering the call of “Captain on the bridge” that came from Lieutenant Nicola at communications. He was more focused on Number One, who rose from the command chair to retake her normal station at the helm.

    Leah stayed at his side as he settled into the chair. “Report, Number One?”

    “The Romulan ship has begun moving through the asteroid field,” Number One said, glancing down at the helm and tapping keys. “It’s going as slowly as we did, sir.”

    “Surprising that they didn’t stay cloaked,” he murmured. Number One nodded, turning to look back at him over her shoulder.

    “It’s possible that they can’t, sir. The interference from the field might be preventing them from cloaking.”

    “Good point. Ambassador? What’s the current status of Federation relations with the Romulans?”

    Leah shrugged. “There hasn’t been anything significant since the establishment of the Neutral Zone, Captain. A few brief ship-to-ship encounters close to the borders, but that’s really all.”

    “Hmm.” He tapped his fingers on the arms of the chair. “Yellow alert, but no shields for now. Let’s not invite trouble; we’ll have plenty of notice if they decide to raise a ruckus. Number One, are we scheduled for any battle or weapons drills?”

    “None for the rest of today, sir. But tomorrow, yes.”

    “Cancel the drills. I don’t want them to get the wrong idea. Amin, estimated time before they make it here?”

    “Assuming they’re able to maintain speed, about seven hours, sir.”

    Number One turned from the helm again. “We had to slow down repeatedly when we came in, sir. The Romulans will probably have to do the same.”

    “Agreed, Number One, but let’s assume seven hours to be on the safe side. Can we hail them?”

    “No sir.” Nicola didn’t turn; he was too busy looking at his readouts. “There’s too much interference from the field. We won’t be able to get a hail through until they’re clear.” He paused, as a chirp sounded from his station. “Sir, the Solomon is hailing.”

    “On screen.”

    He’d barely uttered the words before Captain Sato appeared on the viewer. “Chris. I take it you’re aware of our uninvited guest.”

    “We are, yes, and we’re making preparations. How many of your crew are still on the surface?”

    “Four. We’re recalling them now.”

    Pike turned his head slightly. “Number One, recall all Enterprise personnel as well, including from the Solomon. I want everyone back on board well before that ship gets here.”

    Captain Sato leaned forward on the viewer. “We’re scheduled for a briefing in an hour, Chris. Are you all right with waiting that long before we send your crew back?”

    He nodded. “Our sensors indicate it’ll be several hours before the Romulans arrive. You have plenty of time.”

    “Understood.” Sato grimaced. “We’ll keep on working. Let’s hope they’re just a little curious.”

    “Indeed, Ren. Let us know once our people are ready to return. Enterprise out.”

    As the viewscreen shut down, Leah looked over at the communication station. “Lieutenant Nicola, are we able to contact Starfleet Command at all?”

    The lieutenant shook his head. “I’m sorry, Ambassador. There’s just too much interference.”

    Pike looked up at her. “Ramirez?”

    “Yes, I was hoping to get a message to him. But it sounds like we’re on our own.”

    He stood up, turning more fully to face her. “I’ll want you to try and talk to them once they’re clear of the field and we’ve got communications back.”

    “Understood. I’ll emphasize that we’re on a humanitarian mission. Hopefully, that’ll be enough to deter any hostilities.”

    Pike nodded, and caught her eye, one corner of his mouth lifting slightly. She echoed the tiny smile, shared just between the two of them, before he turned back to face the main bridge.

    “Number One, you have the conn; I’ll be in my ready room. Let me know if anything changes with the Romulans.”

    “Aye, sir.”

    Leah joined him in the turbolift, and his faint smile was back as it began to move. “Feel like some coffee?”

    “It is about that time, isn’t it?” She smiled back at him. “Yes, I’ll join you and then I’ll head to my office. I might as well take advantage of the extra time to get some work done before family dinner tonight. Unless you think we should cancel it because of this new development?”

    “I don’t think there’s any need to, no. We’ll be up late anyway waiting on the Romulans.”

    She nodded; he was right, neither of them was going to bed until that situation was resolved. “In that case, I could definitely use a coffee.”

    Leah had ordered her cappuccino before he brought it up, and even then, he didn’t need to say anything at first.

    He stood behind her, his hands gently settling on her waist as she picked up the cup from the synthesizer. She let out a soft sigh and relaxed back against him, warm and solid behind her.

    They’d always been so good at communicating right from the start; the silent lovers' language of glances, of touches, had come to them quickly. And so she knew what he was offering her, what was on his mind: that conversation on the planet, the questions about children that had tapped that faint bruise for them both.

    “Are you all right, love?” he murmured finally.

    She shifted her coffee to one hand and used the other to cover his hand where it rested on her hip. “I am. We talked about it, Chris...I don’t regret the choice. Not for a minute.”

    “I know you don’t.” He rested his chin on the top of her head. “I don’t either. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt a little bit.”

    She brought the coffee to her lips, the familiar aroma and taste of the raspberry providing an anchor for her. “I just remind myself - when I think about it - how hard it would be. How much we’d have to change and give up.” Her hand stroked his lightly. “We already share each other with our jobs. Children would be one more thing.”

    “Hmm. That’s very true.” Leah felt him smile against her hair. “And it doesn’t mean that we - the two of us - are any less of a family.”

    “And we’ve got Spock,” she pointed out. “And whatever other young officers need that kind of support. We can be that.”

    “Careful love,” he murmured, but there was laughter in his voice. “You’ll have us adopting half the fleet.”

    “Would you really mind that?” She squeezed his hand once more and then turned, heading over towards the couch with her coffee. He chuckled as he moved up to the synthesizer to get his own drink; she was right. He really wouldn’t.

    Number One had been right after all; the Romulans, despite their ship being significantly smaller than either the Enterprise or the Solomon, were having a much harder time working their way through the asteroid field. By the time beta shift was coming on duty that evening, they’d made little progress, and weren’t expected to arrive until the morning.

    Chris closed out with the bridge as Leah took dishes from the synthesizer, setting up a grazing meal in the sitting area that featured several Vulcan dishes Spock was particularly fond of.

    They both enjoyed the weekly family dinner in his ready room, and it was clear that Spock did as well, although Chris had thought more than once that they’d all be more comfortable in his and Leah’s quarters. But he suspected that Spock - still comparatively young - wasn’t quite ready for that yet, and besides, they’d have to get a bigger table. Here at least, space wasn’t a consideration.

    Chris stood, tapping a few keys on his desk to turn on music. A moment later, the sounds of a soft string composition filled the room, and Leah smiled as she took glasses of sparkling water from the synthesizer. “Is that a Vulcan lute?”

    He nodded, even as the door chime rang. “Come.”

    Over the months that they’d been doing this, Spock had begun to relax, but it was a slow process. Chris and Leah had both unfastened their collars and unzipped their jackets halfway, but Spock was still as put together as ever despite being off duty.

    He inclined his head slightly as Leah handed him a glass of water. “Ambassador. Captain.”

    Leah smiled again; she’d given up trying to convince him to call her Leah. He’d do it when he was ready. “How was the briefing, Spock? Are you making progress?”

    “I believe so, Ambassador.” Spock settled down in one of the chairs, as Chris and Leah took seats on the couch. “The information on the shusla’s ages was most helpful. With the new data, Doctor Ayo has been able to assemble an environmental timeline for the planet that encompasses at least four thousand of its rotations.”

    Chris reached out and started filling his plate. “Anything interesting so far?”

    “Doctor Ayo is still working, but it appears as though the levels of oxygen in the atmosphere have been increasing dramatically over the last few hundred years.”

    “The plants haven’t been taking measurements. How have you been able to determine that?”

    “It is admittedly a guess, Captain. However, there are several factors that have led us to the conclusion. The size of the animal life, for one; it is much larger than we would typically expect, and the accounts of the plants have noted that the sizes have increased. In addition, they have observed more problems with wildfires.”

    “Doctor Franklin mentioned that,” Leah commented. “About the animals being bigger than he had expected.”

    “Precisely. The levels of oxygen in Yomora’s atmosphere are currently over double those of Earth, and considerably higher than Vulcan’s as well. The larger animal life is reflective of that. In addition, I have observed effects in myself while on the planet: a clarity of thought, again consistent with higher oxygen levels than is normal.”

    “On a planet of plants, I suppose that would make sense.” Chris took a bite of a cheese stick. “The reverse of what was happening on Earth a few hundred years ago.”

    Spock was pulling a piece of kreyla off the large loaf, and he paused mid-motion. “Pardon, Captain?”

    “You remember from studying Earth’s history? There was too much carbon dioxide in the air from burning fossil fuels for energy. Before World War Three, the planet was warming rapidly. If the war hadn’t happened, who knows how bad it would have gotten.”

    Spock sat straight up in his chair, the piece of kreyla in his hand falling onto his plate. It spattered dipping oil across the front of his uniform, but he paid no heed.

    "Temperature…" he murmured.

    Chris raised an eyebrow. "Spock, what is it?"

    Spock was nodding slowly to himself, almost as if he hadn't heard. "Of course. And the effect would be the opposite…"

    "Spock?"

    He shook his head, coming back to himself. "My apologies, sir. I must excuse myself."

    "You've thought of something," Leah murmured.

    Spock stood up, setting his plate on the table. “I may have, Ambassador. We have observed high levels of oxygen in the planet’s atmosphere, and we have also noted an increase in the species of plants that are most suited to cooler temperatures. It may be that the oxygen is causing the planet to cool, and in turn, has allowed the fungus to flourish.”

    He turned to Chris. “Captain, I request permission to return to the Solomon immediately in order to examine this hypothesis more closely.”

    “Spock, the Romulans…”

    “...will not arrive for some hours. I will return to the Enterprise before then.”

    Chris sighed; Spock was right, although it was riskier than he liked. “Permission granted. Go on. Make sure you’re back in time.”

    “Thank you, sir.” He looked at Leah briefly. “Ambassador, I apologize for ending the evening early.”

    “It’s all right, Spock.” She smiled. “We’ll have plenty of other opportunities. You’d better go, you don’t want to waste any time.”

    As the door closed behind Spock, Leah sighed again. “Well. As much as I hate us missing family dinner, this does mean I can get back to work sooner...which means I’ll finish earlier.”

    Chris nodded, tearing another piece of kreyla off the loaf; there was no reason to let the food go to waste. “That’s an upside. Finish eating and then we can head back to our quarters?”

    “Sounds perfect.” She reached over and stole the kreyla off his plate, laughing as he shot her a glare. “Are you still planning to work on crew evaluations?”

    “Mmhmm. And the daily report from today. I left it on purpose so that I’d have plenty to do this evening while you were working.” He smiled. “With everything about the mycelial network, it’s going to be classified before I even write it.”

    Leah’s expression turned a little wistful, her smile fading, and he reached out to rub his hand lightly over her knee. “What is it, love?”

    “Those ships,” she said. She nibbled on the kreyla, looking back up at him. “They just made me think about Discovery.”

    “There was some similarity, wasn’t there? Especially those plants inside. For a minute it felt like I was back in their lab.”

    “Just talking to them...talking about the network. The jahSepp too. It just…” She sighed. “It brought all of it back. I think about them often...I wish I could tell Saru about what’s going on with Kaminar. I wish we knew how things had turned out with Doctor Culber and Commander Stamets. I miss them, Chris. A lot.”

    There was a lot to miss. All of the crew that had left for the future...and the ship itself, so unique. All of the sphere data that it had carried, so much knowledge that they’d barely begun to sort through. That last speech he’d made to the crew...Chris hadn’t overstated when he’d said that serving as their captain had been one of the greatest honors of his career.

    He’d kept the best part of that service, and she was sitting on the couch next to him, wearing his ring and sharing both his name and his life. But still...

    He reached for Leah’s hand and interlaced their fingers, resting their combined hands on his leg to give and receive comfort from the touch. “I know,” he said softly. “I do too.”

    Continue to Chapter 5: Removal

    #mycosis#fanfic #christopher pike fanfic #star trek fanfic #fanfiction #star trek fanfiction #captain christopher pike #christopher pike x oc #christopher pike x leah pike #christopher pike fanfiction #my writing
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  • wildheartwildchild
    11.08.2021 - 2 monts ago

    Pred kratkim sem dobila Kindla. Prvotno je bil mišljen kot darilo drugi bralnik, ki naj bi bil bolj priročen za Biblos vendar sem ga zamenjala, saj Biblosa ne uporabljam. Pozna se, da je Biblos pod okriljem Beletrine saj ponujajo pretežno le njihove knjige, tistih nekaj ljubezenskih romanov, ki pa so tam, pa ni vredno bralnika. Zato menjava. Da ne bo kdo mislil, da sem kot Rachel iz Prijateljev, ki vsa svoja darila zamenja 😜 V tem primeru se mi je zdela boljša pridobitev Amazonov Kindle, saj berem eknjige, ki jih kupim/dobim zastonj pri njih. . Se pa po dobrem tednu še malo lovim s svojim Kindlom. Imel je že svoj prvi glitch, za katerega upam, da bo eden redkih. Navajena sem brati na fonu in multitaskati s 5 aplikacijami sproti tako da tle se morm kar opominjat, da je namenjen *le* branju. Edino kar me moti je to, da v desnem zgornjem kotu ni ure. In da se svetlost ne rihta sama. Ampak bo že. Mimogrede, tiste_i, ki imate Kindle, kje kupiti ovitek? Imate tudi kakšno zaščitno steklo gor? Ne vem, ali se mi bolj splača čakati mesce za ovitek iz Alija ali kupiti malo dražji ovitek pri nas. Če kdo ve za kakšno fajn trgovino/stran za to, na dan z besedo. . Prva knjiga na Kindlu, ki sem jo prebrala, je ARC za katerega sem upala, da ga bom prebrala pred izdajo (in bi tud morala, upsi 🤭🤫). Ni šlo. Začetek je bil čudaški, potem pa ni (tako hitro) steklo. Povprečne 3 zvezdice. Recenzija kmalu na GR in blogu. . 📚 . Got my Kindle! He (I like to think of it as him not it) already had his first glitch after a week of use which I hope is one of the rarest of glitches because I refuse to put my baby to a repair service after not even a month of usage. . I thought of distorting the cover to the Kindle but I couldn't find a free app to do it so I had to do it with the original cover (recs for apps welcome). The Nanny and the Nerd released almost two weeks ago and I really thought I could finish this book closer to the release date but I just couldn't. The start of it was just plain weird. It got better but there wasn't really anything exciting happening. That's why it took me so long to finish it. Apologies to the publisher and book tour hosts. Review comes soon on GR/blog. (at Novo Mesto) https://www.instagram.com/p/CSc2pfYoFZ_/?utm_medium=tumblr

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