“So now it’s your time to spill. What have you been doing in this time? Did somebody look at you the wrong way who you’d like to have killed?” he asked, intending it to be a joke, but he couldn’t quite hide the touch of posessiveness in his undertone.
Marishka thought about what she had said earlier. Her Grandmother, Olena, was being tended to with all the grace and dignity an Orion woman deserved and she would always remember Kai, broken, in the courtyard.
“No. I think I’ve laid waste to all that. Now I just look over my shoulder.” she said, “But enough of the past, what do we do about the here and now?”
Marishka had plenty of ideas but Julien knew the lay of the land better. When it came to the social structure of the ship he opinion was important to her.
Julien caressed her cheek tenderly, having no trouble to hold her comfortably sitting on his right arm. He liked the way her legs were wrapped around his waist, felt like he never wanted her to let go. His heart was still rejoicing that she was here, even though it added a ton of complications to the mission and… everything, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I love your fierceness Marishka, you are such a multi-layered women and I love every layer I’ve seen so far and can’t wait to discover the other layers as well, because I’m sure there is a near unlimited amount of them.” he said and kissed her tenderly.
Before the kiss had a chance to heat up and for his brain to take a descend again, he regretfully ended it and looked back into her eyes.
“I’ll be honest, there’s nothing I want more than to proclaim to all of the ship in a ship-wide announcement what you mean to me. Dance with you on gatherings… like we did on the Genny. But it’s too damn dangerous. If you were any other woman I’d avoid any kind of relationship completely, because we already know Konral and Laraan are a target just through their partnership with Stark and Ghubari.
If the Conclave finds out about me or our old helm officer Rovan, then you and Allison immediately become a target too. Those are cowardly bastards, they strike where it hurts most. I’ve warned Rovan, he can take care of himself, he’s a very capable Ktarian. But we need to make sure Allison and Laraan are safe too. You, I don’t need to worry about…” he said with pride shining in his eyes and admiration.
“We just need to talk to each other often and exchange information. This is a huge ship and it’s easy to hide something on it, much easier than on the Genny. I’d like to give you a chip that Orvos developed. It lets you contact me outside of normal comms range. It’s embedded in my system.” he said.
Marishka had the sense that Julien was holding on to her for more than just the feeling of her warm skin and his words proved it. The pride in his eyes when he spoke of her made her smile.
“You are correct, I am not a target. I won’t be made a target. But I believe the fact that people don’t know about us can be to our benefit for now. If people see us together and wonder why, they might just think we’re falling for each other or something.”
There was mischief in her silver eyes as she explained herself.
“Orvos hmmm? Yes, I might have known that slick one was involved in this somehow. You should have stuck around and watched me introduce myself to him. I have a feeling Staark would have laughed but he has such good manners. And don’t worry, we will dance again.” she whispered quietly.
He smiled in return.
“Orvos is not involved, at least not in this one. He and Dr S’Raal no only my real identity, nothing else of the mission. And that’s because if I get hurt both of them need to patch me up and secure my cover. If some other doctor saw my insides, my cover would immediately be blown and I don’t trust the other doctors.” he said.
He frowned. “In fact one of them accessed my file and dug around… I need to keep a very low profile in medical.”
He refocused on her eyes, taking another deep breath. Her pheromones were thick in the air, not that he needed them to be insanely attracted to her, but he loved the scent in any case. His left wandered back below Marishka, both of his hands replacing his arm as her resting place. They were almost done talking, but he still had one burning question on his mind.
Marishka was quiet for a few seconds.
“Then it might be in our best interest if I didn’t have to request you as my personal physician. The stage has already been set for me to be kind of a diva so such a request would make sense, but I will not be responsible for blowing your cover.”
Marishka felt very comfortable in the position Julien had put her but she had other positions on her mind at the moment and could see that Julien still had something on his mind.
He nodded in agreement, looking a bit regretful, but she was right.
“So, what else is on your mind?” she asked.
He looked into her eyes and it was one of those rare moments where he showed his vulnerability openly. He would lie to himself if he didn’t acknowledge that he was apprehensive of her answer after all he had gone through with La’kia.
“Have your feelings for me changed in this past half year?” he asked.
Marishka couldn’t quite believe what she was hearing but, perhaps, it made sense. She had shown Julien her heart but hearts could change. Looking at him, she too showed a vulnerable side. It was much easier to do when she knew she wouldn’t be punished for it in some way, at least not in that moment.
“My heart has never changed where you are concerned. I love you very much. Yes I have been angry, lonely, and many other things but, mostly, what I have done is miss you. The rest I can show you.” she said beginning a passionate kiss.
The smile breaking out on his face made his dimple appear and a weight lifted off his heart. Yes he still was missing the Genny and his old senior staff, but in that moment he felt optimistic again for the first time since he had had to lay down his command. Then he realised by the way she kissed him that she meant business and any other thoughts vacated him.
Perhaps this man didn’t fully understand what he meant to Marishka. Their current circumstances not withstanding, she would do whatever it took to show him.
A long while later they were lying there, Marishka’s head resting on his shoulder and one of her legs draped over him while had wrapped his arm around her. He was feeling really happy right now and tried to push away the little voice that said ‘Don’t feel too happy, lest it all turns out to be a ruse’. That was just fear, and fear had to be conquered.
With his other free arm he just about reached the pocket of his slacks and pulled out what looked like one single pip.
“You’re not wearing a uniform but I’m sure you’ll find a way to conceal it and wear it on you always. Orvos made it. He chipped me - on request of course. The chip in me triggeres a fake com message so I can get out of situations which threaten to blow my cover. And this chip..” he handed her the pip “…allows you to open a hidden com frequency to me and talk to me, I’ll hear it in my head only.
There are five of those that I gave to Orvos, S’Raal, Stark and Ghubari. Don’t ask me where Orvos has such advanced tech from. The man is an enigma in an enigma, like most El Aurians.”
Marishka took the pip and examined it. She would figure out a way to put it in the ensemble of jewelry that had become a part of the costume or, perhaps, something even more interesting. Thinks like this were not unknown to her being in Intel as she was. That was probably a part of her personality that would never change. At that moment it would be a good thing for both of them.
“Don’t worry, you’ll never know it’s there. I can be quite enigmatic myself. And as for Orvos, I don’t know if he bears watching or staying away from but, if you trust him that much…” she said with a smile.
Julien sighed. “I hope you’re right. I have no clue about the full functionality of that chip he put in me. A tiny detail he neglected to mention until after it was integrated into my system.”
Marishka didn’t like that one bit.
“I don’t know about that. You should always have confidence in the thing someone is putting in your body. Perhaps we should run some tests of our own.” she said with concern.
Marishka hadn’t decided exactly where to put the unit Julien had given her but she would have to change it’s outward appearance no matter what.
He nodded and gave a low chuckle. “You’re right. I find it kind of amazing that after all that has happened to me already, I still tend to subconsciously want to trust people and see the best in them.” he mused.
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