'And' is a Number

Posted July 31, 2021, 9:08 p.m. by Lieutenant Cara Esmé O’Farrell (Counselor / Education Specialist) (Jennifer Ward)

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Gravel Mardusk (Chief of Security) in ‘And’ is a Number

Posted by Lieutenant Cara Esmé O’Farrell (Counselor / Education Specialist) in ‘And’ is a Number

Posted by Lieutenant Commander Gravel Mardusk (Chief of Security) in ‘And’ is a Number
Posted by… suppressed (6) by the Post Ghost! 👻

A man walked over, “Welcome to Underground Infusions. May I take your coat?” Cara undid the belt of her sweater and slipped it down off her shoulders and handed it to the man, “Lessons begin in 5 minutes.” (


Gravel’s eyes widened and his mouth dropped open slightly. That dress… that dress was everything. His eyes went up and down her form more than once, and he stood motionless less for a few heartbeats before shaking his head and clearing his throat. “Y-… you look amazing. I feel remarkably und… wait.” and he fixed her with a mockingly suspicious look. “What ‘lessons’?”


Cara smiled stretched up and kissed his cheek. “Thank you.” Then she met his gaze, hers wholly daring and wicked. “Swing dance lessons. You’re going to learn how to sweep me off my feet.”


Mardusk looked at her for a few moments and then said =/\= Computer, pause program. =/\= as he simultaneously reached down, his forearms sliding on top of the back of dress as they slid under her butt and he lifted her off the ground, helping g her brace her legs on his hips; and then planted a strong, firm, and wholly intense and intimate kiss on her lips. For several long moments, he simply devoured her… gently, passionately, and leaving zero doubt about his desire for her… and the level of affection he felt.

Cara caught fire and melted, one hand slipping softly behind his neck coaxing them both closer. Her other hand bunched in his shirt, holding on. She kissed him back, slowly, completely, showing him what neither was ready to say. There was desire and deep affection conveyed unquestionably in her touch.

Suddenly, he borderline dropped her back down on her feet and said =/\= Computer, resume program. =/\= and he adjusted his hat while looking everywhere but at her.

“Now… let’s see how humans do this.” and then he looked down at her and winked.


Cara held on to his hands trying to suddenly find balance in the heeled shoes she was wearing. She looked up at him, her eyes noticably dilated, breathing heavily, pleasantly overwhelmed, maybe stunned.

“Gentlemen, if you would bring the ladies to the center of the floor. One large circle please, leave plenty of room between you and the people next to you.” The host walked around adding space between the pairs. Cara blinked, moistened her lower lip and took a deep breath and then turned and walked with him to join the group. “Now gentleman shake hands with those next to you. They will be dancing with your date before you will, so let’s be nice.” Tommy, the instructor grinned. “And now tell your ladies farewell for the time being.”

Gravel looked at her and said “You do know if I wanted to dance with a hologram and not you, I coulda done that on my own… right?” But he grinned and gave her a swift kiss. “See ya, Red…” and he walked to his starting place.

“Gentlemen on the inside, ladies on the outside of the circle. Gents take a step to your right and be polite. Now let’s start with the basic step.” A woman joined him in the center of the circle. “Alright guys you’re going to start by putting your weight on your left foot and then step back with your right and then rock back forward to your left foot. This is the rock step. Weight on your left, step back on your right and return to your left foot.” He glanced around the room and nodded. “Good now once your weight is back on your left, step forward on your right, bring your left foot to your right and then step out on your right. This is a slide step. Then repeat going back to the left.” He demonstrated several times and then walked the room. “Good. Very basic. Now ladies! Your turn. Weight on your right foot, step back on your left and return.” Then they practiced the slide steps. “NOW! Together, without holding hands. Step, rock-step, slide step, then the other way. Good good! Excellent. Now to some music.”

Mardusk nodded and went through the motions. He paid attention, did as instructed. His eyes kept strying over to Cara. Never been jealous of holograms, before. he thought with a smile.

After a few moments the music stopped. “Excellent, gentleman thank your partner and rotate again to your right. Now we’ll learn how to hold hands. This is gentle but steady. Alright so we bend our hands at the fingers making a 90 degree angle, like this. Now guys you’re going to hold your hands with the backs of your fingers facing your partner, parallel to the floor. Like you’re holding a newspaper.” And Tommy demonstrated and checked around the room. “Good now ladies, same thing except instead of holding a newspaper you are going to show off those gorgeous rings you have, or hope you will have.” Tommy wiggled his eye brows eliciting laughter. “Now place your fingers gently over your partner’s fingers. Keep your elbows bent letting your arms and shoulders be relaxed. No stiffness. Here you are connected and you will learn to lead and follow. Now let’s try our basic step. Remember when you step back both of you need to extend your arm so you both have room to rock back.” A few moments of practice and then again with the music.

Mardusk would glance at her and grin when their eyes met, but the as the steps became more complex he tried to focus.

And so it continued with the men rotating. Tommy led them through releasing one hand and returning, inside turns, outside turns, and cradle spins. “Excellent. And now you are back to your date. And you’ve worked out all the pit falls and awkwardness and you can dazzle each other and find your own rhythm, yes? Wonderful.” Tommy turned to the band who began to play (


Gravel looked down at her and smiled. “So… interested in finding our own rhythm?” and he winked at her as he took her hands in his.


Cara had never hated that part of the program before. She wasn’t Jealous of the holograms but she was ready to delete each of them from the program as the lesson went on. She was impatient. She’d missed more than one step while she was busy watching him.

She squeezed his hands as he took them and then relaxed her grip resting her hands on his. “Shouldn’t be too hard, you are a bass player after all, and I’m more than willing to follow your lead.” She winked back at him. She began to move through the steps with him her gaze focused on his.


“Promises promises…” he said with a grin. They danced for a bit, and Gravel missed a few steps but chuckled and looked at her. “Grace is not my forté, but I imagine you probably knew that.” The music picked up a bit and he grinned. “Well… your program, your rules. You asked for it.”

She grinned. Her voice soft and teasing, “Ah, Gravel, I think yer messin’ with me.”

He spun her out, back in, then swung her up… and up… and up… and then dropped her so that her dress almost blew up all the way before he caught her; bringing her down through his legs and then back forward before landed her on her feet. He smiled and pulled her to him so her chest bumped solidly into him, and then his hands dropped low on her backside and he lifted her up so her head was just over his and he looked up at her and grinned.


She was almost dizzy, and she laughed as he moved her through the more advanced steps. She knew it! He was teasing her about it all. She laughed again as he lifted her, but it slowly faded as she looked down at him. She stared at him, taking him all in, hands on his shoulders. She whispered her eyes never leaving his, “Computer, delete characters.” One hand traced up his shoulder and came to rest along his jaw, and then she kissed him gently, slowly. Time seemed to pause; it was thorough and full of meaning. The ever present butterflies settled and she sighed and settled against him in his arms. The kiss turned slightly deeper, questioning, waiting for him…


Her reaction was a pleasant surprise, but as she kissed him he followed her lead and kissed her back, holding her even with him and feeling her against him, their mouths merged, as the stood motionless in the now empty venue.

He held the kiss for a long, long time… tasting her, feeling her with him as they simply expressed what they felt but hadn’t yet said… or perhaps even acknowledged. Finally, he began to slowly lower her to the floor, his lips never leaving hers.


Eventually Cara’s feet lightly touched the floor and she stepped closer, unable and unwilling to let go just yet. Eventually, the kiss ended, lingering slowly as they allowed space between them but still close. Cara stared up at him, heart pounding, trying not so successfully to catch her breath. She stretched up and kissed him again, firmly, affectionately, a promise. “Umm…yeah....”


Gravel smiled as she kissed him. “Yeah… thats about the most I’ve got, too.” he said and took her hands in his and then took a deep breath. “Ok… so? As we have no one here to serve, perhaps I could get us a drink? Or did the removal of everyone serve a… um… ‘purpose’?” and he grinned again.


She copied his deep breath and took a half step back, to shift her weight so she wasn’t hanging on to him and embarrass herself when he stepped away towards the bar. “A drink sounds like a good idea. Umm..” wow she was tongue-tied…so much for getting a grip. “So the program doesn’t use the default replicator settings for synthehol. It replicates real alcohol. I have no idea if it’s any good or not, though.” She followed him to the bar and slid into a stool. “Computer resume music playback, without the band.” The music drifted through the room despite the stage being empty.

Cara blushed and then grinned. “It seemed simpler to remove them. At the end of the night the ‘police’ raid the place and we all get chased out side exits to avoid arrest. So now we can enjoy the space wherever the night goes.” She glanced up at him, watching him. “For any other purpose one of our quarters would be better.” She was willing to enjoy the ride, but for the other that required making the decision, leaving, and having to think about it, to be sure, along the way.


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