Back-to-Back Invitations

Xanadu Weyr - Coastal Road

This coastal road runs parallel with the edge of beach that stretches endlessly beside the Caspian Lake. From coast to inland the dunes of the beach grow smaller and smaller until they eventually peter out into nothing but small moguls in the sand. The path is eventually seen to be blocked by a river that reaches the lake just south of the point where the road turns west and crosses a grassy meadow towards a sturdy wooden bridge that can be seen in the distance.

For most people in Xanadu, early evening brings those few hours of freedom from their labors that all hard-working weyrfolk look forward to. Tonight, instead of taking dinner in the crowded cavern, spending time with the twins and D'had or seeking a few quiet moments on the beach it is towards the weyrbarn next door that Thea approaches, her boots crunching on the shell path, followed by the light rap of knuckles on wood. Seryth's already contacted the young Taozyuth with her characteristic gentle patter of rain-scent, asking if his is available and letting him know that hers will be stopping by.

Together, boy and bronze wait - the bronze settled along the coastal road, with no care for whom he might be impeding, N'shen on his porch, perched atop the railing that edges around it. "Why, Mama Thea, as I live and breathe." His laughing voice rings out, and he leaps nimbling from the rails, boots crunching on the shell as he bounds towards her - already, he's grown enough to top her by a head - arms outstretched. "Seryth called - we answer."

Thea gets out a sly, "My you're chipper these days," after that exuberant greeting. It's hard not to respond in kind though, and so Thea does, her light laughter answers as she opens her arms to await N'shen's hug and return it. "As you live and breathe indeed! Like I don't see you at least in passing nearly every day." Her voice is fond and obviously proud when she adds, almost surprised by the fact, "You're taller than your da." At least by an inch or two, if he's a head taller than her. When she steps back to eye that height, her eyes sparkle with a challenge, "We called indeed. Would you care to go on a little trip with me before Seryth is too egg-heavy to go anywhere?" The queen, already harnessed is just ambling out to the road to greet Taozyuth with an affectionate whuffle.

"I'm home," N'shen confirms, a grin teasing his lips as he enfolds her in a tight hug, nearly lifting her from her feet before he backs off, shoving his hands in his pockets. "And yes - I've seen you in passing, but this is the first chance I've had to be with you since we returned. I've missed you." One might wonder why he hasn't come to visit, but… "We'd love to join you." He glances towards the bronze, who wears his own straps - either the boy anticipated his mother's request, or they themselves had only just returned from somewhere. "Anywhere in particular?"

"So you are!" is Thea's breathless laugh with that enthusiastic hug of his, wrapping her arms around her son, squeezing back affectionately, reluctantly letting him go when he backs off. There's nothing but joy in there, no reproach from her about him not having stopped by yet, only a candid, "Faranth but I've-" Correcting herself to add for the rest of his family, "-/we've all/ missed you! But I assumed resettling - and V'dim has kept you busy." Perhaps it's been a little of Thea trying not to smother him by giving him some space as well. Where he asks and she tilts him a bit of a mischievous look while a small grin tugs at her lips, lifts her hand to point skyward, one brow sliding up. "The Yokohama? I've a craving to look at the stars before being stuck on the sands." Wheedling now, "The grav in the cargo bay is offline, so the arrival will be floaty. It's a lot of fun."

"Yes - V'dim's had plenty of work for me, and I've been trying to set yon," and N'shen jerks a thumb towards the weyrbarn, "to rights. I didn't have as much time before Fort to settle things, and now, well… I'm tired of it being so half-assed." Because he totally has no other reasons for wanting a nice, comfortable home, right? "But I have been meaning to come by and see you an' the twins - in fact…" He trails off, drawing a hand from his pocket to rub fretfully at the back of his neck, "I was hoping we could all have dinner together, soon." He might have said more, but the news of their destination brings a look of startlement to his eyes. "Really? I've never been there."

With his words 'half-assed', Thea flickers a slightly frowning look towards N'shen's home. She has no other reason to think he wants anything but to make his place complete by her apologetic, "Ah, the table and chairs D'had is making are a bit behind, Nash, sorry about that. With him re-making Hali's loft space for the twins, and then the Vega Run needing repairs…" She shrugs in a what-can-you-do manner, allows that to trail off, confident he understands by the way she lets that go. Over her shoulder as she's heading over to Seryth in time to catch that fretful motion of his and interpreting it as a need for reassurance, "Pop over anytime. You know you're always welcome, no invite needed. And absolutely come eat with us soon." The whole sentence implies, "You goose. Why haven't you?" She doesn't wait, but pulls herself up Seryth's side to buckle in and pull on her flight gear, tossing him a smirk, about never having been there, "First time for everything? Your da's been."

Completely deadpan, "There's a lot of places my da's been that I don't think I ever want to go myself - but the Yoko is not among them." Emerald eyes laughing merrily at her, N'shen moves towards Taozyuth, who - catching his rider's excitement, has come to his feet and is moving to meet him half-way. "I'm sure he'll get them to me in good time - but I have some plans for the space that I'd like to make reality. I appreciate everything you guys have done for me, but I don't expect you to furnish my whole weyr, as well." Snickering, he shakes his head and grabs the straps, using a helpful forearm to boost himself up the expanse of Tao's side to the dragon's back.

Thea cough-chokes, but recovers to quip right back dryly, "But then, you just did - had to go there, now didn't you?" Thankfully the dusk hides the pink rapidly fading from her cheeks, but she's twinkling right back at him, "I didn't warn your da before I took him up, otherwise…" Her eloquent shrug says it all; she'd never have gotten the man up there. Seryth is, meanwhile, giving the young bronze the coordinates carefully while Thea falls silent so Taozyuth can relay them to his rider. While the gold is explaining weightlessness as best she can with the added suggestion that he fold his wings upon entry and be as still as possible, her rider waits, watching the pair to note when they are ready. Then Seryth launches, her ascent is slow and already egg-hampered. It's quite likely the pair have to wait for them once airborne until with the indication they are going, it is the darkness of *Between*

"Of course I did." N'shen looks patently unrepentant as he settles himself in his straps, tilting his head to stare at Taozyuth as the young bronze watches Seryth, accepting direction and passing it to his rider. Once the straps are in place, the boy gives signal to his dragon, and the roly-poly beast launches himself into the air, powerful hindquarters sending him skyward even as his wings snap out and down, providing the neccessary uplift to get him solidly in the air behind his dam.

-=* BETWEEN *=-

Darkness and cold like you can't imagine. Nothing to see, feel or hear, except the beating of your heart.
Then, as suddenly as you entered the emptiness…

Yokohama - Cargo Bay

Since the gravity units were restored and now are maintained in working order, the cargo deck of the Yokohama is constantly buzzing with activity. With research needing to be done, equipment to be moved, or a plethora of other tasks taking place people are always coming and going, either from the planet 'below' by dragon back, or meandering in and out from other places aboard the ship.

This area is well lit, the floors themselves have had space set aside specifically for 'betweening'. Three large marked off areas remain clutter-free of people, dragons and equipment. With these 'landing pads' clear, dragons avoid the danger of teleporting into an area of space already occupied and causing a tragedy. Several massive sun lamps have been set up over off to the left, in an effort to make the stay of dragon-kind more comfortable.

With a snicker, "Cheeky lad. Come back from Fort all grown up and sassy to boot!" Is Thea's unruffled re-joiner before a spray of gravel marks Seryth's powerful spring into the air and the distance is too great for easy communication. A final surreptitious glance to check on the bronze pair just before Seryth tells Taozyuth to transfer, she braces herself and when they pop out of *Between* it is to them her eyes go, this time with a gaze that is obvious, just waiting for the boy's reaction to free-fall, a hint of concern in her ice green eyes for his reaction while Seryth tucks legs, tail and wings to give the other pair space in the huge area, her head also turned their way, her green-tinted eyes whirl while her serene croon communicates her pleasure at being a part of this outing. They've arrived during change-of-shift, so there are few workers in the room, save for two over at panel - apparently working on the grav units.

"Me?" N'shen replies innocently, in the brief moment before Taozyuth slips *between*, following Seryth across the incalculable distance from Xanadu to the cargo bay of the Yokohama. As the great bronze flashes into being again, he gives a startled chuff, wings half-spreading in surprise before his own memory of the gold's warning and his rider's sharp command have him pulling his pinions back again, tucking spars and sails firmly to his sides. Legs tucked up, he strives to steady himself, even as N'shen grabs ahold of the straps, eyes slightly wide as he feels himself slipping upward, away from his seat upon the bronze's back. Finally, he glances towards his mother - not frightened, no, but definitely startled.

Seryth's low-pitched trill of humor follows Taozyuth's chuff, although she remains motionless - or as still as a great beast could be while floating in zero gravity. She could be underwater held by oceanic currents that rise and ebb, but that is all. Meeting N'shen's glance is Thea's steady regard, eyes a-twinkle with both amusement and reassurance. Any dignity she might have is completely undone by the fact her hair is sticking out in all directions like one of those weed-fluff seeds that fill Xanadu's air in Springtime. Her flight gear is stripped and tucked under the harness, buckles clink, the straps waving stiffly as if alive in her wake as she draws up her legs and slowly pushes feet to hide, sending herself in slow flight across the space towards N'shen. Nearing him she reaches out a hand to snag one of his straps and stop herself there. "You should see your hair," she giggles. Absolutely buoyant (no pun intended).

Reaching up, N'shen tugs at his braid, eyes rolling upwards to try and catch a glimpse of it as it snakes above his head. "Yeah - you're one to talk," he retorts to her with a grin, as he loses interest in his hair and begins to fiddle with his straps, carefully tucking each one down as he unbuckles it. As the last strap is released and shored away, the boy pushes gently away from his dragon, floating upwards towards his step-mother. "So this is the Yokohama," he murmurs, as he reaches out to touch a hand to Taozyuth's seeking muzzle, the bronze clearly startled by his rider's sudden departure in an unexpected direction.

Thea laughs, jiggles her head a little, her dark areole of hair moves in a slow, and to be honest, creepy Medusa-like dance. "This is part of it," she replies airily with a gesture towards the lift doors all the way across the space. "Would you like to go see the bridge? Or fly around here for awhile?" Because, yes, that's fun too! And without any warning whatsoever (other than maybe a wicked twinkle) she reaches for a leg or an arm - whatever she can get and gives him a gentle shove, sending him out into the cavernous space, "Keep your body relaxed!" She calls after him, then murmurs an apology to Taozyuth for taking such liberty, pushes with one hand against the bronze to follow N'shen's trajectory. Being that she's pushed a little harder, she catches up and passes him in a slow twirl, all the while snickering like a teenager.

The resiliency of youth means N'shen gives no more than a surprised squeak as Thea shoves him, sending him flipping head over feet into the maw of the hold. It doesn't take him long to figure out what to do to stop himself - at least as far as flipping is concerned - and floats there, grinning as the weyrwoman passes him by, twirling. "It's your tour, I'm just here for the fun." And clearly, unlike his father, he's finding this to be great fun. Taozyuth continues to crane his neck, tracking their progress even as he nudges himself into Seryth, using the queen as a form of balast to keep himself in place. "Yeah," the boy calls to his dragon, "yeah, we should."

Grinning back at her son, "You learn fast! Your da's not so keen on flying without Siebith." Approval for him in her comment and tolerant fondness for D'had is followed by her rich chuckle, "Whenever you're ready, let's go see the Bridge. The view is best from there anyway." She's keeping her eyes on him after she passes, watching him enjoy the experience, one hand outstretched over her head in readiness. When Taozyuth bumps into her side, Seryth cautiously offers to lock talons with the younger bronze, then uncoils her tail to push the tip of it gently against the near wall, sending the pair of them in a slow cartwheel across the bay - thankfully in the other direction. Upon finding the lift doors, Thea's fingers curl around the handle, staying her from bouncing back out into the space, her other hand finds the panel and her fingertips dance across the surface from memory, push the appropriate button to open them. Curiosity is in the green gaze that flickers between boy and bronze. "You should what?"

"I kinda have to, everyone keeps tossing me into things without warning," N'shen replies, a hint of chagrin in his voice as he 'swims' after Thea, joining her by the lift. Taozyuth links his talons with Seryth's, warbling in surprise as she sends them cartwheeling off into the hold - though he doesn't seem displeased, just a bit confused. "I should what what?" the boy asks as he hovers near the weyrwoman's shoulder, brow furrowing. "Oh - nothing, just some thought Tao had that I agreed with. He thinks maybe he'd like to come back up here every once in a while."

With kindness in her eyes for that note of chagrin, Thea reaches a hand to steady the lad if he needs it, pushes off from the handle and floats inside the lift. Quiet for a moment while she waits for all arms and legs to be safely inside, her finger hovering over the button, she murmurs with empathy, "It isn't easy, is it?" An opening if he wishes to take it as her eyes drift out to eye the gold-bronze pair playing out there. "I'd have wished you a few turns older myself, before you stood, but then…" It goes without saying: Taozyuth was destined to be his. As for her question, she has nothing but a keen look for that non-answer, recognizing deflection when she sees it. "It's always best with a friend to share it with." She waits a few beats then, warns, "Hang on. The gravity will return in a moment." Then pushes the button to close the doors.

Yokohama - Main Lift

Manufactured from a lightweight composite of Terran materials this lift supports a "microfoamed" cylindrical cab to house personnel as they travel from one part of the Yokohama to another. Three linear induction motors, mounted longitudinally on the cab's exterior, provide the force to move the cab. Electromagnetic conduits lining the shaft power the motors. The lift reaches an approximate maximum speed of ten meters per second under this system. Inertial dampeners mounted on the cab's base counteracts the acceleration effects. The interior display shows the ship's directory to assist in achieving the correct destination.

The lift is lined with brilliant tubes shining brighter than a hundred glows each, at least. The floor is thinly carpeted in a depressing industrial gray, and the walls are painted an unassuming tan. The doors are quite thick, and bear a small silver plate with the title 'Emergency procedures in case of Hull Breach…' but the rest makes little sense.

Slipping into the lift with her, Nash tucks himself against the back, careful to ensure all his various body parts are inside and accounted for as he gives his mother a lopsided grin. "Age wouldn't have made it any better… mighta made it worth, the older you are, the less adaptive you can be. I wouldn't give up Taozyuth, even with everything he means, for the world - so I gotta deal, right?" Though his face quirks at her mention of a friend, he offers no further details that might confirm her suspicions.

"Maybe so," Thea sounds unconvinced about the age comment but isn't inclined to argue, it seems. She does nod with a gentle smile, "You do have to deal, Nash. I'm probably not the one you'd ever come to to talk about things, seeing we have a fairly different side of all the dragon-inflicted change, but the responsibilities of being a queenrider was a big change for a country holder's daughter. I can relate to some of it." If there's one thing they do have in common, it's paperwork! If she notices any facial quirks, she gives no indication of it, reaching instead for the rail as the doors shut and the gravity gradually returns, braces for the rocketing slide the lift does, then steps out and moves aside so N'shen can have his first glimpse of Pern below, watching his face intently.

Thea presses the button for Floor: #17. There is a momentary pause as the lights flash at the entryway.

The doors to the lift come closed and after a momentary pause, waiting for everyone to take hold of the hand rails, the capsule bobs and then rockets to its next destination.

The lift comes to a halt at Floor: #17 and the doors open.


Yokohama - Bridge of Operations

From the lift, the main viewscreen dominates the wall seen directly across the way from it. Set above is an enormous observation window, which affords an amazing view of space and the planet below. There are many control consoles and chairs on the deck set before them, as well as a large open area just in front of the viewscreen. Centrally located in this expansive area is the Commanding Officer's chair. Three sets of steps ascend to the platform, which is set several meters above the deck. Other important stations line the upper platform, which extends both the port and starboard, each side ending a few meters short of the viewscreen.

Stepping onto the bridge, Nash reaches absently for one of Thea's hands, folding his own oversized paw about hers. "Nice view," he murmurs laconically - just enough teasing in his voice to hint that he's probably quite taken by the sight of the planet spinning lazily below them. "I'm not worried about what work Tao may bring my way - though, as I was just telling.. a friend.. the other day, I hope he holds off winning a senior queen until I'm at least twenty. I'm sired of a weyrsecond - and I've a weyrwoman raising me. I'm not afraid of a little hard work."

It's enough, that oversized hand wrapping around hers, to draw Thea's eyes with a startled blink. When is she going to get over how quickly little Nash grew up? As for that tease, she's nudging into his side, since she can't reach his shoulder with hers, laughing softly. "Come on, it's better at the window." And she's striding that way with only a moment of hesitation before stepping right up to the pane, a fleeting shadow in her eyes and gone the next. While looking not down on the planet below, but afar out into the bright, hard points of light strewn across the blackness, she murmurs, "Yes, well, it would be nice to have some time to adjust. Work is one thing, overwhelmed is quite another. I've been there." And her fingers give his hand a little squeeze. She's proud of him, by the look on her face and too darn choked up to say it, which is just as well. She'd probably just embarrass him.

It's fortunate for both of them that Nash probably won't hit another growth-spurt for at least a turn or two - long enough for both of them to get adjusted to the fact that he's edging on his father for height and likely to go taller yet. Following her easily enough, he misses the shadow crossing her eyes, instead focused on Pern below them. "Eh. True enough - it'll come. Tao's amazing help - he's very, very wise. It's hard to believe he's not that old, because he always has the best answers."

"Does he now? I'm glad. I know I can trust him to help you through. Seryth has often been my calm, my strength when I didn't have any." Thea's eyes drift down to the planet, "Your father hasn't seen this view." No sadness, simply a statement, matter-of-fact, accepting. She points out a few features, not Xanadu, or Landing, since they are by now within the shadow, although some lights might be glimpsed in those places. Afar off near the curve of the planet he might recognize the eastern edge of Boll's peninsula. Finally, with a sidelong look that twinkles and a teasing half-smile up at him, "Do you… want to check out the Admiral's Chair?"

Listening quietly as Thea points out various points of interest, N'shen hums quietly under his breath. Once she's done, he says, softly, "Tao's smart. I don't always follow his advice, but he's never steered me wrong when it comes to dealing with certain situations - like at Fort," he points out. "He kept me from a number of political blunders there. And here, dealing with V'dim." Which, undoubtedly, can be very trying even on a boy with Nash's breadth of patience. "Huh? Chair?"

Dealing with V'dim could be trying for someone of any age, if Thea's wince is anything to go by. "Ah Fort." There's a little sigh of regret and then, "Maybe someday Xanadu will be on better terms with them. I keep hoping so, anyway. I'm glad he helped you there, N'shen. Perhaps the two of you have helped pave the way for that, who knows? At the very least, and it's saying a lot, I know you represented Xanadu very well." As for the chair, she just points up to the central platform where the impressive seat is, flanked by it's console with the array of buttons and lights. "Where Admiral Benden sat to command and control the ship. You are here, where history was made. You can sit in it if you'd like." He may be 15, but surely there is still enough little boy in him to find that appealing?

It's debatable there was ever enough little boy in N'shen to make such a thing appealing - but as it's clear that she wants him to do so, he grins with well-feigned delight and moves to do just that, sliding long fingers over the armrests as he peers towards the viewscreen. The politics of Fort is left where it should be - behind them, relegated to times when such heavy conversations won't interfere with simple mother-son time. Perhaps it's the realization of this, perhaps it's the realization of how much his happiness - and enjoyment - means to her that has Nash saying, hesitantly, "I want to bring a friend to dinner. A girl."

What Thea would rather have is honesty and should she realize anything about him was feigned for her benefit she would likely be very hurt. But she, in her blissful ignorance watches him go, choosing to remain by the window and watch him with a fond smile that is a touch sad for his so-quickly-gone boyishness and a lot proud for the man he is becoming. For a few moments she observes him in that chair before turning back to lean her forehead against the glass and watch the stars, "They were better from the deck of the Vega Run," she decides aloud. It's the comment from N'shen that recaptures her attention, or to be more exact, the hesitant tone. She lifts her head, turns around to face him, taking in his statement in silence for a few beats. "A girl." There's not one bit of teasing, just a keen look sent his way for a few more beats, before she says easily, "Of course. Any friend of yours is welcome in our home. Anytime." Pause, "Does this girl have a name?" The corners of her mouth twitch in an almost-smile.

Fortunately for Thea's peace of mind - Nash is very good at feigning. And, to be fair, it doesn't take long for fake pleasure to become real, if only because he's pleasing /her/. Glancing at her sidelong with those dark emerald eyes, he watches for any hint of teasing - after all, given the way D'had teased him, it's only fair if she did as well - before offering her a slight smile. "Her name is Natali. She was a Candidate at Fort," he adds, offering a bit of background, "and when she didn't Impress, her father, a trader, sent her here with her uncle to look at possible trade routes. She's a sweet girl, and D'had suggested I bring her to dinner - and she was quite interested when I asked if she wanted to."

Thea likely wouldn't know about the teasing, given her weyrmate's well-known bare-words-policy. She doesn't seem surprised, however. Calmly, "D'had said you were inviting a friend over. He didn't mention a name." He may not have remembered to tell her whether it was a girl even! Or he may, in a D'had-like quirk of mystery, have decided to let N'shen reveal this fact himself. Sweet girl he says and the smile that curves her mouth is sincere, the warmth that lights her eyes lacking any amusement or condescension when she says, "I wouldn't expect anything less." There is, however, a flicker of pleased surprise for the last two comments. "Did he really." Hrm. As for the interest, it's likely going both ways in this, but she doesn't let on, no, she's not overdoing the enthusiasm. Casually, "When would you like?" No rushing there, just wanting to know.

Tucking his tongue in his cheek, N'shen stares out the window at Pern, fingers tapping lightly on the armrest of the admiral's seat. "Whenever is convienent for you. She wants to meet more people, so I wanted to give her a chance to do just that - and, I'll admit, she's interested in meeting the twins." Both face and voice are very bland. "I think you'll like her - she's a bit naive about the Weyr, but most non-Weyrbred are when they first find themselves here - she's bright though, and very quick." He coughs, and looks slightly sheepish. "I, uh - took her climbing in that tree outside your old weyr. Hope you don't mind - it was the best climbing tree I could think of, and she wanted to test out her new pants."

"Her…new…pants." Thea echoes before with a tiny, brisk headshake, she just lets that go. "I don't mind at all. My tree is your tree. Just… don't eat the fruit." Because… fellis, yeah. Might not be such a great idea. She purses her lips, thinking, "I think we can spare the time next restday for dinner not to be rushed and the twins ought to have sufficiently worked cranky out of their systems on their da." His explanation of non-Weyrbreds meets with a lofted brow and now her smile grows fondly amused. Dryly, "Are they really? I'd forgotten in the seven years since I arrived from Cold Stone Hold." Without waiting for an answer, she ascends to his level, reaches to tuck a hand in his arm, and invites lightly, "Come. Let me show you a little more of the ship and you can tell me all about how to make a non-Weyrbred comfortable? I've no experience with Fortians." Teasing, maybe. Impish, yes. Happy, definitely.

Dark skin is a blessing when your face is trying to blush, but N'shen still lacks adequate enough control over his expression to keep himself from looking slightly embarassed. "Well - all she had was skirts," he explains lightly, "so I gave her some of my old pants, because it was only polite." He doesn't even respond to her remark about the fruit except with a patient look. As she tugs him from the chair and tucks her hand on his arm, he covers it with his own, grinning down at her. "Well, see, non-Weyrbred, they're all terribly stuffy…" Teasing? Definitely. But he, too, is happy.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License