USS Vesta

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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Third Wheel

Posted on Tue Aug 25th, 2020 @ 7:43pm by Ensign Rufus Marocain & Lance Corporal Morwen Haldane & Lance Corporal Durst Haldane
Edited on on Wed Dec 30th, 2020 @ 12:23pm

Mission: When the Bough Bounces
Location: Sirius Station
Timeline: MD0
1463 words - 2.9 OF Standard Post Measure

Rufus observed the pair of other Kainans sitting in one of the arboretum spaces along the promenade from a discrete distance. Well, really, he was observing Morwen. He'd noticed her from up in flight control when she first arrived with the Marines - a tall, lean-muscled female with high ears, lustrous fur, sharp teeth and a long perfectly formed nose; It had been all he could do to keep his tail from wagging, but watching the way she walked side-by-side with Durst, he had figured she was already taken. Fortunately, it turned that the bond he'd sensed between them was because they were a hunting pair, not mates. Even better: they were first cousins, so no chance of them becoming one of the hunting pairs who also formed a mating bond. Of course, that she was part of a hunting pair wasn't all good news - it meant she was almost always with her partner, and more importantly, that if he was ever going to get anywhere with Morwen, he'd need Durst to accept him as well.
He waits for a bit, keen ears tuned to just enough of their conversation to know he wouldn't really be interrupting, before approaching them. After all there was a special bond between a hunting pair that shouldn't be impinged upon lightly. Besides, over the last couple weeks since the Marines had transferred aboard he had  been hanging on their perimeter just enough for some of the humans in his department to have joked about him 'stalking' the female of the pair - apparently unaware that among his people that was a perfectly acceptable way of signaling interest in a female. A Kainan, especially one with Morwen's extraordinary nose, will always be aware of who's nearby and the number of Kainan women who won't confront an unwanted admirer and tell him to get lost is roughly zero.

So far, Rufus hadn't gotten teeth bared at him in anything but a smile. He found that positively encouraging.

"Hello," Rufus said, looking around at the trees, artfully arranged to create the impression of a small grove. "Nice spot here."
"There's room for one more." Morwen smiled, gesturing to a space on a 'log' bench. The helmsman was cute, had charmingly deferential southern manners (toward her anyway), and while he wasn't a Marine, she'd done some checking and he'd been a fighter pilot, so he wasn't the typical soft Starfleeter. Besides, 'not a Marine' wasn't necessarily a bad thing - she loved them as a pack, but wasn't so keen on the idea of hooking up with any of them.

Durst just grinned. "Yeah, we saved a spot in case you decided to stop lurking."

"Don't listen to him." Morwen smacked Durst's chest with the back of her hand. "He's just got his tail in a knot because he struck out with one of those 'mermaids' at that casino." She pointed her nose across the promenade at a lounge whose open doors featured tanks and a 'welcoming pool' with various females in fake mermaid tails and very little else. The bright blue and green marquee proclaimed it 'The Marine Paradise'.

"I guess I see why you had to check it out," Rufus joked. "But hitting on window dressing? You have got to be able to do better than that."

Morwen looked at Durst, tongue lolling out in a big teasing grin. "Apparently not."

"Hey, I was just seeing if the rumors about the 'no dating customers' rule were true," the big Kainan huffed.

"Uh-huh." Morwen smirked. "I was just waiting to see if that bad line about Marine life and mermaids was going to make her ill."

Rufus swallowed a laugh. "Marine life and mermaids? Seriously?"

"It was every bit as bad as you're imagining," Morwen assured him. "Possibly worse."

Wow. Rufus didn't say it. Even if Morwen was clearly enjoying teasing her partner, Durst was starting to look a little unhappy and that wasn't good for future relations. "You know, there's a steakhouse a couple decks down that will deliver a side of meat right to the table to grill it," he gave a fang-tip bearing grin, "or not grill it, however you like."

"That sounds wonderful," Morwen said, getting up. "I could go for some red meat." She cast a teasing grin at Durst. "And I'm sure they have seafood options for you."

"Ha ha." Durst replied flatly, but smiled back. "Any place where I don't have to explain 'extra rare' sounds good to me. Lead on."

A short time later on a lower level of the promenade a few heads turned among the passersby at the sight of three large Kainans dining at a table in a patio restaurant where a number of other tables were populated by Caitans, who also tended to gravitate to a place known for its heavily meat-based menu. If a few wags made joking comments about dogs and cats eating together, the trio was oblivious to it.

"This is wonderful..." Durst ripped the last meat off a bone and smacked his lips. "...SO much better than replicator food!" His tongue swiped around his lips, as he reached for another haunch.

"Hey!" Morwen smacked his hand. "Leave some for the rest of us!"

Rufus just chuckled - hunting pairs! - he'd only met two before but they'd also acted like an odd cross between siblings and mates. "It's okay," he said signaling a waiter. "I'll order another tray."

"We don't want to abuse your generosity," Morwen demurred, tipping her ears toward him coyly.

"You saved my CO's life and maybe the Doc's too." Rufus replied, widening his eyes. "I think that's worth the price of dinner."

"Yeah, let him be generous!" Durst grabbed a marrow bone to illustrate the point. Besides, when a guy's trying to impress a bitch, she's supposed to take full advantage, he thought, grinning around another mouthful of meat.

"Okay," Morwen laughed and sliced more meat from a bone with her teeth. " tastes almost like earth venison..."

Rufus contained a sigh. Gods, she has gorgeous teeth... "I hear they get it from a free range prey ranch on a class M planet a short jump from here. They flash freeze it and ship direct so it's fresh." His ears rotated toward her, a hopeful smile forming. "You know, they may have some areas reserved for hunting too, so if we're going to be here a few more days -"

"That's a great idea!" Durst's tail nearly swept the waitress of her feet as she arrived with the new tray of meat. "Hunting will be a lot more fun than anything on this station."

Rufus managed not to let his smile slip. Durst was her hunting partner. Of course he would be coming along (at least this time). It would be a good opportunity get to know them as a hunting pair, and hopefully make a good impression on both of them.

"Can you get a shuttle?" Morwen asked.

Rufus' tail lifted proudly. "I am the flight control officer."

"Excellent." Durst grinned at his cousin. "Maybe we can bring some of the squad along. Half of them have never gotten to really hunt - at least for not the kind of prey you can eat."

Now the smile slipped, though Rufus practically perked his ears and whiskers trying not to let them droop sadly. It was one thing to be a semi-third wheel with a female's hunting partner, but with a squad of Marines... He knew how Marines often viewed Starfleeters; he'd be really on the outside there.

Despite his efforts, Morwen could tell Rufus was a bit dismayed. She felt a little sympathy, but was more interested in seeing how he handled it. For members a hunting pair romantic involvements with others (well, involvements other than the sort of short term pick ups Durst often pursued) often didn't go smoothly, even with other Kainans where the primacy of the hunting pair relationship was a given. "Will that be a problem?" she asked gently.

"No, of course not." Realizing she must have sensed his disappointment, Rufus dipped his head. "I was looking forward to hunting with you. With both of you, of course," he amended. "I don't get to do that with other Kainans very often. But the Marines are your pack, so I'm happy to have them along." One ear flipped back. "I just hope they don't mind having a 'fleet pilot hunt with them."

Morwen exchanged a glance with Durst and smiled. Test passed.

"They won't," Durst assured him, and grinned at Morwen as he scooped a whole liver onto his plate. "Besides, having them along will keep me from being too much of a third wheel on your hunting date."


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