Ilmasidra 28th Of June

[13:17] <Inara> It was growing late, and yet Inara showed no signs of slowing down. In fact, she had all too happily surrendered her plush, garish bed to the crew's new prisoner-guest for the night, and had cleared away the evidence of his delicious golden meal. Thing were going well, although she could not help but wonder if the hotel's management would raise a fuss about the missing gold-plated droid
[13:17] <Inara> before the Valletta's crew managed to check out and fly off. -
[13:17] <Inara> ^Things were
[13:19] <Inara> Instead of indulging these thoughts, she had started talking. -
[13:22] <Inara> "Tell me about this wife of yours," she demanded, sitting cross-legged on the floor of her room. The door to said room was wide open, allowing anyone in the shared living room to hear easily.
[13:24] * Liane was, however, standing in the doorway, leaning up against the doorjamb casually. Listening in herself, but also standing guard.
[13:32] <Minaplo> ["Her name is Sidra." Said Ilmas. "The last time I saw her, she looked like this." He took out the picture of the rock creature again. "How to describe my sweet Sidra? She has the patience of a pulsar flower, which is to say, a lot of patience. For everyone in the galaxy. Sidra is more curious about things than almost anyone I know, including myself, which is, a-huh, a feat." He smirked at Inara.]
[13:38] <Inara> "Huh. Was she curious about any particular subjects around the time that you were separated from her? In fact… how long ago did you lose track of her?"
[13:39] * Liane peers over. "Can I see that picture?"
[13:41] <Minaplo> [Ilmas handed the picture to Liane. It was a bipedal rock creature with bright copper eyes and matching hair.-
[13:44] <Minaplo> ["It would be just over four Earth months." Said Ilmas. "Anyway, she was curious about a lot of things, but… Hm, that wasn't really the reason she left."]
[13:44] * Liane stared at it closely. "… Sky Tower, the door guard," she says, snapping a finger.
[13:45] <Minaplo> ["Eh? You recognise her?"]
[13:47] <Liane> A nod. "Yep, saw her when the Captain and I were at Sky Tower to —" She stopped. Wait, she couldn't tell him *that* detail. "… Meet… someone."
[13:49] <Inara> "Ah! That's good news." Inara beamed. "Let's go get her."
[13:49] <Minaplo> ["Eh." Ilmas rolled over on the bed.]
[13:50] * Liane handed the picture back to Ilmas. "… 'Eh'?"
[13:51] <Liane> "You were just all lovey-dovey about her, and then I tell you where she is and all you say is 'eh'?" Liane tilted her head, confused.
[13:52] <Inara> "Indeed. Where did your romantic enthusiasm go?"
[13:54] <Minaplo> ["zzz."]
[13:54] <Liane> "Hey! I'm talking to you, Ilmas!"
[13:55] <Minaplo> ["ZZZ."]
[13:58] * Liane looked at Inara helplessly. "… Strange."
[14:01] <Inara> "Pah." Inara got to her feet, strode over to the bed, and smoothly yanked one of the bed's many sheets out from under him, depositing him on the floor.
[14:03] <Minaplo> ["Wuh!" Ilmas was thrown out onto the floor with great speed and force; he smacked his head against the ground hard.-
[14:03] <Minaplo> [… He rolled over and stopped moving, his face frozen in a rictus of shock, a massive dent in his forehead.]
[14:04] <Liane> "I-Inara! Wasn't that a bit rough..?!" Liane exclaimed worriedly.
[14:07] <Inara> "Possibly." A touch less worried, Inara stooped to take his pulse.
[14:11] <Minaplo> [No pulse. But did Symphonians even have pulses? His skin was warm, but Inara didn't know what that meant…]
[14:15] <Inara> "Well, he's alive. I think. Let's transfer him to the Valletta for treatment. In the meantime, we can track down his wife. Maybe she can tell us what's happening with him."
[14:18] <Liane> "You think?" Liane gave her a look. "I'll go ahead. You can catch up, right?"
[14:18] <Inara> "Of course."
[14:19] <Liane> "Alright. Try not to damage him further, right?" And Liane steps out with a sigh.
[14:50] <Minaplo> [Off to the Sky Tower for Liane! Although when she arrived, she found not Sidra guarding the door, but a series of insectoid heads, floating in the air seemingly without bodies.]
[14:54] <Liane> Not altogether unsurprising, since shifts exist! She'd give the heads a … quizzical look, but decided to just engage them in conversation. "Hey. Would you happen to know where I could find the woman that was on the day shift here? I believe her name's Sidra?" Best to just be forward with it.
[14:58] <Minaplo> [Four of the heads turned toward Liane and clicked for a moment. One head said, "Sidra duty I," the next said "Is where she is", the third said, "Off why," and the last one said "Should say.".]
[15:01] <Liane> It took her a few moments to comprehend their manner of speech, but she was pretty sure she got it. Mostly. "Ah, well, this has nothing to do with her duty, anyway," she replied with a twinge of hesitation. "You see, someone I know is looking for her." … Identifying him probably would be unwise, given his status as a bounty.
[15:01] <Minaplo> ["Who?"]
[15:01] <Liane> "A significant other," she replies vaguely.
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["Which?"]
[15:04] <Liane> "… She has more than one?"
[15:04] <Minaplo> ["Yes?"]
[15:05] <Liane> Sigh. "Are there certain of them she wishes to not see again?"
[15:07] <Minaplo> ["Private."]
[15:08] <Liane> "Yeah, well, the identity's private too. Security reasons. But if he were someone she doesn't want to see anymore, I'd certainly drop this whole line of questioning and be on my way."
[15:11] <Minaplo> [The guard moved toward her, and suddenly Liane saw their body- a mammoth arachnid form that had blended perfectly into the surroundings. As it moved, the hairs shimmered, moving to match the new coloration of the environment.-
[15:12] <Minaplo> [A claw reached out and dropped a card into Liane's hands- with an address.]
[15:13] * Liane caught it deftly, looking at it. "Thanks, I appreciate it."
[15:14] <Minaplo> [The spider-thing settled back into its spot.]
[15:17] <Liane> "You have a good evening now," she said in farewell, as she turned to be on her way, finding this address she'd been given.
[15:21] <Minaplo> [The address was in one of the base's residential districts. This one was neat and quiet- and also well-guarded, but she was let in regardless. Before long she would come to a door.]
[15:21] <Liane> A door she would inspect. Was there a bell? If so, she'd ring it. Otherwise, a gentle knock would suffice.
[15:27] <Minaplo> [There was indeed a bell.-
[15:29] <Minaplo> [The door opened, to reveal, not a rock creature, but a Symphonian with the shape of a tall, slim woman. She had waist-length curly copper hair and gleaming copper eyes, whilst her skin was of burnished, clean bronze. She was dressed in a multi-layered diaphanous gown. "Yes?"]
[15:30] <Liane> Somehow, Liane wasn't even remotely surprised. "Sidra?"
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["That's me."]
[15:32] * Liane nodded. "I'm sorry to bother you, but someone named Ilmas is looking for you. Claims to be your husband, ah. If he's full of it, or you want nothing to do with it, I've no intention of helping him along, but he mentioned you in passing and I remembered having seen you at Sky Tower earlier, so…"
[15:45] <Minaplo> ["Haha. He's here, huh?"]
[15:46] <Liane> "Yeah. Here, and safe for approximately…" She looked down at some kind of fancy wristwatch she must have had.-
[15:57] <Liane> "… Another two days."
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["Hmmhm, I see."]
[16:01] <Liane> "If you want to see him, now, I can either take you to him, or have him brought here. Up to you, though. If you're avoiding him on purpose, I'll do you the favor of not giving up your location. Though, if I may sate my curiosity - how did you two end up separated, to begin with, ma'am?"
[16:06] <Minaplo> ["Would you like to come in?" Asked Sidra.]
[16:06] <Liane> "If it's not a bother, yes, please," Liane replied, with a gentle smile.
[16:09] <Minaplo> [Sidra stepped away and let Liane into the room. The room was decorated in vibrant colours with a subtle rainbow colour scheme.-
[16:09] <Minaplo> ["Did you tell Ilmas I was here?"]
[16:10] <Liane> "I did mention I'd seen you at Sky Tower, but that was all."
[16:17] <Minaplo> ["Where is he now?"]
[16:21] <Liane> "Mmm. I left him with Dr. Khalef, so he's probably with her on the Valletta."
[16:22] <Minaplo> ["Can you take me there?"]
[16:22] <Liane> Liane looked around the room. "The decor is really quite pretty," she added appreciatively. "Very uplifting."
[16:24] <Minaplo> ["Thank you. It came like this."]
[16:25] <Liane> "Absolutely, it won't be a problem," she replied… then after a moment of thought, she added. "You don't have bounty hunters looking for you too, do you?" she asked casually.
[16:41] <Minaplo> ["In a sense, I do."]
[16:44] <Liane> A smirk developed on Liane's face. "… A hundred thousand moks. Right?"
[16:45] <Minaplo> ["Yes, something to that nature."]
[16:49] <Liane> "… Then you're the one paying it on him, aren't you? For what?" she asked, guardedly.
[16:50] <Minaplo> [Sidra squinted. "Nope, that's not it."]
[16:50] <Liane> "There's a third party?"
[16:53] <Minaplo> ["You must be kind of new to things." Said Sidra with a small smile. "There's always bounties on us. We're Ilmas and Sidra, we're… Well, I suppose it doesn't matter to you if you don't know our story, but needless to say, there is always someone, a bad someone, somewhere, who wants to bring us in, and will pay for that to happen. It's not a mystery, it's not some secret conspiracy, it's just that we have had enemies for a very long time."]
[16:57] <Liane> "You could definitely say that, I've never been this far out in the universe before," Liane said with a smile of her own. "I did hear a bit from the other bounty hunter I tangled with. Something about a chaos dragon, or something." -
[17:02] * Liane shrugged. "You both seem like nice people, and I'm definitely no bounty hunter by trade; pretty much I got into this whole situation on accident," she adds, laughing. "As a rule, I hate hurting people; I'm a family woman at heart, with a mom's instincts. A protector."
[17:16] <Minaplo> ["Most people get entangled in our things by accident." Said Sidra. "Are you human?"]
[17:17] <Liane> "Twiceborn, yes."
[17:24] <Minaplo> ["With children, too?"]
[17:29] <Liane> She nodded. "Two," she confirmed, smiling.
[17:30] <Minaplo> ["How fascinating. How young are they?"]
[17:33] <Liane> "Thirteen and sixteen years, now."
[17:34] <Minaplo> ["That's very young. Interesting. And you're out here, huh?"]
[17:35] <Liane> "As fate would have it, yeah. That's the military for you, yeah?"
[17:50] <Minaplo> ["Mm, I suppose it is."-
[17:51] <Minaplo> ["I have more questions, but I will save them." Said Sidra. "Can you take me to your ship now, please?"]
[17:52] <Liane> Liane nodded. "Of course, of course."

[14:51] <Minaplo> [Ilmas's body had gone completely statue-stiff ever since Inara had damaged his head. Her brain scan had delivered nothing, seemingly incompatible with Symphonian biology. And so after a quick transit back, she found herself in the medical bay…]
[14:54] <Inara> But even here it was difficult to know what to do. She had alerted several members of her staff about what was going on, and had commanded Champ the medibot to research any known Symphonian biology for her.
[14:55] <Minaplo> [And so her team stood around Ilmas's body, lying there in its grim repose.-
[14:56] <Minaplo> [The Defector on her staff, Uplifter-of-the-Weary, eyed Ilmas critically, then turned to Inara. "You don't know anything about Symphonian biology, I suppose? Patient teacher leads the student"]
[14:59] <Inara> "And I suppose you do?" Inara eyed the Defector warily.
[15:02] <Minaplo> ["Of course I do." Said Uplifter. "Shall I explain to you what happened?"]
[15:03] <Inara> "Please."
[15:06] <Minaplo> ["Symphonian biology is heavily metallic, the wise professor begins the lecture." Said Uplifter, straightening up. "The 'meat' of a Symphonian is liquid metal, kept liquid by their naturally high body temperatures. However, to provide rigidity, the 'bones' of a Symphonian are hardened, cold metal, separated from the liquid metal by a fluidic barrier. Their brain is really a round core-like metallic object."-
[15:07] <Minaplo> ["The skin is kept hardened through coolness too, but when you manhandled him, you forced his skin inwards, pushing the liquid meat of his head into his brain, where the meat instantly froze into solid metal. You drove a spike into his brain made of his own meat."]
[15:11] <Inara> So much smugness. Still, Inara persevered. "How pliable are their brains? Is this injury a fatal one?"
[15:13] <Minaplo> ["Oh, no. Symphonians are almost as hard to permanently kill as you." Said Uplifter. "All you need to do is apply great heat to the wound spot. Shall I?" She asked, holding up a finger that was already glowing bright with thermal energy.]
[15:14] <Inara> "Please." Inara gestured invitingly toward the Symphonian.
[15:14] <Minaplo> ["Watch and learn."-
[15:15] <Minaplo> [Uplifter placed the glowing finger against Ilmas's wound. The skin around it began to melt, as did the big dent. Suddenly, a second later the dent reversed itself, popping out back into normalcy.-
[15:15] <Minaplo> ["… Think you're doing?!" Snapped Ilmas, leaping off the table.-
[15:16] <Minaplo> [Then he froze and turned around. "Eh? Where am I? What happened to my nifty bed?"]
[15:17] <Inara> "Oh good. You're awake. Welcome back," said Inara cheerfully. "Say hello to my medical team. Also, you should thank them."
[15:18] <Minaplo> ["Did they restrain you, you brute, you rascal? Think you can just dent me up like a used car? Well you have anooooooother thing coming, biggy!" Said Ilmas; he stepped right up into Inara's face, his expression a deep frown. "C'mon! Let's have a go, you thug! One, two, ha!"-
[15:19] <Minaplo> [He punched Inara in the chest once, twice, and three times. On the third punch, his thumb bent backwards.-
[15:19] <Minaplo> ["Gah! My thumb! How dare you!"]
[15:21] * Inara sighed. -
[15:21] <Inara> "Dr Uplifter, could you please see to the gentleman's thumb?"
[15:22] <Minaplo> ["Hmph." He grabbed his own thumb with his fingers- a shimmer of light was seen between the gaps. He took his hand away to reveal a perfectly fine thumb.-
[15:22] <Minaplo> ["I can't believe you did that to me. Abuser." He muttered, turning around with his arms folded. "Now I'm hungry again."-
[15:23] <Minaplo> [He eyed Champ. Champ fluttered uncomfortably.]
[15:25] * Inara deftly stepped between the two. "I have questions. One of my co-workers is out collecting your wife, and I would like to provide her with some information. Mainly, what is even your deal? She is your wife, isn't she?"
[15:27] <Minaplo> ["Yes! Of course! Ilmas and Sidra, the famous couple!" Ilmas tossed his hair.-
[15:27] <Minaplo> ["Ilmas? Birds fleeing a forest en masse." Uplifter turned sharply towards Inara. "You dented the Dragon Sorcerer?!"]
[15:35] <Inara> "So he's actually famous?" Inara looked slightly more impressed now. "Interesting…"
[15:45] <Minaplo> ["Of course I'm famous! I'm Ilmas!" Said Ilmas furiously.]
[15:48] <Inara> "Of course, of course," said Inara soothingly. "I'm sure you are. From all of those dragons your sorcered back in the day. Very very impressive. Now, about your wife…"
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["Yes?"]
[15:59] <Inara> "You didn't seem happy at the idea of actually finding her, even though you claim she's the reason why you're at this station."
[16:06] <Minaplo> ["It's all your friend's fault." Said Ilmas, pouting. "Thanks to your friend, I've lost the game!"]
[16:10] <Inara> "…What?"
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["Human. Please."-
[16:18] <Minaplo> [Ilmas sidled up next to her. "I want you to picture something. You're with your snuggly special person. Okay?"]
[16:20] * Inara did a good job of not cringing. "Very well. We are snuggling and are oh so very happy."
[16:22] <Minaplo> [Ducas, one of the other med staff, glanced at Champ suspiciously.-
[16:23] <Minaplo> [Ilmas leaned in. "But you want to take things a little further, so you start playing around."]
[16:25] <Inara> "There are so many ways to take that. Please be more specific. And concise."
[16:41] <Minaplo> ["Wow, fine. I'm playing a romantic game with my wife."]
[16:42] <Inara> "So this is an elaborate game of hide and seek?"
[16:45] <Minaplo> ["An elaborate, sexy game of hide and seek."]
[16:46] <Inara> "Should we just… leave you guys to it?"
[16:51] <Minaplo> ["Oh, now you want to leave us to it. Why couldn't you have done that before denting me, huh?"]
[16:52] <Inara> "That was an accident," said Inara sullenly.
[16:53] <Minaplo> ["Heh."-
[16:54] <Minaplo> ["Well here's the situation. The game has to end in a certain way, you see."]
[17:01] <Inara> "In a hotel room?"
[17:16] <Minaplo> ["Not always." Said Ilmas. "It's a bit ritualistic, I suppose… The two contestants are supposed to find the other whilst hiding themselves. And you find them by finding the place they last slept. But first, you have to do certain things to increase the heat of the game."]
[17:19] * Inara sighed. "Such as…?"
[17:24] <Minaplo> ["Drawing attention to yourself, for instance."]
[17:27] <Inara> "You didn't get that bounty hunter's attention on purpose, did you?"
[17:29] <Minaplo> ["Haha… Naturally."]
[17:36] <Inara> "I see. Well, from now on, we won't interfere."
[17:50] <Minaplo> ["Well it's too late now, you see? She's a better finder than I am, and she drew attention to herself by being a guard at a classy, exclusive restaurant… I'm doomed!"]
[12:36] <Inara> "There, there. It's not like there's a penalty to losing this game."
[12:37] <Minaplo> ["You say that now…"]
[12:41] * Inara said nothing. She didn't actually want to console the guy any further over something like this.
[12:45] <@Liane> And then, a simple knock on the door, one-two-three-four times, firmly and loudly.
[12:50] <Inara> "Oh good! An interruption." Inara hurried to the door. "Also, thank you, medical team. You can leave at your leisure and return to your previous duties."
[12:51] <Minaplo> [They all- a mix of confusion and smugness- moved off.-
[12:51] <Minaplo> [Ilmas stared at the door with a resigned expression.]
[12:51] <Inara> Inara opened it.
[12:53] * @Liane was there, of course, with Sidra in tow. The former, at least, had a relaxed expression.
[12:53] <@Liane> "I'm — we're — back. How is Ilmas holding up, Doctor?"
[12:55] <Inara> "As lively as ever. As you can see, he isn't dead!"
[12:57] <Minaplo> [And behind Liane was a copper-haired, bronze-skinned woman wearing a bright smile. "Indeed he isn't! Ilmas, darling~"-
[12:58] <Minaplo> ["Sidra, my sweet, sweet, heat-seeking rock-missile on which my whole life rests~" Chirped Ilmas, his apparent worries forgotten. The two rushed together and embraced.]
[13:03] <@Liane> Liane smiled. "Aww, it's just like how Hannah is when I come home after a long tour~"
[13:10] <Inara> "You hug your pet?" Inara shot Liane a curious look. "Interesting. Mine usually just meows at me and impatiently circles her food dish. Even when it is still full."
[13:15] * @Liane laughed heartily at that. "That sounds like a typical cat to me, Dr. Khalef!" A grin. "But no, Hannah is the older of my two daughters, actually. She's sixteen now. Always bragging about me. For some reason."
[13:24] <Inara> "Oh! Congratulations! On having a child. She seems very proud of you."
[13:27] <@Liane> "I won't be surprised if she follows in my footsteps," Liane replied, beaming. "… My younger, on the other hand… she's a handful. I … mm. Don't think she likes me being gone all the time…"
[13:28] <Inara> "I guess bringing her along would be a problem, huh?"
[13:30] <@Liane> "… I never thought to ask, honestly, but … as dangerous as things have been lately…"
[13:31] <Inara> "Yeah, not such a good idea."
[13:44] * @Liane nodded. "I think I'd be worried sick day in and out if she were on the Valletta."
[14:03] * Inara nodded. "Well, this will make a good story to tell her the next time you meet." She tilted her head at the couple. "Might want to leave out some bits, though."
[14:09] * @Liane stifled a giggle. "Perhaps." Then to them directly, "You two do make a lovely couple, though."
[14:11] <@Minaplo> [But the couple was gone!-
[14:15] <@Minaplo> [Instead, standing in their place was a new figure, an unnaturally beautiful, androgynous Symphonian with long hair of burnished, reddish gold and eyes of red diamond. Above their eyes- at eyebrow height- were two bone horns, extending out to the side past their ears. Arranged in their forehead was a mandala of gemstones, some shining like diamond whilst other glittered red.-
[14:16] <@Minaplo> ["Of course I do." Said the new figure, whose voice was clean and crisp and also deep, reassuring like drumbeats. They folded their powerful arms across their chest and smiled.]
[14:26] <Inara> "You… w-well, that was quick. We could have given you some proper privacy…"
[14:28] <@Minaplo> ["Please, don't sully me by dredging up your weird human hangups."]
[14:28] <Inara> "Hmph."
[14:30] * @Liane shrugs. "I've seen so much in the last few days, this is hardly surprising by now. It must be interesting living as a Symphonian…" She tapped her chin. "… But then, I imagine, you'd say the same about us, wouldn't you?"
[14:32] <@Minaplo> ["But of course."]
[14:41] <@Liane> "That's pretty much the great challenge of life among the stars, isn't it? Trying to see everything around you through the eyes of people not like you?"
[14:53] <Inara> "Is it that difficult? I feel like we've come to an understanding here already."
[15:10] * @Liane considered that thought deeply for a moment. "Certainly, Ilmas, Sidra, and you and I have," she said, the implication obvious that there were others for whom that was not true.
[15:24] <@Minaplo> ["You may call me Ilmasidra."]
[15:26] <@Liane> "Ilmasidra, then. Ah, um… forgive my asking, but, how does that work?"
[15:28] <@Minaplo> ["How does what work?"]
[15:30] <@Liane> "The … melding."
[15:35] <@Minaplo> ["It's a soul thing."]
[15:36] <@Liane> "Oh, I see." The look on Liane's face gave the impression she actually did understand it, but she was holding back from saying more.
[15:39] * Disconnected
[15:39] * Attempting to rejoin channel #frontierwar2
[15:39] * Rejoined channel #frontierwar2
[15:43] <Inara> "What will you two do now? Travel far away from those bounty hunters, I imagine?"
[15:45] <Minaplo> ["Heh, please. Do you think I'm scared of some punks?"]
[15:48] * Inara frowned. "It might not be that Gauntlet guy next time. It could be someone actually threatening."
[15:50] <Minaplo> [Ilmasidra chuckled.-
[15:50] <Minaplo> ["Thank you for everything, but I think it's time I left you all alone."]
[15:56] <@Liane> "Where will you go now? Off to more interesting adventures, Ilmasidra?"
[16:06] <Minaplo> ["Hm. I believe I was intending to travel into Shrinepath space."]
[16:07] * @Liane gives Inara a look…
[16:12] <Inara> "Er… maybe we'll see you around there sometime. We're passing through ourselves."
[16:13] <@Liane> "It wouldn't hurt to ask the Captain, would it?"
[16:14] <Inara> "Depends on if they actually want to come with. Do you?" She eyed Ilmasidra.
[16:16] <Minaplo> ["No."]
[16:17] * @Liane nodded. "Well, then. Safe travels to you. I better not hear about you getting caught, though!" she teased.
[16:21] <Inara> "Yeah, that's right. By the way, if you need to drop in for some medical treatment after a fight or something, I guess that's fine."
[17:24] <Minaplo> ["Heh."-
[17:25] <Minaplo> ["I'll try to keep in touch, in case you need help." Said Ilmasidra. "Take care, Twiceborn."-
[17:26] <Minaplo> [Ilmasidra lifted a hand, and rubbed their thumb against the pointer fast enough to create a spark of fire- a fire that was a dark, purple colour. They quickly pulled their hand down, leaving a burning gash in midair. They grabbed the middle of this flame with their other hand, spun it lazily- creating a burning circle. Then they stepped through it and vanished.]
[17:27] * @Liane stared dumbly for a few moments after they were gone. "… What an interesting person. People? Something."
[17:33] <Inara> "I'll say," Inara muttered. "At least it seems like we made a friend."
[17:43] * @Liane nodded. "That we did!"

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