None Too Pleased
Laehval was none too pleased seeing another woman with her arms around Lerak. The woman was a piteous creature -- too thin and sickly to be truly attractive -- but the sight of her fawning over her Chief Engineer sparked a shaft of jealousy that she didn’t know she possessed. He was giving her aid. Nothing more, she thought. Besides, what do au care if he is involved? Romantic attachments are an impossible nuisance. Still, the gaze that she leveled at him was stony.
“Au have a task that is far more important than providing medical aid, tr’Pexil. Let the maenaks handle healing these people. What news have au for me on the nano-tech tests in the water system? Are they able to isolate the chemical agent causing this?”
Lerak turned to the sound of Laehval's voice, oblivious to the stern look she was giving him. Either the woman holding onto him captured his attention, or he’d grown far too accustomed to Laehval's steely gaze -- perhaps a bit of both. The blanket had fallen off of the sickly woman's shoulder, but the engineer placed it back over in a tender gesture. He tapped the top of Nalia's hand to let her know he needed to address the question from his superior. "They will take care of au. I am needed elsewhere."
Addressing Laehval, he reported, "The nano-machines are working particularly well considering the lack of design time. Credit the Borg and their assimilated knowledge. Fortunately for us the programming was straightforward. Identification of what the machines would attack goes to t'Ksa of course...and a lack of mutation of said compound. If the Othan were able to craft a more clever attack upon us it may have been one step ahead of us. Anyway, the nano-machines account for roughly sixty-percent faster cleanup. Our biggest limitation is the replication of the machines." Lerak stopped to catch his breath and looked directly at Laehval. She looked tired, at least in her eyes, and like someone that did not wish to remain in this place for long.
“I would like a timeframe of when this section of the water table will be purified and how the remaining nano-bots will handle the strain of tainted drainage water. We must also discuss your cloud-seeding idea. The agent is there, as well, which leaves the potential for this agent spreading with the precipitation.” Her eyes flitted briefly to the other woman, momentarily distracted by the way the way she was watching Lerak.
Lerak followed her gaze, glancing back at Nalia. The girl brightened as she saw him looking, eyes shining with something akin to hero worship. While she was showing some improvement in her color, she was still very weak. After taking too deep a breath, she dissolved into a coughing fit, bowing her head into the blanket still draped around her. Lerak sighed, knowing he was an engineer, not a maenak, and there was little he could do to personally help her.
He turned his attention back to Laehval. “I hope they got to her in time." Lerak shook his head. "An appalling situation all around."
“Yes, appalling, but that is why we are here.” She gestured to Nalia. “Who is she?”
"A florist in the capital. I went in the ship to avoid a patrol. Fortunately there was no one else in the shoppe except the two of us," he went on, wondering if that sounded like it sounded. "I felt like I had to buy something, for au I might add, to keep my cover. Got a citizen's sense of what had happened on Ch'Rihan. The situation was far more dangerous than we first thought in reality. The Othan really knew how to move upon us." Laehval's expression had not changed one bit.
"There is nothing between her and I. Would not have been enough time for that anyhow if I was interested." He turned his gaze back to Nalia. "She looked a fair bit better at the shoppe. I do wonder how she ended up in this place." He sighed then turned back to Laehval. "If I can we should at least make her well then drop her off at a relative. Are au worried about her?" Lerak wondered if her looks were for a different reason than wasting time with an unknown woman when so many needed help.
“I worry for them all. It is why we are here,” she repeated. “I only wondered who she was to distract au from your duty.” Her gaze flitted back to him, stony as ever. “I am pleased to hear that, even under duress, au were focused on the safety of the crew. That au would brave the horrors of a florist shop and the possibility of being interrogated by a beautiful Othan agent in order to assure Galae survival.” She snorted. “Now that the distraction is over and your associate is being tended, perhaps it is time au finish what au came here to accomplish. Your work here is important to the whole of ch’Rihan, na just one or two individuals.”
"For better or worse we have fine engineers making the preparations across this site. My task is to evaluate the data to improve the efficiency and speed of the machines. We have far bigger targets after helping these people here." He looked over his ISD at a new set of numbers flying across the screen. "Hmm, promising. I..." he sighed as he paused himself. "Perhaps later Laehval. The atmospheric test is next. It will be a sight to see from what I've been told." Lerak looked past her gaze and deep into her eyes, seeing his reflection in the bright sun. "I believe we are all beyond tired, and I for one look forward to the minute or two of rest I may get in the next few days." He smiled, albeit weakly. "Au should get some rest soon."
Her mouth tightened when he called her by her first name. She stepped close, but not at all for the reason he hoped. “One day, Lerak, au will learn that familiarity in public is na the way to ingratiate yourself to me,” she hissed low, for his ears only. “Get back to work, or your days upon the Talon will surely come to an abrupt end, and au can spend the rest of your life with your pretty little florist, tinkering with technology of little consequence.” With one last scowl, she turned on her heel and stalked away.
None Too Pleased - Laehval t'Temarr & Lerak tr'Pexil
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