Literary Challenge #42 : I Am the Legacy of Romulus
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Join Date: Jul 2012
04-18-2013, 07:58 PM
I was standing at my desk, going through the day's appointments when an incoming message window winked into existence within the flat black surface
Reaching out, I tapped the icon, and swiped my finger towards a wall monitor. The slowly rotating slideshow of images was replaced with the face of my older sister.
"Hey, now's not the best time, I've got a client due in any moment," I said, reaching out to pick up a tall glass, and took a long draft of iced Tarkalean tea.
"I'll be quick," Bella replied. "I've had an idea for expanding my backpiece into a bodysuit, and wondered when you might be able to fit me in?"
"I'm pretty solidly booked for a couple of weeks," I admitted. "But you can always drop by after hours this evening. What did you have in mind to get done?"
"Do you remember the koi carp I described to you a while back? I thought that might be a nice place to start with a sleeve."
"I'll get something drawn up for you, but I've really got to go," I said, as the doors to my studio slid open, admitting a Romulan female in a Starfleet uniform, with a cylindrical holdall slung over one slender shoulder. The division color of her uniform was the mustard yellow of ship's services. "My ten o clock has just arrived."
"Okay, I'll let you go, Boo."
"I'll give you a call back when I'm through here," I promised, before cutting the link and smiling at my visitor. "Sorry about that, good to meet you at last."
"Not a problem at all," she assured me, approaching the work desk. "Did you get the last design modifications I sent last night?"
I called up my inbox, and saw the message.
"The additional script to run down your spine?" I asked. I was fairly sure that this was the last message I had received from Ael t'Kazanak, but what with communications glitches, last minute inspirations and changes of plan, I had learned never to assume anything when it came to communicating with a client.
Ael nodded again and smiled.
"That's right," she said as I called up the concept sketches I had drawn and rotated them on the desk for her to view.
"So we're definitely going with the raptor wings, circa 2370s across your shoulders, and the text running from neck to coccyx, with the other wings on your lower back?" I asked.
"I actually had another idea for the second pair of wings," Ael admitted. "Rather than them being on the lower back, I'd rather have them here --" She placed her hands against her abdomen. "-- what do you think?"
"You're the client," I replied. "Front or back, it makes no difference to me."
"Hmm, I've heard that about Terran men," she mused, a decidedly playful glint in her eye, and I realized I'd walked into that. Not that I minded a little banter with my clients. Tattooing was an extremely personal experience, and it was essential to be able to put the clients at ease. Of course, I knew from initial consultations which clients I could joke with, which ones preferred to be more formal, and the ones who preferred to say nothing at all. Versatility and adaptation were the nature of the business, but Ael and I had exchanged messages for some time, and if the Romulan beauty wanted to flirt with me, I was a single man, and not about to complain.
"Is the text right?" I asked, expanding that aspect of the design.
Ael nodded as her eyes drifted down the curved glyphs.
"'Legacy of Romulus'," she read, translating into English, despite the text being written in Rihannsu. "Yes, that's absolutely perfect. Where will we be starting?"
While I transferred the design to the replicator to produce the stencil, I took another draft of my iced tea.
"I'd like to start with the text," I replied. "It'll make positioning the wings easier, and give a frame to branch off. If you want to just read and sign the waiver, then head through to the work area, we'll be able to get started in a few minutes."
With another nod, Ael scrolled through the legal disclaimer which said that, while fully licensed, I could only do my best to execute the concepts I was given, and unforseen circumstances could always arise.
"That's fine," she said, affixing her thumbprint and signature to the document, which then automatically saved itself. "What method are you going to be using?"
"Do you have a preference?" I enquired. "I was going to use a dermal stylus, but did you have something else in mind? I can replicate coil or rotary machines just as easily, or if you wanted me to employ a more traditional method with hand tools, I could do that."
"Just curiosity," Ael said, slipping off her uniform jacket as she walked through to the work area, which had already been prepared and set up. "I had a friend at the Academy who was tattooed while on a first contact mission, and the shaman worked on her for twelve hours with hand tools. The design goes from her chest, all the way to past her elbow."
"Sounds cool," I admitted. "You'll have to inbox me a picture of it, I always like to see styles from different cultures. But if you've no preference, I'll just use a dermal stylus."
Pulling on a pair of polymer gloves, I crossed to the replicator, and picked up the first stencil while Ael pulled her undershirt over her head, but then dropped her arms, so the singlet sat on her shoulders and chest, where it kept her breasts covered.
"Okay, I'm going to need you to roll your pants down a bit, and stand perfectly still," I said, taking hold of the disinfectant spray and spritzing it against Ael's spine.
"Cold," she said, with a slight shiver.
"Sorry," I replied, blotting the excess away with a paper wipe before laying the stencil against her spine, gently pressing it into place so the carbon would transfer to her skin without spreading. Peeling away the transfer paper, I scrutinized the result. The glyphs were all crisp and clear, the alignment flawless, so I directed Ael to check the result in the full length mirror.
"I like it," she stated, moving over to the seat and straddling it backwards, her arms resting on the backrest.
Tabbing a preset control on the replicator, I changed my gloves while the dermal stylus materialized on the tray.
"I'm going to start at the bottom, and work my way up," I said, adjusting the stylus' output to give a focused result for lining, rather than a more diffuse setting for shading. "If you feel light headed, nauseous, hot, cold or just want to take a break, just say so."
"Mm hmm," Ael agreed non-verbally, resting her forehead against her arms.
Reaching out, I positioned my left hand to stretch her skin, while with my right, I brought the tip of the stylus into position. Even through the polymer gloves, I could feel that Ael's skin was warmer to the touch than a Human's would be. Depressing the trigger, I activated the stylus, and its tip illuminated as it began to manipulate the pigment in her skin, darkening it immediately to the black hue Ael had requested in her messages.
"How was that?" I asked, as I always did after doing the initial line.
"Absolutely fine," Ael assured me, her voice muffled by her position.
"So tell me more about yourself," I invited. "I just realized we haven't really talked that much about your past, only what you wanted done and your scheduling conflicts."
"Well, I'm thirty seven, and tactical officer aboard the new
," she began, things I already knew. "I was born in the capital on Romulus, but as my parents were stellar cartographers, I spent most of my childhood going from outpost to outpost, so we were all off-world when Hobus went nova. My parents had a few colleagues in the Federation, and my mother had a great uncle on Vulcan, so they managed to get work at the Science Academy and we lived in ShiKahr. I applied to attend Starfleet Academy when I was seventeen, and was accepted for the following academic year."
"Did you still need a letter of recommendation?" I asked, settling into the procedure, and allowing my hands to move automatically, while I conversed with Ael. "I understand that non-Federation members need a letter of recommendation from a Starfleet officer to apply to the Academy, but as you were living on Vulcan, did that still apply?"
Ael shook her head,
"No, we were initially considered refugees, but granted citizenship three years later, so I was able to apply, just like anyone else."
While we talked, I had made considerable progress, and was already half-way done.
"I remember you said your parents relocated to Mol'Rihan?"
"You are a clever boy," Ael teased. "Did you read the name while looking up the text?"
"Hobus isn't exactly new or secret information," I replied, manipulating the tip of the stylus in a swooping motion as I finished the last of the glyphs on Ael's upper spine. "I could be tempted to take a trip there some time, maybe do some research into Romulan mourning tattoos."
"Well, I'd be happy to show you around," Ael replied. "Although my parents wouldn't want me bringing you home for dinner, they're actually still pretty traditional, despite everything."
"I wouldn't want to put you to any trouble," I said, as I replicated the stencil for the raptor's wings. "Can I get you to sit up straight for a moment? I need your shoulders in a relaxed position while I place the stencil."
Ael silently complied, and I laid the stencil in place. As we had discussed via inbox, the tips of the wings spread to the tops of the deltoid muscles, and slightly over the trapezius muscles.
"How do you find it serving aboard a Federation starship?" I enquired, changing my gloves before activating the stylus again.
Ael shrugged, and I quickly lifted my hand, so the stylus would not mark her skin.
"Oh, sorry!" she exclaimed. "I'm sorry, I'll sit still. Serving on a starship... Not too bad, really, I mean sure, a few people just see the ridges on my forehead and look like they're about to douse their drawers, or that I'm going to eat their children, and there're a few who seem to think they have to be Super Formal and treat me as if I'm a Vulcan, but I can't complain. I've had no issues with delayed promotions or anything like that, and I've got to see some amazing sights over the years. I'm just really looking forward to shipping out on the
, given that it's one of the new Odyssey-Class cruisers."
"Are you going to be with the same crew?" I asked, sliding my chair so I could work on Ael's left shoulder, having completed the lines on the right. "I mean, if it's a new ship, are the crew from the last
being transfered over?"
"Mostly," Ael replied. "Of course, there's bound to be a few new faces, but for the most part, the Admiralty likes to keep command crews together when they have a good track record. Captain Atreides is a very stabilizing influence, it's a pleasure serving with him. How're we doing back there?"
"All done," I replied, scooting my chair over to the replicator for the final stencil. "If you want to hop up on the couch and get yourself ready, the stencil is cooking now."
"Hmm, should I take these off completely?" Ael deliberately wondered out loud, as she hooked her thumbs into the waistband of her uniform pants.
"Whatever you're comfortable with," I replied as casually as possible as I picked up the smaller, almost heart-shaped stencil. When I turned back, Ael's uniform pants were in a heap by the couch, and the waistband of her underwear had been rolled over. She was still decent, but it was clear that she was being genuinely inviting, which, after our online chats, was always nice when that connection transferred into the real world.
I positioned the stencil and changed my gloves again, before picking up the dermal stylus and returning to work.
"It's quite interesting to actually see the process," Ael commented, as I deftly drew the stylus over her skin, quickly etching the lines of the wings into her abdomen. "And addictive... I think I'm going to have to have more work done. Maybe my parents names somewhere..."
"Sadly, I've got another booking right after, or I'd say we could continue," I said, genuinely regretting that I would not be able to enjoy my new friend's company for longer. "But I was going to be staying open after hours tonight to do some work on my sister, I could get them written up if you'd like to come back then?"
"That would be ideal," Ael said as I filled in the last segment of the design.
Sitting up, she rolled her underwear back into place, covering the lower half of the winged design, before sliding off the couch to pull on her uniform pants.
"Now, about payment," she said, reaching down, to the holdall she had been carrying, and taking out a large bottle of Romulan ale. "I believe this was what we discussed..."
"Absolutely so," I agreed with a smile while I cleared up the work area, placing everything on the replicator tray to be recycled. "We'll open it later."
Last edited by marcusdkane; 04-19-2013 at
. Reason: Final polish...