Torshael and Tayne's Story: Between Missions
Written in Collaboration with Dragonflight
For the second time in as many weeks, Tayne appeared on the flight deck of Star City space station, hovering a moment to make sure he wasn't about to run into anyone else who might be sharing his airspace. His immediate area seemed pretty empty, though he caught sight of a few native dragons chasing each other around the nearest docking pylon and a couple more bounding along the grass-covered hills that covered the floor of the deck directly below him. He still wasn't entirely sure how the place managed to keep them alive without proper sunlight, but maybe the artificial light was good enough.
Safe from potential crashes, he caught the equally artificial wind under his wings and glided to a nearby landing platform, alighting as lightly as he could and dropping quickly to all fours. The hallway, extending in either direction from the platform along the deck's rounded, black-metallic walls, was empty. That was one reason he'd chosen this platform as opposed to one of the others lining the walls. He padded inside, out of the open and exposed flight deck, and crouched down. ::Welcome to Star City,:: he sent cheerfully to his small burden, Tekasynos, with both of their luggage-- surprisingly little, compared to what Tayne had expected-- strapped between his wings behind him.
Tekas didn't take the invitation to slide down, hands firmly entwined in his mane. A glance over his shoulder proved the infernal looking around with wide eyes. "It's very... metallic. Is the whole place like this? Or just this part?"
Content to keep carrying his companion, Tayne flipped his wings shut, rising again and starting down the hall. "It's not as overwhelmingly dark and metal-hewn everywhere, no, but it's made out of metal and plastic, for the most part. They like brightly colored lights, too."
Making his way to the nearest elevator, Tayne chuckled, thinking that perhaps it was a good thing his passenger hadn't decided to disembark, given the way he was looking around at everything. He probably would have wound up tripping on his own two feet by not paying attention to where he put them. "We can get ourselves a hotel room first, then if you like we can look around. I know the place well enough, I think, to show you the more interesting places."
If he hadn't turned his head enough to look at Tekas out of the corner of his eye, Tayne never would have known that he'd been answered: all he got was a distracted nod. He chuckled again and let the infernal look around, stepping into the dragon-sized elevator when the door slid open for him obligingly. He'd decided to use the same hotel he'd been in before, so he knew the right deck, level, and crossing to get them to the lobby. "You should probably get off now," he suggested to Tekas, "or else they'll wind up giving us a dragon-sized room, and that's probably not necessary. --Unless you'd like one," he offered. "I can't imagine you've had many chances to shift lately, and they're pretty accommodating for larger people around here."
Tekas obligingly slid off his back. "It's okay," he said slowly. "I haven't shifted for several weeks... but I'm not exactly anxious to do it again, honestly."
"Ah. Yeah, getting my sister out of human form is something of a chore, too," Tayne shrugged, wriggling out of the straps they held on their meagre things before shifting, himself. He grinned at Tekas. "Really, the fact that you've kept me in human form for as long as you have says something." To prove the point, he leaned over to kiss him lightly, getting a smile in response.
Getting a room to drop their things off didn't take any time at all. Tayne was just glad he hadn't ever gotten around to changing the bulk of the credit back into gold for Kynn, or it might have taken longer. This time the room was a few minute's walk from the nearest elevator, so he asked while he walked, "So anything in particular you'd like to see first? There's just about anything you can imagine, here, to do."
" ... why don't you show me some of the things you like?" Tekas suggested after a moment of thought.
"Sure, I can do that," Tayne nodded, setting his mind to working on thinking up a few places to go to first. "Just promise me you'll tell me if you don't find something as interesting as I do, all right?"
Thinking it might be better to start smaller, they started the selective tour with a part of the light commerce deck, one with the least amount of flashing lights, loud holovision screens, and strange creatures. There were more levels on each deck than they could have walked in a single day, not and still have time for anything else, but Tayne had already decided which two or three levels to lead Tekas down as a bit of an introduction to the station. He did enjoy proving to Tekas that his glowing eyes really wouldn't have stood out, or even marked his species-- and that he might even have been considered fashionable-- by pointing out the various strange modifications people did to themselves here, everything from patches or wires of light grafted onto their skin, to extra limbs sticking out in odd places, to, yes, glowing eyes.
Even there, on a level where most of the stores were more human-sized and catering to bipedal customers, the populace was more varied than even on Kynn. Humans and elves, yes, but also huge numbers of human-animal mixes, odd humanoid species with scales or wings or six eyes, and even a considerable number of creatures that didn't look anything like a human, even in body shape. It was more of an experience in people-watching than actual window-shopping, as Tayne had expected, though there were certainly enough strange and interesting products to look at, as well.
When he thought Tekas had, had enough of the shopper-bound commercial level, he led the way to a slightly different level, one meant for entertainment. Not the gaudier entertainment, with the huge holoscreen theaters seating thousands, the flashing and moving lights and movie-clips hovering in the air above doors, and virtual experience caterers, but a level full of more traditional entertainment. There were live shows here, ranging widely in content from opera, to classic theater, to circuses and animal shows, though Tayne suspected that many of the "animals" were just as sentient as he and Tekas. There were a few more "old-fashioned" holo-theaters, as well, meant for smaller audiences and older films, most of them not even in 3D like the more modern shows. It was all more technical than anything Tayne had experienced before coming to the station, but it was a bearable level of technology, for him, so he hoped it'd suit Tekas, as well. He had hopes of actually taking him to a few of the shows there, before they went back to Kynn, if he seemed amenable.
That left the recreation parts of the Flight Deck, for the day, and Tayne led him down one of the observation halls in the open-air portion to give him a better look at the variety of plant-life living along the naturally sculpted floor, and creeping up the docking pylons in many cases, and the ground-mazes and trails that dotted it. There was a collection of gyms, practice yards, and exercise clubs on that deck, too-- Tayne had spent a fair amount of time at a couple of them during the time spent waiting for Haiiro's clutch to hatch-- but he settled for describing them to Tekas rather than actually showing them to him.
It was well past midday-- at least by the station's clock; it was probably closer to full dark on Kynn-- when he finally settled them in a restaurant he liked-- a little cafe called McCaffery's-- for lunch. Tayne chased away an overly flirtacious waiter with a light glare after the fellow had taken their orders for drinks, finding to his mild surprise that he didn't particularly like when other people gave Tekasynos that appreciative look, then turned back to Tekas. "So, what do you think?" he asked.
The infernal looked unduly amused, probably because of the waiter's laughing retreat-- or maybe Tayne's possessivensss. ... possessiveness. Was that what that was? When had that started? He had a moment where he was just disturbed by the idea, but he did his best to put it aside when Tekas spoke again. It wasn't that hard.... "It's very... unique," Tekas finally decided. "You were right, though... it's quite difficult to explain if you haven't seen it."
Tayne chuckled. "Think you can stand it for a couple weeks, then? There should be plenty to keep us occupied, at least."
"Sure," Tekas smiled, though now that the amusement had faded, he looked distracted.
"Something on your mind?" Tayne asked curiously.
"Hmm? Oh." Tekas looked a bit embarrassed at being caught thinking about something else. When he explained, his voice was hesitant. "I was just curious, and you never mentioned it.... There's so many different species here... and this bonding you're looking into.... Are they like Haiiro? Or something else?"
"Ah." Tayne grinned at him. "Something else, yeah. If you like, I can show you a picture, back in the hotel room. Or take you to the bays where the eggs are, though that won't really do anything except show you the eggs, unless the parents are there."
"Ah... picture's fine," Tekas said with a dismissive wave. "I'm not so good around younglings... even ones that haven't hatched yet."
"Really?" Tayne asked, amused. "You been around a lot of 'em?"
"I've been around... enough of them. That's all."
Chuckling, Tayne let the matter rest, which was just as well, for the furry waiter came back with their chavin-- this time a bit more subdued in the way he looked at his customers!
Back in the hotel room after a quite satisfying lunch, it was only the work of a minute or two to get the computer on, the network moving, and the hovering, glowing windows arranged to his liking as they ghosted across the stations network to find the site Tayne wanted. "I spent a lot of time doing research on one of these things while we waited for Haiiro to hatch," he explained to Tekas as he got organized. "Well, and playing games and wasting time, but you can only do research for so long...."
The Ministry of Dragon Affairs website sprang up in the main window, and he tapped at the link to the Abstract Destiny. "This is the place, a space ship called the Abstract Destiny. Doesn't look anything like your kind of ships." The page for the double hatching bays came up, along with the pictures of the firstborn from each of the biosynths there. Tayne scrolled down past the Caetran synth in the Alpha Bay, to the phoenix-sira synth in the Bravo Bay. "There you go," he said. "That's what the kids I'm looking to bond look like."
Tekas chuckled. "Feathers. Very cute." He paused, then added wickedly, "Just like you."
Tayne rolled his eyes a little, grinning, and settled an arm around his shoulders. "Well, thank you, but I don't see the connection. I certainly don't look much like that."
"You're still cute," Tekas told him, expression somewhere between silly and sly.
Guessing that he wasn't about to get anything more serious out of him, Tayne decided to make the best of it. He bared his teeth in a mock-growl that was mostly grin. "I'll show you cute," he said, and promptly pounced, pinning the infernal to the couch cushions. Tekas went down laughing.