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Electra

Voices in the Air (IC)

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It was a slow Tuesday night, without even a good movie showing at the second-run theater, but Stesha didn't mind that. She needed a breather after the past couple of days. At least work was going all right, and her boss was happy with her for scoring a couple of consultations with an important client. Getting an Ace Danger party into their portfolio books would be a very nice little feather in the shop's cap. For tonight, though, she was happy to be at home, fiddling with the bonsai trees she was fostering and tending her other plants. The little trees had been healthy enough, but a little extra pruning and fertilizer would get them back to Moira in even better condition than they had been.

She was a bit startled by the noise of the phone playing a few bars of Savage Garden from her pocket. She picked up the phone, a little cautiously. She'd been meaning to call Derrick, but putting it off. He'd left a quick message last night, but she'd been very busy. Flipping it open, she sat down on the couch. "Hi Derrick."

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Dark Star came cruising back around the sun, just for fun after being outsystem for the day. He'd been giving some Lor associates a little help and it had taken a few hours longer than he'd expected. He'd called and left a message the day before with Stesha but still, he wanted to make sure she was alright.

As soon as he got close enough to Earth for the satellites to take the signal, he called Stesha. He still smiled at hearing her voice. "Hi. I wanted to check and see how you were doing yesterday but you must have been busy. I'm just coming heading back in-system now. Everything ok?"

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"I'm okay," she said, just a little hesitantly. "I was going to return your call tonight, but I didn't know when you'd be available. I've been a little busy. How are you doing?" She paused for another few seconds, then blurted out, "I was thinking you might be wondering about what happened on Sunday, and if we should talk about that."

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Dark Star cruised around pulling in towards Earth. "I'm well. No undue problems on my end." He nodded, forgetting for the moment that she couldn't see him. "I admit to being confused. Has anyone checked in with anything," he asked hopefully. "I can be there in 5, maybe 6 seconds if you'd like me to be."

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"That's all right," she told him, "I know you have things to do." Truthfully, when he was on the other end of the phone, he was just Derrick and far away, which was somehow easier to deal with than someone who was right there but untouchable and inscrutable. "I wanted to make sure you know that those things Jack said... they weren't true. He and I went out on a date, but we were never... we never really did anything."

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Dark Star nodded and changed course. He was due over at the SCC at some point anyway. "I do not pretend to understand what happened between you. I was never good at that sort of thing back when I was human. But I trust you implicitly. Jack, despite the dichotomy of both halves of his life, is a hero as well. I don't think he's perfect of course. No one is. We're all, relatively speaking, human." He started down through the atmosphere towards the SCC, moving at a set prearranged pattern to not alarm them.

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"I guess so," Stesha said uncertainly, cuddling a couch pillow as she drew her legs up under herself. "I just... I guess I didn't understand the way you were acting, but if you didn't believe it anyway, then that's okay." She sounded a little bit like she was trying to convince herself. "He's a lot less than perfect, but we all have to work with him. He might come in handy somehow. So you're, you're totally okay with everything?"

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'Landing', he flew towards the one of the research buildings, nodding and greeting people as he went.

"This may come as something of a surprise. But I'm not particularly skilled at noticing things or reading people. Indeed, until Ace said something, I did not even realize there was tension in the room. I may have some impressive powers at my command. But when it comes to those social intricacies, I am just as awkward and unskilled as I was decades ago. Maybe even more so now." He moved into the lab got ready to start the tests, not that it required much effort on his part.

"He's a solid warrior and good to have if we must do this the hard way." He paused. "Ok with what? That you dated him, however briefly? Why would that be a problem? It happened before we met. I care a great deal for you. But I certainly don't own you or would have any right to take offense at your actions. You could have had a long relationship. It doesn't matter. You say there is nothing to worry about and I believe you. The past you and Jack share is just that, the past. I'm not interested in you and Jack. Just you."

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"Oh..." It was hard for Stesha to conceptualize that sort of relationship, but he didn't sound like he was dissembling. If he was telling the truth, well, it gave her a little pang of anxiety about what he might not consider important to mention about his own past relationships, but that way only lay madness, seriously. If nothing else, any serious relationships he might have had in the past would've been when she was a toddler. There wasn't much point in worrying now. "That's good." She knew she didn't sound as though she entirely believed it, but figured that if he were bad at reading people, maybe he wouldn't be able to tell. "Did you get your satellite fixed?"

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"Hmm? Oh yes. It was in high orbit so I had some time. It only took a little while to adjust it to the correct path. I'm currently over at the SCC in one of the testing and research labs. Today, we're doing tests to see if they can help work on tissue regeneration to promote healing based on some of the energy I can produce. I'd like to actually heal those who need it but the ramifications of that are simply too big. So hopefully this will help out as well."

He waited for the lab guys to get set for the battery of tests. Unsurprisingly, he didn't quite interpret her correctly. "So, how are you? Just ok? We'll get Moira back, never fear."

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Stesha really didn't have much idea what sort of testing that would involve, but it sounded fairly impressive. "I've been keeping busy," she told him. "Ace helped get me set up to do a big project at work, and I've been spending time on that, plus other things." She decided not to mention the conversation with Taylor. If Derrick already didn't understand or care about what was going on there, it wouldn't help or hurt a thing. "It's hard not to worry, though. Even when I'm keeping busy. There's nothing new so far."

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"I'm glad. I'm certain someone with his contacts would be quite a bonus for the shop. When you eventually start your own company, I bet he'd be happy to be a patron of yours."

He paused, understanding about hope and despair. "Something will turn up. I know it will. I understand how hard it is to keep up hope at times. But hope in and of itself can sustain you, or someone else, through the roughest and darkest of times. Believe. Have faith. All will work out." He was confident, sure in his words and beliefs.

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Stesha wasn't sure she quite believed that, but she wanted to, and the way he said it made it seem easier. "Just keep reminding me of that, okay?" she asked wryly. "Sometimes I forget." Taking a deep breath, she tried to put all of... well, everything, in the back of her mind and move on to happier topics. "So I've got the hamper for this weekend," she reminded him. "If nothing new develops by then, what sort of food do you want me to pack for us?"

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He chuckled. "Everyone does at some point. But I'll happily be there to remind you."

He smiled to himself. He was looking forward to the trip, even if he might be a little nervous about it. "Well, I believe there is a native fruit or two that we can have. Beyond that, we can do whatever you like. I'll have a sizable cooler so whatever we bring can be kept cold. The camping supplies have a grate and pans and whatnot if you would like to cook over a fire. Though I should warn you. My cooking skills are not what you would call 'refined'. I'm a little out of practice; not that I was a chef of any but the lowest degree once upon a time."

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"Yeah, me neither," Stesha said with a laugh, relaxing just a little. "Skip the grilling then, we'll just picnic. If the fruit's taken care of, I'll pack veggies and sandwiches and things like that, maybe a few treats." Since the distraction made her feel better, she decided to take it a little further and see how that went. "I'm going shopping for a new swimsuit tomorrow," she told him offhandedly. "What's your favorite color?"

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Dark Star chuckled. "Well, we can still do grilling. Try to anyway. It's part of camping anyway. And if it doesn't work, we can fall back on the other fare. I'll pick up a few odds and ends as well that we might enjoy. Might not be standard camping food but I'm willing to indulge the appetites a little and broaden our horizons." He answered her question without thinking before what she said kicked in leading to a whole slew of thoughts of rather ungentlemanly thoughts revolving around Stesha. "Green and blue... wait. Uh, shopping, err, what?"

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She chuckled. "That's good. I look good in green." Rather than expand on what she said already, she left it to his imagination. "I'm taking off early on Friday, so if you want to come by my place around four, I should be packed up and ready by then. I'll probably have the picnic hamper and a big duffel bag, if that's not too much to carry."

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If he had a throat to clear, he'd be doing it. "Oh yeah. Uh, I mean, yes. Green, uh, suits you. Or will. Really well." Duh, what with her hair and all. He focused back on her words and not the image in his head. "Bring whatever you wish. It is highly unlikely we won't be able to move it through. Honestly, you could bring a whole car I suppose though I'd rather not bring a car. Pollution and contaminants and all that would be a bit much. It wouldn't matter much considering how little it would be. But still. Anyway, bring as much as you could want."

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"I don't think we'll need a car," Stesha agreed, smiling into the phone a little as she hugged the couch pillow. He certainly sounded normal now, and surely if there was anything weird going on, they could settle it this weekend. "Then I suppose I'll see you on Friday at four. I can't wait. We're going to have a great time."

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