[AotA] Alpha Station :: The Habitat :: Scene 3

The Habitation Module of Alpha Station – or "the Hab mod", as it's called by its inhabitants – is an inner layer of the station sitting a comfortable distance from the station's power core — close enough to keep it warm and habitable, but far enough to shield its inhabitants from any ill effect of the incidental radiation. The hab mod is divided into sectors of different facilities – residential, recreational, and commercial – but the whole module feels looks and feels like a living, and vibrant city. False lighting on the module's ceiling gives the impression of an open sky, which changes according to the station's day and night cycle. Buildings, really large modular homes stacked on top of each other, stretch up several storeys before being capped by the mod's fire suppression systems in the rafters.

We find Dwi walking the periphery of a small park, in the protection of an arcade adjacent to a bodega/cafe overlooking the small public space. The park is one of the few "green" spaces on the station, added both for the benefit of the station's ecosystem, and the psychology of its inhabitants. The park has a few kids playing in it while their parents are off shopping, and the arcade has the usual hustle and bustle of a downtown market — it's a busy spot, but there's still a surprising amount of room for people to breathe and enjoy their surroundings.

Dwi sips at his coffee, and stops to take in the sight of the park. That's when he notices Nur.

Nur, what are you doing here when we find you?


  • edited November 2017
    Nur is sitting in the grass, frowning slightly as she sinks her fingers into the soil and unfurls her leaves. So sterile... where's all the life to it? She stands, brushing the dirt from her hands. Most unsatisfactory... She smiles as Rocky comes bounding over to her, kneeling to greet him. Hello little one. Are you having a good day?
  • Rocky's pleasure at being out and among people again – with a million new sights, smells, and sounds – comes through plain as day with raw excitement. He's full of kisses, and playful jumping. Dwi makes his way over to Nur, casually following Rocky through the crowd. He stops a handful of paces from Nur, not wanting to invade her space. He smiles, standing with one hand in his pocket, and the other gripping his coffee.

    "Hi Nur," he says, "sorry to interrupt. We were just out taking a walk. What were you up to?"
  • edited November 2017
    She smiles shyly at him. You weren't interrupting. I was trying to find a spot to... I think the word you would use is absorb. She shrugs. The dirt is odd here. She glances at his face, entranced for a moment by his eyes.
  • Dwi's smiles back before the confusion registers on his face at her use of the word "Absorb". The confusion doesn't last long, though, as it's eclipsed by the embarrassment of her looking into his eyes — they must be a mess, he thinks to himself. He sips his coffee, hoping it'll rejuvenate them a bit. "I'm still getting used to station time — jet lag always takes me a while to get over... What do you mean by absorb? Like... The dirt? For nutrients?"
  • edited November 2017
    She snaps out of it and nods, remembering that it's impolite to stare here. "The soil and the sun. It's... different from eating but just as necessary to my kind." She shrugs. "It's not quite right here."
  • edited November 2017
    Dwi stands up straighter as Nur snaps herself out of the stare — he's not used to this kind of attention, and he's always assumed that people stare at him out of morbid curiosity, rather than attraction, or genuine interest. He looks Nur over, and nods. "Well, whatever soil you munch on back home is clearly the right stuff..." He catches himself, and blushes. "Sorry — I don't know what I'm saying... Some of the shops nearby sell rich top-soil for some of the bigger ships — the ones that do deep-space jumps, and need full ecosystems on-board. Maybe some of that might be more to your liking? I could show you..."
  • edited November 2017
    She blushes, leaves curling and reddening along their centers. "You don't have to put yourself out for me." She smiles down at Rocky. "I wouldn't want Rocky to miss his walk."
  • Now it would appear it's Dwi's turn to stare — his eyebrow cocks as Nur's leaves shift in shape and color, and the redness in his face gradually spreads down his neck to his chest, softening to a gentle flush, and revealing silver hairs on his chest. He looks down at Rocky, as if Nur just reminded him the dog was there at all, and he waves a hand dismissively. "Ol' Rock? I'm sure he could be convinced if we stopped to grab him a treat on the way..."

    Rocky's ears perk at the mention of a "treat", and he wags his tail vigorously in approval.

    Dwi smiles and looks up at Nur for a second, "See? What do you say?"
  • edited November 2017
    She nods shyly. "You truly do not mind?" She glances at him again, drinking in his flushed face and his fascinating eyes. Don't stare! She looks back at Rocky to cover her gaffe. "What does he like for treats?" She bends to pet the pup gently.
  • Dwi shakes his head, a sudden calm coming over him, "I don't mind at all... I don't suppose any of these vendors sell carrots, do they?"
  • She chuckles, leaves unfurling again as a smile spreads across her face. "Let's find out shall we?" She starts towards the market, glancing back at him over her shoulder. "Coming?" She waits for him to catch up and lets him take the lead.
  • Dwi strides over to her with a bounce in his step, and nods graciously when Nur offers to let him lead — he doesn't have a clue where he's going, but he can always call TASHA if he gets them seriously lost. They walk the arcades of the market for a while – only looping back on their path once if you believe it. Rocky runs circles around them as they browse the wares of various vendors.

    It seems like there is a never-ending supply of people on this station. You would expect that after walking the halls as long as they did that they'd have seen a few familiar faces, but there's always a new batch of people waiting for them around every corner. What strikes you most about the people who live here, Nur?

    Dwi is relieved when they do eventually find a fresh produce stand, with an old woman running the shop. There is a meager selection of a great many things: proteins, grains, veggies... Flowers and fruit – which Dwi avoids calling attention to out of embarrassment. It's a thought that would later laugh about, realizing that it would be the equivalent of him asking her about his physiology. He grabs a few carrots for Rocky, and starts looking around the booth for something for himself. He looks over to Nur, "See anything you like?"
  • The sheer variety of species on the station is mind boggling, as if every planet in the confederation was represented. She tries not to just stare at everyone, resisting the urge to sit and watch them go by.
    She looks over the selection, most of it unfamiliar, and tries a bit of Rocky's carrot. "I don't know what to pick. What's your favorite? I can eat almost anything."
  • That catches Dwi off guard, because most of his favorite dishes are native Taulan — but there are a few comfort dishes he picked up from his father. He peruses the bins, and pauses a moment when his gaze falls on the old lady's "Rose Hip Tea" — his father's favorite.

    "We have that in a wine, too," the old woman adds.

    He did have a soft spot for the taste of certain flowers – seeing as they were often featured as garnishes in dishes at the Capital Embassy – but that evoked different imagery in his head than the family favorites he shared with his mother. He decides it's best to opt for something else.

    His eyes dart around the offerings before finally settling on a small pastry — a chocolate croissant, seemingly fresh. He pays the woman, and turns back to Nur. "Most of my favorite dishes are Taulan, but this was one of my favorite treats growing up — especially when it's fresh." He offers her the bread with a smile that just barely reaches his eyes.
  • She smiles, leaning over to take a bite as he holds it. "That's delicious!" she moans, licking the chocolate from her lips. "Aren't you going to have some?"
  • A little bit of the still melted chocolate spills out onto Dwi's hand as Nur takes a bite. He huffs out a low, staccato "whew" as she finishes licking her lips. When she asks if he's going to have some, he shakes his head. "Sharing food like that is an extremely intimate act in my culture," well, his mother's culture. He swaps the pastry into his clean hand and offers it to her again. "Please, take it."

    While she makes up her mind, he raises the hand with the chocolate glob to his lips and sucks it clean — being careful to get whatever chocolate transfers to his mustache in the process.
  • Her leaves go scarlet as her hand flies to her mouth. "I'm so sorry! I didn't think before... I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable!" She takes the pastry carefully. Good job Nur. Now he thinks you're weird. She glances at him shyly. "Are you sure you don't want any?"
  • Dwi stops mid-suck of his finger when Nur's leaves turn scarlet, his eyebrows shooting up in surprise — did he say something wrong? Was this too forward? He briefly, reflexively shakes his head as she apologizes – then again when she explains her intention not to offend. He stays silent as she talks, offering him some of the pastry again — this has gone south, and he's mortified.

    "I, uh," he stammers, trying to salvage the moment, "it's not that I don't... I mean it's just on my Mother's side... I'd love to... To share a meal..." His voice cracks, and he clears his throat, "to share a meal with... with you." He smiles, and little lines form near his eyes. "If — if that's not too forward."
  • She cocks her head curiously, smiling softly back at him. "Do your people not eat meals communally? How interesting..." She takes in his face. "You have a beautiful smile..."
  • Dwi waffles on answering for a moment, "It's not that we don't eat communally — because we do. It's more so the act of sharing the same piece of food. In Taulan culture, sensitive immune systems have all but pushed out any physical contact to the realm of intimacy, and the proliferation of the species... Now I'm only half-Taulan, so it's not like I can't share a piece of food... It's just... You know... Old habits die hard."

    He smiles, "One of the reasons my Mother loved my father so much was because he always used to ask if he could try a piece of whatever my mother and I were eating — even though it didn't put him at risk, she had always just associated it as him caring about us deeply, and wanting that extra physical connection to us..." A contented look spreads over Dwi's face as he reminisces of his family, and his youth — he catches himself staring off into space, and returns his attention to Nur. "So, yeah... If you don't mind sharing with me, I'd love some."
  • She contemplates him, a shy smile spreading as her leaves blush softly. She holds out the pastry for him. "I don't mind at all..."
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