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Returning to the Hub
September 10th-Tag Nala, Kaalth, Jax
Star Trek-AOS

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#1
"And here we are." Jaya said to her cousin as the ship made the translation from their universe to the Hub. It wasn't the same vessel that she'd used the first time-this one was an Orion scout/smuggler. It was warp capable, cloaked, and importantly was tough enough to withstand that spatial and temporal instability around the portal to the Hub without problems. It was a mark of the Syndicate's enthusiasm for the project that they'd allowed her and Nala to have it on semi-permanent loan, and that the Council that ran the Syndicate, informally known as the Grey Ladies, had agreed to Jaya's proposal that Orion women should be rebranded as Orion dancing girls, free women who could take lovers when and as they chose. Although, it would be emphasized, they would be more likely to choose to do so if the male was willing to offer information, or gifts, or other useful items. And exclusive arrangements would still be possible-if the male was willing to support her in good style.

A few moments later, and the ship had landed inside the hangar where she'd spent so much time repairing the shuttle that would take her back to her family, and now, was where she was returning to, the place that would be her home for the foreseeable future.

Once the ship was safely landed, the four Orions-Ruvet, who'd insisted on accompanying his only daughter and eldest niece, and who was carrying the essential luggage, although getting everything unpacked would require another trip or three; Nala, Jaya's cousin; Padma, who was about Jaya and Nala's age, and who was going to be working at the Green Goddess and hopefully cultivating a well placed patron of her own; and Jaya herself.

As they walked along, she pointed out the various sights of the Hub, until finally they reached the Green Goddess "Which" Jaya said "Except for the name, and a few other differences, ought to look quite familiar." she'd already explained how buildings in the Hub could be created by force of will or belief, although she wasn't sure if Nala had quite believed her.
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#2
Nala had packed carefully, grateful that her father would be accompanying her so that she could be just a tad less judicious in her use of packing space. Call her rude or not- but that man would happily sacrifice part of his luggage for her. Not that Nala intended to take unnecessary room- Ruvet was an incredible father and had given up too much of his life for his children since their mother had passed away. But that didn't stop her from wanting to be greedy now that the group had been rebranded to a group which could proudly carry belongings.

Her brother had bought her a lovely hair pin for the occasion- complete with brilliant burgundy jewels to accentuate the colour of her hair. She was standing taller than she had in a while- though admittedly that was in part from her cousin standing at her side. Nala listened patiently as her cousin pointed things out- certain she would forget them entirely by the time she had settled in.

Walking up to the door to the Green Goddess, Nala was truly astounded by the resemblance to their home. "A tad familiar yes." She offered with a raised eyebrow. She had admittedly been skeptical about Jaya's explanation- but it truly seemed as though their club had been pasted directly into this landscape.

Nala wondered vaguely if she would ever care enough to make something else appear- but the Club had been her home for her whole childhood- and the periods of adulthood in which she wasn't sold off. Entering the building, she took a deep breath and looked around. It certainly felt like home- didn't quite smell like home, her cousin's scent was much stronger than almost any others, but she could still smell echoes of her own scent and her father's scent.

Nala imagined it must have just been part of what Jaya pictured when she built this place- a rather flattering thought since it meant she was important to her cousin as well. What was interesting however was the other strong scent- an Orion male. That was presumably not something Jaya had remembered- so that must be Kaalth's scent.

.... It was not unpleasant to say the least. (To say more- well. Nala was admittedly wondering about the man who possessed such a smell. Something that she found mildly annoying since it meant that her cousin was probably right about the potential there. Nala did not hate the idea- but oh did it rankle her when her cousin knew more than she did.)

Focusing on the building again, She took a moment to look around as they all came through the doors. Nala smiled at her cousin. "You really have done fantastic work setting up here Jaya- No wonder the syndicate agreed to let you remain in control."
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#3
Kaalth was carrying a crate of beer from the store room to the bar when Nala walked into the Green Goddess. It couldn't be anyone else, no other woman in the multiverse smelled like that, smelled so wonderful, so appealing, so womanly. Kaalth would have known her anywhere, at midnight at the bottom of a mine shaft he'd have recognized that scent. And there smell of the real woman, as opposed to the copy, if anything it was more appealing-stronger, richer, more overwhelming.

He staggered a little, almost dropping the case, and hurried behind the bar, putting the bottles away with trembling hands, keeping in mind the advice Jax had given him. Play it cool, play it calm, look responsible. Look like a guy who knew how to get shit done, because that would impress Nala. Miraculously, he managed to get the job done without dropping a bottle, although it was a near thing.

As Kaalth worked, he noticed that Nala wasn't the only Orion who had arrived. There was Jaya, and a woman he didn't recognize, and Ruvet. On the one hand, he was happy that Ruvet was here-he'd liked the copy of Ruvet who had been here until recently, and it would be good to have another guy around, especially someone who was senior to him and had more experience helping run this kind of business. On the other hand-

Well, she'd have a man around to take care of her. No, it wouldn't be the same as having a husband, or a lover to do it, but, she'd still have a man around to take care of the housekeeping and....and she wouldn't need him around. Might decide that it was easier to just rely on her father and...

Kaalth took a deep breath and squared his shoulders and told himself that he wasn't going to give up. He'd just have to work harder to impress her, and really bring it. But he could do it. Nala was worth it, he was sure of that.

Somehow, he managed to walk over to where Nala and the others were standing, chatting as they prepared to go into the door that lead to the kitchen, and then the family quarters and said, doing his best to sound calm and relaxed and not like he was freaking out " Can I help you with your stuff? Or show you where your room is? Or anything?" not aware that he hadn't introduced himself, or made it clear he was speaking to Nala. Mostly because at that moment, he wasn't aware of anyone else existing in the entire universe.
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#4
Nala was happy to chat with her cousin, father, and friend while they were learning the lay of the place. Being fully honest, she was just trying to memorize the differences between this and their home club- though Nala supposed this was her home, at least for now. It was mildly confusing for her to remember that she wouldn't be being sold off anytime soon- that she would have a semi permanent home.

Mind caught up in thinking of the topic, Nala didn't even notice at first when the Orion man came into site. When she did notice Kaalth, it was because she had heard the sound of glass clinking together- and Nala turned just in time to see him catch a falling bottle. Which was admittedly kind of impressive.

She gave him a soft smile when he wandered over towards them and offered to help. Before she could say anything, Padma had walked over and dropped her bags into his arms. The other Orion made some flirtatious comment about how she didn't realize that such a handsome man would be there to help them while Nala chuckled slightly.

"You must be Kaalth. I'm Nala- Jaya has told me about you- it's nice to meet you." She offered with a smile meant to dazzle despite keeping her own bags in her hands. "I would certainly appreciate if you would show me to my room- I think Jaya had just about finished our tour." He was kind of endearing in an earnest way and she hoped he hadn't taken her laughter as rude.
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#5
"Yes, I have." Jaya confirmed "Your room is where it was before, Nala, and you also, Uncle. Padma-you weren't expected, but there are empty rooms that you can use. Kaalth, why don't you drop off Padma's bags, and then you can help Nala get settled." Jaya had promised herself that she wasn't going to interfere with interpersonal relationships, but, she decided, there was no need to keep to that when she was dealing with Orions. Since Padma seemed to share the common tendency of Orion women to try to be the center of masculine attention, and so much the better if that meant poaching a man from someone else. So she'd give Kaalth a chance to side step any requests that Padma might make.

"Oh, I'm sure that Kaalth won't mind helping me get settled, will you?" Padma said, glancing back at the Orion man, and, everyone would notice, increasing the amount of pheromones she was releasing, indicating her interest and increasing the chance that he'd say yes.
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#6
When Padma dropped her bags into his arms, Kaalth grabbed onto them, with a embarrassed "Thank you" when she complimented him, or flirted with him, or however it was he should describe what she'd just said. He wasn't sure how to respond, since he didn't want to offend Padma, but at the same time, he didn't want Nala to get the idea that he was some sort of light-minded flirt who would flit from woman to woman like a insect who just wanted to enjoy as many flowers as he could.

At least, Nala seemed to find the situation amusing, and even better, she had smiled at him, which was the best thing to have happened to him that week. Kaalth opened his mouth to agree with Jaya's suggestion, when Padma offered one of her own. And made her interest in Kaalth evident, which made him feel awkward. Especially since she was inviting him to be alone with her in her room, which in his day was something that no well brought up young woman would have asked of a man, because it could ruin his reputation. Because everyone would assume that the two of them had...and if Nala thought that....but, Kaalth reminded himself, times had changed, and it wouldn't be a scandal, and Nala would know that he hadn't been unfaithful to her. If unfaithful was the right word to describe it, when you'd just met.

"We'll go past your room on the way to the empty ones." Kaalth said to Nala "I'll be back, after I get Padma's stuff put away, and then I can help you unpack." Doing his best to make it clear where he wanted to be. Even though Padma was very attractive, well, she wasn't nearly as appealing as Nala, and he didn't want there to be any confusion on that point.
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#7
Nala nearly let out an audible groan at her cousin- who was playing matchmaker with a pretense that was barely there. Help Nala get settled- sure. In a copy of her own room. Where she knew where everything was, where she liked everything to be, and she didn't have that many things to put away. The redhead couldn't decide whether to laugh, groan, or roll her eyes- but she chose to hold that back. It wasn't like Nala was against having time with the handsome Bouncer.

Though it seemed Padma wanted that as well. Irrationally, Nala felt a spike of annoyance with the other woman- certainly Nala had no claim over Kaalth, but so help her that didn't mean she was going to let Padma sink her claws in. Nala knew it was a ridiculous thought- but he was handsome, smelled fantastic, and was thus far nice- she wasn't going to let someone else destroy any possibilities there. Nala smiled at the bouncer. "I would really appreciate your help." She said softly.

She walked with Kaalth as her father walked off to his own room- after she bid farewell to her cousin. "I'll leave you to your business for now Jaya- I'm sure you have catching up to to do." Nala offered with a laugh before turning away and grinning slightly. Now alone with Padma and Kaalth, Nala bit her lip slightly. She was undecided about whether or not she really wanted to flirt with the man- or whether she already was- but Padma was still pushing her pheromones on high and Nala was annoyed. As such, Nala let loose with her own pheromones to combat it- she had no desire to walk all the way to wherever Padma would be staying just to walk back- but Nala could certainly make sure that Kaalth would be coming back as soon as possible. She didn't however want to crush the man between the two opposing forces- and he had already agreed to return- so she didn't push her scent too hard. Just... a light nudge to remind him that there were other woman than Padma.

Reaching Nala's door, she smiled softly at him again as she set down her bags in the room. "Don't take too long- or I might have to track you down." Nala jokingly threatened- with a bite of her lip that implied it was a promise. She was going to teach him to read after all- so she did of course need to spend time with him.
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#8
"I'll be back as soon as I can." Kaalth promised, flushing with pleasure at the way that Nala was being so possessive already. He'd hoped she'd be interested in him, and this was a good sign, better than anything he could have hoped for. And then she hit him with an extra dose of pheromones, and he almost turned around and ran back to Nala's room. But he was determined to show that he was someone who would get shit done, no matter what, and well, Jax had said that Nala would be more interested if he didn't seem too easy. Not that he was going to do something dumb like encourage Padma, but it wouldn't hurt to get her settled before he went to see Nala.

Once they were inside what was now Padma's room, Kaalth set down the bags and said "Let me go get you some bedding, and then I'll be back." once he returned, Padma was starting to unpack her things, and he set about making the bed as rapidly as possible. Once he was finished, Kaalth said "Do you need any help unpacking? Or anything else?"

Padma laughed, and said "Why are you in such a hurry, sweetness? Are you sure you don't want to stay for awhile?" eyeing him invitingly.

"Nala needs help." Kaalth said "No offense, but, I need to go do that. So if you don't need anything?"

"Fine, fine, go." Padma said, waving her hand dismissively "You've made your mind up, so go. I'm not going to chase man who doesn't want to be caught. Now, if you change your mind....well, you know where my room is."

Without replying, Kaalth hurried out of the room and a few seconds later was knocking on Nala's door.
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#9
Nala offered a soft smile in response to his promise. "I'll hold you to that." She replied happily while she turned to start unpacking her own bags. She was surprised to see that her bed was already made- she would have thought her cousin would've stripped the beds that weren't in use. Of course, Nala also would have thought that her cousin would've given away her room.

Nala was after all, the eldest of the cousins, and as such had been the first one old enough to have their own room- she had chosen a reasonably large one with a nice window. A window that she crossed to and opened the blinds to learn her new view.

It certainly wasn't a bad perspective, but it wasn't home, so Nala shut it again with a sigh. She returned to her bags, and was just about to begin unpacking properly when there was a knock at her door. Smiling, she walked over to the door and swung it open. "Kaalth!" She said as though it were a surprise and she had been expecting someone else. "Please come in." Nala offered smoothly as she stepped away from the door, pulling her hair pin loose and putting it away.

Flipping her now loose hair over her shoulder, Nala turned her smile back to Kaalth. "Thank you for coming to help." She said brightly.
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#10
"You asked me to." Kaalth said simply, as he stepped back into the room. He'd have done anything that she'd asked. Walked over hot coals, gone through a portal that lead to a jungle full of monsters. Left her alone, if that was what she wanted. Coming back to her room was easy. Being alone with her, seeing the way that her hair tumbled over her shoulders, smelling her in the air was like a dream come true.

Now all he had to do was persuade her that he was worth keeping around. "Do you need help unpacking or putting anything away?" he asked "I made the bed yesterday" which he was glad for, since it had started to get stale "So it should be ok." not sure what he should say. He was so bad at this, floundering he asked "Are you tired? If you need to rest I can-" no, no, that was bad, he shouldn't offer to leave "Or if you're hungry I can get you something to eat. I'm a pretty good cook." There, that was better. Letting her know that he could be useful, that he knew how to keep house. He took a breath, and the effect of her pheromones meant that it did very little to calm his nerves.
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#11
Nala wrinkled her nose slightly, trying to hold back a giggle. "Technically I think Jaya did- but I'm grateful all the same." She remarked with a playful grin. Turning back to her work she pursed her lips thinking. The majority of things she had brought were clothes- and some work books for Kaalth. It felt insulting picking out children's books for the handsome man, but she had to figure out what level he was at in his learning.

"Thank you." Nala replied, blinking rapidly in surprise- she didn't think anyone would have thought to change her sheets for her, let alone make her bed. It would also explain the trace scent of him she had caught upon entry.

Twisting her head to offer him a smile again- his suggestion sounding perfect for help without getting in the way. (Nala had a very specific way of putting things away and she doubted he knew it.) "Something to eat would be stellar- I'm famished. Whatever is easiest would be wonderful" She said, hoping her gratitude was clear in her tone- what with getting whisked into the hub, she'd barely had a chance to have two proper meals since the end of her mission.

It was also a good sign about Kaalth that he his first thoughts were for her comfort- she wasn't one to think a man should be subservient, but she firmly believed that when someone had just arrived, it was important to make sure they had everything they need. And okay- Nala was greedy. She liked it when people paid attention to her.

Focusing on her work once more, she got about half of her clothes put away pretty quickly before taking a moment to organize the pile of books she had unearthed from her bag.
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#12
Kaalth grinned back at her teasing. He'd expected that she'd be largely the same as the copy that he'd gotten to know, but it was still good to see that she really was the same. Well, not exactly the same, because she was more vivid, more alive, more appealing than the copy had ever been. But the personality, the way that she teased him, that seemed to be the same.

As it happened, Kaalth could probably have arranged her things the way she liked, but he wasn't going to bring that up. He really wasn't certain how she'd react to finding out about his former association with the copy, and he was sort of hoping that it would be awhile before she found out. He didn't want her to think that he was a creep. So when she asked for some dinner, he came back with a bowl of palak, which he knew was one of her favorites, and a big glass of fruit juice.

"I hope you like it." Kaalth said, knowing that the answer was probably yes, but it still seemed polite to ask, not to mention the whole "not being a creep" thing, as he sat down the tray. He'd added a second bowl for himself-Orions took a lot of feeding, and he knew that Nala didn't like to eat with other people just watching her.

Kaalth sat down at the little table and waited for her, wanting to get her reaction to his cooking before he was distracted by his own eating. "How was your trip?" he asked, trying to make conversation. Because he knew that she'd probably want a companion, someone she could talk to, and he was going to do his best to be like that. Even if he really wasn't used to the idea. It hadn't really been like that in his day. His mom had talked to him, and his sisters, and yeah, he'd seen his parents talk about things, but he'd always thought that 'getting to know each other" was something that would happen after he'd been given to his wife, not before. Doing it out of order like this felt weird. Not bad, really, but weird.
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#13
Nala turned sharply as Kaalth returned- she had been slightly engrossed in her task and was a little surprised at his expediency. Her surprise faded for delight when she saw the meal he carried- Palak and fruit juice. Either her cousin had told him about Nala or today was just really lucky for her. Hurrying to join him at the table, Nala barely remembered to duck her head in a quick thanks to the Goddess before she reached for her utensils.

Nala glanced up at Kaalth and smiled. "Thank you. If this tastes half as good as it smells- it would still be delicious."

She took a warm, mouth watering bite with no further adieu, letting out a small noise of pleasure at the taste. Kaalth had officially won Nala's attention for now- not only had he made one of her favourites, but he had made it incredibly well- and with one of her favourite touches- a tiny bit of matah juice added in. Regardless of whether he knew because of her cousin or not, Nala was still feeling pretty special at the moment.

Savouring the bite, she finally swallowed and washed it down with the juice provided- also a favourite of hers- before turning her attention away from food to remind herself she wasn't alone. Nala flushed slightly as she remembered the noise she had just made- she was far too used to eating only around family or alone, so she hadn't thought about how it might come across.

Focusing on the conversation she smiled at his question. "The trip was not bad- shorter than I expected. A little strange too- but then I'm plenty used to that." Nala offered pleasantly- though she had little else to add to the topic. Eating her food, she scrambled for something to continue the conversation.

Getting her mind back, her eyes flashed down to her plate before meeting Kaalth's gaze. "This is incredible- I thought my brother was the only one who added matah juice- but you did, didn't you?" Nala asked with a bright smile.
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#14
Kaalth smiled at the little noise of pleasure that she made when she tasted the food, both because it made him happy that she liked the food and because it reminded him of the noises she made when he did other things that pleased her and.....well, he'd just met this version of Nala, so best not think too much about that. Even though she was used to ending up in bed with guys she'd just met-but he didn't want this to be a professional thing for her. If anything did happen, he wanted it to be because he was her's, and not for any other reason. Not because he'd bought his way into her bed, although he knew that, being a modern Orion woman, she'd expect presents from a man who was courting her. And not because she was taking him to bed for pleasure and attention, which was why a woman would have gone to bed with a man who wasn't her husband, back in his day. Not that he thought Nala would do that. The important part, though, was that she enjoyed his cooking, and he looked down for a moment, focusing on his own food to give her time to recover her embarrassment.

"Its good to see a woman who enjoys her food." he said, smiling at her "Its good that the journey wasn't too long and tiring. The Hub is really strange, and the people can be weird, but I like it. I've been here awhile, I can show you around a little, if you want."

Then she complimented the food again, and he smiled happily "I'm glad you like it. Jaya told me about the matah juice" which was a fib, it was actually copy-Nala who'd suggested it, but he wasn't going to get into that, not right now "she said it was one of your favorites. I wanted to make sure that you got a good meal when you arrived."
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#15
Nala greatly appreciated that Kaalth gave her a moment to recompose herself- Certainly she was capable of covering up embarrassment with a facade when she needed to, but she was in no hurry to hide under her professional act. She was genuinely enjoying speaking to Kaalth thus far- though yes that was admittedly more for the food and view than the conversation. The conversation was a bit stilted to say the least- Nala had nearly forgotten what it was like to speak with someone and not pretend to submit to them.

Still, Kaalth was friendly, and Nala was enjoying his company. She smiled at his offer. "I think I'd enjoy that. Do you have any favourite places here? And how long have you been here?" She questioned, hoping that if she could get him talking about himself she might not have to do so much of the conversational legwork. That might be a rude thought to have- and she might be concerned about her own mental state- if she weren't so utterly exhausted.

Nala wasn't blind however, and she had noticed when he cut off his offer to leave her alone to rest. His energy was buoying however, and the food fortifying, so she was comfortable that she'd be able to continue enjoying his company. She laughed slightly at the admission. "Jaya is simply not content if she doesn't have her nose well buried in everything. She likes things just so." Nala said with a giggle- though keeping back the thought that Jaya was clearly meddling in between Nala and Kaalth as well. In the end, Nala didn't mind too much, at least he was a great cook.

"But I very much appreciate it, She was right, it is one of my favourites. Thank you." She said with a small smile as she continued to enjoy her meal, savouring each bite and letting out a small sigh of pleasure on purpose this time- so that he could appreciate exactly how much she meant it.
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#16
Kaalth was glad to do some of the talking, he could see she was tired, and it also made him happy that she wanted to get to know him as a person. That was something that made Nala special-that she was kind and thoughtful as well as beautiful.

"I've been here about five years." Kaalth replied "Its kind of hard to keep track of time here, but its been about that long. There are lots of nice places here. The Bazzar has goods from all over, and there are some gardens that I like to visit-thats how I kept track of time, since seasons seem to happen there. And some caves that kind of remind me of the ones back where I used to live, on Orion I mean. I'll be glad to take you, after you've had time to rest. I'm sure Jaya will give you a few days to settle in, before you go to work." which, well, he wasn't sure how he felt about that. Not because he had a problem with it, really, but he didn't like the idea of some jerk disrespecting Nala, or treating her badly. And, he had to admit, because the thought of someone else having sex with her made him jealous.

"Yeah, I guess she does." Kaalth said. He'd just accepted that, after all, Jaya was a woman, and she was in charge, even if she was young for that-younger than him by a few years. He'd never thought how that would seem to another woman, especially since Nala was about his age. Apparently that was one difference between the real Nala and the copy he'd known. "You're welcome. I asked her, about your favorites, I mean. I wanted to make you comfortable, since you'd be so far from home. I guess you've done that a lot, though. Have you been to a lot of places?"
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#17
Nala bit her lip to stop from giggling at his enthusiasm- it was infectious, and she was already excited for their potential trip. "I should hope she does." Nala agreed. "I just got off a mission, and Jaya knows better than to overtax someone after that- she's had plenty of her own." She pointed out while enjoying her meal. "What season is it currently? Are any of the gardens in bloom now? I'd love to see them." Nala questioned, out of pure curiousity and fascination- she could only imagine how many types of flowers there were out there across the universes- and while she wondered about what would be sold at the bazaar too, it seemed a little much when she had no physical money of her own, and barely knew the man she'd be going with.

Nala grinned with pride at the comment about her cousin. "Yeah. She's definitely suited for this. I mean I wish my little cousin wasn't my boss, but I'm happy for her." She scraped up the last few bites of her palak, and smiled at him again.

"Yeah- though a lot of that time has been spent in space. Aboard a ship- the view is gorgeous. Nothing but stars as far as the eye can see- but it's easy to get- well. I don't wish to say 'bored' but it can become tedious. And that's before you even think about how frustrating it is to be stuck with an air recycler that makes everything smell like metal and nothing else." Nala said, taking a drink when she realized what a tangent she had gone on- to wet her mouth if nothing else- but also to stop herself before she went into details she was certain he wouldn't care for.

"You said you lived on Orion Prime?" Nala asked with eyes bright, turning the conversation back around to Kaalth- not even noticing that she had fallen into how one was supposed to hold a conversation- both people offering answers and asking questions. It was nice- a little strange surely, but nice. She'd certainly have to speak with Kaalth again.
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#18
"Late summer or early fall, depending on the world." Kaalth replied "or the part of the world, maybe. So still plenty of flowers, and some places the leaves are changing color. Not as many flowers as there will be in a few months, but we can keep going back. If you want. Its nice to see the way the seasons change and stuff." If she would rather go to the gardens than the bazzar that was fine with him, although he did hope they'd look there a little, since it would give him an excuse to buy her a present. And he'd learned from talking to Jaya, and from copy-Nala that giving presents was a important part of Orion courtship. It had sort of been that way in his day too, except that since men couldn't really own anything, it was all little things that they'd made. Like the carved stone flower he'd made to give the real Nala, when the time was right.

"She's good at running the place, but I think that it'll help to have you and your father around to help her." Kaalth said "I help her too, but there is only one of me, and I wasn't raised to do this kind of work, so I'm still learning." he hadn't realized that Nala was technically working for Jaya, but it made sense. Still, Orion businesses were family affairs, and he didn't like the idea that Jaya would be getting the jewels while Nala got the shaft, as the old saying went. "Maybe she'll let you buy a share of the club." he suggested. Not mentioning that he'd been saving up to do just that, since it was way too soon to be talking about those kinds of long term plans.

"It must be beautiful." Kaalth said, sincerely "I've been to some different worlds, and I really like looking up at the stars, but I've never been out in space. I kind of know what you mean about the air, though. One time, I had a job on a world where the whole planet was one city, and we were inside all the time, breathing recycled air. It was nasty. I was glad to get back to the Hub, once that job was over."

"Yeah." Kaalth said with a little laugh "Only back then, we didn't really know what that meant. I mean, I guess we knew that there were other planets" or that was what he'd read, in one of the history books that he'd been reading, one that was, he was embarrassed to know, had been written for young children "but no one had thought about visiting then, or thought that there might be planets around other stars or that those stars had aliens living on them." or if they had, he hadn't found out about it yet. "Have you ever visited there?" he asked, the question feeling odd, to think that there might be Orions who had never seen their homeworld.
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#19
Nala smiled at the idea of seeing the gardens- being aboard spaceships as often as she was didn't allow much time to admire anything living that couldn't walk on to the ships by themselves. "That sounds lovely." She agreed, figuring the two of them could decide more details when it became more relevant. For the mean time, conversation was more than enough.

She smiled at the suggestion regarding the club. "Perhaps- but yes you are right, I imagine it will help her to have father around. He has spent quite a lot of time in charge of the original club." Nala continued softly, mind now wrapped up in the idea of owning the club- at least partially. She had always known that their home club would go to her brothers- she had accepted that. Still it was a tempting idea, and she'd certainly have to look in to it.

"Maybe I should take you at some point." She offered as she saw the look on his face- sincere about his thoughts. "Not for long, but I can absolutely take you through the portal for a short flight." Nala said with a smile- maybe she'd be able to show him things he hadn't seen before either.

She laughed slightly. "I hadn't even thought of that. I suppose it must have been very strange to hear that many of us never lived on Orion Prime. I have visited but I didn't have much time to explore. What was it like?"
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#20
"You would!?" Kaalth exclaimed "That would be amazing. Thank you. If it wouldn't be too much trouble, I mean. You know how to fly a space ship too? That is so amazing." he sounded excited and enthused and a little nervous at the prospect "Thats, wow." clearing his throat and moving on-because it was a little embarrassing, to be gushing over something that must seem so ordinary to her.

"Yeah that was a little bit strange." Kaalth said "Everything that Jaya has told me has seemed a little bit strange. Orions are doing things now that I could never have imagined." including the way that the Orion Syndicate operated. Yes, it made total sense that Orion women would be using there scent to get alien guys to do what was good for them, but the rest of it-the "slavery" the way that Orion men had to pretend to be in charge-all of that was disturbing and unnatural and he was glad that it wasn't going to be that way here. The rest of it though-well, he'd like to see Orion Prime, like to see the cities and the technology that his people had developed over the centuries "What was it like?" he thought for a minute and then smiled, a little ruefully "Well, I didn't go very many places, but where I lived-It was a good place. We lived in the Rameeri mountains, and my family worked in mining-I guess they are still finding jewels there, even now, but the mining equipment is way different. When I was there, it was all picks and shovels. The guys did all the heavy work-mining and digging, and the women sorted and graded the gems, and sold them. I went to Ert twice, with my mother and aunts, they'd do that once or twice a year, when we had really good pieces. There were families that did cutting and made jewelry closer, but they weren't set up to do the really expensive stuff. That was the only time I went very far from where my family lived." That was how it had been for his father, and it was disorienting, to realize how different his life would have been, if he hadn't ended up in the Hub. "I've seen more places since I got here than I did when I was where I'm from." he finished.
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