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Mac and Danni’s Day & Night Out On Rhylanor

 
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LukeDev75
Gunner / Security


Joined: 08 Dec 2006
Posts: 482
Location: Main Engineering

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:12 pm    Post subject: Mac and Danni’s Day & Night Out On Rhylanor Reply with quote

Mac and Danni’s Day & Night Out On Rhylanor

This is a coordinated post between coinich and LukeDev75

Warning: This past event has been posted to provide insight to current events, document history and is considered extreme Player Knowledge. Also, it is for your enjoyment

About midday on Thirday 089-1115, Danni answers her communicator, “Hello . . .”

“Hey, it’s me, Mac.”

“Oh,” She barely pauses, “I see from your messages your vacation is going well, yes?”

“Yeah well it’s okay so far. Said I would call you.”

“Yes . . . you did,” stated with a little attitude, “What do I owe the pleasure of this call?”

Almost meekly, Mac continues, “Well you said to give you a few days, so a few days have passed. Wondering if you were available this afternoon and . . . or this evening, or both?”

Already knowing the reason, Danni takes a little perverse pleasure in her answer, “No, I am otherwise engaged this day.” She purposely waits to hear.

Mac exhales in a moment of defeat then gathers a seemly casual response, “Oh well, I am sorry to hear that. Thought we might have had a little time to connect on this break.”

Having enjoyed her moment, a small smile creeps onto Danni’s face, “But I could be available on Forday.”

“Really?” Mac almost gleefully replies.

“Yes, Mac, we could do something on Forday.”

“Okay, how ‘bout I pick you up at ‘round eleven?” Mac asks hopefully.

“Yes, eleven would be fine.”

“Good then . . . oh, where should I get ya?”

Gliding around her hotel suite, Danni says innocently, “I am at the Waldorf, room 681.”

“Waldorf – 681.” Mac repeats for memory, then pauses as he considers the familiarity of the location, {Ski was staying at the Waldorf too} but it doesn’t make the connection. “See you at eleven then,” and hangs up. “Yes!” Mac thinks to himself with a smile.

“Yes, see you . . .” Danni hears the call end with a puzzled look at her communicator. She thinks to herself, “Probably shouldn’t have teased him like that. Ah, hell, he can take it.” She smiles.

The rumble of Mackenzie’s Grav-Bike slightly surprises the Waldorf valet as Mac glides in near the entrance. He parks the bike close to the lobby entrance. The valet approaches, “How may assist you sir?”

“Huh?” Mac replies as the realization occurs, ‘valets park vehicles . . . for tips’. “Oh yeah, well, see I am just picking someone up. Can I leave it here . . . with you for a piece? No need to move it.” Mac tosses him the keys.

“Why yes sir, I will look after it carefully.” The valet contemplates the machine and how long he may be able to linger on it.

Mac enters the lobby of the hotel, head and eyes twisting around slowly as a tourist seeing skyscrapers for the first time. Observing the well-dressed clientele leaving their late breakfast he misses their return gazes to a clearly out of place man in blue jeans and leather. Mac’s eyes pause in brief acknowledgment of two very attractive young blondes who appear to notice him. He leaves them with a charming smile as he enters the lift.

The loud rapping on the suite door almost startles Danni as she finishes checking her appearance. Eyes rolling back slightly and raising her voice, “You know Mac! There is a door station!” As she approaches the door, she thinks, “He is such a beast . . . at times.” She opens the door.

He can’t help his gaze and smile as he sees her beauty. He carefully looks her up and down. Danni’s feels her face flush slightly and wonders to herself, “Why should I care?” but it still pleases her. Mac begins to shake his head negatively.

Arms outstretched towards Danni, he states, “This will never do.”

“What will never do?”

“Your attire. I mean you look great, really you do, but . . .”

“But what?” Danni’s face now reddens with irritation.

“But we are going riding on a grav-bike and to a garden and I figure you don’t want to ruin those lovely clothes.” He starts heading into the suite. Looking around a little lost, “Where is your, um, room?”

“No, stay out of my room.” Danni starts to follow Mac, then awkwardly turns back to close the door he left open. “Damn it!” she says to herself, hurrying after Mac.

Mac works his way into the bedchamber. “Good God, you got a room for just clothes!?” as he stands in front of the dressing room.

Danni catches up to him too late as he is entering the dressing room. She is partially annoyed by his ‘invasion’ of her personal items, yet partially amused on just how lost he is. He begins searching the closet. She places her hand on her hip and waits for the next surprise.

“How about this?” Mac tosses an article of clothing that Danni quickly catches.

“Careful, this is a . . . oh, never mind.”

“Go ahead try it on.” Mac states matter-of-factly.

“Here? Now? I will not.”

“Not here for a peep show, just want to you to be comfortable.” Mac continues looking through the closet.

“Of course you’re not.” Danni says sarcastically, then thinks to herself, “If he means that, then why not?” She doubts her own thoughts.

“Of course I am.” Mac thinks to himself as he turns and offers her another article, his thoughts continue, “But are you brave enough to let me peak.” He smiles and says calmly, “Try this too.”

Holding the clothing, Danni pauses with indecision.

“Go, go on now and change.” Mac waves his arms in a ‘move along’ motion. “You can run to another room if you need.” Delivering a sly smile.

“That IS what he wants. Dirty ba***rd.” She thinks to herself. Sending a sarcastic smile back, she says, “Okay, I will be right back.” And to herself, “’Cause you ain’t getting none of this.” As she saunters out of the room. “Clear your head girl.” The inner conversation continues, “You are going to his level. Control, control.”

Eventually Danni changes her outfit to something suitable for riding on the back of a grav-bike, to include boots. All her clothes are fashionable and somehow they have managed to bring along a second set of her clothing. She is not sure why, but Mac thought it was best and somehow she agreed. However, there was and is no intention to spend any time requiring additional clothing. She hoped.

Mac and Danni head out through the lobby of the exclusive hotel, Mac is carrying her bag – clearly a ladies bag. Mac looked around the lobby again, but Danni kept looking at Mac – the biker bad boy carrying the ladies bag. She was trying to reel in the thought of her world of courts and royalty and was having trouble. She figured, by all standards and practices, he should not do that, but he did. Mac looked at her, realizing she was observing him.

“What?” he asked.

“Oh nothing,” she answered with a slight smile. “Hard to figure him,” she thought.

“Hey, seeing as I am new at this, figure I need to tip the dude out front, right? What is a correct tip?”

Danni began readying her purse, “Well about twenty credits should do?”

“Twenty credits for looking at my bike!?” Mac snapped.

“Yes, twenty. Do you need some bills?” she asked, fishing her purse.

Mac was a little bothered by Danni’s question, “Really, you think I can’t afford you,” he thought to himself. “No, I got it. No big.” He responded aloud.

Mac and Danni drove away from the hotel, to the envy of the underpaid valets gawking. As Mac hit open air, he increased the speed of the bike. Through different parts of the city, he weaved in and out of buildings. To the untrained rider, he maneuvered the bike in an aggressive manner until he could feel Danni holding tightly close to him. Danni felt a combined apprehension and appreciation for the ride. Mac smiled to himself.

The grav-bike came to a stop in front of an almost traditional chrome and steel dinner. Danni looked around as they entered; the variety of patrons was virtually surprising to her. She shrugged at her environment and slid into a booth as Mac did his best ladies first gesture, for there was no chair to be pulled back. They enjoyed their brunch and a bit of small talk about the past few days. Danni skillfully avoided any comments about hanging with Ski, though she was unsure why she had to – she just knew it was best. Danni watched the diner ritual with unfamiliar eyes. They finished up, Mac picked up the tab and they head out. To allow for better digestion, Mac’s driving was more reserved.

They arrive at the Olavopolis Botanical Gardens, an open area with scattered dome structures for the various flora found within the Rhylanor Subsector and the whole of the Spinward Marches. “This doesn’t look like the University of Rhylanor?” Danni questions.

“Hey, you’re good.” Mac replies sarcastically.

“No really, you dolt, I thought you were taking me to see the University.”

As Mac helps Danni off the bike, “Yeah, well plans change. Spent quite a bit of time there the last few days. Figure it was time for something else.”

“Oh really?” Danni begins mockingly, “Maybe you just didn’t want me to see the college floozies you were hanging out with. You know the ‘friends’ from your pictures.”

“Uh, duh. Colleges have college lassies, not well groomed young ladies of court.” Mac retorts. “Besides, I like gardens, don’t you?”

“Well of course, just I thought that you . . . well . . . you, ah.” Danni was having trouble figuring on how to address her thought that she would not have imagined Mac going to a Botanical garden because ‘he’ wanted to.

“Well . . . ah, what? You think I don’t like gardens eh?”

“Yes, I would figure you don’t.” She says confidently now as Mac brought it up. “Thank you for bringing me here.”

“You’re welcome, but I brought US here. See if you stop by the bowels of the ship once in a while, you would see that I take care of a little plant.”

“Yes, true, I have seen it. I apologize.” Danni thinks for a moment and decides to just ask, “So why is it you keep a plant in the middle of engineering anyway. I mean you keep the place so neat and clean. You are almost obsessive in the manner you keep the space, why would you have a potential problem with a pile of dirt?”

“And you don’t see this ‘biker-dude’ taking care of a plant regularly.” Mac says pointing to himself.

“Well, that too, I guess.”

“I like dirtside me lady. I like riding in the open air, not some stale version of a bio-dome or a starship. I keep the plant as a reminder there are open places with clean fresh air, and other reminders.” Mac pauses lingering on thoughts about his days on Joyeuse.

“And a young lady.” Danni astutely observes aloud.

Brought back to the moment, Mac somewhat lies, “Well, ah, see Joyeuse contains nice open plains and rolling hills, where cattle and other beasts seem to run free and it was a very good place for long bike trips. So yeah, it is a little piece of me past.”

Danni gazes at Mac thinking about the coarse surface and the apparent soft interior. “Rough around the edges that boy is.” Aloud she says, “Well thanks for bringing us here.”

They spend a good deal of the day meandering the various gardens walking and talking. They talk of the plants and the caretaking more than about themselves, but there are occasional personal revelations from both of them. Seems Mac likes plants more than flowers, a plant keeps its color longer and generally is hardier.

As dusk approaches, they head off for a dinner. They take a ride to the downtown area, an older part of the city. A neighborhood with small stand-alone buildings and the local shops to go with it. Mac takes Danni to a small tavern, with tables for diners and even a small stage for the occasional acoustic musician or poet. They have a nice dinner, nothing fancy, but good solid food and an intermediate bottle of wine. Mac takes care of almost everything, from menu recommendations to the check.

They decide to walk off the dinner, visiting the small shops and boutiques in the neighborhood. In one of the boutiques, Danni takes a fancy to a particularly nice blouse. On a whole, Danni is surprised by the low prices on most of the merchandise and decides to purchase the item. As her decision becomes apparent to Mackenzie, he chimes in, “Let me get that shirt for you.”

Surprised and grateful, Danni responds, “It’s a blouse, and no, that is not necessary.”

“Of course it isn’t necessary.” Mac answers, “Think of the shirt as a memento of our little trip here.”

“Well, okay then. Thank you Mac . . . a blouse.” She says with a slight smile

Mac turns to the clerk indicating that he will pay. Turning back towards Danni, he smiles gently. “As long as you are happy with it.” Mac reaches into his pocket for the cash.

“ . . . 620 credits, sir.” Comes a disconnected voice.

“Excuse me?” Mac asks turning back towards the clerk.

“620 credits sir, for the shirt.”

Mac feels the flushness in his face. Calmly he pushes the cash back into his pocket and with draws a charge card. Handing the card to the clerk he says, “It’s a blouse.”

Turning to Danni, “Maybe you should change now into those nicer clothes. Could put on that new blouse.” Danni agrees and uses the Shoppe’s changing room and ‘fixes’ herself up for a night on the town.

They continue to wander the neighborhood discussing the various lifestyles they witness on the street. There are even a few conversations on the socioeconomic differences in society but they each tread carefully not to offend the others backgrounds. Mac avoids comments of Royalty, and Danni avoids generalizing bikers and engineers. They stop in front of an old stone cathedral.

“This has been nice Gannon Mackenzie.” Danni compliments, figuring he has a plan of some sort, “What shall we do now? How does the expression go, the night is still young.”

“How about a night club? With dancing, drink and loud music?” he suggests.

“A public place, I hope.” She thinks to herself, then answers, “Sure, why not!”

“Then here we are!” Mac says as he turns and points to the cathedral.

Danni turns to look upon the dim electric glow of a sign stating “The Limelight.” Men of impressive size were busy ‘checking’ entering customers flanked the entrance. Danni was unsure what they were checking for, as these men were not the normal ‘doormen’ or greeters she was used to. “You’re a little sneaky ba***rd, aren’t you, Gannon Mackenzie?” she says with a smile.

“If you say so.” Mac knowingly smiles, “After you my lady Dionyssia Zakhukili.”

Danni enters into the vastness of an old cathedral whose interior only vaguely recalls its history. The music loud, rhythms felt more than heard. The acoustics are dynamic, but not hurting the ears. Lighting of stain glass windows and club dance floors and go-go platforms appear to contradict each other. Danni finds herself gawking at the patrons. They are dressed in some of the most interestingly outrageous outfits. Most of the patrons seem androgynous in appearance. Danni is a little taken back by her difficulty in drawing conclusions from her observance. She is a bit uncomfortable as she slowly enters the main room of the club.

“This way.” Mac says reassuringly, as he places his hand in the small of Danni’s back guiding her through the ‘crowd’. It is early for a club such as this, but there is a large enough chaotic crowd to make Danni uncomfortable given her normally structured social functions. She looks towards Mac feeling comforted that he seems knowing and in control. “Sit here.” He says in her ear to be heard over the music. They are in a pseudo corner at a high narrow table with high barstool style chairs, only enough room for a few drinks upon the tabletop. Mac gracefully pulls the chair out for Danni.

Mac leans in to Danni, “You okay?” the warmth of his breath on her neck sends an unforeseen shiver through her. “You okay?” he asks again.

“Uh, yeah, fine, fine.” As she regains her composure. “This place is just a little different, isn’t it?”

“Oh yes it is, in ways I bet you wouldn’t even imagine.”

Looking directly at Mac, she responds, “Why would I need to imagine? Isn’t it right here in front of me?” As she looks back into the people.

Mac looks around the room, “Suppose you’re right on that. Hey, pay attention for a moment.”

Turning to look at Mac, “Yes, okay, I am paying attention. What is it?”

“See there and there?” Mac points to two sets of nearby doors.

“Yes, and . . . ?” with the unspoken ‘what’.

“Those are the exits. Always know how you’re gettin’ out a place you’ve gotten into. Got it?” Mac looks at her.

“Interesting strategy, wouldn’t have thought he thought like that.” She thinks to herself. “He always seems to speak or act before thinking. Hum, is he thinking all the time?” Getting lost in her thoughts.

“Got it?” Mac asks again. “Exits are there and there.”

“Yes, Yes, I got it!”

They get settled in their spot with a scantily clad waitress bringing them drinks. Danni is taken back by not only the waitress’ attire but also that Mac keeps giving her cash and trusts the he gets change. Paying for each round is not something she is used to in any venue. Most of the time it either is on an account or free, at a party or affair. And the club’s patrons, well they are an interesting lot.

“This isn’t real dancing you know.” Danni points out towards the clientele. “Have you ever been to a real dance hall?”

“Nope, reckon I ain’t never seen any classy dancing me lady. Are poles involved?” Mac answers humorously.

“Very funny, you’re an idiot sometimes.”

“Yeap, suppose I am.” Mac continues, “But have you ever been in a place like this, dancing like that?”

Danni looks about the place thinking about the wondrous events she has attended, but not being able to recall an event resembling this place. “No, I suppose not. Doesn’t make any of this real dancing.”

“Dancing is about letting yourself go. I’m not talking about fat-middle-aged-married men, letting yourself go. I saying let your inhabitations go. Have you ever done that?” Mac states emphatically.

“I would never let myself go.”

“Of course not.” Mac says accusingly.

Almost annoyed, Danni asks, “And what is that suppose to mean?”

“Well judging from your looks you could probably let yourself ‘go’ for, oh twenty or so years and no one would notice.” Said with an instigating smile.

“Yes, you are an idiot.” Nevertheless, Danni is somehow flattered and then a little concerned of her medical ‘needs’.

“No, really, I am talking about lowering your inhibitions and just letting go. Having fun. Dancing to the music, emotion and the moment. Have you ever even tried that?” Mac waves his hand towards the club’s partygoers.

Danni thinks for a few moments. “No, I can’t think I ever have.” She thinks to herself, but answers aloud, “Why would I? Seems silly and uncontrolled.”

“Preciously! Can you ever lose any of that control?” Mac challenges.

“Okay, can YOU ever keep control – keep it in check?” she retorts.

“Sure I can. I have. I have even tried and FAILED! I have tried and succeeded too.” Mac answers quickly and aggressively, “BUT!!” hand waving wildly in the air, then pointing at Danni, “Have YOU ever tried to just let go! Have you ever tried.” Voice trailing off softly.

“Control!” she thinks, then says, “It is not polite to point Mr. Mackenzie.” “No I have never tried.” She wants to say, but keeps it to herself.

Danni and Mac’s body language sends cues to some club goers that they are not a couple. A strapping young man approaches Danni, “Brother or Bodyguard?”

“What?” Danni answers surprised.

The young man asks again, “Is he your brother or your bodyguard?” with a slight point towards Mac.

Danni was unprepared for the question and clearly did not have an answer as she stalled by alternating looking between the two men. Thoughts race through her head without answering the young man, “Is he my date? Does he see this as a date? Of course he does, girl.”

“Try,” Mac says, “let go.”

The young man looks confused and almost departs before Danni answers, “Neither . . . he is neither my bodyguard nor my brother. He is simply a co-worker, yes a co-worker.”

“Cool, is the dude hot for you?” the young man queries, “’cause I don’t want no trouble, ya know.”

Danni turns toward Mac as she answers the young man, “Yes, he is probably hot for me, but he can’t have any.” Mocking smile on her face. “What is your name good sir?”

Danni and the young man engage is some conversation for a short time as Mac keeps distant. Danni occasionally looks over at Mac to see that he is not getting annoyed or bored, but Mac urges her on. When addressed, he answers, but he remains distant without departing or distracting the young man or Danni. She soon becomes more comfortable, though not really relaxed. The young man departs as a new round of drinks arrive and a request to dance with Danni is turned down.

“I don’t get you Mac,” Danni says, “why did you let . . . no, encourage me to talk to that guy? What if I wanted to leave with him? What would you call it – a one nighter?”

“Would you? . . . probably not. But why can’t you just talk and dance with some man and me some woman and not make a fling of it? Just ‘cause you’re hanging with a bunch of opposite sexes don’t mean you’re all getting it on, does it?”

Danni realizes Mac’s point with his ‘photographic’ messages, “No, I suppose it doesn’t mean you’re . . .” catching herself, “anyone would therefore be ‘getting it on’. How crude a comment anyway.”

“That’s me, just a bad, bad little boy.” Mac smiles slyly.

“Yes, you are a bad child.” Danni smiles lightheartedly.

Danni and Mac continue to drink and engage in conversation with some of the colorfully clad club clientele. With the rhythmic music and alcohol induced reduction in inhibitions, Danni finally accepts an invitation to dance and let’s go – just enough. The attire of some patrons, the pulsing sound and dazzling lights present a sensual atmosphere. Danni finds herself wanting to dance with Mac. Always nearby, he is easy to find.

“Come on, your turn.” Her speech slightly slurred and elevated in volume.

Mac reacts reluctantly, “I’m a people watcher, not a dancer.”

“Oh, so now look who can’t put his money where is mout is . . . mouth is!” Danni realizes she is a bit tipsy, but Mac started this. “Not man enough to hit the danf four.” Danni turns to some nearby patrons, “I need help with the big guy, let’s get him on the floor . . . come on baby!”

Mac realizes that Danni is on the verge of having an embarrassing moment. So he finally relents and joins her on the floor. The moment comes dangerously close to ‘Dirty Dancing, Olavopolis Nights.’ Mac is not the best club-dancer and actually, lets Danni lead. Danni is vaguely aware that this is not Mac’s environment, but does not embarrass him any further.

Mac lets Danni dance some of the alcohol out of her system, before leading her off the dance floor. She happily follows. “Time for another one of those Mojitos, that’s what they’re called, right?”

“Here, swallow this.” As Mac hands her bottled water. “Might be time for some fresh air and a little walk under the moonless night sky.”

“I am not pa’t of the b’otherhood, so they’ll be no indulging with me . . . I mean, indul’ing in me.”

“Why don’t we skip that for now?” Mac leads Danni out of the club; Danni’s gait is a series of absent-minded skips.

Mac leads Danni into an eatery, one considerably less than your standard diner. Mac walks in and heads for a table. Danni stands still at the entrance, thinking she is whispering, “Hey Mac,” several heads turn, “where is the maitre d?”

“Over here dear, his name is Juan.” Mac reaches his hand out to guide her to a table, she crashes into the seat.

“Juan,” with an exaggerated accent, “some water please, I am sooo thirsty.”

Mac speaks to the waiter, “Dude, a couple of waters and some coffee for me and lady here. Thanks.”

“What’s they got to eat here?” Danni picks up a paper menu, “What’s this?” as she flaps it around.

“The menu, here give it to me please.”

“Oooh, he can say please. Bet he knows ‘thank you’ too.” Danni hands Mac the menu, then does a dramatic ‘waiting pose’.

“Um, thank you me lady.” Mac is almost embarrassed.

Danni takes a deep and loud breath, looks around the room, and begins to realize, “Wow, guess I am a little buzzed. You call it ‘buzzed’ don’t you?”

“Yes,” Mac smiles kindly, “yes dear, you’re a little buzzed.” Mac thinks it is in one way refreshing to see Danni so carefree but if the sober and controlled Danni saw herself, there would probably be hell to pay.

“Hey, by the way,” she leans across the table to whisper, sort of, “like there is hardly anyone in this place.”

“Still so observant,” Mac says sarcastically, “yes, it is late at night, early morning actually. Few people out and about. What’ll you have?”

“A Plimpt Berry and Arugula salad with Yorian almonds and Balsamic Vinaigrette.”

“No, they don’t have that here.” Mac says.

Danni demands, “And why not?”

“Cause this is where late night drunks go to sober up with some solid greasy food and some solid horrible coffee.”

“That’s crazy,” Danni continues, “why would you do that? It’s just gonna make for a tougher morning.”

Mac shakes his head in mock disbelief, “It’s not for the morning, it’s for the now. So we can continue on our drinking spree and letting go.”

Returning the mockery, Danni says, “Oh, why didn’t you say so.” Sitting back and crossing her arms defiantly.

The waiter returns with some water and coffee. Mac places an order for both of them. As the waiter departs Danni speaks up, “You know I really wanted a salad.”

“Not at this hour, you don’t want that roughage.”

Danni turns and addresses the departing waiter, “You know, if you served salads you just might have more customers.”

The waiter turns to look at the couple. Mac says, “Maybe another coffee.” Mac wonders to himself, what have I done to this poor woman. He hopes to make one more stop this night, just to see how far she will ‘let go’ and she looks like she might not make it through the mid-night munchies. “Hey, Juan, one of those morning shakes for the lady, you know what I mean.”

“Si, senor. I know, but do you know what you’re doing?”

“Probably not.”

“Si, probably not.”

Danni sits up again, speech slurring, “Ya know, I think you DO know what you’re doing. I think you got some crazy little demented plan running through that head of yours.” As she pokes her finger to Mac’s head. “I don’t think you’re as dumb as we all think you are.” Danni suddenly realizes what she said. In a sobering moment, she tries to recover, “I mean, well I mean that you are always saying sorta stupid things at the wrong time and yet we all see you sitting around reading books, talking engineering, keeping an amazing engine room, making plans with Doc. Why do you always have to say things to try to get a rise out me? Or anyone else?”

“Has anyone ever really gotten a rise out of you, Danni Zakhukili?”

The comment taking her back for just a moment, “No! No they haven’t.”

“Sometimes I see you so wrapped up in trying to be the right person, doing the right thing and all for others. What do you do for yourself? When are you . . . well, YOU?” Mac pauses as Danni thinks a little.

Sniping back without a moment’s hesitation, “I’m me ALL the time!” Then, trying to focus through the alcohol, she says more softly, “Well, the vast majority of the time. Except when people are incompetent,” Looks at Mac, continuing, “or classless.”

Speaking softly and sincerely, Mac says, “All I wanna do is see the real Dionyssia.”

An even more sobering moment as Danni tries to determine if this is Mac making a pass at her or just Mac seeing through her façade. Much to her relief, Juan brings the food over interrupting the direction of the conversation. Juan places the food in the center of the table to be shared, but places some type of green thick shake directly in front of Danni.

“Is good, you’ll like it. It is made of salad stuff.” Juan smiles toward Mac. “I even put a celery stick in it for the senorita.”

“Thanks Juan.”

Danni actually begins attacking the fried food in the center of the table. “Didn’t think I was this hungry.”

“Maybe it’s all the energy used up on the dance floor.” Mac watches Danni eat, “Here,” pushing the shake towards her, “You’ll want this.”

Danni’s mouth full and clearly not her reserved self, “Pho, you pheem to not be a regular to that kinda place . . . what, umm, the Limelight, right? So why did we go there?”

“Thought you might like to see how the ‘other-half’ lives.” Mac picks at the food.

“Well that’s certainly not ‘half’ and you’re not the best dancer . . . no offence.” Danni takes a drink of the shake, looks at it with a puzzled expression, then takes a long gulp as Mac answers.

“None taken. No, I am not the best dancer when it comes to places like that. It’s not my bag. Hey, but I tried, didn’t I.” recalling the conversation at the club. “Heck, you looked lovely out there.”

“Lovely or ‘hot’?” Danni teases, without giving Mac a chance to answer, “Yes you did try. But what is your “bag”? Maybe I am willing to give that I try?” Danni hopes it would be something she is willing to try, but realizes too late she has opened a Pandora’s Box.

“Well it’s certainly not the kind of place I would imagine you going to.”

Believing Mac was speaking of more bars and not anything too bizarre, she verifies, “You mean a bar or club?”

“Bar – though they are called saloons. Not unlike where we had dinner, but more geared towards just drinking or pool or darts. Kinda a bare bones joint, nothing like the Limelight.”

“Well, I could do with a little rest from dancing and I am feeling a little better.” Danni says while stirring her green shake and wondering what was in it, but not really wanting to know.

With a slight ‘country’ accent, Mac says, “Well, I don’t say there were no dancing darling.”

“You do that kind of dancing?”

“Not exactly.” Mac smiles to himself, thinking of saloon bar top dancing. “But heck, I’m willing to take you . . .” he says aloud, then to himself, “. . . anywhere.”

Head still in a little alcohol fog, Danni still notices Mac smile and intuitively knows there more to this bar trip thing. “Okay, let’s go then.”

Mac thinks to himself, “Okay, I got her to ASK to GO to my kinda bar.”

Holding the shake glass towards Mac, “What’s in this anyway? I probably don’t want to know, do I?

“No you don’t.” Mac smiles.

They finish up at the eatery and head out on the grav-bike. The food, fresh air and, probably the vegetable shake help sober up Danni. They drive into the ‘blue-collar’ working class neighborhood, not far from the ‘back-end’ of the downport. They close in on an establishment with neon signs and patchwork construction, nowhere near the style of the Limelight. The area is bustling with activity and a variety of parked vehicles, including numerous grav-bikes resembling Mac’s bike. Danni catches a glimpse of the sign, almost hidden among the clutter – Hogs & Heifers.

As they dismount the bike, Danni can hear a few whistles mixed in with Mac’s name! She does notice Mac signal some of the pack with some gesture. Though she was not sure of its intent, she believes it was to signal a halt to any further gibe remarks.

“Hey Mac! Long time no see.” Booms a voice of a rather large man, clad in denim and leather.

“Yo, Dozer man, I was here less than a week ago. Really dude.”

Obviously intoxicated, Dozer says, “Oohh, dat’s right! Now I ‘member.”

Mac turns to Danni and quietly says to her, “Probably not.”

“Whose da little lady Mac? And I do mean little.” Dozer gesturing towards Danni’s height.

Mac leaves space between him and Danni as he closes in towards Dozer and says something she cannot hear. Dozer’s gaze changes noticeably towards Danni.

“Sorry miss. Welcome to the group. See ya inside, umm after I take a little walk.” Dozer looking back towards Mac.

As Mac returns to Danni, she asks, “What did you say to him?”

“Don’t matter none, does it? He’s harmless.” Mac motioning towards the entrance. “This way little lady.” Mac realizes his gaffe, eyes widening.

Danni looks up at Mac recognizing he is aware of his own mistake, “At least there is hope for you, Gannon. You recognized you were gonna beat-up some guy for the remark you just made to me – and, yes, I figure you said something macho like, ‘watch your tongue or I’ll kick your ass’. Something like that. Jeez, boys will be boys.” Leaving Mac with his mouth slightly agape, she heads into the bar.

“Fat Ass.”

“WHAT!” she shrieks.

“No, no, His Fat Ass, I would kick Dozer’s Fat ass!” Mac defends and to himself, “sh**, you really are an idiot.” Mac tries a sly smile and a little ‘who-me?’ gesture.

Danni shakes her head, heads into the bar and almost stops in her tracks at what she sees in the bar. There are two young ladies dancing on top of the bar less than a foot or two from what is hanging from the ceiling – many ladies’ Brassieres, in all shapes and sizes, colors and styles – easily hundreds of them. The patrons are mostly males, with a sampling of women, both of all shapes and sizes, colors and styles. Some seemly rich, most probably just making it. Yet all are yelling and cheering the bar dancers on. There is a guy leaning over the bar on his back with some barmaid funneling booze down his throat – using a funnel! A definite culture shock, even over the androgynous clientele the Limelight. By some unknown magnetic voyeuristic impulse, she continues to enter.

From behind Danni, Mac places his hands reassuringly on her hips and leans in, “My kinda place.”

“I shouldn’t be, but why am I surprised?” She says, eyes still scanning the room.

Mac attempts to explain it. “Unlike the Limelight club, most in here don’t care what you think about them. And probably like one of your fancy-pants affairs, most in here don’t care about you. They’re just here to have a good time. Not to hurt or be hurt. Not to enter into intrigue. And certainly not to judge. But most are friendly, they won’t turn away or turn you away.”

“That’s an awful lot of philosophy for a bar. Isn’t it Mac?” Danni’s fuzzy head doesn’t realize how she just offended Mac.

Releasing his hands from her, “Don’t know much about philosophy there Lady Dionyssia, just know it is a comfortable hangout, for me anyway.”

She turns to look at Mac, trying to figure him out and understand what she said. “Why so touchy?”

“Not touchy. Why so judgmental?”

“What, what did I say that was judgmental?” Danni was truly confused and wondered if it was the alcohol.

“Sorry, I guess not judgmental, it’s just that I am comfortable in here. No one is worried about impressing anyone else or having anyone impress them. Real life is full of that every day, but not in here.” Mac is trying to explain.

“No, sorry, I think I get it. No one here cares who you are and, conversely, they don’t care that you don’t care.” Danni tries to rationalize.

“Sort of, now I really think we are both over philosophizing. Want a drink?”

“Probably best, eh?” Danni responses with a kind smile.

As they approach the bar for a drink order, pointing to the hanging bras Danni asks, “What’s with that?”

“Souvenirs.”

“They sell them as souvenirs!” Danni is surprised.

“No, they don’t sell ‘em.” Mac turns to look directly at Danni and with a crooked smile, “People leave them.”

Danni looks up at the lingerie, back at Mac and shakes her head, “No!”

“Of course not.” Mac says with slight sarcasm.

Mac bellys up to the bar getting a couple of drinks. He and Danni then maneuver through the establishment to a semi-protective corner with a table, stools are scarce but Mac commandeers one for Danni. Mac again explains the ‘exit’ theory to Danni and they settle in. Mac explains the rules and etiquette of Bar Darts and Pool, they ‘gossip’ a little about some of the patrons. Mac tells her about ‘head-banging’ music. This is a very different place than Danni has visited in the past. With no apparent waitresses Mac occasionally disappears to the bar for another round. On one occasion Danni believes he is taking too long and sees a commotion near the bar. She musters the courage to investigate.

Her small stature and the crowd gathering near a portion of the bar make it difficult to get a look. Last she saw was one of the beautiful barmaids dancing on the bar quickly drop and not emerge, either behind the bar or on top. As she struggles with the crowd, she begins to feel fear. Fear she’ll be trampled, fear Mac will think she left, fear of the unknown – she thinks she sees Mac ahead of her in the crowd, but can’t get there. Suddenly there is space; someone is making room for her by pushing patrons aside, forcefully but not rudely or violently. She turns to see Dozer doing his best ‘make-way’ motion to part the crowd. Dozer smiles at her, she returns the smile.

The mass of humanity parts to reveal one of the barmaids laying flat upon the bar, midriff clearly visible – shirt way up and hip huggers way down, but all private areas covered. There is a slight open area around her, save one person – MAC! “What the hell?” as jealousy surprisingly streaks through Danni’s thoughts. Mac’s face then quickly buries into the barmaid’s mid section, then comes up almost as fast as it went down. There is a loud roar of delight almost overpowering the music. Mac slaps his hand hard on the bar, shaking his head, hair snapping wildly, as he looks towards the ceiling. He picks up two drinks and turns towards Danni, wearing a large grin.

Mac stops cold seeing Danni before him, standing with hands on her hips and not looking happy. The grin vanishes.

Danni is fully aware that Dozer is directly behind her, she thinks he is making gestures at Mac – she is correct. She begins shaking her head negatively, until she begins to hear the subdued ‘uh-ohs’ from nearby patrons. “What the heck,” she thinks to herself, “I am acting like I am his girlfriend. They all see it. Mac sees it. Why am I doing this? Control, control Miss Zakhukili!” Danni calls upon her training and musters the strength to hopefully change the situation. With false bravado, she manages loudly, “I am waiting and thirsty! Where’s my drink?!” She turns back towards their table, Dozer posing as a crowd-control cop to allow her to pass.

Mac hurries behind her, past comments he really cannot hear, except Dozer’s “You’re screwed dude.”

“F*** off fat-boy.” As Mac hurries past.

Mac arrives in their corner after Danni has already sat. “That my drink?” as she reaches for it.

“Sorry, I got distracted.”

“Didn’t figure you for leaving a lady waiting on her drink.” Danni says as flatly as possible.

“Sorry you are mad.” Mac tries to apologize.

“I am not mad. Why would you think I was angry? Other than not getting my drink.” Danni lies, but somehow she is enjoying Mac’s apologies.

“Sorry ‘bout the belly thing. Thought you got ticked over that.” Mac stammers.

“Nope!” Danni hopes she is hiding it well, and she is.

“Well, sorry I took so long with the drinks then.” Mac continues to make amends.

“Yeap!” Mac is missing the short answers from Danni. She thinks, “Keep apologizing you dolt!”

“Should never have kept you alone for so long. In a place like this.” Mac continues his attempts.

“You’re right, you shouldn’t have.” Danni sees Dozer approaching over Mac’s shoulder. “I had Dozer looking after me.”

Mac turns to see Dozer, looks quickly back to Danni and again at Dozer. Mac feels very uncomfortable.

“Hey, Dozer!” Danni waves, “Why don’t you join us.” Turning her comment back to Mac, to rub it in further, “You said you shouldn’t have left me alone – ‘in a place like this’ – thought you said it was a good place to be.” Danni wasn’t sure at this point if it was the alcohol talking or what, but it was one of the few times in the past three months she seemed to have control over Mac and she was oddly enjoying it.

“Well yeah, it is okay. But . . .” Mac was uncomfortably searching for the right words.

“But what . . . dear?” As Dozer was now close enough to hear over the music. “Now who is getting a rise out of who?” Danni proudly thinks to herself.

“But . . .” Mac gathers his strength and thoughts, “But no lady as lovely as you should be left alone in any situation and no man should have allowed a lady to linger upon any of her wants,” Mac leans in, “needs . . . or desires.” Mac reaches out slowly and gently slides hair from Danni’s face, “For that, I am truly sorry.”

Speechless Danni sits there for a moment, looking deeply into Mac’s wanting eyes. She feels her face blank but becoming flush, not sure if it is embarrassment or lust. Mac is close enough to kiss her. “Don’t, please don’t try.” She worries to herself, “I am not prepared to answer.” Her thoughts kept to herself.

Mac says nothing, looks in her eyes, his hand gently touching her face. He begins to realize she isn’t ready and it is way too early in his plan. He has been planning to break her down, he figured it would take a year; it has only been three months. He thinks, “Don’t ruin it. Don’t push.” He thinks he knows what he sees it in her eyes and he does.

“Sorry.” He says tenderly.

She gently replies, “Yes.”

Mac abruptly pulls back and loudly turns to Dozer, “Dude! Thanks for looking after the little lady.” Mac quickly turns back towards Danni, holding his hand up in a STOP action. “Little Lady, my dear, is a term of endearment in such an establishment.”

“I get it.” Danni says, relived the moments have passed.

“Dozer – Danni, Danni – Dozer, we work together on the Argent Mistress.” Danni and Dozer shake hands. “Dozer and I worked as jacks on the downport here. We rode together.”

“Nice to meet you Mr. Dozer.”

“Same to ya’ Danni girl,” Dozer replies.

“So, really now. What was that at the bar? With the barmaid?” Danni asks.

“A Belly Shot!” Mac replies enthusiastically. Much to Danni’s distaste for such a ‘dirty’ thing, Mac and Dozer take great delight in explaining Belly-Shots, funnel-drinks, flaming shots and some of the barmaids dance routines. They are eventually joined by others who know Dozer and Mac, all having colorful names, even the ladies. Mac and friends go over the rituals of air-guitar, head-banging and ‘sing along/act along’ rock songs {think ‘Paradise by the Dashboard Light’ – Meatloaf}. All of the activities are repeated often enough for Danni to get a feel of what the place is really like.

Plenty of alcohol is consumed by all. Shots, mixed drinks and beers, empty bottles and sticky shot glasses wind up strewn about the table, nearby windowsill and even the floor. Danni eventually becomes relaxed in the environment. She still aware enough to realize that other ladies, not just the barmaids, dance upon the bar. Because it has not been brought up, Danni’s training tells her to leave it alone, but the alcohol spoils her training.

“You know, they can’t dance.” Danni points to some of the lady patrons atop the bar. “Most of them can’t, I’ve noticed. Just saying.”

Mac and his friends start paying exclusive attention to Danni and her comments.

“Really?” Mac says. “I know you can dance better than them. I’ve seen it.” Turning his head towards his friends, shaking it yes.

“Yes, you have and yes I can.” Danni’s drunken bravado announces.

“Yeah, well you can’t do everything they can – can you?” Mac asks Danni.

“Of course I can!” Danni slurs.

“Yeah, keep watching little lady.” Dozer chimes in.

Danni almost becomes memorized as she sees one of the patron dancers removing her brassier without opening or taking off her shirt. The girl slips the lingerie out a sleeve to the rowdy cheers of the crowd. One of the barmaids takes the garment from the patron and somehow attaches to the ceiling, along with the hundreds of others.

“Sooo then, can you dance like that?” Mac asks suggestively, albeit rhetorically, at least in his mind.

“Yeap, how ‘bout it little lady?” Dozer asks hopefully.

Although the alcohol has boosted her courage, Danni is still very opposed to such raucous behavior. Fear, fear is the most predominant emotion Danni is having at that moment. Danni manages to stammer out, “I . . . I don’t think that is necessary.” Pointing to the lingerie being hung.

“Yeah, sorry folks, she can’t do it.” Dozer states loudly to those nearby.

Mac says, “Chill, big guy.” Attempting to gracefully allow Danni’s declination. Though he leans in for what he believes to be a vain attempt at reverse psychology, saying quietly to Danni, “Sorry ‘bout that. I know you’re not willing to try something like that.” Pointing back over his shoulder to the bar.

“There is a big difference between can’t and won’t you know.” Danni defends, though some part of her believes she is disappointing Mac somehow.

“You’re right, you’re always right.” Pausing for a moment, leaning in closer, Mac continues, “So then, is it you can’t or you won’t? Or is it both? Just wondering.”

“Neither.” She answers. To herself, “Why the hell did I say that?”

“What?”

“I could, but why would I want to?” Looking at Mac’s friends, she thinks, “Would they berate him if I don’t? – probably. Why should I care either way?”

As if knowing what Danni was thinking, Mac says. “Well you don’t have to do anything for me.” Pointing to the group of friends, “They may bust on you a little though.”

“Bust on ME!” Danni wonders to herself. “Why me?” she asks Mac.

“For the fear, they’ll smell fear.”

“I am NOT afraid of . . . of that.” Lying and pointing towards the bar.

“Wearing a bra?” Mac smiles to her.

“Yes . . . but . . . what the hell is that mean?”

“Just wondering if you could, I mean do that.” Mac’s head tilting toward the bar.

“Of course I could.”

“Of course I know you could.” Mac continues, “I know you can dance, now I know you’re wearing a bra and I really know you’ve got the rest of the ‘stuff’.” Gesturing his hands to form a woman’s figure.

Danni blushes.

“But are you willing to try? Willing to let go?” Mac prods.

“Am I willing to let go?” Danni questions to herself. “Is that what this evening is all about, letting go?” She looks a Mac, then at his group of friends who seem to be paying no mind to her dilemma. She looks around the bar room, recalling the nights activities. “What would my peers think?” she continues the inner dialogue. Again looking around the room, “Hell, none of my peers are in this joint.” Looking at Mac her thoughts continue, “Does he really want me to do it?”

“Thinking about it, aren’t ya?” Mac interrupts her inner debate.

“Maybe.”

Mac realizes she needs a little push, “The hell ‘maybe’. It is either try or don’t try. Jump or don’t jump.” He leans in even further to whisper in her ear. “Hold on . . . or let go. Let yourself go.”

“Okay,” she says softly.

“What?” As he backs his head away.

Fairly loudly, “I said O K!”

Dozer hears that! “Cool, Danni’s gonna give it a go.”

“Easy gents, she’s gonna need a little encouragement.” Mac attempts to instigate his companions. They get the hint.

Softly they begin, “Danni . . . Danni . . . Danni.”

Again Dozer makes a path towards the bar for Danni, though the crowd has thinned at this late hour. The barmaids see the novice approaching; one of them leaps atop the bar. Danni is flanked by Mac on one side and on the other by a guy named Red, or Dead, Danni is too drunk to remember. Danni wonders if it is fear or exhilaration causing her to tremble slightly. With her foot, the barmaid pushes a bar leaning patron aside to make room for Danni. Almost because of Danni’s petite size, Mac and Red easily lift her toward the bar top. Danni uses a bar stool as a step and the two men for balance. By now most of the crowd is in on the ‘Danni’ chant, though most don’t even know who they are chanting for – till she reaches the bar top. The barmaid takes over the care and safety of Danni.

There is some sort of announcement made that Danni doesn’t understand and the horde below hoots and hollers. Something about a novice or virgin, she thinks. Music fills the ears and it all seems choreographed by the various barmaids. From her vantage point, she can see the crowd, the bouncers, Mac and his friends – they’re patting him the back, looks like they may be giving him hell too. He is smiling, almost proudly. In some bizarre way, she feels safe. Cash is flung at the bar, sometimes hitting her. She realizes she is the center of everyone’s attention. The focus of a lot of lust. She’s not afraid or embarrassed, probably thanks to the drinks. She finally let’s go.

As Mac pulls up to the entrance of the Waldorf, the valet comes out to meet him. Using his jacket, he virtually tied the now limp Danni to himself. Almost struggling he frees Danni from the bike.

“Is we here now?” She slurs, barely coming to.

“Yes, you’re back at the hotel.” Mac says as he holds her up. He hands the politely bewildered valet a 20 and his keys, “I’ll be down shortly.”

They stumble through the lobby, Mac keeping Danni from falling. A female employee hurries over, “Do you need any assistance sir?”

“No . . . well yes,” Mac hands the employee Danni’s bag and digs through his pocket. “Dan . . . this guest is staying here, room 681 . . .” he hands the woman a 100-credit bill, “I don’t have her key . . .”

“Nope he don’t,” Danni slurs, “Not given it to ‘im e’der.”

“Ah, yes, you see.” Mac’s eyes darting towards Danni. “Understand?” he asks the employee.

“Yes, sir.” As she accepts the cash.

Struggling slightly, “I’ll need a hand getting her to bed.”

“Yes sir. 681, this way.” The employee leads on.

They safely make their way to Danni’s suite. Mac escorts Danni to the bedroom and seats her on the foot of the bed. She teeters, almost falling off the bed. To the hotel worker, “Would you . . .” Mac catches Danni, who then flops back onto the bed, “would you help get her into bed? Like a proper lady? A proper lady who would never otherwise be seen like this.”

“Yes sir, I will do my best.”

“Thank you, you’re a decent person.” Mac begins to head out. The employee begins to assist the rambling Danni, words unrecognizable.

“Oh,” Mac turns to address the employee, “When she asks, and she’ll probably will, tell her it was because it wouldn’t be real. Got that, it wouldn’t be real.” Mac departs the bedroom. In the suite’s lounge, he takes some notepaper and writes a quick note. Before returning to the bedroom, he pulls a single flower from an arrangement.

“Excuse me sir!” the employee says surprised, “I thought you were leaving.”

“Yeah! Taught you were leafing.” Danni stammers out.

“One thing, then I am gone.” He places the flower and note upon a pillow. “Thanks.” He says to the employee and gently kisses Danni on the forehead.

She perks up with a smile, not realizing she is teetering on the foot of the bed with no pants on. “Phanks, I had phun.”

“Good night,” Mac says as he departs.

“Good night sir.” The worker replies.

“G’nigh” Danni slurs.

Alone for a few minutes with the hotel worker, Danni finally asks, “Heyba, did he reewee leaf?”

“Yes ma'am.” The worker tries her best not to giggle.

Sobering slightly Danni says clearly, “Why?” then speech failing again, “does’t he knows he could’a took me.” Sitting up as straight as possible, but rocking side to side, she again asks the worker, “Why’d he leaf?”

“Miss, he said to tell you ‘It wouldn’t real’, that’s what he said, ‘It wouldn’t be real’.”
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LukeDev75
Gunner / Security


Joined: 08 Dec 2006
Posts: 482
Location: Main Engineering

PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As the above is posted in this section and not part of a play-by-post, please feel free to comment.
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scruffy70
Chief Engineer


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good dude!!!! I think it's time you write a book on our playing. That was a chapter in itself LOL!!
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bronze
Game Master


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done thumright
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LukeDev75
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Photomanip of a portion of the night out here: http://www.coinich.com/traveller/viewtopic.php?p=3441#3441

Thanks for the read and the comments.
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Coinich
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Joined: 11 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2015 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danni takes Mac for a Day & Night Out On Rhylanor

The following is a joint post between Coinich and LukeDev
It takes place prior to the Mac and Jolie post


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mac always enjoyed riding his Grav Bike. The wind in his hair, the carefree feeling he got while riding. “Any excuse to ride”, he would tell anyone who would listen. The ride from the Rhylanor Institute of Technology all the way to Olavopolis, was long, but gave him lots of time to think, or not, and to relax. Happy to have gotten ahold of Danni, Mac was pleased that she had “found time for him in her schedule.”

“All that kid does is work. I’m glad she taking the day off.” Was he proud that he had gotten her to agree to taking a day off? Or was he just pleased that he had managed to make her break her routine and change her mind? Either answer was good with him. “Bottom line, we get to spend some time together.”

The roar of his grav bike alerting the doormen, Mac glided to a stop in front of the luxury condo skyscraper. A quick 20 credits later, his bike was secure and he was on his way into the building. Bounding into the turbolift, he will quickly state, “Floor 188”. “Floor 188” was repeated by a computerized voice and the capsule shot skyward. A scant 10 seconds later he heard again, “Floor 188”, and the doors opened. Stepping out into the landing, he quickly located the destination for his mid-morning tryst. One last brush back of his hair and he rang the doorbell.

A few moments later the door opened. He couldn’t believe was greeted him at the door. Danni stood at the door wearing a red bikini underneath a white linen long-sleeved man’s shirt. He was stunned. He knew it had been awhile since he had seen her, but WOW did she look amazing. Her beautiful smile was complemented by the morning sun shining through her windows, giving her, and her residence, a heavenly lilac glow.

“Good morning, Mac. It’s great to see you. Won’t you come in?”



After a nice hug, and some pleasantries, Danni will playfully state, “Well, Mister MacKenzie, since I have a day off with you, I figured I would have you join me for the day.” Smiling, she continues, “And you can attend to my every whim.”

“Yes,” Mac thought, “This is gonna be a good day.” Aloud, “Every whim it is me lady.”

“The first order of the day is to get some exercise. So let’s go ahead and get you changed.” Anticipating his questions, “We are going swimming… if you can’t tell.” She will take him by the hand and lead him back toward one of the guest bedrooms. As they enter, he will see that she has already bought multiple articles of clothing in his size. Reading his mind, “I have taken the liberty to buy you several sets of clothes for all of our… anticipated… activities for today.”

Looking over the selection, he was mainly impressed, and in some cases depressed, about the choices she had made for him, all of it finely made. He looks at the custom label on one of the shirts... "Gieves and Hawkes Tailors, LIC, by appointment to His Majesty the Emperor." "Hhhm. Sounds hoity toity.", he thinks to himself. She will scoop up the bathing suit and towel and point to the guest bathroom. “Off you go, see you in a few minutes.”

Wearing his bathing suit and a shirt, Danni grabs towels for both of them and they head out the door and up to the rooftop pool.

Despite being mid-morning, the domed pool let in all the light, but kept the air pressure breathable from the low pressure outside. The pool area was deserted, but had all the hallmarks of being a really nice cocktail party area. "Interesting.", thought Mac, "guess everyone 'cept us is working today." Danni stood by the side of the pool and skimmed her foot over the water to get a sense of temperature. She then walked to a lounge chair and put her things down, and took off her shirt. Mac, sorting through ‘images’ in his mind's eye, could only mutter to himself, "Beautiful. Just beautiful. She seems more timeless and youthful every year."

Playfully, as she wades slowly into the pool, she asks, "Well, are you going to join me?" A while later, they both emerged from the pool. Danni mostly swimming laps, and Mac mostly watching her. They dry off and make their way back to her residence, Danni talking of useless things like the latest gossip on various local nobles. "Like I'm interested in what the rich muckety mucks are doing.", Mac thinks to himself, while feigning listening and muttering the occasional "Uh huh", when the timing seemed right to do so.

They both changed and Danni put on more workout clothes.

"More exercise?" Mac inquired.

"For me, yes. For you, no.", she said. As she opens the entryway coat closet, Mac is suddenly surprised to see Danni holding a sword in her hand.

"Geez lady, what the... watch what your doin' with that thing, will ya!"

"Oh Mac, always the one for dramatics." She states matter-of-factly. As his mouth opens to begin a rebuttal, she continues, "it's for my lessons, silly." His head cocks to one side, mind still reaching for some logic to the situation, "Lessons?"

"Lessons. We are off to my next appointment for the day." A big warm smile crosses her face, "Remember... you are to tag along. My every whim, and all that."

As the elevator doors close behind them, Mac can't help but exclaim, "Oh I gotta see this."

Mac sat back in his seat. The sounds of metal clicking in the background dominated the studio. "Well, I'll be damned.", Mac will state bluntly, to nobody in general. "You continue to surprise me, Miss Zakhukili.” He continued watching as Danni faced off against another woman on a long rectangular pad. “En Garde” the computerized referee declared. Danni and the other woman assumed a rather awkward looking pose. “Pretes?” the referee declared. Both women nodded. “Allez”, the referee signaled. At that word, Danni and the other woman began an intricate dance of lunges and parries. The sounds of sabre foils rang out in the studio. Mac watched as Danni's blonde hair bounced with her constant movement.

"Halte. Point." The referee proclaimed. A signal lighting up on Danni's side. The score changing to 1-0. "En garde" the referee said, and the precision dance began again.

"She's pretty good.", Mac admitted to himself. As the match progressed, he found himself rooting for her. Soon his rooting became audible cheering. Not loud enough to disrupt anyone, but he surprised himself with several outbursts of "Yes!", and "Got her!" The points ticked to each contestant over about a half hours’ time. Had he thought about it, Mac would have had to admit he was in an anxious mess by the time the last point came. "Pointe. Game" came the referee's final decision. "Yes!" Mac blurted out almost absent mindedly as the referee awarded Danni the winning point for a wonderfully executed parry. She took off her helmet. Her sweaty blonde hair partially blocking the big smile she had. She locked eyes with Mac for but a moment. As she turned away to shake hands with her opponent, Mac felt a swelling sense of pride for her. “She is, indeed, more than meets the eye, Mac.”, he said to himself.

Danni came running up to him like an out-of-breath, giddy schoolgirl. “Mac, did you see me? Mac, I won! I’m ranked number 494. 494 Mac. I have broken the 500 barrier. That girl was good.” She impulsively hugged him with true affection. Savoring the moment, Mac inhaled deeply. The scent of her sweat, mixed with her normal perfume, had a sweetly pungent aroma that he couldn’t describe. As she pulled away from him, she playfully poked him in the chest, “We are celebrating tonight. Dinner and a show. And I know just what I want to do. I hope we can get in, and get good tickets. And oh, by the way, lunch is on you!” After the obligatory introduction to her coach and several fellow fencers, Danni finally excused herself to the showers, leaving Mac to wonder what else he didn’t know about this... fascination of his.

Lunch went fast. They were both hungry. Danni voraciously attacked her Plimpt Berry and Arugula salad, with Yorian almonds and Balsamic Vinaigrette. Mac had something… a little less prissy. Mac ventured a hook, “So, Miss, where are we off to now? Shopping? Getting our nails done?”

She cocks her head to the side and swallows. “No, Mister. We are going to do one of my favorite things.

A short while later, Danni’s lilting laughter breaks the peace of the coniferous forest glade. They are riding horses in one of the larger city park’s of Olavapolis for the afternoon. The several thousand acres of the park actually could let you feel like you were “getting away from it all” for a while. Danni’s horse, Ginger, was her usual ride. Mac’s horse was named Diablo. Their conversation continued, “So, let me get this straight. You are an expert grav bike rider, but you almost fall off a horse… not once… but twice?”

The retort came quickly, “The grav bike doesn’t have a mind of it’s own, ya know. This beast is living up to its namesake. I think he wants to throw me off.”

A huge, genuinely happy smile, crosses Danni’s face, “Oh Mac, we don’t blame the horse, we blame the rider.”

At that point, nothing else mattered to Mac. He had finally seen it. Finally witnessed it. Finally, he was seeing ‘the real’ Danni. One that wasn’t constantly on guard both verbally and mentally. And he loved it. He wanted to cherish this moment. Wanted to relish in it. He had done it. He had finally helped her to let loose. And this time it wasn’t alcohol induced, or been urged-on by bar friends. This was real, and this was now. He stared at her, noting her clothes were relaxed and not professional, or dressy. She was just naturally beautiful. And her smile was just infectious.



After a few moments of silence, Danni says, “Mac… thanks so much for spending the day with me. This is really nice, and I’m having fun. Thanks for... attending to... my every whim.” A few seconds later, a big smile breaks again across her face, as she digs her heels into Ginger’s side. “Giddayup!”, she yells, and Mac does the same in pursuit, hoping that Diablo can keep up, and not throw him off.”

Mac’s light dozing was interrupted when the clock in Danni’s apartment chimed five o’clock. “Man,” he thought, “this girl never stops. Didn’t realize I had nodded off.”

Danni came around the corner wearing nothing but a large bath towel. Her hair wet and stringy from having just showered. “Hey there sleepy head. I was just coming to wake you, and tell you to get ready for dinner. I was able to get into that place I was telling you about, the Blue Trosor.”

“Uh huh,” Mac managed to mutter. Keeping his voice unheard by Danni, “Whatever that is.”

She continued, “Your clothes are laid out in the second guest bedroom.

Mac surveyed the array of clothes around him in the room. All male clothes, all perfectly sized for him, no doubt. The tuxedo that was laying on the bed was obviously intended for the evenings events. “No way I’m wearin’ that thing.” to himself. “Oh, hon,” he starts loudly, “What is on the menu - clothes wize?”

A distant voice from another room in the house replies, “The tuxedo that’s there on the bed. You have to wear that tonight.”

Shouting back, “Yeah well I don’t know how to tie that tie thing - bowtie thingy. Any other options?”

“I know how to tie the… tie thingy for you, and no there are no other options.”

Mac sighs, reaches for the tuxedo. “Great - will do!” In a lower tone he mutters aloud, “Penguin outfit and the chick gets to ‘tie-the-knot’.” Thinks to himself, “Should’ve paid more attention to Stephen”

Turning around, he sees her standing in the doorway, bathrobe on, arms crossed, and a sly grin that says “Gotcha” on her face. “Why don’t you put on that… penguin suit… and this ‘chick’ will make sure you look good before we go, alright?”

“Sure, yeah. I’m on it.” He begins to unbuckle his belt, “Well, are you comin’ in, or leaving? I’m getting changed here.”

Danni turns to leave, “You wish I was coming in. You wish.”, as she walks down the hall to her own bathroom to get ready.

“Yeap, could do well to miss dinner.” To himself.

As the two of them get ready to go “out on the town”, she will help him with his hairstyle and clothes. Her hair and makeup are done, and her bathrobe leaves a nice view when he takes the occasional glance down at her chest. She takes her time with him. Straightening this, tweaking that. Adjusting the tie, brushing down the lapels. Mac takes it all in. When Danni is in her element, he is amazed and the skill and confidence she exudes when performing her ‘duties’. When she is done, she lifts his chin from looking down her robe. “You look great.”, she says, turning toward her own room.

“Thanks.”, Mac will say, genuinely.

A few minutes later, she will come into her Living Room and stand before Mac. He looks up to see her arrival and is absolutely stunned. She looked ravishing. A black cocktail dress, heels and earrings that would probably cost a semester’s tuition at R.I.T.




“You look great.”

“Thank you. I’m glad you like it.” She turns to go toward the kitchen. “C.H.I.V.E.S, please bring my car around front and set the destination for the Blue Trosor Country Club, in Arcology three zero nine eight two.”

“Yes, ma’am,” the A.I. system will reply with a quintessential English butler’s voice. “The car will be in front of the building in two minutes.”

“Thank you C.H.I.V.E.S.” She looks at Mac, grabs her clutch purse, “Are you ready, sir?”

“Guess so,” Mac replies. “I didn’t know you had a car. I never see you drive anywhere.”

“I do drive occasionally. But tonight...you’re driving. So I don’t have to.”

As they exit the elevator, the doorman will greet them, “Good evening folks. Ma’am, your car is ready out front.”



As they walk out the door, Mac sees a sleek gravcar. “Is that a Prometheus?”, he will ask, momentarily taken aback.

“Yes, the LX model. They told me the LX means luxury.” she replies. He looks back at her with a blank stare.

“I’ve never seen one in person. These things are supposed to be very fast.” Danni will nod her head as if to concur that yes, it is indeed fast.

“And I’m driving?” He asks, as if to say “Are you sure?”

“Yes. I don’t want to drive tonight. ”

As they approach the car, the doors lift automatically. Mac remembers his manners, and ensures that she is safely tucked into the passenger side bucket seat. He takes a seat in the driver’s side. The doors will close and the navigation hologram will begin to display the route to the Country Club. Mac can’t help but be impressed with the styling, quality, and components of the car. Admiring it in a way that only engineers can.

“Good evening, Danni.”, the car will speak softly. “I see you have a guest who will be driving this evening?”

“Yes, and his name is Mac.”, she replies. “Mac, shall I set controls to manual, or automatic, for your drive?” the computer will ask.

Danni looks at Mac and says, “Well?”

“Manual, please.” he replies with but a moment’s hesitation.

“Manual control is set. Enjoy your evening.” the computer will finish. And with that, Mac pulls out of the drive. As he follows the nav-system, his confidence with the car increases.

“Man, this is fun.” He thinks to himself. “How can she afford this thing anyway? She must make some good bank at the Foundation. That’s all I’m sayin.” There are several points along the way where Mac is able to open up the Prometheus a bit. He is suitably impressed, and he thinks to himself, “I’ll bet she doesn’t even use half the power this gravcar has under the hood.” He thinks for moment about ‘rolling’ the airborne vehicle but controls himself given the evenings environment. He looks towards Danni and smiles easily.

As they approach the Blue Trosor Country Club, Mac can tell this place is something special. He remembers seeing the outside of the building on some celebrity show on one of the holovid channels at R.I.T. As the grav car enters the parking queue, the computer chimes in, “Auto Parking Valet engaged.” The steering wheel begins to move automatically. Mac sighs, “Where’s all the fun of driving, when the computer does everything for ya?”

The car doors open automatically when they pull up to the entrance. One of the doormen helps Danni out and around. The doors of the car close and, driverless, it glides out to the parking area. Mac, looking behind him, watches the car disappear. “Nice ride.” he thinks to himself. He takes a long lusty look at Danni, as she comes to his side. “That’s a nice ride too.” he smiles as he thinks to himself.

“What?” Danni says, catching him smiling and looking at her.

“Was just thinking how nice you look tonight, that’s all.” he replies.

The couple heads through the doors of the Grand Entrance Hall. Mac will notice the doors are also computerized. As they continue walking, another doorman will bow deep, and with dignity, saying, “Welcome Miss Zakhukili.”

“Yep.” Mac will confirm to himself, “Neural or facial recognition. Nice.”

Mac’s eyes adjust and he views the Grand Entrance Hall, used by the elite Rhylanori for over two centuries. It is decorated with fine ancient Solomani style Victorian era adornment. Judiciously placed throughout the hall are holographic statues of prominent Rhylanori, and powerful native animals in hunting poses.

Danni will pull them to the side of the room, standing in front of a statue of some famous Rhylanori woman. She will straighten him up again quickly, noting with a smile that she is quite satisfied. Mac will make a small final adjustment to his ‘penguin suit’ and smile back. Mac notices some sudden movement in his peripheral vision. He quickly turns to face the threat. “What the…”

The statue they were standing in front of had changed its pose to face toward them. “Good evening.” the statue will say to them. The statue was fully animated at this point. “I am Senator Amala Lontlilia. I was a Senator in the Rhylanor Executive Proxy during the years 925 to 959. Would you like to know more?”

“No thank you.” Danni will state to the statue. The statue will look away and change pose slightly, waiting to interact with someone else.

“That’s annoying.” Mac will state flatly.

Danni, smiling, “There will probably be some more annoying things this evening. There will, most likely, be people here that I know. I may have to talk with some of them, but will do my best to keep it to a minimum. OK?”

Mac nods, “Why did we have to come here, rather than go to Juans, or someplace less formal?”

Danni will smile back, “Because I am ranked number four hundred and ninety four on the entire planet of Rhylanor... and I wanted to come here for dinner. Besides, it’s one of my favorite places.” She begins to straighten his lapel again, needlessly, saying, “And remember… my every whim and all.” She extends her hand to him, beckoning him to come with her, “You’re doing great, Mac.”

Mac adjusts his tux with new pride.

The restaurant was sumptuously appointed in Second Imperial style. Ornate, almost to the point of gaudy. Mac was finishing his appetizer... something he couldn’t pronounce, but Danni assured him he would like. Danni was daintily finishing her salad. Mac couldn’t contain himself any longer.

“You know, there, kid. Earlier today I saw you on that horse... and you were having fun. I got to see the true you. True happiness. Now, we are out… celebrating, by the way… at dinner, and you turn into Miss Courtesan again. You are friggin’ perfectly eating your food, for gods sake. This is your celebration, why can’t you just enjoy it?”

“Oh really!” she will snap quietly in reply. “And just who’s to say I’m not enjoying it?” Getting ever so slightly more agitated, “You know.. who says I’m not perfectly happy being in… this… courtesan mode. You make a judgement of me, without even asking me to begin with.”

“Whoa there, Missy…”, Mac continues. But his response is quickly cut short by the waiter, who arrives with their entree.

“Poidou Hen with Beco Leaves, and Soucet sauce for madam.” as he deftly places the plate down in front of Danni. He puts Mac’s plate down as well. “Ostu steak, with dulcea root compote and an Otrog vegetable medley for the gentleman. Bon appetite.” And like that, he’s gone.

Mac stared at his food for a bit, then decided it was probably alright to eat the… whatever this is. They both started eating. Suddenly, Danni sits up. Her eyes wide, looking at someone, or something, behind Mac. Mac starts to make ready to defend himself, when he sees a gentleman approaching. “Oh, c’mon.” he thinks to himself, “You got to be kidding me. Tonight, of all nights.” As he reverts his gaze back toward Danni, he is shocked at the transformation to business mode she has made. She stands up to greet the gentleman.



“Your excellency, how nice to see you again.” she began.

“I hope he doesn’t want to talk about the Gimbal project.” was all Mac could think as he stood up and turned around.

“Dionyssia, very nice to see you as well.” the noble responded.

“Dr. Count Lucius Metz, our patron.” she will introduce. “My good friend, Gannon MacKenzie.”

Mac will put on his game face, smile and shake the Count’s hand, “A pleasure to see you again, your excellency.” Mac will offer.

A look of recognition covers the Count’s face, “And it is a pleasure to see you again as well, Mister MacKenzie. I trust you have much to report regarding your progress on my Gimbal?” Looking at their slowly cooling dinners, the count continues, “But I interrupt your dinner. I apologize. Dionyssia, I am in system for several weeks…” he lets his words trail off.

“We would love to get on your schedule, your excellency. I will contact your staff.”

Clearly pleased with the answer he fished for, “I look forward to hearing of your progress. Till then… Dionyssia… Mister MacKenzie.” He will excuse himself and head back to his table, as Danni and Mac reply, “Your excellency”, not quite synchronized.

Mac plopped back down in his seat. “Just wonderful.” he will look accusingly at Danni. “Thanks for bringing me here to meet with a high ranking noble, and get more work as a result. Just… thanks.” He will drop his gaze, and begin eating his dinner.

Suddenly serious, Danni will look at him squarely, “Don’t you start that with me, Gannon MacKenzie. Without the Graviton Gimbal project, you aren’t studying at R.I.T. And R.I.T. is what lets you legitimize your potential. Your potential is your greatest weapon to effect change in your life. So I… do… not… want… to… hear it.”

After receiving that salvo, she sees Mac shift slightly in his chair, and say “Yeah, well, if we weren’t here, he wouldn’t be asking for us to talk to him. That’s all I’m sayin’.”

They each eat silently for about a minute, when Mac breaks the silence, “Look, I’m sorry. I was just hoping to have an uneventful dinner to celebrate your breaking the five hundred barrier – to a point.” Slight grin on his face.

Ignoring the pun but thankful to be talking again, “I apologize as well, Mac. It was selfish of me to want to come here in the first place. Can we agree to try and recover the night and enjoy ourselves?”

Mac nods his approval, and smiles. “Yep. By the way, this uh, Ostu steak, actually tastes pretty good. Thanks for recommending it.”

Danni smiles at him, thinking to herself, “He clearly doesn’t realize how rare that steak is. And we’ll just leave it like that.”

The rest of their dinner goes well. The formerly frigid atmosphere at the table begins to warm, and the conversation, with a little help from some alcohol, gradually finds both of them enjoying themselves. As their plates are cleared, and before the bill comes, a large man with a limp takes a seat at a nearby table with a woman, his companion for dinner.

Danni will look at him for a long second. She pulls her hand-comp out and starts typing. Mac will look at the man, then back at Danni. “What’s up with the fat man?”



Typing, “That’s Sir Philipe Martinez of Porozlo”, she will state flatly. Continuing, “His family sells a very popular brand of wines, ports, and brandies. I just remembered I need to send some wine as a gift to someone else. That’s all.”

“Oh. Well, what’s with the limp?”

“I have heard that it is the result of an injury he received while on active duty in the military. I want to say that he and Harper served together in some capacity.”

“Oh. Wow. That sucks for him.” Cocking his head to one side, “Geez, Danni, do you know everyone in this place?”

“No, of course not.”

“Really, then…” looking around for some muckety muck, “who’s that over there?”, pointing with his head gesturing.

“That’s Baroness Lyssa Shiishuginsa. Her family is very powerful and administers the Duchy of Vland. Everyone knows she is here and visiting with Duke Erghal. What those meetings entail... is what everyone is guessing.”

“See, you do know everyone here.”

“No, I don’t. I don’t know that gentleman over there.” she points with her head this time.

“Oh boy, one person. You’re like a walking encyclopedia for this stuff. How do you remember it all?”

“It’s my job, silly. It’s what I’m trained to do. And, I’ll have you know, I’m quite good at it.” she states somewhat playfully.

“Oh, I know you’re good at it all right. Probably too good.” Checking his chronometer and quickly changing the topic, “Can we get out of here now? We don’t want to be late.”

As they walked out of the restaurant, Mac notices Danni has a lighter, more relaxed...more playful gait. “Yes, Miss Zakhukili. Be yourself.” he smiled as he looked at her. They walked down the hall, out of the country club, and into the theater next door.

They take their seats inside the huge theater. Mac can’t help but note how close they are to the stage. “Must be nice to have connections.” he thinks to himself. He looks to his right, at Danni, “So what’s this play about again?”

Leaning in to him, he can’t help but get a whiff of her perfume. How he loved that smell. “It’s about Grand Admiral Olav Plankwell, Olavopolis’ namesake, and how he plotted to assassinate the Empress Jacqueline the first and claim the Imperial throne. I’ve heard it’s very good, although somewhat loose in some of its interpretation. It’s got violence and intrigue in it, so I figured you might like it.”

“OK, Gotcha.” Mac will acknowledge. “Maybe this will be alright. Assassination. Usurping the Empress. What’s not to like.” he thinks to himself.

As the lights dim, Mac leans in close to Danni and whispers, “By the way, don’t think I didn’t notice.”

“Notice what?” she whispers back, still facing the stage.

“That you introduced me to Count Metz as your friend.”

The overture begins with big kettle drums booming. And as the curtains opened, Danni took Mac’s hand in hers, a big smile on her face. As she watched the play begin, she didn’t see the large smile on Mac’s face as well.

During the intermission, nobody really took notice of the happy couple near the bar. The couple that anyone you asked, would have told you they are lovers...even if the couple didn’t know it themselves.

And nobody missed the couple who were not back in their seats, as the second half of the play began.

As the computer pulled the Prometheus LX into the circular drive of Danni’s complex, the vehicles occupants were not interested in driving. The car chimed to let the pair know they had arrived at their destination, yet they didn’t seem to care. When the doors opened automatically, the doorman was surprised to see the couple embracing and kissing each other. “Oh, sorry.” was all the doorman could muster when confronted with the scene in the car.

Hearing someone talk, interrupted Mac and Danni. A quick “recovery” and a big smile later, the car was moving along to automatic parking. Danni, looking slightly disheveled from the interlude, managed to quickly find a $100 credit bill and, smiling, hand it to the doorman then putting her finger in front of her lips in the universal sign of “keep this quiet”.

As he watched the Prometheus pull away, Mac put his hands in his tuxedo pockets and turned to Danni, “Well, this has been a nice day. Thanks for spending it with me.”

Turning toward him, a huge smile on her face, “Mister MacKenzie. Although the evening is still young, you are in no shape to ride back to Furmidh tonight. I must insist that you spend the night here… with me… in my bed.”

Mac was taken aback by this sudden burst of brevity from Danni. He knew she wasn’t drunk. Buzzed? Perhaps, but her mind was still sharp and constantly in motion.

Before he could recover and even conceivably think about a response, Danni grabbed his hand, wheeled around and let him inside the building.

“Are you sure?” he asked during the elevator ride.

“This time it’s real.” she replied back, as the elevator chimed, announcing their arrival at the 188th floor.

As she opened the door to her residence, Mac scooped her up in his arms, and confidently entered. After getting past the door, he kicked it closed with his foot, and continued toward the bedroom. The last thing heard was, “My every whim, Mister MacKenzie. My every whim.”
_________________
"I don't have a personality conflict - I get along with all of myselves!"
"Why can't you be a non-conformist, just like everybody else?"
"Pay no attention to the man behind the screen"
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