(Cemitae's Flight Story)
Cemitae hadn't really realized what he was getting himself into when he made his deal with the Minister of Draconic Relations that day in the restaurant, not really. It was strange, availing himself to the public eye: 'Cemitae Rufasilex is looking to get chased!' is what signing his name on that document meant, and it had him feeling more self-conscious then he'd ever been before!|
When he went out he was certain that people were watching him, though if anything it made him jut his chest a little more and walk with a bit of a swagger. Being on show wasn't something that he was completely uncomfortable with, but this... well, it was something else.
He'd been told that as the names came in he'd be getting contact information for the curious ladies, and he could choose whether to meet them or not before the big event. He hadn't expected to run into one of them even before he had a chance to meet her officially!
It was a busy late-morning, a weekend by Star City's calendar, when Cemitae was doing tourist-things and when he ran into his first (unbeknownst) chaser. At the top of one of the uppermost terraces on this particular deck, he was lounging outside of a coffee-bar and watching the traffic seethe on all of the terraced levels below him. Fancy stuff, up here! A young dragoness--probably just rolling into the cusp of her adulthood--alighted at the entrance of the open patio, catching his eye with her ever-moving, crackling mane, her faint... well, glow. If she were Pernese, Cemitae would have expected her to be making sucky-noises at every prey-beast she saw, but even if she weren't about to take flight at any second, she was still incredibly beautiful.
He threw a grin at her when her void-dark eyes past over him, expecting nothing much in return, but when she perked and began to trot towards him, his grin grew all the wider. "Hey there," he greeted her when she came within easy conversation distance. "Fine day for a stroll, huh?"
~It certainly is,~ the dragoness replied, pausing before him and smiling when he stood to greet her properly. ~Would you happen to be Cemitae? ...Cemitae Rufasilex?~
"Does my reputation preceed me?" the Piralan asked, surprised. "Yes, actually, I am--and you...?"
~Call my Slyan,~ the dazzlingly chrome (and currently red, at least in her reflection of him) dragoness replied. ~Nearly everybody else does. I'm named 'Slyan Zotreth d'lil Sso Charnaggen, if you want to be formal about it.~
"No need for that," Cemitae assured her, chuckling. "It's a pretty name, at least."
~Thank you, I made it myself,~ the dragoness quipped. ~But Cemitae, it's a pleasure to meet you because I had just come across you earlier today, on the flight-board, and I had just as soon put my name down beside it.~ She gave a shallow bow, her grin turning devious. ~I was wondering when you were planning your flight, since I need some time to practice,~ and she was saying all of this with a straight face, although her straightforward bluntness had taken Cemitae completely by surprise! ~This will be my first time chasing, after all.~
At least he was quick on the wing. "Trust me, this is the first time I'll have been chased," Cemitae replied, chuckling... nervously? He seemed a bit put off, and sat back as Slyan moved forward to join him.
~Oh, I meant at all. I've never participated in a flight before, but I think that this one will be fun. I've been reading and I'm pretty sure that I know how it works--pretty mundane compared to the things I dabble in normally, but I'm still looking forward to it.~ She flipped her tail, something like an impatient cat, ~so tell me again, I don't believe I heard you tell me when that flight was planned. I couldn't find a scrap of information on the date.~
"Oh, I hadn't said, but I hadn't planned it yet." Cemitae was still chuckling, still put off by her questioning and even just a little by the predatory-playful look on the younger dragoness' face. "I was hoping to meet all of the ladies, first, actually, which you've actually helped me in." He dipped his head in a belated return-bow.
~I like to take the initiative,~ Slyan told him assuredly. ~Especially since your flight is filling with names rather quickly, don't you think?~
"Well, I checked this morning and it was empty."
~Now there are three, and I'm certain that you'll want to speak with them and get to know them just like you have with me, although I hope I'll leave a good impression with you.~ her grin turned less predatory, more girlish. ~And I was wondering, maybe, if I could snag you later on before the flight. I was serious when I mentioned practice.~
~Not to offend you,~ Slyan said, though she didn't sound particularly sincere, ~and I hope that I'm not making a poor impression on you. The chaser does have to be adamant, however!~
"How about we talk about it over something to drink," Cemitae stalled. "I'll buy you a coffee--or whatever--and maybe you can tell me what you want. I'd rather I know what you're getting me into before I agree to anything."
~Of course!~ Slyan exclaimed, sounding delighted. ~Something with an almondy flavor please. Did you know that cyanide tastes vaguely of almonds? In some cultures, the magical properties of the nut are said to aid in resurrection of the recently deceased.~ She stopped herself, her mouth snapping shut with an audible noise. ~Apologies, studying necromancy is a hobby of mine.~
"Ah," Cemitae said, feeling once again strangely out of his depth. "Like a crime scene investigator will study others' crimes?"
~Something like that, yes,~ Slyan replied, smiling again.
So that was how Cemitae met his first chaser... and allowed himself to be caught, the first time!
"I know I won't need it."
And they parted ways, Cemitae feeling as if a weight had been lifted from him.
Cemitae ended their meeting on an upnote, giving Sinaeath a wing-hug, giving Anger a nod.
It was only that night that he felt the latter dragoness' gleaming green eyes on him, on his way 'home' from Boserro's apartment. He was almost to his door when he turned, and Anger was there, illuminated by her low-burning, firey tail. He felt his heart stop for a moment. "Ah, hello," he greeted her, just barely holding his ground as she continued forward to meet him. "It's nice to see you again, Anger..." And now she was close enough to touch, and her muzzle came up to Cemitae's neck and for just a second, he was afraid that she was going to rip his throat out.
She didn't, but she did carefully nip his throat. ~Get inside,~ she told him shortly, her low growl accentuating her words in ways that had every single hair on his body stand out on end.
The giant poof-ball that he'd become, he backed into his hotel apartment and allowed her to follow, and that was how he managed to get himself caught the second time!
He shivered, thinking about the night previous, and promised himself that he'd do his best not to give in to the demands of others... at least, until the Flight proper!
He met with two dragonesses that day. Keirath was a Pernese dragoness who seemed eager to please him, and with whom he spent a nice morning with on the cool breezes on the Flight Deck--though only in companion-ly exercise. Cemitae was used to Old World types and their symbiote-like relationship with their chosen bonds, so he wasn't upset when she had to return to her young demon.
That afternoon was spent with the more mysterious Trixeliyt, a native of the station for some years. She seemed to know exactly where all the little nooks and crannies of the station were that typical tourists (like himself) could never find, and in these back-end bars and family-owned restaurants, in the lazer-lit arcades and, later, in the heavy bass of the night, he found himself hard-pressed to refuse her offer to join her when she was standing at her door. "Trix'," he said, sounding almost heartbroken, "I'm sorry, I've got to wait until the flight."
The neon green and black and white dragoness didn't seem much put out, at least. ~Well then, how about after the flight, at the very least?~ she asked, for once being straight about what she said. ~I like you, Cemitae, you're a fun guy.~ She reached up and touched noses with him gently, saying, ~swing by again once we're done with all of this business and I'll take you out again, alright?~
"...Kay," he replied, grinning as she turned into her home and as the door slid shut behind her.
He'd managed to restrain himself! Things really were looking up, now!
The bright red Piralan had decided that he'd set a date for his flight, now, since he didn't think he could take all of this much longer. Even as he had come out of Boserro's office he met with another dragoness, one who'd signed for his flight as well.
Her eyes were strange--blue on black, nearly opposites of his yellow on white--and her entire body was rough and metallic and gorgeous.
Cemitae spend the entire day with her and her stories, for she was well travelled and her voice, husky and beautiful, was entrancing. Her name was Camilla and though Cemitae had wanted to ask her into his hotel room at the end of their meeting, he managed to refrain. He would be good, for Asuka's sake!
Similarly, a Ryslen-born dragoness named Fanei had signed the board at the last second, and while Cemitae hadn't had much time to get to know her, she seemed ready for this flight, if nothing else! Flirting lightly, she'd taken her place before the flight began, waiting with patience for the other dragonesses to show up.
He stood at the hatch that overlooked the massive Flight Deck, the updraft that swirled in from the open doors causing his long hair to stream around him on par with the most ambitious of hair commercials. His face broke this provocative illusion--a goofy grin crooked one side of his muzzle higher then the other, and his ears were half-lowered with apprehension. Eight dragonesses were standing at various points, at the hatches on either side of him, watching him so intently that he was afraid to blink improperly. Neither Anger nor Sinaeath were visible, which puzzled him. Maybe Anger had backed out of the flight and Sinaeath hadn't wanted to do it alone... Cemitae wasn't certain. But eight was more then he could have asked for, so he cleared his voice and very clearly said, "wow, guys, thanks for showing up--"
~Can we start yet~? Slyan asked, practically vibrating with her exuberance. Even if the other ladies may have paid lip-service to the wisdom of patience, Cemitae could see that they were all restless.
"Well," Cemitae said, drawing the word out. "Alright."
He dropped below the hatch and down from the 'ceiling' of the deck, into open air and curious currents. Wings tucked tight, he dived and quickly found himself skimming the dwarven tree-line, eight dragonesses in hot pursuit. The flight being one of the topics of conversation bouncing back and forth across the deck, there were others who had come to watch: humanoids had set up shop on cleared hillocks with binoculars to watch (the voyeurs!) and other dragons kept their morning routines leisurely, both to make way for and watch this particular flight!
Cemitae wasn't aware of them, not in this particular mindset. Like with training throughout childhood with Esuro and the UNIS, and like the training he did for his Ala every day, this was a competition in speed and stamina... well, in flight-stamina, anyways. He wasn't going to fail his part of the bargain, he would give them something to chase!
Iris Rona'de was at the front of the pack, a look of concentration and determination on her red-pointed muzzle as she gained ground on the Piralan. The others were close behind her, riding her air currents and for the most part, conserving their energy. The yellow dragoness truly did think that this was a chance to redeem herself--she wasn't stupid after all, she had realized when Cemitae didn't seem to like her and she'd been hurt by that. Perhaps if she could show him that she wasn't simply arrogance and hot air, she could redeem herself. She'd tried her best to seem pleasant this morning, and that had seemed to get a good response from the Piralan, so perhaps she could win back all of her lost ground!
Such didn't seem to be the case, however. She was so intent on following Cemitae that she didn't realize when he made a clipping turn around one of the docking-bay/pillars, and found herself pulling around only to save herself, though she lost too much ground to retain her lead. Falling to the back of the pack for a few minutes, she quickly decided to drop out of the race. There were too many pretty dragonesses chasing--she didn't have a chance, did she? Probably not...
~Hey,~ a voice caught her, half-distracted but recognizably that of Cemitae's. It was meant for her as she spiraled to an open clearing. ~I know I misjudged you--I'm sorry. Hang around the elevator we came down on, I'll take you out for coffee?~
Iris was dumbstruck, and didn't say anything at first, though her dropped shields allowed the Piralan to feel her acceptance. Suddenly losing out on this race didn't seem to be such a bad thing after all!
Oplintas was having a difficult time, with Trixeliyt directly ahead of her and seeming to take great entertainment in thwarting her every move. The green-striped dragoness seemed to be having more fun in preventing the other from catching up to Cemitae then in trying to catch him, herself--as she should, knowing that she'd be able to see him again, after all! Eventually, the black-furred Vatkari-hybrid gave a rumble of frustration and dropped back. This was impossible! She would soon after drop from the race entirely; she'd signed on too late and didn't seem to have it in her to compete like this. ~Thanks for trying~ Cemitae psied, though the usually good-natured dragoness simply huffed in reply. Swindled!
~And I'll be seeing you later, Cemitae--I'd rather save my energy,~ Trixeliyt added, sending the Piralan an unseen wink as she dropped from the race, herself.
Cemitae didn't deem with a reply to that one--he had to concentrate, for goodness sake!
Now it was Camilla in the lead, with Keirath and Fanei right behind her. Slyan was just a little above and behind the Avyndal, Atisa Talake, while the Avyndal's companion, Jesmin, was coaching her pale bond on. Cemitae was feeling the burn in his wing-muscles, but he wasn't yet done, not by a long-shot! He attempted to pull a sharp trick that he'd learned from jet-fighters from his bond's military friends. A sort of half-loopdy loop, he pulled up over his chasers... and began to stall when he reached an upside-down position! Blood was pounding in his head but it was worth it from the surprised noises that his chasers were making. He hung there for what felt like several minutes as they did their best to follow him or to swing around--and with wings tightly tucked to his sides, he began to plummet again.
For Keirath, it was too much. The part Pernese dragoness knew she was lost from this flight when Cemitae's wings snapped open with an audible noise a couple hundred feet below and he was again racing away when she was still turning around. She shrugged it off easily enough, and returned to the upper deck.
Slyan and Jesmin, on the other hand, had gotten rather tangled up with one another, trying to correct themselves. The noodly-long part-daemon, just as surprised as the Silshar dragoness, managed to sort themselves out before any serious harm was done, but it was too late to put them into a winning position.
That left Cemitae with three chasers: Atisa, Camilla, and Fanei. All three were putting real effort into the chase, and all three were as determined to win as Cemitae was determined to evade him. So it was that they circled the Flight Deck three times--taking up a good half an hour of weaving and ducking, diving and gliding--without any failing on the chasers' part, that Cemitae realized that he really wasn't going to be able to put up with this for much longer. His muscles were screaming and the length of his throat was dry with each breath he took, and while this was all good and fun, he was beginning to look forward to the reward more then the chase. ~I have an idea,~ he tried with them, and received queries on all their parts. ~If you wouldn't mind, you're all lovely dragonesses; would you mind coming to a consensus about something?~
~If you mean that you want one of us to pick a winner,~ Fanei spoke for all of them, ~it's not going to happen, bub.~
~What? No! I meant,~ and here Cemitae stalled for a moment, in words if not in flight, ~I can't decide between you, if you're wondering why I'm still making you fight.~ Well, better blunt then cryptic: ~Would you mind if I let you all win?~
~What?!~ the unanimous response.
Atisa continued, ~Is that even the point of a flight?~
~Well, no, I don't think so,~ Cemitae replied, ~But none of us are bound by traditions, really--and really, I wouldn't mind, if you wouldn't!~ he felt silly for suggesting such a thing.
~How would you propose we do it?~ Camilla asked.
~I'm not a groupie,~ Fanei added, though her voice was light, joking.
~Well, I'm pretty wiped out right now, but maybe we could catch a movie later,~ Cemitae began to suggest, ~we could all go out together or I could drop a note whenever you're free...~ This had to be the most peculiar proposal he'd ever put forth! ~Besides, I'd rather get to know you better then have one of you drop me without warning!~
The dragonesses seemed to be debating with themselves--or maybe with each other, Cemitae couldn't hear them if they were using a private band. Finally, Atisa asked, ~they'll need a public flight-winner, probably, right?~
~Well, in that case,~ Fanei announced, ~I'll do the dirty work,~ She surged forward and tugged on Cemitae, throwing him off balance. ~And I still expect a call the next day!~ she told him, following him down and laughing all the way.
"I'll phone, don't worry!" Cemitae shouted up to Camilla and Atisa, forgetting to psi what he meant.
And thank Asuka!
"You know," Boserro was saying, sitting across the table from him--the both of them in human form, in a human bar, "I have never seen of nor heard of an incident in the history of the station quite like this."
Cemitae was blushing, even if it wasn't visible visible against his red skin. "Stop rubbing it in, Bos'."
"Well, no, I can't. It's my job, after all. Who else would--or could--possibly fill every hatching bay within such a short span of time?"
The Piralan dropped his head into his hands, shaking it slightly. "Shut up, Bos'."
"I'd be proud," the white man was saying, "but then again, I'm not the one who has to make sure that five pregnant, cranky females are getting their every whim attended to. No, my friend, that privilege falls to you."
"Boserro," Cemitae warned, not raising his head. "Knock it off."
"Takes one to make one," the Minister teased, taking a sip of beer. "Seriously, though, if you need any help, you have only to ask and I'll send an aide up to help you, alright?"
Cemitae only grunted in reply. "Birth control," he finally said.
"And the unteachable was taught!" the white dragon teased again, earning a punch, but laughing the whole time.