Sarah Palmer looked around her new room aboard Infinity, assessing what she had. She didn't mind having her own quarters, but it was rather sparsely furnished. She had a bed, a footlocker, and a terminal, but that was about it. She moved over to the bed and sat down, not sure what to do with her time now. There was a knock on her door and Sarah cursed, sure it was one of the other Spartans or Jun coming to scold her for not asking permission to take her armor. She stood and moved to the door, surprised by the man on the other side. Commander Lasky stood tall in her doorway, hands clasped behind his back. He had an aura of confidence about him, and Sarah had to admit he was rather cute - with a sort of boyish charm to his features. Still, he was a higher in rank than her so she snapped to attention. "Commander."
"At ease, Spartan," Lasky said with an amused smile. There was something about the way he smiled that made Sarah want to smile as well.
Sarah relaxed and leaned against the frame of her doorway, crossing her arms. "What can I do for you, Commander?" She smiled a bit as she noticed that he had to look up to be able to speak to her and look her in the eye.
"I wanted to officially welcome you aboard Infinity and offer to take you on a tour." Despite having to look up, Lasky was still extremely confident. His gaze fell for just a second but it was obvious to her that he was looking her over.
"Are you offering a tour to anyone else?" Sarah asked, knowing the answer already.
"No one else made an impression like you," Lasky answered. Sarah smiled at the line, impressed with his charm and self-assurance. It wasn't smug confidence, but rather a sort of relaxed, innocent confidence. His smile was pleasant, but she could see that he was watching carefully for her response.
"Well, I could use a tour. And I suppose you know your way around a ship." Sarah stood up straight and stepped out of her room. Lasky's reaction felt slow to her, something she was still getting used to after the augmentations. He stepped back but there was a noticeable hesitation before he moved out of her personal space. "Where to first?"
"I'll show you around the local areas. Gym, lockers, cafeteria, places you haven't been told about, and the showers." Lasky smiled and it was becoming increasingly clear to Sarah that he was flirting with her. She didn’t expect him to be so open about it, but maybe he thought he was being more subtle.
Sarah flashed him a smirk of her own before she flirted back. "Don't even talk to me about showers. This thing is so tight I don't know how I'll ever get it off." Sarah ran her hands down her sides and she was pleased to see that he couldn't help but look. “It’s like a second skin, and the zipper on the back is so hard to get open.”
"Well if you need help later, I’m sure I could assist you in getting out of that body suit." Lasky let his eyes roam one last time before he started to move down the hallway. "How about we start with the closest facilities?" Sarah nodded and followed him. They made their way to the gym and stood in the doorway. "The Spartan area has special gyms with increased gravity to compensate for the enhanced strength of Spartans," Lasky explained. "It has almost every form of training equipment that you could desire, even a track for running."
Sarah stepped into the gym and she could feel the slight increase in gravity. She turned her back to Lasky as she moved over to a rack of weights and picked up a dumbbell. "I'm sure you don't use this gym often." Sarah chose another one of the weights and lifted it up, testing it. "Do you use the track though?"
"I do use it fairly regularly. I like to keep my cardio up," Lasky answered. "Do you jog?"
"Jogging isn't my preferred way to work out my heart." Sarah started to lift the weight, examining how it felt. She could tell that the increased gravity did indeed make up for her increased strength.
"Well I don't know any other cardio workouts other than running. Maybe you could teach me your preferred method." Lasky took a few steps closer while Sarah curled the weight. She could feel his eyes on her back, watching her muscles as she moved. "How about I show you to the cafeteria?" Sarah shrugged, set the weight down, and let Lasky lead her away. They made their way through the hallways, Lasky rattling off specs of the ship that seemed to fascinate him, but Sarah wasn't really interested. She did like hearing the way he talked about the specifications, though. He was obviously impressed with the ship and Sarah liked hearing the excitement in his voice.
The cafeteria was larger than Sarah had expected, but then again it was supposed to hold thousands of Spartans. There were staff members working, but there were far too few to be the full number of employees in the food department. Sarah wasn't looking forward to how noisy the room would be when it was full of Spartans. Maybe she'd be able to eat her meals in her quarters to avoid the annoyance. "Just wait a moment and I'll get us something to snack on while we tour." Sarah nodded and watched Lasky walk away, her eyes traveling to inappropriate places as she watched him.
"Hey, Palmer, what are you doing here?" Sarah looked to her side and spotted Spartan Davis, who was walking toward her.
"The Commander's giving me a tour of the ship," Sarah answered. Her gaze turned back to Lasky as he talked to one of the workers.
"A private, personal tour?" Davis asked as he stopped beside her. "Are you going to screw him? At the very least give him a kiss goodnight." Sarah glared at him but the other Spartan only smiled. "Come on, you know you want to. Bet he's fun in the sack, maybe into some freaky stuff."
"Shut up, Davis," Sarah snapped. She was having a fairly good time with Lasky, and this was relaxing after all the trouble she’d been through recently. The last thing she wanted was for Davis to ruin her fun. "Get out of here, the tour's fully booked."
"Don't want to share him?" Davis teased.
"Why, thinking of making a move on him? I don't think you're man enough for him," Sarah shot back.
"You're certainly man enough for him," the male Spartan countered.
"I'm more man than you are," Sarah retorted. "Now get going, before you're late for your manicure." Lasky started to move toward them and Sarah pushed Davis toward the door a bit.
"Fine, I'll let you get back to getting yourself some Navy-ass. Just remember, dogs belong at the foot of the bed, not under the covers with you," Davis said quietly.
"Idiot. Marines are called devil-dogs, Navy are squids." Sarah glanced toward Lasky who was moving between the tables. "Though I bet he would lay on a couch with me and put his head in my lap. And probably would only be cuter curled up on my bed." Davis held up his hands, relenting, and turned to walk away.
Lasky returned, glancing toward Davis as he walked out of the room. "Is everything all right?" The confusion was written on his face and he looked a bit worried. Lasky frowned in Davis’ direction, seeming displeased. “Was he giving you a hard time?”
“He’s just jealous that he’s not getting a tour,” Sarah assured him. “Let’s just continue, and don’t let his sour attitude ruin it. Did you manage to get anything to snack on?”
“I got…” Lasky reached into his pocket and pulled out a rectangle. “A chocolate bar.” He held it out to her, offering her the sweet.
“Why Commander, if I didn’t know any better I’d think you’re trying to seduce me.” Sarah took the bar and carefully unwrapped it.
“I thought the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach,” Lasky commented. “Didn’t know that applied to women too.”
“Let’s be honest, it’s not my heart you’re trying to get into,” Sarah countered. “Everyone knows that chocolate is the one weakness all women have.” She broke off a part of the bar and happily placed it on her tongue, letting it melt in her mouth.
“For all you know, your heart is the only thing I want,” Lasky shot back. He paused for a moment and then motioned to one of the doors. “How about I show you how you’ll be getting around the ship.” Sarah nodded and Lasky lead her out of the cafeteria. They made their way to what looked like a rail station that stretched through the length of the ship. “This is the system we use to get around the ship quicker, as it is a long distance and a lot of people will be moving here and there. Keeps things neat.” Lasky stepped onto one of the rail cars and held his hand out to Sarah.
She ignored the hand, but still stepped onto the car. Lasky took a seat and she sat down beside him. “So this is how everyone is going to get around. But with so many people using it I’d think that walking would still be a better option.”
“Well for some it might be,” Lasky agreed. “But when you’re the second-in-command of the UNSC’s largest ship you have some privileges, like priority boarding on one of these things.” Lasky leaned a bit toward her. “It might help to also be associated with that second-in-command.”
“First chocolate and now you’re trying to bribe me with perks. You must really want me in your bed.” Sarah bit off another piece of the candy bar and sucked on it as she savored the treat.
“A woman like you, what man wouldn’t want her in their bed?” Lasky watched her as she ate, causally placing an arm over the back of the connected seats. “How about I point out things to you as we ride?” Lasky gave her descriptions of some of the other decks as they passed them by; pointing out the labs, the quarters for all the different kinds of troops Infinity would be housing, the vehicles in the hanger, and rattled off the weapons in the armory. “And that’s the open garden area,” he said as he pointed to a place that looked like it could have been actual land, not a section of plants on a spaceship. “Doesn’t serve any combat purpose…but if, say, a Spartan and an officer wanted to have secret meet ups where they wouldn’t likely be found, it could be useful.”
“Seems like a waste,” Sarah muttered, for a moment forgetting the man beside her. “Hope the rebels don’t see it or they’ll be pissed. War resources going to making a pretty garden, when refuges are still struggling to survive.”
“I don’t really know why we have it,” Lasky agreed, trying to pull her attention back to their conversation. Sarah looked to him and she could see he was concerned. “There’s also a large holochamber that the Spartans will be able to use to train. It’s not all a waste of money, just that stupid thing.” He motioned toward the garden.
Sarah felt bad for the turn the conversation had taken. They were having fun and here she’d brought down the mood. She leaned a bit toward his side and smiled as best she could. “I wonder what sort of things that a holochamber can do. I bet that if a certain officer really wanted to sweep a woman off her feet he could take her there, show her her heart’s desire, and she’d fall right into his arms.”
Lasky smiled, happy to be returning to lighter subject matters. “Some officers might need to use crutches like that when trying to sway a woman. I’d prefer to just be honest with her, maybe give her a bit of a treat to warm her up, show off a bit to get her attention, and then convince her to give me a try. After a night with me, I’m sure she’ll be more than happy to come warm my sheets.”
“You’re pretty sure of yourself,” Sarah observed with an amused smirk. Lasky seemed to have a wealth of confidence that never ran dry, a good quality in a man. “Do you have what it takes to back those words up?”
“Let me warm your bed and I’ll show you I do,” Lasky retorted. The rail came to a stop and he stood, smiling down at her. “This concludes our tour. If you’d like to tip your tour guide they take phone numbers, passionate kisses with plenty of tongue, or wild rolls in the sheets.”
Sarah stood and couldn’t help but laugh at his comment. “Sometimes you are an embarrassment.” She shook her head as she walked off of the rail car with Lasky following her. “You should be glad that I’m the only one that heard that.”
“It wasn’t that bad,” Lasky defended. “Sure not the most high class flirting but it was funny. Women always say they want a man with a sense of humor.”
“Well you do make me laugh,” Sarah admitted as she got control of her laughter. She topped at her door and turned to the officer. “This was fun, we should do it again.”
“Like every time that you’re aboard Infinity?” Lasky’s smile fell a bit and he looked toward the floor. “They still don’t know about us, do they?”
“No, and I’d prefer to keep it that way. You know I like to keep my private life out of my military one.” Sarah let out a small sigh. “None of them have any idea and I’m not about to blurt it out. I’m not going to deny it either if they ask me straight up.”
“I just wish you’d said something sooner, instead of surprising me like that. I had no idea you were going to be stationed aboard Infinity. There’s probably forms to fill out, and we could have set rules on what’s okay and who we want to know what.” Lasky let out a frustrated breath.
“It wasn’t what I had expected. I thought Jun would show us our area and then I’d have time to go find you and tell you myself. I didn’t expect him to introduce us to you, or any of the other things that happened.” Sarah smiled softly. “Glad to know that you’re steady in a tough situation like that. You didn’t freak out and you took charge.”
“And you came up with a crazy plan that pit you against a woman that, from what I read in the report, started to strangle you and could have killed you.” Fear and worry were evident in the Commander’s voice. “That armor can’t protect your neck from a woman who without armor is just as strong as you in armor.”
Sarah hit the controls on the door to her room and stepped in. “I’m fine, Commander, so you don’t need to worry. Besides, if you really wanted to stop me you could have. You could have ordered me not to go, but you didn’t.”
“On what grounds could I have objected?” Lasky asked. “I don’t think you would have been okay with me denying your plan because I care about you and don’t want to see you hurt.” His hands moved as though to reach out to her but stopped and moved back to his side. “I love you, Sarah.” There was something sad in his voice, like he’d just realized the mortality of human life.
“I know you do,” Sarah said before gently cupping Lasky’s cheek and leaning down, pressing her lips to his. It was brief, and she wished she could risk more but they were out in the open too much. “I love you too, Tom.”
“If you really do need help with that body suit I’d be more than happy to help tear it off you,” Tom offered, glancing behind her to her bed. “You might need a bigger bed.”
“If we did that I’d come off looking like a loose woman,” Sarah pointed out. The surprise was evident on the Commander’s face so she explained. “I wouldn’t lie to them and tell them it didn’t happen, and they wouldn’t ask about the years we’ve spent together. They’d just assume I slept with you for the hell of it, and then I’d have a ruined record. You know I have a chance to make something of myself as a Spartan, Tom. I can’t mess that up.”
Lasky nodded and let out a long breath. “I know that you’re right, and I don’t want to ruin this chance. But when we get home I’m going to rock your world. I’m going to cook you an amazing meal, there will be candles, we’ll watch a movie, and then we’ll end it in a night of passionate love that will leave you unable to stand.”
Sarah couldn’t help but laugh for a moment. “I’d break your pelvis.”
“You haven’t yet,” Tom pointed out. He smiled sweetly in a way that made it so Sarah couldn’t help but return it. “You should get some rest, Sarah. Taking on a crazed fake Spartan is a tough job.”
“I suppose you are correct, Commander.” Sarah absently rubbed at her neck where the body suit still hid the bruises from the other woman’s hands. “I am a bit tired.”
“Have a good rest,” Lasky lingered for a moment before he stepped back and allowed Sarah to close the door to her room.
She hated to have to turn Tom down, she was sure he would have showered her in affection but she didn’t want to give the other Spartans more fodder than they’d already had. She would make a name for herself, prove herself as a Spartan, and then she’d be able to stand in the open and proudly claim Lasky as her man. But until then she’d just have fun pretending that she didn’t know him, and that she was shamelessly flirting with her superior.