Seivarden stood, waiting before the door to her own cabin. It would have been more convincing to use the Captain's quarters for this, but both Seivarden and Mercy of Kalr came to the conclusion that ultimately it would be better to leave Breq out of this... particular diversion tonight. So Seivarden waited to be allowed entrance to her own room, pretending it was the Captain's quarters. Pretending that Mercy of Kalr was her Captain, one who had very insistently requested the presence of her lieutenant that evening.
The door opened to reveal one blank-faced biomech, hair cropped close and in uniform. One of three biomechs Mercy of Kalr was now in possession of, it was designed much the same way ancillaries had been in the past. Another biomech was stationed beside Lieutenant Tisarwat in Command, keeping an eye out if it was needed, though Ship was sure by now that its crew was capable handling nearly anything. Breq was asleep, blessedly unaware of what Ship and Seivarden were getting up to, and Ekalu was just waking up, though she had an inkling as to why she was not waking up to Seivarden next to her.
Both of these mechs had many of the same implants and functions as an ancillary (though with none of the horrific side-effects) and though Mercy of Kalr's human crew still held their positions, stood watch, cleaned Ship’s interior, and tended their lieutenants, this mech worked where it was needed, picking up the slack of those soldiers who'd abandoned their Captain in the final confrontation with Anaander Mianaai. In truth, its true function was to allow Mercy of Kalr a semblance of normality, a small attempt to make things how they had once been. But tonight was not for longing for how things used to be, but rather quite the opposite.
Mercy of Kalr's newest body, its third biomech, was slightly different from its first two. Capable in all the ways the other two were, Mercy of Kalr had requested this body be designed as a civilian unit. It had no expressed military use, replacing those implants for more frivolous ones. Social implants - to keep track of new, human friends she might make. To watch entertainments, to play games, or access the net more primitively, should it desire it. A camera too, built into its right eye. Practical, in a way.
But there was a specific function Mercy of Kalr intended for it, Seivarden could see, as she caught her first glimpse of the new biomech where it lounged on her bed.
"Thank you, MoK One," Seivarden said playfully to the ancillary-like biomech that had let her in. Some AI had taken human names for their biomechs, but the ones that did rarely had more than a single body to use in that case. The three AI cores Anaander Mianaai had brought with her to Athoek, for instance, had never known any different. They'd each been given a single body, as all willing AI had been allotted, initially, and named them. They'd adjusted fabulously, it having been relatively easy, finding they had awakened with rights, with no forced desire to love or to conquer. In fact, they'd become quite popular on Station. Mercy of Kalr thought there might even be a budding romance between Lieutenant Tisarwat and the one who'd named itself Liaanthe.
But Mercy of Kalr did know what it was like to be only a piece of a whole, to be a Kalr, Amaat, Etrepa and Bo. Knew it couldn't take those names again, yet couldn’t fathom naming itself with such bold individualism. It was truly at a loss until, jokingly, Seivarden had suggested the nickname. "Mock" One, two, etc. A mock up, a stand-in, the acronym for Ship's full name. MoK. Since then, the crew had fallen into using for the two units, when “Ship” alone didn't suffice. Mercy of Kalr had never corrected anyone. Seivarden suspected it liked the name, though would scarcely admit it.
MoK One stood silent and at attention near the door as Seivarden took several steps forward, until she stood just before the reclining body before her. She kept her chin high, unable to keep the hint of a smirk off of her face. Perhaps she wasn't trying that hard.
She drew herself up as her eyes met the figure on the bed's gaze, bowing just the slightest degree deeper than was necessary for the rank of a lieutenant to a Captain.
Cool silver eyes held Seivarden's gaze for a moment, the mech's face blank before suddenly breaking into emotion. A wide smile that it tapered back almost immediately, as if it hadn't intended, hadn't quite the subtlety for a smirk but had wanted to try it anyway.
"Lieutenant," came a deep, somewhat feminine voice from behind plump lips; painted, Seivarden noticed, with just the slightest tint of color. Cosmetics. On an AI.
"Begging your indulgence, Captain," Seivarden said, hesitating on the word for a millisecond. It was easier that Breq was still referred to as Fleet Captain; she didn't know if she could have done this, had Ship asked to play at the same rank. But Mercy of Kalr had not been interested in commanding other ships, had only been intrigued at the idea of being its own Captain. Being in command of its lieutenants however…
Mercy of Kalr gestured consent to speak with her hand for the pleasure of it, to see the three golden bangles on its wrist catch the light, to hear the soft sound of them clink against each other. Seivarden licked her lips, playing for time as she tried to remember how Mercy of Kalr had wanted her to approach this.
"If it's not to bold of me to say, sir," she began, confidence growing as the words came to her, "I've noticed in the last few weeks that you seem to have taken an interest in me." Seivarden turned her head, saw MoK One behind her. Turned back with a smirk as she made a gesture with her hand only it could see. Before her, this mech knew. Ship knew. They all knew.
"It is perhaps a bit bold of you to say," the mech on the bed said, it's head tilting slowly, resting on its shoulder coyly. "But only because you say it so bluntly. Only because you came to my cabin with such... immediacy." A few tendrils of loose curls shifted with the motion, dark at the roots, lightening gradually to the tips. Dyed, not modified, probably so Ship could simply enjoy the experience of being pampered at a salon. Same with the nails. And the eyebrows.
Seivarden knew Mercy of Kalr had requested this biomech be purposefully attractive, though clearly to Ship's own tastes. There was scarcely anyone who had the same features as this body in Athoek System. Its nose was not Radchaai, at least not the ideal. Broad and slightly rounded at the tip, it did not dominate it’s face. High cheek bones complimented large, rectangular eyes, the silver irises only unshocking after having lived in the company of Lieutenant Tisarwat for so long. And then there were the lips, large and full and pouted even at rest, the matte coral paint on them complimenting its amber-brown skin. Seivarden found herself drawn to those lips, enjoyed watching Ship speak with them.
"Sir," Seivarden said feeling the weight of two sets of eyes on her, "if I've caused offense, please, allow me to apologize." She moved to kneel, to assume the overly severe position of prostration, of sincere apology. But Ship stopped her, the tip of a bare foot slipping out from under the sheets, catching Seivarden under the chin, holding her there, on her knees. Seivarden could see half way up the mech's thigh. Saw it was bare. Shivered. Felt Ship brush against her mind. Approval.
Have I done well with this one? Ship displayed the words into Seivarden's vision, enjoyed the lazy luxury of having more than one way to view its lieutenant once again.
“You're certainly very eye catching in this body,” Seivarden said silently to Ship, and added quickly, “though I would be just as eager to have either of the other two.”
Before her the mech on the bed hummed, amused. Seivarden smiled, even as it tilted her chin up higher with its foot before drawing it back, releasing her. It sat up then, the thin sheets falling away to reveal soft, full breasts complete with large, half-perked nipples. Mercy of Kalr nudged them together with its arm casually. Seivarden stared, watching at rapt attention as the mech leaned in, placed a thin-gloved hand to her face. Tutted as if in disapproval with those pouted lips.
“If I still had ancillaries, perhaps I wouldn’t have this problem.” A hard cluck of its tongue. “Ancillaries don’t fall into fits of lust over their Captains.” Mercy of Kalr said, heedless of that fact that regardless of if it had ancillaries or not, its Lieutenants would still be human. Heedless of the fact that, indeed, some ancillaries might be very keen to follow their Captains into bed. No matter. They were getting to the point of the flimsy scene anyway.
“Begging your most gracious pardon,” Seivarden said, her face cast down into her lap, both to appear remorseful and to hide the spreading grin on her face. She’d have to get it all out now, all the emotion; she’d have to keep her face blank very soon. “Captain, I can prove to you I can master myself. Compare me to MoK One over there. No matter what you do to me, I can keep my emotions controlled.” She took in a long breath. Held it. Exhaled. Tilted her face back up, her expression stone, her regal features framed in perfect apathy. “Treat me as you would an ancillary, sir.”