It's hot: Moira's enhancements mean she prefers higher temperatures even when she's wearing her layers of stiffly starched uniform, so her room is like a furnace. Arunima can feel the trickle of sweat between her shoulderblades, dampening the sheets further. It makes her feel slow and sleepy, stupid.
She doesn't complain. They don't often get moments like this: perfecting the fusion of DNA and caring for the subjects takes up a good deal of their time. Not to mention the ship is too overcrowded for snatched moments. Even now, their voices are low, as footsteps sound back and forth outside the door of Moira's quarters.
"Did you have someone? Back home?" Arunima murmurs, fingers contrasted sharply against the pale skin of her lover's bare thigh as she walks them slowly towards the curve of her hip.
"Does it matter?" Moira responds, perhaps a little callously. But Arunima knows what she means: does anything from home truly matter, out here? It's easier for her, Arunima knows, because she has something to believe in. All Moira has is the mission, so she doesn't like to think of what she's left behind. Too distracting. It's a shame, because Arunima likes to hear about it, the exotic core life, the mods and politics.
"Not to me," she lies. A beat, thumbing over a hipbone. "Just… simple curiosity. That's all."
"You ask too many questions," Moira says, but she's smiling.
Arunima shrugs. "I am after all a scientist. What, pray, else would you have me do?"
"Be careful," Moira says. "This ship has more than its fair share of secrets, you know." She leans in, voice dropping with faux-secrecy. "They say if you get on the wrong side of the captain, you could end up a prisoner yourself." Despite the heat, Arunima shivers, unable to stop herself from thinking of their subjects.
Moira seems to sense her discomfort because she shifts their embrace closer and presses her teeth into the soft flesh of Arunima's shoulder. And at first it's just playful, another bruise alongside an evening's worth of bruises, but then her teeth sink deeper. Ripping. Tearing. Arunima startles violently, pulse kicking up, and shoves the other woman away, scrambles off the bed, something vile catching at the back of her throat.
"I'm bleeding!" she protests, a little panicked, eyes wide. But when her hand grabs at the ruination of her own shoulder, there's nothing there but smooth brown skin, dampened with sweat and nothing else.
They stare at each other for a moment, frozen. The sound of the comms crackling to life interrupts the heavy pause, and Arunima starts gathering her clothes. "I have to go," she says, still shaken, not looking at Moira. Not sure she can look at Moira again for a while. Because for just a moment, Doctor De Costa, she of sweet face and stern temper, had looked all but utterly monstrous.