Posted by Lieutenant Commander Jarred Alindor (Chief Engineer) in Vespa V - A Need to get Away
Posted by Ensign Kalani Kāne (Science Officer) in Vespa V - A Need to get Away
Jarred came to the campsite as he put down from his arms piles of rocks, branches, and vines at her feet as he looked at her. “Yes, baby… what is you need… how may I serve you?” he asked her with an eye roll as he couldn’t help but feel like he was about to hear more complaints regarding how this was just not working or it’s too wet or too dry or whatever new excuse.
“This stick thing isn’t working,” she demonstrated by clumsily rubbing the two sticks together. Her demonstration was bad and meant to be that way. It was to just state a point of how futile the action was. “I mean I know you love your friction and gravity and other physical stuff but this is ridiculous. It can’t be done so how do we get a fire going?”
Her expression spoke volumes about her blind belief in him. There was no snark or sarcasm in her words or expression. Jarred has told her about how his father taught him all sorts of survival skills. Making a fire had to be within the top three things you learned. Kalani knew what to do once the fire got started. It was just getting it started.
“You went through basic survival training in the academy for crying out loud, this is 101… they take you in a dark corner in Kirk Meadow and you have to do it to pass… did you just forget all the steps in the years since baby?” Jarred asked as he knelt down with her as he took the sticks as he began to rub them together while blowing to try and get the spark to ignite. While certainly not easy in a few mins they did begin to have some smoke bellow from the brush as a small spark began to form.
“No and I cheated,” she shrugged. “I smuggled a set of matches. I mean who does that. The rubbing and blowing thing,” she looked at him dumbfounded. No one did it with sticks. There was this girl named Kate who was all into chemistry and brought in coffee creamer. That went up like lighter fluid oh and this chick Lexi,” Kalani watched Jarred work, “sprinkled some acetone on it. Paris had some gel made from isopropyl alcohol and calcium acetate. I heard the rumor there was this Kelly chick that was bold enough to just bring lighter fluid or it might have been vodka. She wasn’t there but the point is we all had a bit o’ something something to get it going. I mean whoever goes into the woods without a portable replicator and a lighter,” Kalani looked a bit dismayed at Jarred as he got it up and running.
“The class was basic survival, not let’s go camping… SURVIVAL , you know like what we are having to do right now. I refuse to think everyone you know assumed there was never a chance you might get marooned or deserted, that’s why this class is one of the first we ever have for Pete sake.” Jarred said as he shook his head at the idea as he began to get some more traction as the flames began to become brighter.
“Baby I never joined the Frontier Folk. I joined Starfleet sciences,” she traced a finger along the top of her chest. Realizing she was not in uniform and only drawing attention to her north forty, Kalani broke out laughing. “Well Monday through Friday I am in science blue,” she looked down a second shaking her head in embarrassment. Regardless of what they were doing, Kalani could not help laughing and having a good time with Jarred Alindor. If there was one thing she did right this year, it was sharing a jelly donut with a stranger. “And besides when does anyone in Starfleet rough it. I mean every ship is a veritable space yacht. We have pools, holodecks, bars, and gyms. The science department does get dirty but we can wash off the day’s grime of wading through swamps, bogs, and jungles in the modules that set down that have our labs and equipment. Even if the worst happens and they have to send a shuttle, the biggest risk we get roughing it is the loss of climate control for an hour. ” Crossing her arms over her chest, Kalani raised an eyebrow at Jarred. “And what are you talking about roughing it. You are an engineer and the whole fleet,” she made the wax on wax off gesture as she spoke, “knows you get the best toys to test so don’t tell me you are S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L,” she did a little cheer spelling it out.
“I don’t think you understand what the word survival means love, I am not talking about camping… I am talking about this.” Jarred said as he gestured around them to make a point. “You know stranded, no tech, no way home… you need to survive you silly goose. Don’t act like camping and surviving are the same thing.” Jarred said pointedly.
“Because there is not a ship coming somewhere in the vicinity of twenty-four to thirty six hours from the Saracen,” she winked at him. “Again. Hhhhh ooooww is this not camping?”
“To make you feel better, I will say you got it started so you can feel like you accomplished something too.” Jarred as said as he leaned over and kissed her as he began to place some wood and more brush on top to help fan and fuel the flame.
“I am one of the easiest girls you are ever going to have to handle. I don’t have an issue saying Jarred of the Jungle kept me warm all night,” she reached up kissing him as he continued to fan the flames. Seeing him getting all prehistoric was a huge turn on. Maybe not for some but Kalani was definitely the type that liked to know her guy could do more than just yell out “I need” to the ship’s computer. A man with a brain was so sexy. Her simple kiss was getting more passionate as she debates the need to eat. The shuttle was going to be back in a day. Right now there was something else she needed to feed. “Jarred,” she whispered in his ear. “After the fire what should we do next?”
“Next we need to make some pallets, you don’t want to sleep on the hard floor, from there we can try and fish and maybe get some food for us… I imagine there has to be some kind of fish in the lake area… if not we are going to need to find some berries of some sort…” Jarred said as he looked around, he needed to get a nice firm branch with some twine to try and create a makeshift rod.
Kalani fell forward some as Jarred began surveying the area. “You’re soft,” she pointed out shrugging. Standing up she brushed her hands off on her pants. “Okay, so you make the bed I am going to go sample some of the berries and bugs I saw by the waters edge over there. If I start to choke up or make these gasping sounds I probably ate something poisonous so I assume you paid as much attention in the first aid class as you did in the fire making class,” she winked at him.
“I’m soft? You won’t travel without a portable replicator.” Jarred shot back as he grabbed a pile of dirt and threw it at her as he couldn’t help but find her amusing.
“Not soft like oh oh oh I got a boo boo but like cuddling soft. You Jarred Alindor are an electric blanket and soft pillow all in one. I slept like a baby last night and I am pretty sure I am gonna be nice and warm tonight sucking your body heat like a leech.” As she finished talking, Kalani took a long look at Jarred. He definitely wasn’t built like the normal engineer or science guys that filled those ranks. He wasn’t bulked out like many of the security ranks but definitely was beach oogling material with nice guns and a stomach worthy of trailing an ice cube down. Turning red at being caught staring at him, Kalani s[un around.
“Just teasing,” she laughed moving to an area by the sheer stone walls. Flipping over a few rocks with a stick, Kalani began talking. “Strange flora is not your friend but generally speaking bugs are. You can eat anything with a crunchy shell-like ants, termites or crickets. Incidentally, crickets are like roasted peanuts only smaller…and if you close your eyes. Bright is not right. Hair then beware,” Kalani gave Jarred her mnemonic device as she noticed something, “but the water is our best…beh tah,” she bent down crawling towards what looked like a mound of leaves.
The mound of leaves and sticks seemed to be hiding a small face of some sort. Large amber-colored eyes blinked back at her. In the midst of the moss and twigs, it was hard to tell about the color of the creature or if it were covered in skin or hair. “Hey you,” Kalani rocked back oh her heels talking to what looked like a pile of vines. “Wanna come out? I am not going to hurt you,” she stuck out her hand wiggling her fingers slightly. “Jarred,” Kalani called out, “you should see this.”
Kalani Kane science
“We are not bringing that back home, I love you… a lot… but I can’t put anything new in your zoo you keep.” Jarred said as he stood to come over to her, wondering exactly what she had found.
“I am more worried about the mama critter. He seems like a baby or minimally a juvenile. See the eyes,” she pointed out. “Babies have bigger eyes than their adult counterparts. That’s true for humans and animals alike. Same goes for fur and feathers. they are proportionally larger than the adult counterpart will have. It makes us think they are cute. Stops carnivores from eating them because even animals find these attributes endearing. Yes, we do,” she reached out trying to touch his arm.
“What… is it?” he asked as he knelt next to her as he wondered how safe it was to mess with the creature. He knew so little about this world, and now these strange creatures where they landed made him wonder what else he should be concerned about. Something did steal their items and smash their generator, could this be a child version he wondered.
“Well based on his coloring and the features I would say,” she reached out stroking the soft brown and black mottled fur, “he is a ma’am.....ullllllll,” Kalani screamed at the creature appeared to jettison itself from the safety of the nitch and onto her body. He latched on tightly holding Kalani’s neck and wrapping his legs around her midsection.
“Kalani!” Jarred shouted as he bolted up to grab onto her.
As fast as Jarred could reach forward to help her, Kalani seemed to be yanked as if on a rope back the way the animal came. Kalani’s face was buried in the soft fur so the only thing scratched as she moved forward was the tops of her leg and knees. Kalani couldn’t free herself as she felt her body fall on the small creature and start to be drug into the brush he was hiding in. “Air Id,” she yelled through muffled fur. Spitting several times to get her mouth free of it she felt her forward momentum stopping due to a pair of hands grabbing her ankle. It wasn’t until she felt Jarred’s hand grip her and start to pull her back to him did she realize she was prone on her tummy. Moving her head to the side all she found was more fur as suddenly it felt like hands were under her armpit tugging her the other way. If she knew what was happening it might have been comical.
“Hold on I got you!” Jarred said grabbing her feet as he held onto her. He wasn’t going to lose her twice, he couldn’t lose someone he loved again. He had lost too many as it was.
“Ah id,” she spat his name out again through a mouthful of fur.
Suddenly, like a clog in a pipe, Kalani felt a sharp tug and she was out on the other side of the stone wall. Looking up she could not believe what she saw. The creatures ranged from seven feet to one foot standing around her. The one that was wrapped about her head and chest let go and rolled over to what probably his parent. They had the same fur but looked far more humanoid as the stood bipedal. Their expressions could only be described as happy with a dark button nose and hands with fingers more than claws.
“Quokka,” she said looking over at Jarred. “They are definitely quokka like. Quokka throws their young at predators. I think they threw their baby at me but to save us,” she turned her gaze back to the animals. “You hurt,” she eventually asked him.
“A what?” Jarred said as he looked up at the creatures around them, unsure exactly what a Quokka was as he looked back and forth between the creatures. “Is that some Harry Potter thing again? I told you I haven’t read those yet,” he said as he stood up placing himself in front of her as he tried to gauge just what they had gotten themselves into.
“No, they are mammals indigenous Australia. They are insanely friendly and love to snuggle with people. Turned into a tourist thing actually were you take a cruise to their island and frolic with them all day. These guys are acting like quokka as close as I can guess. Super friendly, happy, and used their kids to help defend the colony. I think they used him as a grappling hook to save us though rather than eat us. Hello,” she pulled her attention off Jarred and towards the large adult with a smaller version of itself. “Kah Lah knee,” she said putting a hand towards her chest as she rolled to her knees.
The largest one walked up with a lumbering gait more akin to a sasquatch than human. Placing his hand on his chest he let out a larger growling snarl. A second later he looked at Jarred and pointed.
“I’m not sure about you… but I didn’t get any of that.” Jarred said as he nodded at the large beast as he seemed to smile with a wide-eyed stare.
“Okay if that is his name it’s gonna be hard to reproduce in an introduction,” Kalani licked her lips. Pointing to Jarred she said a single sound, “J,” she cut back to her and then shortended her name. “K,” she said. “J”, she pointed at Jarred and repeated, “K” pointing to herself.
“You sure we should be talking and not running, you assume they are quakkas but… what if they turn into something else from Australia, they could be more like drop bears for all we know…” he said as he looked back over at her wondering if she knew he was teasing. Drop bears were an old saying on Earth for Koloas. Seldom if ever did the ‘attack’ people and it was often used as a joke for everything on the continent wanting to kill you.
Pacing a bit Jarred cocked his head as he looked over at the creatures then back to Kalani. “They… aren’t they the ones that blew up the generator?” he asked in a soft tone to her as he turned slightly to glance at her. If these were the same creatures they indeed had come full circle.
“Not sure but I think we should not bring that up for now,” she said in a sing song voice. It was then her face got more serious. “This isn’t considered first contact is it,” she looked at Jarred confused. “I mean I am pretty sure they are not like sentient sentient but you are the department head here. Should you take it over?”
“It depends on how much intelligence they show… but the thing is we have contaminated them already if they do grow into more intelligent creatures… we may have officially become the ‘alien’ people you often rant and rave about in all the Ancient Alien shows you watch on the Galactic History channel… and if that is the case I don’t want to be remembered too much and become gods to these people,” he said as Jarred opened his hands and approached, hoping the sign would be one of friendliness and not seen as he was trying to be aggressive.
“J… friend,” he said softly, unsure if any of this was even connecting as he waited to see what move next these creatures would do.
The large creature opened his arms too approaching Jarred mimicking his movements. Kalani watched with wide eyes as his pace was slow and methodical like Jarred’s. Nothing about the creature seemed menacing except his size and the length of his teeth. They were clearly a carnivorous species with the length of the sharp incisors and even longer canines. As the steps lessened between them Kalani opened her mouth to speak only she had no idea what to say. Typically it was something like don’t make eye contact or back away slowly. This time she felt like it should be the opposite.
Before Jarred could react the creature embraced him pinning Jarred to his chest in what could only be a hug. “I think he thinks this is how we say hello because your arms were open. Just go with it Jarred,” she yelled out standing up and approaching him and the creature.
“Jus ‘ go wif ‘t?” Jarred said muffled as he tried to not scare the creature but certainly wanted to gag on the hair that he was feeling lodged in his throat in the tuft that he was now pressed firmly into.
Suddenly the group began to growl and shake their hands. Kalani not knowing what to do lifted her arms but instead of growling belted out a deep “hello”. A smaller female started to approach Kalani with her hands spread as the male had done with Jarred. The moment the female creature was close enough, Kalani reached out taking her hand. Clasping her other hand over it, Kalani shook the woman’s hand trying to avoid the hug. The female looked briefly confused but imitated Kalani’s gesture.
Feeling his creature let go Jarred looked up as his hand was taking as he began to shake it hard. “This isn’t better he is gonna take my arm out of my socket!” Jarred said as he looked up and smiled as he tried to appear as friendly as he could but beginning to think they were better with the snakes. “You are nature lady Kalani love… nature something… now,” he said as he looked back as he got his hand free from the creature as he patted it gently on the arm with a smile as he tried to seem cordial.
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