Posted Sept. 18, 2020, 12:45 a.m. by Lieutenant Commander Jarred Alindor (Chief Engineer) (Steven Sigle)
Posted by Ensign Kalani Kāne (Science Officer) in Vespa V - A Need to get Away
“So they are putting us in the smoke house,” Kalani looked at Jarred not reassured by his comment. “If that is the case that means they are cannibals and we should probably start fighting for our life.” She knew his comment was flippant but it did make one wonder. “Besides the thick fur covering their bodies paired with the subtropical flora indicates they probably don’t need to dress in layers.”
“Well… cannibals would mean they eat each other… they would be just eating us like we eat pork…” Jarred countered as he looked over at Kalani as he saw the horrified look form over her face. “But… of course that isn’t… that isn’t going to be happening here love.”
“Mee kah so wah,” a voice said from behind her pulling at the hand. Kalani looked at the being who again repeated the phrase as he gently tugged her towards one of the huts. He wasn’t acting aggressive but definitely wanted her to follow him “Mee Kah so wah,” he repeated slower and with what could only be a smile on his face.
“Umm Jarred,” she reached back with her other hand searching for his. Kalani had no idea where this being wanted to take her but she knew she did not want to go alone.
“How sure are you about that meat and veggie smoke house idea,” she quipped with a smile on her face.
“I don’t know… 70/30? Decent odds… I think.” Jarred added with a terse smile as he tried to make himself believe it all.
“It’s okay June bug…” he said softly as he held onto her tight as he took her hand. “Look it’s just an adventure, we’ll be fine. My dad would love finding me out here, next thing you know they will wanna take us fishing and tell me how I am using my pole wrong for three hours…” he said with a slightly sarcastic tone to his quip has he nodded as he began to take her with him.
“I’m sorry about all this,” she said in an apologetic tone. “Maybe next time we can go a lot more room service, less fresh air, and no work,” Kalani said. “I promise if you trust me one more time it will be Mai Tai’s on the beach and meals with utensils.” To be fair, Kalani had just asked Jarred to come on a whim. She had hoped he would enjoy coming however not all people grew up outdoors as she had.
“I need to tell you, I don’t regret any of this… not one second. Not as long as you are by my side.” Jarred said as he looked back at her as he leaned close to kiss the top of her forehead.
“Really,” she asked him far more inquisitive than accusatory as his lips left her forehead and they began to walk.
As the pair was led into a hut, it was not at all what Kalani expected to find. A large cloth-like hammock dominated the center of the room. In a way, it was romantic in a vegan treehugger sort of way. The torches scattered about the room created an ambiance where shadows moved against the walls like a thousand candles. “Mee kah so wah ha,” the creature walked over to the hammock demonstrating how the couple could crawl in. The gesture brought a smile to Kalani’s face. For the first time, she realized how dumb she and Jarred might look to thier hosts.
“I think they want us to sleep here,” she murmured out loud to Jarred. Moving across the room, she nodded. Placing a hand over her heart she said thank you and crawled into the hammock.
“I mean, better than on the floor with bugs crawling up our asses… I’m game.” Jarred said as she began to crawl in he looked around, a sense of marvel and wonder at all the construction. These people may not seem like much but they certainly were inventive.
“It’s rather spacious,” she wiggled a bit in it until all the fabric wrapped around her snuggly. “Like a sleeping bag almost but the thread count is amazing.” The fabric was exceedingly soft for a group who didn’t seem to care about clothes.
“Mo passa kah wah hoo,” he looked at Jarred a bit confused. It was clear he did not seem to understand why Jarred was still standing in the middle of the room. “Mee kah so wah ha,” he repeated the phrase and made a gesture towards the hammock with both hands.
“What… do we get in the same?” he asked, as he looked over at Kalani as she swung slightly in the hammock. It seemed more than big enough for the two, in fact, he felt it was meant for two of their species which meant four of theirs.
“Yo condo de soto,” a voice called out behind Jarred from the doorway. As Jarred and Kalani looked at the door they would see what seemed to be a wall of people from the village looking through the door at them.
The man that would be considered the chief or leader of the group gestured at Jarred and Kalani as he spoke to the individual in the room.
“Je make de wah ha,” the guide shrugged as if saying I don’t know why they don’t seem to understand. His face bore an almost hurt expression as if he had failed at his task. Looking between Jarred and the people behind him the man waited shifting his weight from side to side as if anxious or nervous not knowing how to get the man where he needed to be.
Lt. Kalani Kane science
“Okay okay… I will get in…” Jarred said as he climbed up in and cozied up next to Kalani.
Kalani tried to shift as much as possible to let Jared crawl in however this was not a normal bed. Anyone not paying attention to the chain of events from the start might have thought the couple was fighting instead of cuddling as arms, elbows, and the occasional leg was flung over the edge of the hammock as the two worked to situate themselves. Kalani could not help but laugh as Jarred ended up settling in the bottom and she curled up along his body with her head resting on his chest. Surprisingly this hammock was far more comfortable than she anticipated.
Taking a deep breath he felt a ease go over them. This wasn’t the vacation they planned, but it was their vacation. “When we tell our grandkids this story, maybe we tell them less about us looking like fools trying to learn their ways and just brilliant scientist treading uncharted waters as we had little to no hitch with these people.” Jarred said as he looked over at her with a warm gushing feeling rush through him as he leaned in close as he kissed her deeply in their cocoon-like hammock.
“Grandkids,” she let out a small laugh. Maybe Jarred was enjoying the weekend far more than she thought. Licking her lips she took a deep breath before starting to talk. “I think we need to start with kids before we jump to the grandkids but since you brought it up I am looking for two. That way we have an even number. Odd numbers make things so hard. I mean someone has to ride alone on roller coasters, you rarely get discounts on odd numbers and someone has to share a bedroom while the other kid gets a room of their own so we go for any combination that is even when we expand the Alindor brood. That’s my deal. Take it or leave it,” she murmured sleepily. Kalani had planned for other activities this evening however from a sensor standpoint the hammock was doing everything to relax them. The deep pressure from the sides of the hammock felt like a comforting hug. The gentle rocking back and forth from the suspension of the hammock worked like a sedative lulling her body into a relaxed state.
Soft breezes and the sound of birds slowly allowed consciousness to return to Kalani’s body. Never had she slept so sound and never had she understood why babies loved to be swaddled until last night. Blinking her eyes, Kalani tilted her chin up to see Jarred still sleep. Thinking back to his comment about not enough tech, maybe if she brought him some breakfast and what passed for coffee, Jarred might want to come camp again. The trick was getting up before him.
Not wanting to wake him, Kalani arched her back so that she could press her palm into the fabric below her body. This gave her the smallest bit of leverage to allow her to roll out of the hammock minimally disturbing Jarred. Lifting her leg, she slung it over the edge tilting the hammock slightly to the right. The separation of the fabric at the top of the hammock allowed more sunlight to spill into their cocoon-like bed. She would have to make this fast so that the sunlight on his face did not rouse him. Rolling her hips to the side, Kalani lifted the one arm that was free over the edge of the material. In a smooth move, she started the typical bed roll out.
As the hammock dipped to the right due to the weight of her body, Kalani’s one free leg probed for the ground. Unfortunately, this was higher off the ground than she realized. Pressing harder into the right side of the hammock increased the tilt. This should have allowed her to find the floor of the hut with her toe yet still there was no hard surface under her foot. Pressing hard into the fabric with her shoulder, the hammock tilted still farther now allowing Kalani to look down to find the floor. Instead of rough-hewed planks, however, all she saw was blue skies and wispy clouds.
“Jarred,” Kalani yelled out, feeling her body overcorrecting in an attempt to right itself. The hammock began to wobble then oscillate as each attempt to roll back into the hammock was forcing it to rock more and more side to side. “Jarred,” she belted out louder, not caring how he woke up. Her hand closest to him clawed at the material of his shirt in an attempt to pull her back in or take him with her as the vigorous swaying edged her hips closer to the lip of the hammock. “Jair…id,” her hand latched onto the neck of his shirt as she caught the first true glimpse of where the hammock was located. It was precisely a thousand feet off the ground.
Kalani Kane, Science
Jarred began to wake as he started to shift from his slumber as his eyes opened to see the outline of Kalani. Reach out he put his hand over her side as he caressed her side. “What…” Jarred paused as a big yawn came over his lips as he began blinking “What are you doing puppy?” he asked softly as he began to feel his mind wake up. “How about you get back here cocoa bean,” he said as he tried to pull her from her perch, the hammock shaking back and forth.
“Lemme go. Lemme go. Lemme go,” Kalani babbled more than spoke flailing her hand about both trying to grab onto Jarred and bat him away. “And stop moving before you kill us all.” As her fingers curled around a hunk of his shirt in an iron grip, she used Jarred’s body to lever her back into the center of the hammock. Her heart was pounding as she rolled on her back on Jarred’s chest not caring if she crushed him. Her breath came in panting huffs like she had run ten miles and just sat down. The hand gripping his shirt was bent back at a ninety-degree angle over her shoulder, next to her head. The only part of her body not resting on Jarred was her left leg which was hanging over the side of the hammock were the material was bunched up behind her knee.
“Jesus, can you calm down… it’s not like our situation has gotten any better… rushing out isn’t…” Jarred got muffled as one of her knees got a little to close to his glory land as his eyes got wide as he pushed her a little further down. “It isn’t going to get us home faster, so relax butterbean.”
“Jarred,” she said stiff as if she were a corpse at the morgue and almost as ashen.
“What…” Jarred answered he tried to sit up, the weight of him swaying ever so slightly the hammock as he was trying to find a way to get comfy. “How do those giants sleep in cacoon hammocks… it makes no sense.”
“Jarred,” she reached her other hand to her side gripping a wad of fabric at his waistline.
“Hey hey… good lord what, are they watching us?” Jarred couldn’t understand the panic, what was so important on the other side of the hammock. That was until one moment, like a flashback as Jarred began to really focus and lookup. Up, they had an up… clouds and blue sky all around them. This was just like the time they woke up, they were in a tent and then they had no tent. Last night they had a hut, and no it seemed no hut.
“Way way way wait what are you doing,” Kalani stammered as she felt Jarred slowly pulling her off his chest. Spreading her legs out and flailing her arms to grab him like this was some impromptu wrestling match where Kalani was attempting pin Jarred in place she did not make it easy for him to move. “Jarred I said freeee…zuh,” Kalani grunted as Jarred unceremoniously dropped her next to him in the hammock. The sudden shift in position caused Kalani’s muscles to lock in place giving Jarred more maneuverability in the small space. As he moved and shifted, it allowed the small seam at the top to separate and a beam of light shine through. It was bright and warm like a beam of summer sunshine cascading through the panes of a window.
“Oh lord didn’t they somehow steal the hut? What is the deal with them taking what we are sleeping in.” as he got onto his knees, looking over the hammock he realized it wasn’t the hut they took, but the Earth and ground all around them as he stared breathlessly at the canyon view of tree canopies and wonderous sights all around.
“Jarred we are going to die,” she panted out each word in a staccato rhythm. “I…I....I think I would have preferred for them to have just eaten us last night instead of leaving us in their floating pantry of death.” Little of what Kalani was attempting to verbalize made sense however it was perfectly clear she was having some sort of panic attack that Jarred had never seen before.
“Baby… it’s okay.” Jarred said as he began looking around. It was clear they were on ropes, and there was lots of hammocks skewn all around them like a floating best western. “Look… they all do it it seems…” he said softly, the sight still not as comforting to him as he was trying to make it sound, as he too felt a bit of a lurch in his stomach. Normally Jarred wasn’t very afraid of heights, but this was uncontrolled… no safety harness, just the hopes that a rope didn’t snap.
“All who,” Kalani finally began to move her arms and legs, “and doing what?” The longer the moment lasted where Jarred was not flipping out and tilting the hammock so she could leave, the more Kalani began to hyperfocus on every sensation she felt. The light was bright yet as long as she stayed in her spot it was not blinding her. There was no sound except Jarred’s voice and the occasional caw caw of a bird. There was however a vibration producing a bouncing effect.
“Stop moving,” she growled in a deep baritone. “I am not going to die in a midden covered in saliva as a preservative.” So many facts were tumbling about in her head as Kalani desperately tried to think through her situation. The vibration she continued to feel was bouncing them more and more no matter how much Jarred claimed he was not moving.
Kalani Kane Science
“We are not going to die, not going to let that happen at all… ” Jarred lied as he could easily see that being the outcome as he turned her around to have her focus on him and not what was around them. “Look, do you trust me my love?” he asked her softly, he needed that right now. Her trust could get him the courage but he also knew how scared she was. Honestly, this was like the black easter kettle pot on if it was going to work or not.
Jarred pulled her to her knees which Kalani immediately sunk back onto her heels. Her hands went out looking for something to hold onto since Jarred had pried her death grip off of him. “If your trust entails either of us moving from this spot or leaving this position the answer is no,” Kalani said calmly for the first time since she had woken up.
“You can do it, you made it through the caves, you didn’t get eaten by snakes, I am not going to let us fail now.” Jarred said as he tried to desperately calm her and keep her at ease. “You know why? Cause you have me every step… I am not going to let you fall, far… I won’t let you fall far, you did technically fall in the waterfall but it wasn’t far.” Jarred said, not sure if that would make her feel better or worse. If he had to guess, better was not the answer.
“Buh gandae mun sota,” a happy voice called out as they pulled open the top of the hammock tossing in some sort of fruit. Amost as fast as the face appeared, it disappeared along with the small bouncing sensation.
“What the mother mary and joseph,” Kalani screamed out looking up as several yellow and red fruits rained down upon them. “Are they…how…Jarred,” she slowly locked eyes with him, “right now you need to lie to me. You need to tell me that they are not using those vines as a road. You need to tell me that the ground is under us and this banana thing is a paleo-breakfast take out for us to start the day.” Her fingers pointed straight up as a sudden jerk caused Kalani to fall back from her kneeling position.
“Of course it is, I’ll do you one better… this is all a computer simulation gone wrong. I’d call for an Arch but it’s broken, so we have to play out the simulation out… safeties are on though, so no worry okay. You used to Surf in more dangerous situations in Hawaii you told me, so just think of this as a really high surf board.” Jarred said, wondering how much his bluster was truly working.
“Wait are we moving,” she asked him wide eyed. The jerking sensation was very rhythmic. It felt like a stop and start motion as if someone was bringing in laundry or hoisting something up with a rope.
“Okay new lie....tell me this is structurally sound and we are not going to plunge to our death.”
“I mean I do think this is structurally sound, no lie on that…” Jarred said as he stood up and he began to sway the hammock back and forth. “I have been studying the phsyics of how they made this, it’s like a primitive gyroscope almost impossible to fall.” he said as he looked down to see the abject horror of Kalani’s face as he let go of the sidings and sat back down. “I won’t do that again… ” he said softly before she could ever say a word.
“Good or I will kill before we hit the ground. Now go be a miracle worker. Spit on few rope fibers and make us a parachute or bungee cord,” Kalani demanded looking around as if the hammock was an engineering supply closet. She was still stiff but wore a grimace as she spoke through her teeth.
“You really do see me as a miracle worker don’t you doll face?” he said as he looked up as he heard a rustle.
“Malutwo be wondo,” a face opened the top of the hammock and peered down.
“Oh for the love of god,” Kalani screamed putting a hand to her chest. “I am so not giving this place a I’ve star rating on OMAP travel guide.” At least there was someone else here to rescue them.
“Be wondo,” the face repeated and gestured for the two of them to come out of the top like he was. If Jarred rose out he would see that the lines of hammocks had individuals all slipping out and grabbing the bottom rope that was unseen before now. Using the rope they were sliding is like a zip line across the ravine to the platform of trees they had inhabited last night.
Ensign Kalani Kane
“See, they got it all under control… what do you say princess?” he asked Kalani with a smirk.
© 1991-2020 STF. Terms of Service