Posted May 2, 2021, 9:53 p.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
Posted by Lieutenant Commander Jarred Alindor (Chief Engineer) in Vespa V - A Need to get Away
“Oh thank you wookie gods!” he said as Jarred wrapped his arms around the creature in a bear hug, not even certain if these creatures understood what a hug meant before he let go as he looked at all the items. Clothes, tricorders, phasers… everything he found was in order. The generator may have exploded but that was just for perimeter and replicator powering.
The being swept up in the bear hug was wide-eyed but nodding happily and patting Jarred gingerly as if he was unsure this was the correct social response. Shouting out several responses to his other tribal friends, the being wiggled hoping the hairless man would soon set him back on his feet.
“Oh oh oh oh… do you know what this is?” Jarred said as he began talking to the creature, not even caring that there was a huge language barrier between them as he knelt down as he began picking from the items on the ground as he pulled out from the middle of the pile what was by far one of the smallest things there.
“That’s right, it’s my combadge… my combadge…” Jarred said as he held it tightly to his chest. Clicking it he heard the familiar sound as it opened a line. Right now, it was fairly useless, as it could only reach orbit and any further would be washed out in subspace background noise. “Oh I could kiss you Harry… oh I could… but that might be crossing a line with subspecies interactions but you, my good si… are you a sir?” Jarred looked the creature over, not really able to tell what gender he was. “Oh it doesn’t matter I am calling you Harry and you are my best friend!” Jarred said as he got up from the crouched position as he walked over to Kalani.
“How much do you love me?” he asked Kalani as he sat down on the edge next to her, a position she herself would never fully sit in as his feet dangled over the edge precariously. He knew this would make her nervous as he looked over at her, she still kneeling as she was studying and examing the vines.
“Oodles and oodles,” she half replied half mumbled rubbing the broken bits of crumbling vine between her fingers. The response was appropriate but on auto. She was too engaged in the vine to focus on anything else.
“Go on, tell me how sexy, funny, amazing… great in bed… though you have zero references to anything else other than a rabbit there… and I pray not the furry kind,” he said with a smirk. “Go on I will wait for my adulations.”
“Your what,” Kalani finally turned and looked at Jarred understanding he wasn’t going to stop talking to her until he got an answer to whatever he was asking. Her eyes fell on the small combadge Jarred was twiddling between his two fingers. “Oh my god, you are the most amazing man that has ever walked the face of this universe.” Forgetting how close Jarred was to the edge of the cliff, Kalani pushed him backward and sat across his chest grabbing the combadge from him.
“Now that’s what I am talking about.” Jarred said as he playfully smacked her ass as he felt a rush of endorphins as she got on top. “But we have to wait when the furries aren’t watching us.”
“Does it work? Can you make it work? Can you get us home? Where were you hiding this,” she peppered him with questions not sure which one she wanted to be answered first. Leaning down she kissed him forcefully but playfully. Breaking the kiss, she drummed his chest with her hands in a happy rhythm. “Oh my god, I love you.” As the words left her mouth she became slightly more serious. “I will be yours forever if you tell me there is coffee where this combadge came from?”
“It works, but it needs modifications to be of any use… as for coffee… well a man needs some secrets doesn’t he?” Jarred said with a wide-eyed look. He doubted the replicator, while intact, worked. It needed a large power supply, and that had gone big boom earlier in their trip. Still, Jarred was never one to back away from a challenge.
A small furry face appeared between her and Jarred’s. “Be you a me wah,” the creature replied pointing to the pile of stuff that made the male so excited. That must have been when the female was asking about. Diving forward the being wrapped his arms around Kalani and began hugging her as he patted her back. He had seen the one called Jarred do this to a member of his tribe so this had to be the way the hairless ones expressed gratitude, happiness, or both.
“Hey find your own…” Jarred said with a small grunt as Jarred sat up as he dusted himself off.
As if he took it as an invitation the being threw his arms around Kalani knocking her to the side of Jarred. While they did not yet fully grasp the size and ages of the being they were staying at, the one hugging Kalani was clearly a young juvenile. He seemed excited to participate in this new and weird form of social contact but due to the way he and several others were makes hawoofing noises they found it funny above all else.
“Oh....oh,” Kalani hugged the being blowing a chunk of fur out of her lips as she tried to look down at Jarred. “Um.....where did they learn hugging,” she asked as the creature pulled back with what appeared to be a happy expression on his face.
“I may have taught them some things… they were showing me this over there.” he said as pointed to where the pile was. “Harry, which is that one.” he said pointing at the one he had hugged. “He’s my best friend now… I owe him a life debt.”
“Life debt?” she asked nodding to the creature as he stepped away. “Okay Han but just one question, have I been replaced or only have some competition. You haven’t seen it but I can be quite scrappy when the occasion calls for it.” Looking to the spot Jarred had pointed to suddenly all playfulness dropped in her voice.
“Wait they found our stuff. That is where you got the comm badge from?” Not waiting for Jarred to confirm or deny her hypothesis, Kalani sprinted towards the stuff heaped in a pile. “Please say if the replicator isn’t in here there are some dried coffee grounds I can suck on.” Tossing items over her head Kalani let out a deep sigh not finding what she had been hoping for. Dropping back down on her butt she ran a finger through her hair.
“Can you get us home with any of this,” she gestured at pile, “with your mad, god like engineering skills?” She had zero doubt the answer would be yes, however, it would be nice to hear the actual words yes honey I can get us back home.
“Of course I can get us home, the trick is how much longer do you want to stay here now that I have a hyrospanner and ductdape.” Jarred said, having no doubt he could work a way for them to get a signal to their ride to pick them back up faster than planned. The truth was, much of their journey was never at any risk cause the shuttle was due to return in 3 more days. They had a chance then to just ignore the signal and just wait it out, which had it’s own appeal.
Kalani stood up and looked at him. A frown flashed momentarily across her face as she processed his question. They had joked about being stranded here yet that was never going to be the case. The Saracen dropped them off and if they were not where they were supposed to be the ship would scan for them. Having humanoid life on the planet meant it might take longer to find them but but it would never result in a situation of Jarred and Kalani being deserted. Kalani did not know Jarred well enough to be honest yet about all the thoughts tumbling around her mind. Just because they slept together for the first time on this trip did not mean he had slipped a ring on her finger. She didn’t doubt he would want to see her again by the way he was acting however right now Jarred was a captive audience.
As she mulled over her answer, Kalani replayed every conversation the couple had had over the past forty eight hours. Jarred had commented about shacking up on the ship, albiet jokingly, yet he did say it. Lose the hydrospanner Robinson Crusoe, Kalani said in her mind. I know we have to go back but I am enjoying spending all my time with you and not having to deal with work, gossip, or real life. We can pretend you to hit your head which is why we spent a month here in the trees.
There was so much to learn about the man standing in front of her spinning the roll of duct tape around one finger as he waited for her answer. Kalani knew the basics one got during the first few dates but it was the life things like what side of the bed you slept on, do you relax in a chair or sprawl a couch, and were you a night owl or early bird were the things that made one a couple. These were the things she wanted to learn before heading back to the Saracen.
“How long do you think it will take you to jury rig something up I guess is the question? If you give me a time limit I can tell you when I want to go back,” she gave him a flirty response.
“That wasn’t the question buttercup.” Jarred said in a muffled tone as he began scrapping the dust off one of the devices as he looked up with a wide-eyed look of enthusiasm.
“Do you remember,” a voice belted out causing one of the tribal creatures to scurry back alarmingly. The sound snapped Kalani’s head around as a laugh burst from her mouth.
“Oh yeah…” Jarred said as he began bobbing as he looked through some more of the pile. Finding one of his jeans he began to take off his clothes as he put them on. FInding Kalani some clothes he threw them at her. “Put these on while you look for stuff,” he said as he found one of his shirts, it was burned slightly but it was better than what he found.
Catching the tan shorts he tossed at her, Kalani held them up to her body. The ones she was wearing were tattered and held together by only a few strings at this point. Unbuttoning them she slid them off and tossed them to the side. Stepping into the new pants she looked at Jarred as she pulled on a tank top and began to pull the dirt-smeared bra out of one sleeve of her shirt. “What,” she looked at him shaking her head. “This is not the first time I have gotten dressed in the field and I was wearing underwear. Underwear is just a really really thin bikini bottom as we used to say at the Academy during our research trips. Besides these guys are naked so they probably are more stunned we are putting things on rather than taking them off.” Pulling her hair back in one hand and then the other, she fixed a sloppy ponytail by tying it in a lose knot. Putting her hands on her hips she pointed to a small area of the pile. “Is that our shoes?”
“Oh my sweet lord… shoes… sweet sweet shoes.” Jarred said as he plopped down and took off the leaf and twig sandals he had made as he got his socks and shoes on as he began to lace them up. “You forget the small things.”
“You are a goof,” she laughed. For someone as outdoorsy as Jarred was, a part of him did like the creature comforts but in all fairness who didn’t. It wasn’t like Kalani was going to forgo shoes and embrace the wild side as a Vespian native. As much fun as it was watching Jarred pick through the pile for clothes like a teen girl at the clearance rack of a department store, there was another matter to attend to. Moving over to the radio she looked at the shocked faces staring back at her.
“It’s okay,” she said picking up the small audio device. “It’s just music. You know....music. What you dance to?” Not sure if she was making any sense to the being Kalani turned on the device again. Rolling her shoulders and snapping her fingers she smiled at the being in front of her. “You know…music like you played last night only with more instruments and words.” Cranking up the volume, Kalani placed the device in a bowl to amplify the song as she decided to embark on a cultural exchange of sorts.
Throughout her life, Kalani would often laugh about forgetting she was in public. More frequently than not she would become so absorbed in a task that everything else was blocked out. In these moments the world reduced to her and her immediate area. Do you remember… the twenty-first of September, Kalani began to sing along to the lyrics as her movements became larger and more pronounced. The rolling of her shoulders began to travel down to her hips as she swayed them back and forth to the beat slowly swinging her arms in rhythm to the impromptu boogie she was performing. “Come on…try it,” she encouraged him moving her feet in rhythm to the beat as she danced around in the small area slowly gathering more and more of a crowd.
The being had the universal expression of wonder on its face as the music played echoing through the trees. The sound was unlike anything they had ever heard as were the movements of the female visitor. She seemed to be enchanted by the beat moving in a rhythmic fashion that they only used for one purpose. These beings were a mystery to the tribe yet also so amusing. How creatures so primitive and defenseless survived this long on the surface without being found was a mystery the tribe would ponder for years to come. Still, the musical tones did have a mesmerizing effect much like a narcotic causing all the tribe within earshot to feel something happy, light. The being looked to the elder who wore a similar smile as he nodded the man forward to participate in whatever the female was trying to show him. The past day and a half with these two creatures had been an exercise in patience, miming, and learning. The elder gestured towards Kalani again and bounced his knees as if trying to mimic her movements but at a farther distance than the tribal member approaching the young woman.
Knowing he would never live this down in the tribe, the being stepped forward in the herky-jerky movements trying to imitate their guests. He had never moved like this in public and felt silly yet the hairless female seemed to have none of the embarrassment he felt. Glancing to the left he locked eyes with the hairless male. The last thing he wanted was to intrude on some possible mating ritual or make him think he was a rival for the female’s attention; however, the slow smile on the male’s face indicated he was enjoying the performance as much as the rest of the tribe.
“Yo gun abbo mo ke sun.” A larger and older member of the tribe hit Jarred on the chest several times before pointing to Kalani and nodding with a happy expression. In the universal code of males, this was an indication he found her amusing. The male did not seem to have any interest in Kalani past sharing his delight that the hairless male’s counterpart was making the group smile and have a good time.
“Oh trust me I know, she grows on you. You don’t know if you wanna kiss her or just arm wrestle her at times… it’s why I love her.” he said with a large smile as he patted Harry on the back.
Poking Jarred in the arm to gain his attention the male spoke again that sounded similar to his first phrase. “Yo gun atto mo ke saw. Mo ke saw,” he repeated hitting his own chest as he pointed to a female of the tribe across the platform. She returned the gesture with a shy smile before going back to watch the show of the strange female visitor. The man let out a deep sigh and patted Jarred’s chest one again.
“Oh she is a keeper, does she have all of her teeth? How is her hair to lice ratio? Looks low which is good for a mate.” Jarred said as he knew the creature knew nothing of what he said. “Bet she can cook a mean root stew.”
Harry wasn’t sure exactly what the hairless man was trying to say but his tone was pleasant enough and the expression he wore looking at the female was understood by the universe. Patting him hard on the shoulder Harry watched the display of the hairless female trying to figure out what the heck she was doing.
“Okay try this,” Kalani pointed to her legs showing an over-pronounced bend. “Now bounce…like this.”
Maybe this was not how one chose procreation partners but thanked others in their culture. They had just saved the pair from plummeting to their deaths in the ravine. They also were body locked by the male when the tribe returned their belongings. Looking back at Kalani, the being bent his knees and tried to bounce as she did to the strange but pleasing melody drifting through their village.
“Go Lani!” Jarred placed his fingers between his lips as he whistled loudly as he began to root her on.
“Oh baby I am saving my real moves for tonight,” she winked at him turning her PG be bop dance into a hint of what happened when you dialed up the rating to R or maybe even one step higher.
Jarred began swaying slightly too with her as he was getting into the groove.
Bringing her attention back to the being, Kalani made sure Jarred had a clear view of her moves from the angle he was looking at.
“Yes,” Kalani nodded her head enthusiastically seeing one of the members of the tribe stepping forward and trying to dance. Its sasquatch-like physique or maybe lack of exposure to moving in such a manner made the being appear to be dancing like a hundred-year-old man or a two-year-old baby. Kalani matched the being’s knee bounce for a few bars before adding a clap with her hands. “Ba-dee-ya… never was a cloudy day…Ba-du, ba-du, ba-du, ba-d,” she sang putting more rhythm into her steps the longer the being matched her movements.
The female was strange but fun. The being matched her steps as best as he could. This dancing was not fun but seeing her happy was so he would try anything. Looking to his friends among the gathered tribe he let out a guffawing sound that by now Kalani recognized as amusement.
Noticing he had the basic’s, Kalani decided to step it up. “Okay let’s try something harder than the dance of old men,” she said sticking her hands out for the creature to take them. It took a few notes for the being to understand but he reached out gingerly not sure why they had to be touching now. “Okay we are going to spin,” she said nodding and speaking slow as if that would help in the translation. “On the count of three we are going to lift our arms up and spin under them.” This was a classic first time dance move performed mainly at weddings and proms when your partner was too old, too young, or too drunk to do anything else in rhythm. “One....two…threeeeeee,” Kalani counted out.
The being felt her raising their arms but had no idea what to do. He clung to her hands still moving his feet side to side as he had been. He could feel her turning but turning your back on someone was never a good idea. In battle, it could get you killed and in life, it meant you did not like someone or thing. Holding his hands forward he let her hands rotate in his not able to control his laughter as Kalani bent in a weird motion trying to move around him in a circle. The crowd laughed and pointed as Kalani stood in a backward arch still trying to give directions but going nowhere. The being for his part was finally eye to eye with her now that she was bent over backward. His lips spread trying to imitate the facial expression Kalani displayed so many times when she appeared happy.
“No no you…you are supposed to…tuh…urn,” she grunted trying to encourage the being to follow her steps as she twisted her body. The height difference between them meant for the first time in her life, Kalani felt the plight of those in the tall bracket. She felt like she was locked in a half crab walk position as she twisted her shoulders a few more times hoping the being would catch on.
Kalani Kane extra-terrestrial dance instructor
“Okay, lemme show you guys.” Jarred said as he walked past them all as he pulled Kalani to his waist as he dipped her low before pulling her back into his embrace.
Kalani felt a slight flush form on her cheeks and her mouth tightened up into a smile. She hadn’t expected Jarred to cut into the dance but she was definitely enjoying that he did. Kalani felt her breathing go more shallow as his hand found the small of her back pulling her tight to his body.
“You do remember this song was played the first night we had dinner… seems you may have just found ‘our’ song here love,” he said as he began to move with her close as the pair began to dance, sensual yet fun as the others watched out.
“Honestly, no,” she offered her response moving her hand to the base of his neck where she traced long lazy circles between his collar and hairline. “I was too focused on you that night but I will take your word for it.” Her eyes looked up at him blocking out the rest of the world. Every moment in life was special. It was important to be present in each one. She doubted they would ever be partially marooned on a jungle world and dancing in the trees so Kalani soaked up every moment. There was a good chance her future held more dancing with the handsome CE but life was unpredictable. Kalani pressed her body into his letting Jarred lead.
Turning his head he saw Harry grabbing his girl as he began to do the same as Jarred smiled. “See Harry gets it, grab yo girl and show them the rhythm… it’s with the hips.” Jarred said playfully.
Several more rhythmic steps and Kalani’s blush increased enough to make her avert her eyes. Letting out a deep laugh she dropped her head to his chest shaking it slightly. “Um Mr. Alindor I think we just went from a fifty’s sox hop to dirty dancing in the Catskills.”
“We have a song now,” she smiled confidently at him liking the assurance of a possible future. One didn’t just slap a song on someone after your first weekender unless there was a promise of more to come.
“Yes, we do… happy International Day of Peace,” he said offhand, it had been a running joke for the pair to celebrate days that almost no one paid any attention to. They felt it fun to make every day they could a special day. The truth was he couldn’t be sure what day it was, or what holiday there was. He did know though they looked up what was special about the 21st of September and this was what came up, that plus National Pecan Cookie Day.
As their song slipped away ending a new one replaced it. The song opened with the sounds of rhythmic clapping and chanting. The base beats of this music echoed through the trees as the lyrics slowly began. A few of the sentient beings stopped dancing and moved into the huts emerging with oblong wooden objects tucked under their arms. As they set them down, it would become apparent that thick hides covered the tops. Several of the village inhabitants began to thump out a rhythm on the drums that blended seamlessly with the sounds coming out of the radio.
“And now we are moving into tribal,” she laughed stepping back away from Jarred. It had been years since she had danced this way. Her hips began to pick up speed and her hand movements slowly became sharper and clearly part of a tribal dance of some sort.
“It’s called the Hawaiian haka. While it is reminiscent of the traditional Polynesian haka we incorporate movements of the hula.” As she swayed her hips in the fluid motion of a hula, her hands continued to move in sharp, crisp jabs and thrusts. “Our dance is more deadly, however,” she slowly turned in a circle around Jarred keeping eye contact as she danced. “You have no idea if we are trying to seduce you,” Kalani made sure her hand movements did not obscure her hip action as she began to move her pelvis faster and faster while retaining a tight upper body, “or kill you,” she brought down her arms fast in a chopping motion indicative of the dance.
“Care to guess which message I am trying to share with you?”
“I’m going with seduce, but if needed I can sleep with a knife in case you try to go all black widow on me.” Jarred said as he stood back and watched. He couldn’t help but find himself turned on by everything. It was weird to feel such a sense of joy, love, lust, and happiness in a weird and unusual place. Just a day ago they were fighting for their lives in the jungle, now they were dance with tribal people to an Earth Wind and Fire tribal remix.
“Alexia, play Got To Give It Up pt 1 by Marvin Gaye” Jarred said with a devilish smile as the music switched. The tone and beats were similar, but it worked far better with the moves they were all doing. Jarred slid up next to Kalani as he joined in. He wasn’t sure when they would be leaving, but he was starting to feel like he didn’t ever need to leave.
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