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[2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

[ Enyd Isolde Madsen, Masters Student | Jaleyi City | Vulcan ] @Tae

She knew there was no need to hurry. Though it was near the height of the tourist season for the Na’ree region, Enyd has purposefully waited until the worst of the crowds dissipated before venturing out of her hotel. Nodding to a Vulcan couple entering the hotel, Enyd stepped to the side to allow them access before moving out into the humid dark of the evening. While most of Vulcan remained terribly arid, at certain areas along this coastline, pockets of cities maintained an element of humidity. It was a welcome change for Enyd, especially after the intensity of her morning expedition.

She’d spent the greater portion of her early evening cleaning up and relaxing after said grueling morning expedition through the Fire Plains. Of course, she hadn’t exactly gone through the Plains, only far enough into them to appreciate the humbling force readily seen in the near-constant eruptions of not one but three volcanoes bordering the region. And she still had yet to find the Earth words to describe adequately the colors she’d seen in the crystal formations that grew throughout the Plains. The expedition tour had been part of the package deal her hotel in Vulcana Regar advertised, and it had been worth the new reddish hue to her skin.

As the largest city on Vulcan and the center of trade, it had not surprised Enyd to find it crowded at the meal hour after her expedition returned. While her tour group had reserved a table at a popular restaurant located inside one of the city’s famed hanging gardens, the numbers on the reservation were wrong. A last-minute addition of a Rigellian couple with their spoiled son had skewed the numbers and left Enyd and two others out. The other two members, an older Vulcan couple, were quick to find alternate meal arrangements, but Enyd had at first been at a loss. Standing in the foyer of the intended restaurant, Enyd had barely had time to pull out a PADD to research other accommodations when Dotax swooped in to the “rescue.” As a member of the Ferengi consulate located in Vulcan Regar, which had a permanent booth at the establishment, he’d been quick to invite Enyd join him.

Enyd couldn’t help the shiver of discomfort at the memory. She’d never felt the greatest of affinities or respect for the Ferengi, but as a student of diplomacy and intergalactic relations, she recognized personal preferences should be quickly recognized and set aside if she was ever going to be successful as a diplomat. At the time, she’d been hungrier and more desperate than perturbed by his barely restrained pawing after her acceptance of his offer—that had, in fact, been the only reason she’d accepted it. And Enyd counted it as a personal win that Dotax walked away from their terribly awkward meal with all his appendages intact. And she had not brought dishonor upon her family. Even this far away from Yew Valley Farm in Montana, Enyd was certain her grandmother would find a way to box her ears.

After checking out of her hotel post-Ferengi encounter, Enyd hopped a transport southeast to Jaleyi, one of the largest coastal cities bordering the Voroth Sea. All along, this had been her intended destination. The deviation to Vulcana Regar and the Fire Plains had been a spur-of-the-moment impulse to eat up two days she’d yet to schedule during her last free week before finals. She was coming to the end of her second year at The Metternich, and Enyd felt she deserved a little R&R before the coming weeklong tests, evaluations, and application assessments that were slated to take place. The year previous, she’d done similarly, only traveling to the Thanar seaside instead. It seemed she was creating a pre-exam ritual.

Padding through the half-deserted streets of Jaleyi, Enyd absentmindedly waved the traditional handheld fan of the region. It was an intricately stitched weave of the ruddy hued induku leaves mixed with the deep indigo of the kal’ta leaves. Both light in her hands and effective in staying cool, Enyd couldn’t wait to send one home for her grandmother. Her stomach was pleasantly full of the chilled plomeek soup famed for this city, and she looked forward to the tea stand the dinner hostess recommended. It served traditional hla’meth tea, but at this time of year, the brewer used a g’teth and í'su’ke berry blend to enhance the experience of visitors to the transparent paths that extended out from the coastline of Jaleyi over the lapping waves of the Voroth.

Enyd paused in her journey long enough to inhale deeply. Favinit grew rampant in this area. Instead of being relegated to heavily manicured gardens like what she typically saw near The Metternich, these grew wild, their branches heavy with the blooms. Giving into temptation, Enyd reached up, having to extend on her tiptoes to grab hold of the lowest branch possible, and deftly plucked a blossom from its place. With a self-satisfied smile, she tucked it into her loosely braided bun before carrying on towards the docks. The spicy fragrance of the flower was a heady mix with the seaside smells of the Voroth on a humid evening. 

Arriving at the docks, Enyd took in the sight of the solar-assisted sailing ships, those used for pleasure cruises across the Voroth to Kwil’inor. They were like sleeping swans bobbing against the docks now; their feathers tucked in tight, heads bowed as they waited for the suns to renew their energy. As Enyd drew closer to the shoreline, she squinted and imagined she could see the distant lights of Vulcanis located almost directly westward of Jaleyi across the watery expanse. Enyd knew better, however, than to think the lights she saw on the water were Vulcan-made, and that was why she was here. That was why this city was one of the most visited along the Na’ree region this time of year.

The tea stand was exactly where the hostess described, and after purchasing a flask of cool tea, Enyd made her way to the transparent boardwalk. Bordering the walkway every few meters were semi-circular extensions with benches perched upon them. The first few benches were still taken with couples or families, but as the boardwalk curved outward over the deeper regions of the water that consistently kissed the shore, further from the nightlights of Jaleyi, Enyd found the spot she wanted. Nearly at the apex of the arced translucent footpath was an empty bench. The most perfect bench. Enyd leapt at it with a gleeful smile, happily overdoing it as she shifted around to find a more comfortable position once she was on it.

The sea breeze was stronger here, no longer protected by the city walls. Her embroidered outer cloak rippled as the wind tugged at it, tickling the skin of her ankles when it brushed over them. Enyd shivered despite the warmth around her and almost wished she’d gotten a warm tea instead. Listening to the song of the sea as the breeze danced across it, Enyd waited, her lips perched on the edge of her tea flask, nearly forgetting to drink from it as her anticipation built.

How long…

Enyd let out a cry of delight when she finally saw them. Quickly remembering where she was and the Vulcan distaste for such jovial public expressions, Enyd ducked her head with a blush as she concentrated on the object of her fascination for this region: bioluminescent fish the size of Earth whales. A pair of them swam in front of the boardwalk, then, to her increased joy, they swam directly beneath her feet. If she were better at quick calculations, Enyd was certain she’d be able to count the number of scales on their backs, the light from their flesh was so bright.

Enyd was thankful they’d purposefully placed the benches in the middle of the half-circle extension. She was already so entranced in watching the undulating movements of the fish that she was certain without meaning to she’d fall into the sea itself if the bench had been any closer to the edge. Settling against the bench to fight against such a possibility, her pleasure in the moment still high, Enyd finally sipped at her tea and hummed her appreciation as the liquid left a refreshing trail in its wake. So far, the evening was exactly as she’d wanted, a welcome change after the frustrating Ferengi incident of the afternoon. The only thing that might make this evening better would be the book she’d left in her room. An ancient Earth tome by a man named Zane Grey. The light from these fish was bright enough, Enyd bet she’d be able to read it without straining her eyes.

But she knew the book was waiting for her back in her room and alas, she could not take the fish with her. So best to soak up the moment while she could.

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #1
PO3 Victor vanVinter, | Jaleyi City | Vulcan ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Victor had undoubtedly needed the time off after the sting of washing out of the Academy. He knew that it had all been his fault, as bitter a pill as it was to swallow, that hadn't made it any less accurate. The time to recenter and focus was essential, and where better to center oneself than Vulcan? It was widely viewed as the center of logic and calm in the Federation. He wasn't here to focus on that, though, and a bit of a sneer shows itself on Victor's face, his brow furrowing in consternation. None of that was why he was here, and the bioluminescent fish were why he'd come to the shores of the Voroth sea. Watching the fish and the sailboats was why he'd spent most of the day here, his skin pinking with the beginnings of sunburn, even with the liberal amount of sunblock he'd applied. The aroma of that cream hanging heavy about him, almost like his own personal bouquet.

Looking out at the waters, Victor gazed at the seemingly endless depths of the lake, a depth that he'd never attempted to fathom. The rich darkness of the water down past a few meters, the relative tranquility of the surface. The glassy surface of the brilliant water broken when a few of the gargantuan creatures come to and then breached it. Trailing water from their fins in arcing trails creating a prismatic spray in the evening light. The fish that swim under the transparent pier creating an unearthly light and a radiant glow that lit up the night. Taking a few steps back, the lanky half-Bajoran nearly trips over the bench and sits down heavily, and awkwardly his gestures was a poor recovery to awkward gesture. Still, it was better than ending up on the ground or in the water.

Victor does his best to appear dignified at how he'd just sat down heavily. Looking to the young woman to his right, he gave a sheepish smile and simply says, "Thin air, exhausted." In a lousy attempt to cover his social gaffe. Victor was a tourist. There wasn't anything else he could be, dressed as he was. The open-toed sandals and knee-length khaki shorts making that abundantly clear along with the very light shirts he had on, one of which was a thin material, the other was an open button-down in a  similar shade of Khaki to his shorts. Victor's shorts seemed a little too short, and his shirts were not nearly wide enough in the shoulder. Despite the poorly fitting clothing and the initial bit of discombobulation that he had, Victor recovered well, sitting up straight with a precision borne from his few short years at the Academy.

"Good to meet you. I'm Ca...erm...Petty Officer vanVinter, I'm uhh here on leave, waiting for my next assignment." There was a slight hesitancy to his voice, then, a bit of a catch as he'd nearly given his recently stripped 'rank'. That and he may have, well, probably had intruded on this woman's privacy. In an attempt to be friendly, Victor started to extend a hand but took note of just how Enyd was dressed, noting the Vulcan style robes, and at the last second, he attempts to part his fingers in greeting and is utterly unable to do that. At least he tried. Four words that had beautifully summed up his Starfleet career for the last two years, "at least he tried." Proving himself as a quality junior NCO and as an excellent junior enlisted, he'd done well and had risen through the ranks to where he was. And then came the Academy, where Victor had tried to go 'mustang' in the old parlance of earth cultures.

He'd been in over his head from the end of the first semester, and then basic flight training had started. And every spare hour had been spent in the maintenance bays, doing actual work. Not just basic lessons, but making sure that the various trainer craft that the Academy had been spaceworthy and flightworthy. As the stresses of his classes had increased, he'd sought refuge more and more in the Maintenance bays, trying to focus on what he'd known. In truth, Victor hadn't tried, and there was a slight flicker of sadness that crosses his otherwise smiling features. Victor was a man clearly in need to talk. Not to a counselor, but it was talking to someone who might listen or alcohol. Victor certainly knew which of those solutions he'd prefer. "They're beautiful, aren't they? I've never seen anything like them. The sheer size of those fish, only the Whales back on Earth, have been quite so big, I think. And nothing that glows like that. Nothing alive anyway..." Victor trails off, remembering life on board his parent's ship when he was young. One day the deflectors and navigation had failed just before an Ion storm had hit.  His parents had managed a dead reckoning orbit of a gas giant, and they'd had to take shelter there until it passed. "You know what that glow reminds me of? It reminds me of a class three ion storm interacting with the magnetic fields of a gas giant. If you've never seen it, it's this unearthly glow that seems to come from everywhere all at once. So, what is it that brings you to the Voroth Sea, watching the fish as well?" His question an honestly polite one. His tone of voice respectful and courteous, clear that he was actually making conversation, not just idle pleasantries.

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #2
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen, Masters Student | Jaleyi City | Vulcan ] Attn: @Tae

Her nose tickling with a new, unnatural scent, Enyd looked up from the cetacean-sized fish swimming beneath her feet to see a man veering onto the semicircle where she sat. It took but a moment more of observation to catalog the scent the soft breeze carried: sunblock. Judging by his attire and the smell, he was a tourist. Enyd was still guessing his origins as she watched the man back up, his eyes on the fish and not his path. Before she could utter a warning, he tripped on the bench and plunked heavily onto it.

The bench shuddered from its sudden arrival while Enyd felt the vibrations travel through her feet. Glancing around their immediate area, Enyd smiled. She wasn’t worried about anything breaking, even as she had to readjust her grip on the tea flask to keep it from spilling at the new movements. The Vulcans had undoubtedly logiced their way through the what-ifs or could-bes for visitors for this place and had reinforced whatever was necessary to prevent something as common as a trip from breaking anything.

Enyd watched with increasing curiosity the quick recovery from the momentary lack of grace and the wide grin that crept onto his face as he turned to face her. He offered a simple explanation for the stumble, one that was perfectly logical and that she had also dealt with for the first few weeks of her life on Vulcan. Enyd continued to listen to his introduction, taking in his accent, mannerisms—and the sudden readjustment in his seat, and his appearance as a whole to determine the subtler details often given away by such things. She caught the verbal recoveries at the same as she noted the physical one when he first held out, then withdrew his hand, attempting the traditional Vulcan greeting, and her curiosity only grew. No doubt he assumed she was Vulcan based on her attire, and though her hair was covering her only slightly curved ears, that wouldn’t have helped him determine her origins either.

Breaking her silence, Enyd shook her head, “I have never seen such an ion storm before, nor have I been so close to a magnetic field of a gas giant. I’ve only ever been on ships long enough to get from point a to point b.” Enyd smiled and offered her hand this time, “Pleased to meet you, Ca..erm…Petty Officer vanVinter.” Enyd knew she was cheeky in repeating back how confusing he’d initially sounded. Yet, based on the affable way he was presenting himself, she was guessing he’d find it more amusing than offensive. “Enyd Madsen.”

One of the fish boldly moved against the edge of the walkway, and again Enyd felt vibrations shifting through her body in response. She wondered if the fish got itches. Perhaps that was a byproduct of the bioluminescent quality of their scales, and if so, was it their habit to rub against the poles of the walkway? She noted more fish now, making the area around them far more illuminated than when she’d first arrived. Looking towards her companion, Enyd could see his features more clearly. In a ruggish way, he was handsome and seemed to have an aura of mischief about him.

“My grandmother took me to see whales when,” Enyd paused for a moment as she let the initial pain of the first part of the memory subside before she continued, “soon after we found out about my father’s death. I was thirteen. One of my favorite memories, all things considered.” Enyd realized then that the chances of her confusing the man were high, given her mannerisms and their context. She chuckled as she gestured to her robes. “I know this can seem misleading, but I’m from Earth. Montana actually. Grew up on the family farm. It’s been in the family since the 20th century according to family lore.”

She waited until after another fish bumped against the walkway before she added, “To answer your question, I’m studying in the intergalactic relations department at The Metternich in Shi’Kahr. Next week is my finals, and I started a tradition last year around this same time.” Enyd smiled, her eyes trained on the moving behemoths beneath them, as she remembered some of her favorite sights and experiences of the year before by the Thanar. “I take myself to see beautiful places, have grand adventures, and remind myself there’s more to life than the coming exams, and so far, it seems to have helped me pass all the tests with flying colors.” She laughed again, turning her eyes back to vanVinter, “I’m discovering through this trip that I apparently prefer seasides and arduous treks, so long as there’s good food waiting for me at the end.”

“You said you’re here until your next assignment?” Enyd put her hand to her chin and worked to hide a playful smile, “I’m going to make a grand assumption,” she played up the act of stroking her chin and studying vanVinter up and down, complete with her best studious frown upon her face, “Starfleet?” She shot him a quick wink. “I mean, you could be a member of the Ferengi Latinum Consortium, in which case I’d ask if you knew Dotax.” Picking up the flask’s lid, Enyd held them both up in the air between them, “This is a specially brewed tea from a stand down the way. Happy to share some with you if you like.”

Enyd was aware that while he appeared amiable to good conversation, that didn’t automatically mean he would be amiable to sharing tea with a stranger. Not every culture felt so open about sharing beverages—as it was, she’d never have made such an offer to a Vulcan. Hoping that her instincts weren’t too far off concerning her companion, Enyd tipped her head to the side and subtly shook it to move her hair around. Her thick hair could get heavy after a time, and the urge to shift the weight around was difficult to resist. Thankfully, it remained secured in the braided bun, but the blossom she’d so happily put in her hair not long before fell out and directly onto the bench between her and vanVinter. With both her hands full, Enyd was now curious about two things:

1. Would he accept the drink?
2. Would he put the flower back in her hair?

Enyd’s smile turned upwards at her own hidden thoughts. She decided then that his responses to these unspoken questions would determine greatly whether she offered anything else.

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #3
PO3 Victor vanVinter, | Jaleyi City | Vulcan ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Victor couldn't help but smile at the graceful mannerisms of Enyd, taking his falling onto the bench in stride. If anything, Victor was just as grateful for the solid construction of the bench as he was anything else. It could have been far more embarrassing, but at the very least, Enyd seemed not to be bothered by his sudden appearance. He noticed those emerald eyes with a sort of shining laughter in them, or maybe it wasn't all laughter. There was undoubtedly an intelligence to her gaze that he found interesting. The offering of a hand leads to a slight surprise, flickers of the emotion showing on his face as he accepts it, wrapping rough lanky fingers around her hand in a firm shake. "A pleasure to meet you then, miss Madsen, or would you prefer Enyd? And you're welcome to call me Victor if you wish." Victor was certainly amused by the fact that she'd repeated his verbal slip. It was unexpected, but nothing that he'd fault Enyd for repeating.

He gives an attentive ear when Enyd tells about watching the whales on Earth. He smiles politely, giving an emphatic nod. "No, I actually understand fully, Enyd. If you're studying here, sometimes people adopt the customs of where they're from. If I loved somewhere on the Bajor system, I'd probably be worshipping the prophets or at least wearing the earring, but I was a spacer's brat in Federation space." He might not have understood fully, but he would at some point soon.  "I can't say that I've heard of the school that you're attending, but the name of it sounds like it's from Earth, not here. I'm guessing it's something that's part of the Federation university system then, not just stuck on one world?" Victor pauses and looks out at the large lake, the increased glow from the greater number of fish, paired with the stars shining in the darkening Vulcan sky. It made for one of the most beautiful sights that he'd ever borne witness to, something that absolutely took his breath away. And here he was experiencing this loveliness, and with someone else as well, if that hadn't been the case, he'd have been almost assured that he was experiencing a fanciful dream.

"There's always something good about seasides, Miss Madsen; it doesn't matter if it is a clear and brisk day or if you're standing on the shore beneath a steel grey sky and wine-dark storm-tossed seas. There is always a sort of beauty to just experiencing one of the forces that made our ancestors wish to explore, to find out what is beyond that horizon, to see the lands that birth the sunrise, or give refuge to the sun upon its rest." He goes silent then, and a bit of a blush tinges his cheeks. There wasn't any particular reason why he wanted to be poetic just now. It just happened to feel right. Something about the combination of the impossible beauty of the night made everything he was experiencing felt just perfect right now.  " You're right incidentally, I am Starfleet, and the last few years at the Academy, well, not everyone makes it to graduation." He gives an apologetic shrug and a bashful look, the blush still holding to his cheeks slightly. "Sorry, I haven't let any poetry out of me in quite some time. The last few years weren't exactly conducive to idleness.  So I suppose that I just needed to let those words free. I hope that you don't mind?" He shrugs slightly at that, letting out a heavy sigh, seeming to let stress out from his body.

The offer of tea, although took him by surprise, though, and he removes his own canteen from a pocket on the side of his shorts and opens the top of it. "Please, I would love some tea. I started to like it back on Earth, but there's just something different about the teas here. If I'm honest, Miss Madsen, Vulcan teas have swiftly become my favorite beverage. So thank you kindly for sharing yours with me." He had a genuine smile to his features then and took the pouring of tea happily. Then he notices the blossom falls from her hair in graceful motion onto the bench between them. Setting his freshly poured tea down, Victor picks up the blossom gently with his rough, calloused fingers, such a counterpoint to the dleicate blossom held within them. He wasn't sure what kind of flower it was, but it was beautiful. With a polite smile, Victor reaches out. "If you don't mind, miss Madsen..." And Victor gently moves the hand with the flower toward's the right side of her head, intending to replace the blossom from where it had fallen.

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #4
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen, Masters Student | Jaleyi City | Vulcan ] Attn: @Tae

“Why do I do declare, Mister vanVinter, but you are charming.” Her instincts proven true, Enyd faked an old Earth accent as they shook hands. “My grandmother was quite prim and encouraged me to use honorifics until ‘one’s companion proves amiable to familiarity.’” Enyd altered her voice to mimic her grandmother, which always annoyed the woman, but Enyd never grew tired of doing it. It seemed certain childish habits had yet to grow old to her. “I’ll refrain from making any further grand assumptions, Mister Victor vanVinter,” she put added emphasis on his name, her lips turning upward in a smile, “and you may call me Miss Madsen, or Enyd, whichever you prefer.”

As she listened to Victor explain portions of his background, Enyd couldn’t help but inwardly smile. Another hybrid. It was always on the tip of Enyd’s tongue to reveal all the gooey details of her family’s long line of intrigue regarding her mixed heritage whenever she met another hybrid. That would not do, of course, if her career continued on the line she wanted, and she became a diplomat. Diplomats were known for discretion and calculated reveals of information, and she had best keep to the code even when tempted to bond more readily with someone who shared a mixed heritage like herself. She was not ashamed of her Vulcan-Romulan-human and then some heritage. Quite the opposite, in fact. But her parents, when they were alive, her grandmother, and even her parent’s friend, Rear Admiral Anderson, had made it quite clear that certain details were best left unspoken unless the listener had a particular clearance level with Starfleet. Somehow, listening to Victor tell bits of his story to her, she got the impression he would not have the correct clearance to hear the whole truth.

Pursing her lips together, Enyd shook her head, “I’ve not spent much time studying Bajoran history, I must confess. I have worked with some over the years, though few have joined our program.” His mentioning of the leanings towards traditional religious practices encouraged her assumption that that may be one reason why. At his revealing of being a ‘spacer,’ Enyd’s interest doubled, “I don’t think I’ve met a ‘spacer’ before, or if I have, they didn’t advertise it.” She leaned against the back of the bench and shook her head, “You must have seen such sights,” she smiled again, “you will have to advise me on things to go see in all the various corners you’ve traveled, should I ever have the chance to venture in the same direction. The longer I am away from Yew Valley Farm, the more I realize my knowledge of the galaxy is theory-based and not experiential. If I am to be good at my job, I will have to remedy that. And soon.”

They shared a moment of silence together as the fish continued to lazily swim nearby. It truly was one of the more relaxing evenings she’d experienced in quite some time. Enyd had friends among her peers at school, and she was not the type to go long without her inquisitive nature leading her to meet new people, but the stress of pre-finals had been more difficult this year, and she’d surprised herself with a rare upsurge in introversion. Hence why, instead of joining a group of classmates as she had in the previous year, she’d opted for a solo tour. And it seemed, with the new addition of Victor, that choice had been well made.

At his question about her studies, Enyd nodded, “The Metternich has a few other branches, though it is originally from Earth. There is a branch on Trillius Prime, here on Vulcan, Andoria, Betazed, and Risa. Most programs are feeders into the officer candidate system of Starfleet.” She glanced down at her lap, feeling a sudden timidity creep into her voice as she added, “I am hoping to join once I finish here.” Shaking her head to free herself of the shyness, Enyd gave a half shrug, “But only time will tell.”

The sound of Victor’s voice as he described how the seaside appeared to him, how he translated the experience through his senses, was almost as lulling as the sound of the waves lapping against the walkway. When he fell silent, and in the undulating light from the fish, she thought she saw his cheek pinken; Enyd smiled. This sort of evening could make even a Tellarite a poet. Though undoubtedly not a good one.

“’The sea gulps the Earth down wave by crashing wave, slurping up the sun till all is left in darkness. She will not relent, with white-crested swells, until the wayward Earth remembers its home. This cycle unending, save when the abyss comes calling.’” Enyd’s voice took on a far-off quality as she recited the short poem she’d been made to memorize in one of her high school literature classes. She looked back at Victor and shrugged. “I believe all races respond to beauty. The rhythm and rhyme scheme may vary, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t have some sort of response to an ‘aesthetically pleasing vista,’ as my roommate T’Yer describes them.”

At the return of his bashfulness in connection to his time at the Academy, Enyd had to resist the urge to reach out and pat his hand in a maternal gesture. Her grandmother always did the same thing to anyone and everyone, regardless of age or species. Their Vulcan associates rarely found the gesture as comforting as her grandmother intended. But after years of living with that as her model, Enyd naturally wanted to emulate the behavior. She refrained, however, and instead focused on the offering of tea, immediately brightening when Victor accepted. It seemed they shared an affinity for Vulcan blends. And, with that in mind, she was already mentally categorizing a list of tea houses he must visit before leaving the planet.

Enyd held her breath and her hands stilled when he picked up the fallen blossom and held it up between them. His face was bright with a polite smile, and his movements gentle when he leaned closer to place the flower back in her hair. Enyd’s smile deepened once the flower was in place, and she gave a thankful nod.

“That was most genteel of you, Mister vanVinter.” Enyd felt warmth rush up to her neck to her cheeks as she shifted back to a polite distance. “Much obliged.”

Enyd took a sip of the tea and, without meaning to, hummed her delight. Quickly catching herself, Enyd ducked her head to take another sip and hide her deepening blush. It was another habit she had best rid herself of if she wanted to be successful as a diplomat. So far as she’d studied, most cultures were not in favor of making noises of pleasure during the meal or imbibing in beverages. And yet that, and giving a little torso shake, were two habits she’d had since childhood whenever she ate something positively delightful or drank anything that made time slow down.

“For how much longer are you going to be on Vulcan, if you don’t mind my asking?” Victor had passed her makeshift ‘test’ with flying colors, and now it was her turn to gauge his interest in what she had in mind. “I only ask because I plan on taking one of these solar vessels on a coastline tour tomorrow. There are some spectacular cliffs just north of here where there is a floating fishing village just shy of the truly fascinating portion of the tour.” Enyd’s eyes widened, and she had to clasp her hands tight in her lap to control her excitement, “After a meal at the fishing village, they let you break off in your own small paddle boat to go inside an ancient cave. For the first few meters, you must have a lamp to see, but once you are in, oh I can’t remember now how many meters, there are ancient cave paintings that have the same luminescent quality as these fish.” Enyd smiled with she saw a baby one still the size of an Earth cow swim beneath their feet. Looking back to Victor she continued, “There are so many paintings that you can even turn off the lamp while you’re there and still see everything perfectly fine.” The excitement of her coming adventure sobered ever so slightly when she added, “You can only go in at certain times of day and remain for a limited time as well due to the tides, but so long as you don’t dawdle, there is no danger.”

Enyd leaned back then, noticing how, in the telling of the coming adventure, she’d lost track of the space between them and somehow edged closer. She more carefully modulated her voice after she quietly cleared her throat, “If you would like to join me, you are most welcome.”

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #5
PO3 Victor vanVinter, | Jaleyi City | Vulcan ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Thought for a long moment about which he'd prefer to use, Enyd or Miss Madsen. The eventual conclusion comes up fairly quickly, though, and it was the rather obvious conclusion. Victor would stay politely formal, at least for now. "If you don't mind the formality Miss Madsen, I think I'll stick with the current term of address, seeing as we've just met. I would hate to presume familiarity with someone so delightfully elegant." His tone of voice rich and honeyed tones. The easy casual charm to his voice coming gracefully with the conversation. He didn't mind having told a bit of his story to her, and it was nice to actually share a bit of his history with someone that actually seemed to care. Though, and he relaxes on the bench, looking at the fish through the transparent walkway.

"I'm sure you have. We come from all over quite literally. But yes, growing up on a ship these days is rarer than it used to be. These days a good freighter can do warp five or even six reasonably well. It's days or weeks between most ports instead of months. Those days are well before my time, of course." He smiles a little at that, the next words coming unbidden to him. "I'll have to show you pictures of some of the scenery that I've experienced sometime then." He smiled at that and realized that he'd just presumed that they'd have some sort of communication in the future. The stray thought and voiced opinion bring Victor to a pause, his form stilling, even as he listens in rapt attention to Enyd about her education.

"So, what is it you study at the Metternich? If you study poetry, especially after that line, I would believe it. You're right though, everyone responds to beauty, even if it's defined differently. Even on Earth, so many different cultures define beauty in a multitude of ways. Even landscapes, I knew people that would have found even this boring and dull." Looking at Enyd then, their features bathed in the bioluminescent glow of the fish, a smile comes to Victor's face. "They'd be wrong, and this is one of the most enchanting sights I've ever experienced. Thank you for being here to make it so Miss Madsen." That particular comment may have been cheesier than he'd intended, but the very least Victor had sounded sincere, and he still had that, what he thought, was a charming tone to his voice. He pauses again, taking a deep breath, and it's Victor's turn to blush, the darker tone to his skin possibly lost in the otherworldly glowing hues from the fish.

Victor had a few ideas of what to say next, but then Enyd asks him out, or that's what it sounded like to him. Maybe she just wanted the company for the day or something? That he could provide, and charm and flirtatiousness aside, it was an intriguing offer. "I'm on Vulcan for the next three days, or until Starfleet gives me orders. Starfleet told me that I'd be on leave for a week at a minimum while they find a place for me. Today is day four, and I wanted to go someplace I've never actually been." He shrugs a little, enjoying the boldness of Enyd. It was something that he hadn't encountered often at all.

All in all, the plan that Enyd had for a day sounded utterly delightful, and he extends a hand to this surprisingly elegant woman, smiling broadly. "Why Miss Madsen, you do me a delightful honor by asking me for the company with you for the day. What choice do I have but to accept or to leave someone so wonderfully charming such as yourself alone?" His tone of voice then smooth as silk when he accepts the offer, there wasn't too much reason for him to decline, and Enyd had proven to become delightful company. "The only question I have is simple, Miss Madsen." He pauses then and grins at this delightfully intriguing woman. Everything about her screamed that she'd be fascinating and fun. And that impression was forged over just this conversation. When Victor resumes speaking, it's with polite deference and genuine interest. "Where would you like me to pick you up in the morning?"

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #6
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen | Jaleyi City | Vulcan ] Attn: @Tae

Enyd appreciated Victor’s amiable nature. Some of his mannerisms and actions reminded Enyd of herself. In particular, how he would move from almost bold or revealing statements to retreating to a mirrored sense of timidity. A few of his bolder comments left little to the imagination as to the intention or desired result. It seemed either because of the environment within which they’d happened upon one another, or the kindred streaks of geniality, more than a few of Victor’s statements alluded to a continued communication beyond this evening. This assumption did not bother Enyd, not even in the slightest. If she were the sort of person to guard herself against strangers from becoming potential allies or friends, then she should assuredly not pursue diplomacy as her career.

At his question as to her studies, Enyd told him as much with her answer, “Studying to be a diplomat. I’ve always been attracted to the idea of intergalactic problem solving from the stance of negotiation for the middle ground. It allows me to experience new cultures, challenge my own biases, and travel all at the same time.” With his follow-up statement regarding the beauty of the evening, Enyd shrugged, “Moments are made up of the people as much as the place, Mister vanVinter. If this evening is as enjoyable as you make it sound, then realize you have had a part to play in the making of it.”

It amused Enyd that Victor faltered after her invitation, but not in the sense of negative shock. Based on the micro-expressions she could see moving about in the lines of his face, it seemed he was more curious than anything. Enyd supposed it would seem strange to be so inclusive to a stranger. But again, with a grandmother like hers who was renowned for her hospitality and Enyd’s natural tendency towards inquisitiveness and adventure-seeking, it was inevitable she’d make such bold offers. Though, she wouldn’t have made the same offer to the Ferengi earlier.

Despite the initial hesitation, Victor accepted her invitation and Enyd smiled in response to his studious look and question, “I’m staying at the Jaleyi Seaside Hotel. We can meet there after breakfast?”

The plans for the morrow set in motion, Enyd enjoyed Victor’s company long into the night until the tea was gone, the flashy fish retreated, and the city of Jaleyi settled into a blissful night’s rest, with Enyd settling in right along with it.

[ Enyd Isolde Madsen | Farruk Village | Vulcan | The Next Day ] Attn: @Tae

Enyd had to bite her lip and cover her mouth to keep from laughing at another one of Victor’s jokes. The man was nearly as incorrigible as Enyd’s grandmother felt her to be, and she was certain the woman would adore Victor if they ever met, partially because of that. Thankfully, there were few locals around the dock area to be offended by her uncontrolled emotional outburst. Nevertheless, Enyd lightly swatted Victor’s shoulder and clicked her tongue at him while they waited for the guide to bring them their kayaks for the sea cave exploration.

Enyd shaded her eyes to glance up at the magnificent cliffs that lay as a backdrop to the floating fishing village of Farruk. A deep russet color with flashes of brown and streaks of white and orange, the cliffs’ size and appearance reminded Enyd of an old Earth park her parents had taken her to once. As a child, surrounded by the mammoth walls of the canyon, she’d felt small and humbled to a position of wonderment. Standing on the rocking dock next to Victor, staring up, up, up towards the tops of these colossal cliffs, she felt much the same.

“They sure are a sight to see,” Enyd whispered. Smiling over to Victor, she shook her head. “I truly don’t understand arrogance or arrogant people sometimes. I know it is logically possible to stand here, staring up at those cliffs, and think, ‘Yes, I can make it to the top,’ or have some sort of conquering and command thought. And,” she held up her hands and waved them out to the side, “that is not wrong. Not even in the slightest. All cultures need a mixture of the cocky and the timid for balance.” She shrugged, shaded her eyes once more, and looked back towards the cliffs, the suns blocking the view of the top. “For me though, I stand here, look at that, and am amazed that I have breath in my lungs, a pulse beneath my skin, and have the opportunity to experience all this with a brain that will recall it later.”

Their guide returned then with their kayak-like vessels and a few others attached to his own. Enyd waited with Victor until the guide secured his vessel and got out to usher the tourists into their respective boats. The option had been for singles or doubles at the reservation. Knowing herself and her own eccentricities for controlling certain things, Enyd had requested singles and hoped Victor wouldn’t mind. Enyd was content to wait until the other tourists needing more assistance from the guide chose their vessels and got settled into their kayaks before she followed.

Enyd reflected on the morning sail as they continued to wait for the others. It had been nearly as breathtaking as the bioluminescent fish the night before, giving both Victor and Enyd plenty to gush over in their excitement. Their walk to the pier after the morning meal had been serenaded by the morning melodies of the teresh-kah. Then, before setting off from the Jaleyi docks, Victor and Enyd had been entertained by a group of iridescent Vulcan water-beetles racing each other in complex patterns on the water’s surface. One of the ships entering the harbor at their departure had been filled to the brim with peaceful quattil, their eyes covered with blinders to keep them from growing anxious as the suns’ shadows played upon the ship’s deck. And while she’d expected to see the common mah-tor-pahlah flying overhead, Enyd hadn’t expected flocks of the blue-feathered lara bird flying so far out from The Forge. One group, in particular, had kept up with the sailboat. A few of the more daring birds darting between the sails themselves.

The guide’s voice broke Enyd from her recollections, and she leaned forward, eager to listen. He spoke first in his native tongue, one that she understood with marginal difficulty, but then he repeated the instructions in Federation Standard for the non-native tourists.

“The tide will rise in two hours and thirty-three seconds. You have that much time to enter the cave, explore it, then return. If you are not outside of the cave before the tide returns, the chances of your survival are minimum.” Enyd was thankful the guide didn’t take the time to quote the exact probability equation, as just hearing that much put a bit of a dampener on the joy of the moment. “Though there are areas inside the cave where you may beach your vessel and go ashore, we do not recommend that you do so as at low-tide poisonous shatarr come into the cave to feed on mollusks, askor, and fish.”

Enyd nodded, thankful she’d chosen to wear a jumpsuit for their outing today instead of the more traditional robes. For both the paddling and the potential retreat from poisonous lizards, freedom of movement was a necessity. She'd pulled her hair back into a high ponytail as well, revealing the curvature of her ears, and keeping it under tight rein since this was an adventure they were having after all. Enyd turned to Victor and smiled, getting ready to approach her boat, when the guide continued and she paused.

“Do not approach the shatarr. They are aggressive and will swim to attack their prey or those they believe to be a threat.” Enyd’s eyes widened. Was there anything that wouldn’t kill them in this beautiful place? “The presence of the shatarr entering and leaving the cave at tidal turns often attracts shavokh to the cave’s entrance.” Enyd had only seen one such brown and gold bird-of-prey before, in a zoo, and had found its golden talons and sharp beak almost as intimidating as its 2.5-meter wingspan. To hear that it commonly swooped around the cave’s entrance had her swallowing against building nervousness. Just what had she gotten them into? “You need not worry about the shavokh. There has been no recent incident of an attack on a humanoid.”

Enyd sighed, leaning closer to Victor, “Clever use of ‘recent.’” She hoped the guide was finished, but her hopes were dashed when he added yet more precautions to their little boat adventure.

“Do not extinguish your lamps until you are within the lighted areas of the cave paintings.” When he refrained from explaining why, Enyd discovered her imagination could supply plenty of explanations beyond the reasonable. “Do not touch the cave paintings.”

With all the doom and gloom explained then, the guide returned to his vessel and waited for the remaining tourists, such as Victor and Enyd, to board.

Chuckling at the situation, Enyd turned to Victor with a mischievous smile lighting her face. “Any last words, Mister vanVinter?”

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #7
PO3 Victor vanVinter, | Jaleyi City | Vulcan ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Victor nodded, hearing that Ellen would be a Diplomat someday in the future. The way she looked at him, spoke and responded, all spoke to someone who cared greatly for communication details. He wasn't especially great at reading people, but he'd been in more than a few poker games and knew the tells of being observed. So how Enyd was acting around him, well, it spoke highly of her observational skills. "I have every bit of faith that you'll be a wonderful Diplomat. And if you do get on with Starfleet, I hope to see you sometime. But any time we meet will probably be while either of us is on leave. I'm resuming my posting as a fighter Mechanic, or should be going back to that sort of posting."

Victor shrugs a little at that and smiles gently at the compliment regarding it being a beautiful evening. Victor wasn't sure how to respond to that and just sat back, thinking for a moment. "After breakfast, I'll meet you at your hotel then." Victor certainly enjoyed Enyd's boldness and her overall attitude. It was an utterly fabulous breath of fresh air for him, especially after his few years at the Academy, where it was so competitive. "Thank you for the peaceful evening, Enyd. Thank you, I'm sure tomorrow will be as much a delight as this was." After that, Victor goes silent, just watching the fish with Enyd, nothing more needing to be said, the spell of a quiet night with beauty in it enshrouding them.

| Farruk Village | Vulcan | The Next Day

Victor was pleased that Enyd seemed to enjoy his sense of humor, most of it depending on wordplay, puns, and alliteration. Some of the jokes were obscure and vague, but at least he'd been able to make Enyd laugh. Victor enjoyed this, walking side by side with the diminutive Diplomat. He smiles, following Enyd's gaze up to the top of the cliffs, looking at them for a long moment, doing his best to fathom climbing the rockface. "I don't know if it's hubris exactly. Everyone sees different things as challenges. For me, it was flight simulations in shuttles and old aircraft. Honestly, Enyd, before going to Starfleet, I did Flight school back on Earth. I wanted to make a career as a pilot. But I turned out to be an absolute demon with a wrench, and I could tear down an entire craft by myself if I had to. So my instructors from Flight School got me into Starfleet. Sure, I'm 'ground crew' now, but someday, I want to be behind the stick, either as a combat pilot or a test pilot.  So I don't know how much of those activities are cockiness exactly."

Victor smiles and takes Enyd's hand, looking to her honestly, his voice even and calm, taking on a slightly more poetic cadence. His bright blue eyes were doing their best to meet Enyd's, looking down at the petite woman. "But yes, seeing something so utterly beautiful does indeed take your breath away, and it makes you glad to be alive. Experiencing the moment you are in and knowing that some force in the Galaxy has brought you to that moment is one of the most beautiful things in the world."

Once the guide returns with the Kayaks and gives the safety briefing, he takes it silently. He was making a note of all of the different safety warnings that he had for them. He'd heard that Vulcan was dangerous, but he'd thought nothing could be worse than survival training in the Australian outback.  His lips purse and his eyes tick to the examples of the creatures and lecture details. The morning was beginning to warm reasonably quickly, and Victor was glad that he was dressed lightly again in khaki shorts and a dusty green lightweight shirt with long sleeves to protect his arm from further sunburn.  Looking to the guide and then to Enyd, he shrugs slightly. "Let's take one of the two-person kayaks. If we go down, I'd rather go down with you." His tone of voice then was polite, and matter of fact, he didn't intend any innuendo or double entendre there. Not seriously, if It was there, it was designed as a joke to get a bit of a laugh. 

The question that Enyd posed to him, though, brings a chuckle from the lanky man. "Any last words though, if I am to have any last words, with a day such as this, and with companionship such as yourself?" Victor appears to be lost in thought for a moment and thinks for a moment. His brow furrowing and his eyes were flashing with mischievous humor. When Victor speaks again, it's with a nearly deadpan tone of voice, and stolid expression, doing his best to play straight-man to give his joke the perfect delivery.  "If any last words are to be had, I can think of but one: denouement."

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #8
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen | Farruk Village | Vulcan ] Attn: @Tae

Victor’s admission to flight school fit with much of his personality as far as Enyd could discern. Though he did not carry himself with the same cocksure attitude as some of the other pilots she’d met, Victor definitely had boldness in his bones, evidenced by his taking her hand as he brought poetry back into their midst. Enyd blushed, her smile one of genuine appreciation and amusement. It seemed she had competition in Victor vanVinter on who could be more charming within the next moment. Unlike the day before with the pawing Ferengi, Enyd did not feel pressured or hurried by his affection. Gauging by his smile and gregarious mannerisms, he had no ulterior motive other than to share the moment and to punctuate his enjoyment with physical contact. Enyd returned the affection with a smile.

At his request for a double kayak, Enyd nibbled her lower lip., momentarily stepping away from the joy of the moment for an internal shakedown. Before the seemingly endless list of death awaiting them on this excursion, she’d been uninterested in sharing a vessel. Enyd found it tolerable to share the lead with others in extracurricular activities that required teamwork when she was forced to; however, she preferred if it could be avoided. That's why her sports had been gymnastics, dance, and other activities that had clear boundary lines of who did what, and death or injury resulted from crossing those responsibility boundaries. Raised as an only child, she’d never had the early years of socialization for sharing that one could fall back on when facing such a venture as sharing a kayak. Her controlling streak was one of her least favorite traits, in all honesty, and it could be good to face it down like a tiger.

It was a different sense for her studies and for her work. In that arena, Enyd was all for teamwork and compiling information gleaned from multiple sources. “You’re only as smart as the room, Enyd Isolde,” her grandmother had always felt the need to use her first and middle name when sharing pearls of wisdom or blades of truth, “so make sure you’re the dumbest in the room.” Enyd still wasn’t sure if that comment had been a pearl or a blade, but it had come in handy with keeping her ego in check with colleagues.

But here, Enyd already had images of their paddling in circles because she, and she would be the stubborn one without question, would believe her way was the correct way and Victor should conform to her efforts and not the other way around. Yet, considering the list of risks they now faced and her size compared to Victor’s, Enyd swallowed against her initial misgivings for sharing a vessel and forced a smile in response to his jest. He need not be aware of her internal issues, as in truth, they had nothing to do with him personally. She squeezed his hand and nodded; her smile turning from forced to sincere.

“Sharing a kayak may be the best course of action, I agree. Safety in numbers.”

His “last words” spoken with such absence of emotion had Enyd snorting in a most unladylike manner. She squeezed his hand again, sending him a playful glare before preceding him out to their vessel. The guide encouraged her to sit in the front, which she’d assumed would be the better option, and while she waited for Victor to settle, she picked up her paddle and studied the watery path towards the cave. It was not a terribly strong current in this part of the cove, so they had that in their favor. The wind would quickly carry them to the cave, though it would be something to fight against upon their return if it didn't change.

Some of the other tourists were already well on their way through the nearly one-hundred and twelve yard haul to the cave, their vessels bobbing in the gentle waves. Now that the guide had mentioned them, as Enyd shaded her eyes, she could see a few of the mighty birds-of-prey circling overhead, though she saw none of the poisonous lizards lurking in the water. At least not yet.

Smiling over her shoulder at Victor, Enyd held up her paddle as if it were a warrior's spear.

“You ready to conquer this adventure?”

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #9
PO3 Victor vanVinter, | Farruk Village | Vulcan] Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Victor had no idea of the narrative going on in Enyd's mind. Not a hint of the tumult and self-consciousness that she was going through. Victor had not an ounce of telepathy or empathic abilities, so he couldn't tell what was going on in her head at the moment. If he did, he wouldn't be just gently holding her hand the way Victor was, and he'd probably try to give her a comforting hug instead. So all Victor does is smile politely at his new friend and give her a reassuring squeeze of her hand. He wasn't the type to pressure anyone into anything at all. The least of all romantic companionship, there wasn't ever a need for that, or so he believed.

Victor was just happy to have the companionship that he did have right now. And he'd enjoyed the boldness of the petite and elegant woman, the way she'd taken charge for their day. It was pleasing to him. He'd instead go along with someone else's plan, especially if they knew the local area better than he did, and that was Enyd. Even if this particular town was new for the two of them, it was clear that Enyd was more comfortable with Vulcan as a whole. Still, it was a simply superb experience here today. It made his leave between duty stations significantly more enjoyable than he'd imagined. In their few hours together, Victor had undoubtedly opened up a bit more and become livelier. Some of the stings of washing out of the Academy seemed to dissipate with the enjoyable company. All in all, it was a delightfully pleasant day, one he certainly hadn't expected.

"Ready as I'll ever be, Enyd." His tone of voice light and jubilant. He was excited to see the main attraction of this, the luminescent glyphs inside the cave sounded interesting. When they get the two-person kayak, Victor lets Enyd get settled first, and that's where the trouble started. He should have been the first one to sit down, especially with his greater size. Victor had a good sense of balance from some of his flight training, and he used the paddle to keep himself balanced. Victor almost succeeds, almost. and then he loses his balance after getting all the way down into the kayak. "Oh crap!" And Victor goes spilling over with enough force to capsize the kayak. The excited utterance he'd made allowing his mouth to fill with lake water instead of shutting it to take a breath.  Thankfully though, these were technologically superior kayaks, and after a few seconds of struggling underwater, the boat rights itself, leaving a coughing and sputtering Victor. He was now soaked to the bone and sputtering water out of his mouth.

After a few seconds, Victor has the presence of mind to check on his companion. He takes a quick glance to ensure that Enyd was still there, almost sure that she would be with how they were secured into the small boat. "Are you ok, Enyd? Sorry about that. I really should have been the one to sit down first I suppose." There was a bit of concerned panic in his voice then. He was worried about Enyd right now. It wasn't an idle concern or false in any way, and he really did want to make sure that she was alright. He was prepared to follow her lead, though, but he'd assumed that Enyd would wish to continue their little trip. "I'm ready when you are Enyd, and I think I'm relatively stable now." Victor did seem to be more stable though, now that he was full down in the boat, and was secured into it, he'd resolved to keep his center of gravity as low as possible. Sure, he'd need help getting out of the kayak, but that was for in the future. His tone of voice carrying some concern in it. He just wanted to make sure that Enyd was ok, and that they could continue. Victor really did enjoy the seemingly carefree nature of Enyd, and he didn't want to see that attitude of hers drowned, even if they had both been dunked in the water momentarily.

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #10
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen | Farruk Village | Vulcan ] Attn: @Tae

Enyd had always been a quick learner and a quick observer. Over the years, her grandmother would brag about the “premonition gene” that ran in the family blood. It supposedly had kept members of their family safe when in dire straits. In a conversation Enyd preferred not to remember, she’d challenged her grandmother on the existence of that supposed gene. Not one but both of her parents had died in the line of duty for Starfleet Intelligence, so apparently, the gene “skipped” generations. That horrid conversation aside, Enyd felt a prickling sense of…something when Victor began to settle himself into the vessel, and it left her wondering if perhaps her grandmother hadn’t been so wrong after all. That could be the only explanation for why she gripped the paddle tighter against her chest and held her breath even before Victor’s momentum carried them beneath the water’s surface, then had them bobbing back upright again.

Enyd’s hair plastered to her skin, and she let go over her paddle with one hand just long enough to wipe the rivulets of water from her face and push the remaining through her hair to its ends. It had been years since she’d been in a vessel like this, but, thankfully, her prior experience had prepared her for this distinct possibility. This experience brought memories of similar experiences with friends back on Earth, and for a moment she was struck with a bittersweet sense of longing. Enyd knew she would see them all again, perhaps go home before heading off to Starfleet--if they accepted her that was—and when she did, she might take Victor along with her. Only she'd partner him with Joe Bloom, a man the same height but twice the weight as Victor. Of course, that would be devious, but she couldn't help but delight at the concept. Enyd felt laughter tighten her throat but, not yet knowing how Victor was handling the accident, Enyd kept a tight rein on the sound until she could be sure it wouldn’t be misunderstood.

Hearing Victor’s sputtering behind her, she looked over her shoulder to study him. He was just as drenched as she, though it appeared he’d been less prepared for their brief interlude beneath the surface. His concern-laced question and tenacious sense of continuing the adventure allowed Enyd to loosen her hold on her laughter at least. She breathed out a few giggles and shook her head. Then, smiling, Enyd responded once he was fully secure in the boat, her voice just as light as ever.

“At least we can’t complain of getting overheated as the suns are rising higher,” she used her paddle to push away from the dock and ready them on their course. “That little dunk was most refreshing. Kind of you to think of me.” She flipped the heavy weight of her soaked ponytail over her shoulder long enough to shoot Victor a wink. “Let’s go, flyboy. I thought the lot of you were supposed to have an innate competitive streak. If so,” she used her paddle to point towards the increasing distance between themselves and the rest of the tourists, “we need to haul our rears to catch up or beat them at this rate. You up for it?”

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #11
PO3 Victor vanVinter, | Farruk Village | Vulcan] Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Victor sighed heavily after recovering from the capsizing of the kayak, and he takes a moment to wipe some of the lake water out of the eyes. It was embarrassing, but it could have been worse. He didn't fall out, so that was good. Ta the very least, Enyd seemed good-natured about it. A stab of embarrassment washed through him regardless. Here he was out on something close to a date for the first time in years. It felt like, hell, it probably had been years since the last time he did anything even remotely close to this.  Sure, Victor had done various sports on a holodeck, but nothing quite like this. He hadn't ever done any sport that required the coordination that kayaking required.

"Sorry about that Enyd, I should have been the first one in, I guess." A small smile comes to Victor then, happy to hear the way that Enyd was looking at their little bath as a way to stay cool. The smile on his features turning into a full grin. "I suppose that is true, and it'll keep us cool until we dry out at the least."  He'd already started rowing when Enyd gives her exhortation to catch up with everyone else. Taking a  glance around, Victor notes the position they're in and doubles his efforts. His arms and shoulders were working side to side with the rowing motion for the kayak paddle. He wasn't the best at this by any means, but he roughly knew how a paddle worked, though the sound of splashing is near-constant with the paddle not slicing neatly into the water.  The clam beauty of the lake and the cruise broken by the exuberance and energy of victor flailing about. "Come on, Enyd, help me out here!" His tone of voice bright and cheery as they start to make even the tiniest bit of headway.

So here Victor was, on what could reasonably be considered a date, with the boldest woman he'd encountered in forever. Hell, it was quite possibly the most outgoing person he'd ever met. And here Victor was, flailing about on a lake on Vulcan, a place that generally spoke of tranquility, peace, and order. The juxtaposition of his behavior, Enyd's exuberance, and the generally perceived serenity of Vulcan were not lost on him, and it intensely amused him, to the point where he started laughing loudly. The deep peals of laughter echoing off of the cliff walls. The sheer unbridled emotion was likely attracting some attention. After regaining composure and finding a more efficient stroke with the paddles, Victor takes a moment to explain. "Thank you Enyd, and this has been the most fantastic experience I've had in months, maybe years. I can't remember the last time that I've had so much fun on a..." Victor pauses then, not sure if he could actually say the word, but he manages it in a calm tone of voice. "Had so much fun on a date." And there it was, some words that he'd never have thought he'd say in such a long time.

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #12
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen | Farruk Village | Vulcan ] Attn: @Tae

Victor’s recovery and subsequent enthusiastic efforts at paddling had Enyd laughing with near the same abandon as her friend. She didn’t need to ask if he’d done sports like this before, his fervent efforts proved the lack, but Enyd found such pleasure in the moment, although there was no way on Vulcan they’d catch up with the others, she couldn’t bring herself to care. The sputtering sounds of excitement she heard behind her made it difficult to paddle in seriousness, but after a few seconds, she sobered enough to give it her best effort.

Enyd laughed in response to Victor’s mirth. “I wouldn’t share accolades of complete enjoyment just yet, Mister vanVinter. We aren’t even remotely close to being done with this adventure.”

Within a matter of moments, they were just shy of the entrance to the cave. She’d heard the term “mouth of a cave” over the years and had even used the term herself a time or two. It shouldn’t have surprised Enyd just how true that statement rang now with this cave entrance, watching the vessels in front of them passing from light into dark as if the rock face was drinking them down its gullet with every lapping wave.

Enyd furrowed her brow in thought when Victor confessed his enjoyment of their “date.” realizing that yes, for most, this would seem like a date, whereas her entire motive had always been friendly, and friendly only. Her concept of dates required a weaving together of the friendly with the romantic, but that was her concept. It seemed Victor had a different definition, and there was no threat in that. She trusted that if he wanted to pursue more than friendship from her after this outing, he’d make his intentions clear.

That’s what Enyd had always relied on with relationships of any kind: direct indication of motive and desired result. Without that, Enyd rarely pressed for more than was offered or expected more than she was given. In fact, she could count on one hand the number of times she’d pressed for more than what was being offered, and in each of those times, she’d been rejected. So perhaps this contentment with surface-level acceptance of the status quo was not from a place of emotional intelligence but one of cowardice. She would have to explore that concept more later when their “date” was over.

The front of the vessel passed into the darkness of the cave. Enyd was quick to shift her grip on the paddle long enough to flip on the blue lantern at the prow. The guide had underestimated just how reliant they would be on the lantern when first moving into the pitch black of the cave. The contrast from where they’d been to where they were going was startling. The further they paddled into the darkness, the more push and pull she felt against the vessel. Then even in the darkness, Enyd could feel a press from the cave walls, just as she could more readily hear the surge of the waves as they jarred against the rock. This was what the guide had failed to describe, this ridiculously narrow watery passage immediately after entering the dark area of the cave, and why the lantern was so necessary for literal survival. In the small arc of light their lantern cast, she could see what looked to be hexagonal columns jutting up from the water on either side of the liquid path and carrying on to the still towering ceiling. While it was beautiful, it was also dangerous.

There was an art to paddling in waves like these to avoid a collision with the walls, and whether or not Victor liked taking orders from a woman, she was about to give them.

“When the waves crest, lean forward as far as you can and plant your next paddle stroke deep into the back of the wave. It has to be a consistent rhythm that can anchor us for when the wave tries to throw us back. And don’t try to accelerate on the face of the wave, or we’ll be smashed against the wall.” Enyd began to yell over the ruckus the waves were making in the cave's echo, “Don’t raise your paddle over your head no matter what happens; you’re more likely to lose it. But don’t let the shaft get close to your face, or you’ll break your nose!”

She felt more than saw a wave building behind them, and before Enyd could give more instructions, the wave picked them up and unexpectedly dipped the prow beneath the surface in the waiting trough, forcing them into a pearl dive.

“LEAN BACK!” She yelled to Victor. Seconds felt like hours, but when the vessel didn’t do a wet loop end over end, Enyd assumed Victor had complied. “Stern brace, Victor!” The wall was coming up faster than she’d like, as the waves continued to carry them further into the cave. “I’ll paddle, you stern brace!”

Regardless of their efforts, their kayak was sharply jerked parallel to the current, with the silhouette of the next wave already showing itself against the backdrop of the cave entrance. In any other situation, with a less volatile current, the deep blue of the waters mixed with the streaming light of the distant entrance would’ve been mesmerizing. As it was, however, Enyd stretched out her paddle toward the coming wave to place the flat on top of the wave for added support, yelling for Victor to do the same. They did not have enough time to turn themselves before it hit.

Somehow making it through the wave without capsizing, Enyd worked with Victor to bring them back perpendicular to the waves. Then, employing the consistent rhythm necessary, they made to the end of the passageway, only to realize it would take some quick and skillful paddling to make an abrupt turn into the next area of the cave. Biting her lower lip, Enyd called out to Victor, trying to encourage him in his efforts as they worked to make the turn.

It was inevitable that they would capsize again. Enyd had known it would happen. When the culprit wave hit them, and she felt the vessel tip, she leaned in the same direction as the wave, hoping they could continue the roll, then come upright again as easily as they had at the dock. The problem in that hope lay when the vessel's prow struck one of the stone columns, stopping their momentum, leaving them stranded beneath the surface. Experiential instincts kicked in, and Enyd kicked out of the kayak as soon as she realized the roll had stopped. Breaking the surface of the still choppy waters, she kicked with her legs to grab the kayak, slide her paddle into her seat, push the kayak back upright again.

“Victor,” Enyd shook her head, not bothering to kick back into the kayak just yet and so remained in the water holding onto its side, “you okay?”

Somewhere in the chaos of their flip, they’d drifted around the required turn and now floated in a calmer, wider area of the cave. It took a few more coughing moments of composure before Enyd realized the turquoise light she was using to look over to Victor was not from their now ruined lantern but from the bioluminescent lights embedded in the cave’s ceiling. Tipping her head back until she floated on her back, still with a steadying hand on the side of the vessel, Enyd couldn’t stop the grin from forming even if she’d been ordered to. It was as if a bioluminescent mirror of the water in which she floated was spread against the ceiling, rippling over the uneven rock surface, traveling deeper into the cave.

“Would you look at that?” Her voice sounded strange now, with her ears below the water’s surface. Studying the lights longer, Enyd let out a gasp of delight. “They’re like glow worms!” Enyd jerked upright in the water and quickly surged back up and dropped into her seat. “See?” She pointed to the faint movements of the lights above them. “They’re moving!”

Looking back to Victor, thoroughly waterlogged but thrilled with the outing so far, Enyd kept her smile. “They must’ve used either the fish scales or these glow worms to make the paintings.” She picked up her paddle from where she’d tucked it into her seat after helping to get the vessel upright again. “Shall we venture further to see them?”

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #13
PO3 Victor vanVinter, | Farruk Village | Vulcan] Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Victor couldn't help but smirk when he receives the good-natured chiding from Enyd. He rolls his eyes but keeps to the more even strokes of the paddle. "Miss Madsen, I would likely have fun with you until the point of either of receiving bodily injury worse than a papercut." There was still a cheerful tone to his voice then, and he clearly meant the sentiment.

Passing through the maw of the cave did give him a slight amount of pause. The deep dark dampness that seemed to emanate from the cavern gave him a sense of dread. While Victor wasn't particularly claustrophobic, he made sure to be careful with the navigation, doing his best to keep the small boat from running into the sides of the cave. Paying attention to the navigation didn't wholly detract from his attention to their conversation, and he made a note of Enyd not responding to calling this day a 'date.' That helped. It probably meant that this was precisely what it seemed, doing touristy things with someone friendly. On the bright side, it saved on an awkward conversation at the end of the events. Or maybe it would make an awkward conversation. Victor wasn't sure he'd find out later, but he was confident that Enyd would be polite.

The darkness of the cave wasn't exactly surprising though, it was a cave, but he'd at least expected some low-level safety lighting at the very least. But Nope, just the lantern that they had. He blinks, and his eyes adjust slowly to the darkness. Victor slows the pace of his strokes in an attempt to be a little safer in the dark.  He took Enyd's advice without question his companion did this before. "You have experience with kayaking, don't you?" He paddled frantically, trying to keep the small boat from capsizing again, and in the dark, he seriously wanted to avoid that.

His arms and shoulders were beginning to burn with the effort. His breathing was getting heavy as they keep up the pace, and then it happens. Victor didn't even notice the wave that Enyd had seen coming, and he had bent the wrong way leading to the inevitable result. The kayak tips over, and Victor hopes it would right itself again. Victor hadn't even seen what had caused it, he wasn't used to such lousy lighting, and he wasn't the best at being able to see in the dark like this. When it doesn't, he hits the safety strap across his lap and falls out of the upside-down boat.

The tall man reaches up and pulls his arms up onto the hull of the boat. He saw Enyd next to him, but she was lit from above, that was strange. And then he looks up to the cavern ceiling, and his eyes go wide. Seeing the organic glyphs that had to be living on the walls filled him with an absolute sense of awe. He'd never seen something so unique or beautiful in all of his days. Victor's jaw gapes and hangs open for a long moment, not sure what he could say, the breath taken from him wholly and utterly. He'd never done much caving, so he didn't know how common or uncommon such things were, and it didn't even matter. The beauty of the luminescent glyphs and lighting, the subtle lapping of the waves, it was gorgeous, impossibly so. Victor looks over to Enyd with awe in his eyes and breath nearly caught in his throat. "You keep showing me such beautiful things miss Madsen. Thank you kindly for showing me all of this. I just do not have the words."

at the suggestion that Eynd gave about venturing further in, he slaps the kayak and rolls his eyes, his voice taking on a slightly less than cheerful but still amused tone into his voice. "Miss Madsen, I've tipped us over twice. Your willingness and desire to continue the adventuring with me speaks to someone that wishes to experience chaos and dampness. I hate to be all wet over this but..." She shrugs and pulls himself back up into the kayak then, doing it quickly to prevent the boat from tipping over again hopefully. Victor managed to get into the kayak without any problems, but he doesn't move to keep paddling anywhere. "I was hoping we could speak for a moment actually if you care for a spare minute or two so that we can catch our breath a bit." 

 Victor pauses before continuing, and he speaks in a calm and pleasant tone of voice instead of the usually cheerful tones. "About this being a date, miss Madsen, I apologize for the presumption, and if that isn't how you intended it, I want you to know that it is perfectly fine with me. The kayaking and cave tour has been an enjoyable day, and you are delightful company. I would like to continue further correspondence with you after leaving, and I would wish that we could be good long-term friends. We seem to enjoy some similar things, and I enjoy how bold you are, Miss Madsen." Victor goes silent then and pauses, looking at Enyd, Victor was wearing an honest expression, and he truly meant the words that he had just shared with his companion for the day. He holds a breath for a moment, not quite sure if he'd missed the mark or what the reaction would be.

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #14
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen | Farruk Village | Vulcan ] Attn: @Tae

Enyd laughs, not at Victor’s sincerity but at the apparent desire to catch his breath. Her grandmother had always warned Enyd of her fate of spinsterhood, since it seemed there was no man on Earth, and perhaps no man in the galaxy, who could keep up with her. Enyd quickly sobered, however, when she recognized she hadn’t given Victor context for her laugh. Awkward because of the angle the seat rendered the move, Enyd reached back and flailed around with her hand until she could find his knee and lightly patted it.

“You do not need to worry about the chaos, Victor. In case you haven’t already noticed, I tend to be a magnet for it.” Enyd used their cessation of activities as an opportunity to wring water out of her hair. “My grandmother said I should come with a warning label.”

When Victor continued going back to the topic of labels, this time for their outing, Enyd smiled. He really was a gentleman. Pulling a habit from her grandmother, Enyd waved away his concerns with a hand and a low-pitched, breathy whistle.

“You could call this a circus, Victor, and I wouldn’t mind. I have not felt threatened by you, nor have I felt put upon by you. If you consider this a date, then it is a date. If you do not consider it a date, then it is not. I’ve a habit of letting others take the lead on labeling things in relationships. Not that I always agreed with the labels, but in taking a step back and letting others choose to set a name to it, it reveals quite a bit about the person. About their motives.” Enyd’s voice took on a distant quality as she continued, only half her attention on what she was saying to her friend. “I’m enjoying this as well, and I too hope we can continue the friendship through correspondence once you leave Vulcan.”

Just off the starboard quarter, she spied a strange rippling. Because of the waves at the not-so-distant corner they’d rounded, the water was far from placid, yet there had been consistency in its movements. At least until this moment, and only in that area. “Victor, I am not trying to alarm you, but I don’t think we are alone in this chamber.” The rippling continued, accompanied by swirling undulations that typically occurred when something heavy and large moved just beneath the surface. “Maybe we should keep paddling? Nice and easy, that is.”

Enyd nodded to her companion before facing forward again. Gripping her paddle, she tentatively lowered it into the water and gave a steady stroke. No issue. She repeated the gesture once more, twice more, and she heard Victor mirror her efforts behind her. Their vessel angled down the glow-worm-lit corridor, they continued on a calm course, and Enyd mentally unclenched her fist from around her heart. But then, on the back end of the sixth stroke, Enyd felt her paddle hit something. Immediately, she jerked her paddle out of the water. Maybe it had been a rock. On the next inhale of breath, she lowered her paddle into the water.

It was seized. Ripped from her grip. Enyd let out a cry of alarm as whatever it was beneath the surface pulled her paddle with it further in the murky depths. Seconds later, she felt rumbling vibrations strike the vessel's bottom as a strange hum filled the chamber. It was as if something monstrous had begun to growl at them from directly beneath, the resonance of its watery roar shaking them. The quickest way out of this chamber was forward. From the bioluminescent light, Enyd could tell the water depth grew more shallow once they passed into the narrower tunnel up ahead.

“Paddle. Hard.” Enyd barked at Victor over her shoulder.

She hated not having her paddle anymore as it left all their survival chances up to Victor. Not that she doubted his desire to live and survive or to help her live as well, but if they’d both been rightfully armed with paddles still, well, the probability she hadn’t wanted to be quoted to her by the guide would be higher.

This was supposed to have been a relaxing outing, but leave it to the Vulcans to downplay the mortality threats visitors risked when taking part in this said outing. They were so very good at understatement. It made Enyd wonder how many skeletons were still being picked clean, lining the watery bed beneath. If they survived this, and Enyd was going to think positive and assume they would, she would make it a habit to do more research on survival rates of Vulcan expeditions for off-worlders.

The vibrations grew in frequency at the same rate as the growling hum increased in volume, giving off the sensation that whatever the hell it was beneath them was getting closer.

“Let's GO!” Enyd cried out as she leaned forward and cupped her hands, willing to risk them if it meant getting away faster.

She felt like a frantic dog paddling for its life, but it was the best she could do without a paddle of her own. Enyd just hoped Victor was paying more attention to paddling as if his life depended on it than to what must’ve been a ridiculous sight: her desperately paddling on both sides of the vessel, not caring as the water splashed into her face or on the boat around her. The poor man was probably going to rethink his labels once they made it through this outing.

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #15
PO3 Victor vanVinter, | Farruk Village | Vulcan] Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Victor certainly had a look of confusion on his face about Enyd's laughter, and then she explains, which gets him laughing and shaking his head. The sound full of echoing mirth that did hold some real joy behind it.  The patting of his knee, though, well, that just had to be addressed. At least, it had to be discussed in what was quickly becoming apparent as his dry blend of humor regarding people and perceptions, though a devil's glint shone in his eyes.

"It's fine, and she's right, you know. It's always the short spunky ones that are harbingers of the end times. When the universe is destroyed, it will be by someone barely a centimeter tall."

Enyd's comment about calling the time together a circus was amusing and deserving of a response. Victor had his mouth open and was prepared to respond. Still, at Enyd's urging, he begins paddling again, a steady yet noisy mildly splashing stroke that was absolutely not called for, that is, if they wanted to avoid attention. As they maneuver the small boat through the corridor, they'd come in through, and the ship gets unexpectedly rocked. Victor jerks forward uncontrollably, impacting his nose on the rear of Enyd's head. The sharp sound of the snapping of bone and cartilage can be heard as his nose breaks on Enyd's skull, and Victor jerks back, nearly dropping his paddle. Managing to hold onto it only by the sheerest of luck, Victor doubles his efforts, the paddle smacking the water and splashing everywhere, blood running freely from his nose. 

Victor was indeed a chaotic, frantic mess right now, Enyd screaming and exhortations urging him to move faster, and when he feels something strange. There was a greasy burning feeling on his thighs that quickly went numb in an icy sensation, almost as if he'd been administered an anesthetic. Looking down, the skinny man sees what looked like spines.  The centimeter-long spines had a bulbous sac at the end sticking out of the center of the numb patch on his leg. Clearly, he'd just been attacked by something and didn't have any idea just what it was. As they come into daylight, the burning feeling moves to his left leg now, and Victor sees it, something he couldn't begin to describe. A strange creature about half the kayak's size, with a dense muscular body with fins, arranged radially around it and at the back of what had to be a tail, and what looked like seven tentacles arranged radially around a toothed mouth. Pale globular eyes and a pale glowing flesh round out the horrible shape of this creature.  Victor screams a scream of the unknowing and fear as he takes to bashing the beast with the paddle instead of going anywhere. More of its tentacles latch onto his leg, and the burning icy sensation spreads down the length of its leg wherever the creature touches him.

Victor began to feel sluggish and faint as whatever poison this creature uses manages to have some sort of reaction with his non-Vulcan biology.  Victor's vision starts to swim and go spotty, though if that was lightheadedness from the blood loss of the nosebleed or the venom from this creature, he couldn't be sure. What he was sure of next was the queasy vomiting that overtakes him as he begins to retch over the side of the kayak violently. They'd made it out of the cave, and where they'd launched from was in sight, but there was no hope for Victor being able to paddle there. The paddle in his hands falls free but was still attached to his wrist by a lanyard, so it wouldn't go floating off.

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #16
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen | Farruk Village | Vulcan ] Attn: @Tae

Enyd felt the crack of Victor’s face against her head.  Grimacing, she yelped in surprise and pain. If the impact was this painful for her, she could only imagine the agony he was going through. She kept paddling, unaware of the chaos erupting behind her. But then Enyd heard him scream and felt the boat jerk. Twisting in her seat, Enyd gasped when she caught sight of the creature they’d been trying to outrun wrapping stinging tentacles around Victor’s leg. Despite his obvious pain, Victor was giving a valiant fight against the fiend, bashing at it with the paddle. But whatever was in the creature's venomous sting was quickly taking effect, and Victor’s movements became more listless, his body jerking when he retched over the side of the kayak.

The earlier momentum of their frantic paddling combined with the natural wave patterns had carried them back to the entrance of the cave. But with Victor slumping in his seat, and the paddle falling free and floating in the water beside the kayak, it was apparent that he would be no further help in getting them away from the cave. Enyd shifted in her seat to kneel, leaning back to check on Victor. In her movements, Enyd noticed one good thing, the creature apparently didn’t like the sunlight and had of its own accord let go of Victor and retreated into the murky depths of the cave. However, Victor was still victim to it’s poison and looked ghastly.

“Victor,” Enyd couldn’t climb all the way back to his seat without tipping the kayak over, “are you still with me?” Enyd looked back towards the dock. There were no Vulcans milling about within sight and with the cries of the birds of prey overhead as they hunted, it was unlikely anyone could distinguish her call for help over the din they made. “Victor, don’t pass out. Tell me what you want to do next, eh? Talk to me about what else you plan on doing before heading back to your duties.”

Enyd leaned forward, her fingers stretching out for the wristband of his paddle lanyard. It was difficult work balancing on the kayak as they bobbed in the waves. But she just about had it when a wave knocked her off balance and tipped her into the water. Instinctively opening her eyes underwater, Enyd shivered with fear when she saw the outline of the creature hovering just inside the cave’s entrance. She felt its eyes on her and the malevolent intent emanating from it. She had every sense that if a cloud covered either of the suns overhead, it would venture further into the open to continue its hunt. Sputtering when she kicked to the surface, Enyd was thankful to see that the kayak hadn’t tipped as well and Victor was still safely in the boat. She ducked under the kayak and surfaced on the same side as the floating paddle.

“Keep talking, Victor,” grasping the side of the kayak, she raised herself enough to peer over the edge to catch a better look at his injury. Small spines with what looked to be venomous sacks on the end stuck out in patches on his skin on both his legs. Uncertain if these spines were barbed like a porcupine, she left them in and instead focused on pulling the wristband off Victor. “I’m going to get us back to the dock now.”

"Keep talking, Victor," grasping the side of the kayak, she raised herself enough to peer over the edge to catch a better look at his injury. Small spines with what looked to be venomous sacks on the end stuck out in patches on his skin on both his legs. Uncertain if these spines were barbed like a porcupine, she left them in and instead focused on pulling the wristband off Victor. "I'm going to get us back to the dock now."

She kicked forward, tossed the paddle into the kayak, then worked at hoisting herself out of the water without tilting the kayak over completely. She felt her muscles burning from exertion and adrenaline, but now was no time to slow down. She did not know what sort of venom that creature had or how it was interacting with Victor's system. He wasn't Vulcan, and was a hybrid like her, so undoubtedly he would react differently than even Vulcans. Possibly with less severity, or perhaps more. Regardless, Enyd knew that time was of the essence.

Kneeling back in her seat to allow a greater ranger of motion, Enyd sliced through the water with the paddle as rapidly and deeply as her body would allow. Just how in the hell did Vulcans survive their own tourism industry? And would it not be far more logical to give greater warnings to tourists before letting them wander into certain death? Enyd frowned. Most likely whatever creature they’d encountered was not a regular enough siting to have merited warning. It would be illogical to warn tourists of every single possible danger.

"I owe you a drink after this, Victor. A massage. Dinner. A book." Gasping against her fatigue, Enyd maintained her focus on her goal: the bobbing dock of the floating town. "Whatever you want, I owe it to you. Just please don't die on me. Not on vacation."

Astonishingly, they made it to the dock without an asteroid falling on top of them—and it would not have surprised Enyd at this point if that had happened. Enyd used the wristband of the paddle to hook around one of the poles of the dock, pulling them close enough to grab hold of the dock planks with her hands. Her arms were shaking from exhaustion, the salt of her sweat crusting on her skin. Haltingly, Enyd hoisted herself up and out of the boat. With no time to catch her breath like her body demanded, Enyd twisted and used the paddle again to stab into her old seat to keep the current from pulling the boat away from the dock. Bowing her head and closing her eyes, Enyd sucked in a deep breath to still her pounding heart. Paddling quickly through the waves on her own had been a challenge after so many years of not doing a thing with boating.

“Almost there, Victor.” She gasped out, raising her head to study him. He looked terribly ill still and there was no telling if what was happening to him was potentially fatal or not.

Enyd looked around the dock and inwardly cursed. At the far end, closest to the town itself, she could see a group of about five Vulcan children mending a net. But aside from them, there were no others.

Kef,” Enyd yelled, trying her hand at every word she knew remotely related to emergency or help, “Kef-yet,” her voice was hoarse from dehydration but keeping her grip on the paddle that was the only thing keeping Victor and the kayak from floating away, Enyd held herself higher and yelled louder, “Kefik!”

She wasn’t certain which of the terms got their attention or had them moving with some expediency towards their location, but Enyd was thankful when the eldest of the group drew close, took in the situation and, without asking, grabbed the rope used to secure boats and worked with another boy to secure the kayak. As soon as the boat was secured, Enyd set aside the paddle and rose to her knees. She worked with two of the other children to haul Victor out of the boat. After nearly falling into the water in their efforts, Victor was not a small man after all, they ended up needing all five children plus Enyd to get him out. With Enyd pulling towards herself, once his bulk popped out of the seat, Victor fell atop her body and pinned her to the deck, his back draped over her chest.

The children were quick to lean forward and grab Victor by his shoulders and legs, hoisting him off Enyd. Again, without asking, they began the trek back towards the town. Enyd rose to her feet and hurried to walk beside them. If it were any other situation, the view before Enyd would be amusing: five Vulcan children struggling to work together to cart the lanky form of Victor between them. One of his arms flapped about freely in the air, and Enyd reached out to take hold of it, quickening her steps to keep up with the children’s pace.

“We’re going to get help now, Victor.” She squeezed the hand she held between hers. “Just a little longer.”

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #17
PO3 Victor vanVinter, | Farruk Village | Vulcan] Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Victor was not doing well after the attack from the creature, and he was barely on the edge of consciousness. The world was swimming for him right now, a kaleidoscopic array of shapes and colors, none of which made any sense to the man. If Victor was more experienced with psychedelic drugs, he'd recognize what he was experiencing as a 'good' trip. There was a softness and warmth to the world that made Victor feel as if he was trapped inside of a toasted marshmallow. Victor felt simultaneously slow and fast, as if he was moving slowly but almost as if his senses were accelerated. There was a radiance that suffused every living thing, a gently pulsing glow that had a tactile warmth to him, the feeling of 'love' as he thought of it. By comparison, the light from the stars and electrical sources had a bitter chaotic feel to him; there was something different about the feeling of what was the 'aura' of the living.

Outwardly, the vomiting and twitching had stopped, and a disturbing smile fixes itself on his face, a smile that was placed there by sheer chemical bliss and hallucinations.  Though his heart still had a highly irregular beat and he'd begun to sweat profusely, there was no doubt that victor still needed medical attention though it was clear that the toxin of the Vulcan creature had unusual side effects with his 'alien' bio-chemistry. Even though Victor had no idea what was going on, he was infinitely grateful for Enyd, or he would be once he was lucid again.

Enyd, was that her? no, there was no way that was Enyd, the softly glowing radiance that was coming from her, the light pouring from her eyes and mouth, the way that light made music that he could feel in his bones. How could it be anyone else? It had to be someone else though, a Valkyrie from ancient mythology come to carry him to the afterlife. And then victor's world went black as consciousness slips from his grasp. He almost hated to lose it, the world where things glowed and sang to him, though with the silence of the drugged sleep his mind was thankful for the lack of stimulation. In a very real sense, it may have been the sensory overload that knocked him out.

ShiKahr District Medical Center | Xeno-medicine ward | Many hours later

Victor awoke with a jerk, and a cough, the pain in his head hitting him before anything else, that alone nearly knocking him back out. The toxins injected from the creature's spines had been flushed from his system, but he still had the side effects to deal with. Then the stark lighting and decor of the hospital assault him, the clean, smooth lines that made it impossible to gauge distance or size from his position in the bed.

Blinking to clear his eyes then, he finally speaks in a hoarse tone of voice. "I'm still trapped in that damn marshmallow but it's too bright." That would have made no sense to anyone listening. The lights in the room were currently dimmed to allow him to rest. But with as overcharged as his mind had been, and now with the recovery, things just wouldn't feel right, not for several hours, or perhaps days.

Victor didn't know if he was alone or if there was anyone else in the room. He looks around, seeing only the gauzy privacy screen around his bed that looked like it was being hung from a rack on the ceiling. That was why he couldn't judge distance or the shape of anything. The screen must have a holographic effect to be relaxing, and it was in practice soothing to some degree. Victor takes a deep breath as he tries to remember what happened, but all he remembered was being in the arms of the Valkyrie when he thought he was dying. 

He speaks in a slow, unsteady voice Victor speaks in reverent and unsurprised tones. "Only a Valkyrie could cause so much chaos. Was I found worthy I wonder?"

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #18
[ Enyd Isolde Madsen | Farruk Village | Vulcan ] Attn: @Tae

As they drew closer to the town's entrance, the smallest of the children let go of Victor's ankle and ran on ahead. It thunked to the dock and was dragged a few paces before Enyd could readjust her own position to grab hold of it. Enyd was surprised the child ran at all. Though she knew from personal experience that Vulcans were just as capable of physical activities as the next human, far superior in so many ways, she also knew they did not run needlessly. It was touching to see that the child was willing to exert such energy for two strange aliens.

"Syvn tells me you are in need of emergency assistance. I am Vesc." An older Vulcan male met them on the dock just outside the entrance. Vesc took one look at Victor's leg and surprised Enyd when his whole body shuddered as his eyes closed. He spoke rapidly to the smallest child in the local dialect, pointing towards the sea cave before he gestured for Enyd and the others to follow him. Though it was apparent the children were tired, they were not about to let go, especially not now that an elder was giving them instruction. They wove through the first few winding pathways until they came to another dock area, this one specifically for flying vehicles.

"That cave is p'laaka," Vesc spoke in standard Federation for Enyd's benefit, but she didn't personally know the adjective he used. It could be translated unlucky or chaotic, but she wasn't sure which was best for this instance. "The beast comes and goes, as is his interest. Yet, the attacks have increased," he looked over his shoulder to Victor, "and always he attacks offworlders. He is the klashausu to our ancient's presence in the cave."

It was not the norm for a Vulcan to quote superstition, yet Enyd wasn't surprised that Vesc had come to this conclusion. If what he said was true, at least in that the attacks had increased and only ever against non-Vulcans, then she could understand how deductive reasoning would bring one to his conclusion. She wondered if others in this village felt the same. And if so, why had they not petition the Vulcan government to shut down the tourism into the cave? Vulcans were not so interested in profit as Ferengi to illogically expose tourists to danger. Perhaps it would take a petition of some sort, filed by an offworlder, to secure the cessation of activities that were becoming increasingly dangerous.

Vesc stopped just outside a personal shuttlecraft and reached for Victor. Two of the Vulcan children stepped back as he took over for their portion. Vesc gave further instructions to the two, then nodded with his head towards the craft to indicate the next step they were to take.

"T’lal and Nefir will ask the owner of this craft, Suryk, to come. He the most skilled pilot in our village and will take you to the medical center in ShiKahr. It is the most suitable for an offworlder. The medical personnel there have treated others like your companion.” 

Enyd spoke for the first time since Vesc had stepped forward to help, “The others like my companion, they made a full recovery?”

Vesc remained silent at first, and Enyd inwardly cursed. That didn’t bode well at all.

“I do not know the fate of all those who have been attacked. They have all been offworlders though not all the same species. I believe it is the same as any toxin, dependent upon the victim’s natural immunity and system.” He looked back to Victor as the children and Enyd passed the last of his limbs through the craft’s door for Vesc to situate more comfortably. “I have not known a Bajoran to be attacked. I believe he is the first.”

Enyd chewed on her lower lip. She felt she knew Victor well enough to know he probably liked being the first in some things, but most likely, even he would prefer not to have that fame in this instance.

The children returned with the pilot then, and Enyd quickly crawled into the craft alongside Victor. Its max occupants was four, but Victor being as long and lanky as he was, unconscious as well, took up two seats, and Enyd ended up having to ride with his head in her lap to keep it from rolling around and knocking against the interior walls of the vessel. Before Suryk could take off, Enyd quickly turned in her seat and flashed Vesc and the others the traditional Vulcan hand symbol.

Itar-bosh, osu.” Enyd bowed her head as she thanked them formally. Vesc and the children nodded in return, each holding up their hands in farewell.

[ShiKahr District Medical Center | Xeno-medicine ward | Sometime later]

Suryk had indeed lived up to Vesc claim as the fastest pilot. Perhaps he’d been the one to cart the other unfortunate souls attacked by the Guardian. Either way, Enyd was grateful. Medical personnel was waiting for them on the landing pad when they arrived at the ShiKahr District Medical Center, and after Suryk explained in the native tongue what had happened, they didn’t waste time with traditional transportation methods. They directly beamed to the necessary room for treatment and left Enyd on the pad to find her way independently.

It was a bit awkward registering him with the facility, and it took far longer than necessary. The Trill nurse of the xeno-medicine ward who walked Enyd through the registration process had been less than subtle in her assumption that Victor was Enyd’s romantic partner. Then, when a representative from Starfleet came by to get the whole story regarding Victor’s injuries, again Enyd heard the same assumption in the human’s tone of voice. She also saw more than a little surprise in the man’s expression when he realized just how little Enyd knew about Victor, considering they’d met but the night before. He then made her retell the entirety of the story, including the previous night’s adventure, as if he’d somehow doubted it.

In all, discussing the event with the Starfleet officer took close to an hour by itself. Enyd knew her grandmother was going to heave a sigh loud enough to awaken the dead once Enyd told her the story as well, and so was uninterested in staring into the face of judgment from the Starfleet officer. Yet they were both stuck in the same waiting lounge until news came from the medical personnel treating Victor nearly an hour later. By this time, the adrenaline from the previous chaos had worn off, and Enyd felt crusty from the dried salt coating her skin and clothing, sore and tired, and terribly dehydrated. She realized only after staring at the Starfleet officer’s boots for nearly an hour that she had had nothing to drink since before they’d started their kayaking journey. No wonder her own head was pounding with a headache. She wasn’t about to leave to find something to drink, though, not when it had been difficult enough to remain in the waiting room when the Starfleet officer and medical personnel had suggested, near insisted, that she leave.

Because Enyd wasn’t family, wasn’t a romantic partner, and was virtually a stranger though she personally claimed friendship, it was damned difficult to get permission to see Victor from his Bajoran doctor when both she and the Starfleet officer were informed of his stability sometime later. Eventually, an agreement was made, and the Starfleet officer went in first. When he came out a few moments later, he surprised Enyd with his smile.

“Are you the Valkyrie?” His question left Enyd confused, as did his sudden cordiality. The officer jerked a thumb over his shoulder. “He’s awake now.”

Enyd continued to eye the officer in confusion as she moved around him to enter Victor’s recovery room. They hid his bed behind a privacy screen, but Enyd found the crack in the material easily enough and slipped through it to stand by Victor’s bed.

“Hey Victor,” she reached out and touched the back of his hand, “how’re you feeling, buddy? We’re in the xeno-ward of the ShiKahr medical facility. The doctors say you’re going to be okay.” She wasn’t sure if the Starfleet officer had spoken to Victor before her and so remained quiet regarding his presence outside. “I’m so sorry this happened, Victor. Apparently, that creature only attacks aliens and has increased in activity recently, though not so often as to merit an announcement.”

The relief at seeing Victor alive and well, or at least recovering, and knowing that he would pull through, weakened Enyd’s body. She’d been clinging to the cortisol of stress to keep her going up to this moment, and now she didn’t even have that to fuel her nerves. Enyd barely had time to sigh out a warning before her knees gave out, and she drifted towards the floor. Her head hit against the metal bar of Victor’s bed on her journey down, and she groaned. Then, sitting in a heap next to his bed, Enyd didn’t even have the energy to pull herself back up again.

She spoke with a tired yet amused voice, “I think we both need a vacation from our vacation.”

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #19
PO3 Victor vanVinter, | ShiKahr District Medical Center | Xeno-medicine ward | Vulcan] Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Victor didn't know what to make of anything right now. Here he was, having woken up slowly, still more than a little groggy. And here Victor had a message on a PADD letting him know that he'd been assigned to the USS Thunderchild. As it was, he'd had to pinch himself a few times to be sure that he wasn't still hallucinating. It would have been nice if Victor had gotten that call while awake, but no, it had to come while he was passed out getting medical treatment.  Still, it was good news, he'd been assigned to one of the newest ships in the fleet, and he'd technically received a promotion in position as well as an actual promotion. "Petty officer Second Class vanVinter, I like the sound of that."

Then there was the sound of the door opening and the sharp measured steps that had been his interrogator, Lieutenant Than-Hu. The short middle-aged man had irked him from the very moment he'd first woken up to see him hovering over him.
"You should, Petty Officer. now, I have some more questions for you."

Victor practically snarled at that, the sound coming from his throat a rough half-growl as he locks eyes with the senior officer. "Respectfully, Lieutenant, I don't give a damn about any other question that you might have for me. What happened was an accident regarding a dangerous animal. And no, I have no prior relationship with Miss Madsen. nor do I believe she is an agent with the Orion syndicate. And yes, I am sure that I need to apologize to her. I apologize for the rudeness, but you and your partner have grilled me since I woke up about this, and I've filled out too damn much paperwork."

The Lieutenant glared silently at Victor for a moment, a haughty and imperious expression on his face then, and he just stares for a long moment.  "There it is, there's that temper 'behavior unbecoming of an Officer candidate'.  I believe that was the assessment most recently on your file? How you got the new promotion is beyond me, I wouldn't have given you the go on that. We're done, Petty Officer." The emphasis and sneer on the first word in his title, 'petty,' made it clear what Than-Hu thought of him. And without further comment, the investigator was out the door, and an oppressive silence entered the room, enveloping him.

Victor just sat back in the bed, pinching the bridge of his nose to try and sort things out mentally. The good news of the promotion and the new assignment was one thing. Being grilled by Lieutenant Than-Hu was something else entirely.  Alone with his thoughts, Victor did what he could to center himself, working through the events of the last few days.  And then he hears it, that goddamn door hissing again, someone else wanted to come in, and he glances around, looking for an empty beer bottle to throw against the door, but no, there weren't any. Silly hospitals and their hygienic nature. "By all the prophets and gods in all the pantheon's come in!"

It was a hell of a shock seeing Enyd come in, and so soon after the Security Officer had departed. The investigator with a stick up his ass hadn't sent her in, had he? Who knew, though, but a smile manages to come to his face after he recovers from the shock of having snapped at Enyd. "First of all I'm so sorry, I thought you were that damned investigator again. Second, thank you for saving my life. Thirdly, thank you for the wonderful few days together." He had to get that out of the way first, and then he smiles pleasantly, his tone of voice going form more rushed and frantic to the calm tone she preferred to use.

 "Thanks, but Lieutenant Than-hu filled me in on that. The last hour or so has been a grilling with Starfleet Intelligence. I guess they view you more favorably than they view me hmm? But as far as a vacation from the vacation..."  Victor smiles, and throws the PADD to Enyd, the files detailing his promotion and his new posting to the USS Thunderchild present on the screen. "I ship out tomorrow, with another stripe on my collar."

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #20
[Enyd Isolde Madsen | ShiKahr District Medical Center | Xeno-medicine ward | Vulcan ] Attn: @Tae

Enyd looked up from her position on the floor to see the beaming smile spread upon Victor’s face. Though tired, filthy, and still with a splitting headache, Enyd felt genuine joy at his announcement as well. Reaching up to grab the side of his bed, Enyd hoisted herself back to a semi-standing position. However, she’d moved to stand too quickly and had to wait until her eyes cleared of the tunneling blackness before she could shake her head to clear it and stand fully. She reached out and patted the back of his hand, again in the same fashion as her grandmother.

“That’s wonderful news, Victor! I’m so happy for you. You definitely earned that stripe just for surviving our outing alive. It isn’t every day a Starfleet officer faces down the Vulcan Kraken and lives to tell the tale.” Her head swam again, and after glancing around and finding no chair in the ready vicinity, she frowned apologetically at Victor. “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to sit down again.”

Enyd didn’t wait for his response before sinking to the floor again. Finding it cool, a welcome change for her fatigued body, she sighed. Her lips were still drawn back into a tired smile. Enyd knew she must look a mess, her hair a frightful sight pinned together mostly with sweat than with any remaining effort for a braid. Yet, now that Victor was not only recovering but also on an upward journey in his career, she felt happiness overtake any lingering anxiety.

“Oh, and don’t get too comfortable in your assumption that they viewed me more favorably than you. I’ll admit, you’re an attractive man and charming too. You also have great survival ratings,” she threw him a wink at this. “I, however, do not have the habit of falling into sordid affairs so sizzling in intensity it could qualify as its own star.” She shook her head as she rolled her eyes. “Based on how the man interviewing me stared over the edge of his PADD, you’d think he imagined me as some Orion slave dancer up to some sort of devious plot to…I don’t even know what to you.”

Enyd took in a deep breath and let it out on a contented sigh, “I don’t know if I can be credited with saving your life since, in retrospect, your life wouldn’t have been threatened if I hadn’t suggested the outing in the first place.” She laughed. “Quit while the quitting's good is what my grandmother always tries to tell me, finding my insatiable desire for more…anything akin to a harbinger of doom.” Enyd looked down at herself then back up to Victor. Her laughter filled the room seconds later. “Maybe she was right.” Tears welled in her eyes at the force of her amusement, and she was quick to wipe them away. “But yes, I agree with you. It has been a lovely time, near-death experience and all.”

A nurse came back in, no doubt curious about the ruckus the laughter had caused. Seeing Enyd on the floor, the Vulcan woman raised a single eyebrow but said nothing.

“I am dehydrated and fatigued, nothing more.” Enyd held up her hands before the woman could activate her badge and bring in more personnel. “I just need some water, and I’ll perk back up. Like a daisy.” The Vulcan woman continued to stare at Enyd in doubt but disappeared and reappeared within moments, extending to Enyd a glass of water while holding a hypospray in her other hand.

“This hypospray has a substance that will assist in balancing your electrolytes more rapidly.” The nurse held out the hypospray, waiting for Enyd to give her assent.

Enyd nodded eagerly, “Oh, yes, please.”

She waited until after the nurse administered the medicine and retreated from the room, before she spared another look to Victor. Perhaps it was the water, the hypospray, or the return of good humor; in either case, Enyd felt far more capable of standing now and did so, taking care not to rush the process. Hobbling back over to Victor’s side, much in the fashion of a peg-legged pirate, she gave him her biggest grin of mischief.

“You up for round two?” Enyd laughed, interrupting any effort he might’ve made to answer, and shook her head. “Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Heavens knows we both need to rest. And you undoubtedly need to return to your hotel and pack. What time do you report tomorrow? I’m curious if you’re willing to risk either dinner or breakfast with me, depending upon which one you’re more willing to risk your life over since it seems we may have started a trend.”

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #21
PO3 Victor vanVinter, | ShiKahr District Medical Center | Xeno-medicine ward | Vulcan] Attn: @Ellen Fitz

Victor can't help but roll his eyes and laugh at that. "Miss Madsen, after that outing we endured, the only thing that I have earned is the right to set the terms of our next engagement. Despite the potential of the sordidness of your affairs. I trust that you are indeed a woman of honor and are in no way one of ill repute or are in any way connected with the Orion Syndicate. If any of that were true, only in the very best of cases, would I be dead." His voice took on a slightly more somber tone, actually treating the concerns with s degree of seriousness. He looks then at his companion for the last day and a half, looking into her rich eyes and the bit of sorrow that seemed to be there.

Victor goes silent for a time as another wave of nausea overtakes him, and he brings a hand to his mouth to forestall any further vomiting. Victor looks a bit green around the gills, so to speak, but not in any way that concerns the nurse. This reaction seemed to be expected.

"I sadly am not up for another engagement with you, miss Madsen, I'm under observation for the next twenty-four hours, and I will be shipping out in thirty-six. That is not to say that I am opposed to such a thing, merely that it would be impractical. And, well, we'll always have tentacles?" Victor cracks a grin then, feeling that a joke about his situation was more than in order.

Victor takes on a serious tone then. All levity was gone from it, displaying the seriousness of his words. No more half-joking comments or silvered tones. "Miss Madsen, when I felt that I was on death's door, you appeared to be as a Valkyrie from myth. And I do not know if it is the bonding caused by surviving traumatic events or not. But I do sorely and surely wish to continue our correspondence. You truly are a delight Miss Madsen and come what may, and I do wish to continue speaking with someone that has become a fast friend."

A smile comes to victor's features then, and he sits up in the bed and extends a hand in friendship to Enyd. There was a hopeful and almost expectant look on his face then. He wasn't sure which way she'd decide on their continued company, but if anything, his life certainly wasn't boring with Enyd in it.


FIN for Victor

Re: [2371] Flashy Fish on a Blissful Evening

Reply #22
[Enyd Isolde Madsen | ShiKahr District Medical Center | Xeno-medicine ward | Vulcan ] Attn: @Tae

Enyd smiled at Victor’s words, “I appreciate your belief in my honor.” Then, she laughed at his term setting and nodded, “Agreed, wholehearted agreed, you get to set said terms.”

Obviously, Victor still did not feel completely himself, yet the nurse did not seem particularly worried before leaving them alone again. Not that a Vulcan ever appeared worried. Enyd listened as he walked her through the timeline of the remainder of his time on Vulcan. She felt a tinge of disappointment but perked back up with his latter joke. She nodded in agreement.

“Though seafood has never been my favorite.”

She watched his features shift from mirthful to serious then and schooled herself, uncertain what it was he was about to say. Victor’s words humbled her, and Enyd had to duck her head as she felt a blush creep up her neck and warm her cheeks. When she looked up again, it was see Victor extending a hand towards her. Enyd was quick to accept and shake it.

“Oh, Mister vanVinter, you flatter me. I did nothing particularly heroic, and I’m exceedingly grateful things turned out as well as they have. Your promotion being secondary to your survival, in my opinion, of course.” Letting go of his hand, Enyd tucked wayward strands of hair behind her pointed ears. “I would like that,” she said in response to his suggestion they remain in contact, “goodness knows it can get a little lonely around here, believe it or not.”

A different nurse came in then to inform them that her visiting time allowance had come, gone, and now it was definitely time for her to leave. Enyd sighed. She was reluctant to leave, though she knew Victor needed his rest. Based on his timeline, by the time she returned to her hotel to checkout, went back to her dorm room and deposited her stuff, including the time to eat, drink more liquid, and take a much-needed rest, Enyd would only barely have time to breathe out a farewell before Victor shipped off to his next assignment.

Enyd stood, and after a moment longer, threw caution to the wind and bent to place a chaste kiss on his cheek. Then, straightening up again, Enyd smiled.

“I can’t wait to hear all about your new post, Mister vanVinter. And congratulations once more. You are most deserving of the promotion.” She reached down and patted his hand again in both an awkward and affectionate manner. “Until we can share adventures together again, I wish you well.”

Enyd left him with a few more parting waves and smiles. The warmth of the newfound friendship steadied her all the way to the transport station. She couldn’t wait to tell her grandmother about Victor and the antics they’d been up to. Enyd grinned. She could already hear the exasperated sigh in her grandmother’s voice in response to the tale. Enyd began the telling in her head to keep herself occupied all the way back to her hotel. But, upon seeing her bed, still unmade from that morning, the weight of the adventure crashed on her, and Enyd couldn’t stop her body from falling atop the mattress. Enyd contacted the hotel clerk long enough to extend her reservation before sleep crept in, and her body drifted off to slumber, a smile on her face as her mind filled with the memories of her friend.

Fin for Enyd.

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