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Taking Chances

Posted on Mon Mar 14th, 2022 @ 2:20pm by Major Cornelius Tremble & Staff Warrant Officer Mira Jayna
Edited on on Mon Mar 14th, 2022 @ 10:03pm

Mission: Episode 12 - Risin' To Risa
Location: Risa
Timeline: MD006 2230 hrs

After dinner, Jayna stepped away from the campfire for a sunset bath and then got distracted by the panorama above her. Now she lay on the soft grass at the top of the mountain peak, looking up at the stars. It had been a long time since she was able to do so. Without the light from any cities or villages nearby, the stars seemed closer and brighter than she remembered. Or perhaps it was that her senses seemed more attuned to them tonight.

Her thoughts kept cycling from the dive under the waterfall to the spine-melting kiss, to the exploration of the cavern and the gallery, and finally to the water slide that was more like a roller coaster with far more twists and loops than should have fit in the space provided. It had been amazing on several levels. First, the falls themselves and the discoveries in the space behind them, and then the realization that she was falling in love with Neil. She knew he was interested in her, but wasn't sure if it was just a physical attraction and she had no idea what to do—or if she should do anything at all.

The rest of the hike up the mountain had brought no clarity and the stars were, as usual, silent. Jayna took one final look at the heavens and pushed her chaotic thoughts to the back of her mind. Things would work out, one way or another, regardless of how much thought she put into them. In one fluid movement she was on her feet and heading back to the campfire.

Neil registered Jayna slipping away from the fire and he watched her go, his eyes lingering on her until she faded into the shadows. His mind flicked back through the water slide and the look of surprise when the ground had dropped out from under her. Neil’s favorite part had been at the end when they’d shot into the pond.

She’d taken a fish with the spear and they’d shared it over a quick fire, enjoying the simplicity of citrus, chopped herbs and a few vegetables with the fresh fish. Cleaning up after themselves had been easy enough and Jayna had chosen a path that would lead her to the island’s summit. Neil had set about zig zagging the trail, hunting game.

The hunt hadn’t taken his mind off Jayna completely. He ran through the past few days that they’d shared. Not the events themselves but her proximity and how much he’d enjoyed spending leave together. Neil was honest enough with himself that the was attracted to her.

And his brain was pushing at him that with all the changes in his life, maybe it was time to change it further.

By the time they’d reached the overlook peak, he was tired and relaxed at the same time. They’d built the fire together and she’d set the tubers to cook while he’d put the cleaned birds on a spit over the fire. Then he’d found the cold locker and selected cold drinks.

Now, laying by the fire, his belly full. Slightly drunk and drowsy from a day full of activity and fresh air, his mind continued to ruminate. They’d shared a lot over the last few days, including their second kiss. He put both of them side by side in his head and decided they’d both been equally heated.

Honestly, he just wasn’t sure if he was willing to put himself out there after Tovania. That had been a whirlwind: a bright spark then nothing. Neil just wasn’t sure if he was willing to be hurt again.

Jayna paused, watching Neil for several moments. She was certain he knew she was there, but she was still hesitant. Silly, she chastised herself. If she was logical, being Vulcan and intel were two strikes against her. If this was the beginning of something with Neil, she didn't want to ruin it. She smiled and sat down across the fire from Neil. "The stars are incredible from up here."

Neil rolled things over in his mind for a period, then moved to stir up the fire in his self-appointed role of keeper. Thence smiled and said, "Nearly as incredible as that kiss. Those kisses, I should say."

After a couple of beats he said, "I'm too old to not say something and hope it'll sort out, even if I'm not sure. I get hung up wanting to be fair to you as my brain decides if there' s something here. How about you?"

Jayna looked at him for a long moment, both surprised and hopeful. "That's a good part of what I was doing out there," she admitted. "Thinking of those kisses...and you." She stared at the fire for several moments. If he was going to be honest, she owed him the same. "My head and my heart are heading down that path, but I'm not sure what's at the end of it." She looked at him for a long moment, then back and the fire, half afraid of what she'd read in his eyes.

"I can tell you I'm in the same boat, Jayna," Neil remarked, sitting up and bringing a knee up. He held up a hand, encouraging her to sit beside him by the fire as he said, "I'm not sure what's at the end of it either. But it sounds like you may not be against us exploring the path together. Seeing where it goes?"

"I'm not against it at all." She sat down beside him. "I very much want to explore this particular path with you." There was a poem by an old Terran author about traveling down roads...but she couldn't remember the name of either the poem or the author. The expression in Jayna's eyes softened as she smiled at Neil. She had a feeling this particular journey held a great deal of promise.

Still contemplating the fire, Neil leaned a shoulder against Jayna's and was quiet for a few moments. "You've got a great derriere, you know." He commented offhand, a grin pulling at his lips.

The comment, given in such an off-handed manner, made her laugh. "Thank you. I'm glad you like it." She paused for a moment. Then equally casually replied, "Your chest and biceps are rather impressive."

"Apparently, I take after the local repair engineer," Neil joked as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders, straightened his legs toward the fire and eased them both back onto the ground, to look up at the stars.

Jayna chuckled softly as she settled comfortably against him. "I'll take you any day."

They sat in silence for a minutes watching the brightening of the star scape above them, they were slowly surrounded by night noises: wind in the trees carrying with it the occasional sound of surf breaking on the beach.

Then Neil asked innocently, "Where are you going to take me?"

A Joint Post By

Staff Warrant Officer Mira Jayna
Assistant Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Pioneer

Major Cornelius Tremble
Executive Officer, USS Pioneer
Commanding Officer, The Cure


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