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Endings and Beginnings

Posted on Thu Mar 31st, 2022 @ 10:02pm by Major Cornelius Tremble & Lieutenant JG Mira Jayna
Edited on on Fri Apr 1st, 2022 @ 2:30pm

1,572 words; about a 8 minute read

Mission: Episode 12 - Risin' To Risa
Location: Risa
Timeline: MD007 1900 hrs

They woke with the sun, still cuddled next to each other in front of the smoldering embers. While Neil again tended to the fire, Jayna baked more tubers and gathered fruit for breakfast. Then they packed up and headed back to their camp, stopping at the waterfall for lunch.

The rest of their vacation was spent exploring more of the island and getting to know each other—which, to Jayna's delight, meant more potent kisses.

And then it was the evening before they were to return. The vacation had been better than Jayna could have imagined. Her feelings for Neil had deepened, which made the time she spent with him all the richer.

There was only one thing she still wanted to do. Well, two, but the other would wait. She informed Neil she was going swimming and headed for the beach. She had not gone skinny-dipping in the ocean, and she was not going to let this last opportunity pass her by.

Jayna kept to the lagoon as the water was deep enough, and she only wanted a short swim. It wasn't the moonlight she originally hoped for, but the colors of the setting sun had their own magic--especially on a tropical island with nothing but water surrounding it. After several minutes, she dove under the water, thinking about their arrival days before. Then, almost reluctantly, she surfaced and made her way to shore.

Reflecting on the vacation, Neil finally decided to let things progress as they would. He'd enjoyed spending time with Jayna. Getting to know her better and while he wasn't sure where the road would lead, he was willing to walk it with her.

The day before they left, he spent better than half snorkeling, exploring the reefs surrounding the island and catching several lobsters for their last meal. He also arranged for a surface craft (one with a rather large engine) to be anchored out. They'd take that to the sea port twenty miles away and transport out there.

He wasn't of a mind to let even that bit of technology be the end of the vacation. Besides, he had a thought that Jayna would be something of a terror piloting a go-fast.

He'd watched her leave the huts that had been their base camp for the past few days and he had worked the fire. The lobsters were residing in a shallow pool of water until it was time they met their fate. Butter was melting in a pot off the side of the cook fire and there was a salad and bread he'd taken from the reefer and put in a dutch oven.

Neil wasn't much of a cook, but he kinda hoped it wouldn't turn out to be a meteorite. Part of him had thought about following her, but he'd opted to let her be alone in her thoughts.

As he saw her returning, he gestured toward the bottle of bourbon, bucket of ice, water pitcher and glasses he'd set out. "Drink?" he queried. "Bourbon's out as you can see but there's lots of other things to be had. I saw a squeeze pouch of something called Fireball Lemonade in the fridge."

"Bourbon's fine," she said, "Although I might try that lemonade later--just to find out what it is." Although she wasn't so sure the rest of her would appreciate it. She had little trouble with alcohol, but certain refined sugars were another matter. She poured two glasses of bourbon. Before she gave Neil his drink, she leaned forward and kissed him, just because. Jayna grinned and sat down beside him.

As she settled in with him, Neil gathered the lobsters from their pool and produced a knife, quickly dispatching them. Then he cracked the shell's partially and got them onto the coals near vegetables he was roasting for a simple salad.

"Back to the grind tomorrow," he commented. "I'm going to miss this place."

"So am I. This place has a lot to offer. I've really enjoyed the past week." She smiled at Neil. Most of it had been because of him. Or, rather, it was so much better because he was there with her. She'd laughed more than she had in a long while, and everything seemed brighter and better around him. It made her...hopeful about going back. "What are you going to miss most?"

Neil fiddled with the lobsters, knowing they wouldn't take long to cook over the coals and replied, "The simplicity. They put you in the best of circumstances but there's something about just existing on your own wits and skills." Then he cast a look Jayna's way and said, "On a simpler note, what I'll take with me is the image of you swimming naked at the falls."

She blushed a bright bronze. Jayna vividly remembered the falls: watching him dive into the water...and that first kiss. It took her several moments to regain some control over her reaction. "The waterfall is what I'll remember, too," she finally said, her voice husky. She'd recalled that afternoon several times over the past few days. She cleared her throat and asked, "Do you want me to take care of the vegetables?"

He grinned at her reaction and pointedly moved the images away from his mind as he fussed a bit more with the lobsters. "Yeah, they should be about ready depending on how done you want. The lobsters will be coming off too and we can eat."

The vegetables were cooked, so Jayna prepared two plates, careful to not think too much about Neil, or that this was their last night on the island. She was going to miss spending every day with him. She set the plates by him and topped off their drinks.

Neil pulled the lobsters from the fire, squeezed the tails to crack them open more and slid them onto the plates, adding a community pot of spiced, drawn butter between them. Then he settled into his seat and raised the bourbon in toast. "Here's to one of the best R&R's I've spent. Thank you, Jayna." He winked at her and took a sip of the bourbon, then set it aside and picked up a fork and sample the vegetables.

"Of course, there are a few that I don't remember," he commented with a chuckle.

Jayna set her drink down after the toast and chuckled. "I remember all of mine, and this has definitely been one of the best." As much as she would have enjoyed exploring the island itself, it was better because of Neil. She grew quiet as she ate, enjoying their final dinner.

Jayna looked at the fire, watching the flames dance. "I think I'm going to miss the smell of wood smoke."

"And the fire tending," Neil remarked as he poked at the fire with a stray stick. It really didn't need it, but he did it anyway. He glanced up at her and said, "How about continuing on this with taking meals together when we can back aboard Pioneer? Spontaneity is fun, but it's nice to have something to look forward to, too."

"Yes," was her immediate response. "I would like that very much." Jayna knew he would be busy, with his various duties, but she didn't want to lose what she hoped was the beginning of something special. At least, she knew it was for her.

Neil cracked the tail from his lobster and tore at it. Wincing at the heat as he dunked it into the butter. Then he let the excess mostly fall back into the bowl before he bit the morsel in half. Then he turned the remaining morsel and dipped it into the butter again and offered it to her with a smile. "Caught by hand. Cooked over the fire and eaten without need of utensils. The time we've had makes me think of how complicated we've made our lives, though the comforts are nice. I'd prefer to keep things between us uncomplicated, so I'll admit that I think I may be falling for you."

She accepted the meat with a smile and let his words dance around in her head for a moment while she finished the piece of lobster. Then her expression turned impish as she offered him a piece of her own lobster tail. "I like uncomplicated. I must therefore confess that I think I am definitely falling for you." She just wasn't sure how deep yet.

He accepted the bit of lobster and smiled, "Then we're off and understanding. Not a bad start. Nice tail," he commented as he leaned back, wiped his fingers on a napkin and picked up a fork to sample the vegetables.

Jayna laughed at the double entendre. She took another bite of lobster. It had been an incredible week. She came to Risa hoping to build on the friendship that developed over the holiday to rescue Vaebn's sister, and she had. She thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Neil. But the hope she now had for the future was so much better.

She smiled at Neil. "Not a bad start at all."

A Joint Post By

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

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


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