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Demon Slaying Part I

Posted on Thu Aug 3rd, 2023 @ 1:32pm by Major Cornelius Tremble & Lieutenant JG Mira Jayna
Edited on on Sat Aug 5th, 2023 @ 9:10pm

0 words; about a 1 minute read

Mission: Episode 14 - The Poseidon Adventure
Location: Planet Aquil
Timeline: MD009 1200 hrs

Jayna paced back and forth while she waited for Neil, a small pack slung over her shoulder. She was dressed in a pair of black khakis to hide her boot knife and a dark blue tank top. Admittedly she was early, but she needed a few minutes to focus her mind on the task ahead. Unlike the last shore leave, she was not looking forward to this trip. Fear is the mind killer, she reminded herself. Determination had gotten her this far, but not without help.

She would not let what happened in the research facility taint the memories she had of swimming on Risa, or make her hesitant if she had another underwater assignment, or an opportunity, like now.

Even though she'd mostly worked through her reaction to Kavicus touching her darkest thoughts, a lingering fear still gnawed at the back of her mind. A fear that could only be dispelled by going under the ocean to one of the cities. But she wasn't ready to go alone, so she asked Neil to accompany her.

She thought if she gave herself a few minutes before he arrived, she'd be okay, but she wasn't quite as calm as she'd hoped.

Neil worked his way through the Poseidon's corridors, feeling strange to be out of uniform. This outing with Jayna was time off for its own sake and there wasn't an itinerary

At least that he was aware of.

Remembering another water world leave he'd taken years before, he amused himself by dressing in what his gunny at the time had described as shipwreck chic. Chinos, a linen v neck sleeveless rumor of a shirt and he was nearly barefoot, having applied spray on soles for the trip.

A lightweight pack was slung across one shoulder and had bare essentials for a few nights at most. He did have a baby Fairborn sheathed in the pack.

He wasn't that far into the time off notion to go about naked.

She smiled when she saw him. "Hi. I like the look. I thought we could take a shuttle down to one of the underwater cities and do some exploring, then see where we go from there." She believed that by going underwater first, she'd be able to relax and enjoy the rest of their trip. "I...need to get this first part out of the way."

Nodding, Neil smiled at her and bumped his hip into hers as they began walking toward one of the shuttlecraft that made regular runs to the surface. Though he had a smile on his face, he asked," I do have access to a type 15 shuttle if you'd like to have a more private descent. Take our time rather than run the regular route?"

She looked up at him and smiled, although it didn't quite reach her eyes. "I'd like that. Thank you." She appreciated the gesture. At least this way, if she had any adverse reactions, they would be in private. The last thing she wanted was to have a flashback in public.

Neil hesitated for a moment, looking around for the nearest FOLLOW ME indicator and zeroed in on the bay that held their shuttle. Then it was a simple matter of following the orange line and keeping an eye out for personnel. As they walked, he said "I've gotten way too used to depending on my Contact and the auto-link for getting places. On this trip I have zero tech, save for the imbedded comm unit. I wasn't quite ready to take a knife and dig it out of my ear."

"No. I would definitely not recommend digging it out," she replied, falling in step beside him. "I wonder if it picks up whale-song?" She smiled at him. "That could be interesting. Especially if the UT knows the language." She'd never considered using the UT for translating undersea mammals before. Did it have whale and dolphin in its language base? It might be worth looking into when she got back to the ship.

As they found their way to the designated bay and found their shuttle, Neil said "There's been a Fleet presence here long enough it should be in the database. All that was automatically updated when we dropped into the sector. The real question would be if they have anything interesting to say to us other than talking about fish."

"Or migratory routes and weather... Or it'll just translate their mating calls." She shook her head. "Maybe it's better if we don't translate it." She smiled at Neil. "The database also has a list of things to do once we get there. I don't know if there's anything particular you'd like to see, but there's an underwater cave system near the city. Part of it is open to the public. You can rent a pressure suit and either take a guided tour, or get a map and HUD." She hesitated for a moment before admitting. "I think I need to go there." With him, because she wasn’t sure if she could do it alone—or even wanted to.

"Works for me," Neil said as they climbed aboard the shuttle and began doing the preflight and powering the small craft up. "I'm up for going in, turning off the advanced mapping tech and just feeling our way through. It'll be some real alone in the dark stuff, so probably want to use night vision. But the backups are in place. Do you want me monitoring your bio-readouts in there?"

He asked the last tentatively, not knowing how much mother-hening she'd want from him.

"I like going in with night vision. It's more of an adventure that way." She considered Neil's offer. Part of her wanted to say no, she was fine, but she couldn't lie to him. and there was a possibility she'd need his help. "Yes. Monitor me in case I have a panic attack and start hyperventilating. Or just forget to breathe." She hoped it wouldn't happen. This was a different place, a different situation, but she still had nightmares and anything was possible.

She pulled up a map to have a good look at the underwater city and the cliffs nearby, then turned to Neil. "I'm glad you're here with me."

Neil nodded simply then grasped her hand, kissed the back and slipped a bio-monitor band over her wrist and pulled a small bag and set it near her cup holder. "A little bit of kit then," he said by way of an answer. "There's an earpiece in there that I've preset to your vitals and breathing rhythms. It'll sound off if you start to get buggy, which may be enough of a distraction in itself. It'll trigger a signal into my receiver. I've got you."

The kiss was unexpected and released the tension that had been building since they arrived on the planet. That he came prepared made her smile. With him by her side, she would get through this. "Yes, you do have me."

He patted her hip familiarly then and ghosted her a wink, "How about we get after this, then go find someplace to swim Nekkid."

Jayna laughed as she refocused on the trip. She wanted--needed--to work through this, to be free of the shadow of Kavicus. "One of my favorite pastimes." She was more relaxed now and ready to do some demon slaying.

Neil could see the laughter and horse play had been good for her, but there was still tightness around Jayna's eyes and he ushered her aboard the craft another pat. This one lower. "Alright, let's get this soggy adventure on the road," he remarked as they both ducked into the cabin.

"You want to fly this heap or..." he asked, as he cycled the hatch shut and made sure the thing sealed.

"Or watch the sexy Marine fly?" She glanced around as her mind went over a dozen possible scenarios. "I'll do it. Hopefully it'll keep me from overthinking--at least until we get to the cave system." Her sister would likely have some way to use logic to deal with the problem of Kavicus, but Jayna had always been the more emotional twin.

Neil slid into the copilot's couch and began running the auto-checklist sequence. He was used to his HUD linking and running his own protocols and it was taking him a moment to remember everything. "I much preferred our HAHO over Risa to taking this bus down." Neil's tone was humorous but he was watching her out of the corner of his eye and her reflection in the shuttle's front canopy.

She'd been going through the pre-launch checklist, but paused, smiling as she remembered their last shore leave. There were a lot of things about that trip that were memorable. "Yes. That was a first for me." She glanced at him and grinned. "Among others." She hoped this trip would also be memorable--in a good way. She turned back to the console and finished the checklist. "All set?"

"Light 'er up," Neil said, double checking everything was still in the green. "Automated launch and recovery makes things so civilized."
To Be Continued...

A Joint Post By

Lieutenant Junior Grade Mira Jayna
Assistant Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Pioneer
Intelligence Liaison, The Cure

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


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