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((W Cygni 5 C, Lagoon))
::The geographic scans had revealed that there was a shallow lagoon behind the dunes a short ways from the camp, the water filled by a freshwater stream as well as a narrow, tidal mouth. Colourful fish swam in the waters and the tall trees enclosed one side of it along with stretches of reeds.::
Saveron: I am not reading any large life forms.
::The Vulcan was studying a scientific tricorder, looking incongruous in a long robe, bare feet and a towel over his shoulder.::
DeVeau: Did you think there were any?
::Alora glanced up, then returned her attention to the line that marked where the water ended and the soil began. As if she were on a tightrope, Alora’s feet traced that line down the water, arms stretched to the side to help keep her from toppling too much.::
Saveron: We are on an unknown world without access to the Invicta’s medical facilities; it would not do to be attacked; nor bitten or stung by something venomous. ::He pointed out mildly.:: I would not have either of us injured, or you poisoned. ::He added, looking up.::
DeVeau: Or you poisoned.
::Alora added. The Vulcan wasn’t immune.::
Saveron: My metabolism is adapted to neutralise simple poisons.
::Things like cyanide and alcohol. Complex toxins specific to single worlds were another matter entirely, as proven by the chocolate pie incident. Apparently satisfied, Saveron closed the tricorder.::
::Okay, partially immune, but not completely. Still, she wouldn’t complain about his caution, for it meant he cared about the well being of others, not just himself. He cared about her.::
DeVeau: Nothing going to make a meal of us?
::She lifted her gaze again and grinned as she ‘hopped’ off her invisible tightrope so she could walk along beside him. Now that his hands were unoccupied, she slipped hers into one of his.::
Saveron: There do not appear to be any large carnivores in or around the lagoon. ::He confirmed.::
DeVeau: I guess it’s good to know there’s no chance of getting devoured here.
Saveron: I would be regrettable if either of us were to be devoured. ::He agreed dryly.::
DeVeau: Well now that we know we’re safe, we don’t have to worry about that possibility. So how much experience do you have with swimming?
::Obviously, never before he left his home planet, but Alora didn’t know about every single one of his experiences after that.::
Saveron: It is a required part of physical training at Starfleet Academy. ::He reminded her.::
DeVeau: Well I know that, but have you ever done it just for the enjoyment of it?
Saveron: Negative. However I am willing to explore the concept. ::He allowed, glancing at the still, warm waters of the lagoon.:: Do you swim for leisure, Alora?
DeVeau: On occasion. I haven’t had the chance as much since joining the academy.
::Although they were required to learn how, it wasn’t an activity she’d had much time for, between her studies and other extra curricular activities. Still, she enjoyed it when she had the opportunity to indulge.::
::Inclining his head in acknowledgement, Saveron carefully placed his towel and the small day bag he’d carried on the sand, before slipping off the robe he was wearing and folding it carefully. Underneath he wore knee-length board shorts which the replicator had provided and his moon-tan pale, faintly green skin all but glowed in the sunlight.::
::Straightening up, he gave Alora an enquiring look, before heading down to the water’s edge and dipping a foot into it.::
Saveron: I understand that there is a swimming pool on the Invicta. ::Quite a large one, and not simply a holodeck program either.:: Have you made use of it?
DeVeau: A few times, but not as often as I should, I guess. Honestly, I prefer swimming in natural bodies of water. It just feels different, better.
::Unlike her Vulcan beau, Alora hadn’t worn a robe. Instead, she had simply slipped her clothes over her swimsuit, then draped her towel about her neck. These she removed, folded, then placed them in the bag. Her own suit was quite a bit more modest than those she’d previously seen, a single piece of blue and green fabric that revealed far less than the bikinis so many of the other women seemed to prefer. As soon as her clothes and towel were squared away, she face the water and watched Saveron approach the water.::
::Wading into the clear, blue waters, Saveron noted the effects of the higher thermal conductivity; even though the water was warm he would need to limit his time in it or he would chill. His adaptations to a hot environment meant that he was particularly susceptible to hypothermia. However the air and sunshine were warm, he would have some time before he needed to exit the waters.::
::As he walked, small colourful fish darted away from his feet before returning to nibble on his toes as he stood, waist-deep, contemplating the water. Lowering himself in, he essayed a few long-armed breast strokes, taking him out further into the water. The sensation of immersion in water was still peculiar, but he remembered his training.::
::Alora grinned at the aqua-Vulcan, then sprinted toward the water. The water slowed her down, but as soon as it was deep enough, she launched forward, her form less graceful than his, but it propelled her forward well enough.::
::Turning, he set his feet on the bottom and watched Alora swim out. When Alora caught up, she didn’t stop but continued to swim past, though she kicked up water to playfully splash the fellow as she passed.::
::Shielding his face from the spray with one hand, the Vulcan quirked an eyebrow as Alora powered past enthusiastically.::
DeVeau: I’d dare you to catch me, but I’m not really that fast a swimmer.
::She was steady and could swim for quite some time, but she had never been particularly quick.::
Saveron: One believes it is commonly expressed that ‘slow and steady wins the race’. ::He observed.::
::As he spoke he began to swim after her using long, smooth strokes, as crisply correct as the day his instructor taught him. Unlike Alora he was a reasonable sprint swimmer but did not have the endurance or heat-retention to swim for extended periods. Swimming, his eyes took on a glassy look as his head ducked below the surface and his third eyelids slid into place.::
::Something gleamed on the bottom. Twisting and diving, the last thing to disappear was the Vulcan’s feet as he swam for the bottom of the lagoon, reach out to take the item, then rose to the surface in front of Alora. His dark hair, usually slicked back, hung down either side of his face as he wiped water from his face.::
::Bringing it above the surface, he showed her the iridescent shell he’d found.::
DeVeau: How pretty!
::Alora trod water, then extended her hand in a silent request to examine the item more closely. Wordlessly, he dropped it into her waiting palm and Alora leaned back to float in the water while she turned the shell over and over in her hands. Unlike the corresponding flora and fauna in her world, it seemed that most of the creatures and plants boasted brighter colours. Those that shimmered in the shell were similar to that of the bird she’d found on her walk with Raissa, blues and greens, hints of purple and sprinkles of silver glittering over the curves and lines. The shape, too, was curious in comparison, a wide s shape that tapered at both ends.::
DeVeau: I wonder what sort of creature inhabited this.
Saveron: Perhaps some mollusc-equivalent. ::He suggested. It was empty now.:: One wonders whether the colours provide some advantage. ::He mused.::
::She offered the shell to return to him, then straightened in the water.::
DeVeau: I’ve collected a few samples, but nothing from the water. Yet.
Saveron: I would find it preferable that you kept it. ::He said simply.::
::She smiled, then tucked the shell into the bust of her suit so she wouldn’t lose it. Although she was tempted to dive for more in order to collect more samples, she would do that later, not when she was spending quality time with Saveron.::
DeVeau: You know, I think you’re the first Vulcan I’ve ever seen wet.
Saveron: As you are aware, swimming is not a necessary skill on Vulcan. ::He pointed out dryly. It wasn’t a lot of use in the desert.:: This much standing water would be viewed as wasteful luxury. It is something that I have come to appreciate since leaving.
::Saavok even more so; the child seemed to take any excuse to get wet.::
Saveron: But did we not both join Starfleet to experience new things?
::He certainly had. And to meet aliens, who had fascinated him since one had arrived in the emergency department of Kal-an Regional Hospital following a climbing accident. That encounter had changed him forever. Still, there were some experiences that he had never anticipated. His growing relationship with Alora was one of them. Raising a child in space was another.::
DeVeau: Of course, and I look forward to many, many more new experiences. Hopefully with you.
::Her smile turned a little gentler, but then curiosity glinted in her eyes.::
DeVeau: I just thought of a question.::
::For her to lead into the question suggested it was of a serious nature.::
DeVeau: Do Vulcans bathe?
Saveron: Not in water. ::Which he assumed was what she meant.:: We use sonic showers. Traditionally we used a type of sand for cleansing. There is a bowl of it in the bathroom of my quarters. ::A touch of home.:: Water is precious, and is used for drinking and watering crops. A small amount is used for industrial purposes. Bathing for cleanliness is a concept that many Vulcans would find unaccountably alien.
::Out here, surrounded by aliens, it was presented as a normal concept. He could however imagine her trying to explain it to his family on Vulcan.::
Saveron: How did desert cultures on Terra manage such things?
DeVeau: I think bathing wasn’t common. It was more usual for feet to be washed with what was available, but not so much entire bathing. ::She paused a moment, then admitted.:: I haven’t really ever explored it in detail. ::With slow, smoother strokes, Alora started to swim lazy circles around the Vulcan.:: I do know that at certain points in history, bathing often just didn’t happen. They even wore perfumes to hide the smell of body odor.
Saveron: That would reduce water usage. ::He allowed.::
A JP by
Lt. Cmdr. Alora DeVeau
Chief of Science
SO and CMO