Literary Challenge #9 : Shore Leave
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Join Date: Dec 2007
When She's Right, She' Right
12-28-2011, 09:37 PM
Personal Log: Captain Soriedem Leah Cim
The past six weeks have been exhausting to say the least. The USS Tobarrus had been charting a previously unknown system in the Pelia Sector Block. The system is not unlike many of the others that we have found in the area. To summarize the report we transmitted to Starfleet a few hours ago, the system consisted of 10 resource rich planets with no signs of intelligent life (past or present). The upside of the mission was the vegetation that we had discovered with more than 300 new species cataloged and documented.
It was my privilege to name a new species of Leptoceras fimbriatum, after my life mate, Audria. The Audriaris fibriatum is a vibrant orchid with an exquisite form and sweet fragrance, just like my darling Audria. She was pleased that I had considered her, but she insisted that I do not show her unjust favoritism among the crew. Reluctantly, I acquiesced and named all 314 species of plants after the team of botanists that discovered them. When we ran out of names, we named them after the rest of the Tobarrus’ crew. It added hours of work to our report to Starfleet before transmission, but there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for that woman – no matter how crazy she makes me sometimes.
Take for example Shore leave. After Starfleet command received our report, they issued the crew of the Tobarrus some much needed shore leave. You would figure that we would come to an agreement as to where to go, and what to do on our short vacation. However, it is never that simple. I have been cooped up in this ship for too long. All I wanted was to get out, breathe some fresh air, spread my wings and fly – preferably somewhere nice, warm, and tropical – like Risa. So, where are we going, you may be wondering? Not Risa, that’s for sure.
Sometimes, I wonder why I went to all the trouble of rescuing her from the Borg. Then, she smiles or winks at me, and I know that I would do it all over again. Women … That woman!
When word came in about shore leave, I immediately informed the crew. I ordered all of my senior officers to enjoy themselves, and gave the junior officers, ensigns, and the handful of cadets onboard the bad news. While we were enjoying some much needed time off, they will be our proverbial designated drivers. In order to give them some command experience, they will be taking the Tobarrus on a supervised, week-long training tour of the Sirius Sector with stops on Earth, Andoria, Tellar Prime, Risa, and a half dozen other stops along the way.
Giving a ship as powerful as the Tobarrus to a rag-tag crew of junior officers and ensigns in a time of war isn’t necessarily the Tobarri way of doing things. But, as Audria likes to remind me, “Starfleet is not the Tobarri Protectorate, and we are a long way from Tobarrus.” What could I say? When she’s right, she’s right.
So, here I am in a cramped shuttle craft with half a dozen Rigellians on our way to Rigel for some spiritual ritual, while my ship travels at high warp in the opposite direction. Through the view screen, I watch the USS Tobarrus disappear into the black recesses of space, and wonder to myself if I will ever see her again. If I dared to voice these thoughts, Audria wouldn’t hesitate to pummel some sense into me. So, I’ll keep these thoughts and this log to myself.
This little trip was Audria’s idea. She had become good friends with the newest addition to our crew, an astrophysist named Helna, who had told her about the ritual and invited us to participate. Audria gracefully accepted the invitation, and with it, my plans to leap from the tall Risian cliffs and soar were inexplicably and possibly indefinitely postponed. I just hope this ritual doesn’t require hours and hours of prostration. The things we are willing to endure for our loved ones.
Captain’s Personal Log – Supplemental.
As it turned out, the ritual was brief; if, in fact, it could be called a ritual at all. It involved a young woman, Helna’s youngest sister, apparently. The young woman had to climb the 3300 steps to the top, where she bowed, said a prayer to the spirits for protection and guidance and climbed back down. That was it – quick and painless. It was nothing like I had expected. Some of the more traditional Tobarri rituals lasted weeks, and were filled with trials that many would find torturous. But this was tame in comparison.
When the ritual was all over, we celebrated, and what a celebration it was. It lasted for days. There were hundreds of people in attendance. Music, dancing, food, and strong drink were shared by all. For a spiritual people, they certainly do know how to throw a party … Party? That’s not right. It was a festival; a celebration of epic proportions. And reluctantly, I have to admit that I had a great time, despite the fact that I did everything I could to avoid it. However, when they allowed Audria and I to climb to the top of the Temple, take flight, and explore the neighboring countryside from several hundred meters up, my entire attitude changed. Theirs was a wonderful little world and exactly what I was looking for in shore leave.
I hate to say it, but once again Audria was right. Just don’t let her know that I said it. I will never hear the end of it.