Glamping With the Best of Them
A Camping We Will Go
Location: The Clearing, Gentris IV
Timeline: Mission Day 2 at 1609
[MD 2: 1609]
It'd taken them a couple of hours to pack but, finally, Björn and Andrew materialized in The Clearing, surrounded by piles of stuff. The two men stood on the soft, spongy grass of the meadow as the late afternoon sun warmed their skin. The morning's mists had all but burned off, casting the communal camping site in even more beautiful relief. Birds sang a welcome all around the pair as the Chameloid of the two spread his arms and turned, offering the other a wide grin.
"Well?" Björn asked, "What do you think? You going to mind spending a few days down here?" He wondered if Andrew had balked at all the stuff they'd brought but, aboardship earlier, the Captain had stressed that he wanted Andrew to have all the comforts of home while camping. He just hoped his partner wouldn't mind helping him whip everything into a proper camping spot.
"I can't say that I've camped for pleasure before," Andrew noted, glancing at all the containers surrounding them. "Though I'm sure we'll have fun" The intonation of the last word signaled that it was one of the innuendos that he was partial to. "So which of these has the hot tub in it?"
"No hot tub. I figured we'd just heat the lake up with a phaser," Björn smirked back, eyes shining. "We do have a pretty roomy tent, though, and plenty of creature comforts. I brought enough pillows to kill a horse," the Chameloid chuckled, moving to the largest of the containers that sat in their part of the clearing. Opening it up, he withdrew an old-style tent that was wrapped, folded, and condensed for storage. "Sadly," he grunted with the awkward carry, "this isn't one of those fancy self-erecting tents Starfleet likes. This one we have to put together," Björn said, picking a spot and lowering the mass of red and black material and poles to the ground.
"The good news," he continued, "is that the poles are already interconnected: they just fold out," Björn explained. "Won't take us long to get this up," he nodded, then gestured Andrew around the backside of the tent. "Help me by unfolding the poles from the central spindle?" he asked, demonstrating with the first pole on his side. It unfolded from the central anchor and then extended, locking into place as a silver button on the pole popped up through a hole in its interlocking side.
Andrew pulled on a pole from the spindle to find that one end remained connected whilst the other dragged out other poles, clanking annoyingly off of each other as he moved the one he held. There was something oddly satisfying about lining up the ends and slotting them together, the transformation of the floppy mess into a firm, rigid structure. Like reversing entropy itself.
By the time Andrew had set up a few poles, he noticed that Björn had already finished setting up his half of the poles and the remaining ones from his half too. The frame did occupy quite a generous space, but surely there were more modern spacious tents too. "So do you have a history with this tent?"
"Good job working those poles," Björn grinned, arching an eyebrow suggestively. He walked around the now erected tent, pulling on certain poles to better align them. "This tent has been with me a long time, actually. My family used to go camping a lot when I was a kid," he explained as he moved to another container, opening it up and withdrawing a fistful of tent stakes and a rubber mallet. "We'd all load into this tent and spend a weekend together. It's a big tent...made for 10 people. But somehow we all still ended up on top of each other," Björn chuckled. "Should be a lot roomier with just two of us."
"Ending up on top of each other doesn't sound all that bad!" Andrew teased. He browsed in a few containers, unsure which would be the next piece required after Björn had finished hammering in the stakes.There was a piece of material that seemed similar to the tent itself. The edges had ties, presumably to attach to the pole structure, and a zipper ran all the way down the middle. Some kind of internal space divider, he decided. "Is this the next part?"
"From your mouth to my ears," Björn chuckled at the notion of being stuck on top of each other. Setting the mallet aside now that the stakes were done, the Chameloid nodded fervently to his paramour. "Great find! Yes, that separates the sleeping area from the main living area of the tent. It's optional, though -- are you more of an open floor plan camper? Or should I say 'glamper,' given that we're going to camp in glamorous fashion? I think we've packed just about the entire ship," the burly man smirked. He rose then, moving to open another container. From it he withdrew the rain fly, an extra covering of tent-material meant to keep out the rain. He foisted it up and over the tent, then began securing the fly to the poles.
"Let's leave it open plan," Andrew decided then returned the material to the container. The tent was looking pretty complete now, and its empty state showed off just how roomy it was. "What do you need next?"
"I like it," Björn nodded agreeably. Stepping back, rain fly now secured, the man gave the tent a curious once over. "Seems like all is definitely in order outside. Now then fun part," he smiled, moving to another pile of carefully stacked and arranged camping gear. He picked up a couple of rolled up and tied sleeping pads, tossing one to Andrew and entering the tent with another. Orange sunlight filtered through the open windows of the tent as the Chameloid untied his bedroll and laid it out at the rear of the tent.
"Yours can go right here, next to mine. They're self-inflating," Björn explained, showing Andrew the button on the side of his mattress. With a press, the hiss of inhaling air accompanied the sight of the bedroll expanding, filling to its limit before automatically shutting off. "We'll lash them together and then make them up like a bed. It'll be just like home," he said, smiling at his beloved with wry affection. "You ever go camping when you were younger?" he wondered, moving outside the tent to find the sheets and blankets they'd use to make a bed.
"Not really," Andrew replied as Björn passed through the main opening. "There never seemed much point since we could transport to some cozy accommodation and back from wherever our hillwalking took us." He set his mattress down beside the other, fumbling with the side until his finger found the inflation activator. It conveniently hissed into life and in seconds, looked just like the one it lay beside. "So when did you last use this one?"
"Makes sense," Björn said with a nod. "Don't get me wrong, I love transporters. They've saved my life more than once," he chuckled, memories of close scrapes flaring to life in his head. "But I do think they make things a little too convenient sometimes. Keeps people from enjoying themselves out in nature all proper like," the Chameloid gave Andrew a mischievous look. To the man's question, though, Björn smiled wistfully. "Last time was just before I was posted to the Adelphi," he said, summoning the name of the now-mothballed ship he'd assumed the mantle of Captain on. "Went camping in the mountains of Ryllex VI with a couple of my Academy friends. Was nice to get together and catch up over the campfire."
Björn had been working as he talked, using three straps to lash the two mattresses together at the top, middle, and bottom. As he fell silent, he unfurled a bottom-fitted sheet and threw it over the beds. "Mind helping me secure the corners, handsome?" He took the two on his side, pulling the corners around the left rounded edges of his bedroll. As they worked, the burly man looked up at Andrew and said, "I'd love to hear more about hillwalking. Where was your favorite place to go?" he asked.
"Oh it was a college friend that was the hillwalking enthusiast," Andrew explained as he pulled the opposite corners of the sheet in the same manner. "I went along for a walk called the West Highland Way which took about a week, although I did slow us down by stopping and going off course whenever I saw some remarkable wildlife." A small laugh escaped his mouth as he folded and tucked away the excess sheet under the bedroll. "Come to think of it, I never did get invited on another one."
"Well I for one," Björn beamed at Andrew, "find your love of wildlife adorable. If we go hiking while we're down here, you have my full support to stop and explore as much as you like, handsome," the man rasped warmly. Seeing that the bottom sheet was now fixed in place, he unfurled the top sheet and let it float into place. It was almost perfect but the two men were still needed to slightly re-situate the sheet and tuck its bottom corners in. Then came the blanket, which didn't take long to maneuver into place. The hirsute man moved to lay on top of the bed and patted it to invite Andrew to join him. "What do you think? Will this be comfortable?" he asked, hopeful that it would do for a few nights.
Andrew kneeled on the edge of the bed and tested its cushioning. So long as he spread his weight, it didn't seem too bad. He scooched himself over beside Björn and lay down, snuggling into the larger man as he did. "I think I can make myself comfortable here," he teased.
"Oh really?" Björn smirked from behind Andrew, pulling the man into him closer. A roving hand drifted up to work the buttons of Andrew's shirt, undoing the top few to reveal a nest of dark fur underneath. Burrowing his face into the nook of his paramour's neck, the Chameloid breathed in the smell of his lover and grinned outright as he continued undoing buttons. "I was rather hoping we'd do a lot more than just sleeping in here," Björn chuckled mischievously, peeking out the doors of the tent to ensure no one was walking by to see them inside. With the buttons now fully undone, he pulled the shirt open and let his hands playfully frolic across Andrew's chest and tummy. "If you take my meaning," he chuckled.
"Mmmmn," Andrew hummed, feeling the fingertips lightly stirring though his chest hair. The stimulation teased his sensory nerves mirroring the words that teased his thoughts. "Oh, I take your meaning all right." He lifted his finger and felt what appeared to be the surface of his lover's long-sleeved shirt. "You're naked right now, aren't ya?" he purred.
"Actually," Björn said, smiling ruefully as he turned his lover over to face him, "I'm wearing real clothing. There's something about having your clothes smell like a campfire that I love. Skin doesn't hold the smell as much," he explained, reaching up to tug at his black and blue flannel shirt. "If you want my shirt undone, you're going to have to put in the work on the buttons," he grinned with a twinkle of mischief in his eyes. He felt a surge of affection and attraction for the man who'd come to share his bed. After four months of dating, Björn found himself just as enamored with Andrew as ever.
"Actually, the flannel is kinda cosy," Andrew teased. Running a finger down the soft placket, he flicked the buttons open one by one until the shirt hung open. He nestled his face into Björn's chest hair and closed his eyes. The bustle of people searching through containers and setting up equipment outside dropped away until all he heard was a heartbeat and all he felt was the warmth of his lover's chest. It didn't matter that they were on a largely unknown alien world, he'd never felt more secure and protected.
Björn pulled Andrew in, breathing in the scent of the man. "Cozy is wherever I am with you," he stressed warmly, relaxing into the embrace. It was a beautiful moment of contentedness: if they'd been Changelings, they would have melted into each other but, prevented as they were by biology, the pair settled for just hugging each other close. Several long moments passed like this -- with nothing but breath passing between them -- until, finally, Björn reached down to tip Andrew's chin upward. Beautiful eyes looked up at him and he could not resist the kiss he leaned into, brushing lips and feeling a happy sigh escape him. "I'm so glad you came down here with me," he whispered after.
It was going to be a great few days. Of that much, they were both sure.
=/\= A joint post by... =/\=
Captain Björn Kodak
Doctor Andrew Munro