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Morning Dip

Posted on Tue Nov 22nd, 2022 @ 1:34am by Lieutenant JG Irynya & Captain Björn Kodak

Mission: A Camping We Will Go
Location: A freshwater lake within a few minutes walk of the camp
Timeline: Mission Day 3 at 0600

[The Lake]
[Gentris IV]
[MD 3: 0600 Hours]

There were a lot of things Irynya had loved about Starfleet--many of which were things she had expected to enjoy. One thing she hadn't, however, was the experience of watching sunrise someplace completely new and foreign. It wasn't an experience she'd had frequently, but it had been enough, now, that she knew it was worth seeking out and after the hijinks of the night before everyone seemed to still be sleeping soundly.

Unzipping the tent's opening with a deliberate slowness to limit any noise it might make the Risian put first one, then another, foot out onto the ground outside of the tent. The rest of her body followed in a sinuous twist of her torso before she turned and repeated the excruciatingly slow zippering again. Breath held, she was still until the last two teeth came together and then she stood, adjusting the small bag she had over her shoulder. She shoved her feet quickly into a pair of slide-on shoes and took off for the lake.

When she reached the edge of the trees she paused, stepping out of her shoes. With a quick glance around her she rapidly stripped out of her attire, donning the self same bathing suit that Sheldon had gone to such pains not to look at what felt like an age ago at the tiki bar on Risa. She gave a small chuckle, the sound obscured by the noises of the place around them. And then, not bothering to look around again, she made a dash for the water's edge, hurrying in until she was up to her waist and then diving.

It seemed Irynya was not the only one who'd had the idea of an early morning dip. As the woman dove into the water, Captain Kodak breached the surface himself, coming up for air. As he did, his eyes settled on the pile of clothing just up the shore...make that two piles of clothing, his own and someone else's. The Chameloid turned all about, looking for whoever else had entered the water, and then spied Irynya coming up for air herself.

"Oh...hello Lieutenant," Kodak greeted sheepishly. He was chest deep in the water, which was mercifully dark enough to hide his body below; mercifully because he was, in fact, not wearing a swim suit. "I didn't think anyone else was up yet. Camp seemed pretty sleepy when I left," he smiled, his cheeks becoming rosy with embarrassment. "You may or may not have caught me a bit...err, indecent? Sorry, I kind of thought I'd be alone for a bit."

Irynya's surprise upon finding herself not alone was quickly replaced by a sunny warmth at the sight of the Captain. It was an odd thing. On Risa she had come to enjoy the company of both the Chameloid captain and his paramour, but once on the ship the rank and file dynamics fell back in place and she spent much more time with Andrew than Kodak. She hadn't really considered that shift until she realized how very pleased she was to see him just then.

"I mean... I don't mind if you don't..." Irynya said, not the least bit embarrassed by the implication of nudity. "I was debating doing the same myself."

"Far be it from me to stop a Risian from enjoying herself," Kodak chuckled softly. Water dripped from his beard to his chest, then trickled down to rejoin the lake. "But I still get credit for being the first to chunky dunk," he laughed, using an archaic Earth saying that somehow had remained part of the human lexicon. "That, unless any of our Second Stringers got wild and crazy down here last night," the Chameloid smirked. "Andrew's told me about your parties. They're famous, I expect," he beamed back, sunny himself at spending a little time with Irynya.

"Chunky... dunk..." Irynya repeated slowly, with a small amused smile. "Not sure I've heard that one before." Bobbing lower in the water she reached up to undo the strap of her bathing suit and then, wriggling slightly, shimmied out of it. She kept low in the water out of respect for the company she was with, but the bathing suit found its way into a ball in her hand which she extended along with her other arm, stirring the water back and forth to keep her balance as she bobbed slightly in the lake water. "That's better," she announced cheerily.

"Have you heard of 'skinny dip?'" Björn asked, smirking at Irynya's unfamiliarity. "For those of us who aren't pencil thin, 'chunky dunk' seems to better apply," he explained. Off the ship and naked in the water, the Captain felt like the trappings of command were falling away -- including the degree of separation he normally maintained between himself and the crew. Truth told, the camping trip was already making him feel less lonely: he appreciated that.

"I've heard the term, but I'm not sure I ever made any kind of connection to weight or figure. It's such a..." Irynya made a face, nose wrinkling in confused consternation, "strange thing to focus on when the point is nudity and experiencing the water without any barriers as opposed to... you know... being skinny." The Risian, herself, wouldn't have taken on the classification. She thought, perhaps, that Noah would qualify, but with a curvy figure it seemed to her that skinny was... at best... in the eye of the beholder.

Carefully she let her feet tip back, so that she was treading water now. A close inspection from above might have given away her form, but mostly she was far enough underwater as to not offend any sensibilities. Her bathing suit, though, was a bit of an annoyance, bunched in her hand, so she put her feet back down, popping up for a moment with water sluicing down to her belly button, so that she could toss the wet garment onto the shore before bobbing back down into the water and resuming her half floating position. "I love the weightlessness of it," she said. "Of the water I mean. And the sort of soothing feeling of the water on my skin. More people should do this... really..."

"People aren't always logical," Björn chuckled softly, referring back to the nomenclature of swimming sans clothing. "But I do agree with you...swimming in a large body of water is a treat and, in our line of work, one rarely enjoyed at that," the man rasped warmly, his golden eyes squinting in the orange glow of the morning sun. "It's not exactly the oceans of your home planet," the Chameloid admitted, "but it's refreshing enough, I'd say." Irynya may have noticed his own pile of clothing on the shore whilst tossing her suit. While the shapeshifter could fashion clothing from his own skin, Andrew had encouraged him to wear real clothing at times to anchor himself in the human experience. This, apparently, was one of those chosen times. "Does it make you miss home?" Björn wondered.

The Risian was quiet a moment, considering the question, her hands making ripples in the water as she swirled them back and forth, keeping herself afloat. "It does," she finally concluded. She chewed her cheek a moment as she thought about it further and sighed. "It does, but I think that is partly a result of missing some of the familiarity of Risian culture. We do break ups... differently... than most. It's a bit lonely this way."

"It...wasn't my business or place to pry," Kodak commented carefully, "but I'd heard the two of you were involved and wondered how the Doctor's departure might be hitting you. I'm sorry it's lonely," he said, waving his own hands slowly in the water, creating ripples across the surface. "What do you need?" the Chameloid asked then, his voice tinged with concern. While it was true that the crews' relationships with each other mostly fell outside his purview as Captain, Kodak also felt a responsibility for making sure his people were alright. His eyes seemed full of compassion for what the woman must be feeling.

Irynya shook her head at that, fixing Kodak with a bit of a look. "I know that the chain of commend puts some distance in place by design," she said choosing her words with care, but clearly meaning them, "but you're always welcome to ask. Heaven only knows Andrew knew about it and it wasn't as if we were being secretive." She sighed then, slipping sideways in the water and completing a full turn, sort of like a corkscrew, giving her the luxury of staring up at the sky for a moment before she completed the full rotation. "Just friends," she said then. "I think that's all I need right now. We..." she began as if about to make a statement on behalf of all of Risa before she stopped herself, "I... cherish experiences. Endings are as much a part of them as any other and so is loss, and longing, and sadness. But that doesn't mean those feelings aren't made more bearable when you're feeling them with others who care about you nearby."

"I'll bear that in mind," Kodak inclined his head in confirmation. "And that absolutely makes sense. I'm not from Risa, obviously...though in a way, my life kind of started there," he lamented, thinking back to how his parents had left him on a beach on Risa, where the Müellers had eventually found him. "But I'm no stranger to relationships that end. I remember needing friends around me to help me stay distract me from my thoughts. From what I saw last night," Kodak referred to the ring of Second Stringers around their camp fire, "and also what I hear from Andrew," he smirked, "it seems like you've got people who care about you down here. Maybe some time together will help a bit?"

A warm grin lit Irynya's face at the mention of her friends, really a chosen family at this point. By itself that would have been confirmation of the Captain's comment. Finding her feet, though, the Risian woman stood, water sluicing down to return to the lake. She nodded in the direction of the sun. It had been a warm grey dawn when she had left the tent, but now the sky was brilliant with the colors of sunrise and the star that favored Gentris IV with its light was nearly visible above the treeline. "Sharing sights like this with someone who cares certainly doesn't hurt," she said.

They fell into a silence then, watching with wonder as the sun crested the trees and streamed its light across the lake's surface. The water sparkled beautifully as the pair of officers slowly bobbed up and down, treading the lake to stay afloat. "It's good to have someone to share it with," Kodak offered, finally breaking the silence. "Andrew got in pretty late last night...did you all have a nice time?" he asked, switching tracks back to Irynya's chosen family. "In truth, part of me wanted to accept your invite: it meant a lot," Kodak smiled wistfully. "But Captains have a way of curtailing the fun without meaning to."

Irynya sighed, not taking her eyes off of the view before them. "We did. Lots of laughter and a bit of mischief too." She smiled thinking back on their game of truth or dare. She turned, looking away from the sunrise to consider the broad shouldered man next to her. "If I could fix that truly, I would," she said earnestly. "Maybe someday we'll have all been together long enough that it won't be a consideration you have to make."

"It's just the nature of things," Björn shrugged, the motion causing him to exaggeratedly bob in the water. "Captains have been set apart from their crew for centuries. The division of command kind of necessitates it. Get too close to your crew, maybe you stop sending them on dangerous missions. That," he lamented, eyeing the shore, "or you become too much of a pal and people stop respecting you as much. I don't know that there's a solution, really," the Chameloid said. "I've been aboard ships where everyone was on a first name basis with their captain. It was like summer camp rather than a starship," he smirked. "But then again, summer camp always was a good time," he trailed off.

Irynya had pressed her lips into a line as Bjorn spoke, muddling the problem over in her head. He wasn't wrong, but she couldn't deny how lonely that must have felt. Without giving it much thought she drifted closer to the Chameloid and when she was close enough she turned to look at him before nudging him with her shoulder and then, when he didn't move quickly away, rested her head on his shoulder for a moment.

It wasn't her smoothest move. She withheld the normal step of wrapping an arm around the man's back. They were skinny dipping after all. But Irynya had learned as a child how powerful a touch could be to dispel distance and loneliness. And so she let her head rest there a moment, damp hair trailing down the Captain's arm.

The move surprised him, to say the least. It was like it was all happening in slow motion and, for a moment, Björn wondered if he should pull away: keep the distance between them, as always. But it felt nice to be affectionately touched in that moment, even if the Captain was aware of their mutual nakedness as the touch was happening. "Thank you, Irynya," he said softly, blinking as the tangerine sunrise set the sky on fire. They watched the sky for a few moments, enjoying the silence, until the Captain suddenly stiffened. "Did you feel that?" he asked, pulling himself away from the woman. "There it is again," he said with concern, pulling his legs up underneath him. "What is that?"

At first Irynya didn't feel anything. She looked at the Captain as he twitched away from some unseen thing and raised her eyebrows in curiosity. A moment later, though, she felt it. It was a ticklish sensation as something brushed against one of her feet. No... not brushed... tapped. As if something were deliberately running into her. She, too, pulled her feet up then, with a small squeak of surprise as she did so. The sensation followed, though, and she felt something glide past her thigh and calf, brushing and tickling in a way that made her twitch as well. "I do not know, but I'm not sure I want to find out," she said, squealing slightly at the end of her sentence as another dart at her foot made her thrust her leg out away from her upsetting her balance so that she tilted backwards into the water with a clumsy splash.

Björn reached out and caught Irynya by the arm, pulling her back upright and a little closer to him, all the while feeling an increase in the number of whatever it was tapping up against his own feet. "What I wouldn't give for my tricorder right now," he rasped, gesturing back towards the shore where the device rested in his pants. "Let's head back in, eh? Then we can figure out what's going on," he said. With a chuck of his thumb back towards land, the Chameloid started kicking his feet, disrupting whatever things were down there as he began to swim in earnest. They weren't far from shore and so Björn was soon rising from the water, rivulets running down his hairy body in the sparkling sunlight. He awkwardly danced towards his clothes, pulling underwear from the pile and stuffing his legs into them as modesty was recovered.

Though the Captain had moved first, Irynya was right on his heels, cutting smoothly through the water as if she were born to it. She picked her way quickly, but gingerly, over to her own clothes, keeping her eyes ahead of her to afford Kodak the privacy he almost certainly wanted. His nudity didn't bother her any more than anyone else's would, but she knew well enough it didn't work that way for everyone else. She'd been wearing her bathing suit under her clothes, so pulled her shorts and shirt on sans undergarments. Fully clad again, she hazarded a glance to the Captain, confirming that he'd resumed some of his clothing before she headed his direction. "What was that?" she asked, unconsciously bending to rub her foot where the thing had brushed at her feet.

"Let's find out, hmm?" Kodak said, pulling out a tricorder from the pocket of the jeans he'd just pulled up over his hips. Opening the device, the Chameloid began to scan at the water's edge, the scanner happily trilling as lights danced back and forth across its opened housing. "Picking up an abundance of life forms down, algae, turtle-analogues; the normal stuff you might find in a lake, just like in the survey team's earlier report. Could be any of it. Let me see your foot," he said then, moving towards Irynya now that the woman had donned her clothing. The Captain bent himself into a crouch as she lifted one of her feet for inspection. After several moments of soft beeps, Kodak nodded and then stood, lifting one of his own feet to awkwardly scan. He balanced on one leg -- though swayed dangerously -- as the scan ran its course.

"Yep, that confirms it," the Chameloid nodded. "We both have several little bites on our feet. Not deep enough to hurt or anything," he explained, "but the tricorder is picking them up for sure. It appears," Kodak chuckled, "that some type of fish enjoys eating away at dry, dead skin. Natural exfoliators," he explained with a relieved laugh. "I'm not picking up any kind of toxins in the bites...or anything else we should be concerned about, really," the Captain admitted. "But we should probably let people know the fish are, quite literally, biting," he rasped. "I once saw a spa selling this type of treatment for six strips of gold-pressed latinum in a previous port of call. Should we start charging everyone?" Kodak smirked at the Risian.

Irynya's eyes sparked with amusement. "No. What's ours is theirs." She said this deadpan, but winked at him after, breaking the effect. "Seriously, though, don't tell Timmoz. He'd charge in a heartbeat." She glanced around then, sighing. The sun was officially up over the horizon and she was eager for a cup of coffee and something to put in her belly now that she'd enjoyed the water. "Hungry?" she asked, turning back to the Captain. "I could stand for some breakfast company if you're free."

"Timmoz' Descaling Emporium?" the Captain smirked back, flipping the tricorder closed and stashing it in his pocket again. "I'm betting he'd start up more franchises than Quark's," the man snickered as he reached down to grab and don his blue-and-black flannel shirt. And breakfast," Kodak sounded out, "sounds lovely. I'm sure Deb's got coffee and the basics on hand though she did mention the possibility of french toast this morning. Want to check out the chuck wagon then?" he asked, pointing up the incline towards the central area of camp.

"French toast," she groaned, with an exaggerated slump of appreciation. "That sounds amazing. Lead the way." With a flourish the Risian gestured to the path back to the camp and then, when Kodak moved she fell in next to him with a grin.

=/\= A Shoreleave Post By =/\=

Captain Björn Kodak
Commanding Officer

Lieutenant Junior Grade Irynya
Assistant Chief Helmsman


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