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SD241901.08 || Joint Shore Leave/Pre-Arrival Log || "Tony & Mira Take on Sal'kiir" [9/12]

Posted on Tue Jan 8th, 2019 @ 7:27am by Lieutenant Commander Anthony Manelli & Lieutenant Commander Mirabella Basso

Mission: Once More Unto The Horizon
Location: The Planet Sal'kiir, Omega Fleet Territory

"It does appear to be a well-traveled road," he admitted. "And you're right - it's a beautiful day and I'm walking with the most beautiful woman I know so what more could I ask for?"

=/\= The Continuation...

Mira laughed warmly, feeling...light. The moment was all rather delightful, with the beautiful trees lining the hard-packed dirt road they walked along and the flash of green and blue from the leaves of those trees, purple flowers filling the ground-crawling plant the wound its way around and between the trees. Everything gave the feeling of calm and coolness, with even the sun--which had blared so obnoxiously through their hotel window--being somewhat muted but still bright coming through the canopy.

After they had walked a little while longer, Mira heard something...strange.

She stopped in the road and started looking around. Turning her head over her shoulder, she saw something that made her brown eyes widen. "Holy fuck," she said with a laugh. "Is that...a horse and carriage?"

Tony had been looking at the trees alongside the road when he heard her exclaim. Hearing the sound of an approaching vehicle he turned and looked behind them. "If those are horses they don't look like the horses I've seen on Earth."

The horses were...somewhat equine, although not at the same time. Mira didn't really know what else to compare them too, however, but she thought there was a look that they might be able to swim very well as much as move on land. It was fucking weird is what it was...

"Hello, there," the driver of the wagon--a male Water Sal'kiiran--greeted as he pulled the wagon up alongside them. "Are you headed for town?"

"We are," Tony answered. "If you're going there, may we ride with you?"

"Sure," the man said affably. "But you've got to ride in the back."

Mira flashed the driver a smile. "We appreciate it. We've been walking for a while and were worried we'd gotten lost!"

The driver chuckled. "You stayin' in one of them cabins?" Mira nodded. "The village is a bit of a walk, though not too bad when the weather's nice." He nodded back to the wagon bed. "Get in."

The pair walked around to the back and found that the back of the wagon was already occupied...with three barrels and three children, looking roughly from six to eleven, as best Mira could guess the age of a child. She smiled at them and opened the wagon gate. "Looks like we're riding with you guys to the village."

"Get on in, then," the oldest, a girl, said with a friendly but guarded smile.

Tony helped Mira up into the wagon, then climbed up and, after closing the gate, settled himself beside her. He looked around at the others, then asked "You folks live around here?"

The Sal'kiiran woman sitting beside the driver--presumably the wife and mother of the children?--looked back and nodded. "Not far from here, no," she said. "We have a farm just a ways past the cabins that get rented out, and we bring our crops to the village for sale. Which is where we're headed to now."

"A farm?" This had caught Tony's interest. "My grandparents had a farm in Italy on Earth. They grew grapes to make wine. If you don't mind my asking, what do you grow?" From what the woman had said, he figured that the barrels probably contained what they had raised on their farm.

"There is no direct word for it in your Federation language," the wife said, "but we've heard them called a combination of...apples and squash?"

"That sounds interesting..." Tony said, trying to be as diplomatic as possible. Privately he didn't think it sounded very appetizing at all.

Mira thought she could read Tony's thoughts on his face, and she had to stifle a giggle of her own. "Are they popular? Something like an apple, we would use to make sweet foods. Like desserts. Is it the same for these?"

The woman shook her head. "No, these are not very sweet. They are more something made to go with a main meal," she replied.

As they rode and bumped along the road, the children seemed perfectly contented to entertain themselves and not bother their guests and it seemed like not much time at all before they reached the village and the farmer was pulling to the side of the road.

"Here you go," the driver said affably.

Tony got down then helped Mira down as well. Once they were both on the ground, Tony walked to the front of the wagon and offered his hand to the man. "Thank you for the ride. Do we owe you anything, sir?"

The woman waved a faintly-glittering hand. "Not at all," she said. "We were heading this way anyways. Enjoy your visit!"

With that, the farmers and their wagon rode off.

Mira watched them move down the road into the village, smiling and shaking her head. After a moment, they began walking and were soon treated to a better view of the place they headed to...but Mira struggled to wrap her head around it. "I think I read about this in a book somewhere," she commented with amusement. "I mean... Have we gone back in time? This doesn't look like a warp-capable world that just joined the Federation."

Because arrayed before them was a village that may as well have been ripped out of a historical textbook about Earth's medieval age, or maybe a human village from a Tolkien novel. Things were all wood and thatch and stone, with those equine creatures towing wagons, being ridden, or left tied up outside the various old-style buildings lining the wide dirt road.

"It IS different" he agreed. "It almost seems as if each region has it's own totally different environment in some places. It makes me wonder what will we find if we get a chance to visit the Air Region tomorrow? Antique aircrraft?" He laughed but it was really only half in jest.

Mira laughed. "I guess we'll find out," she said. "The brief about the planet did say that all the regions outside the cities tended to be a bit more old world, but I had no idea any of them would be this old world."

"It looks like it's straight out of the Tales of King Arthur," Tony said as they continued to approach the village. "You almost expect to see knights in armor along with archers, jousting, and everything else that went with it."

"I wonder if we will," she said with another laugh. "You know, I love to read. And fantasy has always been a particular favorite. This is kinda awesome for me, you know? It's like walking straight into one of my books. Who knows? Do you think we might even see--"

From her mouth to the universe's ears, it seemed.

Ahead of them sat a child, an older child, perhaps around twelve. They were sitting with a shallow bowl of water in front of them, dancing their fingers over it to pull spouts of water up, make them dance, then drop back with a splash. Mira watched him for a moment in fascination.

He noticed them and looked up with a smile, large blue-green eyes playful in that way that only youth can be, and his skin glittering in the sunlight. "We've been seeing many visitors these days," he said amiably.

Tony watched them, almost mesmerized by what they were doing. He'd never seen anything like that before. "There are many of us from the Federation that are vacationing here on Sal'kiir," Tony said. "My girlfriend and I have been here for several days and have thoroughly enjoyed it so far." He then indicated what they were doing with the water. "How do you do that? Is it a ritual of some sort?"

The boy laughed easily. "Not at all," he said. "I'm just playing." He flicked his wrist and sent a stream of water high overhead before bringing it back down at a controlled fall. "All Sal'kiirans can manipulate the elements, though we are all strongest in our native element. I am Water, so best with water. And stronger yet when in my native region." He smiled at them, looking like he'd explained this a few times already. "I cannot create it, but with it before me, I can manipulate it."

"This is our first visit to your village" Tony said. "Is there any particular place that you would recommend that we visit while we're here?"

"Hard to say," the boy replied, staring at the water as he made it spin into a vortex. "I live here, so nothing is that interesting to me. But others like you seem to like the food down at the inn. And the can'al'la are in bloom just outside the western edge. Those are pretty."

"What do you think, hon?" he asked Mira. Maybe a stop at the inn first? It *is* getting on toward noon. Then maybe a walk in the flowers afterwards?"

"Sounds good to me," Mira said with a smile. She turned to the boy. "Have fun!" He smiled back, and she took Tony's hand to walk down the road.

As they walked along, Tony could hardly believe that the Sal'kiir they were seeing here were members of a warp-capable society that had approached the Federation about membership. There were horses and wagons being used for transportation and commerce, homes with thatched roofs, and buildings that resembled something out of Earth's middle age. "Quite different than what we saw in the city, isn't it?"

Mira couldn't help thinking something very similar. It was as if they were on an Earth where multiple time periods existed all at once. "The city was like the Artemis, or some other modern planet you'd find," she agreed. "But this is something else...I like it, though. This is pretty cool."

"It is," he agreed. "I've often wondered what it would have been like to live back in those times. This may give us a chance to actually experience it." He suddenly had a thought and chuckled slightly. "As long as there are no fire-breathing dragons I'm good."

"So far as I can tell, they only live in the desert," she replied. Only half-joking, really. She glanced at some of the 'horses' they were passing and added, "Although I'm half-surprised these guys don't have a horn, or wings or something."

"Unicorns or Pegasus I can deal with..." Tony said as they continued to walk down the street. He had been looking as they walked, trying to figure out where the inn was that the boy had told them about. He had not told them the name of the inn - or even if it had a name. "Do you see anything around here that looks like it might be an inn?" he asked Mira.

"I'd honestly be surprised if this place had more than one inn," she commented. She peered at the buildings on either side of the street until she saw one that actually had a wooden sign hanging over the door. The picture on the wood wasn't of something she recognized, but she had a good guess, based on her extensive reading. "I'm betting that one," she said, pointing to the sign and leading him that way.

When they walked in, it was immediately clear that Mira had been right. Along one wall was a bar with stools in front of it and tables scattered throughout the rest of the room. Against the opposite wall was a stairway that led up to what he figured was either the innkeeper's quarters, or perhaps rooms for lodging - or maybe both for all he knew. There were only a few patrons scattered around and from somewhere in the back came a very good smell of something cooking.

"Are you hungry, love?" he asked.

"I am," she said. It had been made fairly clear in the past few days that Mira had more than her share of several appetites. "I don't see someone handling seating, so let's just find an empty spot and hope for the best?"

"Yeah I think you're right," he said as he led her to a table near the window. "Why don't we sit here so we can watch the world go by," he said.

The pair of them sat down and looked out the window, enjoying the view until a young woman came over to tell them what the inn was serving. The choices were few, but they all sounded good, so it wasn't hard to order. Availing themselves of the local ale on offer, they soon had two mugs in front of them.

=/\= To Be Continued...


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