The Pool at Night
Season 2: Episode 3: Determination is not always a good thing
Timeline: en route
Sami, not long off of her dinner with Anya Neeze, had found herself unable to sleep in the bunks, and that, as it usually did, had brought her to the pool. Stripping off her long t-shirt, she stood for a minute beside the pool in her shorts and bikini top, contemplating what to put in that bare spot on her left shoulder that broke up the art gallery that was her upper body, “Maybe a lion or something…” She thought aloud before slipping into the pool slowly, happy to find the water almost as warm as the gulf coast she grew up on.
“They’re afraid of water, I’ve been told”, Mona said, already swimming her laps. “You should be safe in here.”
Sami stepped back, deeply embarrassed now that the green woman across from her had apparently heard her talking to herself, “Oh, uh, hi.” She stammered, not sure what to do now, though leaving seemed like a feasible course of action.
“So, you’ve seen a lion?” Mona asked, knowing full well that wasn’t it but not having a clue what she’d actually meant. The green woman in the bright red one-piece bathing suit stopped her laps so as not to move out of earshot.
“Oh, uh, no.” Sami shook her head, “No, I’m thinking about adding a lion tattoo. Right here.” She said, pointing to the empty space on her shoulder, “Not set on it yet, though. Might get something else.”
“An iguana”, Mona suggested. “That would work well, I think.”
Sami laughed a bit at that, “I had one as a pet when I was a kid.” She began, “His name was Fridge, because that’s where I found him, just inside the big refrigerator at my parents’ deli in St. Petersburg. Had him from four to seventeen when he died. He was like this long….” She said, holding her arms a little over a meter apart to show the size of the lizard in question, “But, not for a tat. He’s already on here.” She indicated her left leg, where an iguana stretched from ankle to knee, wrapping around the leg, with a dedication to her lost friend at the top that read ‘Fridge ??? to 2393, Loved Always.’ “He never leaves me that way.”
“Hm, I was just thinking, the more green the better”, Mona said. “That’s what skin needs, no?” She had never been one for tattoos herself, those body modifications were a strictly male aspect of Orion culture, and had never thought about what reasons people had for getting them. “Doesn’t that always remind you of the loss?”
“Well, I can see where you’d be a fan of green.” Sami laughed, the Orion woman was a beauty for sure, if not as pretty as Anya, “And, no, it really doesn’t. It’s a constant reminder of over a decade of love and good times from the best friend I’ve ever had. Nothing sad there. Besides, I have no idea how old he was, he was fully grown and half frozen when I found him. Nursed him back to health with my mom’s help, had him for the rest of his life. Who would want to forget that?”
“Hm, I suppose, if you look at it that way”, Mona conceded. “You’re planning on turning your entire body into a work of art, from the looks of it?” Mona figured that for the next thirty or forty years, that would be feasible. But how to keep all that looking the way it was supposed to in old age?
“No, I figure I’ve got one, maybe two more, I want, then that’s it.” Sami replied, “Fridge was my first, I figure at some point I’ll add the Starfleet logo with the names and registry numbers of the ships I serve on, not sure what else.”
“Hmm, pick the other leg, just in case”, Mona suggested. “Might end up being a fairly long list by the time you’re ready to retire. You’re what, twenty?”
“Nineteen, actually.” Sami said, swimming over to the other woman, “My name’s Sami, Sami Justice. You are?”
“Mona, Mona Lott. And yes, my mother has a particular sense of humour”, Mona grinned.
“Mine named me after my dad, figuring I was going to be another boy.” Sami shrugged, “In her defense, all four of my brothers were.”
“I think that’s mostly in the nature of brothers”, Mona replied dead-pan.
“I guess so.” Sami giggled, “So, you have any?”
Mona shook her head. “I’m an only-child. But I did pay attention in biology class.” She grinned. “I know all about the nature of boys… and men.”
“Not sure if that’s good or not.” Sami replied, “I guess I can’t complain too much, my brothers weren’t that bad. A little rough, not really into girly things, but they never excluded me from any of their stuff, so it was okay.”
“We can’t miss what we’ve never known”, Mona said. “I wouldn’t want a bunch of brothers, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be an only-child.” She resumed swimming, she was getting a bit cold without moving about. “Come, let’s do a few laps.”
“Awesome idea.” Sami said, falling into place beside Mona, “But you’re wrong about one thing. There were plenty of times when I wanted to be an only child. Happens when you’re the fifth child in a house with two bathrooms.”
Mona laughed. “That doesn’t count. Those aren’t serious desires.”
“You ever had to pee while your twin fifteen year old brothers are prepping for dates in both bathrooms?” Sami asked between strokes, “Trust me, it’s serious.”
“You didn’t have a garden?” Mona asked. “I mean, it not that hard doing it outdoors.”
“Mrs. Kenworthy would’ve loved that.” Sami laughed, remembering her old, nosy neighbor, Sandra Kenworthy, who lived right on the other side of her garden fence.
“Oh, I see. Yes, with pervert neighbours…” Mona shook her head. “People these days.”
“She wasn’t really a pervert, just a busybody.” Sami said, then realized, “So, just a lucky guess, your neighbors lived more than twenty five feet from your house, huh?”
“A few miles out at least”, Mona said. “Miles is right, in your system?” Some older books she had read about military tactics, small unit combat and the like had used feet, and she thought she remembered miles being more than that. “I’m from Risa, we had a cabin in the mountains as a retreat from all the tourists. Tourism was work, some space to ourselves was our luxury.”
“Miles?” Sami gasped, stopping dead in the water, “Okay, in my neighborhood we had like a hundred families in the space of like five blocks, which was basically half a mile. Mrs. Kenworthy could get a cup of coffee from my mom without having to leave her house or mom having to leave ours. And the deli was at the bottom floor of our house.” Whether she knew it or not, Mona had apparently had the life of a Queen, at least by Sami’s standards.
“So, starship life, except not on a starship?” Mona wondered. There was far less space around these parts, and always people wherever Mona went.
“Basically.” Sami nodded, treading water, “Got worse once the deli started staying open late. My uncle, Jerry, he came in an ran it overnights, we’d have people coming in and out twenty hours a day…”
“Twenty, that’s a lot”, Mona admitted. “That left… seven?” She couldn’t remember how many hours there were in an Earth day.
“Four actually.” Sami corrected, “But, yeah, it was a lot. Cramped my style bad.”
“I can imagine”, Mona agreed. “I do miss the outdoors but we get to do a lot of fun things here, too. Can’t have it all, sadly. Not unless Starfleet starts building starships the size of planets, anyway. Well, small moons at least.”
“That’s no moon.” Sami laughed, “It’s a space station.”
“Exactly. Except, something that moves. Explore other worlds from your own. Wouldn’t that be amazing?” Mona said. “Something for the engineers to figure out, in case they get bored.”
“I’ll get Gallia on it right away.” Sami, only half jokingly, pledged.
“Oh, the one with the sexy accent?” Mona asked.
“That’s the one.” Sami nodded, “You should hear her when she starts talking to Ens. Hoffman, you get the accent in stereo.”
“That might just be a bit too much for me”, Mona winked.
“Unless you like a challenge.” Sami shrugged.
“I do, but it’s usually a different kind”, Mona smirked. She dove, grabbed Sami’s ankle and pulled down on it. Then, quickly, sped off in the direction of the opposite end of the pool.
“Oh, HELL NO!” Sami gasped, speeding off behind Mona, fully intending to have a handful of whatever she could grab as quickly as she could. Catching up fast, she dunked the pretty Orion’s head under the water for a fraction of a second, taking off in the opposite direction just as sure as she knew Mona’s locks were sufficiently soaked.
Mona pushed herself off with her legs at the edge of the pool to gain a speed boost in order to catch up to the younger girl. She figured, if she could grab both ankles… She’d just have to be careful to avoid getting kicked by accident.
Sami knew Mona was going to be trying to catch her again, but what Mona didn’t know is that Sami grew up swimming in the powerful currents of the Gulf of Mexico and had speed to burn. She feinted left, then turned hard right, trying to power past the Orion and put herself behind the green woman for another attack.
Mona had agility on her side, she easily turned around to face Sami again. She couldn’t swim circles around the girl but she could at least protect her rear. “You’re a good swimmer”, she had to admit. But Risa had left her mark on Mona, and she dove. Under water, with the ability to hold her breath for a fairly long time, she figured she’d have a definite advantage over someone with a bulkier build.
The green woman was fast, almost too fast, and Sami knew she’d be running down sooner than her opponent would, built for power as she was. She stopped for a millisecond, then backstroked in the opposite direction, it would buy her some time at least.
Mona came back up for air as soon as Sami was out of range, it paid to replenish the supply. Could she herd her into a corner? It was worth a try, and so she picked up the pursuit.
It didn’t take a tactical officer to know Mona’s next move, trying to corner her only made sense, it was the only way to end this. So she sat against the corner, only a couple feet out, waiting...
Mona decided to approach from below. She knew she couldn’t drag her down like that, not while she could hold on to the edge of the pool. But she attempted something different. She took hold of both ankles, to immobilise Sami’s feet, then playfully bit her big toe.
Nothing makes you stronger, faster, than being bitten. Sami was able to free herself from Mona’s grasp nearly instantaneously, going over top of the Orion and playfully swatting her butt cheeks with as much force as could be mustered underwater, which wasn’t much, and floated there behind her, laughing.
Mona came back up and turned towards her. “You’re more agile than you look. I’m impressed.”
“I know I look like a cinder block, catches most people off guard.” Sami smiled, “Thank you.”
“So, you’re in security? Or heavy construction?” Mona asked.
“Nope.” Sami laughed, she thought Mona already knew, “Engineer. I’m on Ensign Sexy Accent’s damage control team.”
“Oh. You won’t tell her I said that, will you?” Mona asked.
“She might go for you.” Sami shrugged, she didn’t know a lot about Gallia’s romantic life, by not a lot, she knew nothing. She knew things between Liorga and the Doctor were going well, but she wasn’t yet as close to Gallia, “But, no, I’ll keep quiet.”
“Good. One has to be careful around officers”, Mona said. “Trust me on that one.”
“Duly noted.” Sami nodded, Mona’s words serving as a reminder that not all officers were like Gallia, “Though Gallia isn’t really one you have to be too careful with. Still, good to maintain the cautious approach, I suppose.”
“Maybe that’s something you learn more quickly as an Orion”, Mona offered.
“I guess.” Sami agreed, it hitting her only then that growing up Orion must be pretty tough, “I guess being everybody’s desire must start to suck after a while, huh? Especially if you get that one guy that can’t control himself.” She paused, remembering back to the one and only guy who had gotten that way with her, one Kyle Fleihr, who had tried to force Sami to kiss him. She’d responded by breaking his wrist and left orbital socket.
Mona shook her head. “No, not a big deal at all. I have ways. But I can’t use them with officers, I’d get into trouble.”
“Wow.” Sami said, not sure exactly how to react. The fact was she was as green as Gallia and didn’t have the experience with Starfleet, or with life, that Mona obviously had, “Guess you’ve learned plenty of tricks over the years, huh?”
“Heh, when you get to be my age...”, Mona said in an old woman’s voice.
That caused Sami to laugh out loud, “Okay, Grandma.” She said, “So, I think I’m good to sleep now. Maybe one more lap?”
“No, you’re right. Bed sounds good.” She pushed herself out of the pool and went for her towel. “Need to shake that taste of cheese I’ve got in my mouth for some reason…”
“Yeah, well, if you brushed more often you wouldn’t have that.” Sami playfully deflected the jab, “Oh, and enjoy spending the next twenty minutes drying your hair.” She rubbed her already dry crop and laughed, tying her towel around her waist.
“You haven’t heard of the brilliant sonic hairdryer?” Mona wondered. “Hm, I suppose you don’t need it. It’s very useful for me, though.”
“You didn’t know those things are making people go bald?” Sami joked, though she kept her expression serious, “Doctor Hertz was telling me about it not long ago.” She decided to get the Doctor in on the joke first thing in the morning, knowing what she knew about her personally and through Gallia and Liorga she had precisely the right sense of humor for this kind of prank.
“No, they’re not”, Mona shook her head. “Silly girl, they’re perfectly safe. The Ferengi wouldn’t be selling them otherwise.”
“Yes, because clearly we can trust the Ferengi.” Sami laughed and rolled her eyes, “Anyway, this was fun, we should do it again some time. Good night!”