Plenty of Green
Posted on Sat Aug 10th, 2019 @ 1:06pm by Senior Chief Petty Officer Fernando De La Rosa
Mission 2: Heaven On Earth
Location: Rain Forest
Timeline: day after the birthday party
The moment they materialised in the spot Fernando had picked for them, Mona was enthralled. "Now that's a level of green I can get behind. This place is great!"
"I agree." He said looking around. It's perfect."
Mona was perfectly unfamiliar with anything that could be encountered in what remained of Brazil's once magnificent Amazon rain forest, but that was precisely why she loved it.
There were vast areas of the continent that were still undergoing reforestation, a slow transformation from degraded farmland back into primary forest, which was projected to take well over five hundred years, but Mona knew not what it once was, she saw everything from thickets to huge trees and couldn't wait to immerse herself in it.
And getting some extensive, uninterrupted alone time with Fernando wasn't bad either. She saw a trail that previous visitors had carved into the brush with machetes, and while that was no way to treat nature, it gave them a convenient path to follow. Once a few hundred metres inside, Mona knew the underbrush was going to be less dense, due to a lack of sunlight, and easier to navigate. "Have you been here before?"
"No never." Fernando answered as his head looked like it was on a swivel as it rotated from side to side taking in the beauty of the rain forest. "This is magnificent!"
While most would suffer under the oppressive heat and humidity, this was second-nature for Mona, who had spent most of her life in a tropical climate and whose body was well-adapted to it. That didn't mean there wouldn't soon be a lot of sweat, but there was plenty of water to wash that away, she was certain. She walked along the makeshift path, "This is the one thing I miss, with starship life."
Fernando followed behind her, "You forget the beauty of nature when aboard a starship. Seeing this now shows just how grand it is."
After a bit, Mona slowed down. The only signs of civilisation were the occasional shuttles flying high overhead, and through the canopy they could be heard rather than seen. She took Fernando's hand and pulled him closer. "And it's all ours for now."
His fingers curled around hers. "Yes, it is. Our own private paradise."
"Let's find a small river to camp along", Mona suggested. "And then I'll show you how to become one with the green."
"An excellent idea." Fernando agreed. "I can hardly wait to be one with the green."
Mona snickered. "It's glorious." She had to build up the expectations a little, it felt liberating for her to be the true tease again, without worry for her position aboard ship, or whether her other shipmates might lose respect for her.
Fernando nodded in anticipation. "What do I have to do?" He asked warming instantly to Mona's idea.
"Oh, you'll know when we get there", Mona said, running her finger along his chest as they walked. "Casanova."
Fernando smiled and kissed her lightly on her lips. "This is going to be a great four weeks!"
"So, tell me about this fishing rod", Mona said. "If it weren't so thin, I'd interpret it as a phallic symbol."
He looked at her, then he burst out laughing. "Mona!" He gasped. "It's has a long thin line strong enough to catch large fish without breaking. There's a hook on the end of the line that you bait to lure the fish to strike. Once it does. The rod has a lever you turn to reel the line in with your fish on it."
"That's an odd way to catch fish", Mona said. "But it does sound like it would work. How do you make sure you catch the kind of fish you want, though?"
"There's no sure fire way. Using the right bait helps but it's pretty much a crap shoot." He admitted and continued, "Any fish can strike your bait. Of course you can throw the ones you don't want back."
"So what's the advantage over getting into the water with a harpoon?" Mona asked. "Especially in warm climates?"
"A harpoon? We're not hunting whales Mona. That is serious overkill. Don't need it. Using a harpoon on these fish would shred them. There would be nothing left to eat." Fernando explained.
"I make small ones", Mona chuckled. "Think type one hand phaser as opposed to type XII array."
"How are you going to retrieve it? Attach a line to the end of it?" Fernando questioned/proposed.
"I'll show you", Mona said. "We'll have plenty of time for both ways, and try big and small fish. Good thing our pets at home don't know what we're up to."
"Indeed." Fernando agreed. "I'm interested to see just what you do." He admitted. "If they knew, we might come home to an empty tank." He chuckled at the thought.
Mona giggled at the mental image of the fish packing their stuff and moving out from their tank in tiny little air suits, which were like space suits, only they contained water instead of air, and were for navigating air. She figured a fish species of suitable intelligence and dexterity might actually come up with things like that.
Fernando chuckled as he thought the fish would form a picket line with tiny signs saying 'Mona and Fernando are unfair to fish'.
Mona enjoyed her 'cinema of the mind' for a bit longer. Then her eyes caught movement, a large black animal, lighter colour on top, and with a snout that reminded her of a stubby-nosed elephant. "Look, what are those?"
Fernando looked to where Mona was indicating. "It's a Tapir, Mona." He remarked as he watched the animal move along.
"So they are the big animals you're worried might eat me?" Mona grinned. "They look perfectly harmless to me."
"Not them, they are. But jaguars, not to mention snakes, caiman and armored catfish" He shuddered at the thought of snakes.
"Armoured catfish? Meow?" Mona grinned. "If they big enough to snack on me, they must make quite the meal."
Fernando nodded, "They can grow up to three feet long." He pointed out.
"Nice!" Mona loved the bigger animals, better to see without having to get too close. "When I go in the water, be ready to pull me out, right?"
"Of course. I will be ever vigilant in my life guard duties." Fernando assured her.
"I might actually let you tie me up under those circumstances", Mona winked. Being attached to a rope while going into the water might help.
Fernando gaped at her, "Surely you jest Mona!" Mona was full of surprises.
"How better to pull me out of the water than with a rope around my waist?" Mona asked.
"That's true." Fernando conceded. "Good point Mona."
"Get your mind out of the gutter", Mona laughed.
Fernando blushed scarlet. "Yes ma'am." He answered softly.
Mona put her arm around him and snickered. "Good. I might not have to spank you after all."
Fernando chuckled, "A fact I am ever so grateful for Mona." He looked around, "We need to set up camp. Find a place you like and we'll get it done."
"A small river?" Mona suggested. "Close to the water would be best, right?"
"A stream would be better." Fernando offered. "We don't want to be close to a source of water the native animals use as a watering hole."
"But that way we'd get to see them", Mona said, not following Fernando's reasoning.
"And them us Mona." He said patiently. "They would see us as intruders. Do you wish to be eaten? We can stay down wind of them and find a vantage point to see them."
"Do I wish to be eaten?" Mona asked. "That's a trick question, right?"
"It's a serious question. I have no desire to see you eaten Mona" Fernando replied.
"I suppose I shouldn't have told you to get your mind out of the gutter", Mona mused. "But I still think we should be were we can fish."
"We will find a river instead of a stream so we can fish. Okay?" Fernando had no desire to spend four weeks in the rainforest with a pissed off girlfriend.
"And fruit to forage", Mona said. "We might not even need to beam many supplies in that way. Okay, camp by a stream, with a river close by, I think that works."
"Fair enough." Fernando agreed. "I love it when a plan comes together."
They came by a tree that had some low-hanging fruit. Mona was wilderness-wise enough to know to scan them before biting into them, and she made a face. "Ew, those aren't any good."
"Don't worry. We'll find some fruit that we can eat." Fernando assured her, "and we'll catch some fish to fry. It will be great."
Mona smiled. "I know, barring an emergency, there's nothing that can make this not great."
"Right!" Fernando happily agreed. "Just think of the stories we'll have to tell when get back to the ship. Everyone will be so jealous!"
"Are you sure you want to share all of those stories?" Mona winked.
"Just the nature ones. Not the ones where you were nibbled on by some wild animal." Fernando quipped with a grin.
"Good", Mona snickered. "Now, show me your manly art of making camp?"
"Stand back and prepare to be amazed." Fernando replied. "I will have our tent up in no time." He assured as he got to work. Sure enough the tent was up and sturdy and Fernando turned his attention to making a fire pit so they could cook the fish they caught.
In the meantime, Mona set up the perimeter around their camp site, which meant a circle of sensors and small force field emitters that would turn away snakes, spiders, ants and any other annoying little critters, which Mona loved to watch but didn't want to be bitten by. She then tapped her combadge and said, "Computer, beam down two bottles of cold Fucking Hell." Mona's favourite beer, a brew from the Austrian town of Fucking, with the German word 'hell' meaning light in colour, appeared in front of her, and she plopped open her bottle and handed the other to Fernando.
Fernando looked around their campsite and nodded in approval. "Simply Marvelous." He observed. He took the offered bottle and nodded in approval. "Here's to four weeks in paradise."