Disclaimer: The Universe belongs to Paramount. I’m just having some fun with their toys.
By The Light of an Orange Moon
First place in the Campfire contest
“Don’t know why you can’t ever think before you do stupid stuff.” Harry trudged along the rocky path, trying to avoid the sharpest stones under his bare feet.
“How was I supposed to know the damn tree would pick today to tumble down the water fall? Ouch!” Tom yelped as a pointed rock cut into his tender foot.
“Let’s hang our stuff in this tree.” Harry mimicked Tom’s voice “It will be safer up there.”
“Stuff it, Harry.”
“That’s the problem! We have nothing to stuff. Our clothes, our shoes, our food and blankets, even our fucking combadges, down the waterfall with your ‘cute hanging tree’.”
“Shut up, both of you!” B’Elanna growled at them. “I am tired, wet and hungry; I have a headache and even in this sun I’m already feeling the damn cold in this wet suit, so don’t push your luck!”
They trudged along in silence for awhile. It was supposed to be a quiet shore leave; it had started out that way. The three of them had planned to hike and camp for three days in the low mountains of this beautiful planet. They had packed everything they needed in three backpacks, beamed to the base of the mountain and started to hike. The bright warmth of the twin suns soon had them removing the top layers of clothing and by the time they reached the top of the waterfall it was early afternoon and the heat had them down to the swimsuits they had worn under their clothes.
A natural water break had formed a small calm pool of shallow water, a peaceful lagoon to the side of the rushing river, just above the falls, the perfect place for a refreshingly cool dip. They decided they would make camp here just off the banks, right after they cooled off in the inviting water. B'Elanna scanned the water and surrounding area; satisfied with their safety, she packed away the tricorder with the rest of her gear.
At Tom's suggestion, which they all agreed was sound at the time, they hung their packs in the tree to keep the wildlife of the planet from it while they went swimming. This tree was the perfect place hanging partially over the water, thus keep any larger creatures at bay as well, that is until it tumbled over the edge, crashing down the 500 foot drop to the bottom. All their clothing and gear went down with the tree, sinking far below the surface to a depth far beyond their reach.
After a couple of futile attempts to reach the submerged packs, they started to walk down toward the beam out point, although without tricorders, they weren’t quite sure where that was.
“I’m telling you, we came up this way.” Harry insisted.
“No, I think we twisted around the side there by the river.” Tom tried to envision the path they had taken.
“We’re going this way.” B’Elanna started down the mountain, stopping when the others didn’t follow. “I said this way.”
“B’E I don’t think …”
“I’m the senior officer here, remember? I said this way.” She turned and started down again, the others reluctantly followed.
It grew dark quickly and with the sun went their only source of heat, outside of occasionally flaring tempers. The darkness made traveling all that much more difficult and they stumbled on the rocky path in their bare feet,
“Damn!” Tom yelped, falling to the ground holding his foot. “I stepped on something really sharp.”
“Hold still.” B’Elanna tried to examine his foot. “I can’t see anything.”
“Ouch, B’E, that hurts.”
“Hey, guys.” Harry crouched beside them. “I smell smoke.”
“Well, let’s see if that’s friendly fire.” B’Elanna stood up to determine which direction to go. “Get up, Flyboy, it’s only a scratch.”
“I hope it’s someone we know.” Tom hobbled along beside her.
“Who ever it is has food. I can smell it cooking.” Harry was more than a little hungry.
“And a fire Kahless! What I would give for some heat.” B’Elanna shivered in her still damp bathing suit.
As they traveled in the direction of the smoke, the clouds shifted and a round orange moon appeared to light their path. They trudged on for another ten minutes, Tom limping, B’Elanna shivering and Harry starving.
“I think I see smoke.” Harry pointed up ahead.
“Yeah, I see it. B’Elanna was showing Tom where they were looking.
She pointed to a spot that was at a considerably higher elevation, a ledge jutting out above them a half a kilometer or so away and the smoke was coming from under the overhang; maybe some sort of cave.
“Whoa, Harry, look at that!” Grinning widely, Tom pointed at the ledge, which was illuminated perfectly by the light of the moon
“What?” Harry spun around to see what Tom was gaping at. “Shit!”
B’Elanna’s mouth dropped open when she saw what they were looking at. A woman crossed to the edge of the ledge, out of the shadow of the overhang, into the moonlight. Her skin glowed white against the darkness as she stretched up as if to touch the sky; she was completely naked.
“Now that’s what I call a savior!” Tom ducked B’Elanna’s swing.
“Only you, Paris, could get in a mess like this and be save by a naked lady!” Harry laughed.
“Oh, Kahless!” B’Elanna pushed Tom into Harry. “That’s not just any naked lady. Look—er—no, don’t look.” B’Elanna collapsed on the ground laughing.
“What?” Tom watched the woman. “Oh shit! It’s not!”
“Yes, it is.” B’Elanna choked out.
“Noooo, Paris, I’m gonna kill you!” Harry sat covering his face.
“Oh, it gets better—Harry, look!” Tom tried to pull Harry’s hands down.
“Not only is that the Captain, but look who’s with her.”
Harry slowly uncovered his eyes, his mouth dropping as he watched. The Captain stood facing them on the edge; Chakotay, equally naked, walked up behind her, his golden hands reaching around to cover her milky white breasts as he bent to nuzzle her neck
“Whoa, now that’s a big man.” It was B’Elanna’s turn to duck.
“Come on, guys, we can’t just watch this.” Harry had covered his face again.
“He’s right.” B’Elanna slapped Tom’s arm. “We need to keep walking, they have food and heat.”
“We can’t go there!” Harry thought she had lost her mind.
“Look, Starfleet, we are almost naked ourselves and we have no food, no blankets and no combadges. Either we go there or we try to find the beam out and wait three days.”
“Shit, what if they’re…”
“She’s right, Harry.” Tom put an arm around his shoulder. “Besides by the looks of that, they will be long finished by the time we get there.” He pointed toward the couple kissing on the ridge, just as Chakotay scooped her up and carried her back into the shadows.
As they worked their way closer, the clouds moved in to cover the moon again. What started as a cold drizzle was a full-blown rainstorm by the time they reached the base of the trail up to the ledge. B’Elanna, wet and extremely cold, was very anxious to reach the fire; she left the others behind as she rapidly climbed the trail.
“B’E, what’s wrong?” Tom topped the hill to find her huddled on the ground.
“Shhhh.” She jerked her head toward the darkened entrance.
“Ahhh, shit.” Tom sat next to her and Harry followed. “Now, what?”
“We wait.” B’Elanna snuggled closer to Tom.
Harry covered his ears, not wanting to hear the sounds coming from the darkness. A moan, a gasp; Harry started to hum. Chakotay groaned and B’Elanna giggled. More sounds, some incoherent mumbling, a few words of love, then the Captain was saying things that made even Tom blush.
“God, I never even figured she knew that stuff!” Tom choked out.
“Please, you’re just pissed she isn’t saying that to you.” B’Elanna chuckled against Tom’s chest.
“Shut up!” Harry hissed at them.
“Why, so you can hear better?” B’Elanna whispered.
“Knock it off.” Harry covered his ears again at the sound of a deep throaty growl, which could have been either or both of them.
The three of them huddled together futilely trying to stay warm and not to concentrate on the cries from inside the cave. Time passed slowly, Tom drifted off to sleep and B’Elanna was sure she would die of the cold.
“What have we here?” Chakotay’s voice startled them. “What the hell are you doing out here?”
“Chak!” B’Elanna tried to get up but Tom was in her way.
“Get him up and bring him inside, we have a fire.” Chakotay glanced over at the cave. “Give me a minute, OK?”
Harry nodded and Chakotay ducked back into the darkness. They could hear muffled voices, certainly a lot quieter now then they were a earlier.
“Get in here.” Chakotay called out.
He didn’t have to offer twice; the three of them stumbled into the cave straight toward the fire.
“B’Elanna, put these on before you freeze.” Kathryn handed her a pair of sweats.
“What about you, Captain?” B’Elanna eyed the Captain in the darkness, wearing a light garment, which was probably Chakotay’s shirt.
“I’m fine, B’Elanna. You’re frozen.” She wrapped a blanket around B’Elanna. “Go change.”
Chakotay gave the others dry clothes and put some more wood on the fire. Kathryn made coffee, passing out the hot liquid as they returned to sit by the fire.
“Do I want to know how it came to be that half my senior staff wound up cold, wet and practically naked on my door step on my first shore leave in many months?” Kathryn calmly sipped her coffee as she watched them look at each other, then B’Elanna and Harry pointed to Tom. “I see.” She casually leaned back into Chakotay’s arms. “Mr. Paris, care to enlighten me?”
Tom hemmed and hawed a bit, then proceeded to tell them the story about the swim, the waterfall and the falling tree. He explained about the hike over here, how he hurt his foot and the bright moon giving way to the rain.
“And so, that’s how we ended up here naked.” Tom accepted a fresh cup of coffee. “How about you?”
Chakotay automatically tightened his arms around Kathryn. B’Elanna’s mouth dropped open and Harry buried his head in his hands with a groan, while they waited for her reaction. Kathryn settled back and sipped her coffee, never taking her eyes off Tom.
“Actually, Mr. Paris…” Kathryn paused, a smile breaking across her face. “I planned it that way.”
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