CURRENT YEAR 2391
Edward had just stepped out of the transport and sees his old friend at the docking bay.
VACATION STORY FLASHBACK (2384)
It had been nearly six weeks earlier when Edward encounter a very frustrated R’Tor. The Caitain upper classman was having difficulty passing a few piloting classes. Edward being an expert flyer offered his assistance and they became fast friends. R’Tor told Edward of his life before Starfleet and when Edward suggested a camping trip over winter break R’Tor gratefully accepted.
GO CLIMB A MOUNTAIN
R’Tor sat upon a rock with a blanket over him as he tried to warm himself by the fire. His fur was matted and wet as he sulked and bemoaned his misfortune of overturning the raft.
“Here this should help.” Edward announced as he lazily tossed another log on the fire. A cloud of embers burst free and flying in all different directions. A few embers landed on R’Tor. Before Edward could blink, the big cat showed agility he had not seen. He watched as the large cat somersaulted backward and scrambled away from the fire and ended by rolling in the dirt.
Edward let out a burst of laughter.
Luckily R’Tor’s, damp fur prevented any ignition. R’Tor was humiliated and Edwards’s laughter sent his irritation to another level. As a wave of anger washed over him, R’Tor flattened his ears against his head and let out a low growl, “R-R-R-Run…”.
Edward paused a moment not sure he understood, and was starting to wipe tears from his eyes when he noticed the attack position of his friend. His laughter was staggered “What?” He asked while trying to catch his breath.
“Run!” R’Tor snapped loudly as he launched himself into the air. All Edward saw was a bright flash of fur and was knocked to the ground. Edward rolled away from the attack. He felt pellets of dirt hitting his face as paws thumped and clawed at the ground nearby.
Edward got his feet underneath him and ran into the thick brush of the forest.
A short while later, Edward had a funny thought, this would be great motivation for the academy cross country team.
He stopped for a moment and leaned against a tree to catch his breath. Glancing back he noticed about fifty meters behind him, a white blur as his Caitain friend loped over a downed tree. Edward thought R’Tor moved fast for his size, but then again, he had not considered his friend could run on all fours. Edward pushed off from the tree and picked up the pace.
He eventually came to a ridge and almost ran off the edge. He skidded to a halt and looked down. He noticed that the drop was significant. He turned back toward the trees and listened but did not hear anything out of the ordinary. He walked along the tree line a while and waited for a signs of impending attack. Just as Edward was wondering if R’Tor had returned to the campsite, he heard a low thrumming. This sent a shiver down Edward’s back. It sounded as if something was warning him of an attack. He ducked quickly just in time as his attacker flew just over his head.
R’Tor landed less than a meter from the cliff’s edge, and his tail swished back and forth. He let out a low-pitched and curious sustained noise. Almost like he was laughing and growling at the same time.
Edward took a defensive posture as R’Tor charged. Edward kicked his leg out, in a move that caught the large cat by surprise. R’Tor tripped slightly and snarled in response. He began to circle around for a second attack, but stepped to close to the edge, and lost his footing.
Just as he set most of his weight on his back feet, the dirt beneath R’Tor’s feet diapered. He scrambled to gain his footing, but to no avail, the ground was gone and tumbling down the steep cliff side.
Edward leaped forward and landed with a thump that knocked the wind out of him, but we was able to catch his friend’s thick furry arm. R’Tor dug his feet into the loose sandstone below to keep from falling.
He felt the dirt under his hands and feet begin to loosen and feared that the entire ledge would give away at anytime.
“You’re not going to learn to fly that way.” Edward mocked. “Pull me up!” R’Tor growled in response. “Can’t, your too heavy!” Edward’s heart pounded as he pulled at R’Tors arms. R’Tor scrambled to gain a footing, but the dirt just kept falling away.
In a moment of desperation, Edward reached out and grabbed R’Tor’s tail. The cat let out a loud yelp and yowl of pain, but it was the motivation needed. R’Tor dug his feet into the loose dirt and scrambled up. He and Edward rolled away from the edge, just as the area they were hanging off gave way and fell down the cliff.
They laid side by side looking up at the sky breathing hard.
Between breaths, R’Tor attempted to apologize. “I’m sorry….I lost control…..a bit.”
With a small grin Edward responded, “Don’t worry about it.” His response was broken between breaths.
“You’ve been under a lot of pressure preparing for graduation.” Ed laughed weakly, “My guess is that you just need a vacation.”