Part of USS Sarek (Archive): Sea Lion Cave

Sea Lion Cave – 3

Dyson Sphere
September 2400
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The beaches on this inner curve of the Dyson Sphere rivalled the tranquillity of the golden Murona beaches on Trill and the natural wonders of the Piri Island coasts on Betazed.  The humidity was low and the climate meandered towards temperately warm.  The sand felt firm but forgiving underfoot throughout their jog.  The water appeared invitingly cerulean and calm, but a swim would be their reward at the end of the day.  Most importantly, the isolation was idyllic.  There were starships located somewhere overhead, but there were no visible signs of intelligent life but their own.

They made themselves known.  Kellin and Nune were both gasping for air –long ago having sweat through their indigo SAREK tank tops and running shorts– but neither of them showed signs of yielding.

“Do you think you can make it to that next outcropping?” Kellin asked, waggling a finger ahead.

Continuing to put one foot in front of the other, Kellin pumped his arms and he loosed his mind.  His presence sank through his body.  Running was a time for him to take inventory of how his body was feeling.  A time to be present in every molecule of his being; everywhere except his mind. He could assess if there was any tightness in his neck, immobility in his shoulders, pain in his back, or tightness in his hips.  Softening his consciousness, his body knew how to run.  The notion of muscle memory allowed him to run without a thought.  If he were strength training, Kellin would need to consider his form. If he were sporting, there would be a strategy to consider.  To run, he only needed to feel it.  And on a Dyson Sphere, he could run forever on a literally infinite loop.

Sometime later, Nune asked, “On the other side of the outcropping or the other side of your divorce?”

Kellin couldn’t answer for a face full of sand.  He rolled his ankle and swiftly tumbled face-first.

By the time Kellin had righted himself and sat, clutching his ankle close to his body, Nune had retrieved a water bottle from his backpack.  He took a long sip from the bottle and he handed it to Kellin.  When Kellin took a pull, Nune found a tricorder in his backpack next.  He cleared the default engineering settings and loaded the emergency medical scanners.  Nune kneeled beside Kellin and put a hand on Kellin’s knee to steady him.  He scanned Kellin’s ankle with the tricorder.

While Nune’s gaze was on the tricorder’s display, Kellin asked, “What if I do want to see what’s on the other side?”

“It confuses me,” Nune said without looking up from the tricorder.  “I can feel the way you feel about Elbon.  I feel it.”  Nune’s hand on Kellin’s knee pressed harder, the pads of his fingers stroking Kellin’s inner thigh.  “But I’ve never seen you spend time with him since you both reported aboard Sarek.  I worry those feelings are attached to a fantasy.”

Kellin said, “I’ve been seeing him more since we got divorced, strangely,” and he was able to look at Nune now.  “You haven’t seen him, because you haven’t been lurking outside my quarters at oh-two-hundred hours.”

Nune has no way to know that, only a month ago, Elbon was throwing himself off a cliff to escape a petty argument with Kellin.

Kellin has no way to know that, only two months later, he would be celebrating his promotion party by drunkenly making out with Nune.

Neither of them could guess that in too short a four months later, Nune would be surrendering himself to a Starfleet psychiatric facility, his every thought drowned out by the screams of genocidal ghosts.

Like with running, Kellin only had one thought.  One feeling.  He had no way to know what he would find on the other side with Elbon, but he knew what Nune’s hand felt like on his inner thigh.  Nune’s Betazoid empathy told him one thing too.  He knew exactly what Kellin felt when Nune’s hand wandered on Kellin’s inner thigh.

“Maybe I should have been,” Nune said impishly, but then he tapped his combadge and requested a beam-up to sickbay.