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Paradise By the Sunset Light

Posted on Wed Feb 2nd, 2022 @ 5:50pm by Petty Officer 2nd Class Corvus Hannah [Rogers]

Mission: Pre-Launch + Pre-Mission 1 Stories
Location: Holodeck 2

[Married Crew Quarters]

Weaver approached the doors that led to the rooms she shared with Hunter. She considered it a pleasant afternoon spent with Malinda and their conversation gave her plenty to think about. She left the lounge and spent a little time walking around the ship - at least the areas she was allowed to visit. She understood there were places she couldn’t go, such as the - she forgot the word used to describe it - command center of the ship. Engineering and other areas were also forbidden to her as a non-military resident of the ship.

She was content with those restrictions however. The places she wasn’t allowed to go were places she had no reason to go to anyway. Attempting to enter those areas could lead to difficulties for Hunter. Though since they departed on this ship she was confused about her relationship with Hunter, she was still to be his wife and knew her actions would reflect on him.

As she reached her rooms, she entered the code that opened the door and stepped inside. The room was dimmer than she remembered leaving it but her eyes were drawn to a hulking figure that rose from the chair. It took several moments for her to recognize Hunter.

She became accustomed to seeing him in some form of uniform or, when not dressed as if he were working, some form of t-shirt and shorts, or sweats. Something that indicated relaxation or lounging. Except now. He wore slacks and a button down shirt, open at the collar and the sleeves rolled up, but it was still far different than his normal dress. Even his shoes were different than the boots or athletic shoes, much more sleek and shined. He’d even taken some time to comb his short hair.

“Hunter?” she asked, confused by the sudden change in his appearance.

“Weaver,” he said as he slid his hands into his pockets. In the dim lighting she couldn’t be sure, but he appeared to be blushing slightly. “I was wondering if you would go out with me. On a date.” He spoke hesitantly.

“A date?” she asked.

“Courting only without chaperones,” he answered. “It’s how many other places go about courting each other. A way for two people to get to know each other and find out if they’re a good match.” He took a hesitant step forward then back to where he started. His broad shoulders lifted in a shrug.

“But we are already matched,” Weaver said, confused by the idea. “We already know that we are to be joined in marriage.”

“Yes,” Hunter said, as he rubbed the side of his head. “I know. I know.” He pursed his lips. “But I want to know more about you. I want to get to know who you are. Let you get to know me. Before we’re married.” He turned and sat in the chair. “I thought it was a good idea when Baldwin mentioned it to me.”

Weaver continued to frown as she thought over the idea he presented. She understood courting. Back home there would be various social functions between families, church and the community where those matched, once they became a certain age, could gather together with their intended spouses. But there would always be older family members to act as chaperones and to protect purity before marriage. Under such circumstances social interaction always felt stilted and awkward. She felt as if her aunts or granny were constantly judging every word for impure content.

She knew others that would go into marriage impure, even some that were impure with those who were not their spouses. But this request of his, this ‘dating’, sounded like what she and Malinda spoke about earlier. A way to get to know each other better.

“I think that sounds like an interesting idea,” she said. “But I want to change my clothing. You look too nice to be seen with me like this.”

Hunter smiled as he looked at her. “You look beautiful. You always look beautiful.”

[Holodeck Two]

Hunter adjusted the strap of the bag over his shoulder as he entered the information for the program he created earlier. Weaver waited next to him. She still insisted she change into something less plain. Where Hunter had to actually go to the ship store to purchase the clothes he wore, Weaver found something of her own. She was young and still unmarried, before she left on the shuttle to join Hunter on the Pioneer she still lived at home with her parents. It’s where she would have lived until she and Hunter were married. She wore her church dress as the nicest one she had available.

The doors opened and Weaver’s eyes widened. “It’s the trail to Angel Falls!” she said, turning to Hunter. “How?”

He grinned at the wonder on her face. “It’s not really home,” he said. “It’s a…” he looked through the door at the trees and foliage that he remembered so well. He’d explored and hunted this area as well as taken the hiking trail to the Falls and lake like so many others in their colony. “It’s a sort of illusion. Technology. It can recreate places as long as it has the information about that place. I thought we’d go to the overlook and have dinner at sunset.”

“I love the Falls at sunset,” Weaver said breathlessly. “But we’re dressed so nicely. My shoes, your shoes!”

“That’s not a problem, it’s not real so we don’t have to worry about getting dirty and there are safety protocols that keep us from getting hurt.” His smile widened as he took her hand and led her into the room. He waited for the door to close and the arch to disappear.

“It’s so real,” Weaver breathed. She was trying to look everywhere at once. But the smells, the warmth and humidity of the trailhead was exactly as she remembered. Even the sound of birds and a slight, warm breeze through the leaves of the trees. She turned but was stopped by Hunter holding her hand. His was warm in hers and instead of looking around like she had, he was watching her. She turned away from him, conscious of his gaze on her but also aware of him watching her. She started for the trail eager to explore all that she could of this amazing room.

“Wait, wait,” Hunter said, unmoving. “Watch this. Computer,” he called out, “change location to overlook.”

While he was used to holodeck scene transitions, he still stepped closer to Weaver for her first time. It took less than a second for the environment to shift from the beginning of the trail to an overlook that was several miles into the mountain.

They were standing in the center of a wide, grassy ledge that overlooked a deep lake. At the opposite side of them was a mountain peak that featured a tall, wide bridal veil type waterfall. The air was scented with clean mist and the profusion of late spring wildflowers. Behind them was the alpine forest growing dark with sunset shadows.

Golden light spilled from behind them, painting the sky in golds and oranges. The same golden light that reflected off the falls. The effect was that of molten gold against an verdant emerald backdrop.

“Oh, Hunter,” Weaver breathed once again as she stared at the beauty in front of her. Finally she turned to him, her face lit up in a genuine and beatific smile for the first time since she’d stepped off the shuttle to join him in the Delta quadrant.

[An hour later…]

The remains of the picnic dinner Hunter put together for this date were scattered around the blanket. Hunter started to put them away and as he did it was a signal to the computer to advance the program. The sunset over the Falls progressed naturally now, the colors deepening as the light seeped from the day. He’d stopped putting food back into the pack as he laughed at a story she’d just told. She barely finished it as it caused her to giggle herself.

But as she spoke, her hand touched his forearm and then slowly slid down until her hand rested over his. Automatically he turned his hand palm up to join their fingers together. Both stopped laughing as they stared at each other. She sat in such a way that the sunset light reflected in the dark brown of her eyes, highlighting flecks of burnished copper within them.
Weaver moved closer to him feeling the heat of his body against hers. “I like this dating,” she said, wrapping her arm around his and turning her face up to his.

Afterward Hunter wouldn’t be sure if he moved in or if she had, but he would never forget that first kiss. It seemed to go on forever. Finally they broke away. Weaver, her arm still wrapped around his, leaned her head into the hollow of his shoulder. Hunter leaned back against the trunk of the tree spreading its branches above them.

“Should we go back?” Weaver asked.

“Not yet,” Hunter said, afraid he wouldn’t be able to move for some time. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer to him. Taking a deep breath he wondered how cold the water in the lake was at the moment. He wondered if it would be cold enough. “Let’s…” he took a breath, trying to shift in a way that wouldn’t be noticeable. “Let’s watch the stars for a bit before we get up…go back!” he said the last in a rush to cover up his near faux pas.

Her response was to snuggle closer to him, wrapping her arms around his chest. “That sounds like a good idea.” They remained, just lying next to each other as the last of the light faded away from the holographic sky and the first of their homeworld’s stars flickered to life. Night birds chirped among the branches around them and the artificially generated heat slowly bled to a just pleasant, warm night breeze.

But, lying here, his soon to be wife curled next to him in a way that both excited him but also worried him. He resolved that he would respect her wishes to refrain from engaging in sexual activity until after they were officially married. Her faith was greater than his, something that concerned him. Would he need to equate his faith with hers? Was that even possible while he remained a Marine? The difficulty was the kiss lingered on his lips and continued to energize his body.

“Maybe we can go on another date?” he asked.

“I’d like that, I’d like that very much,” she said. “We should also begin planning our wedding.”

“Yes,” Hunter said. “We should.” But there was something else, something that occurred to him in that moment. A gift he wanted to give her. “Look, it’s the Hunter,” he said, pointing out a constellation that was beginning to rise over the mountains. It wasn’t his namesake exactly but there was enough of a connection that he always considered it his own personal constellation. His guiding lights in the night sky.

He lost track of time but eventually they moved by mutual but unspoken agreement. Weaver helped to clear and pack away the remains of their picnic. When folding the blanket on which they sat to eat and then lie as they watched the sunset, their fingers lingered against each other and, once again, Hunter was glad for the cover. When they returned to their quarters he would need a shower. The way he felt at the moment, he was sure it wouldn’t need to be long.

Corporal Hunter Kawolski
MACO/Security officer

Civilian Weaver Boothe
Affianced civilian


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