Getting Away From It All
Mission 4: Letting the Hair Down
Location: Risa - Remote Mountain Retreat
While the counselor was good at her job, she was shy when it came to dealing with others outside of a professional atmosphere. Strangely, being a counselor, she had the ability to see her unhealthy behaviors, even if it was difficult for her to adjust. Lillia even knew why it was difficult for her to reach out, to form bonds with others. It was left over trauma from being smuggled off of her world, then being held captive by mercenaries for her first year away from the colony.
As a result, she tended to keep people at arm’s length. Putting up walls and barriers made it easier to stay calm in stressful situations, and far easier to accept loss. It was a pattern of behavior that she knew that she should break, so she had stepped out on a limb and invited some of her fellow crew to join her at the remote nature retreat. Perhaps she could build some bridges with the crew. Though, when people normally had to see the counselor, they did so grudgingly. And under orders.
Lillia was standing near the small landing platform that was surrounded by towering evergreens, and served the remote resort village that she had chosen to invite a few of her crew-mates to, awaiting their arrival. It was early in the morning, and the small, intimate community was busy with activity as locals set up small stalls along the main road. Some were filled with handmade clothes, equipment, and fanciful knickknacks, while others filled the air with all of the smells of breakfast, sweet and savory alike.
Vriha watched the landscape as the shuttle landed. It certainly looked lush, but her eye was tracing geological features that spoke to the line between terraformed and natural. As they set down, she tried to put those calculations aside; she'd wanted to examine the weather control system and seismic regulator technology, but Eilaea had advised (probably correctly) that a Romulan asking questions there might be met with suspicion. The main resort areas also seemed fraught with potential trouble - she had no clear idea what jamaharon was, but knew enough to prefer avoiding such invitations. She wasn't normally one for joining this sort of excursion with other crew, but after the incident with the XO and sacred rocks on the last shore leave, it seemed better to not explore on her own.
Statzia stepped off the small transport from the main resort. Her usually-braided hair was piled on her head and bound down by a bright scarf. She paused to adjust the knapsack on her shoulder before making her way over to the counselor.
It seemed a nice enough area, Vriha thought as she stepped out of the shuttle. The scent of food from the stalls was especially appealing. It had been some time since she'd had anything fresh made. "Are we going to stop for breakfast here or is there something waiting at the resort?"
Statzia smilled, encountering Vriha as she crossed the landing pad. "Even if they have breakfast at the resort, you'll want to try one of these." She gestured to her head to a vendor stand with fried bread being dipped into a warm glaze.
"They do smell good," Vriha said and handed a credit chit to the vendor. When a piece was handed back in a small bag, she opened it, then looked around. "How does one eat it? I do not see any utensils."
Eilaea was staring at her own piece, handed over a moment later, with the same puzzlement, then spotted a container of small sticks that some nearby were using to stir beverages. "Maybe we're meant to spear it with these...." She grabbed a pair of them and handed one to Vriha, looking down at things dubiously. "Though you would think then they would be sharper."
"Oh, wait, I think I know what these are." Vriha grabbed a second one and arranged them crosswise in her fingers. It took a couple tries, but she managed to scissor the fried dough between them and picked it up triumphantly. "I believe they are called 'chopsticks'."
"Most of the 'chopsticks' I've used have been a bit longer...Though, those were for things other than bread; possibly a variation." Eilaea grabbed a second stick for her own use as well.
Statzia laughed, carefully pulling one of the sweet breads out of the bag with her fingers. "You're not supposed to eat it with...chopsticks."
Vriha's lips pressed together trying to suppress, or at least contain, the 'Ewww' reaction to the woman touching food with fingers - that she hadn't even washed recently! She pushed the image firmly out of her mind so as to not ruin her appetite. "Nevertheless, chopsticks work perfectly well," she said, and nibbled a small bite.
Statzia bit her lip to contain the giggle, not wanting to offend the two Romulans. "So, shall we go check into our rooms?"
Vriha entered the 'cabin', if it could be called that, with a sense of disbelief. It was little more than an open frame with a roof. She walked to the middle of the area and looked around, frowning. "This can't be right," she said. "I saw beach cabanas that offered more shelter and privacy."
"At least on Risa, we won't have to worry about insect bites or rainstorms to disturb our sleep." Statzia smiled as she plunked her duffle bag on one of the cots before sitting to test out the mattress. "Besides, falling asleep in one of those beach cabanas isn't so bad."
Eilaea looked equally as concerned as Vriha. "....So. We'll have to take shifts on guard, then." She frowned further. "Difficult for one to cover the entire area with so many angles of approach, though."
Statzia raised an eyebrow. "Take shifts? I thought we were here for some relaxation and spa time."
Vriha raised an eyebrow back. "That was the assumption. However, I do not see how anyone could relax is a strange place that's so..." she looked around uncomfortably at all avenues of observation and attack, "...open."
"I could call up to the ship, ask somebody to beam down with a sedative in a hypo..." Statzia said, somehow managing to keep a straight face.
"You'd have to let an assailant get very close to use that on them." Eilaea said with mild distaste. "A ranged weapon would work much better, given the layout. Or better still, perhaps we can speak with the proprietors, request accommodations with....walls." This last was said in such a tone as she had clearly never thought in a million years she would be having to request that a room meant for sleeping and relaxing in come with such.
"I was going to request the sedative for the two of you." Statzia chuckled, kicking off her single boot and laying back on the cot. "So, who exactly is this mystery assailant we should be concerned about?"
"If we knew what trouble would look like, it would make keeping watch much easier," Vriha replied, ignoring the suggestion about sedatives. You'd think someone who had just lived through a surprise Borg attack would have some sense that danger could come suddenly and in unexpected forms. She looked around at the open area, and through it, then over at Eilaea. "The spa building has walls and I read in the brochure that they have private mediation rooms. Perhaps we could ...appropriate... one for our stay."
"And leave the peg-legged cripple to fend for herself? You'll do no such thing." Statzia chuckled, reaching over to the table between the cots. "Besides, it appears that the counselor has our itinerary packed enough, you'll be grateful for the bed to sleep in." She extended the schedule to the Romulans. "First up--mud baths in thirty minutes."
"If you remain, that is your own choice. I am under no obligation to stay because of you poor judgment," Vriha replied. "Or to follow this strange itinerary." She frowned, brows drawing together into a V. "Why would anyone but a Tellarite bathe in mud?"
"For the health benefits, of course!" Statzia sat up, swinging her leg over the edge of the bed. "But it works the best with the most amount of skin exposed."
"No." It was simple statement, but firm as plasma hardened duranium. "I have no interest in exposing my skin to mud, in whole or in part, nor to the eyes of strangers with the questionable judgment to take mud baths. There is a limit to cultural experience. I believe it would be best for us," she nodded toward Eilaea, "to return to the main resort."
“I believe I must concur.” And Eilaea said with perhaps a bit more diplomatic grace. “Or at least find an alternative activity to the...mud baths.” The last words were quite dubiously toned; imagining herself somehow immersing herself in mud the way her daughter splashed in puddles or came home covered in dirt after a day’s adventures.
Statzia managed a smile. "We can try something different." She picked up the spa brochure, looking for something more Romulan-friendly. "They have facials, or hot stone massages."
Vriha was still inclined to leave - the open hut thing they were in did not bear thinking about for overnight - but this was meant to be an exercise in building connections with other crew. She had assumed that on a 'nature retreat' that would be hiking, hunting, and orienteering, but though it evidently was not, they should nevertheless make some effort.
She took the brochure from Statzia and looked it over.
Massage - strangers putting their hands on her body. No.
Facials - strangers putting strange substances on her face. No.
Body wraps - strangers binding in strips soaked in strange substances. Definitely not.
Manicure - strangers doing things to her hands. No.
Pedicure - strangers doing things to her feet. Eww. Hard pass.
She flipped though, searching for something,, anything, that didn't make her inwardly cringe.
"Ah! Here." The response was almost triumphant. "They have a mediation room with an oxygen bar. I have heard of that - doses of increased levels of oxygen are supposed to stimulate energy levels and awareness, as well as reducing stress. Let's do that."
Statzia smirked. A spa day with the Romulans, and she would be meditating. Here's to diplomacy, right?
Lieutenant Vriha t'Ehhelih
Science Officer, USS Orion
Centurion Eilaea t'Keirianh
Operations Officer, USS Orion
Lieutenant JG Anastatzia Liski
Chief Operations Officer, USS Orion