Four Legged Creatures
Location: Caressa's home in Montana
Timeline: the day before the Merc departs
Caressa was in the barn, mucking a few stalls and getting the mounts ready for the day. Wearing tan riding pants and muck boots with a burgundy button up short sleeve shirt. Her hair was pulled up into a pony tail. She was letting it grow. She picked her favorite filly for herself. Dived's ride she picked a older more forgiving mare. She was a sweet girl. She brushed her mane and felt the familiar velvet nose nuzzle her neck. "Ahh sweet girl, Teleea you must be on your best behavior today. Dived is different but needs his edges softened." tussling the hair between her ears as she leaned down. She blanketed her and placed the saddle on her back. Adjusting the strap and guessing on the length of the stirrups. Adair was her ride for the day, she was already prancing in her stall. "You are going to be a mess today." Adair placed her head where she could nibble at Caressa's arm as she was caring for Teleea. "Ouch! in time" rubbing the muscled neck of the Paint horse. Caressa loved her colors light brown and white with a darker tail and mane.
Dived felt the familiar tingle as he materialized inside the barn. This was his first real date with Caressa, so he had chosen a tailored pair of slacks, a nice button down shirt, and a custom leather jacket. He instantly regretted his choice in clothing when he realized he had beamed right into a pile of feces. "Just great."
Caressa turned when she heard the shimmer, she immediately lost it when Dived materialized into a warm pile of horse manure. "I am so sorry, I guess I should have been more specific about what we were doing today" Trying really hard not to laugh.
Dived became nervous, "I wanted to look good for you."
"You look fine, but I am afraid those clothes might be a bit soiled after today. You will have fun however." She grabbed him by the hand not even giving him a minute to get rid of the manure. " This is Teleea, she is your ride for the day." Caressa snuggled her head into the great beast. " I have told her all about you." The horse looked at him with her huge soulful eyes. She showed no signs that she feared the Cardassian. Dived found himself nose to nose with a horse nuzzle.
“Hello Teleea, I am Dived.” He outstretched his hand and caressed the animals soft fur. He had never seen anything like it and he was in awe of its beauty and power. “Such a beautiful creature. Are they native to this world?”
"Yes, they are. Their eyes feel like they look into your soul and know everything, how you are feeling, your mood and how to make you feel better." Kissing the horse on the nose. "Just get to know her a little. She likes her head rubbed and her neck." Caressa walked to the other stall. "This is my ride for the day, she is a bit high spirited." Caressa rubbed the Paint on the neck." "Isn't that right girl?" Caressa gave her the signal to nod and the horse nodded in agreement. " She she even agrees" then she let out a little giggle.
Dived smiled at the woman before him as he stroked Teleea as directed. She was the most beautiful, intelligent, and caring woman he had ever meant. It was no wonder that he had fallen for her. “We had nothing like this back on Cardassia. Not that I would have had time to ride them. My mother demanded that I spend all of my time studying. It allowed me to outscore all of my age group, but not a lot of time to socialize. To her, socialization was only for the gathering of information. Friends were just people who would eventually drive a knife into your back. That’s what you get with an officer of the Obsidian Order as a parent, mistrust and paranoia.”
"Well we both had times as children that were less than stellar. I say we move on to bigger and better things". Caressa had finished saddling Adair. She brought her out of the stall and secured her to the nearest hitch. "Ok its time to get on. I will demonstrate first, and its not defeat if you have to step up on the tack box to get on. " She winked at Dived. She placed her left foot in the stirrup and swung her right foot up and over. "I took a guess at the length of the stirrup for you. We may have to adjust it some." She gracefully hopped off the horse. " Ok its your turn"
Dived attempted to mirror her actions, only to find himself on the ground after he over swung and flipped over the horse. Stars came to his eyes as his skull struck the hard floor. She had made it look so easy. He could rebuild a warp core with his eyes clothes, but he couldn’t mount an animal. So much for impressing the doctor.
"Oh my god! Are you alright?" rushing to him but really trying to stop from giggling. She looked him over. "No harm done. Lets say we try the tack box this time" Helping him to his feet and brushing him off. " I promise its worth it in the end. I have been doing this since I was a little girl too." Pointing him to the tack box. Teleea did not flinch she was such a good girl.
He did as instructed and stepped onto the box before gingerly mounting the horse. This attempt almost had the same result as the first when he leaned too far to the right, but he luckily corrected himself. He was unsure of the odd feeling that came from having a powerful animal between his legs. He could feel the power below him and he was truly intrigued. This could be fun. He looked around quizzically, “Where is the accelerator and steering controls?”
"Well, the Reins are steering controls", placing them in his hands. " The stirrups are the accelerator, lucky for you Teleea listens to me. She will follow what my horse does when I signal her, even if you mess up. Just relax she will feel nervous or anxious if you do. She is my training horse. My children have been taught by her. " Caressa took her mount, Adair pranced and danced in place for a few minutes. " As you can see she is a bit excited to ride. I have not ridden in a while and she misses it. Let's start out slow." They left the barn to ride a few laps in the paddock.
The Cardassian was a sight to see, a posh dressed alien attempting to hide his nervousness as the horse made its laps. He felt his nervousness melt away the longer they rode. This was something that he could definitely get used to with time. Caressa had introduced to so many wonderful and new things over the past few weeks. She was showing him a new world and he couldn’t be happier. “Did you start riding as a child as well?”
"More like a teenager, most of my early years were on Bajor. I loved it though when we came to earth. I lived in the barn. The horses, steers, cows, baby calves, goats. It was a healing for me. Just wait the best is yet to come. Just stay where you are." The horses came to a stop Caressa opened the gate. She led both horses out of the paddock and closed the gates. She mounted her ride once again. " Now for the fun part." She started out at the light canter and moved the pace up, looking back at his eyes. "Its ok, just go with it!" She then slowed the pace as they reached the trail head. The mountains were in the background with vivid greens. "This is what I wanted to show you." The trail opened up showing all the flora earth had to offer.
He was in complete awe at the scene before him, as he had never seen anything like it before. His own world was so drab and the few planets he has seen had not prepared him for the bounty before him. There were colors that he had never seen before, not even in the nebulae far beyond where the Federation had trekked. “This is breathtaking Care, I need to being my easel down here and paint this. Words cannot describe it. Only one thing compares to its beauty.”
"Told you it was awesome." The horses basically new the trail and did their own thing. They were now side by side. "This is why I like coming here. I have a home here on earth left to me by my grandparents, one on Bajor and a small home on Betzed. I like it here best. Nothing interferes."
“Wow, I don’t even have one home. I would love to visit those places with you sometime.” He took in the fresh air around him and wasn’t sure how he felt about it. This was so alien to him, it smelled nothing like his homeworld. Nor was it anything close to the recycled air he was used to. Having dirt below him was strange enough, but these new smells were almost too much. But there was one thing that being on a planet had over ship life, there was a beauty here that no man made creation could ever match.
"Well you are welcome to any one of them." The sun streamed down on her auburn hair making it glisten in the sun. " We are riding over to that clearing." Pointing to an area that looked miles away. " There is a swimming hole. I packed suits for both of us."
Dived was instantly scared. “I, uh can’t swim.”
"Then wade in the water. " she shook her head. " Did you have any fun as a kid?
Sadness took over his face. He missed out on so much during his childhood. He couldn't help but feel jealousy towards those who had traditional upbringings. “My mother regarded fun as a waste of time. I was to focus on preparing myself to one day be of use to the order.”
The swimming hole got closer and closer until the water turned a crystal clear blue/green. Caressa tied her mount to the hitching post, it looked well worn. She then took the reins from Dived and tied his mount to the post. "Ok time for you to jump down.
She pulled a suit out of her saddle bag for Dived. She wore her suit under her clothes. Evidently she had done this before. She stripped out of the clothes and hung them over the tree branch that looked like it just grew for that purpose. "You can dress behind that bush. I promise not to look!"
He was instantly transfixed as she undressed. Caressa was truly a beautiful woman and Dived was lucky to be in her presence. He climbed down from his steed and hung a small wood pendant from the horn of Caressa's saddle before retreating behind the tree as directed. As he switched attire, he was amazed on how she had chosen a perfect fit. Dived became self conscious when he realized that he would be seen without a shirt. Most species hadn't seen a Cardassian topless and he was fearful that the doctor would be put off by his scales and raised sternum.
She ran down to the water. " Last one in is a Cardassian Vole!" She hit the water in a perfect dive, ending up further into the lake. She surfaced, looking back at Dived . "There is a more shallow spot over there! ::pointing then swimming that direction::
Dived’s approach was quite the opposite, he gingerly approached the water in what could be mistaken as fear. He was not worried for his safety but was just unsure about this unusual activity. He was raised to believe was a beverage and not a plaything. Caressa was introducing him to new sensations and he was trying to go with the flow as the humans often said. As his toes made contact with the water, he was amazed by how perfect the temperature was. His tensions dissolved as he descended up to his chest in the water. “This feels wonderful.”
" Don't come beyond this point, it drops off to deeper water" Caressa pointed out as she was treading water. She swam in closer to the shallow end where Dived was located. " I told you this was liberating. I think we are reliving your childhood the way it was suppose to be."
Dived reached out his hand to cup her face. "You have shown me how to live Care, how did I get so lucky?" The intensity in his eyes conveyed the truth of his words. Tears suddenly filled his eyes. "I didn't know happiness was possible before you."
She smiled feeling his hands surround her face. She had not ever seen a Cardassian tear up before. " I am glad that I could make a difference in your life. Did you just call me Care? I never had a nick-name before! " she was still treading water a bit as she was hanging right at the drop off.
"Do you like it?" Dived couldn't help but feel insecure around here. He cared about her so much and was worried that he would scare her off the more she learned of him. He couldn't fathom why she would waste her time on him.
"Yeah never had one before. Works for me! Are your feet touching the bottom? " She worried for a minute. She knew where her feet where, but she knew he could not swim.
Dived nodded, "Barely." He took in the surroundings once more. "It is truly beautiful here. Thank you for bringing me."
"Like I said, back to your childhood." She swam off to the other side and climbed some rocks and stood perched on the top one. " Don't look so nervous, I have done this a thousand times! " She yelled from her location. She grinned and dived off the rock ledge into the blue,green water.
An extremely wary Dived walked out of the lake and walked over to the rocks. As I made the short climb, he tried to dispel his fear with the knowledge that Caressa had just done this. He admired the beautiful lake below him once he reached the top and marveled at its clarity. With a deep breath, he prepared himself to take his first dive. He unfortunately slipped just as he was about to jump and hit his head on the rocks. A seemingly lifeless Dived fell unceremoniously into the water below.
Caressa just topped the water in time to see Dived doing a not so gracious swan dive. " Oh dear god!" She swam over to him, she pulled him to the surface of the water. " Frick!" Her comm badge was by the horses. She was glad she had basic lifesaving. She pulled his body to the edge of the lake while taking the time to make sure he was stable when they made it to the shore. She ran to the horses grabbed her comm and went back to him.
"Melanick to the Merc, two to beam directly to sick bay! "
"This is Ensign Pegram, Doc did I hear you right?"
"Ensign I suggest you get your head out of your ass, or I will remove it personally, Now two to beam directly to sickbay."
There was silence on the other end as the shimmer appeared.
Lieutenant Commander Caressa Melanick
Chief Medical Officer, USS Mercutio
Lieutenant Dived Dumet
Chief Engineer, USS Mercutio