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Water Like a Stone

Posted on 10 Feb 2019 @ 7:52am by Lieutenant Gabriel Walker
Edited on on 10 Feb 2019 @ 10:26pm

Mission: Prologue
Location: Babylon planet
Timeline: prior to reporting

Dawn was an hour past and, having writ its poetry across the sky, settled into the business of early morning. Though he'd been awake since the onset of the same type of false dawn found on M class worlds the galaxy over, Gabriel Walker wasn't quite ready to leave camp yet. The temperate forest setting was more than he expected, with the morning humid, but cool. The kettle bubbled over the fire, nearly warm enough for another pot of tea while he finished cooking breakfast.

Breakfast was the luxury food he was allowing himself. Eggs, bacon, thick slices of an Italian style bread with softened butter. The weight would be considered by many backpackers to be exorbitant as they made their own trails through wilderness not completely explored – where trails were only those he found made by local fauna. But, despite the uncommonness of having real eggs, a cold pack to ensure the bacon didn't spoil and packets of tea, Gabe found himself relaxing more – enjoying the solitude even more – because of this small, morning luxury.

Water was easy enough to find, his destination followed small mountain streams, fed by the sweeping rains that often came through the area. Between purification tablets and a good boiling, he failed to fear for illness from the water. Enough so that he would be able to fill his water bladders with a good supply of the brewed beverage.

He stretched out his legs and he leaned back against a rock covered in thick, dew dampened moss. The warmth of the fire wasn't strictly necessary to stay warm, but he enjoyed it nonetheless. Just as he enjoyed sitting by it in the darkness before he rolled himself into the tiny tent, barely large enough to cover his form. He listened to the sounds of animals in the unfamiliar forest and found himself able to set aside the majority of his thoughts.

It took some time but somewhere between the third and fourth hour of his hike – once he'd finally cleared security of DS13 and filed his final report on the arrest of Tomarov and then cleared his way through the planet's administration and was able to present his final documents and allowed to head out into the planet's biosphere – he finally found the tensions he normally held melting away. He had the pack on his back but he found himself feeling lighter than he had in weeks.

That there were none around for miles at that point, the voices that flowed through his head, lessened considerably by that point was a definite contributing factor. He continued for miles longer, until the sun's leading edge skimmed the mountains and case the world all around him in cool shadow before stopping to make camp. Though “making camp” in this sense was really a term of arm. It consisted of the few minutes it took to set up the tent, lay out a fire ring and coax the collected firewood to catch flame and bring out a dehydrated food pack to prepare once the stream water was sufficiently boiled.

He chose the widened hollow in several trees in order to best enjoy the benefits of the terrain. A wide swath of unobstructed sky which would allow for late night stargazing, an easy, mossy carpeted path to the meters away stream, but also covered enough in case a stray rain shower came in the night. The tent was sealed against the elements, rated much lower than he should experience here on the planet, but it would be nice to ensure he woke up and had only to worry about letting the tent dry of morning dew rather than midnight showers.

His breakfast was nearly ready – the bacon cooked to a crisp, but not ruined into a crunch. The eggs neatly flipped so there would still be a bit of runny yolk to sop up with bread. The aroma of the tea wafted from the pot. He'd already toasted the bread and slathered it thickly with butter, letting it soften so it would mix nicely with some jam. Perhaps he cooked one egg more than necessary, cut the slices of bread thicker than he should or maybe packed and cooked more bacon than the station's doctor advised was good for him, but the hearty meal would be appreciated as he continued his hike upstream, heading toward a notch in two mountain crests. His only goal? The view of the other side. He figured he had enough time over the next three days to find a path to make the summit and see the other side. Then, if time permitted, he intended to do naught more than spend his remaining leave time stationed on that summit and look out from the crown of the world. Nothing more complicated than this.

So, he gave himself permission to malinger for a bit over breakfast if he desired. Soon enough he'd have to be back to safety drills, patrols, hailing frequencies and...though not a complaint but a consequence of the choice he made to make Starfleet his career and life...shut up with too many voices constantly running through his head. What were a few hours given to the quiet white noise of an unspoiled and untamed forest in the face of what he'd return to when his leave was over and it was time, once again, to report to duty.

Not to mention, much as he loved his job and what he did, these days allowed for another luxury which he rarely allowed himself. Not a single stitch of uniform to be worn for these days.

Lieutenant Gabriel Walker

Starfleet Security (pending assignment USS Mark Miller)

​​​​​​​On Leave


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