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Cassandra Mason: Sand Slipping Through Fingers

Dr. Cassie Mason

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The low, ever-present strum of the engines was as familiar to Nurrac as the whistling of his childhood home. Strong winds would batter the desert house and made the windows whistle a steady low tone throughout. A tone that the Vulcan appreciated as a senseless comfort when he was young and just grasping the meditation techniques that would follow him into adulthood. Even now, several decades older, the lulling purr of traveling at a steady Warp 3 served as suitable accompaniment to his nightly routine. 

Kneeling on the floor of his quarters in the traditional leshriq position, the low humming was easily felt beneath the metal sheet plating. Pinkies and thumbs formed interlocking rings while the rest of his fingers touched their mirrored counterpart at the tips. Resting back on his heels, Nurrac breathed in the sweet and earthy aroma of the incense lit nearby. A scent from home that he’s been told resembles that of an Earth forest. 

In a senseless moment of nostalgia, he allowed himself to reminisce on his most recent journey home. The sun beating down on Lake Yuron during uzhaya wak-krus welcomed the cadets and senior officers on vacation. The rampant crowd of sightseers unaccustomed to the high heat and strong winds. All of them ill-equipped for the blowing sands, human sunglasses doing little to shield their delicate eyes. 

“Sorry,” his fellow crewman, Ensign Balaskas he recalled, had said after getting shoved into Nurrac. “I wasn’t expecting it to be so busy.”

“No apology necessary, Ensign” Nurrac had replied, instinctively steadying Balaskas with his off hand, placing it at the small of the other man’s back. 

“You said you grew up near here, right?” He had asked as Nurrac guided them through the throngs of tourists, craning his neck to look up at the taller man. “How about you be my guide?” 

“I had not made any plans…” Breaking away from the crowd, Nurrac retracted his hand and returned it to his side. “Were there any attractions you were particularly interested in?”

“Let’s start with some local cuisine,” the Ensign suggested, looking around with wide eyes, completely engrossed in the allure of the bustling shopping district. “It’ll be my treat since I’m taking up all your shore leave.”

“As the saying goes, that ‘sounds like a plan,’ Ensign Balaskas.” 

“Just call me Adrian.” 

Thinking back on that day, Nurrac could recall every detail. The hiking trail they’d taken from the shopping district to the edges of Eridani Beach, the fascination Adrian had shown at the immaculately cared for ruins of T’rinsha temple, even the small freckles that had appeared on the Ensign’s pale features after a day spent in the sun. 

Though he has no recollection of doing it consciously, his hand returned to the small of Adrian’s back several times during their excursion. So much so that the texture of his shirt was ingrained in Nurrac’s mind. 

“I’ll never forget the way it felt in my hand that day.” He thought to himself as he opened his eyes.

Adjusting to the low candle light of his quarters, he looked to the bed where a familiar form was sleeping. Even in sleep humans miraculously managed to be loud, he noted. Soft, rhythmic snoring filled the cabin alongside the thrum of the engine. 

“Far superior to the winds of Vulcan,” he mused before considering the absurdity of such a thought. Perhaps he had let his mind wander too much for the evening.

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