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JL | Com Ivanova, Lt Hawk | "Merry-go-round"

Posted on 241709.06 @ 10:09 by Commodore Rochelle Ivanova & Lieutenant Michael Hawk

Mission: Ballynamony

Rochelle didn't want to know how Archer had procured the horses and the cart with the team. He'd come back happy as a lark with his bounty, though, and that usually meant trouble... A degree of trouble she knew she didn't want to tangle with. Not now. Likely not ever. Curiosity wasn't that intense of a thing that it had to be sated every and all times. It had presented another problem. Unlike her, the crew were less than thrilled when it came to working around, with, and riding horses. Ask them to put together and fly a starship, they'd be on it in an instant. Ask them to mount a horse and they stared at her with wide, worried eyes. Archer was comfortable enough, of course. He sat astride his bay gelding with a look of smug amusement as he watched the rest struggle with getting their bearings and dealing with Rochelle's frustrations as she gave them all a quick course on how to handle the animals without looking completely and utterly out of place. Tristan was another that looked the part, at least, sitting tall and almost relaxed with his pretty blaze faced chestnut. Ra'lin was out of luck, forced to sit on the bench seat of the cart and skip riding class... But Hawk... Well...

"Ok," Rochelle began, settling in beside him on the bench. Ra'lin had bailed off for this lesson and chose to hold Rochelle's pretty gray instead, "It's pretty simple. Not a ship, but the horses know their jobs, you just have to guide them," she continued making a show of how to gather the reins in either hand, "You tug right with your right hand and cross over the neck with your left to go right, tug left with your left hand and cross over the neck with your right to go left. Direct and indirect rein. The pressure of the rein against the outside horse's neck will tell him to turn. Are you following me so far?"

Michael did his best to keep up. He really did. He was a Starfleet officer, used to flying out in space. Even in atmosphere was fine to him. He didn't mind the additional stress factors you had to take into account when flying atmospheric. But this? These were living beings, creatures with a will of their own. How was he supposed to direct them to go anywhere? By pressure against their neck? This was old skool. He wasn't altogether sure anymore it had been a good idea to volunteer. "All the way left to go left. All the way right to go right. Got it."

"Right, just... With finesse." The Commodore nodded. "They should be trained off your voice as well..." Her tongue clucked and the reins tapped against the animal's flanks with a flick of her wrists, "Walk on." She tested her theory. The horses set to motion almost immediately, their ears flicking back to pick up the sound of her voice and anticipating her next command as they moved along across the frozen field, "Now... All the way to the left, pull your left hand back towards your body and your right one over no further than your belly button," She explained, asking the creatures to turn. It was a bit of a strain even with the most well trained team, but the horses did as she asked. "Same with the opposite direction. Just don't ask for super tight turns because you'll wreck." It could be done, but not by a novice. That would be way too much to ask of anyone fresh out of the box. "You ready to try?" Peering over at him, she couldn't help but notice his apprehension. It almost made her smile.

"Errrr," Michael stammered. He was the taxi driver, fine. But why couldn't she just ride this.. thing? He could just beam over to wherever they were heading. Or better yet, take a nap in the shuttle until they returned. He didn't want to make odd sounds and motions to move, he had his fingers for that. Fingers who wanted to fly over a console to make the ship itself dance like an angel. Not.. this. "I'm really fine watching you drive," he finally voiced some of this thoughts. It was a lie though. He hated to be a passenger.

"You volunteered." She chuckled, pulling the horses up to a halt. They were all too eager to comply. "Consider it a challenge. Before there was shuttles and starships there were planes, before planes there were automobiles, before automobiles there were horses. I'm not asking you to ride them, I'm asking you to drive them and it's relatively easy."

Hesitantly, Michael accepted the reins from his skipper. His mind was making a much bigger deal out of this than it really was. With a gentle flick of his wrists, he tried to get the horses back into motion. To his surprise, they did just that. A small smile spread across his face as he slowly guided them into a left turn. This was more fun than he'd anticipated.

"There!" The redhead admonished him with a bright smile, "You're a natural! Now ask them to head on off to the right, little figure eight."

Michael deftly handled the reins. Too deftly obviously. The wheels skidded through a turn, seemed to skip a beat and rocked both Rochelle and him on the bench. For a moment, he had this feeling of falling sideways, but then it passed and he blinked slowly. This hadn't gone as planned. "Oops."

Holding her hood to her head, the little Commodore had been certain the cart was about to tip when the horses sat on their haunches and pulled hard to starboard. The boards of the cart creaked, the wheels locked, snow and ice skid to the side as the horses crossed their left forelegs over their rights and did as they were asked; they turned tight. "Easy!" She called to them as they came out of the turn, her shoulder and side pressed up against Hawk by inertia alone - but it was over, the horses working on easily as they walked towards the shuttle and waiting crew, "Yeah..." She nodded, debating crossing herself, "a natural. Light touches are all they need for now."

"I'm sure," Michael agreed. Rochelle's hat had poked him in the eye and it was starting to water. Inertia was a bitch. He pulled the reins to come to a stop as they arrived back at the crew. This was certainly going to be interesting. Perhaps he could even be convinced to take more lessons when they got back to the ship.

"Should be easier with everything loaded. Ra'lin will help keep the horses steady as you go." Rochelle was happy to climb from the cart, her silken gown clinging to the air for a second or two as she dropped, unassisted, to the ground. That would be the last of her independence for the duration of this little trip, and she enjoyed it for what it was worth. For the sake of appearances, the pretty gray mare would be tied to the back of the cart and ponied along and she would be forced to sit on the padded back bench in front of the trunks as they made way to town. It was the essence of a long trip, a young Major with his new wife, and she of course would have to play the role to perfection. At the very least, she'd help load things and disguise the shuttle before they went on their way. "So long as they like you, you won't have problems. I promise."


Commodore Rochelle Ivanova
Commanding Officer

Lieutenant Michael Hawk
Chief Navigation Officer


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