Star Trek Hunter
Episode 3: Breakfast Serial
Scene 10: Surf Lesson
Lt. T’Lok Smith briefed Justice Minerva Irons about 2nd Lt. Tauk’s investigations in the early hours before dawn, then went off to find Lt. Kenneth Dolphin. She didn’t have to look for him. She was in constant light telepathic contact with her childhood friend, Ensign T’Lon. They often walked with their arms linked. Most people thought this was just another of T’Lok’s girlish fancies that T’Lon put up with. But T’Lon was a powerful telepath and the physical contact allowed the two to communicate with tremendous speed and depth, pairing T’Lok’s considerable social skills with T’Lon’s keen telepathic observations. It was a tremendous advantage to both of them.
T’Lok knew that Dolphin was with T’Lon, which made him easy to find.
Ensign T’Lon awoke with Lt. Dolphin’s arm draped around her. At some point in the night she had gotten cold and pushed up against him for warmth. He was awakening as well. He lifted his arm as she moved to get up, respecting her wish for silence as she walked away, allowing the telepathic contact to fade as gently as it had begun hours earlier. Dolphin had an unusually disciplined mind for a human and she had enjoyed his stillness.
T’Lok touched T’Lon’s arm as they passed, and with that touch they exchanged what would have been an hour of communication between other people.
Dolphin had rolled onto his back and laced his fingers behind his head. T’Lok could sense he had decided to relax a bit instead of launching into his usual morning calisthenics. She could barely feel his mind only because of T’Lon’s night-long mental contact with him - leaving a sort of telepathic silhouette from which T’Lok could discern the outlines of those features of his personality that T’Lon had gently explored.
T’Lok felt a moment’s pity for Dolphin - he was trying to recapture some wonderful sense of peace he had felt last night. She had other plans for him. She had initially come to summon him to the investigations room, but T’Lon had given her a better idea.
Dolphin was looking up at the early morning sky when T’Lok’s face suddenly appeared upside down just above his. He caught his breath - startled that he hadn’t noticed her stepping up to him and kneeling on the sand just above his head. “Did you have a wonderful night, Director?” she asked with a smile.
Dolphin relaxed back into the sand. “Maybe it’s something about this place. Maybe it’s something about being humiliated on a surfboard,” he responded with a smile.
“And maybe it’s something about T’Lon…” T’Lok suggested.
Dolphin closed his eyes and chuckled lightly, “Naw - couldn’t be that.”
“Well, she wants you to get your lazy butt up and join her on the north shore,” T’Lok said lightly. “She’s going to get you up on that surfboard or whack you in the head with it if you won’t learn.”
“I’m afraid she’s set herself an insurmountable task - well - at least the teaching part, not the whacking part. I’m pretty much hopeless on the waves,” Dolphin observed wryly.
“T’Lon’s doctorate is in Physical Education. She even taught Pep how to surf. We had to cut down a door to build a surfboard for him, but she got him up on it. You aren’t too tall to do this - or too old.” T’Lok pressed her hand on Dolphin’s chest and then quickly sprang to her feet. “Come on.. up! We are not taking ‘no’ for an answer..”
Dolphin got to his feet, making some pretense at being arthritic - slightly rueful that it was more true than he preferred to admit. T’Lok put her hand on his shoulder, turned him toward the north shore, pointed toward T’Lon, who was selecting a pair of surfboards. “Off with you now - I have other things to do!” Dolphin took a few steps, dragging his feet, then picked up to a jog.
T’Lok smiled. She deeply enjoyed eliciting playfulness in other people’s behavior. She had been pleasantly surprised to find it in Dr. Dolphin - despite his reputation for prejudice against hybrids. Polite society across the Federation considered this man to be a monster - the man who broke the Federation. At Justice Irons’ recommendation, T’Lok had actually read Kenny Dolphin’s infamous doctoral dissertation on the morality of hybridizing intellligent species. And understood it. She mused that he was the one more often prejudged.
Ensign T’Lon waited at the water’s edge. When Lt. Dolphin arrived, she handed him the board she had selected for him and began preparing hers. He did the same, imitating her behaviors. Once the boards were ready, T’Lon initiated a mind-meld - something Dolphin had never experienced. It was nothing like he had expected. She was transferring a decade of experience and knowledge directly from her muscles to his - from her sense of balance to his. He could almost feel the waves under her feet again and again. His muscles weren’t conditioned by this experience, but they now contained something of the memory of how to do this. Shaping them to actually deliver the fine level of control T’Lon was capable of would take years of exercise and experience.
T’Lon let the mind-meld fade gently, but maintained telepathic contact as she removed her fingers from his temples. A contact made far stronger by her recent presence in his mind. They paddled out onto the waves and he could sense her instructing him to let his muscles become her muscles - to do without thinking.
And he failed miserably. But on these larger waves - currently cresting about 25’ - it took more strength to pull himself back to the surface. And he failed miserably again. And again..
T’Lon brought her board next to his and put her hand on his back. The telepathic connection was incredibly powerful, but she was speaking as well. “You are thinking. As long as you are thinking like you live inside your head, you cannot be part of the wave.” She rapped him on the forehead with her fingertips. “You do not exist in there. That is not where you are.” The words echoed powerfully in his mind - overwhelming him with waves of telepathy - mingling in his mind with hypnotic power. She spread her arms into the sky behind her. “Here you are behind me.” Her hands plunged into the water. “Here you are beneath me.”
Without thinking, responding to her unspoken request, Dolphin plunged his hands into the water as she said, “There I am beneath you.” She put her hand on his chest and brought his hand to hers with a thought. “Here is where the wave is. Feel it coming.” She turned, laid back down on her board and paddled away. He followed, not looking at the wave - there was no need to look at it. He and T’Lon were not separate from the wave - they were just a part of it. The part of the wave that was cutting through it. It thundered through him as they rode through it in tandem - there was no thinking - T’Lon’s powerful mind prevented thought. Just as she was indistinct from the air they breathed and the water they were riding on, he was indistinct from her.
Gradually, Kenny Dolphin became aware of the wave screaming exultantly - ripping through his body - hurting his throat - vibrating in his chest. It was only at the moment they came off the wave that he realized that he was the one screaming at the top of his lungs - laughing, crying, completely overwhelmed with exultation. He could feel T’Lon smiling slightly as she gradually released his mind.
A few people had gathered on the beach to watch, the enormous Commander David Pepper making the others look like children by comparison. Kenny Dolphin could not stop screaming, his voice hoarse, laughing, he had never felt anything like this - this had to be why these people loved surfing so much.
“Go on,” T’Lon said as he paused to take a ragged breath. “You’re not going to be able to get back on these waves again in your current state. But you will remember this feeling tomorrow. Start with the smaller waves and work your way up.”
He wanted to thank her but there was too much going on in his mind for words. There was no way to communicate through the log jam of words. He turned and offered his hand. She took it as soon as it was offered and a rush of gratitude and emotions flowed from him. T’Lon released his hand quickly and almost smiled again. “Too much. Way too much. Wait until you can sort it out and we’ll talk again.” She turned and paddled back out to the waves.
Dolphin watched her for a moment, then turned and paddled back toward the shore. He found himself shouting exultantly again as he waded onto the shore. David Pepper was laughing. He placed his enormous hand on Kenny’s chest - covering most of it. “I remember what it felt like - that first time - with her in my mind. She is the best instructor there is. As much philosophy as athletics.”
“I can’t,” Dolphin started, then tried again, “too many words. It’s just - Wooohooo!” he shouted exultantly again, then sagged against his board.