The group of students and cadets stood in a cluster of insulated fabric and rustling rucksacks, which made an even more uncomfortable sound due to the harsh wind that but their faces, and bumped and jostled to chill their extremities. Littered on the floor in haphazard heaps were the materials necessary to build the simples form of shelter- a tent. The instructor bustled around and in between the students, weaving his feet into what appeared to be an uncoordinated but elaborate dance to avoid the piles of poles and fabric, while trying to deposit more.
Nyota examined the materials that has just been unceremoniously dumped at her feet. The pile consisted of a large, folded sheet of weather proof fabric, the nano fibres designed to retain heat, but repel water. A telescopic pole, about thirty centimetres long, was wrapped up in the fabric. The pole was made of several different segments, all retained inside the outer pole, connected by a form of elastic. The poles would extend to support the sheet of green fabric. Or so she hoped.
When every pair had a pile beside them, the instructor walked to the front of the group, and turned to face the Cadets.
"I won't keep you waiting with talk about how to ouch a tent- I know you all still remember from the compulsory survival class you took in your first year?" The statement was said more like a hopeful question, and most of the Cadets shifted their feet and shot glances at each other.
Nyota just raised an eyebrow. Did he actually expect everyone to remember how to do something from three years ago? She could hardly remember what she had for dinner last night.
"I'll take that as a no then. Those of you who do remember can take the best camping spots here, closest to that pile of fuel which will soon be a fire, while I try to remind the rest of these numbskulls how to pitch a tent properly" he said good-naturedly.
Nyota turned her raised eyebrow towards the direction of the Commander, a questioning expression painted on her face. She met his brown eyes, and saw that even though he was trying to conceal it, his discomfort due to the cold was bordering on pain. It would be better for the both of them the sooner they could pitch these tents and start the fire up.
"If your current facial expression is a question to whether I have retained the memory on how to correctly erect a tent, the answer is yes. A Vulcan has an eidetic memory."
Even though the rest of his sentence was serious, Nyota, as immature as she was, couldn't help but exhale sharply from amusement when he said the word "erect". She quickly dispelled the amusement, and shook her head slightly. Spock would not appreciate her being immature about things. Not that he would even notice a mild innuendo like that, though. she didn't think he would notice one if it flew up to his face at warp speed and hit him in the nose.
"Well, lets get started then!"
She said cheerfully.
Ten minutes later, a perfect tent was sitting proudly near the fire, the green fabric that made up the outside concaving to the wind, which had died down a little bit since they had began to set up camp. The snow, however, had increased it's payload, and the snowflakes were falling in large clusters the size of a pound coin. Her hood was already rimmed with a network of ice crystals, and the wet snow on the floor was beginning to develop a layer of fine, dry powder. The last few tents were just being finished by flustered looking Cadets.
"What should we do now, Commander?"
She asked Spock, who was standing as close to the fire as he deemed safe, trying to bring the circulation of copper based blood back into his hands. His face was flushed greener from the bite of the wind, and his lips were beginning to go an alarming shade of pale violet. His tall physique and Vulcan complexion looked strangely out of place against the vast expanse of snow and sky that was his backdrop, and she was reminded of how alien he was. It was too easy to think of Spock as an uptight, antisocial human. Sometimes she forgot that he was a different species of humanoid to her, and needed to be treated like one,
"Unfortunately, until I regain sensation in my hands, I will be useless in preparing the tent. Perhaps you could unpack the sleeping bags and sleep clothes for the night, so we will not have to do it later?"
He suggested, clearly very unwilling to leave the warmth of the fire. Nyota didn't blame him- as a child born and raised in Nairobi, she was no stranger to hot climates and sweltering conditions. However, unlike him, she had had plenty of experience in the French Alpes, Skiing often twice a year with her families. She had grown used to the weather there, and this was not that much worse.
"Ok then, I'll go do that while you try to regain some circulation"
She was finding it harder to use formal sentence structures, as she was spending most of her thought energy on trying to prevent her teeth from starting to chatter in the middle of the sentence.
She crawled into the opening in the front of the tent, and zipped the flap shut to block out the wind. She could immediately feel the shift in temperature, and began to feel more comfortable. In fact, it was probably warmer in hear than out by the fire, as the wind still evaporated moisture off your skin, even if you were near a heat source.
She quickly pulled her sleeping bag out of her rucksack, and laid it on the ground, on top of the slightly padded floor. She then took out her insulated thermals for sleeping in, which stopped sweating, and the rations for the morning- they would be cooking a proper dinner over the fire. She then opened Spock's rucksack, and did the same, lying his sleeping bag next to hers. For some reason, even though she had been instructed to do so, going through his things made her feel like she was violating his privacy.
She unzipped the entrance, and ducked back out into the cold again.
"Commander?" She spoke his name as a question
"I think it would be more beneficial to raise your core temperature in the tent, rather than warming extremities near the fire. It's actually quite warm, and is sheltered from the wind"
She suggested, deciding that his usually flawless Vulcan logic must be clouded by the extreme cold he was experiencing.
"Thank you Cadet, that would be logical." He stated.
He made his way over to the small two man tent, hands tucked under his armpits. He reached out towards the zip, and began to fumble with the piece of plastic, trying to pull it downwards. The usually simple mechanism was made harder by the fact that his hand, which had before been numb, were experiencing the shooting pains of returning circulation. He winced as the pressure he applied to the zip made it worse.
"Hey, let me do it"
Another gloved hand, this time not belonging to him, brushed his own away. Nyota unzipped the entrance, and held it open for Spock. Remembering the Earth customs he was taught in the Academy, he recalled that males were meant to offer the females the chance to enter first
"After you, Cadet"
Receiving a eyebrow raised questioningly rather thank a thanking, as he thought was custom amongst humans, Spock began to doubt his knowledge of Terran culture. She turned, and ducked under the entrance, crossing her legs and lowering her self onto the floor next to what he presumed to be her sleeping bag.
Spock felt quite confused about the whole situation. His calm exterior, his mask of Vulcan logic, seemed to be sliding away, as now a human came up with a more logical solution that he. He decided that a number of factors could be responsible, but most likely the cold. The cold, as his body was unused to such extremes, must be affecting and clouding his thoughts. He felt pleased with that logical conclusion- it showed that the cold wasn't affecting him too much.
He ducked into the entrance; his large frame having to bend far more than Nyota's shirt build had to. With the grace that could be expected of a Vulcan with cold feet, Spock fell into the tent. He felt his foot catch the front of the tent, and unfortunately, while his left foot was forced to stay put, the rest of his body carried on moving. Nyota saw Spock falling, and reacted. He arms shot out to catch him, as six foot something of Vulcan started on a trajectory that would end with her. Unfortunately, due to a Vulcan's heavy bone structure, Spock weighed more than a human of his height. Someone as small as Nyota would have had trouble supporting a human, no matter how strong she was, so a Vulcan was altogether impossible.
Spock crashed into the Cadet, knocking her backwards and pinning her beneath him. He managed to absorb most of the fall with his arms, which meant that he was lying on his front, in a press-up position with Nyota underneath him, their faces inches away. Spock tried to maintain that position, but the force of the fall had jarred his arms, meaning he had no choice but to collapse and let the Cadet support his whole weight.
Nyota didn't even have time to appreciate the look of utter surprise on Spock's face before the breath was knocked out of her lungs by the force of six foot of Vulcan landing on top of her.