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Moonflower and Sungazer (1)

Writers: Ainsley, AL, Jane, Kaysea, Paula, Vix
Date Posted: 30th March 2009

Characters: Lineal, Rahona, Kellin, Barli, Eliste, Fog, Lihona, Barr, Nalin, Taem, Mehan, Glafir, Jezz, Vaheri, Menore, Vidara, Linli, Tahna, Neke
Description: The Sungazer and Moonflower riverboat crews have a party marking the end of their time together.
Location: Elsewhere on Pern
Date: month 2, day 3 of Turn 5
Notes: Riverboat Sungazer

The Sungazer had docked at the seaport a little before dusk though the normal rule of tying up before dark wasn't as necessary with the banks of electric lighting that illuminated the wharves at the seaport. Still, on this particular journey the Sungazer and all aboard her had been happy to get in a little early, work a little hard and faster than usual to disembark the passengers and off-load the cargo.

Because as soon as everything was done there was going to be a party onboard. A farewell party for the Moonflower crew who had been sailing with them for four months and now were going back to their own riverboat.

Most people were getting washed (or standing in the queue for the washrooms which was very sociable and abuzz with anticipation) and then changed into their Gather clothes. Some were still working in the galley but even they were disappearing one at a time to get ready. It was a special event and everybody was looking forward to the celebration.

~ ~ ~

"Do I look like an enormously pregnant woman in this?"


Rahona pulled a face at her two children where they perched on the upper bunk in the stateroom.

Lihona giggled. "You keep asking that."

"But you don't need to answer her," the Sungazer's captain advised the children. "Come on down from there and scoot along to the dining room. There's sure to be snacks out already." He reached up and swung Lihona down, letting Nalin climb down by himself. "You can tell everybody we'll be along soon."

The two of them disappeared out of the door and Lineal sighed, putting his arms around Rahona and cuddling her as much as he could with their unborn baby in the way.

Rahona smiled and rested her head on her husband's shoulder. For her first two pregnancies Lineal had only been around intermittently - only when his ship had docked at River Bluff Weyr - which made this pregnancy feel very special to them both. "You didn't answer the question."

"Hmm? What question?"

"_Do_ I look like an enormously pregnant woman in this?"

~ ~ ~

Glafir was still waiting his turn to the washrooms and getting impatient. He wanted to wash off the grime from the engineroom before put on his best clothes. He was also trying to catch a glimpse of his wife. She was probably helping around in the galley, he deducted. He had enjoyed this stay on Stargazer, and was almost sad to know it was ending and that they were returning to the Moonflower.

~ ~ ~

"Jezz, do hold still," Barli scolded as she attempted to braid her daughters beautiful thick hair. "I know you're excited but the sooner your hair is done the sooner you'll be free to go."

"Sorry, Mum, but I just can't wait! No one has seen my new dress yet. I'm so glad you finished it! I love the color!" the girl chattered happily as she fingered the purple material fondly.

"I thought you would. The weaver tells me they used a combination of berry dies to achieve it. A dark blue nearly black and a red," she explained.

"Do you think Eliste will let me hold Follen tonight?" the girl asked having ignored the teaching moment and continued on with her own thoughts of the party.

Rolling her eyes, Barli just shook her head. "Not tonight, dear. He is still very young and there will be a great deal of excitement. Choose a more quiet time and I'm sure she will let you hold him if you are sitting calmly and are very careful."

"Oh," the girl replied, but moved on quickly. "What types of goodies will there be?"

"You will just have to wait and see for yourself, since you disappeared when you should have been helping."

"I _was_ helping! Just not in the galley."

"Um Hm. Well, that's finished," she stated tying the final braid off with a ribbon. "Let me have a look."

The girl obediently twirled for her mother, a radiant smile on her young face.

"You truly are beautiful," Barli said with a smile, landing a kiss on her daughter's forehead. "Now scoot, so that I can get myself ready."

~ ~ ~

Lihona was waiting - loitering her mother would have called it - outside the door to the room her aunt Barli and Jezz shared. "I've been waiting _forever_," she told her cousin the moment the girl appeared. "What colour is your ribbon?" she asked without waiting for comment from the other girl and as she pulled her own braid around to the front to show off her pretty citron coloured bow.

"Oooooh! That's pretty!" Jezz exclaimed. "Mine almost matches my dress - but not quite," she stated enthusiastically pulling her own braids forward. "I guess they didn't have the right berries."

"Berries?" Lihona asked, wondering what berries had to do with ribbons.

Jezz gave a shrug, "Mum told me that the weavers used different berries to make the color of my dress. So what kind of sweets do you think they'll be serving?"

"As if you weren't trying to sneak a taste of them all day long," came a voice from behind them. Vaheri studied both of the children critically before nodding. "You both look very nice." She hoped that the girls would not find anything to dirty the dresses before all of the guests arrived. After all, it was important to her that all of the Sungazer crew members showed their best.

"They do look lovely." Another voice piped up as Eliste drew up to Vaheri's side. She was without a baby carrier, which was unusual, electing, instead, to carry Follen in her arms. The baby carrier wouldn't have gone very well with her formal dress, the dark blue pleats hidden beneath the straps. One night without wouldn't do harm, and there would be plenty of people to hold Follen if she needed someone to do so.

"Will we be able to hold him tonight?" Lihona asked hopefully, her eyes on their baby cousin. "When your arms get tired, perhaps?"

"We'll see." Eliste smiled as she reached out to caress Lihona's hair. "If not, I'll set aside some special time for you tomorrow to hold him."

"And me to?" Jezz asked hopefully.

"Of course you too." Eliste assured Jezz. "I wouldn't leave you out."

~ ~ ~

Barr grumbled as he made his way along the balcony to the stern of the Sungazer where the party would be held. He was early, deliberately, so that he could sneak a few snacks and get a good chair. Once he was settled he didn't intend to move. He might even be able to convince that boy of Lineal's to run around after him, replenishing his glass and refilling his plate..

Lineal was just the same as he had been as a child - too perfect to be taken seriously, but the boy ... Barr quite liked the youngster, and that was a rare thing in the old engineer's life.

~ ~ ~

Fog rapped at the door, and waited. He could hear the girls chattering inside, and his sisters voice urging them to hurry. The door opened before him and Linli looked up at him a wide smile splitting her face, but then slowly subsiding when she realised Eliste wasn't there. "She's gone ahead." He laughed softly. "We got tired of waiting for you all."

Neke and Tahna appeared behind Linli. "We're ready now." Neke winked at him over the girls, heads.

~ ~ ~

Taem finished packing his bags, a little bit sad to leave his stateroom aboard the Sungazer. It had been nice to be among a mixed group of people - most not his family, though enough familiar faces so he didn't feel completely cut off from them - but it would also be nice to get back onto the Moonflower. Even to see the old girl ....

The young cargo handler smiled. The Moonflower would be barely recognisable as 'the old girl' now. Overhauled she'd be as 'new' as a riverboat ever got on the Nettleweed.

Last updated on the March 30th 2009

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