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  22 January 2007

The adventures of Ensign Halli Amura, RINS

Chapter Ten

© 2006 by Walter D. Reimer

        Over the course of the evening several more women showed up at the Lotus, some bringing along musical instruments and joining Fallingwater in quite a few jazz tunes.  The music was loud and energetic, and the party atmosphere grew.  Halli and Trina again fended off a few propositions, some discreetly worded, others rather blatant and graphic in nature.
        “I don’t know about you,” Trina said to Halli, “but I’m getting tired.”
        The rabbit nodded and they headed upstairs.  As they passed one room they could hear the occasional muffled squeal and the creaking of bed springs.  “Sounds like they’re having fun,” Halli observed.
        The tabby laughed even as she blushed, and the two walked arm in arm down the hallway.  “You know what I’d like right now?” Trina asked as they entered the room.
        Halli said, “What?”
        “I think I’d like a nice long soak in a tub.  I haven’t had a decent bath in months.”
        “Neither of us have,” Halli agreed.  “Let’s see if the bathtub’s available.”
        Several minutes later the two of them looked at the tub of steaming water, as if each was daring the other to step in.  “Here goes,” Trina said, and slowly started to ease into the water.  She would sigh and hiss at times until she was immersed up to her neck, then she sighed and looked up at Halli.  “Come on in,” she breathed, her fur waving under the water like sea grass.
        It felt like she was being cooked, but finally Halli was in the tub with her, and they sat and soaked for a while before cuddling close together.  “Mmm, this feels great,” she said as she gently urged Trina to turn around.  She started to scrub the tabby’s back, eliciting a happy, almost moaning sigh.  “Like that, huh?”
        The two bathed each other, fingers scrubbing deep under their pelts to get the salt and sand out of their fur and away from their skins.  Finally, quite breathless from the heat, they got out of the tub and rinsed off.
        Wrapped in towels they passed another couple who weaved a bit drunkenly down the hall, and after they got to their room Trina shed her towel and started fanning herself.  “I think I’ll sleep all night,” she said as she retrieved her towel and finished drying off.  She flopped backward onto the bed, her tail curling around one of her ankles.
        Halli finished drying off and said, “Are you sure?”  She crawled onto the bed and moved to lie alongside her lover.  “Are you very sure?”
        “Mmm . . . ohh, I’m . . . oh hell, we don’t have to get up early tomorrow, anyway . . . “

        Halli opened her eyes as the sound of people and small vehicles moving in the street outside reached her ears.  She raised her head and looked at the alarm clock, noting that it was just past noon.  She started to fall asleep again, but she jerked as Trina’s tail batted her in the face.  “You up?” she asked.
        “Mmhmm,” Trina said quietly.  “Just lying here.  I think I woke up about ten minutes or so ago.”
        “Oh.”  Halli rolled over onto her back and gazed up at the ceiling, where a fan’s blades slowly stirred the air in the room.  “I suppose we could get up and get something to eat.”

        When they woke up again, it was closer to dinner than to lunch.


June 11, 1937
Casino Island:

        “Checking out, huh?” Covina asked when Halli asked for the bill for their room.  She totaled the amount up on a slip of paper and watched amusedly as the cat and the rabbit went into a huddle and pooled their money to pay the tab.  The canine counted the red and black Rain Island bills, then opened up a small strongbox and counted out their change.  “It’s been nice meeting both of you,” she said, and hugged both of them before Halli and Trina picked up their duffel bags and ventured out into the street.
        “It’s been a wonderful week,” Trina said as they walked to the water taxi stand.  “A damn shame we have to leave now.”
        “I know,” Halli said, adjusting her ball cap with her free paw, “but you know we have to leave tomorrow.  So we spend one night on base.”
        They boarded a taxi headed to South Island so that Halli could say good-bye to her family.  As the boat started to pull away, church bells started to ring.
        Halli felt Trina’s paw take hers, and the feline’s eyes gleamed as she asked, “Those bells bring something to mind?”
        The rabbit blinked, thought for a moment and then grinned.  “You want to marry me?”
        The feline nodded.  “I don’t care any more if my Mom and Dad disapprove,” she declared.  “I love you.”
        “I love you too, Trina,” Halli said in a serious tone, “but you shouldn’t shut your parents out.  After all, they might like the idea.”
        “I hope you’re right,” Trina said with a wistful sigh.
        Mrs. Amura and the rest of the family insisted that Trina and Halli stay for dinner, which turned out to be just as big an affair as the party that welcomed their daughter back to Spontoon.
        They took the last water taxi to Moon Island later that night, and after checking in and confirming that they had transportation to Blefuscu, they walked to the longhouse set aside for transient personnel.
        Most of the longhouse was empty, so they had their pick of where to sleep, and as they unpacked Trina remarked, “It’s going to be strange, sleeping alone.”
        “Yeah it is,” Halli agreed, and then she smiled.
        Trina caught the look and giggled.  “What are you thinking?”
        “Well, we have pretty much the whole place to ourselves,” the lepine said, “and we can push two bunks together.”
        Trina grinned at her.

        The next day they presented their orders at the seaplane landing to a petty officer, who waved them aboard the transport.  Unfortunately, the only two seats left were separated by several occupied seats, so they bowed to necessity and sat apart, settling down to sleep as the plane taxied into takeoff position.
        As the plane banked, coming around for a landing in the lagoon, the people aboard noted that the major warships were not at anchor.  Someone remarked, “They’re probably out on maneuvers,” and most seemed to agree with his opinion.
        “Must be hard up for something to do today,” another observed, reminding the others that today was Proclamation Day, commemorating the day in 1885 when Rain Island declared itself a sovereign nation.
        They got back to their small house after reporting in and started to unpack.  Halli said, “Never thought I’d consider this place home, but I do.  It’s our place, with our stuff in it.”
        Trina kissed her.  “Right!” she said enthusiastically.  She suddenly blinked and her ears laid back as she said, “Halli!  Where on earth did you get that?”
        “This?  Oh, I bought it at the Lotus, sort of a souvenir.”
        The feline blinked.  “Wow.  Can I – can I touch it?”
        “Hmm.  It’s nice, so smooth . . . can I use it from time to time?”
        “Of course,” Halli said as she put the silk negligee away in a bureau drawer.  “We’re both the same size.  Lunch at the mess hall?”
        “Sure, and we’ll see what’s playing at the theater tonight.”

        Lunch was tasty and filling, but it was hard to compare it to the food that they’d had on Spontoon.  Halli was picking at the last bits of her salad when a voice said, “Good, you’re back.”
        “Niho!” she exclaimed as she turned and grinned up at the antelope.  The lieutenant smiled back and she made room for him as he sat down with his tray.  Trina looked at him curiously and Halli said, “Trina, this is Niho, the senior pilot on my plane.  Niho, this is Trina Demjanjuk.  She’s a pilot with the shore fighter squadron.”
        Niho stuck out a paw.  “Glad to meet you, Trina.”
        “Pleased to meet you too.  I was wondering where the group had gone to,” Trina said.
        “The group commander decided to take the ships out for a spin,” he joked around a mouthful of food.  He swallowed.  “They’ll be gone for a couple weeks while they show the flag a bit around the Nimitz Sea.  Just to remind certain people that we’re still taking an interest in what they do.”  He took a drink from his glass of milk and added, “There are still some patrol boats here, and we still have the KV-3s.  Which reminds me, we go back on patrol tomorrow morning.”
        “I’ll see you then.  What’s playing at the theater tonight?”
        Niho shrugged.  “I think it’s called Flirting with Disaster.  For a second I thought it was another Shirley Shrine movie – I swear, if they try to bring another one of those here, I’ll move that we strike,” and he laughed as he resumed eating.
        Halli and Trina put their empty trays away and headed back across the lagoon to their home.  The rabbit looked out at the water and said, “I think I’ll stop by the school, Trina.”
        “Why, Halli?”
        “It’s high time that I started exploring that ‘higher education’ they used as bait to get us to sign up.”

        The Syndicate had a senior petty officer at the school assigned to assist other members in finding and exploiting educational opportunities.  The school was the logical place for his office, and the otter smiled as Halli walked in.  “Good afternoon, Ensign.  What can I do for you?”
        Halli briefly explained, while the otter took notes.  Finally he said, “We offer a wide range of courses through the Seathl Polytechnical College.  Since you’re stationed out here those courses are done through the mail, so you work at your own pace – just get everything turned in by the deadlines, and you’ll have no trouble.  Some certified instructors even come out here to give classes in person.  Now, what are you interested in?”
        “Aeronautical, chemical, civil or electrical?”
        Halli paused and thought a moment before replying, “Aeronautical, please.” 
        The otter filled out a form and Halli signed it.  He smiled as he set it aside.  “Well, Ensign Amura, I’ll forward your application on the next mail packet out to Seathl.  You should start your classes within two weeks.”  The two shook paws, and Halli walked home.
        When she got to the house she found Trina asleep, so she shed her uniform and got in bed with her.  The flight had been a bit wearing, so a nap was welcome.

        Later they had dinner and sought out the base theater for the movie.  The film was a two year old comedy of sorts featuring two buffoonish explosives experts, a love interest, and a small South American country.  The musical numbers were second-rate and the jokes seemed tired.
        But at least it wasn’t Shirley Shrine.

        Later that night as they got ready for bed, Trina saw Halli setting the alarm clock and asked, “When do you have to get up?”
        “Four-thirty,” Halli replied, “so I can get ready to fly by six.”
        The tabby nodded.  “I need to get up at that time too.”
        Halli switched the lights out and got into bed.
        A few minutes later Trina gasped, “Halli!  What’s that?”
        “Another souvenir.”