Stardate 2277. Holodeck, 0934 hours. Lieutenant Alytes's Science team has challenged Engineering to a swimming contest. After some considerable negotiations, it has been agreed upon that each unit will put forth three swimmers, all of which will complete a 1500 meter course. Lt. Alytes wanted the course to be ocean swimming, and Engineering's Lt. Chaunus wanted a fast flowing stream with obstacles, but in the name of compromise, the holosuite was set up for a continous freshwater swimming pool with six lanes. Ensign Awa readily volunteered to take a spot on the Science team, and the third spot was taken by crewman Truebella. For Engineering, both Pipa and Kaloula were off duty, and willing to accept the challenge. The prize for the winning team would be a small trophy (to be purchased upon their return to Sol-1) and dinner on Sol-1 to be paid for by the losing team. Looking over at the Science team with a critical eye, Pipa felt that Lieutenant Alytes was too old, and Ensign Awa too young to offer a serious challenge. That left only Truebella, who clearly was not on the team by accident. "What a ringer," noted Pipa. "The only way they could have picked a more physical specimen would be to have Chief Otophryne on their team." "Well, besides you and I, our Lt. Chaunus is not in too bad of shape. That means there are three of us against only one of them," replied Kaloula. "But it's not really a team event," continued Pipa. "If he beats the three of us, we all lose." "This race is not a sprint. So let's swim in neighboring lanes and work together," planned Kaloula. "Stay as close to the right side of your lane, and I'll stay close to the left side of mine, and we can drag off of each other to conserve energy." Across from the huddled Engineering team, Lt Alytes was not particularly worried. He had offered the challenge more in the spirit of fun at the end of a stressful voyage, than to make a serious try at winning. But with enthusiastic Awa and the muscular Truebella on his team, suddenly all the Amphibians were getting pumped up for a challenge to their honor. Lt.Commander Babina had agreed to be the starter and to judge the winner. He would also position the cameras so that the winning team could have a permanent record of their triumph. Babina called over to Alytes, "Science team, are you ready?" "Yes sir." "Engineering team, are you ready?" "Yes sir." "Then everyone take their places - Science team with the right three lanes and Engineering with the left three lanes." All six amphibians lined up at the edge of the pool. "At my command, dive in. Three, two, one, go!" Being a long swim, the start was not especially critical, and after his surprise at finding the water so warm, Pipa suddenly found himself hard-pressed to hang with Kaloula. Fighting to find a way to take his mind off of his burning muscles, he found himself taking peeks at the large screen in front, which showed an overhead view of the contest. Awa had the early lead, closely followed by Truebella. Still within striking range was the entire engineering team, while Lt. Alytes had definitely fallen off the pace. Sensing a slowing in Kaloula's pace, Pipa dutifully speeded up his own and took over the lead between the two. Now he had to work even harder, and had no time to glance at the screen. Five hundred meters passed quickly, before he could sneak another peek upwards. Truebella had moved out to a fully body's length lead over the other four swimmers, who were fairly even with each other, as Awa had slipped back a bit. As much as he hated himself for doing it, Pipa had to slow the pace, and to his surprise, Kaloula seemed to have recovered and once again took his spot in front of the Engineering team. Looking underwater, at the 1000 meter mark, Pipa could see that Lt. Chaunus was starting to slip off the pace, and was now a body length behind himself and Kaloula. Pipa was tired and not used to swimming for so long with such urgency. Only the knowledge that his team needed him to contribute made him force his muscles to push past the pain and to take the lead back from Kaloula. He was so tired, all he could do was to focus on reaching out with his arms and kicking with his legs and flippers. Perhaps at the beginning of the race he had displayed some efficiency and form, but now neither was apparent. Pipa was done. He had given it his best, and as as he slowed, Kaloula pushed past him. Pipa looked up at the screen. With only 50 meters to go, Pipa was surprised to see that Truebella had only a half body lead over Kaloula, who had a half body lead over himself. The short distance to the finish surprised and rejuvenated him, and he pushed harder. Suddenly, he could see the finish wall ahead in the clear water, and every flailing stroke of his arms seemed to be reaching for that goal. Exhausted, he half crashed, half reached for the wall, glad the race was over, and for the moment not caring who won. After all, Pipa was aware that he had never passed Kaloula, so clearly he had not won. He lay on his back in the water gulping in huge quantities of air. He opened his eyes and saw Lt. Commander Babina looking down at him and mouthing some words that he couldn't hear or understand since his timpani were still under water. "What?" asked Pipa. "You fininshed third." "Oh. Who won?" "I don't know, it was too close to tell between Kaloula and Truebella." After a delay of several minutes for everyone to catch their breath, all seven Amphibians were gathered around the monitor for a slow motion replay of the finish. Truebella had the lead, but Kaloula was closing at the end, and when the display was slowed down to just a hundredth of a second, it could be seen that Kaloula had touched first. Actually, Truebella's body was ahead of Kaloula's but unfortunately for the Science team, his arm was in mid-stroke rather than reaching forward to touch the wall. A distant fourth was Lt. Chaunus, fifth was Lt. Awa, and last was Lt. Alytes, who despite his placement was all smiles. "As team leader, let me be the first to congratulate each member of the winning Engineering team," said Alytes. "We will be glad to contribute towards an excellent dinner at a restaurant of your choosing." Right now, the thought of food was the last thing on Pipa's mind, as all he wanted to do was to lie down and not throw up. Kaloula looked over at him and said, "Thanks, Pipa. You pushed me to the victory." Pipa smiled. He was starting to feel better already.
< Message edited by oi -- 9/16/2011 6:24:28 AM >