He is strange, and new, and entirely alien, and Saskia fumbles for what that means. Jaalmance, pre-relationship
When Saskia was young, her family had been stationed on an Alliance cruiser orbiting Jupiter for a few months, doing routine sweeps of the asteroid belt, checking their borders. Even almost thirty years after the First Contact War, everyone was waiting for the other shoe to drop.
There had been a paleobotanist working as a contractor for the team exploring Europa, digging into the ice and seeing if there was any viable plant life in the frigid waters they could study. The old woman had been full of stories, having worked in the most lush habitats Earth had to offer. She spun pictures of vines that crawled like snakes across the floor of a rainforest, and trees as tall as skyscrapers. Saskia had wrung every bit of information out of her in the two weeks their paths had crossed, falling asleep at night to tales of singing forests and a world that hid as much as it showed.
Havarl was beyond anything Saskia could have imagined as a child. The rose-tinted sky that greeted them as they broke through the atmosphere, the swaying, shifting wings, or some kind of appendage she didn’t yet have a name for, of the mantas as they made their slow, patient pilgrimage across twisted mazes of buzzing vines and electric-glow leaves that dwarfed her entire body. The planet was alive, bristling with sensation and thought, like a pulsing network of connection that sang inside her bones.