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Pod 6, Part 2: Splash Down [PLOT]

Posted on Fri Oct 5th, 2018 @ 10:27am by Emily Mox & Petty Officer 3rd Class Gianna Djokovic

Mission: Mission 4: Riding A Pale Horse
Location: Planet ZP0442
Timeline: 10 July, 2394 - 1500 Hours


Emily's moment of joy fled, leaving behind the shocking sensation of utter loneliness. She'd been expecting to see Gia's form dripping with the warm water of their landing site. Instead, she saw water spreading before her, the medium sized lake ringed with a silent audience of gangly trees. She waited another moment, hoping she was wrong but eventually the ripples from her passing faded, leaving a mirror reflecting the clouds above her. She had a fleeting memory of her mother and heard her voice.

"Sometimes you have to do something hard, Emily. Nobody can do it for you."

Emily dropped the bag with their hastily scavenged supplies onto the shore where it landed with a burping sound. She ran forward into the water, her small legs churning up a white froth.

"Gia!" She yelled and dove into the water.

Gia's unencumbered dark hair spilt out around her head like an inky halo and she sunk slowly away from the light that filtered down through the algae-tinted water. She felt heavy now, unable to pull herself back to the surface after she slipped under. Her lungs screamed for air. The alien sounds of sub-aquatic noises filled her pulsing ears as everything faded black.

If the water hadn't been so clear, Emily never would have been able to find Gia. As it was, she felt as if she were dreaming. The sunlight from above filtered down, undulating as the water rippled around her. She could see their escape pod below, surrounded by long waving strands of green plants. The escape hatch on top stretched open like a round mouth. She kicked hard propelling herself towards Gia. Emily frowned, her breathing labored in her mask. Gia's arms were stretched out as if she were giving up and her eyes were closed.

The fear of being alone gave the young girl strength. She reached out, grabbing her new friend by the boot and yanked. The motion pulled Gia out of her descent and Emily was able to get a better grip, like her papa had taught her, and she began to swim upward, towards the light. Inside her helmet, her breathing sounded so loud and her chest began to ache. She put her head down, thinking of what her mommy would tell her.

Ages later she felt her feet scrape against sand and she was suddenly pulling Gia onto the shore, her whole body exhausted. She had a bitter taste in her mouth. She popped off her mask, tossing it to the ground and immediately leaned over and pulled Gia's mask off. Her friend was blue

"That's no good," Emily said, trying to remember what to do. Her mother had always shared her medical knowledge but with her fuzzy brain Emily couldn't remember if she was supposed to breath into Gia's mouth or hit her on the chest. She decided to do both.

Jillian would have been proud because something in that combination of life-saving techniques worked. Gia coughed up a trickle of water and gasped for breath, her color slowly returned. She stared up at Emily's face silhouetted by the sun behind her. "How did..." She turned her head and coughed again as water continued to irritate her lungs, took in the arid landscape, and felt a bit lost as to how she ended up making it to the shore.

A deep voice called out from the treeline. "Alright, you two ladies just hold still now. I don't know where you came from but you shouldn't be around this here lake."

Emily looked up from Gia's face, a feeling of triumph surging through her. Mommy is gong to be so proud of me!. The trees were tall and weird looking and there was a bunch of scraggly undergrowth around them. They reminded her of pictures she'd seen but she couldn't remember where.

"Who is out there?" Emily called, standing and putting her hands on her hips. "My friend is hurt and she needs help. We lost all of our stuff when we crashed into that stupid lake! Why would anyone put a lake her? Can you come help us?"

There was a rustling in the brush and a tall, youthful looking man carrying a machete stepped out. He was wearing a bright white shirt, smeared with dirt at the cuffs and some red spots on the sleeves. His pants were a contrasting black material that ended in a pair of sturdy boots.

"That's not regulation," Emily muttered.

Gia stood up slowly and angled herself next to Emily protectively as she held her left arm gingerly against her chest. She put her good hand on Emily's shoulder, gripping it lightly but applying enough pressure to hopefully convey a sense of alarm. She didn't remove her eyes from the stranger, taking in his apparel and mannerisms. A trick she'd picked up from hundreds of hours of playing holonovels: the actors always reacted better when you played along and sounded like they did.

"We got lost... separated from our friends," Gia explained. "I'm Gia and this is my... sister Emily. We were playing near the water and.. uh... I guess we fell in. Can you help us?"

Emily laughed. "You're so old, sister!" And then she felt Gia's hand clamp down on her shoulder. "But that's good because I like old people. And we fell into that water and our breathing masks didn't work hardly at all," Emily said. "Good thing I can swim really well!" Emily looked up at Gia.

The man kept walking towards the two strangers. The machete dangled limply from his hand, attached to his wrist by a piece of brown cord. "What holding are you from?" He asked. "I know you're not from Blakely because I know everyone in these parts. And you're dressed awfully strange. Are you Techlons?"

He might as well have been speaking Ferengi when he started asking about local geography and politics. Gia didn't know if being from Techlon was a good thing or a bad thing. She recognized there were too many pitfalls in this game she was playing. She could fight him. If she had both arms, she was relatively certain she could take him then. Without both arms, it was just too risky. Nope, that approach wasn't going to be an option.

She felt vulnerable and she felt the weight of being responsible for a kid's life. She would have loved nothing more than to see Yumi come charging through the bushes in that moment, but there was no sign of the cavalry anywhere. She sighed and shook her head. "We're.... we're from.... really, really far away from here," she answered quietly. "You haven't heard of it because... because... everyone there is... uh... really... well, it's forbidden to talk to outsiders." She didn't break eye contact with him, instead pleading silently for him to believe her.

"Uh-huh," the man said. He put the machete into a loop on his belt and smiled. "Well, I'm Kevin Blakely. I don't know how you got here but I have to at least show you some hospitality. You're pretty much at the edge of the Refam territory. I just got here not too long ago. I'm setting up my own holding. I've got a camp not too far away if you need some help," Kevin said, pointing at Gia's arm.

Emily smiled. "Sharing is caring, right G... sister?" Emily said. "Plus I love camping. Sometimes I go with my mother but she just complains about the bugs and cooking over the fire."

Kevin grinned. "Yeah cooking over the fire isn't my favorite either. I prefer a coal stove any day."

"Yeah... you have medical supplies?" Gia asked, almost afraid of what medicine might look coming from a man with a machete and stained clothing. She measured her words carefully, highly aware of the situation and what would happen if left out in elements without many supplies and no shelter. On the other hand, they had no idea what kind of person Kevin Blakely was. "We would be really grateful for some help."

"Well I don't have much but I am sure that I can help with your shoulder. My brother Zeke had an injury that looked fair similar to what yours looks like. He fell off a horse and landed on a fence, which was a pretty bad idea. He didn't appreciate it when I told him that though. Come on," Kevin said and turned to lead the way through the tree line.

Emily looked up at Gia. "My mommy always says not to go with strangers. Do you think we should run the other way? He seems nice to me but..." Emily said, trailing off. "I am hungry though."

Gia met Emily's eyes, perhaps her first really good look at the girl since the whole ordeal started. She took a slow breath and nodded, her answer was quiet so that only Emily would really understand it. "I think... I think we should ask ourselves 'W.W.Y.D.' What would Yumi do? I think Yumi would tell us to trust, but verify. Keep your eyes and ears open, right?"

Emily nodded. "Yumi says that. She also says that having a phaser doesn't hurt either. I wish we had a phaser," Emily said and started walking. "You know, Gia, besides the almost drowning part, you're pretty great. I'm glad we are friends now. I think we need friends here."

"Sisters," Gia corrected and moved with Emily and Kevin. She stayed far enough behind them that she could keep an eye on both of them, for different reasons. "So, how far away is this place?" she asked, calling up ahead to their guide. "And I really hope you have indoor plumbing," she muttered under her breath.

It didn't take long to reach Kevin's camp. It took considerably less time for Gia's hope of indoor plumbing to die a quiet but sad death. Kevin's camp consisted of a large white tent made of rigid canvas, surrounded by a pile of firewood, a firepit and a newly constructed paddock, in which there were two massive oxen. Emily immediately ran off to get a better view. She climbed up the wooden fence, and stood there, leaning forward, gazing at the massive animals

"These are sooooo awesome, Gia! Can you believe this? They are just like the pictures!" Emily yelled.

Kevin ignored Emily's yells, only raising an eyebrow and motioning Gia towards a pair of camping chairs. They too were made of canvas, wrapped around a wooden frame.

"Why don't you sit here and I'll take a look at your shoulder. I think you dislocated it, just like Zeke did. Pretty sure I can fix you up but it isn't going to feel great.

Gia's protective gaze lingered at Emily on the fence for a few moments before she pulled it away to take in Zeke's offer. She'd much rather have the EMH looking at her arm, but she couldn't keep ignoring the pain. She let out a slow sigh and nodded tensely. "Well, it already doesn't feel great," she eventually replied as she walked over to the chairs and sat down in one.

Here up close, her skin was fair, smooth, and flawless as though she'd likely never spent much time outdoors. Her eyes, a soft chestnut brown, were clear and bright with eyebrows so that were smooth and perfectly shaped. Her hair, though a bit stringy from being wet earlier, was still quite clean; it looked silky, conditioned, and not at all greasy from work nor dried out from wind and sun exposure. Her clothing was high quality: the seams in her tank top undershirt looked unnaturally perfect, the knit was so small it was almost invisible, the moisture-wicking fabric so smooth it seemed to play with the sunlight. The Starfleet delta-shaped communicator at rest on her breast was so perfectly molded from its gold material, it was unlike any broach or piece of jewelry he'd likely ever seen before.

Kevin tried to push the thoughts about what she looked like out of his mind and was mostly successful. Well, partly. She was certainly one of the most beautiful women he'd ever seen. He carefully took the hand of her injured arm. "So what we are going to have to do is put the arm back in the socket of your shoulder," Kevin said. He use his free hand to gently prod at the shoulder. "I don't feel any muscles bunching up so I think you avoided tearing anything. But this process is pretty rough. I have to rotate the shoulder and then pull on it until it settles back into place. So. Yeah. Let me know when you are ready."

"Gia! That cow is pooping! It is so gross!" Emily yelled, laughing.

"I'm just going to think happy thoughts then," Gia told Kevin. She took a deep breath and nodded her consent to continue, putting her visual focus on happier things -- like a crapping cow and Emily getting a break from thinking about more stressful things for a few minutes.

Kevin took a deep breath. "One, two..." he said and began pulling Gia's arm up over her head and rotated her hand "Just reach for your other shoulder," he continued as he moved the arm further. There was a loud 'pop' sound and the tension went out of the shoulder. "Are you ok? You did great!" He said and sat down in the chair next to her.

She rolled her shoulder carefully as she tested it out and moved the arm around a bit. "Yeah.. I'm okay. It feels almost normal now," she answered after a moment as she wiped away a tear that had rolled down her cheek from the discomfort of the maneuver. "Where did you learn to do that?"

Kevin smiled. "My sister, Riley. She was good with all of that kind of stuff. She wanted to be a doctor but... well some of the elders didn't think that was a good idea," Kevin said. "I used to let her practice stuff on me, even though I wasn't supposed to. I guess I remembered it all enough because I fixed Zeke's shoulder and now yours. Maybe I should have been a doctor instead of a farmer." Kevin grinned.

Emily came running over, her permanent grin even wider than normal. "Gia! Do you think the captain would let me get a cow? A small one. I could keep it in my room?" Emily said, running up and leaning up against Gia's chair. She looked at Kevin. "Got any food?"

"I think what Emily meant was that if you had some extra food, we would be willing to work for it. Maybe you could use a couple farm hands for a few hours? Until we hear from our friends," Gia suggested, not expecting food and shelter and medical help for nothing. "She'd love to help with the cows, it sounds."

Kevin laughed. It was a true laugh, both loud and yet intimate at the same time. "I could use some help with the cows. But you should rest and take it easy on the shoulder. You can sit in that chair and watch me, since you clearly think I am some kind of threat to your sister. You're both welcome to stay here as long as you need. I've got plenty of supplies," Kevin said. He stood up. "Alright, Emily, lets get you some food and then go get the cows fed and watered. You want to learn how to milk one?"

"Do I?!" Emily screeched, jumping up and down.


Crewman Gianna Djokovic
Security Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Emily Mox
Willing Child Laborer and Sister
USS Firebird NCC-88298


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Comments (3)

By Lieutenant JG Murril Na on Fri Oct 5th, 2018 @ 8:09pm

Note to self: if we ever crash on an unfamiliar planet again, memorize the following passage of how to greet locals correctly:
"My friend is hurt and she needs help. We lost all of our stuff when we crashed into that stupid lake! Why would anyone put a lake her? Can you come help us?"

This JP seemed very natural in how all three characters reacted to each other. Also, it was uplifting to see how easily a child's reactions would break ice so easily and consistently. (I wonder how different this same scenario would have turned out with a different cast, y'know?)

Favorite line (of which there were at least four):
"A trick she'd picked up from hundreds of hours of playing holonovels: the actors always reacted better when you played along and sounded like they did."

That line rocks IMO.

By Lieutenant JG Soto Gantt on Thu Nov 1st, 2018 @ 9:55am

I thought this was a strong JP where Emily and Gia both shone. Emily doing the hard things herself and her reactions to the farm. Gia being so protective of Emily and her thoughts about indoor plumbing. Not every meeting with the locals has to go horribly wrong, and this one went very right. The JP hit a lot of character highlights. The question in my mind is what poor Kevin will do when beautiful Gia has to leave.

By Lieutenant Kedra Nema on Fri Nov 2nd, 2018 @ 7:38am

I really enjoyed how Emily fluctuates between responsible and child. When she has to focus she does, but as soon as the pressure is off she is back to being a kid.

And Gia keeping her calm in the face of the unknown. A very unique little group.