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Pod 5, Part 2: Big Time in the Jungle [PLOT]

Posted on Fri Oct 5th, 2018 @ 10:27am by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis & Chief Petty Officer Charles Stephens JR & Warrant Officer Arlan Harlan

Mission: Mission 4: Riding A Pale Horse
Location: Planet ZP0442
Timeline: 10 July, 2394 - 1530 Hours


"Uhh, that isn't you playing a joke, is it Stephens?"

Charles heard the sound as well and started to scan around to see what had made the noise. Problem was with the swampy area sound bounced around. "Now is hardly the time for jokes. Anyone have eyes on whatever that was?"

Harlan's eyes peeked open despite the searing head pain and glanced to one side where he'd heard a noise. They shot wide open with a grunt at the site of a large feathered lizard. It was like something out of those dinosaur books from his childhood; you know the ones that were updated in the 21st century with anatomically correct features more in line with their relation to birds. It was disconcerting. Harlan let out a strangled cry and tried to shoot closer to Rhiana and get her out of there before they both became food.

The Romulan was of no help. She did not move when that strange noise and the concerned voices and cries of her fellow cast-aways penetrated her pain-filled brain. It just seemed like too much effort to take an interest. She was almost alright the way she was now. Eyes closed, sitting, immobile. Breathing. That was important. Breathing. It did not take the pain away, but made it a little more bearable. Let the others take care of things for once. Rhiana was tired.

The lizard cared nothing for the state of the prey it had detected. As long as they did not escape. It shrieked again, calling its fellow lizards. There would be enough prey for all of them.

Harlan mentally brushed aside the pain and hauled Rhiana upright. This was no time to let a little thing like searing agony get in the way. There were things ready to eat them! This was every bit like the stores often told of Captain Kirk's poor redshirt crewmembers. One of them needed to find a phaser right away. "Stephens! Look around for something that will prevent us from getting eaten!"

Charles first thought was he need reassigned every mission turned into an poorly written action drama on this ship. Can't they meet a peaceful people just once? After he snapped out of his side thoughts he started to look around. There was a whole mess of debris on the ground but from what he could see no phasers. He did see a piece of the escape pod and sheered off and resembled a pike pole. He grabbed it around the thick end and started to get to his feet to get eyes on their attackers.

The sudden movement forced onto her by Harlan was already too much. With her eyes still closed, she doubled over and vomited again, narrowly missing Harlan's and her boots. She felt so miserable that she almost wished the EMH was here to take care of her. Almost.

Two more feathered lizards came crushing out of the undergrowth following the invitation from the first one. They looked like some kind of bird, but instead of beaks, they had what looked more like small crocodile maws with two rows of small but very pointy teeth. Their short wings flapped at their sides, probably trying to scare the prey, and they advanced quickly on thin sticks of legs with thick, meaty thighs that indicated that they would likely be able to outrun the two Humanoids and the Vulcanoid.

As the lizard/bird creatures started to make an advance out of the underbrush Charles took his pike and shoved it in their directions and yelling at them. This was not meant to do anything other then show to the creature that they where prepared to fight back. In some cases a show of force will make an animal have second thoughts. As Charles did this he moved to be as close to his comrades as possible.

Harlan couldn't find any phasers where he was standing and propping up Rhiana, but he did manage to find a rock to chuck if necessary. He didn't throw it right then, but there was no way he was getting eaten by some wannabe throwback to Earth's prehistoric monsters.

By now, Rhiana's stomach was empty and yet, she did not feel any better. She vaguely understood that something was going on, but could still not bring herself to open her eyes. Let alone take an interest. Surely, the pain would go away if she died.

The lizard-birds shrieked louder when that one prey shoved a stick in their direction, but it did not deter them. They merely gave the stick a wider berth and deviated towards the other prey, one of which was already not moving anymore. That one would be easy.

Harlan unceremoniously pushed Rhiana away to lean her against the remains of the escape pod as Stephens thrust his makeshift pike at the monsters. He then found a second rock to pick up with his other hand. Once properly weaponized, Harlan chucked one at the closer beast, bopping it square on the nose. The monster reared back, but looked even more angry and roar-squawked in anger. Harlan decided to shout back. "You want some of this!? I just watched my house blow up in space. I'm not about to let some evolutionary laggard take me down after watching that!!"

There was a chance, in addition to holding off the monsters, that Harlan and Stephens' general commotion would be heard by someone else; someone with weapons more suitable than rocks and bits of pointy metal.

Charles was trying to think of the best way to intimidate these creatures away because there was very little chance the two Elder Chiefs would be able to actually fight these things. He took a cue from Harlan and reached down and grabbed a rock and chucked it at one of the other creatures. The rock sailed wide of him and over her shoulder. When it turned to watch the the rock sail by, Charles let out a deep roar and started to rush at the creature with his pike to see if the move would shock the creature.

The lizzard turned its head back at the prey, spread its useless wings and flapped them angrily while it shrieked loudly. It did not flee nor did it appear shocked. Instead, it started to run towards the prey and its companions followed two steps behind, also flapping with their wings, shrieking.

Then, just before Stephens' makeshift pike could touch the first bird-lizzard, there was the sound of a shot being fired and almost at the same time, the head of that first lizzard exploded in a spray of brains, bits of bone, blood and otherwise gory stuff.

The other two birds, seemingly uncaring about what just had happened to their 'leader', continued to charge. Two more shots, two more heads exploding. Suddenly it was silent, nothing else moved for long moments. Then a small group of Humanoids dressed in dark, rough-looking clothes appeared from behind some trees. All were carrying weapons that were not exactly pointed at the Starfleet officers, but were still being held in a way that would make firing and hitting their target an easy thing to do.

Harlan blinked in confusion. So much had happened in the span of a couple minutes. He dropped his other rock and peered at the new arrivals while also looking for a phaser, just in case things got hairy. He decided to open things up and ease the tension. "So, thanks for showing up when you did. We might not have been able to take them out without you. Your weapons really saved our bacon. The name's Harlan." He made no move to extend his greeting into action while guns were present.

One of the figures, a broad chested man with close cropped gray and black hair, holding a pistol, gestured at them. "I'm pretty sure you all ain't from here and you don't look like those bastich Refam. So. Why don't you tell me who you are and we'll decide whether we should shoot you down as well. Looks like you got some good salvage on you."

At the mention of salvage, several of the other members of the group smiled, revealing blackened teeth. They were, as a whole, a motley collection of people. Their clothes were worn to the point of being more patch than original material. Several had obvious wounds and a few were missing fingers or ears.

"You're right we are not from here. We are from what is left of that." Charles pointed up into the tree at what was left of their pod. "We are stranded here and looking for other members of our crew who made landfall." He offered up glad that the immediate fight is over.

A few steps behind the two Humans, their Romulan companion slowly slid down along the piece of escape pod she had been leaning against. She was oblivious to what has happening and by the time she hit the ground, she was unconscious.

Harlan heard his compatriot hit the ground and glanced behind him with a slight eye roll. She was going to be no help here. He turned back to the figures threatening to shoot them. "As you can see we're some tired crew from a battle that went down up there." Harlan pointed to space. "More officially we're Federation Starfleet, but not sure that matters much here given the lack of tech."

"Here's the deal," Harlan continued. "We don't have much to offer other than our wrecked pod, but I'm an engineer and can help you scrounge some usable stuff in exchange for some assistance. How's that sound to your ears, what's left of them anyway." Harlan said this last part while affixing his traditional grimace. He was fairly certain that grumpiness was as good as actual currency with these sad-looking folk.

Charles was tired and sore again but still had to fight back a chuckle at Harlan's gruff negotiating skills. He really had nothing left in the tank to fight and was struggling as his body was coming off the high of the adrenaline dump he had felt with crashing and then the almost fight for their lives. He made sure his hands where visible and non threatening as he waited to see if they would avoid death for the third time in as many hours.

The leader of the rescue party laughed. "I like your style, old man," he said. "I don't know what a Federation Starfleet is but I do know the word engineer. Here's what we are going to do. First, we are going to see if your friend is dead because we aren't hauling dead weight all the way back to our camp. Second, we're going to tie your hands because elders are crafty and I don't trust you. Third, we're going to send a messenger to the Captain and see what she thinks. Until then, you can be our guests. I'm Luke," the leader said and motioned to a woman near the back. "Check on that other one."

The woman was much younger than the others and a lot cleaner. She had a small satchel hanging over her shoulder. She made her way over to where the fallen foreigner was resting against a large piece of scrap metal. Even though the woman was injured and unconscious, the young medic talked as she worked.

"You're going to be ok. I'm Riley and I'm a doctor. Well, a medic but I hope to be a doctor. Now let's see if we can get this green fluid off your head." She pulled some heavy soft cloths from her bag and wiped the green fluid away from the patient's head, revealing a significant gash on the forehead. She paused as she watched green blood ooze out of the cut.

"Whoah," she said and looked over her shoulder. "She's like the captain!" The group of men and women glanced at each other but said nothing.

Riley set about stitching up the cut, making sure to keep her stitches as small as possible. She kept talking the entire time, describing what she was doing.

Charles watched intently at what the medic was doing to his fellow crew member. Then Riley's words struck him. "Wait your Captain is a Romulan?" He asked anyone in particular but looked back at the one named Luke.

Luke glanced down at the other weird intruder. "What? Romulan? No. But she does have the same kind of green blood. I've never seen anyone else who was the same here. Our stories tell us that we came from the stars and the Refam stole them from us. If you all can give them back, you'll be heroes," Luke said and returned his gaze to Riley. "What's the prognosis, doc?"

"Broken nose that I've reset, three inch cut to the forehead which I stitched, a ton of bruising and probably a concussion," Riley said. The young medic took a small pouch out of her satchel. "I'm going to give her some of the lydris powder. It should get her back on her feet enough to make it to camp."

Harlan had stoically handled being bound, but decided to jump in. "Good. Now that you've got me tied and our friend on the mend, can we get moving? I'll help you rip our damaged pod apart after we get the basics like food and rest. We also have friends who've landed somewhere around this general region and we'd like to try and find them eventually. Does that work for you fine folks?"

"Works more than fine, stranger," Luke said, his eyes narrowing. "How many more of you people are around?"

The others moved in and helped Harlan and Stephens to their feet, carefully searching them as they did so. All of their equipment, including their combadges, were placed in large leather satchels.

"You think I could take his boots?" One man asked another.

"Leave their footwear alone, Leroy. This ain't some wild goosechase of yours. These people have to walk all the way to the camp. Unless you want to carry them," Luke said.

Leroy looked down at the ground and his companion spoke in a voice only he could hear. "Damnit, Leroy."

Riley waved a hand. "I think she's coming around, Luke," she said. "You're ok. I've got you all fixed up now."

Rhiana's eyes fluttered open and she stared into the face of the stranger bent over her. Her first reflex was to attack, but she found that her brain reacted sluggishly and what should have been a knockout blow directed at the strange woman ended up being no more than a motion that could well be interpreted as a fearful jerking back. Then she remembered that the woman had said something. What had it been? Something about having 'fixed her up'? Rhiana frowned and noticed a strange tightness on her forehead that she could not remember feeling before. She reached up slowly and touched her skin where the tightness was. It felt strange. She picked at stuff.

"You shouldn't do that, else I'll have to stitch you up again," the strange woman said in a not unfriendly way and Rhiana's eyes widened in shock. Stitches! But someone else chimed in before she could say anything. "Stitch her up when we're back at the camp. We're not going to wait any longer. Can you walk?" That last part was addressed at Rhiana who had looked up when the male stranger spoke and for the first time realised that there were more of them. Armed. And her crewmates had their hands bound. What was going on?? Instead, she replied, "I think so." She did not need to pretend for her voice to sound exhausted. She still was, even if the pain she remembered from before she passed out was considerably dulled.

Using the escape pod wall she had been leaning against as support, she slowly rose to her feet. When the other woman offered her hand, Rhiana swallowed her pride and took it. She was barely upright when the male announced in an impatient tone, "Let's go." The other strangers surrounded the three Starfleet officers - the female doctor staying close to Rhiana - and the group set out to make their way to the camp of the natives.


Lieutenant Rhiana t'Aegis
Chief Security/Tactical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Chief Petty Officer Charles Stephens JR
Chief of the Boat/Assistant Chief Intelligence Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Chief Petty Officer Arlan Harlan
Assistant Chief Engineer
USS Firebird NCC-88298


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Comments (3)

By Lieutenant JG Murril Na on Fri Oct 5th, 2018 @ 10:57pm

I was pleasantly surprised how age played a factor more than once here, both comically and seriously.

Favorite line: "By now, Rhiana's stomach was empty and yet, she did not feel any better. She vaguely understood that something was going on, but could still not bring herself to open her eyes. Let alone take an interest. Surely, the pain would go away if she died."

If any other member of the crew had that passage attributed to them, it wouldn't pack any punch. With the strictly professional Rhiana, it does pack a punch when she acts unlike her usual self, and the ordeal sounds more weighty than merely stating, "You take 7 hit points of damage. Roll fort save. Succeeded."

Finally, one aspect I appreciated reading was the issue of how much to reveal to the locals and how much to keep concealed from the locals.

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Gianna Djokovic on Tue Oct 16th, 2018 @ 11:22am

Loved reading this story, it was really nice to learn some about the techlons and the pre-historic-ish wildlife. -Liam

By Lieutenant JG Soto Gantt on Thu Nov 1st, 2018 @ 2:27pm

Good job sharing the action here without the JP being stilted. Kudos to whoever wrote the prehistoric lizards, too. Each character shone in different moments. I also think Rhiana's plight was more impactful because it was the ever-professional Rhiana. Nice job everyone.