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Pod 2, Part 2: Beer Aplenty, Mushrooms, and Bacon [PLOT]

Posted on Thu Oct 11th, 2018 @ 10:31am by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant Kedra Nema & Petty Officer 3rd Class Max Tragar

Mission: Mission 4: Riding A Pale Horse
Location: Farmer Margot's, Bamfurlong
Timeline: 10 July 2394 - 1600 Hours


AND NOW, THE THRILLING CONTINUATION OF "ESCAPE POD 2..."

When last we met our heroes, their escape pod had just crashed, mysteriously without power, in a farmer's field on an M-class planet.

[ON]

"GET OFF MY POTATOES BEFORE YOU KILL MORE OF THEM, YOU VARMITS!" The man's voice was as deep as his dogs', who were baying and tearing around the corner of the thatched house, fast on the farmer's heels. His face was red, and even from here, Max saw a huge blue vein throbbing in his forehead. He held a wooden pitchfork in his thick, dirty fingers, and his clothing was worn but patched.

Startled, disoriented and bruised from the crash, Max stumbled backward, bumping into his superior officer.

Nema put a hand out to steady Max. She watched as the farmer came towards them all the more rapidly. She put a hand on her phaser but opted not to draw it. The man looked fierce, but he was talking about potatoes. She glanced around them at the field they had crashed into.

"I'm terribly sorry sir," Nema called to the man while lifting her hand from her phaser and patting the air in front of her. "We didn't have much of a choice in where we put down."

The dogs boiled past and around them, barking and growling and jumping, drowning out the farmer's swearing. Max lifted his arms above the animals' slobbering, growling mouths and looked from Nema to the man, who shook his pitchfork.

A large man, who looked very much like the farmer except with a jolly, round face, bustled out of the house. He hiked up his long garment and ran down the slope to join them. Huffing, out of breath, the man managed, "Calm yourself, brother."

Nema, still arms outstretched, added,

“We meant no harm to your garden. Our ship was disabled, and there was an issue with our escape pod. It prevented us from effecting a better landing. Was anyone hurt? We have some limited medical supplies.”

She hoped that the calmer of the two would prevail. They had very little information about the land around them, and being able to check the sensors would help a lot in finding other members of the crew.

"No, no, that's all right," said the round-faced man.

The farmer stopped mid-swear to yell. "ALL RIGHT? HALF THE CROP IS TORE UP!"

"Brother, these people are obviously in trouble. Have they not been placed here, on our farm, as though by the hand of God?"

"THE HAND OF GOD DON'T WANT US TO EAT!?"

The jolly aspect disappeared and his brow creased. "Do you blaspheme, brother?" A dangerous look sizzled in the air between the two.

The angry man threw down his pitchfork so hard it bounced, but he stopped yelling. "Heel." The single word was spoken at normal volume, but it rang out like a single note from a clear bell. The dogs, very few of whom squeezed in a last violent bark, pulled en-masse away from the Star Fleet trespassers and arranged themselves in a sniffing, panting mass circling their master.

"Thank you." The rotund man stepped forward, past his brother's dogs, and offered a clean, plump hand to Max. "Welcome, to you and your lady."

Max, wide-eyed and wishing very much that someone from the Firebird's diplomatic core were here, offered his hand without thinking. Partway through the shake, he realized he should have deferred to his commanding officer. He glanced sideways at her.

Nema grimaced a bit at the insinuation, but she had a relatively open mind when it came to other cultures, and she tried not to judge the man too harshly, at least not right away. She extended her hand to the man and answered for Max,

"Actually, Petty Officer Tragar and I are not a couple. My name is Kedra Nema, Chief Engineer of the USS Firebird. We were forced to abandon ship recently and would be glad for any assistance you can offer. I'm going to inspect the pod to see what we can salvage, but do you have any communications equipment we can borrow to try and get in touch with our shipmates?"

A burning sensation raced up the back of Max's neck, but he wasn't too embarrassed to fail to notice the round-faced man's reaction to Nema's words. It was as though she had slapped him.

"Kedra, my girl, we do not use such abominations." His second chin wobbled as he glanced at the pod and destruction it had pushed across the potato patch. "We learned too well what evils they spread, and God has seen fit to make them non-functional. You'll find no such thing here."

The farming brother had recovered enough to retrieve his pitchfork from the ground and clutched it tightly as the technology was mentioned. The dogs, heedless of their master's concerns, sniffed all around the crash site and leaped and played with one another.

"Friend. Brother Tragar, are you mute?" The round-faced man addressed Max.

"No," Max said, then realized he wanted to say more. "I have no brothers. You may call me Max. You may call the Chief either Chief, or Sir, or Lieutenant Kedra. You will not refer to her as my girl." Max's voice was quiet and even, but gained intensity as he spoke. An awkward silence fell for a moment, and then Max said. "What do I call you, and your brother?"

The man, somewhat taken aback by the unassuming but very tall Max finding his voice, answered with an uncomfortable laugh. "I am called Pytor Margot, and this is my brother Tumo. Welcome to Bamfurlong farm." He executed a bow but did not offer his handshake again to either officer.

There was an extent that Kedra was going to play along with the culture of the area, but she agreed with Max.

"I think that given the circumstances, Kedra will be sufficient. And Max for my colleague. Also, I will be checking in on the status of our pod. Given that your god has made it nonfunctional my prodding will do nothing." She tried to be polite, but these two were pushing her nerves.

"After we check on the pod, would you be so kind as to direct us toward any other pods that may have fallen in the area? We will want to check on the health and safety of any other crew in the area."

Both Pytor and Tumo looked up, as though another pod would fall from the sky and crush them any minute. Then, realizing that was not to be, Pytor returned his attention to the god-delivered visitors, while Tumo set off, clutching his pitchfork, calling the dogs behind him--presumably to search the rest of his land.

"Yes, of course," Pytor said. "Are you hurt?"

Now that he wasn't likely to be gnawed upon by dogs, Max took stock. He was shaken and bruised but otherwise fine.

Nema also took the time to give herself a once over. Minor bruising as well, but otherwise unharmed. Max glanced over to see Nema nodding, and he looked over to Pytor and shook his head.

"God be good. I have been lax in providing you support after your hard times. Please, come into the house. I have soup on the stove." His round face was apologetic, and he bustled back up to the house, looking back to be sure they were following.

Nema looked over to Max,

"Let's get a bite; I doubt that they'll try to kill us at this point."

Max sure hoped so. It smelled like mushrooms and bacon were in that soup, and he hoped this farming duo had some beer to share.

[OFF]

Lieutenant Kedra Nema
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298



Petty Officer 3rd Class Max Tragar
Stellar Cartographer
USS Firebird NCC-88298


 

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Comments (3)

By Lieutenant JG Murril Na on Sat Oct 13th, 2018 @ 5:07pm

There were a LOT of great lines throughout there!

BTW, great job at refusing to portray Brother Pytor as an easy stereotype of the low IQ, blindly-devout, religious hypocrite. Having him call out his brother regarding the blasphemy was a nice call.

In terms of the story arc, it was a breath of fresh air to see that at least one of the escape pods had landed in a place where the environment was fertile enough to grow food and the welcoming committee was not pointing guns at us. (I couldn't be the only person here who read this tale and thought about our own characters staring up out of the monitor at us while stating aloud, "Wait. You mean this was an option the whole time?!?")

The behavior of the dogs was a nice touch, both in terms of menace and apolitically curious pets.

(I am curious if the farmers' family name means anything specific. I got the impression that it's a made-up word, like an obscure character name from Henson's Labyrinth or the Mos Eisley cantina band.)

(and now, the elephant in the room...) I found the tension regarding cultural and gender differences believable, but I'm glad it didn't get cloying to the point of turning into an unwelcome lecture directed at the audience. It also didn't poo-poo or ignore a charged RL topic. The reason I really found it interesting was because this is one of the few times any of our crew has had this situation occur during this chapter. (I can only think of one other off the top of my head, and it was brought up before any of the locals were even encountered.)

I really liked reading this JP. It was well-crafted AND satisfying.

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Gianna Djokovic on Tue Oct 16th, 2018 @ 11:33am

I loved the way this post portrays the divide in the religious ideology on the planet and some of the gender norms here as well. The whole interaction is so well thought out and it really adds to the whole background story.

And, as always, the writing here is A+. -Liam

By Lieutenant JG Soto Gantt on Thu Nov 1st, 2018 @ 2:32pm

"The hand of God don't want us to eat?" The tension between the two brothers was a great backdrop to the JP, and the way Nema and Max had to navigate the strange situation without knowing anything about the planet. The tension was even throughout and I look forward to learning a little more about the Refam. Well written.