Previous Next

Pod 13, Part 2: Raise the Hue and Cry [PLOT]

Posted on Mon Oct 22nd, 2018 @ 8:42am by Crewman Thomas Lopt & Petty Officer 3rd Class Kaya & Crewman Keith Potter
Edited on on Wed Nov 21st, 2018 @ 9:32am

Mission: Mission 4: Riding A Pale Horse
Location: Planet ZP0442
Timeline: 13 July, 2394 -0900 Hours

[ON]

Kaya skirted along the treeline that bordered the meadow, careful to avoid the large herd beasts Lopt had identified as cows, a Terran herbivore. They seemed unconcerned by her presence: either they had no natural predators on this world, or they were domesticated. She hoped for the former - simpler to hunker down and wait for rescue then to have to negotiate with an alien population.

She’d left Lopt and Potter at the pod with orders to begin establishing a camp. Potter had taken it as more of a suggestion, he and Kaya had enjoyed a heated exchange, and so she opted to gather firewood (rather than shove him into the stream). So now she was swatting at insects and stowing dry branches in a makeshift sling made from an emergency blanket.

Potter’s petulance might not have bothered her so much if the pod and all their equipment wasn’t totally dead. Absolutely nothing worked, from the distress beacon to com badges, from sensors to phasers. Without the comforting presence of the pod’s basic computer, Kaya felt isolated. Aboard ship, she could do something in a crisis. On this mixed up world - with its electronic interference and Terran wildlife - she was picking up sticks for a signal fire.

A rustling behind her. She turned, fully expecting to see one of her crewmates. Instead, she saw two people. Kaya froze and lifted her free hand slowly.

The two people, a man and a woman, were also holding short branches and at the sight of the strangely garbed person, they froze. It was clear from their clothing, a blend of utilitarian cloth and leather, that they were hard working folk. The man wore a wide brimmed hat that covered his tanned and weathered face. He also sported a long, dark mustache.

The woman was dressed similarly, with almost identical clothing but instead of a hat she wore a cloak with a hood. Her eyes were a murky brown, surrounded by a furrows of wrinkles. They both appeared to be middle aged but in good health.

There was a clatter as the man dropped his firewood, revealing a gunbelt. His hand blurred and Kaya found herself staring at the end of a short pistol.

Kaya recognized a weapon when she saw one. She flinched, glancing across the meadow the distant glint of the escape pod, and held her breath. It took a couple of tries to get words out, trying English.

“Easy… ” Very slowly she set down the bundle of kindling, and raised both hands. “I’m unarmed; you don’t need that.”

The two people, they didn’t look like warriors or soldiers. She couldn’t help another quick look towards the pod; it was clear now their landing had been noticed.

When the man spoke it was in clear Earth standard English. "You're not from around here, that much is clear. You're trespassing on our land but you're also not a Refam. You're either a Techlon or... well I've never seen a Techlon dressed like that," he said, waving the pistol at Kaya's uniform. "So you need to lay down on the ground and I'm going to take you into custody."

The man took a step forward. "Rachel, go back to the village and get Seeker Quinn. Tell him to bring the guard right away." The woman dropped her own bundle of wood and turned to leave.

The look on Kaya’s face said it all: she’d never been in personal danger, not like this, never in trouble with any law, never been ordered onto the ground at gunpoint. She hesitated, attempting to process all the strange details. Their accent sounded Terran, they looked like humans, she remembered the herd beasts were Terran. Trespassing. Village. Never seen a Starfleet uniform. This was not good and the prospect of being separated from her crew was ominous. No. No no no. She had to get back to the pod.

She began taking a slow steps backwards. They were a few dozen metres apart - how was this guy’s aim?

"Stop moving!" The man barked. It was clear he was excited and his hand trembled a little. "I will shoot you if I have to but I'd rather take you in and let the Seeker decide what to do with you. Not everyone gets a harsh sentence. You look like you could be a good servant and earn your freedom after re-education," the man said. The woman was running now. She quickly disappeared into brush.

Kaya’s expression darkened. Servant? Not bloody likely. Time for those holodeck hours to pay off. As quickly as she could, she dropped and began sprinting along the treeline. She followed this relatively sheltered route for as long as she could, before breaking out into the open meadow. Her sudden movements scattered the horses. A shot rang out and she ducked. She began shouting.

“Run! Run! {{ Vek’tema }}, run!”

She careened into the make-shift camp, nearly colliding with Potter. She dove for pack of rations and a useless phaser.

“{{ Vek’tela }} locals tried to take me. More coming. We have to go!”

Kaya had no time to hope that Potter’s survival instinct would ignite him into movement, or that Lopt’s panicky nature would inspire him to action.

Lopt was in the middle of trying to create a soup. He'd found some interesting tubers and thought he'd seen something like them before. His water was simmering when Kaya came screaming into camp. He stood up, spilling the pot onto the fire and burning his hand.

"Ow! What?!" He yelled and started sucking on his burned fingers. "Where are we going?" He asked. He didn't know what was going on but he grabbed the small emergency survival bag he kept nearby at all times.

Potter dodged to one side, avoiding being flattened by the crazed Petty Officer. "Hey! What is your problem?" He asked and looked back in the direction Kaya had bee running from. "Is someone coming?" Potter asked and grabbed the hefty club he'd been carving over the past day.

“We have to get out of here. Locals found me and they’re on their way here. They’re bringing a damn posse!” Kaya said. She turned in place, looking for the best way to go. The stream led in the other direction, and disappeared into trees.

“That way. We can lose them in the woods.” She was guessing. “Hurry! Let’s go!”

She checked the treeline again, where she’d come from. She saw no one, but that didn’t mean they weren’t there. Kaya made sure Potter and Lopt were ready, she sprinted along the stream, away from the meadow, and towards the trees.

Potter had no problem keeping up with Kaya. He might not be the smartest branch in the forest but he was a security officer and Lieutenant t'Aegis was a witch about physical fitness. He settled his pack on his back and fell in beside the fleeing petty officer. He matched her stride for stride, smirking to himself because he knew he could blow by her in a second if he needed.

"So you managed to get spotted, huh?" He said. "Maybe next time you should let the professional do the scouting."

Really? Kaya shot Potter a look as they ran for their lives. Now? She was beginning to seriously worry that he was going to do something critically stupid.

Lopt groaned as he watched Kaya and Potter run off. He kicked some dirt over the fire and broke into a trot. He knew that he looked like a sick giraffe when he ran and was thankful that neither of them could see. This never happens in the holonovels he thought. He was usually in some kind of armor but he always set it so the metal weighed the same as his clothes. He wished he could change the settings now. Instead he put his head down and ran... lumbered for all he was worth. He looked behind him for a moment and thought he saw a figure in pursuit.

"I think they are coming!" Lopt yelled.

Kaya looked back - Lopt was straggling, but he was right. There was movement in the meadow. The three Starfleet crew had achieved the woods and were now clamoring through rougher terrain. She believed they were faster than their pursuers, but…

“We have to find cover. They’re going to know this place,” she said as she ran, nearly twisting an ankle in a gully. She slowed and looked around her.

“I don’t like our odds hand-to-hand. They’re armed. We’re not.”

She found herself looking at Potter. He was security, right?

“Damnit.” Try as she might, the panic was creeping in.

Potter sighed. Once again the higher ranked people were looking to him to fix things. "Alright. There's a heavy clump of trees over there. Lets regroup and see what our options are. You and I are pretty fast but Lopt is worthless," Potter said.

"Hey!" Thomas said, huffing up next to them. "I'm..."

"Aww can it, Lopt. You are who you are. Now follow me," Potter said and sprinted off again.

The three ducked into the thicket, discovering that they were infested with long thorns. "Ow!" Potter hissed, getting angry. He pushed forward, absorbing the damage and clearing a path for Kaya and Lopt. "I am going to burn these things down, I swear!"

‘He’s an ass, but knows what he’s doing,’ thought Kaya and followed Potter into the brambles. The thorns sliced them up. Soon, they were all hunkered down in a thick cover of thorny bushes and a stand of large-leafed trees. They were as hidden as they could have hoped in these circumstances. She had a sudden thought.

“Hide your communicators. Take them off and, um, tuck them somewhere,” she whispered, already unclipping hers. She un-zipped her uniform jacket and hid the small badge in her bra. The lads could come up with something else.

“We’ll want them if we’re captured.” Potter could take her suggestion or not.

“Down!” she hissed suddenly. Voices.

“They can’t have gotten far. Done cornered themselves. They’d never get up Briggs Cliff,” came a man's voice, that same clear Terran English Kaya had heard before.

Potter scrunched up his nose and gripped his club. He tapped it with a finger and motioned for Kaya to find something similar. He could hear a couple of voices but he wasn't sure how many were out there. He felt a tap on his shoulder and looked back to see Lopt. Keith shook his head and looked back towards the way they'd rushed in. It wouldn't be long before they spotted the broken path he'd created. Another tap on the shoulder. Then a more insistent tap. He whirled around.

"Stop it!" Keith hissed.

Lopt threw up his hands. His face was still flushed from running and he had a clearly visible sweat stain around the neck of his shirt. "Fine. I'll just go myself!" Thomas said and turned and started crawling. "You two stay here. I'm going into the cave."


“Tom!” Kaya hissed. What cave!? She cast about for some kind of weapon, finding only fist-sized stones.

“What is he doing?” she whispered to Potter as Lopt disappeared. They had to stick together; of her two crewmates, Lopt seemed the least keen to fare well on his own. But Potter, well, he had a club, didn’t he. A bludgeon and a plan.

With an almost apologetic look to Potter, she started after Lopt.

"Seriously?!" Potter groaned. "Are you all insane?" He sat still for a moment and then, with a sigh, he turned and crawled after the other two. "I really hate planets. And zombie starships. And crazy New Maquis. And..."




Thomas looked over his should and saw Kaya following. He gave her a thumbs up and pointed to a medium sized hole in the ground. He'd almost tripped over it in his efforts to get behind her and Potter. He wasn't a very good fighter. In fact, Lieutenant t'Aegis had simply sighed at his attempts in self defense class.

"I stuck my head in here and I think it is a good spot to hide. Lots of space and it looks like it goes on for a ways. And the best part," he said with a grin. "It has glowing fungus inside! So we can see." He looked at the petty officer, waiting to see what she thought of his idea. He could hear voices somewhere not too far away.

The inexperience of Unlucky Pod Thirteen was beginning to show. All this moving around and albeit hushed conversations were going to get them found by the methodical and ever-encroaching search posse.

Sure enough, exchanges between the locals could be clearly heard, their calm voices ticking the boxes. No sign of ‘em trying to scale the cliff. No trace in the ravine. Someone found a fresh trail branching off from the creek. Head them off that way. We’ll take this path. D’you think they’ve found the caves?

By Kaya’s count, there had to be at least six closing in. “Go,” she whispered.

But it was too late.

“Wouldn’t go down there if I was you,” came a voice from above.

Lopt was half inside when the voice called out. "Why... why not?" He asked, his voice muffled.

"That's not just a cave system. Its a snake hole. They get as big as you. Probably waiting for you all to get inside and then have a right feast on you," the man said.

There was a rustling of brush and more men appeared. They were all dressed in sturdy clothes, sturdier boots and were holding pistols or machetes.

"I recommend you all just ease up a bit. We're going to take you to town and let the Seeker's decide what to do with you."

Potter cursed. "You just couldn't listen to me, could you," he said to Kaya.

“Oh…” Kaya groaned. Potter’s running commentary - she was never going to live this down. If they lived through this.

In the presence of a dozen giant knives and rustic guns, Kaya’s rock seemed a paltry weapon even with Potter’s big stick assist. She set it down and stood up.

“Come out, Tom. Slow.”

Rather than let Potter do anything stupid, she engaged the posse. She recognized one of them.

“Look, point the way and we’ll leave your territory. We don’t want trouble, I just don’t like having guns aimed at me.”

The original man Kaya had run from shook his head. "We're well past that point. We have laws around here. Those laws require that we take you to the Seeker. If he's gone, we'll throw you in the jail until he gets back. Don't worry about the guns. We aren't children. We won't accidentally shoot you. But if you try to run again I make no promises."

Thomas eased out of the hole, a cold knot forming in his stomach. He stood and looked around the circle of men surrounding them. They all looked like well worn soldiers he would sometimes fight in his holonovels. He just wished he had the courage and skill in reality that he had in the stories. Instead he felt a weakness in his legs.

Potter stood up. He was taller and wider than all of the assembled men and they all took a step back, which made him feel good. He gave them all a glare and then threw the club to the ground. "Alright then. Lets get this show on the road. I assume you have some food at this jail? Like, real food?"

"Sure. We ain't Techlon savages. We have good food and clean water."

Potter grunted and started walking.

Kaya stared at the man with a gun, long and steady. Then, biting her lip, she fell in behind the formidable Potter, trying not to ruminate on how they’d gotten into this situation and her part in it. She glanced back at Lopt and tried to look reassuring, unsuccessfully.

Judging from how quickly how reinforcements had been gathered and arrived, this town of theirs couldn’t be far, meaning she didn’t have a lot of time to think. She hung back a few paces to get next to Lopt.

Whispering, “don’t tell them anything until we know more, alright? The crew is going to come looking for us.”

“Hey!” A tall thin man nudged her. “Don’t talk to him.”

Kaya ignored the order to say, “we’re going to be fine.”

In response, she received a firmer push and she was returned to a position a few paces ahead of Lopt.

So the three petty officers and the dozen locals sent to retrieve them came to a well-maintained path and in less time than Kaya would have liked, all without having been in sight of the escape pod again.

[OFF]

Petty Officer Third Class Kaya
Computer Systems Specialist
USS Firebird NCC-88298



Crewman Keith Potter
Security Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298
(NPC by Llwyedd)

Crewman Thomas Lopt
Communications Specialist
USS Firebird NCC-88298
(NPC by Llwyedd)

 

Previous Next

labels_subscribe

Comments (5)

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Kaya on Thu Oct 25th, 2018 @ 11:14am

I love my trashpod children. Can't recover from Potter liking jail.

By Lieutenant JG Murril Na on Tue Oct 30th, 2018 @ 3:11am

I think the line "A Bludgeon and a Plan" would make a worthy title for this trio's upcoming adventures. :-)

Not to sound R-Rated, but the line that caught my attention the most was: "She un-zipped her uniform jacket and hid the small badge in her bra. The lads could come up with something else." Part of me reeeeally hopes to later learn of the humorous ramifications of how Lopt and Potter might have interpreted Kaya's orders on where to quickly stuff their communicators. For the sake of timely comic relief and tidying up loose ends, please have this moment involving their badges come back to haunt them down during a later episode. :-D

BTW to Kaya, I like how you snuck in the reference to her being Trill. Even if being Trill has no impact on this particular scene, it served as a good reminder to the audience that yes, this new character IS Trill, and it will come up again later. (I'm not a fan of stories where I get clear to the end of a long tale only to discover, "Wait. That 4'9" tweenaged human gal I had pictured in my head was actually a 6'1" Klingon matriarch this whole time? That would have been good to know sooner.") Adding that brief line about running was enough to effectively nudge the audience to not forget that yes, she's still Trill and will continue to be Trill in later episodes.

On a more serious aspect of storytelling, I appreciate how Lopt and Potter have developed enough quirks and differences to let the audience easily tell them apart. It's all too easy for writers to accidentally keep two lookalike NPCs as mere NPCs, and in Star Trek that's not just bad writing, it's a death sentence via red shirt for such characters. Thankfully, as you've written them here, the readers will actually feel bad if something bad happens to any of the trio from here on out. (and that's good)

Again, the writers of each escape pod seem to come up with wonderful moments causing the rest of us to think, "Aw, man. Why didn't we think of that?"

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Gianna Djokovic on Wed Oct 31st, 2018 @ 5:03am

Really enjoyed this JP. Lots of action, quick-witted dialog, great writing. I love that the characters' personalities are playing so well on each other. -Liam

By Lieutenant JG Soto Gantt on Thu Nov 1st, 2018 @ 5:12pm

"I love my trashpod children." lol @ Kaya

By Lieutenant JG Soto Gantt on Thu Nov 1st, 2018 @ 5:16pm

This JP felt shorter than it was which was done by good, clear writing. Great engagement from the start and the action never let up. Everything was easy to follow, too. It's a good thing Potter had the club not Kaya, or both she might have bludgeoned both of them.