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Pod 12, Part 3: Sandriders [PLOT]

Posted on Mon Oct 22nd, 2018 @ 8:41am by Petty Officer 3rd Class Fhiri & Lieutenant JG Murril Na & Lieutenant JG Yikete Oggt
Edited on on Wed Nov 21st, 2018 @ 9:32am

Mission: Mission 4: Riding A Pale Horse
Location: Planet ZP0442
Timeline: 12 July, 2394 - 0500 Hours


The kite blazed in the morning sunshine, the fabric rippling and dancing as the winds gusted and then fell away. It looked like a great bird dancing in the sky. Fhiri had a grip on the two guidelines, long ropes that rose into the sky like thin branches, connecting their makeshift craft to the sky. Murril Na's cargo sled had, conveniently, had two holes already cut into the metal, which had allowed Fhiri to create a makeshift attachment and steering mechanism out of parts she'd already scavenged. The four passengers sat or lay atop their supplies, perched like... well like lizards on a rock. Fhiri glanced at Oggt, glad that he couldn't read her mind.

Their crash site was far behind them now and the morning sun was coming up fast behind them Fhiri's arms were getting tired from the strain of steering them around the large boulders that popped up randomly. The first one had almost capsized them but since then she'd done well.

"This sure beats walking!" Fhiri yelled. "How's our guest, Oggt?"

"Stable," the Saurian yelled back against the sting of the sand-blast-like-wind. He'd managed to kept their guest unconscious by disassembling a hypospray and manually administering an unknowably imprecise dosage of sedative. It was too risky, he had already decided, to dose her again in the same way. She'd wake up eventually and then they would have to figure out what to do with her. For now, though, she seemed peaceful. "Any sign of... anything?"

Murril added, "Our current location is thirty degrees, 60 Fhiketes, plus or minus 15 Fhiketes, away from our landing site. We'll have to stop moving soon. Our map is too inaccurate in daylight anyway." A large, horizontal rectangle of burn cream and manila colored paint was covering his nose and cheeks. The corners of the white sclera of Murill's eyes had tiny red fissures. And none of those boulders looked like they would provide much shade or shelter. Murril looked up from their sailsled and gestured towards a particular horizon, "What about the place with those craters with the lights you two first spotted last night?"

Fhiri tacked the craft around another boulder before she responded. "Those craters are in the opposite direction, sir," she said. "But I think there's something similar coming up." And indeed there was something different in front of them. The sand was rising and their craft hurtled upward, as the wind gusted. A wake of sand ran down their side, some of it spilling into the sled, forcing them to bail from time to time. As they crested the large dune, the sand fell away in a steep decline, forcing Fhiri to let out more slack on the line. At the bottom of the huge sand valley lay... something long and shiny, gleaming in the brilliant sunshine. It was large enough that Fhiri could see shadows near it and figured it was as good a place to find shelter as anything they were likely to discover.

She angled the sled towards it and as they grew closer to their destination, the size of the object became apparent. It was at least two or three stories tall and looked like worked metal. Something clicked in Fhiri's mind.

"Is it just me or does that look like an old spaceship?" Fhiri yelled. "Or at least part of one?"

Yikete craned his neck and took in the object Fhiri was referring to. It seemed quite out of place. "Part of the Firebird?" he wondered aloud.

Murril squinted and held up a palm to mitigate some of the glare. "It doesn't look like one of ours. I can't see any markings from here, but even a locked airlock or a stuck maintenance panel could have a written language visible up close." He tapped at his own breast. There was no accompanying chirp from his communicator. "No battery power yet, and our compass is spinning more than ever."

Steadying a dangling card on the side of an emergency survival kit, Murril studied the color comparison chart on the stiff card. "Radiation still looks acceptable. I'd like a closer look at that place." Na squinted again. "I don't see any people or path markings of routine comings and goings, either. Even if it's still occupied, I'd rather take my chances in there than out here."

Fhiri nodded and steered them towards the presumed spacecraft. She began to pull the kite in closer, which increased their speed temporarily and the young Ferengi couldn't help herself. She let out a loud "Whooop!" As t they swept across the bottom of the depression. The sun was already hot on their backs and she knew it would only get hotter. They grew closer to their destination and Fhiri realized what was creating the shade. Part of the spacecraft was actually a large win, leaving a shadow underneath. She let their sled coast right up near the wing before purposefully letting the cloth luff and fall off. She was proud of herself as they came to a stop near her target and the kite, tangled on purpose, floated elegantly to the ground and then, thanks to a last gasp of win, settled right on top of them.

"Uhh. That last part was not supposed to happen," Fhiri said.

Oggt flailed his arms about, pulling the old parachute away from everyone and pushing it aside. "How old do you suppose it is, Murril?" he asked as he surveyed what was visible of the hull.

Truth be told, without a working tricorder, the Firebird's chemist knew about as much as Oggt or Fhiri did. So, Murril fessed up, "Unknown," while stepping over some dislodged wreckage in the sand drifts. Murill walked towards one of the split seams in the hull. It was possibly wide enough for each of them to barely fit through, but Murril wasn't sure about Oggt's size.

Murril noticed the angular, scimitar shaped lettering stamped next to a large vent, but the words were in a language he couldn't read. "Well, at least we ran into a familiar civilization's ship, even if Federation ties with them aren't always great. That narrows it down to a couple hundred years rather than a few million. I'm sorry I'm not of more use, but in my defense, what are the odds that the Firebird's science department would ever happen to have a linguistics expert?"

Fhiri finished pulling the kite off and folding it into a semblance of a square shape. "Wait, is that Klingon?" Fhiri asked. "Wow. I wonder how that got here?" She tossed the kite sail onto the sand and walked over to the crashed vessel. Under the wing the temperature was almost bearable, even to her. She ran her hand across the plating, noting the scorch marks and the damage from the crash.

"They made this one well," Fhiri said. She glanced at the seam that lead into the interior. "Might be useful stuff in there."

A weak voice called from behind them. "The only thing in there is death. The warrior lives here. You idiots have killed us all."

"She speaks," Oggt said, bending down to check on his now conscious patient, lifting her eyelids to compare pupil sizes. "Sorry about the bindings. We're not going to hurt you," he explained, completely ignoring her ramblings of death and idiots and chalking it all up to head trauma.

Na didn't bother looking back at the cracked voice of the injured stranger as he responded to her commentary. Murril noted, "If this unseen warrior kills everyone who comes here, how is it YOU know anything about him?" She doesn't believe she's lying, but her confidence doesn't mean her facts are correct.

Na started looking past the exterior plating of the wrecked Bird of Prey, trying to detect the emotions of anyone hidden inside. Unless it's a ghost, the emotions and the brain will continue to occupy the same space. Nothing yet. Is he already deceased? Asleep? On the other end of the ship? How did he survive an unpowered landing in THIS?

The woman scowled at Oggt. "Demon-thing, you have already assaulted me so your words mean nothing," She said and then turned her eyes to Murril Na. "I didn't say he killed everyone. But he will kill us because we have entered his territory. Sometimes as younglings, when we weren't required to work in the mines, we would sneak out to this crater and spy on him. I can feel him near us. He's watching us now. You and your... whatever that thing is," She said nodding her head in Fhiri's direction. "Would be best to leave the lizard demon and try to escape. I know it eats lizards."

Fhiri gulped and looked around. Now that she was examining things more closely, she could see a pattern of footsteps, large ones, around the crash site. "She might be telling the truth. About there being something living here I mean. I don't know if it eats lizards," She said and then looked at Oggt. "Sorry. I know you're not a lizard. I mean you are lizard-like but... I'll just stop talking now and check out the wreck a little."

Lizard or demon, Oggt didn't seem phased by the name calling and comparisons. She wouldn't be the first person he'd encountered to be off-put by his identity and evolutionarily-speaking, he might even have been distantly related to something that lived here in the desert. "Be careful. Maybe you should take Murril," he suggested to Fhiri before sitting down on a crate on the sled next to the woman.

"My name is Yikete. I'm a doctor and, as I said, we mean you no harm. We won't let anything happen you you. We did not intend to come to this world and we are just looking for a way home. Have you seen others like us?" he asked the woman.

The woman sniffed. "I've never seen anything like you. None of our doctors have scales. Are there more intruders? How did you come here? That egg didn't look like it was capable of star travel," the woman said.

"The 'egg' is a life boat," Oggt replied carefully, not wanting to divulge too many details about the crew or the ship. "We do not know how many survivors there were. We lost the ability to communicate with the others when we got here." He wondered if she knew anything about why their electronics didn't work, but reasoned to himself that she likely had no idea what electronics even were. "Do you have a name?"

"I am Krith," the woman said. "And your evil technology will not work here. We are covered by the great sphere of protection. If we live, somehow, you will be taken by a Seeker eventually. The Refam do not accept outsiders, demons and tech users. Let me go now and I will convince them not to kill you."

"Krith," Oggt repeated with a nod. There were many cultures inside of the Federation's territory and even more outside that had comparatively backwards and outdated cultural norms. It wasn't his place to argue them with her. "We didn't come to disrupt your ways. We simply want to find a way back to where we came from." He stood up and hooked his hand under her arm and hoisted her to her feet as well. "If there is a place we can go to escape your sphere, you would help us immensely by showing us how to get there. If not, I understand." He turned her around and began unbinding her wrists.

Krith sprinted away, sand churning around her feet. She ran as fast as she could, ignoring the lingering affects of her wounds. She kept expecting an attack but none came and eventually she paused and turned. She'd made it a good hundred meters. The demon-lizard-ma-doctor was standing still. The other two were peering into the crash. "Get away while you can!" She yelled. "Go to the rock arches and seek out the techlons!" She pointed in the direction behind the crash site. "One day that way!" And with that, she turned and ran up and out of the depression.

The Betazoid was still repurposing some supplies and fallen parts into imperfect tools when he saw the woman make her escape. Sighing, Na ambled through the sand toward the open seam in the Bird of Prey's plating. The chemist could sense that whatever reasons the physician had, nothing nefarious was afoot in Oggt's motives. Murril let it go. After all, the prisoner's parting thoughts were of honesty and reluctant gratitude. At least, that's what Murril hoped was the correct reading.

Na spoke somewhat quietly with the Ferengi engineer, "I can't sense anyone around other than Oggt, but my abilities have limits. While we're inside, keep your eyes open for parts and equipment we need for later, but our first pass through should assume that we're in someone's home. If you pick it up, don’t carry it with you. Our badges and words aren't going to mean much if we're caught behaving like thieves and scavengers. You might want to take a few minutes figuring out how THIS operates, too."

With a slight pause for ceremony, Murril gave Fhiri a handful of tiny, heavy silos and the stranger's long-barreled weapon. He spared her his speech on how each projectile seemed to be individually powered by dry chemicals that probably ignited upon mechanical impact.

Fhiri looked down at the weapon and the ammunition. Of course she was trained in phasers but this? "Sir, I don't know this weapon system and I am not a great shot. I'll carry this but if you get in front of me and an enemy appears, there's a decent chance I end up hurting you rather than it," Fhiri said. Just because I'm a Ferengi doesn't mean I can do everything.

Betazoids couldn't read the minds of Ferengi, but based on changes in her overt personality, he grasped that he was pushing her too hard, too soon. Murril paused, nodded respectfully, and took back the L shaped device.

Murril privately began trying out the machine's various levers and switches, one at a time, then started combining the operations together to see which features locked up the whole process and which features opened up something new. Occasionally, he would draw or erase a shape in the sand, to keep track.

Fhiri watched Murril working the weapon, wondering what exactly he was planning. She peered past the officer into the interior, swearing that she saw something moving.

"Sir, I think that," Fhiri started to say when a large muscular arm reached out from the split in the crashed ship's hull, wrapped a hand around Murril's neck and yanked. Fhiri's mouth dropped open. Murril Na was... gone.


Lieutenant JG Murril Na
Assistant Chief Science Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant JG Yikete Oggt
Medical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298
NPC by Djokovic

Petty Officer 3rd Class Fhiri
Computer Systems Specialist
USS Firebird NCC-88298
NPC by Llwyedd


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Comments (1)

By Lieutenant JG Soto Gantt on Thu Nov 1st, 2018 @ 4:49pm

The writing was up on this post, it pulled me along with it. Injecting the "warrior" added good suspense. Yikete's handling of the "prisoner" seemed very in-character. I hoped to have a little more tension between Murril and Yikete. I was a little surprised the crew went right up to the fallen spacecraft. Desperate times. What a cliffhanger ending! I enjoyed reading this.