Previous Next

Pod 7, Part 2: A Bitter Field [PLOT]

Posted on Fri Oct 5th, 2018 @ 10:27am by Lieutenant Cynfor Rees & Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant Commander Jörgen Leed
Edited on on Tue Oct 9th, 2018 @ 10:07pm

Mission: Mission 4: Riding A Pale Horse
Location: Planet ZP0442
Timeline: 10 July, 2394 - 1430 Hours


Jörgen walked carefully over the over the debris mounded around the escape pod. Every slip on a loose shingle, every stumble over a broken beam pumped a bit more adrenaline into him. Like a terror-dream where basic walking was impossible. He split from Cynfor to double their search efforts. "Can anyone hear me? Is anyone alive?" called the diplomat, his head swinging side to side to look for even a hint of cloth.

He dropped to one knee and peered into a dark crevice propped up by part of a fallen wall. Glass fragments glittered on top of a rough-sewn, dark green fabric. Curtains, maybe. Or a piece of clothing. Jörgen reached out carefully. Now is not the time for a deep gash from broken glass, he thought. Cynfor called out suddenly. "What is it?" asked Jörgen, springing up.

Cyn could not form the words to respond to Jorgen. He had been searching the rubble and calling to see if anyone needed help, when he stumbled on what he thought was a piece of debris. When Cynfor Rees looked down he saw the cold dead stare of a girl that appeared to be nine years old. Rees' thoughts jumped to his granddaughter, but duty called so he pushed those thoughts aside and checked the girl. She was dead there was no doubt about it for when he moved the rubble off of her he found that there was nothing from the waist down. He dropped to his knees and sobbed trying to call for the Ambassador. "Amba...." was all he could get out.

Stoicism crumbled off Jörgen, falling like tears as he placed a hand on Cynfor's shoulder. Trying to draw comfort from knowing the girl hadn't suffered was a dry well. Pausing to let the initial wave of grief pass, he said, "I am sorry Cynfor. She was too young. Every person on this farm was too young for death to come. We should keep searching for her family in case they are alive." Squeezing Cynfor's shoulder, Jörgen returned to the task himself without looking back. The lieutenant would follow as he wished.

Cyn could not shake the thought that what if this was his Layla, his beautiful granddaughter. What made it worse was that he knew he caused these deaths. He simply was not a good enough pilot. Rees took a moment to commit the girl's face to his memory, for he did not want to ever forget her. Cyn reached down and closed the little girl's eyes. "Good night little one." He whispered as he rose and began to search for the rest of the parents, although he had a sinking feeling that they were dead as well.

Upon hearing the sound of boots scuffing over the uneven ground Jörgen looked up. His head was nearly as heavy as the thick beams of the roof. He looked back down at the framed painting in his hands. The frame was mostly splinters but the canvas was mostly whole in spite of a long tear.

The canvas depicted a young smiling woman with her hair in a long braid stood beside a tousled-looking man with brown haired. Two youth, a girl and boy, stood in front of them. The girl in the painting had the same face as the girl Cynfor had found. Judging by the green shirt and brown vest on the husband in the painting, Jörgen had found the father. At least, the part he had been able to uncover on his own. To stand felt like lifting a mountain. He stood. "Lieutenant, I have located the father," said Jörgen, his voice flat and toneless.

Upon hearing the voice of Leed Cyn ran as best as he could through the rubble to the Ambassador. He hoped upon hope that the man was alive, but alas the old Welshman was wrong. With tears welling up in his eyes again he spoke. "I do not want to keep looking, my heart can't take this pain. But we have to, we have to for if someone is alive we can help. If no one is alive then at least we can give them a burial. We killed them..." His voice got softer as he spoke, eventually it just trailed off. For now gone was the boisterous man with a zest for life. He was replaced by someone who simply hurt.

Once again Leed let his hand rest on Cynfor's shoulder. They were together in this. Jörgen's lungs ached as though scooped out by sorrow. A heatless, lifeless void. This was not his first time feeling it. Old lessons from years as ambassador came back. A diplomat must overcome violent or despairing emotions.

Anyone nearby would have begun running to the farmhouse before the impact. Likely the family had been inside together. Killed together. "We will look as long as it takes. With or without hope we will search so that they may breathe free air or lie in peaceful earth." Jörgen leaned forward so that he could speak softly to Rees. "No one could have done more to alter our descent. Mourn, but do not despair."

Cyn nodded and rose to his feet as he wiped the tears from his eyes. Something Jorgen had just said about the family dying together clicked in his head. Rees began moving rubble off of the dead man with renewed vigor. "If you are correct about them dying together then we should find the missus in this area. To that end we must keep digging." Sure enough Cynfor's theory proved true within minutes the body of a woman was unveiled from the rubble. She lay on her side with her arm outstretched, as if she reached for something or someone. The woman was clothed in a long cotton bib style dress with a white blouse underneath. The blouse had been stained with blood and dirt. From underneath what used to be a white hair cap strands of red hair snaked out. The old man let out a deep cleansing breath and it calmed him for the moment. He looked at the woman as she lay there and realized that she had been killed of bludgeoning wounds. "All this death and we don't even know their names."

The small row of corpses now numbered four. The son had been close to his older sister. "Death they would never have foreseen. They tilled this earth for a fertile ground where fern and family would grow." Jörgen lifted his gaze to the east where a granite stone rose nearly five meters feet above the earth, immovable. But for a little shift in one direction their pod might have missed the house and disintegrated against the stone. His own hard gut seemed to tremble as though asking if now was the time to let sorrow break upon him. Soon, perhaps. "There is a small barn. They will have shovels we may use to honor them. Come, we will work through this together."

Cyn walked side by side with Jorgen in silence. For Rees there was not much to say, and for once he did not feel like talking. However, for Cyn knowing that the Ambassador was there with him was comfort enough. When they arrived at the barn he noted that there was a carriage and four horses. This was a mixed blessing for the Ops Officer. He was elated that they had transport when the time came to leave this cemetery. However, it was another indication as to what they had done.

Rees stood there for moment as he gained his bearings. He sighed deeply, wiped a couple of tears from his eyes and grabbed one of the shovels. "Come let us do the work that they all deserve." He gave Jörgen a half smile.

Grasping Rees back, Jörgen returned a wracked smile. The family were victims, nothing more. A impossible sequence of events. The moment of the attack. The alarm. His own hesitation to say one last word to the captain. The timing of the ejection from the ship. Every tiny event that brought their pod down as some god's hammer of death. At least he had the surprising comfort of the lieutenant. "I wish for anything else than digging in such a bitter field but I am glad chance threw us into this together."

Cyn put his arm around the Ambassador as they walked back toward the field. "As am I, as am I." He even managed a small smile.


Lieutenant Cynfor Rees
Chief Operations Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Commander Jorgen Leed
Chief Diplomatic Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298
(NPC by Soto)


Previous Next


Comments (3)

By Lieutenant JG Murril Na on Fri Oct 5th, 2018 @ 4:50pm

Not to sound morbid, but I appreciated that you depicted a random, accidental, senseless tragedy. When fictional folks die, there often has to be a reason to advance the plot. Not here, though.

ex. being the deceased sister of the local green villainess who is a stickler for family property remaining in the family.

I might be making a mistaken assumption about your next episode, but for this episode, I like that in your JP, the tragedy just is. The deaths aren't a foreshadowing or a metaphor or anything dealing with the overall story arc. It's just a potent reminder for the audience to identify with: sometimes bad things do happen to people who were innocent bystanders.

(When Godzilla stomps through Toyko or superheroes bash each other over the heads during rush hour, the audience doesn't get reminded that a lot of "unimportant" folks were killed in the carnage. You bothered to remind us that yes, collateral damage is still damage.

(A protagonist being consciously concerned about cutting himself on some broken glass had the same theme on a smaller scale: seemingly pointless accidents do happen to people. Good call on including that part about the broken glass!)

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Gianna Djokovic on Mon Oct 15th, 2018 @ 6:17am

An emotionally powerful punch to the gut, this piece was well written with nice, realistic reactions from the main characters. -Liam

By Lieutenant Kedra Nema on Thu Nov 1st, 2018 @ 8:30am

To second an able he comment: The tragedy just is. It exists, it is confronted, but not wasted on a why. Often there is no why.

Thank you for a deep and meaningful post.