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Pod 5, Part 3 - Divide... [PLOT]

Posted on Mon Nov 5th, 2018 @ 4:19pm by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis & Warrant Officer Arlan Harlan
Edited on on Wed Nov 21st, 2018 @ 9:32am

Mission: Mission 4: Riding A Pale Horse
Location: Planet ZP0442
Timeline: 13 July, 2394 - 1100 Hours


They had been walking and riding for days. More walking than riding for the prisoners.

It had been Rhiana's fault, for initially, three horses were to have carried two riders each in order to progress faster. But it had become clear after only a few minutes that Rhiana was in no shape for riding. Even a stronger dose of lydris powder had not helped. So, after a rather heated discussion between Luke, some disgruntled members of the group and Riley, the latter's argument that they could neither kill nor abandon the injured woman because the Captain would certainly want to meet her, won. The prisoners had not been consulted nor allowed to participate in the decision making process, any comment from them had been ignored.

In the end, Luke had decided that with one messenger sent ahead and one guard remaining with the wreckage, he could not afford to split the remaining group any further. He could take it out on the prisoners to some extent, though, and he did. Made all three of them walk most of the distance. Kept their hands bound at all times except for meals. Which were not shared equally either, this time despite Riley's protests. The young medic was feeling protective towards Rhiana and kept close to her, even chose to walk next to her to be able to help if needed.

Whenever they had made camp for the night, one of Luke's group had always stood guard, though noone had ever said whether it was to keep the prisoners from fleeing or to protect the group from being attacked. Maybe both.

The landscape had not changed much. The swampy marshland had given way to a wide open plain that had less and less grass and trees and more and more sand and rocks of varying sizes. And no obvious landmarks, no signs of other people or even animals beyond some birds and small critters.

In the late morning hours of the third day, they had barely broken 'camp', Luke suddenly gave a few quick orders. One of the men took his horse and rode away while the others herded horses and prisoners together behind some bigger rocks. All weapons were out and it quickly became obvious why: someone was approaching. Several someones even, judging from the cloud of dust that became visible in not so far a distance. Horses whinnied, their hooves thundering over the hard, sandy ground.

Soon enough, they came to a halt. The dust settled and everyone visibly relaxed. Half a dozen riders and three large horse-carts had arrived, but they obviously were from Luke's camp, for he and their leader exchanged a few words and they did not sound hostile. Luke looked back towards the prisoners. "They're going to salvage your vehicle," he yelled. "Do you still wanna help, engineer?"

Harlan glanced up with a tired sort of scowl. "Yeah. I'll help." he shouted back. "There's no way you're figuring out what still works on it without me." He was eager to get the stupid rope off his wrists, but he was content to just assist. These backwards people were nice enough, but they still held the guns and he didn't.

One of Luke's fellows wandered over and looked Harlan in the eye. "Come with me. We're gonna head back to the place we found you three, but we ain't untying you just yet, Mr. Grump. You help us get some useful stuff outta that wreck, then we untie you." The underling looked away and expected Harlan to follow, which he did after a moment.

Stephens looked over at Rhiana. "Lieutenant, do you want me to go with him or should I stay here?" Truth be told, Charles wasn't sure whether their captors would even allow him to go but it didn't hurt to try to assert themselves. He looked at Rhiana, wondering how the bruise on her face could be both so large and so green at the same time.

Rhiana was watching the exchange from her 'vantage point' of sitting on the dusty ground and leaning against a rock, her bound wrists resting on her propped-up knees. She was exhausted and her head pounded continually despite repeated doses of lydris powder. The once perfect shine of her black boots was long gone, replaced by a fine dusting of... dust. Her usually pristine uniform was wrinkled and dirty, the black of the fabric greyish from the same dust that was everywhere, even streaked across her face. And yet, she could not care less.

The Romulan looked up at Stephens. Usually, she would not need to ponder, knowing perfectly well what she was capable of. But it was exactly that knowledge that now made her hesitate. If Stephens went with Harlan, she would be alone and, in her current condition, rather incapable of defending herself. On the other hand... "Go with Chief Harlan." Rhiana coughed to clear her voice. "While he breaks apart the escape pod, make certain that you find and retrieve all equipment items, especially the medical kits." She hoped that he understood that she also meant him to retrieve the phasers that were stocked inside the escape pod. But he was part of Starfleet Intelligence. He of all people should think about that.

Stephens nodded and pulled on the rope that bound his hands. "Hey, I'd like to go along with my friend," Stephens said to the guard. "He might need my help."

The guard looked over at Luke, who had been listening from horseback. "What do you say, Luke?"

Luke took a drink from a waterskin, eyeing Stephens. "You know what? Now that we have backup, I don't mind. You and your brother go ahead and go with them and keep an eye on this one. They might be graybeards but that just means they got tricks.

The guard nodded. "Alright then. Let's go," he said to Stephens.

"You hear that, Harlan? You're not free of me just yet," Stephens said.

Harlan shot Charles a look, but it was one of amusement. "That's fine. I'd rather have a second pair of expert eyes on these fellows while they tear apart that wrecked pod. Only we know how to identify what is still working and useful. It might even be kind of fun, assuming we don't run into more of those lizard-birds."

"I said go," the guard snapped sharply and prodded Stephens with the butt of his weapon. "Get on the cart." He pointed to one of the as of yet still empty horsecarts.

Stephens sighed, moving slowly on purpose, as if he truly were an old man, and climbed up onto te wagon. "This would be a lot easier if I could actually use my hands, you know? You've all got weapons and we have nothing. You can't expect us to help you scavenge our escape pod without using our hands," Stephens said. He leaned over to Harlan and whispered. "You think we should try to jump them or just go with the flow?"

Harlan gave his friend a look that said "Are you kidding? We just got done falling out of space, nearly eaten, and now we have people with guns who will shoot us if we don't help them rip apart our dead space pod. What do you think?" This nonverbal conveyance was punctuated by a particular eyebrow raise.

With the two prisoners finally on a horse-cart, the group of Techlons going to the crash site took their leave from the group who had found the site in the first place. After some back and forth bantering from some of both groups, they eventually took off, leaving Luke, Riley and two more Techlons alone with Rhiana.

"Break's over. Let's go," Luke announced and, without waiting, began to ride away, leaving it to the others to follow him, as he knew they would. And of course, they did. Except for Riley who not only waited for Rhiana, but helped her stand up. "Do you want to give riding another try?"

The Romulan looked at the horse, then in direction of Luke who was slowly riding in a direction that looked just as all the others towards a distant camp that could still be days or weeks away at the speed they were going. She did feel guilty about that. And annoyed with herself. She was not used to being in such a state and what angered her most was that had she been uninjured, she could have crossed the distance between the crash site and here in two or three hours. Running.

Rhiana sighed. "No, but I will."

Somehow - she did not care to remember how exactly - Rhiana managed to mount the horse, the prisoner sitting behind the captor, bound wrists around the latter's torso.

They set off at a slow pace then, slower than Luke's, but they would probably catch up with him and the other two at the next break. Whenever that would be.


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 (2)

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Gianna Djokovic on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 @ 6:10am

Can't wait to see how all of their situations resolve. It's been an interesting journey with these three. -Liam

By Lieutenant JG Soto Gantt on Thu Nov 29th, 2018 @ 5:10pm

I enjoyed the back-and-forth with the guards, Stephens and Harlan, and the possibility of snooping under the noses of the guards. Their dialog formed a good contrast to Rhiana's physical struggle. Good job balancing the grim situation with the ray of hope.