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Worn, Weary and Wary [PLOT]

Posted on Thu Nov 29th, 2018 @ 10:57pm by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis

Mission: Mission 4: Riding A Pale Horse
Location: Techlon Village Arches
Timeline: 17 July, 2394 - 1400 Hours


With a noticeable effort, the woman stood, holding out her right hand up in a V. "Welcome, Rhiana t'Aegis of Romulus. Live Long and Prosper."

Once more, Rhiana was painfully aware of just how unprepared and underdressed she was for this encounter. Not to mention physically exhausted and spending way too much energy on appearing as if she was not. Even now, she was not as quick as she ought to be and caught herself spending more time than polite staring at the Vulcan. Giving herself a mental kick, the Romulan bowed deeply and held the position for several heartbeats as befit someone of the Vulcan's station. When she looked up again, she met the Vulcan's eyes which reminded her too much of her adoptend grand-mother's eyes. That woman had been able to look straight into her core. "I thank you for your welcome and hospitality, captain of the Techlon." Rhiana spoke as formally as she could, even if Federation Standard did not give her much to work with. Expressing the same greeting in Romulan would have been much more appropriate and adequate.

The Techlon leader nodded. "I am Captain T'por and I welcome you to the Arches settlement. It has been many decades since I have seen a member of your empire, t'Aegis," T'por said, walking slowly to close the distance between the two. "And yet you were dressed quite differently when we found you. Is your uniform not a Federation one?"

The group of assembled crew watched the two, especially their captain. As she stepped forward, they all unconsciously took a half-step towards her.

Rhiana kept her eyes on the captain and quite to the contrary of apparently everybody else, stood her ground as the old woman approached her. "Yes, it is, captain. Seven years ago, Romulus was destroyed by the Hobus star turning supernova. I joined the Federation then and now serve aboard the USS Firebird." Rhiana was careful with her words, making the effects of the tragedy sound like a mere career choice. But she was very much aware that this was not a mere social call. For all T'por's words, Rhiana assumed that she was still more prisoner than guest here and this was certainly only the first of many interrogations.

T'por nodded, her face calm and eyes clear. "Logical," she said. "I had not heard of the destruction of Romulus. But then again, our position in the galaxy and our lack of communication technology is quite limiting." As she reached Rhiana, T'por motioned with her hand. "Would you walk with me as we talk? My... physician implores me to exercise more."

The captain continued her slow walk, towards the wide balcony outside. "And I think we can do without chaperones, either," T'por said to her entourage before they could follow. "Now, t'Aegis, perhaps you have questions I can answer?"

Excercise was the last thing on Rhiana's mind, but she could probably manage walking slowly, so she followed half a step behind the older woman. She did not look back at the entourage when they were so easily dismissed, but found this... no, not promising. Interesting. The Romulan did not reply right away but had to take a moment or two to sort through the information she had received since waking up. "You were aboard the vessel that brought the colonists here," she concluded finally. "How long ago did that vessel crash?"

T'por nodded. "I was. However crash is a bit of an overstatement. The Far Wanderer conducted a partially controlled landing. The ship was never intended to land in the first place," T'por said. Outside the blue sky was suddenly full of black birds that swooped and dove in a cloud formation. "I was quite young then and participated in the in-flight retrofit of the landing modules. The ship touched down one hundred seventy-three years, two months, six days ago. In many ways, the time prior to the landing, despite the food shortages and lack of oxygen, was the most productive of my life. We all had a purpose. Survival." T'por looked at her walking companion. "What is your purpose, t'Aegis?"

Rhiana went from watching the birds and listening to T'por's explanation to feeling her heartbeat accelerate and her entire body going into alert status from a sudden outpour of adrenaline - only because of that one question. She forced herself to turn her head slowly to look at the Vulcan. That woman was good. "You remind me of my adopted grandmother. She once tortured me to determine my breaking point."

"Interesting. I do not believe physical torture to be an efficient means of data extraction. I much prefer exploitation of advantage," T'por said. She halted. They were almost to the wide opening that lead out onto the balony. The stone was a deeper shade of red. "Still, you have not answered my question. As a Starfleet officer, should you not be inclined to assist my people? Or would you defer to your Romulan heritage of suspicion and cunning to gather strength?"

"I have no illusions about my position within your domain, captain," Rhiana replied matter-of-factly. "As a Starfleet officer, I am rather inclined not to get involved in local disputes. At least not until having heard both sides." She allowed a flicker of a smile to appear on her face. "As a Romulan, I do not necessarily have the same qualms." Turning fully towards T'por, she added, "What kind of assistance do you need?"

T'por nodded at t'Aegis' words. "I believe it would be best to show you. When we reach the balcony it should be much clearer. As for seeing both sides, I am sure that any of your crew who landed in Refam territory will give you all the information you require. They are a narrow minded people, sprung from narrow minded people. They desire only to restrict and control. Come, let us walk."

T'por lead the way out onto the balcony. The sun was warm on her skin and the Vulcan turned her head up to receive it. "I miss true sun. Even this is but a memory of my youth." They continued across the balcony, its true expanse becoming evident. It curved outward from the great arch in a wide C shape. A waist high railing ran its length and as they approached, the ground became visible. Far below, in a natural depression, rested a long spacecraft. It appeared to be camouflaged at first but as the eye adjusted, the reality was that it had been crafted from many different types of materials from many different races. For all that, it was elegant in its own way.

"And thus you perceive the source of our need. My people have long wanted to depart this planet," T'por said, resting her hands on the warm red sandstone of the railing. “The idea came to us when we found a crashed alien vessel of a similar construction.”

The sight of the vessel left Rhiana staring at it speechlessly. They built that from scraps? On the ground?? And without proper tools??? She grabbed the railing because she suddenly felt weak in the face of so much determination. "I am not an engineer," she had to admit with a shake of her head. "Chief Harlan returned to the wreckage of our escape pod with your men. He is going to be of more help to you than I could be."

"We've been building this ship for one hundred and thirty-six years. I think we can wait for another few days for Chief Harlan's return. It will be a pleasure to have another engineer here. I am one of the few remaining and teaching takes a toll on my body," T'por said. "If you are not an engineer, what is your specialty?" The cloud of birds passed, except for one large black bird, which landed twenty feet away on the railing. It resembled a large crow, with wide wings and jet black feathers, but it had a wider, hooked beak. It stared at the two bipeds, head cocked.

Rhiana eyed the bird warily, thinking that that beak could seriously hurt them. On the other hand, she could also imagine T'por to offer her arm to the bird which would then hop onto it, proving to be the Vulcan's pet. She hoped the latter. Pondering that gave her a brief moment of respite from having to decide which truth to tell T'por. She could not help but want to trust and believe the elder woman. Which was a dangerous thought. On the other hand, these people had saved her life and she felt obliged to them. Also a dangerous position to be in. Rhiana sighed. "I am the chief of security and tactical aboard my vessel."

"Ah. You are a warrior. That does not surprise me, with the way you carry yourself. Did you know that since you arrived in my chambers, your eyes have blinked so rarely I was worried that you might be suffering from a more serious head wound than I had been lead to believe. Now I see that it is simply part of your observation. I do assure you, t'Aegis, that you are in no danger here. I realize that words are simply words and can be twisted. Howeveer, if I wished you ill, you would not have woken from your slumber," T'por said. The bird sidestepped closer to the duo and the Vulcan pulled a small piece of hard meat from a hidden pocket. She tossed it into the air and the bird's wings flashed. It dove from the balcony, catching the tidbit in flight. "It is not a pet. But also not an enemy."

"I believe you, captain." And she did. She would have eaten the food Riley had offered her because Rhiana already knew then that they did not mean to kill her. Else they could have left her to die at the crash site. "Are you a telepath?"

"I am. But only by touch and my skill is not great as I am only half-Vulcan. Why do you ask?" T'por said, raising an eyebrow.

"Because you just answered a question I had not asked." Rhiana gave a light shrug. "If I may ask, what is your other half?"

"You may. My other half is Trill," T'por said. "And no, I do not have spots. And you did ask the question. It was written on your face for me to see. I find that those who experience emotions are uncomfortable with my perceptive abilities. I apologize if I have disturbed you. Can you tell me about your captain? I am hoping we can meet at some point. Do you think that is likely?"

"You have not disturbed me. It is merely rare for me these days to encounter someone who can read me so easily." Of course, Rhiana was also not quite master of herself right now. She had to spend enough energy elsewhere than to keep her face an emotionless mask. "I do not know whether it is likely for you to meet my captain. I do not know where he is. I do not know where any of my crew is or even whether more than just the three of us have survived." As she spoke, Rhiana realised for the first time the truth of what she saying. For all she knew, she might be the only survivor of the Firebird. Suddenly feeling weak, she gripped the railing hard enough with both hands for her knuckles to appear almost white. Staring at the unlikely vessel in the distance, she forced herself to take a few deep breaths before she trusted her voice enough to speak again. "Do you have tricorders or other scanning equipment?"

"I see," T'por said and then removed her hands from the railing and straightened her back. "Yes. We have one tricorder. We once possessed three but over the past years one was lost and another was destroyed. I will make sure Riley has access to it. I regret to admit it," T'por said, eyeing her guest. "But I find myself becoming overtired. Perhaps we can both retire to our rooms and meet again soon?"

Rhiana let go of the railing as well and turned to fully face T'por. She was almost certain that the Vulcan knew exactly what her, Rhiana's, current condition was, and inclined her head ever so slightly in a gesture of thanks that probably only a Vulcan or Romulan would pick up on. "Of course, captain. One last thing, however. Riley mentioned that you were examining my datapad. I would appreciate if I could get it back."

"Of course," T'por said. "We inspect all new pieces of technology that we discover. I will send a message and have it waiting for you when you return to your quarters. It is an interesting piece of technology." T'por turned and they began walking back into the chamber. The gathering of people watching them shuffled back as they entered and T'por made her way to her chair. She sat down, slowly and an attendant handed her a wooden cup.

Riley approached t'Aegis with a worried look. "You're pushing yourself too hard. I hope you plan on listening to me from here on."

The look Rhiana gave Riley said it all. Do not be ridiculous. She looked back at T'por, then bowed deeply and respectfully to the Vulcan. Only after that did the Romulan turn away and walk in unhurried steps towards the staircase. She did not stop there but began to descend the steep stairs, one hand losely trailing along the railing and confident that Riley would follow her.

Suddenly, after little more than one full turn, Rhiana's legs buckled. She began to stumble and slide down several steps before her weakened reflexes caught up with her situation and she somehow managed to get a better hold of the railing which slowed the dangerous and possibly deadly tumble-and-fall somewhat.

Riley rushed down the stairs until she reached Rhiana's side. "Anything broken?" She asked, her hands answering the question. She gave Rhiana a look. "Put your arm over my shoulder. I will help you walk down the stairs. Unless you'd rather be stubborn, in which case, I will just push you down and follow."

Despite being suddenly covered in sweat, very white and panting for breath, Rhiana still managed the flicker of a weak grin. "I was... just... about... to ask... for your help..."


Lieutenant Rhiana t'Aegis
Chief Security/Tactical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Captain T'por
Techlon Commander
SS Far Wanderer
(NPC by Llwyedd)


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Comments (3)

By Cadet Freshman Grade Gianna Djokovic on Sun Dec 2nd, 2018 @ 4:38pm

Rhiana ALMOST asked for help. Wow.

This was a great story. I'm really enjoying Rhiana's little adventure in the Arches. -Liam

By Lieutenant JG Murril Na on Tue Dec 11th, 2018 @ 2:11pm

I was wondering where those birds would come in, and yep, the line about pets and enemies was a winner. :-) Chekov's rifle came in handy once again!

Which one of you writes the part of Riley, BTW?

I find myself morbidly interested in whether the trill inside the Techlon leader is alive, dead, or missing entirely.

By Captain Malcom Llwyedd on Tue Dec 11th, 2018 @ 2:20pm

I have to admit that I loved writing this JP. Riley and T'por are both really great NPCs.