Updated: Mar 18
Mischa had already lost track of the hours for which she had been walking. Every so often she would turn her gaze skyward to try and get a glimpse of whatever sun or suns illuminated this alien world - but to no avail - the thick mist which hung throughout the jungle floor seldom parted enough to even see the high tree canopy above, let alone beyond it.
She could only hope that visibility would improve once she reached the mountains.
Mischa had already lost track of the hours for which she had been walking. Every so often she would turn her gaze skyward to try and get a glimpse of whatever sun or suns illuminated this alien world - but to no avail - the thick mist which hung throughout the jungle floor seldom parted enough to even see the high tree canopy above, let alone beyond it. She could only hope that visibility would improve once she reached the mountains.
Pausing to rest her legs, she sat herself down on rock and took a tentative sip of her gathered water. As she sat taking in the sights and sounds of the jungle - her senses becoming increasingly acclimatized with each passing moment spent there - she heard what sounded like panicked shouting and yelling. Quickly stowing her water bottle, she drew her phaser and proceeded cautiously in what she felt was the direction of the sound. Getting closer she could more confidently make out the muffled voices of two people speaking basic and she knew they almost certainly had to be members of her crew.
Picking up her pace, she brushed through the overgrowth until she caught sight of the escape pod. It had landed nose down and was partly buried by the velocity of it's impact. Atop the escape pod was a young officer in a Starfleet uniform - human appearance as best as she could make out - knelt and seemingly attempting to aid someone else out of the pod. Mischa's heart jumped with a pang of relief at seeing she was not alone here, though her elation was short lived.
Before she could approach to a safe enough distance to call out to the officer, he succeeded in pulling a second officer from the pod - clearly a female, and seemingly Rigellian. Wasting no time in escaping the pod; the human helped the Rigellian to her feet before lowering her off the side of the pod and dropping her safely to the floor. He was about to hop down alongside her when he paused, having noticed Mischa's movement. She called out through the mist, "It's alright - I'm from the ship too"
"Oh, thank th-..." The Rigellian woman started to call back, but was quickly cut short as she let out a terrified scream. Mischa ran as fast as her legs could carry to her reach the officers - all to the sounds of more muffled screams from the Rigellian and panicked yelling form the Human. She neared to a visible range just in time to see the woman's torso - wrapped in tentacles - and pulling rapidly into the ground. Mischa's eyes widened at the sight and as quick as she was to draw her phaser, she could not get enough shots off to release all the tentacles from their grasp of the officer - even assuming she could hit them all first time. Bringing the weapon to bare, she hesitated briefly as she tried to find something to aim at - anything - but in that fleeting moment she knew she had only viable course, and it was not one that she liked. Narrowing her eyes, she focused on the Rigellian and called out to her, "I... I'm sorry!" the woman struggled against the tentacles grasp as the human stood powerless atop the escape pod behind her, "D-... do it... p-... please!" she called back; the pained expression in her teary eyes told Mischa she was doing the right thing. With a short blast from the phaser, the Rigellian woman's form turned briefly to a pulse of light before fading to dust and ash; the tentacles flailing frantically at the sudden loss of their prey.
Mischa bowed her head solemnly, though had no time to mourn as the ground began to shake beneath her. She leapt to the side as another large tentacle burst through the soil where she had been standing - firing again as she landed on her side. The first shot missed, but the second struck the base of the tentacle which appeared much shorter at this range - apparently right at the limit of whatever it was reaching for her. Scrambling to her feet, she fired a wide beam towards the area which had been pulling the officer in and a piercing screech sounded out as the tentacles receded - whatever it was, it was more than a carnivorous plant - it was a living creature. Mischa relaxed momentarily as she suspected it had been sufficiently placated, though to her horror; a large tentacle shot up from creatures maw - crashing against the side of the escape pod - as the human officer on top stumbled to hold his footing, the tentacle grasped tightly around his torso and yanked him into the ground.
A stunned Mischa dropped to her knees is despair as she stared at the dreaded maw - gurgling away while it's tentacles twirled back to a resting position on the ground with an almost elegant movement to them. She shook the despair from her mind after a few moments to catch her breath and resolved to press on before the dangers of this jungle caught up to her. Turning her back to return to her predetermined trail however, she was interrupted by a prolonged gurgling noise from the creatures maw. She paused and glanced back over her shoulder to see the human officer slowly emerge from the maw, though not of his own will; it was almost as though the creature had changed it's mind gently returned him to lay on the ground.
Mischa turned - one hand still hovering over her holstered phaser - and she narrowed her eyes in focus to see him moving, "Come on!" she called out, holding an open hand to him. The mere groan of a response spoke volumes as to his condition, but she persisted, "God dammit man, get your arse up and over here. Right. Now... that's an order!" She demanded - hoping that the classic psychology of enforcing discipline to snap someone out of shock would work. The human lifted his head to focus his eyes on Mischa's form as she strained her arm and edged as close to her previous position as she dare.
It worked, the man was clearly sore but his shaking arms pushed him back up to his feet enough that he could stumble forward into her arms. She caught him clumsily and dragged him further back before laying him against the base of a large tree. She was no medic, but knew enough to ensure he was compos mentis. Following an tricorder scan which yielded no results and an obligatory sip of water, she knelt by his side, "Better?" she asked in a more natural and soft tone, to which he simply nodded. He looked back to her - more in focus now - "Y-you are the XO, right? Reportin-... eugh!... -reporting for d-...duty, ma'am..." he coughed and clutched at his side as he groaned in agony. "Take it easy, that... thing gave you quite the rough ride, but you're out now" she smiled, "What's your name?"
He offered what he hoped was a reassuring smile in return, though it could not mask the pain he was clearly in still, "Lieu... *cough*... lieutenant Garvey, Ma'am". Mischa set a hand on his shoulder, Lieutenant; I am sorry about..." she began an attempt to explain the disintegration of the Rigellian, but he shook his head and grasped tightly at her hand as is sat on his shoulder, "You did what... what was necessary. I... I think I can move now, ma'am"
With a less than assured look on her face, Mischa still knew that they had to keep moving and so reluctantly pulled Garvy to his feet, "Fine, let's get moving. I know there's at least one other pod here - we have to find them." And so they pressed on through the unforgiving jungle, albeit at a reduced pace now.