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ST:TTV121 | "Twice Shy"

Updated: Mar 18, 2023

Stardate Unknown

Roroa rolled over a bit in her bed. The pillow felt unusual in her sleep, rough and cold, and there was no blanket to reach for despite her efforts. Still she dreamed of the upcoming Terran holiday, Halloween, a time of the year when she got to go crazy by either a sugar high like no other or some sort of trickery. She was dreaming of not receiving candy from the Vorta lady, Keth, on the station and in turn replacing her door chimmer sound with that of a Bajoran loud nose fin whale mating call, notorious for their intensely irritating sounds and especially so when calling for a mate.

 

Roroa rolled over a bit in her bed. The pillow felt unusual in her sleep, rough and cold, and there was no blanket to reach for despite her efforts. Still she dreamed of the upcoming Terran holiday, Halloween, a time of the year when she got to go crazy by either a sugar high like no other or some sort of trickery. She was dreaming of not receiving candy from the Vorta lady, Keth, on the station and in turn replacing her door chimmer sound with that of a Bajoran loud nose fin whale mating call, notorious for their intensely irritating sounds and especially so when calling for a mate. As she waited, hidden around the corner and snickering under her breath, the living quarters lighting started to dim. It continued to go darker and darker until she could not see the door she vandalized or anything. It was short lived as the darkness was pierced by illuminating creatures. Creatures that felt familiar but also out of place, especially on the station, yet even if they did feel familiar she had no name to describe them by. Those blue glowing bats at first gave her a somewhat comforting feeling. But the hallway they were lighting up more and more had changed. It was humid, cold, and undesirable. She plead for the world to return to normal, for her bag of candy to return to her side, but what she got was a sudden bizarre noise that snapped her back into reality.


"Damn Loud Nose!"


Her heart raced. Memory corrected her statement as that was not the undesirable sound of a Loud Nose Fin Whale mating call but something outside of the cave. But a lot of the other parts of the dream were true. She was laying down in a uncomfortable spot surrounded by a damp and cold stone ground of a cave. There were the glowing bat-like creatures above though they were beginning to fade out as nocturnal slumber was greeting them once more. She thought it was funny that her dream had begun by viewing herself laying down in her bed in her quarters on the Gainsborough and then dreaming about her dream's dream. As stayed there, half risen from the ground, she chuckled softly to herself. How easy it would have been had all this been the dream. Then in one final reminder that this was reality. She felt around for a bag of candy. There was none.

Roroa stood up after retrieving one of her phasers. The flashlight setting guided her until there was enough light and she could turn it off. Clipping the weapon to her belt as she stepped outside of the cave she was greeted by a fairly decent view of a couple hundred feet before the thick jungle begun to obscure vision. There were a few of the wildlife grazing in the morning after the nocturnal predators called it a day. As Roroa watched them, still dressed in the double layer of the extra large clothing meant for adults for warmth, a thought crept to her mind as to whether or not it would come to the point where she would have to hunt these alien animals for food in order to survive. It made her lean down to pull up a bit of the grass and gave it.. A nibble. A displeased expression came across her face that stated it wasn't meant for Bajoran consumption. She let the remaining few pieces fall back to the ground below. But surely there were some edible plants here. Still.. Roroa knew that eventually her hunger would cause her to look upon the animals in a different light, if it came to that, but for now she still had rations to consume.


She went back inside of hobbit hole to eat a rations breakfast. But what was it that had made the noise that woke her earlier..?

 

Ghadruil continued to stare down at the small humanoid for a drawn out moment; a series of untranslated clicks barely audible, though the body language left little of their context to the imagination before the translated response presented over more defined clicking, "Korlackress are not your herbivore mounts". His long spiny bound slowly wound around Anita's position as he appeared to gauge their surroundings through his own natural senses before turning back to face her once more from behind, "The nearest pod to come down is up in the mountains there; it is not far from a direct route to the... 'splody' pod you indicated and may contain more appetizing supplies for you to consume" the translated clicking continues while his large form towers over her; spikes remaining cautiously downward, though not completely flattened, "I will move in that direction; follow if it suits you". With that he wound back down to ground level and proceeded to slither through the jungle floor, leaving Anita to tag along or not as she saw fit.


After a significant amount of time strategically slithering through the jungle and up into the more exposed lower mountain region, Ghadruil came into sight of the smoldering wreckage. Slowly lifting his head only as high as needed, he emitted a series of clicks - seemingly sensing something from the surroundings - slowing his pace, he eased up the mountain trail following his trusted senses until he came within sight of a cave entrance. Another - louder - series of clicks rang out and echoed across the rocky surfaces surrounding him, whilst he knew exactly what he was doing in attempting to sense the presence of nearby people or creatures; he perhaps did not consider how the distorted echoes may sound to anyone inside the cave...

 

Meanwhile, deeper in the jungle...


Mischa had not dared to stop and rest in the dangerously exposed open areas of the jungle and so pressed on with her trek at a cautiously reduced pace. As unsettling as the heavily fog obscured jungle was during the day, it now seemed positively welcoming compared to the eerie nighttime surroundings. The lack of company gave her mind the unwanted freedom to reflect on the events which had led her here, and the horrors she had witnessed set upon colleagues whom she had felt duty bound to protect - and failed. The names and faces of the Gainsborough crew flashed through her mind, a mix of those she recalled with fond memories - her fellow bridge crew and friends - and those she had not known so well at a personal level but encountered since crashing on the jungle world like Garvey. She still fretted over the thought of others stuck in the hellish circumstances she now found herself in and that alone served to drive her forward despite the rapidly dropping temperature.


Stumbling slightly as her unfortunately heeled boots slipped in a patch of soft mud, she cursed //chirp// her train of thought - and cursing - was interrupted by the sound from her tricorder. Looking down and squinting in the dim moonlight, she saw it had fallen as she stumbled and flipped open in the process; and was now seeming to detect something anomalous. Retrieving the tricorder and grimacing slightly as she loosely brushed the mud off it's surface with her other hand, she held the device out in front of herself and studied the scan data it presented, "That's..." her eyes widened with realization, "...that's an artificial alloy, and not Starfleet!" she briefly lowered the device and looked around with a wary expression briefly before returning her gaze to the screen, "I should really be careful; may end up talking to myself!" she mumbled as she reviewed the scan data in more detail and attempted to isolate a bearing and distance. Though she knew it unlikely to house intelligent life anymore - friendly or otherwise - she could not rule out the possibility of artificial construction going hand in hand with advanced technology - or at the very least some shelter.


With her tricorder in one hand and her phaser in the other, Mischa increased her pace through sheer anticipation as she closed in on the reading. She did not notice at first, but as she drew nearer to the source of the reading; the sounds of the surrounding jungle died down to an even more eerie silence. Once this fact did register to her hearing, she paused and felt a distinct shiver down the back of her neck - be it through cold or instinctual fear was anyone's guess though. Slipping the tricorder back onto her belt, she retrieved a torch and continued at a cautious pace with the limited torchlight guiding her the short remaining distance. What greeted her as she entered the clearing left Mischa awestruck, never before had she seen anything quite like it... whatever /it/ was; she was unable to determine from the intact ruins. One thing was certain though; this was no natural formation...

 

The interior of the rocky cavern was dark, which made it difficult for anyone relying on eyes to see. Ghadruil's keen senses could confirm that there was one living creature not too deep inside the cave. As the clicks ran down the tunnel, another series of tapping noises responded- not a direct reply in the Korlackress language of course, but the echoes of footsteps. This sound grew louder and louder, and soon it was audible to even Anita's less sensitive ears. Whoever was making them was either too inexperienced or too panicked to attempt concealing their approach.


Suddenly, from the darkness a single beam of light emerged. Like the orange tongue of some giant monstrosity it lashed out and with surprising accuracy, striking the location where the sonar was emitted- where Ghadruil had been mere seconds earlier. The shot grazed by so close to the Korlackress that he could feel the heat from the concentrated energy before it dissipated. A second beam followed, then a third which missed by leagues and blasted a smoking crater in the rock wall of the cavern. Whoever was firing must have been losing their focus.


The ensuing yells reflected this attitude, "Come and get me! I won't go down without a fight! I'll kill you! I'll kill you all!"

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