Part of Starbase Bravo: Q3 2400

Cadet rescue!

USS Fantail crash site, Fantail's World, somewhere in the void of space
June 2400
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The snap of a branch underfoot, then another, announced the path that Katlyn was bush-bashing ahead of Parze through the forest. The path that had looked so clean and easy when looked at from the broken rear of the Fantail was anything but once one was on the ground. The runabout had done a better job of taking the tops off of trees than of smashing them completely to the ground. “This is old, old growth, and damp too. This forest must be ancient,” Katlyn said out loud, pausing to check her tricorder once more.

She’d set a direction while looking from the runabout and the device’s inertial reference had kept them going on a mostly straight course, accounting for the occasional stop to check and re-orientate. “Are you getting any clear life signs Lyra?” Katlyn asked, waving her own tricorder around. “Because mine is off the charts. I can’t tell the trees from the forest.”

When Katlyn had been trudging a path through the forest assuredly, Parze had been trailing behind, poking and prodding at her tricorder. It was in that moment her absent-minded curiosity paid off. The adjustments she’d been making to her sensors proved applicable; the ping of lifesigns on her tricorder display was especially satisfying. “That way,” Cadet Parze replied, pointing her tricorder in the direction she was indicating. “Let’s adjust our path by a couple of degrees to the west,” Parze said, “and we’ll catch up with them faster.” 

“You’ve got something other than everything? Sounds good to me,” she said, taking a bearing from Parze’s pointed direction and trudging forth once more. “This entire planet would be excellent for a few survival training courses. Way to much life, relatively cool, pre-crashed runabout…” she trailed off at last condition.

“Pre-crashed,” Parze giggled back at Katlyn.

Idle chatter and discussions aside while they walked, it was another twenty minutes, with a couple of stops for unexplainable sounds, before Katlyn stopped Parze with a silent hand gesture, then another to crouch down and join her. “Something’s not right,” she whispered as she pointed out what she’d seen from her leading position. Nia and Tate were both seated on the ground at the base of a tree wide enough to fill a soccer goal, a Romulan standing over them, back presented to Katlyn and Parze. “Why are they sitting there? If they found him, shouldn’t they be leading him back to the Fantail?”

While their Romulan’ guest’ guarded them, Horin was trying to sense any of the others from their team. With his eyes closed for a second he was able to pick up on Katlyn and Parze before he was grabbed by the top of his vest by the Romulan who immediately stuck his disruptor against his chin. 

“Open your eyes, Betazoid!” He snapped at Horin. “I know what you’re trying to do and reaching out to one of your friends is not going to help you. This weapon is set to its highest setting, so if you want to be dust on the floor of this godforsaken jungle then go right ahead.”

Instantly Horin opened his eyes and just nodded in silence as he knew he couldn’t push their captor any further. He felt a sense of concern flowing from Nia at the altercation followed by a sense of relief after Horin was let go and pushed back onto the ground. He landed straight into a muddy puddle. Splash. The moment his rear-end smacked the pool of earthy gunk, his trousers were straight away covered and wet. Wincing at the discomfort, Horin tried to move and sit up but was knocked off his balance when the Romulan smacked him in the jaw.

“Did I say you could move, cadet?” He screamed at Horin. 

Landing face first into the mud, Horin pushed himself up and then spat out the blood that had appeared. He didn’t reply to the Romulan, which appeared to anger him. It resulted in the Romulan grabbing Horin by a clump of his now dirty blonde hair and pulling him across the ground before chucking him down onto the ground. 

“You cadets lack the disciplinary that the Star Navy offers its officers,” He said as he grabbed Horin by the cheeks between his right hand before spitting on him. “Perhaps I’ll teach you their ways.” Once again he smacked Horin across the face, followed by a kick to the ribs as Horin fell to the floor one more time. 

“Okay, fuck that guy,” Katlyn whispered to Parze as she made sure to drop further down and out of sight. Her hands went straight to sorting out her bow, the complex compound nature of it preventing her from doing something so rakish as hooking it over a shoulder, instead having opted to carry it in one hand. A quick check for damage, then over the pulleys, then she nodded once. “Please tell me you’re better with a phaser than I am,” she directed to Parze as she drew an arrow. “I’d rather I distract and you stun than you distract and I impale this guy with an arrow.”

Crouched low and flat beside Katlyn, Parze tucked away her tricorder and retrieved the phaser from its holster.  She secured the pistol grip between both of her hands, as she steadied the aim of her emitter, pointing it at the violent Romulan.  Without looking at Katlyn, Parze whispered, “I’m better with a phaser than I am in a cockpit, if that means much,” referring to a couple of disastrous piloting lessons Parze had taken with Katlyn.  For good measure, Parze tapped the toggle to widen the aperture of her phaser, knowing she couldn’t rely on pinpoint accuracy.  In agreement, Parze said, “You distract; I stun.”

Katlyn nodded her head in a final agreement and understanding, then shuffled away from Parze in the undergrowth, circling around some and being careful not to make any sound as she went. Careful steps, slow placement of feet, backtracking on occasion to go around a minor obstacle, but eventually she found a spot about 60 degrees around from Parze’s position that looked good. A glance went to the quiver of arrows, then the bow, and then a totally different idea came to mind. The string was pulled taunt and then released, the twang audible to draw attention, followed by a violent snapping of twigs as someone was running throw the brush, the bright pink of the bow easier to spot than the darker field jacket for sure.

As the Romulan picked up Horin, once again, Horin heard the noise and knew who was nearby. Sensing his friends, he smirked up at his captor (even with blood trickling from his broken nose). “You’re about to get a lesson from Starfleet Academy’s finest,” He spat out before the Romulan threw him against the floor and wasn’t ready to deal with what hit him next.

Nia looked completely baffled at this sudden demonstration of defiance and confidence. She’d been frozen to the spot, mindful of a weapon levelled at her, the immediate threat. Her attention was also snapped in the direction of the distraction, which in itself just made her more nervous. Still, she looked their captor in the eye and proclaimed, “Yeah!” with more bold-faced assertion than actual knowledge.

From her hiding spot in the brush, Parze swallowed a growl, as she dutifully observed Nia, Horin and the Romulan aggressor.  She maintained her grip on her phaser –emitter pointed at the Romulan– but she had missed her shot.  When the Romulan had turned the disruptor away from Horin, Parze had hesitated.  Now that the disrupter was aimed at Nia, Parze wasn’t confident she could stun the Romulan before he vaporised one of the cadets.  She would have to wait for her next opening as the cadets continued to distract the Romulan.

With a surge of energy, Horin screamed at the Romulan as he launched himself into the air and tackled him around his waist. Knocking the Romulan off his feet and the disruptor out of his hand, Horin scrambled to get on top of the fallen enemy as he smacked him into the face with several punches, knocking him out of consciousness. 

The sound of fighting wasn’t what Katlyn had been expecting at all. A disruptor or shouts, then a phaser and the all clear was what she’d imagined. Not a scream then the sounds of people fighting in a forest. She spun on a heel, drew an arrow and drew as she checked behind her, finding nothing. It was only half a second before she was sprinting back the way she‘d come, charging into the clearing with bow ready to draw and loose, but arrow aimed down like she’d been taught. And all she saw was Horin beating the crap out of the Romulan. It was two, then three, a fourth and final punch before she dropped the bow to the ground and grabbed at Horin’s raised fist to stop his assault. “He’s out of it Horin, yah got him.”

Realising what he was doing, Horin stopped and looked up at Katlyn. Exhausted and in pain, he dropped his hand down and got off the Romulan. Collapsing back into the mud, he hadn’t realised what he had just done before and just sat there for a minute to calm himself. The Romulan’s bruised and cut face was now in front of him. 

Padding out of the brush where she had been hiding, Parze kept her phaser trained on the prone Romulan.  She hadn’t taken an opportunity earlier when Horin had swung into her line of fire as he’d beat the aggressor down. Before she got too close, Parze squeezed the trigger, hitting the seemingly-unconscious Romulan in the chest with a stun blast.  As soon as she felt eyes on her, Parze sheepishly replied, “For safety’s sake.”

The cadets all started to chuckle somewhat at the same time several transporter beams, appeared a few meters away from them. Once they were materialised, the head of the group introduced herself as the first officer of the ship that had picked out the distress call. Seeing the group of cadets in the middle of something with the Romulan by Horin’s feet, the Starfleet officer suggested they took them back to their vessel and got them home to Starbase Bravo. 

Their little trip was finally over.