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Old October 14 2014, 02:04 PM   #1
IreneAdler
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USS Areus: Echoes of the Past

USS Areus is a vessel assigned to the same mission as USS Impetuous.

It was hot; almost unbearably so.

Then again, it was always hot, except when it was bitterly cold. Temperature was the only real way to determine whether it was day or night, and even that was still somewhat hit or miss, as it seemed hot far more often than it seemed cold.

As best as could be determined in the crushing blackness, it was day. Probably sometime around noon, when the desert star was at it's highest. Water was at a premium, and each droplet of sweat that drifted down from betwixt shoulders down to buttocks was a waste.

It wouldn't be long now.

A body taxed by crash landing was becoming closer and closer to the brink of no return. Through counting cold spells, it seemed as though a month or more had passed. How many meals had been eaten in that time? Less than thirty, it felt. Water had been a more frequent commodity, but even then, it seemed like less than a once-per-day indulgence.

There had been someone else in the room once-- if it could be considered a room, as it was the deepest hole in a hastily constructed cave-- but whoever it had been had ceased their breathing what seemed like an hour prior.

The discussions had happened around the same time: what was to be done about the departed? Energy was at a premium too, and burying a corpse in the heat of the day was an extravagant task. What, then, about night? Their chances of being seen were lower then, but the chill was biting, and they could not afford to burn a fire.

Did the departed deserve a proper funeral? What soul he'd once contained was long gone, chased out by the haunting screams of fevered delusions. Now, there was nothing left but the empty shell of the Major he'd once been. An empty shell, someone had noted, still had usefulness.

Empty bellies and desperate situations lead to desperate measures.

Still, despite their need to survive, despite their hopes that if they could just stay alive a bit longer a search team would locate them... there was hesitation. There was still a sense of nobility, born only of the obligation they would have to the Major’s family when they returned to from whence they’d come.

Perhaps they could draw lots. Leave fate in charge. But to a people who took pride in making their own fate, leaving it up to fortune seemed unthinkable.

After all, misfortune was what got them in their present predicament.

“What about that one?” someone had asked, gesturing to the form curled up haphazardly in the corner in an attempt to accommodate a badly fractured pelvis.

The one whom was spoken of, shook a head weakly. “No,” the protestation was made. A month of pain, suffering worse than torture, and starvation was not enough to compromise on one’s principles; besides, death was looking more attractive by the moment. “Why waste food on me at any rate? I am worthless to you.”

“You are worth more alive than dead,” the voice countered.

No argument was made in return. There was a sound of dragging, then a silence blissful after interminable days of frenzied, fevered screams. In the silence, it was almost possible for the exhaustion to overpower the pain.

Sleep’s blessed release must have eventually came, as the next moment of clarity was when being shaken to alertness. The smell of cooked meat caused salivation until the shock of what that inferred caused a cold feeling of horror to spread.

Before a cry of protest could be made, a hand clamped over the officer’s mouth. “You will eat, or you will be tortured until you do so.” A boot to the side of the hip was a far-from-subtle reminder of their willingness to cause pain. “Do you understand?”

“Yes!” the cry came, as tears flooded eyes unaccustomed to the phenomenon.

“I’m glad we’ve come to an agreement. Come now, let us get underway. You’ll only have your first bite once, so the sooner it’s out of the way, the sooner you’ll get over it.

---

The humanoid body was a funny thing. Many species, when presented with insufficient food or water, became nauseous, and even vomited. This was even more common when dehydration came into play. Digestion required water, after all. This presented a quandary to the officer. Sure, the bile had risen at the very thought of eating the flesh of another sentient being. Still, the body’s instinct was to protect itself, and no matter how bad the suffering got, there was still some part of every person that wanted to prolong its own life as long as possible.

Still, weak, nauseous, sore and with little hope of the situation improving, it was tempting to rid one’s mouth of the acrid taste of burned flesh. To undo a situation that no one should ever need to go through. If you force it back up, do you still count as a…? The word was unthinkable, and so remained unthought. And if you do force it up, you have to taste it again… It was a lose-lose situation.

Still, one couldn’t always decide whether or not they were going to lose the contents of their stomach, and the onset of dry heaving left the Romulans nearby laughing.

“What’s the matter, Starfleet? Don’t like the taste of Romulan cooking?” the Romulan Colonel who had declared the Starfleet officer the first to eat, taunted.

There was no response. It was rather difficult to spit retorts when one was heaving in a desperate attempt to vacate the contents of their stomach.

“Get a canteen,” said one of the female Romulans. “We lose our bargaining chip if Starfleet dies.”

“If we die before we get out of this place there will be no one left to bargain!” This Romulan, one of the newer, younger Majors, had still not learned to control his impetuous nature.

The Colonel reached for the canteen, then propped up the Starfleet officer. “Drink,” he said, carefully metering the amount of water that was allowed to flow out of the canteen.

There was the sound of insistent chirping, and one of the Romulans pulled out a hastily field-jerry-rigged communications device. “Colonel, someone has found the ship.”

The Colonel smirked at the young Major. “We will be found. And it will be sooner, rather than later.” He turned about on one boot heel, heading out towards the cave entrance so that he could attempt to do some surveillance.

It was confounding to Colonel Tarvok how much the energy fields surrounding Larigon III negated the abilities of their powerful sensors. It had taken much effort just to get an alert to go off when their vessel was breached. But there were no visuals, no way to tell if their footprints had been followed. He couldn’t imagine anyone not following the tracks they’d left, especially after how hard they’d worked to ensure that their vessel contained nothing that might identify them… or their hostages.

He peeked his head out from around the entrance of the cave, trying to see if there was anyone coming, and he was not disappointed. One of the Starfleet officers rounded the corner and ended up facing one of the smaller caves nearby. That cave was shallow, and Tarvok knew it was only a matter of instants until the officer realized that those he pursued weren’t in it. He hurried back down into his cave.

---

Despite the nature of the meal, eating and drinking had dulled the ache of hunger that gripped one’s belly, and allowed a brief moment of relief from that particular woe. The thought of the taste of Romulan flesh was one that would haunt one’s memory until their last days, regardless of how soon or far they might be.

The Colonel entered once more, and it was clear from his expression that he was plotting. He paced around the innermost chamber, his mind working quickly as his eyes darted about, assessing what resources they had access to. The dampening equipment was in place, they had what weapons they’d retrieved from their vessel.

Whirling about, he demanded, “Put on the uniform,” and tossed the Starfleet uniform at it’s intended recipient. It had been torn and bloodied in the crash, but it was still identifiable. Uniforms had been eschewed quickly upon their arrival, because it was simply too hot to deal with them. Still, the Major needed to make sure that anyone affiliated with the Federation didn’t come in swinging.

“Starfleet comes?” their captive asked.

The Colonel ignored the question, instead grabbing ropes. He slid up the sleeves on the Starfleet uniform, tying the wrists tightly with the rope.

“HELP! HELP ME!” the captive screamed.

“Now why’d you have to go and do a thing like that?” the Colonel asked, pulling out a laser cutter and approaching menacingly. Placing one hand on the captive’s face, he pried open their mouth, in search of the prize that lie within.

---

Captain Lav'aura Vrel awoke with a start, her hands drifting up to her mouth, where her tongue had been surgically replaced after Starfleet had recovered her. Her body was slick with sweat, her breath coming in great gasping heaves.

Her eyes drifted down to the crib at the foot of her bed; the last physical reminder of the torture she'd suffered at the hands of the Romulans...

...at the hands of those who she'd once considered her own kind.

But now, she was Starfleet. And that was all that mattered.
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Old October 14 2014, 10:47 PM   #2
CeJay
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Re: USS Areus: Echoes of the Past

Nasty. No wonder she has nightmares. I guess after that ordeal they will stay with ever for a long time, no matter how many counseling sessions she might have gone through.
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