Lt. Commander Caedan Nkai - Taniwhydah

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Quinn Reynolds

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Jul 2, 2019, 11:18:46 AM7/2/19
to Gorkon (IC)
((Shuttlebay, Whydah))

::There was a muffled thump, the sound of a body hitting the floor. One of the crew who'd still been standing had collapsed, not that anyone but the Starfleet officers seemed to notice. The Orion girl looked at her fallen crewmate with a dispassionate eye, unmoved by his plight.::

Nirte: We should go.

::That note of urgency was there again, the only emotion he'd heard in her otherwise dead voice, and her gaze met his for the first time. She was hard to read, her thoughts as flat as her intonation, but he got the feeling there was something bubbling away in there. A river raging under its frozen surface.::

Nirte: They'll be back. They've something fresh to eat, now.

::The Ferengi swallowed down an audible gulp, and Caedan had to admit his own internal monologue wasn't too dissimilar. The idea of ending up the same way as the crew of the freighter was a horrifying one.::

Keretene: I agree, we should leave, but we need to appease the Taniwha too, lest they follow us back to the Gorkon. ::He knelt before the Orion, like a knightly suitor, gently taking one of her skinny hands between his own.:: Young woman, what was this freighter carrying? Is there anything this crew could have done which may have angered these Taniwha?

::While Gnaxac's mind kicked into a fearful, frenzied overdrive, the young woman's gaze flicked to Keretene's, just for a second before she looked away again, and Caeden *felt* it. The robust, bitter chocolate taste of grim satisfaction, with the sour aftertaste of guilt. What he couldn't tell was whether it was survivor's guilt, or if it was an emotion she'd really earned.::

T. Sevo: Maybe the ship is in their space.

Nkai: ::Murmured,:: Maybe.

::But looking at the Orion, something nagged at his gut that it wasn't so simple, and that Okira was on to something when he suggested these Taniwha had somehow been drawn to the ship.::

Keretene: I cannot tell you much about these Taniwha, I doubt they are the traditional kind recognized by my people, especially so far from my homeland. Taniwha are Kaitiaki, you might translate that as Guardians. Some are peaceful, some are violent, all are shapeshifters with the ability to manipulate senses, such as what one might see in a security recording.

T. Sevo: Uh... huh.

::Gnaxac was terrified, it was in his thoughts and on his face, his lower lip wobbling. Caedan took a breath, trying to think rationally. Sometimes myths and legends were drawn from reality, distorted by lack of understanding. Maybe they weren't Okira's Taniwha… or maybe they were. Violent shapeshifting guardians did seem to fit the description of what they'd stumbled upon.::

Nkai: It wouldn't be the first time that something out in space mirrored folklore. ::He frowned.:: Or was the origin of it.

::Okira got back to his feet, laying a gentle hand on the girl's shoulder. She didn't shrug it off, but she did flinch shy away, almost as though she was expecting it to turn into a swift backhand. It made him wonder if the shiner on her face was courtesy of the Taniwha, or someone else. Caedan wasn't picking up much from her, her thoughts and emotions dull and muted, but he realised that grief was notably absent.::

Keretene: Commander, we need to protect our young friend here, and those of her crewmates that we can save. We have some more sophisticated equipment on the Kahnrah. We may be able to use some of it to figure out the nature of these Taniwha while we tend to the wounded. If we can figure out why they hunt this poor woman and her crew, we may be able to stop them from hunting others who stray into their path.

::For once, Toran had nothing to say. Caedan looked about at the survivors, suddenly feeling very small and exposed in the cavernous shuttlebay. There was enough room on the Kahnrah for all them, if they didn't mind getting cosy. Which, of course, he doubted that they did, in their current insensate condition.::

Nkai: We'll head back to the runabout. We should be able to do a site-to-site transport and beam everyone from here.

::He sucked in a sharp breath at the end of his sentence, feeling the Orion girl's fear spike at the plan. It was the most afraid she'd been, and that was unsettling. Why was she more frightened of her crew being rescued than she was of the things "eating" them?::

Gnaxac: Then let's get out of here — we're no good as dinner.

Keretene: Response

::Baina had stablised her patient as best she could and packed up her medkit, while Gnaxac hastily stuffed his tools back in his kit. It only took a few moments, and everyone was ready to move.::

Gnaxac: I'm ready — let's go.

::Caedan got as far as taking a single step when he was stopped in his tracks. It was a sound that would haunt his dreams for nights to come, an other-wordly scream that echoed through the shuttlebay and pierced him like a lance of ice. Toran brought his rifle up, sweeping his eyes across the bay,  

Keretene/Gnaxac: Response

::Then there was the sound of rushing air, and for a heart-stopping moment Caedan thought the hull had breached in the shuttlebay. But there was no movement, not a hair stirred on the head of the Orion girl, who almost seemed... calm? She looked at him, and there wasn't any fear in her eyes, or echoing in her thoughts. It was pity, *pity* of all things, and that underlying sense of guilt once again.::

Nirte: ::Quietly,:: They're here.

::Toran's sweep of the room came to an abrupt stop, his body tensing and thoughts spinning up into the laser focus of an acute stress response. The Rodulan could tell why without even having to look — it was similar to that strange sense he got whenever someone transported in, stray, fractured thoughts coalescing into a full mind as the transporter completed its work. This mind, however, was all hunger and instinct, with little in the way of higher thought.::

T. Sevo: Jem'Hadar! Get down!

::Still staring at the girl, Caedan didn't move, but he heard the volley of phaser fire that Toran unleashed. When she turned to look, so did the Rodulan, watching as the bolts of energy slammed into the Borg's personal shield, almost seeming to flow and wrap around it. He felt hunger being sated, and with that, the Taniwha faded back into the aether.::

Keretene/Gnaxac: Response

T. Sevo: What the hell?

Nkai: I think… I'm pretty it fed off the energy from your phaser.

T. Sevo/Keretene/Gnaxac: Response

::He shook his head, trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. Had the Whydah's crew not held any weapons in their possession? Or had they been hunted until the energy cells went dry? Was that why the ship was out of power, too? Or was something — or someone — else responsible for the Whydah's incapacitation? He glanced toward the Orion, realising that he didn't know what to call her.::

Nkai: What's your name?

Nirte: Nirte.

::He nodded, but he didn't smile. There was nothing to smile about.::

Nkai: Nirte. We're Starfleet, we're not going to hurt you. ::He paused and decided to take a gamble on his gut feeling, nodding his head toward the crew of the Whydah.:: Not like these people did.

::Even if her thoughts hadn't, the sharp snap of her head toward him, and the way her eyes darted up to meet his, confirmed he'd hit the nail on the head. It explained why she was rail-thin, when none of the other crew looked half-starved. A slave, if he had to guess, and it made him sick to think so. She was just a kid, someone who should be in the final years of schooling and looking forward to a bright future.::

T. Sevo/Keretene/Gnaxac: Response

Nkai: Did... ::He hesitated, not really sure he wanted the answer.  Then with an exhale, continued on.:: Did you bring them here?

::She nodded, a tiny vibration of her head that was barely perceptible. That was why she had been terrified of the crew being saved. Retribution.::

T. Sevo/Keretene/Gnaxac: Response


--
Chief of Operations
USS Gorkon

simmed by

Rear Admiral Quinn Reynolds
Commanding Officer
USS Gorkon
T238401QR0

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