(( OOC: Hah! This was a really interesting one to sim. Thrown in the deep end! Sorry if I missed any tags, I had to piece together what was sent using the website. I think I got it though. Apologies in advance! ))
((Predator Paddocks, Asteroid Trueno, Bratax System, present-day))
Dinosaurs. Quinn running out with a flare. Car with a teenager in it. Broken glass. Tyre for a snack. A lot was happening.
Serren was many things. A swift decision-maker in a crisis was one.
The smart play was obvious. Quinn was making a distraction, it was best to let her do that. It was completely against his training to let the Admiral freaking run off to distract a dinosaur, but she had about four billion ranks above him. Not a peep of protest was raised.
His goal became simple: protect the senior officers, protect the doctor, protect the civilians. To the best of his ability.
Tan: oO Which, actually right now is kinda limited... Oo
Cayne: I guess that means it's go time.
Yep. Serren couldn't agree more. It was high time to get out of this place.
Marshall: Get ready to move when the T-Rex does. We won’t have much chance.
The risk of being eaten by a giant monster on his first mission was terrifying, but Serren maintained the best poker face he could pull. Everyone was, completely reasonably, panicked by the stompy-monster around them, but he just did his best to project an aura of confident calmness. The kind that says, "Don't worry, we got this."
Or, alternatively, "The true weight of this situation has not yet sunk in."
Everyone started loading up whatever supplies they could carry. Serren wasn't carrying much, just a holoimager and a bottle of water. But he made sure to take it with them.
Cayne: Hey — your mam is going to be fine. You know her better than us and with Jo and Ferentz helping if there was anyone in the quadrant who could take down a T-Rex, it's her.
D. Reynolds: Yeah.
The teenager didn't sound too convinced. Serren grimaced internally. Reynolds was a mighty commander, strong and brave, and wickedly smart, but she still had a distinctly relevant weakness in this situation. To being chomped in half by something that had teeth as large as a phaser rifle.
Further down the road, the red light of the flare sprang up, casting light in the rain-soaked gloom. Their buggy rocked as the terrible monster lifted its claws off it, and Reynolds's voice echoing down the road from their group.
Reynolds: Hey! Hey! Over here!
The plan might have been tad more suicidal than he was comfortable with, but it was certainly courageous. Serren couldn't help but grin. He had to believe that if he was in the same situation, he too would do the exact same thing.
Tan: oO Fire gods, I just came back and she's already at great danger... and I'm letting it happen. Oo
Marshall: Get ready… Any second now.
He was ready to break from their ruined vehicle and get to the fence. Even though the odds didn't play well in his head.
Their team was the XO, the Captain's kid, one of the ship's doctors, and an Ensign security officer nobody knew the name of and had ignored for all their trip, sitting in the back and not saying a word.
Yeah. Nothing bad ever happened to the rookie Security Ensign in that kind of situation.
Tan: oO Don't feel bad. Pretty sure it's literally impossible for your next host to be killed faster than you. Like, what? They beam you aboard, then directly into space? Is someone keeping score of how fast they can cycle Trills in and out? Competitive Trill-splattering! Coming soon to a Ferengi holodeck near you! Oo
Thanks, brain. Real helpful.
Cayne: Once we hear the big guy move we're going to run in the opposite direction okay? You heard them, they're going to make more noise than us and then we have a chance to go.
D. Reynolds: I get it.
He wanted to reassure everyone, but it wasn't his place to speak up. Cayne and Marshall were doing a bang-up job of that. No need to add more. He just observed, straining his eyes against the dark.
Cayne: I know, she'll be alright kid. I promise.
Serren gently bit the inside of his cheek. It was important for them to keep their spirits high.
She would be okay. The stomping in the distance was, in some way, almost reassuring.
It hadn't caught her yet.
Marshall: Start moving. Find an exit on the other side. John, you’re with me.
Without needing to be instructed, Tan shuffled over to the exit, ready to leave. Time to make their big break.
Tan: oO There aren't any more of those things out there, are there, right? Oo
Cayne: Come on, this way, we need to move. Just keep your head low and move quickly towards those trees, you see them?
D. Reynolds: Yeah.
He could see them too. A row of trees. Great cover, if they could reach them.
Cayne: I'll be right behind you.
Stomp. Stomp. The pounding of the beast in the distance reminded him that it was still out there. Still chasing Reynolds. Hunting her.
Tan waited until everyone else was out of the vehicle, then wiggled his way down and out through the rear, his back scratching the ground painfully.
Tan: oO Alleran and Safine were much shorter than me. This is a lot harder than I remember... Oo
Marshall: Come on, we need to get that fence back on!
The moment he was out, the rain and cold bit at him, the humid smell hitting his nostrils like a wave, almost for a moment reminding him of home. Wet and cold and dark. Normally such a thing would be delightful. Not so much today.
Serren moved with the others, head on a swivel, looking for more threats as best he could in the gloom. More dinosaurs. Almost all of them had been herbivores, but there were probably other carnivores around. Couldn't be too careful...
Marshall: The other side of the fence! Get to the other side of the fence!
Dylan hurled himself toward the fences, scrambling up the concrete base, but something caused him to stop. Squinting slightly, Serren could see a web of smaller wires between the larger ones, creating a significant barrier. He pulled at them in vain; the wires refused to yield.
D. Reynolds: We can't get through here!
Another voice. Ensign Caitríona Cayne. He knew her by reputation only, and they hadn't actually spoken yet, what he had heard was extremely positive. Although she was still a junior officer, like himself, she was also a medical doctor.
For some reason, that fact lingered in his mind for a moment. He couldn't help but think they might need her services soon.
Tan opened his mouth to offer a suggestion, but a shout from Dylan came first. His eyes followed the vector drawn by the teenager's. The light of the flare. Bobbing and weaving as Reynolds waved it around.
The more he thought on it, the more he considered the absolutely insane idea that Reynolds's absolutely insane plan might actually be slightly less than entirely insane and might have actually been a viable, solid one.
Tan: oO Guess that's why she runs the ship. Oo
Marshall: Over here!
Tan twisted and looked over his shoulder. Marshall and Dylan were working on something. Something that could get them out of this predicament.
He moved with Cayne, keeping his eyes peeled, keeping a watch for additional threats. Or opportunities for safety. He felt a distinct sense of powerlessness. The dark affected his sight. The wet made his footing treacherous. His uniform clung to him like a wet towel. There wasn't much he could do here.
Should have packed a phaser. Something more than water and a stupid holoimager...
Lesson learned. When going to a dinosaur park, pack something that can stun dinosaurs.
Marshall: Dyl, I know this is hard, but I need you to be Ensign Reynolds right now and help me sort this out. We can get the fence on if you can get us around their firewall. Can you do that for me?
It felt slightly wrong to listen in to their conversation, an outsider and stranger overhearing an emotional moment, but he couldn't help it.
D. Reynolds: Yeah.
Dylan worked on the PADD. Serren let him do his job, maintaining an alert, observational stance. That was the best he could do right now.
He didn't see any more dinosaurs, at least none around them, and there wasn't that much he could do about it anyway. He ground his teeth, trying to follow his training. The three C's of Tactical Combat.
Cool. Calm. Collected.
Easy to say in a classroom. Much harder to say when Admiral-eating dinosaurs were rampaging all around them and all he had was a stupid holoimager.
D. Reynolds: Come on, come on...
If anyone was smart enough to figure this out, it would be someone with the Admiral's lineage. Although he wasn't... entirely sure that was actually right. Dylan certainly looked the part, but looks could be deceiving.
The screen lit up. The PADD flared to life, and whatever technical wizardry the kid had cast into the computers, it seemed to have worked.
D. Reynolds: Okay! I did it! It's done!
Serren couldn't help but smile. Smart kid.
No need to add anything. Just stand here looking like he was doing something very important. Guarding their flank. That's right.
Tan: oO I'm going to desperately pretend like I'm the strong, silent type. That's what I got going for me right now. Presence. Oo
Of course, with the danger they were in, presence and a sack was worth the sack.
Tan: oO Talk about being thrown in the deep end. Oo
The flare in the distance arched through the air, flying high and wide. For a moment, Serren thought that, perhaps, something much direr was afoot -- his distance eyesight clearly wasn't as good as the humans around him -- but it became very clear very quickly that it had been thrown. Dark shadows moved around, motion that he couldn't track.
In the corner of his eye, though, Dylan lurched forward. The implications were obviously not lost on the sharp-eyed human.
D. Reynolds: Mum!
The plaintive cry pulled at his heartstrings. Serren stiffened his back, but Marshall and Cayne had a much better handle on what was going on than the total stranger who had been assigned the ultimate "milk run" of escorting them around a glorified amusement park.
They were much, much better suited to helping Dylan than he was, a Trill the boy had never spoken to before.
Time to do something other than stand around like a useless spotted statue. There was one thing he could try... one idea that could probably help them all if he could pull it off.
Serren tilted his head, as though to give a polite cough, looking away from the others.
Tan: ::softly:: Computer, end program...?
Nothing happened. The world did not melt away.
Nuts. It was worth a shot.
This was no holodeck simulation. This was real. Real dinosaurs. Real rain. And now, probably for the first time, real fear to match it.
At least the fence was on.
Time to really do something to help. Marshall and Cayne could best handle Dylan, most likely. Serren had to figure something out... something fast.
Or do the next best thing: ask for orders, then carry them out to the absolute best of his ability.
That would have to do.
He moved up to the others, giving Marshall and Cayne each, in turn, what he desperately hoped passed for a confident nod. Although anyone who swore in Bajoran probably wouldn't buy it.
Tan: Commander. Fence is on, thanks to our especially gifted Ensign here. What's the play now?
Serren straightened his back slightly, trying to be as presentable as possible given the circumstances. Back still hurt from escaping the vehicle.
Tan: Uhh, sorry. Ensign Serren Tan. I'm with Sec-Tac. Came in with the recent crew rotation. ::he grimaced:: It's... well, it's my first day, ma'am.
Probably not the smartest and wisest thing to lead with, but it was the truth.
D. Reynolds/Cayne: Response