Lt. Alieth - Hunted

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Jun 26, 2022, 3:20:15 PMJun 26

((Outskirts of Yarista, Palanon))

Alieth had apologised to Stoyer, a way of amending her behaviour in the Sasu Gol, with words, with gifts... and a ride. A wild race across the grasslands outside Palanon, amidst flocks of herbivores that fled from the noisy SAGs they rode along and the afternoon wind ruffling their clothes. An excuse, in truth, to bond with something the two had in common, an open conversation between two people disinclined to talk about themselves. A friendship, avowed and nascent, between two disparate people, the petite Vulcan science chief, brunette and minute, more brains than anything else, and the pilot, very human, tall blond and more given to action than reflection.

After a wide arc across the gorgeous plains, a gleam flickered in the Vulcan's narrow eyes. It was a short-lived glint that remained obscured by the translucent visor of her helmet and the HUD display that popped into existence in front of her face, as she fumbled a series of commands on the small display on her handlebars.

Alieth: =/\= I see, ::She answered Stoyer's last statement, which was an answer itself to a query that she had posed only to keep him distracted.:::  I guess that time of service will have prepared you for the... unforeseen events. =/\=

Then A couple more commands and the engines of her SAG turned around, propelling her in a big bounce forward and upwards as the hill they were ascending suddenly vanished into a steep ravine.

Behind him, the sound of Stoyer's brakes thundered across the plains, as his machine skidded to a stop, just in time to see Alieth pull to the opposite side and pull over to observe him. With the engines still roaring beneath her, the petite woman disabled the holo visor on her helmet, gazing at the human on the other side. Cory glanced in her direction for a bit before he turned around and stepped out of her field of vision. Before he reached the ground, she enabled the holovisor once more, spun her own vehicle around and hurtled up the next hill, leaving a cloud of dust behind her.

Stoyer:  =/\= Nice job, Alieth. =/\=

Alieth: =/\= You did not do badly yourself, Cory. We will see if you can deliver on the next surprise. =/\=

The plains rolled again beneath their vehicles, a series of descending hillsides strewn with herbs of a thousand shades of green and teal and countless flowers, white, yellow and purple lining the shadier areas. On a handful of occasions, their vehicle engines blasted cascades of water into the air as the high-pressure air impacted on the cheery currents of tiny streams, conjuring up artificial rainbows in the afternoon air. Soon, in the distance, the dark line of a cluster of trees began to emerge, a forest stretching, diffuse and borderless, across the horizon. At that point, Stoyer had reached her and the two of them were once again driving side by side. 

Stoyer:  =/\= Alieth, just so you know, I would follow you on another away mission anytime. =/\=

Those words warmed slightly the tough vulcan heart, yet true to who she was, her voice didn't disclose it.

Alieth: =/\= I appreciate your trust, Cory.=/\=

She knew there were many things she would do differently now, with the perspective of time and distance. Certainly, this had been a very different mission from what she was used to, at least from what she was used to leading. Danger, stress and risk to their lives had been a far cry from the usual scientific surveys, collecting samples and exploring ruins that made most of scientist's work. She was aware that many things could have been done differently, but the best she could do now was to learn from those mistakes and try to avoid them in the future. Grow from her mistakes and shortcomings and became a better leader and a smarter officer.

Nevertheless, she said none of this and instead made her bike lurch forward, moving closer to Stoyer until the two vehicles were almost brushing against each other.

Alieth: =/\= And I expect you to keep trusting me today, so.... duck.=/\=

Stoyer:  =/\= Response. =/\=

Alieth: =/\= Duck! =/\=

Stoyer:  =/\= Response. =/\=

Heeding her own suggestion, she flattened against the seat and handlebars, barely avoiding that the lower branches scratched the top of her helmet as the forest closed in around them. The forest grew dense and closed, the thin trees riddled with vines and low branches, while from below grew weeds, bushes and hawthorns, which forced them to scythe through the undergrowth. Soon, a wall of trees pushed them in different directions, and they separated several metres from each other. The heavy vegetation ensured that they could barely see glimpses of the other, even though they could hear the engines of the other vehicle, broken branches and the splashing of water that soaked the ground, turning it into a boggy peat bog.

Alieth: =/\= No matter what happens, keep heading north. Keep heading north and do not wander out into the glade.=/\=

Stoyer:  =/\= Response. =/\=

Alieth: =/\= Because they are faster in open fields.=/\=

As if her words had summoned them, snarls rang out all around them, from ahead and behind, the calling cries of predators that had sighted prey. The othoraptors seemed not so hindered by the dense forest as the SAGs and were soon surrounded left and right by a large group of them, their dark, iridescent feathers gleaming in the semi-darkness of the swamp almost as brightly as their two sharp rows of teeth.

Stoyer:  =/\= Response. =/\=

Lt. Alieth
Chief Science Officer
USS Gorkon NCC-82293
Image Collective Facilitator /Art Director

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