OOC: This sim contain violence, death and an over the top acting performance. Reader discretion is advised.
((City Alleyway, Anadasa Surface))
The away team were huddled in a doorway, trying to stay out of sight, about twenty meters down the alley which the shops rear door had opened onto.
Kendrick: I'm afraid things have gotten more complicated now that we've gotten company.
Falt: ::to Ra’Am:: do you know anywhere we could go that will be quiet?
Ra’Am: There’s the old chapel. No one goes there now, not since everything changed. They all go to the temple instead.
That sounded ominous. “Everything changed,” could certainly be a sign of an external influence at work. He raised a single questioning eyebrow at the Captain and Kendrick, the gesture only slightly spoiled by his forehead ridges.
The Captain returned the gesture, clearly coming to a similar conclusion.
Kendrick: ::nodding:: If this chapel is indeed abandoned, perhaps we could set up our base of operation there.
Oddas: Sounds like a plan, ::to Ra'Am:: lead the way.
The girl gestured they should go left, down the alleyway. Tomas found himself on point, with the Captain and Ra’Am behind him. He led them through the narrow, shadow filled alleyway. Kendrick was at the rear. Tomas was glad he was there, watching their backs. Hemmed in like they were it would be difficult for them to escape if they were ambushed .
Oddas: Why don't people go to the temple anymore, Ra'am?
Ra'Am: ::shrugging her shoulders:: I don't know. I think it has something to do with the Great Blessing.
He kept scanning the alley as they moved forward.
Falt: ::not turning round:: What was the great blessing?
Kendrick: Well, apparently it wasn't so great for that old chapel.
They seemed to be passing behind an eatery of some kind. He could smell cooking coming from an open kitchen door and they had to duck under a meat rack of some kind. He couldn’t be sure if it was used for drying, or smoking. Either way, the aroma reminded him of cooking out with his father on one of their numerous camping trips.
Oddas: Did something happen around then?
Ra'Am: It's when J'Kre threw down her helmet from the heavens. At least that's what our Caretakers told us at the orphanage. I was still a baby when it all happened.
Tomas nodded. From his studies he knew many early civilisations would interpret activity in the sky as signs from their gods. It was highly likely a crashing borg scout ship, assuming that is what had fallen from the sky, would invoke some kind of religious response. He decided to test his theory.
Falt: ::still looking forwards:: The helmet fell from the heavens in a giant fireball, yes?
Before the girl could answer he heard loud footsteps ahead. He brought the group to a halt, but there was nowhere to hide. He was aware of Kendrick moving the Captain and Ra’Am behind him as seven armoured men, all armed, marched into the alley in front of them.
He knew their best chance of getting out of the situation was to not appear suspicious to the guards. Hopefully they’d march straight past.
Falt: ::quietly, without turning:: Everyone act normally, like we’re doing nothing wrong. If they keep coming just move out of their way, hopefully they’ll go past.
Much to his relief the men, he guessed guards of some sort, didn’t keep coming. Unfortunately they didn’t leave either. They stopped outside a doorway about twenty metres away, completely blocking the alley.
oO Guess we’re not going that way for a moment Oo
One of the guards, his more refined dress suggesting he was the leader of the group, started hammering on the door. It was not a polite knock, rather a hammering that suggested the door would be broken down if it wasn’t quickly opened.
Kendrick: ::at the Captain:: Looks like we're trapped, Sir. I suggest we turn around and try to find another way to get to that chapel.
The door still hadn’t been answered. The leader took a step to the side and another guard swiftly kicked it open. The alley briefly emptied as the guards entered the building. He could hear shouting and screaming from inside, it clearly wasn’t a social call.
For a moment he wondered if it would be worth making a break for it down the alley, but before he could suggest it the guards returned, two of them dragging an adolescent looking boy between them. He’d been badly beaten and was putting up no resistance. An older couple, presumably the boy's parents, followed behind the guards, pleading for them not to hurt their son.
A grim expression settled on his face as he watched them drop to their knees and beg, weeping. This was the hard reality of the prime directive, not to interfere, even if you wanted to.
Ra'am: ::at Oddas:: Why can't you help him?
Ra'am: ::at Falt:: But you did help me, didn't you?
Falt: ::ignoring the question:: It’s not safe here.
H was glad to here Kendrick agree.
Kendrick: We better go now before we draw some unwanted attention.
One of the guards approached the pleading man and suddenly lashed out with a leather clad fist, hitting in the face. As he collapsed to the ground another guard arrived, and together they began kicking and stamping on their prone victim.
Tomas felt an anger boiling inside him. He knew they had to leave the old man to his fate, however much that felt wrong. He turned to leave but hadn’t counted on Ra’Am shouting out.
Ra'Am: ::at the guardsmen:: Stop!!! Don't hurt him!!
Kendrick: ::looking at the Captain:: What the-
Tomas swung back to face the guards. The leader was walking toward them, pistol raised. His men formed up behind him as he bellowed at the away team.
Guard Leader: ::shouting:: Quiet! Or do you wish to join them!!.
It seemed he was giving them one last chance to go, and Tomas was keen to take it. Unfortunately Ra’Am was too young to have realised their situation.
Ra’Am: Stop hurting him!!
The leader didn’t give them a second chance.
Guard Leader: ::to his men:: Arrest them. All of them.
oO So much for keeping a low profile Oo
His mind raced, looking for options. He could only think of one, and it wasn’t good. It might even be a bit crazy. It certainly wasn’t allowed under the prime directive, but it might just buy the rest of the team enough time to get away. He turned to Kendrick as the guards rushed toward them.
Falt: I’ll slow them down. Get the Captain to safety, sir.
Tomas only half heard them. He was already walking toward the guards, putting a few more paces between himself and the away team. He knew he was taking a big risk, although the alternative was worse. Plus he had a strong feeling T’Lea would throw him out of an airlock if he let the Captain get caught. He channelled all his anger and fear into his voice.
Falt: ::enraged:: How dare you address a priest in this manner!!!
The leader seemed to hesitate, caught by surprise. Tomas kept shouting, trying to keep the man off balance.
Falt: ::angry:: and since when did the followers of J’Kre attack defenceless old men.
oO I’m in trouble if that wasn’t the name Ra’Am said Oo
The leader stopped about two metres away from him, pistol still raised.
Guard Leader: You’re no priest, you’re not even dressed like one.
Tomas knew his only choice was to keep his act up. As long as the guards thought he could be an angry priest they might not shoot him.
Falt: What ignorance! I am a missionary from across the sea.
Guard Leader: But…
Falt: ::screaming:: Silence!
He stepped forward so he was nose-to-nose with the leader.
Falt: ::voice dripping with disdain:: I’ve travelled far to get here and learn more about the Great Blessing, and instead I find this!
He pushed past the shocked leader and strode toward the old man. Every step he took he expected to feel a gunshot in his back, but none came. The man was motionless in a pool of blood, the woman lying over him, wailing. Even before he knelt beside her Tomas knew there was nothing he could do. He doubted even Sival or Doctor Indobri could have saved him on the Juneau.
Tomas hung his head and muttered under his breath, making sure no one could hear him. He hoped they would think he was praying for the old man. It might buy him some more time, it might even give the woman some comfort.
Guard Leader: Don’t waste your breath on scum like him.
Tomas stood and faced him. When he spoke again his voice was like ice.
Falt: ::calmly, coldly:: It is not for you to decide who I pray to J’Kre for. And I wasn’t just praying for him, I was praying for you. May J’Kre have mercy on you for his murder.
He knew he was laying it on thick and that the spell would break soon. Looking past the leader he was relieved the rest of the away team were no longer in sight.
Guard Leader: We were following order’s…
Falt: ::interrupting:: Order’s to murder a defenceless old man? Who gave you such orders?
The guard leader seemed to regain some of his composure.
Guard Leader: My order came from Council Member D’Aanish, and no one from outside the city gets to question them. Priest or otherwise. ::turning to his men:: arrest him.
Tomas sighed as two guards roughly seized him by the arms.
oO Took them long enough Oo
Falt: You will regret this.
Guard Leader: We’ll see. ::to his men:: take him away.
TAG / TBC
Lieutenant JG Tomas Falt
USS Juneau, NX-99801