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The grotto

Posted on Thu Jun 29th, 2017 @ 4:29am by Lieutenant Beowulf "Wulf" Byrnes

Mission: Down on the Upside
Location: planetside
Timeline: current

ON:

Byrnes had settled the main energizer problem, but it had taken the industrial replicators to aid in the repairs. This base was old, and not well maintained, with them moving in by force. To say they were behind in certain areas was an understatement. All the power relays were now showing in the green, working for now. "Sicily! Take a team and begin diagnostics of all power relays and backups."

"Aye, Sir."

Watching her gather her team and then leave, Byrnes returned his attention to the main board. The dragons were no longer his problem, this base was. He just hoped he didn't get fried on the rug with some Starfleet officer who got gung-ho over the dragons and killed them without provocation. As he was tapping keys his combadge warbled.

"Lieutenant Byrnes, we've ran into a problem in a tertiary jeffries tube."

Wulf sighed and responded. "What kind of problem?"

"Uhmmm...it's better if you just come down and see for yourself, Sir."

Byrnes gave an audible sigh over the comm. "Alright, fine. I'm on my way. This better be good." He tapped his badge off and exited main engineering. Arriving in the secondary section, a long corridor for emergency evac, he found a group of four engineers standing near to an opening in the wall. What looked to be a collapsed section of the wall. "What the hell is this?" Wulf asked this as he approached, coming to stand directly in front of the opening, which was pitch black beyond this lit corridor.

"This is the problem, Sir. Jenkins there was up on a grav sled, repairing the lights, and this wall collapsed as he leaned against it for support. As you can see, it's kinda creepy."

Wulf could feel the cool, damp air coming from the dark caverns beyond. But, what surprised him the most is that he wasn't gasping for air, that the flow of air coming out seemed to be breathable. On this moon, or planetoid, or whatever it was, there should be no breathable air trapped in pockets. That, in itself, made him nervous. Stepping to a weapons cache he input his codes for CEO, the cache opening. Grabbing an equipment belt and donning it, Byrnes holstered a phaser and grabbed a tricorder. "Grab some weapons and watch this end. I'm going to go exploring, to see what we might have." Wulf grabbed a strap-on light, which could be adjusted as a palm lamp, or a head lamp, and he chose the latter. Strapping the light around his cranium, Byrnes began to climb into the opening.

"Are you sure this is safe, Sir?"

"No! I'm not sure," stated Byrnes, the cynicism heard in his voice. "But, until we check it out we won't know for sure, now will we?" Looking down into the depths of darkness, Wulf could see water. Water that appeared to be crystal clear even in the inky blackness of the cavern. "We have water, not frozen or off-color. A good sign. Send word to Security and the marines that we're checking this out." Clambering for handholds and footholds, Byrnes began to descend down to the water level. His hand slipped and he tried to correct, losing grip completely as he tumbled down into the pool of water. Splash!

"Pwah!" Wulf came up fast and spewed water from his lips, swiping it away quickly from his eyes, now drenched to the bone. Once standing it was obvious that this pool was only thigh deep, and though it had been cold during the initial shock of landing in it, the temperature of the liquid was just below tepid. That meant it was being warmed by something, some source of energy. Who was here? Drawing his phaser and setting it for maximum stun Byrnes continued to walk this water-filled trench. He moved along cautiously, his senses on high as he could only see as far as his head lamp would permit. To say he was creeped out was accurate. Then, without preamble, a bioluminescence started. Plants, roots, the insects fluttering about, all lit up as if on cue, illuminating the darkened cavern with soft lighting. Wulf reached up and doused his light, his head on a swivel as he looked around at the beauty of all this. Who, or what, had created this, next to a Federation facility, and no one knew.

Out of the corner of his eye Byrnes thought he saw two glowing points, like eyes, a neon blue-white color. They had been off in the distance, amid the bioluminescent plant life, and briefly showing. Not liking that, his sixth sense saying he was not alone, Byrnes continued on despite his anxiety. On several occasions he swore he caught it again, but always off to the side. Finding a step-up out of the water, Wulf used it, hearing the water running from his pants legs and shoes, looking this way and that to get his bearings, and then he was hit. His left shoulder felt the piercing and slamming through muscle and tissue, the trauma immediately felt as he reeled and fell to his back among the plants glowing around him. Looking to his injured shoulder he found an arrow protruding from it, hit from the front. It was a metallic alloy in nature, grey-ish silver, with fletching that appeared to be actual feathers. He grasped the wound around where the arrow stuck out, but did not dare to try and pull it free.

Rolling onto his right side and finally sitting up, phaser held loosely for defense, Byrnes gave a cynical chuckle and spoke out loud. "If you are out there, I mean you no harm. I mean this cavern no harm. Just exploring something I did not expect to find." He waited, listening, and expecting the next arrow to end his existance. "Hello?"

The glowing points he had seen, not unlike two EPS spots with the neon white-blue, this biped approached, arrow notched and aiming at his torso. "Stay still." The lavender colored being was warning him that he would be turned into a pin cushion if he did not comply. Laying his phaser down, holding hands up defensively, Byrnes gave a nod.

"I am not here to harm you," stated Byrnes. "I was curious about these caverns." His eyes took her in, the lavender skin, the natural tattoo patterns on her body, and the glowing eyes. She was wearing a bikini style outfit, with boyshorts for bottoms, and despite where they were her clothing had no sign of muck and mud. Just above the waistline of her trunks he could make out a glyph on her abdomen, half covered by the mysterious cloth, and glowing with the same blue-white irridescence.

"No come here," stated the purple elf. Her ears were long and pointed, as were her eyebrows, all of them moving slightly like the antennae of Andorians. He was damn sure that they were used to gather information about her surroundings. On top of that her accent when speaking Federation Standard was a cross between Slavic and Spanish, the R's being trilled and certain words having a twist to them.

Byrnes looked at her, his shoulder aching. "Can you remove this, or should I do it myself?" He motioned to the arrow in his left shoulder.

"Nehneh," said the strange being, shaking her head no and coming forward. While she moved she deftly put the arrow back in its quiver and shouldered the bow over her back, squatting when she got in near to him. "Dis will hurt."

"Like I expected anything less," commented Byrnes, gritting his teeth and waiting.

What he did not see was the amber energy that cascaded from her fingers as she wrapped them around the arrow shaft, becoming one with the nano-tech within, and the frog crotch arrow slimmed itslef to just a standard arrow tip, easily pulled free. Which, of course, she yanked free and squat-walked back from him as she cleaned it. "Stoopid, hooman. Always in places you not belong." She slid the arrow back into its quiver.

Byrnes smiled. "Human nature. We like to test our limits."

While he spoke this elven looking woman reached into a belt pouch and brought out what appeared to be a folded green leaf, opening it and showing the salve within. "Put dis, doht." When she said 'doht', she pointed to his wound, so he assumed 'doht' meant 'there'. "Thank you."

"What you called," asked the lavender girl, while applying the leaf and the salve to his puncture wound.

"Wulf Byrnes," he responded. "Wulf is my first name, Byrnes my last name. Friends just call me Wulf."

"Wulf," she said, testing it on her tongue, the W being pronounced between an F and a V sound. So, when she said it, it came out as Vulf, almost. "I like this name. Like wolf from Earth. Strong, a unit, protect each other."

Byrnes found that surprising, that this alien would compare him to an Earth mammal. How did she even know about them? "Are you familiar with wolves?"

"Just what I read." She pressed down on the salve and leaf, causing him to wince. "Medicine need to enter blut."

Wulf nodded, keeping his jaw clenched as she kept up the pressure. Whatever she was she was strong as hell. "Thanks." He then looked into those glowing eyes. "Hey, what are you called?"

Taking away her pressure the lavender woman tossed the leaf aside. "Niraasha Whisperwind. Nira, to friends." She smiled. "Like you say, friend give short name." Nira stood and looked around, her ears and long eyebrows waving about. "You need go. Others come, will destroy. I kill for grotto, you are warned." She shot off into the dark, leaving a flabbergasted Wulf in her wake.

OFF:

OOC: If Security and Marines choose to be involved, I will respond.





 

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