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Sludge, Gruel and Dirty Water

Posted on Mon Nov 15th, 2021 @ 10:36pm by Lieutenant Adora (Addie) Hart & Lieutenant JG Vespa Kale

Mission: Buyer's Beware

Addie had been sleeping when they entered. Cold, scared and hungry as she shivered between the forms of Vespa, using her furred forms for warmth.

Everything that happened happened quickly. In the darkness Addie was grabbed, again. Her face covered before she could register anything in the darkness, and then she was gone.

It was hours before she returned, though finally the heavy door opened and Addie was pushed bodily through the doorway. Her uniform was gone, replaced with something that vaguely resembled something that may possibly have been considered shapeless clothing made from a coarse fabric that irritated her skin with every movement. Even her boots and socks were gone, bare feet moving across the cold, damp, stone floor as she headed back to Vespa.

Dropping to the floor, Addie inched closer to one of Vespa's forms, the one sitting upright, anxious, filled with tension and concern. "I'm okay," she said softly before Vespa could speak. "They didn't hurt me." She took a deep breath, trying very hard to not betray her own fears and concerns. "They told me they'd trade me my uniform for food. We'll be able to eat soon."

The door opened, and before Addie was returned, Vespa's glance was one of fear. Would she be taken? Would she be taken, Complete? Her other senses were groggy, but returning. She had done the nursery rhyme to re-established bioequilibrium, but... she was afraid.

Addie's presence made her feel so much better. A week ago, Addie shot her. Today, she'd take a phaser for her.

Food. Decency and modesty for food. "I... I'm so sorry." Vespa started, "I'm sorry I'm a Dalacari. I'll try to make due with an equal cut. And... and the next time it's time to..."

"... trade... I will." her twin's voice was raspy. Dry. Weak. The fact she was talking was a relief. Vespa moved her tail so that Addie could rest her feet on it. "I'll wash my tail later. The floor is cold. Addie, thank Dia you're alright, I'd be lost if I was alone." she confided. Vespa was silent for a moment, a rarity for the Dalacari.

"I've never believed in Dia's mercy more than I have today. I don't know much about the religions of the federation. Want to... pass the time?"

"Earth has lots of religions," Addie shivered, pulling her knees up in front of her. "I guess for the most part they all revolve around the same central ideal..." she shook her head slightly. "It's like everyone loved the same story so much they decided to write their own versions and live by them." She shrugged. "Historically religion has been behind most every kind of war and turmoil we've had. I guess that's why I've never really liked it."

Vespa scooted a little closer, seeing Addie shiver. Her prone form groaned a bit as it sat up, and joined in the huddle. "Better?" she asked, before continuing.

"I'm not very religious either, but it never hurts to ask if you're in need." a pause from the pair. "Addie, I... I'm sorry I dragged you with me, and I'm sorry I..."

"... got us caught in that bogus sale. I.. I don't know what to do, I'm a scientist but there's no such field of study as escapology." she shook her head.

"I got you into this. I'm so, so sorry."

Addie reached out on both sides, each one of her hands taking one hand from each of the two forms of Vespa. "Part of being friends is never having to apologise," she said softly. "This isn't your fault, you did nothing at all wrong. We got into this together, we'll get out of it together."

There was a creaking sound as the door pushed open again, just enough for a single tray to be nudged through the door. As soon as it was far enough into the room, the door closed again and the sound of locks could be heard on the other side of the door. "I guess that means room service has arrived?" Addie tried to make a joke before she sighed softly. "I'll get it."

She stood up, walking across the otherwise empty space so she could retrieve the tray. The smell of what ever it was that they considered 'food' assaulted her long before her eyes focused in the darkness enough that she could see it. Where moments ago her stomach had been twisting with hunger, now she just felt sick. She set the tray down in front of Vespa, blinking back her own tears. "I don't think it's very edible," she whispered. "I'm sorry."

Vespa didn't want to react too poorly to the... we'll call it FOOD... that Addie suffered so much to get for them, but Dalacari had more sensitive noses than most. And she had two of them. "Next time, I'm springing for take out." she joked, to help soften Addie's mood. "It's not much but... you take your share."

"Maybe if we close our eyes and pretend it's just a kalmini steak that wasn't prepared right? Or a surprise piece of fruit in the meatloaf?" neither would actually help, but she wanted too bad for this one thing to work out. She reached a hand out, not for the tray but for Addie's hands, a hand held in each form.

"We'll make it."

Addie took a few deep breaths, holding firmly onto Vespa's hands. Finally, releasing Vespa's hands, Addie took one last breath and stood up. "You eat," she said softly as she stood up and moved to the wall behind them. "How big do you think this space is?" she asked, pressing her back to the cold surface before she started pacing forward. "One, two, three, four..." she whispered with each cautiously taken step. The lack of light meant it was difficult to see any hazards that may be in front of her, or anywhere in the room.

"No no, we'll eat together. What are you looking to do?" Vespa's ears twitched to try to keep pace with Addie, her nose kept track of her scent. Dalacari started as predators, and there were parts of Vespa that didn't forget that. "I.. I can't see much better that you in the dark but..."

"... I should be the one measuring. I don't want you to hurt yourself." Vespa tried to follow along with Addie's movement in the dark.

"The room is about twenty feet wide," Addie said quietly. "I'm coming back toward you now," she pressed her hands to the wall, stepping carefully, following the wall back toward Vespa. "The door is steel, it's cold," she commented as her hands brushed over the metal.

Moments later she was sitting back down next to Vespa again. "I don't think the room is very deep, but I don't want to keep traipsing in the darkness," she whispered softly. "The walls are all dirt, they feel like they've been caulked over with mud, like the floor. The door is metal. I don't feel any air circulation, aside from under the door frame. I don't know if we have an easy way out, at least not until they come get us..." her voice trailed off momentarily. "Who ever they are."

Vespa gave a nod in the darkness. "I can almost hear something. Like, hearing out of the corners of your ears. I can't make anything out, though." she confided. "And the air is stale, or..."

"... rather, it was until the trendiest dish in town was delivered. Now that's all I can smell." she rose up so both her forms were seated. "Give me a bit to get my heads on..."

"... straight, and I can take some more room measurements for you. Maybe a rug or a couch to bring the room together." always a joke. It did well to hide how scared she was. "Okay so let's think about..."

"... this. We're captive, but they want us alive. They want us alive and they want us together." Vespa thought. "Ransom? Starfleet is new here, so maybe..."

"... someone's picking on them since there's no real reputation about the fleet out here?"

Another cold shiver ran through Addie's bones. "Is it just me or is it getting cooler in here?" she asked quietly. "Maybe it's getting dark out and the temperature is dropping? Maybe it's a storm... Didn't the Captain say this place was prone to storms? If it's a storm, I guess this is where we hope that we don't have any leaks."

She paused, taking a breath and exhaling slowly. "What else do you know about Ketram?" she asked softly. "Anything you can think of, anything at all that might give us a chance?"

Vespa thought and thought, "Sorry, I'm a little groggy." she offered as she tried. "Umm, okay so storms, yes. In the winter months it can get cold enough to snow. Think... think..." it was odd to see Vespa so far off her game. Usually she was so sharp, so quick. Usually she wasn't half concussed.

"Rain is purple. It's from the water picking up extra potassium when bonded. Salty as hell. Don't drink it." her groggy self picked up the conversation after a momentary pause. Momentary, but noticeable. "Underground system of, well we figured..."

"... that part out. Purple rats. You remember those guys. Very vigilant against Fera." she paused, "I ... I don't think yelling that we found Fera down here..."

"... would bring the guards. No sheep in wo, wait no reverse that. Wolf in sheep? Or is that the boy who cried wolf? Hard to think."

Vespa's bushy tail snuck its way towards Addie. Well, more of half sneak, half thumpy flop, It wasn't that stealthy. "You're cold, I... I'm covered in fur."

Vespa took a pair of breaths, trying to sync, and trying to focus. "I don't hear drainage, or plinks, so we're not being flooded yet." a pause, "You stay with me, please. If you leave me alone, I swear to Dia I will... I'll..."

"... well I don't know what I'll do, but it will involve a formal protest."

Addie rested her head against Vespa's shoulder, enjoying the warmth from her fur covered form. "I'm not going anywhere, I promise," she said, one hand reaching for each of Vespa's beings reassuringly.

The sound of the heavy door being forced open startled them both. Addie looked toward the door, watching in the very low light as several forms entered, two guards holding lights that caused her eyes to hurt, making her cover her eyes and look away.

Rough hands grabbed them, guttural voices speaking harshly as they were hauled to their feet, rough bags being forced over their heads. "Stop, please!" Addie protested. "We aren't going to fight, you have our word!"

A stinging blow, hidden by the head covering, caught Addie by surprise. She cried out in shock, resisting the urge to pull away or scream. The last thing she wanted to do was to endanger Vespa.

Addie could feel herself being propelled forward, stumbling on the cold, uneven floor, shoulder brushing the door frame before being pushed physically onto what felt like some kind of cart. "Vespa?" she whispered urgently, reaching around her as the hands released her.

There was another guttural voice. She couldn't understand what was being said, but the tone made the intent quite clear. If it hadn't, the second blow to the side of her head certainly did. The shock of the blow was short lived, replaced by a sharp pinch in her arm. Within moments, everything started to go fuzzy and Addie lapsed into blissful unconsciousness, one last thing making it through the fuzz.

One single word spoken in very clear Federation Standard. "Move!"


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