What Happened Here?

So… my group has arrived at the colony of Anchorage and what they find is pretty unexpected.

**

They were in the middle of a field, but it was clear this wasn’t just any field.  Stones dotted the field, spreading out in all directions.

“This… looks like a graveyard,” Julian said, his voice soft.  He looked at Calleigh, who frowned.  “Have you ever seen so many headstones?”

“No,” she said, her voice soft.  She turned to Alexander and said, “I want you to compare the names on the stones to the last census from the colony.  See if… there’s anyone who isn’t accounted for.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Alexander said.  He glanced at Robin, who nodded.  Then, he heaved a sigh of relief and drew out his datapad.  He walked away, heading towards the far corner of the field.  Chewing at his lip, Robin fell into step behind him.

“What do you suppose happened here?” Robin asked as Alexander began checking the names on the stones against the ones in the last census of the colony.  As far as he was concerned, it was like something out of a nightmare.  His mind was conjuring all manner of scenarios, each worse and less likely than the previous one.

Alexander shook his head.  “Whatever it was,” he said, his voice faint, “it was bad.”  He waved at one stone and said, “This family – parents and five children – all died on the same day.  I can’t imagine… some sort of disaster, perhaps?”

He looked around at the field of stones and then looked back at Robin.  “It wasn’t something immediate, though,” he added.  “After all, someone buried all of these people.  Didn’t they?”

“The same person?” Robin asked, his voice soft.  It wasn’t reassuring when Alexander simply shrugged.  After all, there was no way either of them could know the answer to that question.

Magi-tech in action…

I had so much fun writing this scene!  Lori’s a fun character.

**

Cameron was unaccountably nervous as he headed to the transporter room.  It was just as he was stepping into the room that he realized the source of his anxiety.  “I’ve never been teleported off a ship before,” he said, looking sharply at Nicholas.

Nicholas frowned at him and then nodded.  “I’ll be right there beside you,” he said, patting his arm.  “They do this all the time.  It’s a very straightforward spell and there are rarely any accidents associated with it.”

Amity and Carlisle arrived just behind them.  Smiling brightly, Amity said, “Lori’s an old pro at this.”  She grinned at the sunny-natured redhead and arched a brow.  “Are we ready to go, Master Coons?”

She grinned.  “We’re just waiting for the last member of the away team.”  When Joel Rylan stepped into the room, she waved.  “There were go!  Now, we’re all set.”

Joel frowned and then moved over to the platform that Lori began waving at.  “You… do know what you’re doing, right?” he asked.

“Chickie, I’ve done this about a thousand times,” she said, shaking her head.  She looked at the little group and added, “All right, here’s how this is going to work.  You all stand in the spell circle that’s etched onto the platform.  I will recite the incantation and then touch the edge of the circle.  Poof!  You appear on the surface.”

“How do we get back?” Cameron asked, his voice cracking.

Amity smiled.  “I’ll transport us back when we’re ready,” she said, patting the man on the shoulder.  “That’s why there’s always a mage on the away team when we use the transporter.”

“I’d feel better if we could use a shuttle,” Joel murmured.  However, he stood at the center of the spell circle without any further argument.  When the others had joined him, he met Lori’s gaze steadily.  “Are you ready?”

Lori grinned and then nodded.  “I was born ready,” she said.  Then, she drew out her wand and began speaking a long incantation in a language that none of them – presumably, with the exception of Amity – understood.  When she finished, she leaned down to touch the edge of the circle with her wand.

Cameron felt a strange squeezing sensation, as if he were being forced down a long narrow tube.  Then, when his head cleared, he found that he was standing in the sunlit square of a ruined city.

An Unexpected Fear

A little scene that I wrote between Robin and Julian.  I really like how it turned out…

**

Julian frowned slightly as he glanced over at Robin.  He was a member of the engineering team and Robin was a member of the morale team.  Which made Julian have to wonder what Captain Locksley was thinking.  He shook his head and then leaned over closer to the man beside him.  “What are an engineer and a steward doing being sent to explore a deserted colony?” he whispered.

“Hell, if I know,” Robin breathed back, shaking his head.  He chuckled wryly and then shrugged.  “I figured that the captain wanted to get me as far from Lieutenant Johnson as he possibly could,” he added. Arching a brow at Julian, he said, “Have you been at odds with someone since joining the crew?”

Grimacing, Julian nodded.  “Roberts,” he said, his voice strained.  Even though most of the people from Alistair had made amends with him, Roberts still didn’t care for him or even trust him.  He seemed to take great joy in baiting Julian – poking at him until Julian had taken all he could take and lashed out in anger.  Then, almost without fail, Gretchen would end up scolding Julian for fighting.

“So, are we being punished or are they trying to see whether or not we’re the troublemakers?” Julian asked, arching his brows.

Robin chuckled wryly once again.  “Bit a both,” he said, shrugging.  Then, the light telling them to keep their seat restraints locked went out.  Without waiting for a word from Ken Holmes, Robin loosened his belt and stood.  He shrugged when the other man frowned at him.  “Call it claustrophobia, Commander,” he said.  “I was at the edge of my endurance when it came to being….” he trailed off, waving at the restraints.

“Fair enough,” Holmes said, nodding.  He shrugged and added, “You’ll just have to put it back on when we get ready to land.  There’s not much point in wandering too far from you seat.”

“Be that as it may,” Robin said, shrugging.  He stepped over to one of the cabinets and slid it opened.  He grabbed two water capsules and held one out to Julian.  “Are you thirsty, Mr. Southmaid?” he asked.

“No, thank you,” Julian said, shaking his head.  He smiled when Robin offered the capsule to the other members of the away team.

Schuyler smiled brightly, accepting the capsule.  “Are you thirsty, Carlisle?” he asked, glancing up at his companion.

Frowning, Carlisle shook his head.  “I am not,” he said, his voice soft.  Then, he glanced at Julian before looking back at Schuyler.  Bowing his head, he added, “Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome,” Schuyler replied, grinning.  He opened the capsule and began sipping from it.

To Protect and To Serve

Carlisle carried Schuyler’s bags as the made their way to the ship. His gaze locked on a small, red-haired man standing at the base of the ramp that led onto the ship. There was something dangerous about the man. Carlisle tensed.

“That’s the Chief of Security,” Schuyler murmured. He stepped forward, extending his hand towards the stranger. “Master Kenneth, I presume.”

“Yes,” Ken said, taking the offered hand. He looked at Carlisle briefly. “You’re on my security team. Who’s your companion?”

Schuyler gave Carlisle a sidelong glance. “He attends to my needs and protects me.”

Carlisle smiled and nodded. “Indeed.”

Uncertainty

Schuyler frowned as he stared out the porthole at the Lady Sarah. “She’s a beautiful ship,” he said. His single eye flicked to Carlisle. He was as silent and unreadable as always. He sighed.

“What’s wrong, Master?” Carlisle asked, his voice low.

Shaking his head, Schuyler said, “I’m just not sure I’m doing the right thing. My parents won’t approve, I know that.”

Carlisle made a curious sound. “It’s unlike you to express self-doubt,” he said. “Do you want my opinion?”

Nodding, Schuyler said, “What do you think?”

“That you want to help people,” Carlisle said, “and, now, you will.”

Every time you go away you take a piece of meat with you

Ryan frowned. Schuyler didn’t look like the type to eat so much. “Who’s all that for?” he said, shaking his head and pointing at the plate of food.

Schuyler looked around, seeming a bit uncomfortable. “What makes you ask that?” he asked, adopting the aire of an offended noble.

Resisting the urge to roll his eyes, Ryan said, “You’ve been up to the buffet four times and you don’t look like you can pack the food away like that.”

“It’s also quite a bit of meat,” Alexander pointed out, nodding. His eyes seemed to twinkle with mischief as he asked, “Got a wooden leg?”

“It’s… for Carlisle,” he said, nodding at the bird that was perched on the back of his chair. It’s dark eyes flashed like glass beads at the mention of its name. “He’s rather hungry.”

“He doesn’t look like he can put that much meat away either,” Ryan said. Was there more to Carlisle than met the eye? He might have asked. However, Schuyler chose that moment to hurry away, back to his own table.

“What a weird guy,” Ryan murmured.

the ants are my friends

“We’re so high up,” Schuyler said, frowning slightly.

Carlisle made a noise of agreement. “I wanted you to be safe, young master,” he said, his voice faint. He banked to one side and started circling two small forms.

Schuyler blinked. “They look like ants, we’re so high up,” he marveled.

“They are members of the away team, young master,” Carlisle said, as he descended.

it only takes a few seconds to die

Schuyler knew, with absolute certainty, what had become of the colonists. All it took was one look at the creature standing before him and it was crystal clear. These aliens – the unknown natives of the world – had killed them. It was only a question of why, now.

Well, others would search for the reason behind the attack. Schuyler would just be glad if he survived. He gave ground as the creature advanced on him. It looked like something out of a nightmare – like a demon from the lowest hell. It was horrifying and Schuyler could see no escape.

His back met with a wall and he gasped. He didn’t dare take his eyes off the advancing beast. All it would take was a single swipe from it’s clawed hand and his life would be over. Some part of him thought that it wouldn’t kill him while he was looking at it. It would wait until he hid his face or looked away.

He startled when his communicator crackled to life. “All members of the away mission: finish what you are doing and prepare to leave,” the captain said. “There may be hostile aliens here.”

“You think?” Schuyler breathed. The captain’s sudden call had served a purpose, however. The creature was looking around, seeking the speaker. That delay was all Schuyler would need.

“Carlisle,” he cried. “Protect me!”

In a flurry of feathers, Carlisle appeared. His blade caught the beast in its throat. It slumped to the ground, greenish blood spilling from its wound. Carlisle didn’t hesitate. He caught Schuyler around the middle and took to the air. The creature, however, was already dead when Schuyler looked back down at it.