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Rune Jolara

PNPC CWO Vincent Jones - Under the Stars - (Columbia)

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((Holodeck, USS Columbia))

::The cold night air bit at the few areas of skin exposed to it as the pin[...]s of light continued their trek across the sky, oblivious to the scattered movements far below. Gusts drove whispers through the trees, sending darkened leaves into a frenzied dance as they rushed to escape the icy fingers of the darkness. Silent bootsteps fell between the equally feverish swirls of grass blades, giving the impression of dark waves moving swiftly across the land.::

::In the distance, the singular call of a wolf rang out into the night, howling at a non-existent moon with a mournful feel that traveled for miles. The horizon, dotted by white-capped mountain peaks by day, became a darkened sea of green-turned-black in the dark of midnight, hazily fading land into sky.::

::Despite the chill, droplets of sweat poured down the hooded face as small clouds of breath found manifestation in the night air. Steadily they came, in time with the footfalls that made no noise, allowing the emergence of a rhythm that could only be described as life. As a heartbeat, one foot hit the ground before the other, one breath hit the air before another, over and over again.::

::Then, the grass came to an end.::

::The whispers of the night’s wind remained behind him as he looked out into an even darker pool before him. Everything changed when twilight came for it. The robust greens of the world darkened into greys and blacks with little depth, while the black of Hell’s Half Acre became ever darker and ever more the stuff of nightmares. It was on its edge he now stood, as if standing on the edge of the pit of emptiness.::

::Having stopped, the temperature finally caught up with him. Drenched from the long run, the wind cut deeper and sent more than a single chill through his bones. Nodding to no one but himself, he took a deep breath and launched forward into the lava fields knowing full well what he was getting into. And just as he had more times than he could count as a teen, Vincent began his trek across the sharp, glassy rocks that had long ago transcended time itself.::

::The uneven ground presented a difficult path by day, rocky, sharp, and unforgiving in the heat of the midday sun. By night, when the lack of human-capable vision in the dark became his biggest weakness, the path grew downright treacherous. Sudden steps, sideways rocks, sharp outcroppings that seemingly didn’t belong, and a definitive lack of anything plainly horizontal made for a challenge well beyond that any obstacle course could. More than once he’d suffered cuts and bruises, sprains and broken bones, among the dark rocks.::

::But that had never stopped him.::

::Like so many nights before, the ex-Marine pushed himself. Faster, harder, further; the dark shades of the leaves, and the way the wind moved through them, were left in the distance like a memory while the basaltic rocks of the ancient lava flow encompassed him completely.::

::Above, the even more ancient points of light dotted across the sky paid no attention at all to the man, nor the haunting past that chased him across the rocks far below.::

TBC

CWO 1st Class Vincent ‘Jonesy’ Jones
Diplomatic Security Specialist/SFMC Counter-Intelligence
USS Columbia

As simmed by:

Lieutenant Commander Ash MacKenna
Chief Science Officer
USS Columbia

R238605KN0

 
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