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Round 4 LtJG Oliver Weston - There to Here


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((Dense Jungle, 3 kilometres from the Laurel Celestia, Saksenna Impact +12 minutes, Unnamed Planet))

:: The thick coppery taste of blood filled his mouth again as Oliver dragged himself through the mud on his stomach. As quietly as possible he spit it out and dragged himself further along the game trail and away from the monstrously heavy and laboured breathing behind him. At this point the Laurel Celestia was a dream, and the only real focus he had left was the breathing in the jungle behind him, and his desire to get as far from it as possible. The deep rhythmic breathing that sounded more like a combustion engine turning over than anything organic. One hand in front of the other, that's all that mattered anymore. A long trench stretched out behind his body, a clear trail for anyone to follow, made all the clearer by the long trail of blood at the centre of the furrow. His face was pale and spattered with blood, mostly his, and mud, his hair caked with both. Oliver Weston had definitely looked better. One hand in front of the other. He froze as another gods [...]ed roar tore through the jungle behind him. Whale's Fat [...] still frustrated at losing his kill and the nasty fall he'd taken earlier. The ground shivered again, this time for longer than the last. Oliver counted eight seconds until the shaking stopped and Rexy screamed again in frustration. One hand in front of the other. He could hear the foliage and branches being snapped and crushed off behind him somewhere as the [...] hunted. He spit again and tried to bite back a scream as he dragged his ragged leg over something sharp in the mud. His belt tunicate caught on it and yanked slightly down his torn thigh, causing waves of pain and nausea to wash over him, threatening his vision with black. One hand in front of the other. He tugged up and over and free and his next aimless grope in the dark rewarded him with the tough, knotted root of some ancient alien tree. ::

:: Oliver clawed his way around it to the other side and propped himself upright against trunk, trying desperately to put something substantial between him and the Rex. Using both mud caked hands he managed to drag his broken left leg out in front of him and get a clear look at the belt he'd cinched tight above the wound. He'd cut it free from his ISARAS vest before he tossed the dead weight away. That must have been...forty minutes ago, maybe an hour. But it felt like last week. That was long before the quakes started as well, those only started ten minutes ago, and the first of them had saved his life. He could hear the [...] now, chuffing in the jungle behind him. Sniffing roughly at the air and trying to catch Oliver's scent in the pouring rain and amid the other smells of the jungle. The rain came suddenly and hurricane strong shortly after the earthquakes had started. The sky above the canopy filled with clouds and blotted out the stars and breath taking particle stream in minutes and a hard hot rain followed after. The earth turned to mud, the jungle was soup in its driest places, and Oliver had been running, walking, limping, crawling and finally dragging himself through it towards where he hoped to find the Laurel Celestia. The ancient and ruined hulk of a Federation Oberth class, that crashed here before he had even been born. ::

:: Fighting back tears and half spitting, half sobbing blood he readjusted and tightened his tunicate, trying not to scream. The chuffing was getting closer now, definitely in the clearing he'd just spent four minutes crawling across. Trembling he reached down to his boot and drew the combat knife he'd stuck there after discarding his vest. Slowly he pulled it free and clutched it tightly to his chest as he listened to the ten ton thoropod step into clearing, and dip its nose to sniff loudly at his bloody trail. ::

:: How did I get here? ::

((Dense Jungle, 11 kilometres from the Laurel Celestia, Saksenna Impact - 45 minutes, Unnamed Planet))

:: Their hump through the jungle was about half over when Whale ordered them to freeze. There was a terrible drawn out moment where everything was still as the grave, before it was shattered by the painfully slow appearance of Fat [...]s snout, head and neck as he caught our scents. ::

SHELLEY: That's...that's a Tyrannosaurus Rex

WHALE: Fat [...]. We meet again.

WESTON: :: His voice was just above a whisper. :: Doesn't it only see movement? Shouldn’t we stay still?

:: Tarallo didn't even look over at the Intelligence Officer as he responded. ::

TARALLO: Common misconception. Excellent vision.

WHALE: Response?

WESTON: Well that's something at least.

TARALLO: And sense of smell. :: Oliver looked at him. :: Excellent sense of smell.

WESTON: Thank you Niner, shut up.

TARALLO: Sir.

WESTON: Game pla-

:: They all took an involuntary step backwards as the Rex roared in their direction. Nothing could have been louder. The wave of noise hit them like a punch in the face and the [...] lowered his head as it stormed forwards. Oliver didn't see who shot first, but the burst of phaser fire went high as Rexy went low. It roared again as it closed the distance between them in short order. Oliver reached sideways and shoved Niner hard in the chest while his other hand went up and grabbed Fi roughly by the back of her ISARAS vest. Out of the corner of his eye he saw another bright burst of fire before Whale or Shelley broke ranks to scatter. ::

WESTON: MOVE!!!!

:: Niner tucked into a crouch and sprinted off low and steady towards the treeline, while Oliver hauled Jan in front of him and pushed her forward until she found her feet. Massive foot falls were slamming out a fast pace behind him as they both broke into a sprint. Oliver kept his hand locked on the back of Jan’s vest, and his arm straight, as he was certain the sniper was thinking of turning to squeeze off a shot, and every time she hesitated he pushed harder. The Rex was definitely on their trail now as they broke into the treeline, its roars were deafening and Oliver could hear its breathing as it gained on them. Somewhere behind him there was more phaserfire, Whale, Shelley or Alton trying to interrupt the pursuit, but this hunter was persistent. Ducking and weaving through the trees, it was only a second too late that he saw the shadow loom over them. With one final shove he sent Jan sprawling on her face as he felt the gut wrenching jerk at the back of his neck. ::

:: A moment later and Oliver was floating. Violently floating. Violently thrashing from side to side as the Rex worried at his tactical vest. Eight feet off the ground and the world was a dark blur as he was whipped around like a ragdoll by the Rex, its teeth holding tight to the vest. And then, after the sharp sound of tearing fabric filled his ears, Oliver was flying. Leaves slapped against his face, forcing his eyes shut, leaving him only able to feel the sharp impact of a heavy branch that split his lip. His eyes opened with a start as the sturdy branch reoriented his flight into a downward descent and blood filled his mouth. ::

:: Crawling through the brush, it took him a moment to find his feet and pull himself upright. The jungle was full of shouting and shooting. Jan's tungsten shot was easy to hear alongside the more common phaser burst, and the Rex's roars dominated all. ::

FI/WHALE/SHELLEY: Response?

:: A rustle of movement had Oliver reaching for the hand phaser that was no longer there. His vest was in tatters, and hung around his waist by a single strap. Defenceless, save for a combat knife that hung upside down near his crotch, Oliver crouched to run when Doctor Shelley appeared. ::

SHELLEY: Response?

WESTON: Doctor! Are you alright? :: Oliver was staring pointedly at her stomach. ::

SHELLEY: Response?

WESTON: What? :: He looked around for the first time and saw the cliff a few meters behind him. ::

:: More thrashing nearby and the loud crack bang of Jan's weapon brought them back to the fight, and the Marine raced into sight, stopping several meters away and further along the cliff. ::

FI: Response?

:: Oliver never had the chance to reply, all he heard was Shelley screaming as the massive jaws exploded out of the trees in front of him. A branch caught him hard in the shoulder, forcing him backwards, but it was nothing compared to the teeth of the Rex closing around his upper left leg. Oliver folded around the creatures head and came eye to eye with his attacker for one brief, horrifying moment before the ground gave out underneath them both. He was dimly aware of screaming in pain as the others shouted things he couldn't understand. ::

FI/WHALE/SHELLEY: Response?

:: The Rex let go of him as they hit the river below and went under the rapids. ::

((Dense Jungle, 3 kilometres from the Laurel Celestia, Saksenna Impact +12 minutes, Unnamed Planet))

:: The rapids had given him a good distance on the [...]. On the shore he used his small homemade medical kit to stop the majority of the bleeding and shoot himself full of pain killers. The meds allowed him to half stumble half, jog through the jungle towards the Oberth. That lasted fifteen minutes, tops, then he had to use the tunicate, toss the vest and walk/stumble the rest of the way. It was only after the incredibly foreboding message that burst through his waterlogged commbadge that the earthquakes started. Then, the rain. By that point he was crawling. And bleeding. And being hunted again. ::

ANYONE: Response?

LtJG Oliver Weston

Intelligence Officer

USS Drake

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