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Runner-up: Watch your head!


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(( OOC: As you can see the story is inspired a lot by Alice in Wonderland, but completely written by myself and adding my own spin on it with turning the Apollo into the strange new land. Hope you enjoy ;) ))

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((MedLab, Apollo))

::Oh no. This could not be. Alice stared with wide eyes to the red glistening fluid on the ground. Her pale face lost every drop of pigmentation. This was disastrous. It was not a secret that the CMO had been working on this experiment for weeks, and now every bit of it was spread on the floor and unusable for anything but wiping it away. Alice felt her stomach sink and join the mess on the smooth surface.::

::Quickly she grabbed a piece of cloth and removed the signs of the mishap and then peeked outside, making sure that nobody saw her. Then she legged it and ran out of Sick Bay. Maybe nobody would notice and she could sleep over it. Tomorrow hopefully it would turn out to have been a dream and everything would be alright.::


((Quarters))

::Alice dropped her lab coat on the floor, kicked the shoes away and dropped exhausted onto the couch. She had no idea how to make this better. Tonight she could not do anything anyway, but in the morning she would have to confess. Her boss would kill her.::

::With a deep sigh she sunk into the couch and closed her eyes. Trying to relax she did not notice her mind drifting, further and further away ...::

Voice: Oh my!

::Alice jumped up on the couch and looked around. Where did that voice come from? Was someone in her quarters?::

Voice: I am too late, too late, too late!

::Alice's head jerked around and there she saw it coming out of her bedroom: a huge white rabbit in a Starfleet uniform and an old fashioned watch on a chain dangling from its communicator. She laughed, that sight was ridiculous. The white rabbit came to an halt and looked at her, its nose wiggling.::

Rabbit: There is nothing funny about tardiness. I'm too late!

Alice: Too late for what?

Rabbit: No time! Too late, way too late!

::With that the Rabbit hopped out of the quarters and vanished from her sight. What a curious thing. What could a rabbit be late for? With the nagging pull of curiosity she raised from the couch and followed. Just as she looked outside she saw the rabbit vanish in the hatch of a jeffrey's tube. That little voice on her right shoulder told her to follow, to find out what the rabbit was up to. If the other side said something she did not hear it. She quickly stepped to the hatch and climbed inside, following the distant bunny tail that almost seemed floating as the black uniform pants merged with the tube's lack of light.::


((Somewhere))

::As soon as Alice was in the tube, the hatch behind her shut with a loud noise echoing in her head, and the whole place tilted. She tried to hold onto any edge or latch she could find but the tube was smooth as if made of glass and she began to slide, first slow then rapidly until she hit the ground with her behind and the pain of impact jolted through her body.::

Voice: ::sleepy voice:: Looky there, a strange new face. Ever wonder why you ::yawn:: race?

::Rubbing her backside Alice looked around. A yellow collared officer was lying on a hoverpad, floating through a moving and billowing sea of blue goo, that stuff that bio-neural gel packs were filled with. She knew she'd seen that man before, if her memory was right his name was Johnson, and he just floated out of view in this blue glowing river. Curious where it would lead too she got to her feet and jumped on another hoverpad that just passed by, following the one with the tired Helmsman.::

::The walls were overgrown with exotic plants in all the colours Alice could imagine, flowers emitting bedazzling scents, making her wish to never leave this magical place. Colours began to dance in front of her eyes, soft voices were carried into her ears. As she looked at the flowers, faces grew out of them, faces she had seen before all over the ship. There was the engineer Eileen. Another came closer, Alice's nose touching the flower's as the young woman recognized the new Romulan Intel Officer. The gentle voice sang in a language Alice did not understand. Then her eyes started glowing and the flowers began to giggle before the gentle splashing stream suddenly accelerated and Alice fell almost off her make-shift raft.::

::Rapidly the stream lead through hallway after hallway, all covered by flowers and plants, showing faces of the crew she had seen on hallways or in her workplace, giggling and singing.::

Flowers: Row row row your boat...

::Alice clung to the hoverpad as good as she could, though her fingers slipped over the wet metal. The edge of the raft got caught in the frame of a door that opened that very moment, jerking her off and into the room where she crashed on the ground. Immediately the door closed again and the scent of sweet smoke embraced her.::

::As Alice looked up a really tall Andorian sat cross-legged on the terminal that stood in the middle of the room. He had a long strange looking sword on his lap, holding it with one hand, while the other slowly lead a stone along the blade to sharpen it. It was a smooth movement, steady and repeating, almost hypnotizing.::

Alice: Excuse me, Sir but did you see a rabbit come by?

::The tall Andorian kept sharpening without looking up. In the corner of his mouth rested a small metal tube that was connected to a longer flexible one ending in a big bottle with a bubbling liquid. His mouth opened sometimes and circles of smoke danced out into freedom and around his head as if following a path. As the man finally answered his dark deep voice sent chills down Alice's spine.::

Andorian: Who are you?

Alice: ::pushing her hands into her hips:: Did nobody tell you that it is rude to answer a question with another question?

Andorian: What is rude for one is normalcy for others.

Alice: Well if you ask me...

::Before she could finish the sentence the giant of a man suddenly jumped onto the floor and was so close that Alice stumbled backwards against a wall, roots and stems of plants embracing her limps as she felt the cool metal of his sword on the skin of her neck. His cold deep eyes stared directly into her soul while colourful circles of smoke framed her face. He pushed the words out one by one.::

Andorian: Ask - you? Who - are - you?

::Alice's eyes grew and her heart began to pound heavily in her chest. Quickly she dropped and slipped away running past him and the terminal to a door she had just noticed.::

Andorian: Hey! You should know something!

::His voice startled her, and she thought about running, but curiosity won. She stopped and turned around. Her heart jumped as she saw him closer to face than she had anticipated and leaned in, blowing smoke into her face.::

Andorian: Watch - your - head!

::Coughing up the smoke she had inhaled she stumbled backwards again, noticing that the way she ran into was too small for Big Blue and he could not follow. Relieved she kept running, roots that had no place on a space ship and flowers with faces and leaves as hands tried to grab her, hold her and slow her down - who planted those things anyway? Every turn looked the same, every corner had three possible ways to go. Alice was not sure where she was any more and after a felt eternity she fell to her knees, sobbing because she felt lost like never before.::

::Suddenly a soft humming filled the air, the plant-work squeaked under steps and as it was a few steps close to Alice they stopped.::

Voice: Lost something?

::Alice recognized the voice and looked up. In front of her stood the former ACMO, Sundassa Faranster, who had just recently been promoted to First Officer. The vibrant lilac hair was not something that could be forgotten, neither her eyes of equal colour. Instead of the usual red collared uniform the woman wore a lavender coloured dress with dark purple markings that reminded Alice of a tiger or a house cat. Alice wiped away her tears and spoke with meagre voice.::

Alice: My way, where do I go?

::Sundassa's face almost split in half as she grinned widely, her arms spread to both sides in a welcoming open gesture.::

Faranster: Depends. Where you want to go?

Alice: Doesn't really matter.

::The catlike dressed woman laughed and leaned against the plantwork.::

Faranster: Then you can go any way. ::She paused and a moment later stepped forward, bending down to face Alice with a wide grin.:: But if you want to know ... he went this way. ::Pointing left::

Alice: ::sniffing:: Who?

Faranster: ::tilting her head:: Who what?

Alice: ::confused:: Who went this way?

Faranster: The bunny, silly!

::Sun laughed and began to hum again, prancing into one of the other overgrown hallway. Alice watched the lilac hair bounce and make snake like movements as if it had a life of its own, before it actually waved at her and the First Officer suddenly poofed into thin air.::

::Alice blinked, wondering if she had fallen too hard on her head - oh wait that was her butt not her head - or if that woman really just disappeared. Shaking her head slightly she got up onto her feet and looked into the direction Faranster had pointed, before heading into the overgrown mess, hoping to find the rabbit and finally learn what it was too late for.::

::She walked for a felt eternity until she finally heard something that grabbed her attention.::

Voices: ::singing:: We all live in the little maaad house, little maaaad house, little maaad house...

::Curious about who was singing there in those abominable off-key notes she looked for another exit somewhere and found a was wide open door, leading into a colourful wonderfully scented garden. If she had to guess she'd say that she was in the Arboretum now, just because it would not make any sense anywhere else. But on the other hand, nothing of this really did. The voices became louder as she approached and finally she saw a table covered with cake and cups, filled with steamy beverage, the scent mixing with the flowers' fragrance.::

Voices: ::singing:: In the town where I was born, lived an old man who was crazyyyy, he was caught and brought right here, where he lives now... next to meeee.

Alice: What are you doing?

::Just then two heads popped up from behind the high backrests of the chairs surrounding the table. Alice blinked in surprise as she looked into the black eyes of Captain Jaxx, the other she thought she had seen him in Engineering before, the one who looked like a human but was none. Before she could think about it further the Captain raised his cup.::

Jaxx: Celebrating our craziness of course!

::Alice stared at them both and shook her head vigorously.::

Alice: I am NOT crazy. I am perfectly normal!

Torv: If you are not crazy you cannot stay!

Jaxx: Pah! Of course she is crazy, or she would not be here!

Alice: But I am NOT.

Jaxx:::giggling::You are out of luck, deary. We are all nutters here. Come and celebrate, grab a cup of vreeca!

::He grabbed a pot and poured a cup for her in a sloppy way that half of the hot beverage covered the cake now. Splatters of it hit someone else and the end of the table, jumping up from his seat.::

Johnson: Hot Hot Hooooooot!

::After dancing around to shake it off he simply dropped in the chair again and fell asleep once more, his body slumping over so that his face got buried in the cake standing in front of him. Nobody seemed to care about the lack of oxygen he might have with that method of sleep. Alice felt a hand pulling her abruptly to the table, the cup slammed down in front of her while the men began to sing again.::

Jaxx & Torv: We all live in the little maaad house, little maaaad house, little maaad house...

::Alice had no idea what she had gotten into and with the way those guys swung the kettle and pots, the cups falling over as Jaxx jumped onto the table to show his best crazy dance, she did not think that she'd get anywhere really. But she had to try.::

Alice: Pardon me but, did a rabbit pass here?

Jaxx & Torv: Of course, he went this way.

::Torv showed left, while Jaxx showed right. That moment she heard a giggle right behind her and turned around in the chair. There she stood again, the First Officer with her wide grin. The slender fingers wiggled a playful wave while her hair got its own life again and pushed in between the ranks and roots and pulled up as if it weighted nothing. That made a hole into the 'hedge' and Alice did not hesitate for a second. She jumped off her chair and slipped through the - hopefully - right way, accompanied by the off-key song behind her.::

::There he was. The rabbit just hopped around a corner and Alice quickly followed him, trying not to lose him again. She walked for a while, seeing him here and there, but then she heard the sound of beeping and glass touching something else. As she turned another way she saw huge vials with light blue liquid stood around everywhere as if they grew in the room. Teal coloured uniformed people walked around between them, climbed up ladders and then poured something into the opening, turning the liquid into a bright red.::

::Alice recognized that colour right away, it was the same as in the experiment she had shattered earlier. Shaking her head slightly she then realized that the officers began to sing. A few she even recognized. There was Jamison the Counselor, Kaliantha the new medical officer and Carrigan a nurse, not to forget the blue haired man over there was Shelter the brother of the First Officer.::

Officers: ::singing:: We're dying the liquids red, there is no time for bed, she sees them blue and right on cue she'll be the worst you ever met. We are fond of our head, so we dye the liquids red.

::Who was she? And what did they mean that she would be the worst they ever met? What would happen to the heads, if those liquids were not red? She went closer to one of them.::

Alice: Why are you changing the colour of the liquids?

Jamison: Because the Queen likes them red.

Carrigan: If they are not, she punishes us all!

Alice: Who? Who would punish you?

Rabbit: I'm late. I'm late. ::Quickly he hopped past them all and to a terminal that stood at the end of the garden and he pressed a button.:: Just on time, phew.

::The sound of the transporter beam had them fall silent. Then in a hectic chaos they quickly tried to hide the colour pots and the ladders before arranging themselves in one row, standing attention. Shelter grabbed Alice's arm and pulled her close. She mimicked their posture, thought peeked around them to see who was coming.::

::Her heart almost stopped when she saw the bright red hair of her very own CMO Jalana Laxyn. But the ice cold gaze, wandering around the strange garden and the officers was new and sent chills down Alice's spine. Nobody dared to speak or even move an inch. Alice snapped back into attention and waited nervously.::

Laxyn: WHAT IS THAT?

::The sudden explosion of the usual soft voice made everyone jump and turn around. With terror they saw red splatters all over the floor.::

Kaliantha: We... we had to...::stammering::

Laxyn: HAD TO WHAT? LIE TO ME?

::Alice knew why she was so afraid to tell Laxyn what had happened, but this was worse than she had expected. Silence fell again, from everyone but Laxyn.::

Laxyn: WHO DYED MY LIQUIDS?

::There was an eerie silence, something that made Alice look up and what she saw let her blood freeze. Everyone but pointing at her. With wide eyes she stared from one to the other and shook her head.::

Alice: I have not...

::Laxyn's face changed to a furious red and slowly her arm raised to point at Alice, before the loud voice bellowed through the garden, almost shattering the vials.::

Laxyn: CHOOOOOOOP OFF HER HEAD!

::Terror shook Alice and she did the only thing that came to her mind right now. She ran in the opposite direction. Hearing the heavy steps running after her, trying to get her to follow the CMO's command. She ran and ran and her lungs hurt as a familiar voice floated into her ears.::

Voice: Alice! Hey Alice, come on... it's time. Alice!


(( Quarters ))

::Alice's lids jumped up and the first thing she saw was her room mate hovering over her. Blinking she tried to shake off the strange dream she had. What had been in her coffee that she had thought this could be real for even a second?::

Alice: What...?

Hannah: You slept the whole night on the couch. It's time for work. And I think you have to confess something,eh?

::Alice grimaced as she peeled herself from the couch. There was no time left to get into a new uniform and she sighed, following her room mate outside where they parted ways. Alice headed the right way to Sick Bay and just for a split second she could have sworn to see the white fluffy tail of a bunny vanishing around the corner ...

---

LtCmdr Jalana Laxyn

CMO / 2nd Officer

USS Apollo

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