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Winner: Fatal mistake


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(( A cell, somewhere ))

:: The darkness surrounding Claire was heavy on her shoulders. She could grasp it, almost, before her fingers slipped through the thick black soup that embraced her wholly. Raising her hand she could not even see that, so Claire's mind began to wander, wondering if it was even still there. Was any of her body still there or was her spirit just in a void between lives? ::

:: A sudden beam of blinding light drilled its way into her eyes, pain flooding through her as she instinctively threw herself to the floor - there was a floor that was a good sign of not being in the void - and covered her head with her arm. Good that was still there as well. Claire had shut her eyes tight to block out any of the light, as light was pain. ::

:: Voices came closer, undefined sounds that she could not make any sense from. What language was that? Her badge pressed against her chest, it was still there, why did it not translate? Where was she, that Starfleet had not encountered it enough to adapt to their patterns? How did she even get here? ::

:: Last Claire remembered was sitting in the ship's bar of the USS Potemkin, off-duty, having a drink with her colleagues and talking about the mission that did lie ahead. They had noticed some strange energy readings and had theorized - mostly just fooling around - where they might have come from. It had been a while after that she had left for her quarters. A dizzy feeling had made walking difficult and Claire had assumed that she had possibly one too many to drink. But then thinks got really bad and she had hit the floor just a few steps behind her quarter's door, missing the couch by a few inches.::

:: And that was it, she had woken up in darkness, the same unchanging darkness she still was in. Well, the darkness before the light had cut through it. The sounds, or voices as Claire thought they were, had come closer, worry flooded her, the not knowing where she was and who they were. Afraid that the light would hurt her again she kept her head low, maybe nobody saw her when she did not see them. Such a childish thought. ::

:: It did not work of course. When Claire felt the touch on her arm she almost jumped. It did not feel like skin, more like leather and it pulled her up without much effort. Squeezing her eyes shut, now that the arm-cover was gone, she could feel cool breath on her face. Curiosity spread in her body and carefully she peeked through a thin slit, as she raised the lids just a little. ::

:: The light came from behind the person so she only saw a dark shade. The voice, now only one close to her and coming from the person holding her arm. Would they understand her? She was not sure but she had to try. ::

Claire: Where am I?

:: Again those sounds. Hissing, gnarling, clacking. Claire had no doubt that he was trying to talk with her, but there was no way she could make sense out of what came out of his mouth. For some reason she was sure it was a he, maybe she was wrong, but she would possibly not find out. When he turned his head she could see scales in the shade that fell on his face. That would explain the leathery feel. ::

Claire: Please, I don't know what I am doing here.

:: She hated not knowing if he understood her or not, even more than not knowing what he said. Another voice came from behind him, covered by the big face in her view. ::

Claire: I do not understand you. Why am I here?

:: She had to try, maybe they had heard her language before. What a glimmer of possibility, but she would never know if she did not try. From behind the one in front of her Claire could hear beeping sounds, they sounded familiar, but still strange. Almost like the sounds that came from pressing buttons on consoles. ::

Reptile man: Hrane ioan trema.

:: Claire's blue eyes darted to the one holding her when she could hear a change in the noises he made for words. They did not sound just as foreign anymore, but still a language she did not understand. The reptile shook his head and she heard more beeping from behind. She looked him over as much as she could, the light not hurting that much any more. He wore something in a steel blue, it looked like leather and metal, but she could not be too sure. ::

Reptile man: G'Tak one tira... ::Claire shook her head slightly and the beeping continued while the man spoke more until finally... :: ... will be eliminated.

Claire: :: Her eyes grew wide.:: What? Eliminated?

Reptile man: This is the right one. ::Turning his head to her:: You will be eliminated.

Claire: But... but why? I do not even know how I got here.

Reptile man: Your ship entered our territory. It was scanned and violations against the law registered.

Claire: Which law?

Reptile man: Our laws of course. You broke the law, you will be eliminated.

:: A thousand questions swirled in Claire's head like a tornado. When had they entered the territory of these reptiles? Nothing had been on the star charts and they had just been on the way to their mission. Which law had she broken and could she explain them that she had no idea? Would that matter? If she was here, were there more of the ship or was she the only one? She was not a diplomat, she had no idea how to deal with those situations, but she hoped to find answers by asking the right questions. But what were the right questions? ::

Claire: I was not aware of your laws.

Reptile man: That does not matter.

:: He let go of her arm and Claire dropped back to the ground like a sack of potatoes. He stretched his legs and as he raised she saw that he was really big. ::

Claire: Please, let me explain...

Reptile man: No explanation needed. Your mockery will not be tolerated. You will meet your ancestors within the hour.

:: He started to walk towards the door, the place where the light came from. It was so bright it was hard to see something of him. ::

Claire: At least tell me what my crime is.

:: The other reptile joined him at the door, standing behind to block some of the light, so she could see him somewhat better. He was tall, green scales covering his body, at least the parts she saw, and he wore a steel blue uniform. The other wore a uniform as well, but it was of a pale purple. Maybe to represent their department or rank, Claire thought. His eyes were piercing red and she wondered how she had not seen that before. He watched her for a moment, looking her over and if a reptile could show emotions she could interpret, she could have sworn that his showed disgust. ::

:: He took a step back and the door began to close. She almost thought that she would not get an answer, but just as the last gap brought a hint of light into the room she heard him. ::

Reptile man: You are mocking us, you will die. Because ... you are wearing green.

:: Then darkness came. Not only in the room, pitch black and swallowing, but also in Claire's heart. Who would have thought that choosing this one dress would have such consequences. She stared into the void, into the nothingness that surrounded her, getting a hold of her insides beginning to crush them under the weight of the knowledge what would happen next, because she had chosen a certain completely irrelevant dress to wear::

:: Feeling the salty traces of her despair run down her cheeks she hoped, prayed to any deity that would listen even if not her own, that she was found, so this shimmer of light had not been the last she ever saw. ::


Claire St. John
Kindergarten Teacher
USS Potemkin

written by

LtCmdr Jalana Laxyn
Chief Medical Officer / Second Officer
USS Apollo
Image Team Facilitator

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