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Ens. Ryan King: The Trickster Ensign

Rahman and Rivi Vataix

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((One Week Later, Myla-Rothra City, Tura-Fe and Je-San’s residence))

::The past week had been a crash course in living like an animal in a petting zoo. Ryan scowled and nodded as yet another ‘friend’ of Tura-Fe bid him and his colleagues a farewell. King, Skyfire and Davenport had ‘enjoyed’ the hospitality of their reptile hosts and captors for far too long and the young Ensign was starting to show the wear and tear. Try as he might, the old racial prejudices he had learned on Cestus were threatening to bubble up.

Though the reptile-like Peppalexan’s had for the most part been friendly and well-meaning, he was simply tired of being around aliens that were seemingly advanced yet culturally stunted.

Ryan had spent most of his time saying nothing and only chiming in to inquire on the well-being of his away team companions. That did not deter Tura-Fe however as she hosted people for breakfast, lunch and dinner in their well apportioned home.

On more than one occasion he had seen an opportunity to spring an escape. He thought the aliens entirely too trusting for having allowed Skyfire and the elusive Davenport to still carry their tricorders. He would never would have allowed such a thing and suspected that had Je-San had his way, he would of taken them back immediately.::

Tura-Fe: I just spoke with the court messenger. You’ve been granted reception with Her Majesty tomorrow at sunrise.

Skyfire: I see. :: He mulled that over, then ran a hand along his face, noting he had to shave again. :: That's helpful. Thank you.

King: An -- audience? ::Ryan suppressed a scoff:: How is your monarch selected?

::One of Je-San’s men snickered.::

Guard (NPC): Don’t be too excited. She may not believe your fanciful tale and decide to simply execute you.

::To her credit, Tura-Fe registered her displeasure with the guard. Ryan simply turned to stare down the guard..::

King: On our worlds, it is said that those killed unjustly come back as spirits and haunt those that have wronged them. I will ensure that you never enjoy a peaceful nights sleep in your ‘nest’ again.

::Ryan felt the slightest hint of satisfaction as the guard’s tail wiggled and his neck flaps registered hint of pale purple.::

King: oO Hopefully that gave him some indigestion Oo

Skyfire: Don't worry, gentlemen. We have nothing to worry about.

King: I hope so. ::Ryan took his seat on the gold and white carpet he had claimed for his own since they arrived and considered their next steps..::

Skyfire: I'll be honest with you, gentlemen. I honestly don't know. We haven't been informed if Commanders Valen or Bakari are alright, only that they were being treated. Making me the highest ranking officer in this little...troupe...of temporally displaced travelers. And in about twelve hours, give or take two, we get to explain our situation to the queen and hope she doesn't decide to kill us.

King: That is assuming that Bakari and Valen are still alive. We have not received visual confirmation, just words. I’m not inclined to trust ::motioning to the guard:: captors. Have you been able to ‘feel’ their presence at all?

Skyfire: Not from what I can tell. :: He paused, his eyes closing for a moment. :: I haven't...I don't know if they are even conscious. I've been trying to avoid using it because of the temporal displacement. Might cause more harm than good at this point.

((Sunrise, the following day -- Palace ))

::Ryan marched quietly into Her Majesty’s chamber. There were tapestries laid out in brilliant colors with wondrous depictions of war and the greatness of the domain of the Queen. As they proceeded with the guardsmen, Ryan saw the last in the series of tapestries and paused for a moment. A grand Peppalexan warrior stood in an empty jungle, holding wrapped in their tail a device as they were surrounded by other Peppalexans in stances of supplication.

Ryan stopped a moment to look. He felt the butt of a weapon against his back as the same guard he had threatened the day before had the joy of kneading it into his back.

A moment later he stood in front of a throne in the audience chamber. The bronze and gold-like metal gleamed as pillows in deep indigo, purple and teal spread like a wave around them. What could only be classified as the Queen’s entourage laid around her throne as she presided over the room in all her glory.::

King: ::mumbling:: Is this a palace or a poorly decorated brothel?

Skyfire: I hope so too. If this doesn't work, we could all be doomed.

::As they came to a halt fifteen feet from the throne, Chythar knelt as a supplicant before it, an old custom he recalled from Earth's time. With a glance to his compatriots, he motioned for them to do the same.

Ryan shot a glance at his superior officer and then complied, moving forward and standing a half inch behind Skyfire. He bowed deeply and then rose up, a full smile on his face.::

King: Your Majesty.

::She had been given word of the strange visitors, but as it was indicated they seemed to be no threat, Virah-Latyi perched upon her throne. As they sifted into the chamber, she watched them as they strode forward, noting their interest in the tapestries that adorned their walls. Her head lifted slightly. While she’d had no part in the making of those tapestries, she was proud of them, for they told some of the most important stories of her people. Their colours seemed to dance in the light that streamed in from the large windows that were interspersed in between each of them. Unlike the other Peppalexans with the ebony hue, her skin shone a glimmering, deep violet as she sat, bathed in the sunbeams that filled the room. A rich, almost velvet green revealed itself as her skin flaps flared in response to the one who initiated a kneeling position. ::

Virah-Latyi: Who are you?

::Ryan turned to look around the room. The stone was heavy and yet the feeling of the room was light, it’s open windows providing plenty of natural sunlight that shined beautifully on the central figure in the room, the Queen. But it was the audience of onlookers that interested Ryan more. Four entryways to the front each had a pair of guards in what he could only assume was traditional regalia. Tufts of long red bird feathers adorned their heads as they held menacing spears. The warriors never looked anywhere but directly ahead.::

King: oO Impressive. Oo

Skyfire: Your Majesty. My name is Doctor Chythar Skyfire. These are my companions, Ensign Ryan King... ::as he motioned with his hand to Ryan::

::Ryan turned around and snapped to attention.::

Skyfire: ...and Andrew Davenport. ::as he motioned to Andrew.:: Our companions, Lieutenant Commander Masfiri Bakari and Lieutenant Commander Valen Carys were apparently injured and being treated by your physicians.

Virah-Latyi: I see.

::She paused, a good couple of minutes inching away as she studied them each in turn.::

Virah-Latyi: I must admit that what I have heard is difficult to believe, but I am not unwilling to consider such possibilities. You were invited here?

Skyfire: We were invited by the Pepplaxian government, yes.

::There was a brief moment of silences as if he were attempting to formulate words, then he expounded.::

Skyfire: Our team was transported to the surface, outside the city. Our captain probably believes we are lost or dead because we did not arrive when we were supposed to.

Virah-Latyi: When. You are from the future - our future?

Skyfire: This planet's future, yes.

::Out of the corner of his right eye, Ryan noticed a shadow. Turning, it grew bigger as another Peppalexan entered the chamber. Flapping its neck fins in a brilliant display of ruby red, the Peppalexan bowed quietly and stepped on the dias to the right of the Queen.::

Male Peppalexan: This is all very interesting. And yet there is no proof of any of it.

::She rose then, the verdant hue peeking out from the skin that fanned from her body as she moved. She descended the two steps of the dais upon which her throne sat. From either side, two guards immediately flanked her, creating a sort of box about her as she closed the distance between her and the aliens.::

Virah-Latyi: How do I know you speak the truth? What proof have you?

King: ::Ryan paused a moment.:: Your Majesty… ::pause::

Skyfire: I have pictures of what your species will look like in our time. Aerial photographs of your planet.

Virah-Latyi: Do you?

King: ::Turning to Davenport quietly.:: What if we yank the UT for a minute?

NPC Guard: And these weapons? ::indicating the tray of phasers one of their escorts was carrying::

Skyfire: I can demonstrate their power on an inanimate object of yours. A weapon you won't mind donating to science.

::Ryan stood straighter in that moment. Stunned that he may be forced to show off the firepower the away team had brought.:: oO What is to stop them from killing us and using these weapons to conquer their planet? Oo

King: ::Speaking in a whisper to Davenport.:: Shut off the UT in your tricorder on my signal.

Guard: I am not certain of its purpose.

King: You misunderstand the items design, sir. ::A smile crept on his face.:: Your majesty ::Ryan pointed to the phaser in the guards hand:: this device is simply what we call a phaser. It acts as a remote to power on or power down devices like the ones my colleagues are using.

::Ryan could feel the sweat pooling at the back of his neck as he turned to his colleagues. He turned and winked at Skyfire. This would either be the best ruse since Kirk’s Corbomite Maneuver or he’d go down in Peppalexan history as the keystone cop.

Skyfire: :: looked to Davenport :: Please take my tricorder from your bag, Mr. Davenport.

::Ryan watched as Skyfire took the tricorder and presented it to the Queen.::

::Skyfire turned it on and made sure to keep his hands where the queen and the guards could see them as he pulled the visual records, making sure to mute the audio files. They didn't need to hear any of it. Just see the pictures. ::

Skyfire: This is what the planet's surface looks like in our time. These visual records were given to me before we arrived here, by our Captain.

King: ::King observed the soft clicks among the assembled audience. The humans must of made good theatre.:: You lead a great people, your Majesty.

::The queen’s dark gaze flicked back to King but she remained silent as a guard inched back and indicated that she should do the same.::

::As a spear was placed on the ground and the guard backed away, CD locked gaze with the ensign.::

Skyfire: Go ahead, Mr. King. Lowest setting you can.

King: ::Ryan frowned as he moved forward, hands raised to grab the device from the guard. He could eyes on him as he grabbed the phaser and saw the now familiar face of Je-San staring icily at him. The male Peppalexan who had joined earlier and spoken only once remained near the throne, eyeing the situation coolly.

The phaser felt cold to the touch as Ryan examined it for any damage. The thought crossed his mind that he could take out quite a few of the guards in the room, or even set it to overload and chuck it at the Queen and her entourage. And yet he knew the ramifications on him and the Away Team could not allow him to do that. His instinct was to escape but natural intuition had to give way to rational thought in that moment.

Raising the phaser to eye-level, Ryan programmed on the battery. And then heard the dull beep. He closed his eyes and breathed a sigh of relief. The battery was dead.

He pressed the button on the phaser as the room filled with the sound of gasps.::

King: ::to Skyfire.:: Dead battery, thankfully.

Virah-Latyi: Dead...bat ter ry?

::The noise in the chamber began to die down as they realized nothing had happened. And then the noise levels reached new heights. ‘Liars. Tricksters. Do not believe them!’::

Skyfire: :: quietly :: It would seem that time has had a negative effect on our weapons.

King: : ::Taking a deep breath, Ryan bowed.:: Forgive us your Majesty. It would appear that our remote device is weak in comparison to your most excellent weapons. This must be due to your divine protection.

::The man’s comment caused Virah’s flaps to flutter slightly, but again, she made no utterance in response to him.::

King: If you would allow us to prove ourselves in a different way? We can communicate through the most excellent device my colleague ::motioning to Davenport:: holds in his hand. But what about when we turn that off?

::Nodding to Davenport::

::Virah watched as they fiddled with something upon the items that bedecked their bodies.::

Virah-Latyi: What is that device?

::Ryan turned to the Queen as she continued to speak. The language a garbled mess to him.::

King: ::to Skyfire and Davenport:: This should be fun.

::Ryan turned to her Majesty::

King: Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. ::pause::

A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. ::pause::

::The room began to grow quiet.::

If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, ::pause::

::With a wave of her flaps the Queen moved in toward Ryan, inching closer a look of impatient anger in her face as the level of her voice began to raise. Closing the distance surprisingly quick, her sinewy neck lowered until it sat squarely in line with his.::

King: oO She’s going to eat me. Oo ::softly:: Where's the peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked?

...Davenport, turn the UT back on…

Virah-Latyi: Interesting. What was that he spoke?

Skyfire: He just recited a poem in our native tongue. Which sounded presumably like nonsense to you. Much as your words first sounded to us.

Male Peppalexan: I don’t believe this trickster for a second…

King: ::Bowing:: I speak the truth your Majesty. ::Leaning his head back, Ryan snapped his neck around in an attempt to shake out his mane of long hair, emulating the neck flaps of the Peppalexans.:: Who are you that would question my integrity?

::The tall Peppalexan moved from the dais where the throne sat slowly, taking a moment to size up the young Ensign, he replied icily.

Tru-Dar-Orr: I am Tru-Dar-Orr, First Minister to Her Majesty. And you, my foul smelling trickster are a liar.


Ensign Ryan King

Security Officer

U.S.S. Garuda

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