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[BELOW] Quentin Collins III - The Shadow Under Collinsport (A U.S.S. Arrow Halloween Special)


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((OOC: A fun, and spooky romp with all the charming Collins ackwardness that us Arrowheads have grown to know and love while exploring heavier themes such as childhood trauma, haunted family history, with a dash of cosmic horror to round it all out. Enjoy!))

((Exterior. The Sea Caves. Stardate: 237810.31. Dusk.))

A puffing Quentin Collins III (freshly fifteen years old) struggled off his topcoat and deerstalker cap as he sunk slightly deeper into the sand. Staring into the gasping, all-black entrance to The Sea Caves. The sounds of the Halloween Jamboree still echoing down the cliffs and along the beach from The Town Square above. 

He had chased Mason Bridger and his cronies all the way from the party to the Caves. But now he felt his feet...anchored to the beach in quiet terror. 

Part of it was poisoned with embarrassment. He KNEW he shouldn't have brought his family's gift to him to the Jamboree. Even if it was the absolute perfect accessory to his Sherlock Holmes costume. A beautifully restored and locally bought magnifying glass. Source and restored from the same Town Square that held the Jamboree. Specifically Jennings Antiques. The Jennings, long held family friends of his father and mother, had been all too happy to make a gift of it, according to David and Sara (who had much help from Father and Mother). 

And he was all too happy to have it. It was a gorgeous piece, even to Quentin's largely untrained young eyes. Glinting nickel handle holding aloft a gorgeous matching glass piece holder. They had surprised him with it right after school. Having an intimate and warm mini-celebration with Mrs. Johnson and the Morgan's in attendance as well. Before releasing them all, Mrs. Johnson as their "minder" to the Jamboree in the town below.

As soon as they got there, the trouble started for Quentin. Mason and his goon squad, continuing their jabs from school, set upon him near the apple bobbing station. Wondering aloud (and LOUDLY) if Quentin had ever read anything that was less than a 1000 years old. Which further devolved into a peanut gallery Quentin had largely grown numb to before now. 

But it was the extra sting of this happening directly after such a happy and loving occasion. It was as if Mason and his henchmen had sapped the life right from said moment and wouldn't be satisfied until they had ruined the entire day for him. And they were well on their way now. Following him and jeering his every step and movement. He tried desperately to find Sara and David. Wanting...or hoping at least, in the presence of the rest of his family they would stop.

But they never did. And he never found his siblings. Ending up instead falling flat to his face right in front of some concession stands after awkwardly thumping his walking boots against one of the corners of the stands. The magnifying glass flew from his hand, landing carefully in the grass ahead.

Where Mason had snapped it up, running his grubby fingers all over its lens and giving a ratty little laugh at Quentin's protestations. Then, as it were, the game way afoot. A not-so-merry chase. 

It had to look ridiculous. A gangly red-haired Sherlock Holmes lighting through the town chasing three cackling morons in gravball uniforms (too cool for costumes they were), but Quentin wouldn't, or couldn't stop. His boots clamped across the street and then the sidewalk and then down the docks down onto the beach. One had peeled off somewhere, but Mason and his "second" (a particularly thuggish child ogre by the name of Cody Nixon) continued down the beach. Screaming and jeering and throwing more venom Quentin's way as he kept pace after them.

But the chase had stopped once they had dared the entrance to the Sea Caves.

Mother had stringently warned him against the Caves and in a chilling and rare confluence of opinions, Dad had agreed with her. Warning all three of the Collins siblings away from the Caves. Quentin being the oldest had heard these warnings before and they had the very same timbre of sound as the warnings against The Old House and the Cemetery at night. The agreement of Dad however...gave it much higher stakes.

Such high stakes that Quentin stood, breathing deep clouds of cold air into the surf climate around him, frozen still by them. He looked down the other side of the beach to The Sea Cottage. Politely occupied now by a former student of Mother's who had come to town to finish his Master's Thesis. Blair Something or Something Blair. He debated a moment asking for the academic's help. Or even maybe going back to the Jamboree and finding Sara and David. They would be disappointed in him...but then he wouldn't have to explore the Cave alone. 

He had started to fumble out his comm line (embarrassingly devoid of any contacts that weren't blood relation to him) when the screaming started from the dark of the Cave. 

Quentin's head snapped up and forward. To his credit, even then before Starfleet and before everything that made him into the man we now know, O gentle readers, he didn't hesitate. He clomped directly into the darkness with nary a thought for himself. 

How stupid and careless was/is Quentin Collins III.

((Interior. The Sea Caves.))

Quentin had no idea how far he had been walking. The smallish light from his commlink did little to illuminate his way, but after a few moments (or hours maybe, time was...odd down the Caves it seemed), his eyes adjusted and allowed him for an easier way.

Trailing his free hand against the rock around him to steady himself, he carefully continued deeper. As he stepped, providing him a sort of ghoulish foghorn, were a series of increasingly loud noises. None had been the screaming of before (thank the universe), but the rest of them hadn't been any less unsettling. Huffing gasps, random snorts, and shuffling, wet sounding steps drew Quentin deeper and deeper into the well. 

Then...a light. Or at least a half-light. Blooming sweetly from the farthest wall he could see in the inky black. He stepped forward again, leaning more heavily on the hand atop the "corridor" of the stone.

A hand from the dark. Grasping suddenly the hem of his trousers and hauling him down to the dusty floor! He struggled and tried to wriggle out of the grasp but couldn't. He almost screamed himself until he turned back to see his "captor". Then the white-hot anger of his flight down the beach returned. 

The moon-eyed and pale face of Mason Bridger peered out from an alcove below them. The magnifying glass was clutched to his chest as if it was a holy reliquary. Quentin tried to reach for it, having made it to his knees now, but Mason seemed to pin himself backward into the Cave wall. He was about to speak, but Mason, using the hand that had hauled him to the floor, to clamp over his mouth. 

Quentin was now terribly confused as well as angry. He pushed the hand away roughly and started to speak again but was cut off by a harsh and deadly sincere SHHHHHH from Mason. In his astonishment, Quentin did as he was bade. Peering daggers into his former antagonist who now looked...shelled entirely. The sneering bravado of his attitude topside replaced by...sheer terror. 

He creaked a finger across his shoulder and toward the eerie light of the chamber ahead. 

Bridger: T-they g-got Cody...w-we was only foolin'...

Collins: What-

Bridger: SHHHH 

As the echo settled, Quentin could hear something...else. 

The wet shuffling of before intermingled with...something else. The dry snap of soles on stone. Along with shallow, quickened breathing and the soft hiss and trickle of...a stream? Was the light coming off a river of ocean run off into the Caves? 

Quentin started to rise to look, but Mason's hand gawped and batted at his legs again. The strength of his surprise now completely gone. Quentin slapped it away harder than he really should have and then dared a few more steps forward. Bracing himself once more on the lip of the stone, he peered across the way into another dimension. 

Three tallish...figures surrounded Cody, all three with their right hands clamped heavily over his head. Cody's eyes were open, but lolled back severely. Making them look more like spoiled eggs than his usual hungover seeming orbitals. The bubble of the rushing seam of water behind them was underscored by Cody's still increasing breathing. His chest rose and fell rapidly and unnaturally. 

Quentin couldn't get the best look at the figures but they were lithe and tall. Stooped slightly with the ceiling of the cave and...shining slightly against the light of the water. They seemed slick and without clothes. The hands at their sides were webbed and pointed at the digits, giving either the impressing of long nails or...

oO Claws. They are claws. Oo 

The features of their faces were obscured by the darkness, but the seemed featureless and rounded. Focused entirely on Cody as their breathing pattern matched, now the same rapid and inhuman gasping across the whole party. Cody tried to shout or at least opened his mouth to make a sound, but none emerged. Suddenly his breathing stopped! His eyes fluttered and drowsed. 

The figured released him and replaced their hands on his chest. A groaning, yawning, sickening sound replaced Cody's breathing. Flaps of skin started to undulate and separate from his neck. Almost like...

oO Gills? Oo

One of the figures let forth a triumphant hiss, raising it's claws high into the air in reverent joy. The others responded in kind while Cody seemed to regain a sort of consciousness...immediately struggling to breathe. One of the creatures grasped his shoulders suddenly and started to haul him into the drink! The splash of his confused form and Quentin's shout echoed almost in unison.

Collins: NO!

In terrifying unison, the figures and their flashing, deep green eyes snapped toward Quentin. They advanced carefully, now hunched even lower and bathing in the shadow around the Cave like the sea itself. Quentin took two dumb steps backward, pivoted, and started to sprint. Stopping only for a hot second to take a handful of Mason's jersey neck, power him to his feet, and run with him in tow.

Quentin never dared look back, but the wet shuffling now arced upward into wet snapping steps. Beating a hellish rhythm behind them with their snorts and hisses. Quentin had no idea where they were going or if this was even the way out, but the now sobbing Mason and the figures behind them didn't stop to try and make sure. 

He darted and twisted and looped back through the Cave, his panic and sweat now really the only fuel he had. 

Finally, light! A new burst of hopeful speed lighted Quentin's steps. He shoved Mason in front of him, spilling him out onto the beach, shoulder first as Quentin jumped after him into the now risen moonlight. 

The figures didn't...or couldn't follow, but left their mark all the same. In one final swipe toward Quentin's boot, leaving four thin scratch marks perfectly across the bottom sole. The only hard evidence of the night's flight. 

Quentin scrambled back to his feet and faced the Sea Cave entrance panting. Nothing but the descending hiss came out, but Quentin stood vigil all the same. Weaponless, but rock-steady against whatever might try and come out. Despite Mason Bridger being the least worthy of his protection.

After a few tense moments and lessening of his pulse, nothing emerged and Quentin decided (more hoped) they were safe...for now. He turned toward the gibbering Mason, who had curled into a quivering ball on the beach.

Bridger: w-w-w-we was o-only foolin....we w-w-was only foolin....

Collins: Yeah, and what did that get you?

He hated the tartness of his voice, but he didn't want to turn away from the feeling. None of this...WHATEVER this was would have happened had they just left him alone. He knelt and roughly turned Mason over, rolling him onto his back like an old turtle. His hands were still clutched to his chest, but the magnifying glass was nowhere to be seen. 

Quentin frowned, but was called quickly back to the yawning darkness of the Sea Cave. A deep snort and prolonged hiss emerged from it. He couldn't tell for certain...but it looked as if two deep green eyes peered from the darkness toward him. Through him. More huffing sounds punctuated the sounds of the pounding surf toward their backs. 

As if something was...smelling the air around them. 

After another beat a glint of silver pierced the darkness and arced carefully onto the sand. Burying itself at Quentin's feet. 

His magnifying glass.

Words traveled behind it from the darkness.

"collllinnnsssssssss." "friennnnnnddddd"

Quentin Collins didn't had the courage to reply.

Cody Nixon's body was never found. Even after a two-week long, exhaustive search of the Sea Caves (by daylight, of course). But in the months after Quentin's fifteenth birthday, night workers of the docks and the occasional (somewhat overserved) after-hours patron of The Blue Whale would swear they would see someone matching his description.

Standing waist deep in the inlet nearest to the town. Staring into the lights and sounds of the weird city in a ruined gravball jersey and with sharp, shining green eyes that were not his own. Only to then disappear with a quiet slosh of the sea once someone had looked away and tried back to confirm what they saw.

"An offering to Leviathan" they would say darkly. "Another fer' The Deep Ones" the older salts would intone in feverish whispers. 

The end of whatever life had awaited him on the surface. Leaving us who remained a shaky, but holding peace and confidence in integrity of nature...and of the human mind. 


Quentin Jamison Collins III
Fifteen Years Old
Eldest Son of the Collins Dynasty
//as simmed by//
Lieutenant Commander 

Quentin Collins III

Chief Science Officer


U.S.S. ARROW NCC-69829

ID: E239512QC0



(SB118 Forums) 

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