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[2006: MAR-APR] Responsible Poison


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OOC: The second leg of Ensign Tia and co's journey.

Responsible Poison

On a planet not so far away the sunlight filtered through the branches of a large tree and fell in shifting patterns on the ground as the wind gently made the branches sway. If you stood in exactly the right place then the sun briefly seemed like the golden apple given “to the fairest”.

Ensign Tia also noted bitterly that the said apple was a gift from the goddess of spite and right now it seemed an appropriate link as their group rested in the sparse shade the dried up branches had to offer. The situation was brilliant, just brilliant. They were crossing a wasteland of semi-desert gods knew where in the galaxy and they had no water.

Not only that but it had been just long enough for her impromptu command to be questioned, as people will do when they’re thirsty and there appears to be nothing for miles except for stinging dirt and your own thoughts to occupy you. The ensign particularly had her eye on Jacklyn K’wa, a Trill lieutenant commander with the absence of spots that would mark a joined trill and one who continually insisted this did not affect her and-would-you-please-move-onto-another-subject.

Presently she was talking to her fellow dissatisfied comrades whom Sabrina, normally Sab had heard the mutterings of that day, but the Trill was being clever. She watched as the troublemaker wandered from one group of friends to the next, all eight of them. Ensign Tia winced, -Eight? Out of a crew of so many? I can’t believe we lost so many, including the Captain!- She looked at the ground in shame and leant back against the withered trunk, feeling her shoulder brush something unexpected.

Her mouth tilted into a smile as she watched the near dozing Doctor not even bothering to open an eye to say, “I bet you two strips that’s trouble I hear.”

“Not even going to consider accepting,” she replied, straightening herself to lie against the trunk properly, “Do you think we should move soon? I don’t know how far they are behind us.” She was talking about the ones that had caused their ship to crash here, though they didn’t know the official name of the species they’d come to be called Shadows from the grey clothes and preference to move at night, and silently.

“No, it’s midday, we’re safe for a few hours and people will only get more dehydrated if we do, wait a few hours and sleep so we can go faster tonight.” The ensign nodded and replied, “not sleep though, too dangerous, I’ve got to keep an eye out for you guys.”

“We can handle ourselves for a bit you know...”

“I know but wouldn’t that be a thing to say about me?”

She could feel the doctor shake his head through the contact of their shoulders, “You shouldn’t be worrying about them.”

“I have to, I’ve been given responsibility for this group.”

“Oh have you?” A new voice questioned, tone harsh, “Doesn’t look like you’re doing too good a job of it.”

Sabrina wasn’t too surprised to see Lt. Cmdr K’wa’s face appear in her field of view when she opened her eyes. “You had something to say to me?”

“Leave her alone K’wa, she’s got enough on her plate right now.” Sab turned her head to look at the doctor, surprised by his tone of voice, “Would you want to have the burden of your lives on your shoulders?”

The woman shrugged almost carelessly, “Can’t be worse than on those of an untested ensign, there are superior officers here than her, the leadership should go to them.”

“Meaning you I presume?” Ensign Tia stood up as she spoke, to come on a level to the lieutenant commander.

“If that’s the only option...”

“Is it the only option?” The quiet voice of the ensign asked.

“It’s the most sensible one.” K’wa didn’t seem to notice the others slowly draw away from her as she said that.

“Are you sure?” This time there was a hesitation.

“Yes,” came the firm answer, as if reassuring herself.

“Oh good, because you need to be quite certain of your decisions when you’re in charge, enough to defend them from everyone who comes to you with grumbles,” the ensign didn’t seem to be fighting too hard for it and the Trill woman smirked,

“But can I ask you something?” The smile froze on her face but remained composed at her seeming victory, “What ensign?”

“What will you do now?”

“I’ll get us out of this place and find some water of course.” Ensign Tia nodded,

“Very sensible. Where would that be?”

“Towards the mountains that way, they always have water,” the woman was suspicious now, what was the ensign trying to do?

“The way we were going? Ok, lead on then, but I suggest we wait until we don’t pass out from sunstroke.”

“I’m not that stupid,” she scoffed before turning to the others, “Hear that? I’m leading this group now!” There was a half-hearted grin on the other crew members’ faces as she beamed at them, “And that means you listen to me, not her.”

Behind her the ensign leant against the tree watching the new leader, who was currently outlining a plan somewhat similar to her own. At her shoulder the doctor was fuming silently, “Why didn’t you show that... rat why we chose you instinctively? And take it so calmly!” The ensign raised a finger to her lips quietly until he stopped and then smiled slightly.

“You know that bet we had earlier...”

By nightfall the next day Jacklyn K’wa was getting worried. The crew were going as fast as she was, and that was as much as a tired person could, they’d been walking most of the afternoon but they couldn’t stop now, at night the Shadows came out. That wasn’t the only thing on her mind though, they still hadn’t found water. She’d been positive that they’d get somewhere soon and the others seemed to be losing their respect for her, It probably hadn’t helped that she’d snapped her irritation at some when they continually gave her the same complaints, she KNEW they didn’t have water and she knew... she hoped they’d find some soon...

Apart from those two at the back, the former leader and the doctor were completely quiet and hadn’t complained once, following her orders. But the delicious power she had felt before was now making her worry. They never complained, and the only answer she’d got when she asked how they felt about the plan was a non-committal, “Only thing we can do.” She started to doubt her own behaviour before, she’d given them too many orders to teach them their place. Well they had to learn they weren’t the leaders right?

In fact their silence made her almost as nervous as the whispers she swear she could hear from the people who’d been behind her so solidly earlier. She turned her eyes ahead and they widened. An oasis! It really was an oasis! She’d done it! She turned triumphantly to the rest of the group, “See? I told you I could do it!” The rest of the group just looked relieved and immediately ran towards it unthinkingly, even the doctor and Sab walked a little faster than usual and carefully dipped hands into the water to drink before the ensign saw people going for the trees, and realised something, “Stop!” she called suddenly, “Isn’t this a little too perfect?”

“Don’t listen to her, she’s just an ensign.” Jacklyn glared back at her, “and beside I run this group and I say it’s safe.”

“Fine! Go ahead, be caught, we have to move on or they’ll find us, and what sort of fruit grows in the desert, open your eyes!”

“Says who, ensign?” the lieutenant commander sneered, she would reassert her authority by showing this one who was boss, yes that would do it.

“Just try one Tia, go on, it can’t hurt,” she held out an apple and Tia’s previous thoughts rippled across her mind, ironic.

“No.” She looked squarely into the shocked Commander’s eyes.

“That’s an order, ensign. Eat it.”

The others of the crew stared at them, wondering who was going to break first. The ensign folded her arms and raised an eyebrow, a clear refusal, but she said nothing.

“Don’t make me punish you for insubordination ensign....” Tia met her gaze and remained still. Jacklyn K’wa get that gaze and felt something shiver down her spine before Tia’s eyes flicked to the side of her head and back, quick as a flash, carefully schooling her face to blankness as her gaze travelled over the others.

The Trill’s flesh crept, she didn’t want to know what was behind her now. And she had only one possible weapon in easy reach.

One. The Trill’s ears strained as she heard a careful rustle behind her, tall being at a guess, and not friendly.

Two. Her hand was suddenly clammy and she didn’t turn round yet, preparing herself.

Three! Her arm shot round with the rest of her to throw the apple as the mouth roared open behind her. The lieutenant commander’s legs had turned to jelly at the sight of the thing as she propelled herself away from it.

With a cry she felt something shift under her feet and her feet go flying forward, but then stopping miraculously as something grabbed her arm and pulled her upright and the right way round.

Run you idiot.” Sabrina Tia said as the entire group shot away from the oasis towards the distant mountains.

Lieutenant Commander K’wa remained silent for the rest of that night as she led the group at a light jog through the wasteland, thinking deeply and distancing herself from the Terran she felt increasingly guilty about. The rest of the crew were still whispering quietly in their twos and threes and once more the Trill was certain they were doubting her authority after the ensign she had trodden down saved her life. Even she doubted it after she had put the entire crews life in danger to show an ensign who was boss.

They remained in silence until dawn when the lieutenant commander called them all into the shade of a tall rock. "Everyone take a break, I need to talk with the ensign." Most people collapsed where they stood and curled up on the ground to nap, pretending not to listen in too obviously. The Terran woman stood in front of the Trill and said politely, "Yes commander?"

There was a silence until K'wa spoke, "This isn't easy,"

"I know Jacklyn, but who ever said it was?"

"I was talking about saying this ensign, not being the leader."

"I know, I was talking about both of them." This statement caused yet another small silence between them before Jacklyn asked, "How come you're only an ensign Sabrina?"

"I entered Starfleet late, I used to work as a pilot for cargo ships in the war. A risky enough job at the time, someone recommended I go for this."

Now the Trill woman felt truly guilty, she had assumed she was incompetent in the academy or entrance tests. The Trill woman sighed and returned to their double conversation. "It's bittersweet is it not?"

"Naturally, you cannot get anything with no disadvantages," Tia shrugged, "But you just have to cope with them as best you can." The calm words she spoke made Jacklyn feel even smaller compared to her. She wrestled with herself and slowly said the next words that she was strangely almost glad to say, after wanting to be here for so long!

"I give you command of the group Ensign Tia." The Terran woman lifted one eyebrow,

"I should be pleased shouldn't I? And was there another part to that sentence?"


" '...and good luck with the thing.' " K'wa simply looked confused and the ensign sighed, "Never mind... I accept, complete with responsibility over the group, which is the pig."

K'wa still looked nervous, "Aren't you going to punish me for insubordination?"

"Why should I? Command is a tricky thing, it looks wonderful but then you get it only to find it's bitter, I'm glad I could show you that."

Ensign Sabrina Tia was amazed when the Trill bowed to her, "Why..?"

"Because those are the wisest words I have heard in a long time. Sleep well Sab." The chastened Trill sat against the rock and dropped into a deep sleep as the newly promoted leader sat next to Doctor Peters with a sigh and leant against the rock, banging her head and causing a muffled curse in the process. The doctor opened one eye at her to glare and the ensign smiled, speaking extremely quietly.

"You owe me two strips." The man grumbled something indistinctly before the woman raised her eyebrows in protest, "I am not!"

"You are at times, now go to sleep, doctor's orders."

"But I'm responsible for the group now!"

"Then I'll keep watch."

Sabrina sighed, knowing she wasn't going to win, but she made one last-ditch attempt, "The rock doesn't have a thing I can use to rest my head on."

"Then use my shoulder, you have to rest so you can lead better later on. Sleep."

For once the ensign didn't argue, just moved so she could lean against him and rest her head on his shoulder, "Goodnight."


The doctor looked towards the mountains that were not too far away now where he could see trees growing, and trees always meant water, and the fact that they were getting somewhere at last.

The rising sun bobbed above the horizon on a sea of trees.

Edited by Cara Maria
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I'm sorry, it seems to have completely butchered my tabs/spaces so it now looks rubbish... I really dislike this...

edit: fixed.

Edited by Cara Maria
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