Obsidian Command

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Milk Run: Twisted

Posted on 14 Feb 2022 @ 11:04pm by Commander Calliope Zahn & Commander Bruce Kensforth & Major Declan Finn

Mission: M2 - Sanctuary
Location: Planet Obsidian
Timeline: MD12 ~0500HRS
1426 words - 2.9 OF Standard Post Measure

Calliope had a hard time keeping up under her own power. She had the worst time trying to rest and getting through a hangover in the discomfort of the prisoner arrangement in the cavern. There was no food and no water, and she was dizzy, weak, dehydrated and sore.

“Shouldn’t have… skipped my vitamins…” She told herself as she fell behind again. Eager to avoid a confrontation with the guard at the rear, Calliope clawed at the wall, trying to pull herself along to get any forward progress. Her palms were bloodied on the sharp obsidian glass edges, but she was too numb to feel it. She felt herself sliding, her knees giving way beneath her.

But before she hit the ground she was caught up under strong arms. “Hold my shoulders,” he said in Romulan, swinging her over his back.

Calliope knew he must have been marched many more days before if he was driven out of hiding in Pillar Valley far to the south of Kalara. Besides a ladle of water a day, he had barely enough to be hardly holding up, himself. But she was too weak to argue the point. And not strong enough to be asked to be left behind. Neither was it too much for her pride. Many of the prisoners were by now carrying or supporting one another. Kaisook, the woman she had watched being dragged into the square, was a few heads in front of them, carrying her young son. Calliope focused on her bobbing head and accepted the soft hungry whine of her young son and the other uncomfortable children in the group. They all believed they were marching to their deaths, but they continued as strong as they could, holding out for one another more than for themselves.

“You don’t believe you will find your wife and son.” Calliope whispered through her parched throat. In the torch light before and behind the train of weary prisoners, Calliope could make out the angle of Leivad’s strong brow and the point of his ears. He’d gone unshaven for long enough that his beard was almost as respectable as an Obsidian Desert herdsman’s. His eyes were cunning but sad. She could see how a young Turani woman might be taken by his handsome face. The shuffling of many feet concealed their low voices. “Why?”

“You know of the law against my marriage?”

“Yes?” More or less, she did.

Her uncertainty obvious, Leivad explained. "It is known that the people of Obsidian were once also star travelers. How they came to not be… is lost to time. The Turani believe that the Fiery One boiled the planet in flaming tar a thousand, thousand years ago.” He sighed. “Anyway, it has long been forbidden to mix with star-jinn. It is ancient law, as old as the Sunstorm Truce. Long before Starfleet came to this world. It has been cautioned to never lie with us ‘djinn from the outer darkness’. Some think that was the cause of judgment.” He was open with the fellow offworlder in his own native language; he knew his captors couldn't understand even if they could hear it. “In the last hundred years, since the Federation came, many who broke this law were put to the sword, so it has become greatly feared. Never had one resulted in a child. Until my son. My tribe helped hide him. I had to leave my family to prevent us being found out. They hid me in Pillar Valley. Many refugees are hidden in Pillar Valley by the Turani.”

Calliope shifted so he could better grasp around her legs and she could at least do her part to hold on without inadvertently choke holding him. “They are good people, the Turani.”

“Yes, but it is more than that. The Turani believe that a child between the star-djinn and the Obsidian people comes before the salvation of the world.”

“Salvation?” She repeated the Romulan word she didn’t understand.


“From what?”

“Rescue from the return of the Fiery One’s armies. The unity of the Divine One’s people and the Djinn completes His promised protection of the world. He is not just Divine over one world. What kind of Divinity would that be? All of the star-djinn are his host, though they know him by many names and some have long forgotten. Still he has called them and they come. After the war with the Fiery One’s great army is the lasting of peace on Obsidian and great healing and much increase of the arts.”

Calliope thought about that. It sounded just like the picture she had seen in the mural, only the meaning of the portent and the resulting ending was completely opposite. Leivad didn’t look very unlike the mosaic of the Romulan presenting the baby with the Obsidian woman in the image. “I heard of a—” She struggled for a word for prophecy in Romulan. “—of a before-telling of this. But I heard it was the Beginning of the End of the World. The beginning of always-pain.”

“The Fiery One has turned the truth into lies and turns the Divine’s children against one another! Everything the Fiery One does is to divide and kill. Poison!” This topic seemed to put heat in Leivad’s veins and animate him with his teeth grit against each other. “My son is no curse.”

“No. He is no curse,” she quickly agreed, not knowing what else to say to help the matter.

“Well, it could have been a-ow!” Bruce starting, hissing pain halfway through the statement.

“Stay still, sir. I am almost finished,” Petty Officer Mammello ordered firmly, his thick swahili accent clinging to every word. The Corpsman was sitting in the back of the Arrow Runabout thirty-three with Commander Kensforth carefully patching the cuts on his face and hands.

“... it could have been worse,” Bruce finished, still wincing but at least managing the statement. “I could have had a passenger that wouldn’t have survived.”

“He’s not wrong,” Major Finn agreed, his back to all of them as he stood in the doorway of the runabout, looking out into the glaring morning sun, his eyes covered with dark glasses and his face wrapped against the blowing sand. Both his hands were on the rifle strapped across his chest, at the ready, scanning for Sergeant Eindorf who had left only a few minutes before to go back to the wreck of the Delta and extract the data core’s. He could see the downed shuttle fifty yards in front of him, but Eindorf had gone into the wrecked craft, out of sight.

He wasn’t worried about the Sergeant, he was worried about any more of the local critters showing their head again. Declan had nearly lost his hand to a dinosaur looking bird that had snapped at him out of the darkness not a minute after they’d left the craft. Thankfully he’d got his hand out of the way, but had they not come armed, they’d have been pecked to death by it and its friends. They’d made short work of the lot of them, but he wasn’t about to get caught off guard again.

Kensforth had crashed the Delta shuttle pretty damned hard. There was debris of it scattered along the sands for at least two hundred yards that you could see in the bright sunlight. But all they’d found was a crumpled up wreck that had some similarities to a Delta Flyer shuttle. According to the flight logs, and to Bruce, he’d lost flight control due to the high winds and interference and had made the mistake of gambling for higher altitude. Instead, controls failed and he’d crashed from altitude at high speed. He was damned lucky to be alive.

Not only lucky to be alive, but lucky they’d found him when they did. They had to extract him from the wreckage using short-range transporters to move debris but the Ortananni birds circling his wreckage were doing a good job of peeling back the metal to get to him. Another hour or so and they’d have had a buffet that couldn’t get out of the way.

For the most part, Bruce was no worse for the wear. A few bruised ribs, a minor concussion and plenty of scratches and bruises. Nothing he’d carry for life - at least, so long as they found Calliope alive.


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