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#RuinsOfRakhana – September 18, 2016
Renala sighs. "It's a big risk either way," she says. "I'd rather take my chances with the desert than Kell, though." She pauses and glances towards the tent. "We do have nutrient paste left last I checked, so that won't be an issue during the trip."
Jason sighs, lowering his gaze to the floor for a moment. "We have a few tubes of it. That's not going to do shit for us if we get stuck out there. This is a one way trip. If we can't come back here and we can't go to Kell for food and water, then what do we do if this turns up nothing?" he asks. "Right now, the choice is between trusting Kell, or trusting what she's saying. This is practically a life-or-death decision." he says,
looking over at Seriah once again. He shrugs apologetically to her, "I'm not doubting that she has issues with Kell. I just don't see why he gave us the food and water if his goal was to attack us. They said we had nothing they wanted. If that was a lie? They could've just left us to starve and taken our shit after. Or, hell, traded the food and water for it. I just don't see why they would attack us after giving us free
shit that's pretty much the only reason we're still alive right now..." His gaze moves from Seriah to Korio, then to Renala, "She does seems pretty freaked out. I'm just not entirely sure if we need to fear Kell. He seemed alright to me..."
Korio remains silent until Jason finishes. "There is no doubt in my mind that she perceives Kell as a threat." he confirms, "However, I agree with you in that he may not be a threat to us." He looks to Renala, "But if you believe our chances may be better out there, then we will do what we must..."
Renala frowns. "We're dealing with unknowns regardless," she says. "This ship might be our only way out of here, and I'm getting the feeling she's leaving no matter what we do."
Jason tilts his head back, letting out another frustrated deep breath as he looks up towards the ceiling. After a moment of silence, he lowers his gaze back to Renala and gives a nod. "We can't risk losing her. She's our best chance out of here right now..." he says. "Fine. Fuck it. Start packing our shit up and come up with a way for us to move our wounded." he orders, looking between Renala and Korio, "I'll get on comms and
call the others back." He looks to Seriah, pointing a gauntleted finger at her, "You better be right about this transportation, Seriah." he says. Not a threat, just concern. "If you're not, and Kell is planning on coming after us...." he gives a shake of his head, "...Then we're all fucked."
Korio nods reluctantly to Jason before looking to Seriah. "We are going to leave. We must find a way to transport our injured and await the other team's return." he explains, speaking slowly and using gestures in any way he can.
Renala nods. "Already working on it," she says. "I was thinking about constructing stretchers using the tent material and some pipes. If someone has a better idea, send them my way, because this isn't my field of expertise."
Seriah furrows her eyebrows. Believing she got the gist of it she nods, seeming satisfied. She meets Jason's gaze and gives another nod before dropping her backpack by the door, climbing up one of the barricade crates and looking out at the wastes.
Jason gestures towards the destroyed tent. "Sounds like as good of a plan as any. Just do what you can." he says.
Jessica exits the tent just in time to catch the tail-end of the conversation, giving a pained grunt as her hand slides over her wound. "I am fine." she says, "I am not needing a stretcher."
Jason rolls his eyes. "Not the time, Jess. Just help Renala make the stretchers. Both stretchers. Do whatever she tells you to do." he says, gesturing towards the asari. With another loud sigh, he turns his back to Renala and approaches the barricade as he prepares to call the away team back.
Jessica frowns, but thinks better of arguing about it right now. She limps over towards the asari, silently awaiting her orders.
Nathan continues trudging along, wearily carrying the dufflebag. He remains silent, any last scrap of his mood dashed with the previous talk.
Renala waits for Jessica at the destroyed tent. "It's a long trip, and we need to get out of view as soon as possible," she says. "Cut a rectangular piece of the tent, longer than a person, and twice as wide." She starts searching for any pipes or long pieces of metal that are at least 7'/2m long.
Jessica shakes her head a few times, adjusting her cap as she looks down at the tent. After briefly returning to their own tent to retrieve her knife, she drops to her knees besides the destroyed tent with a pained groan and begins cutting into the material as directed.
Jason's voice comes in over comms to the away team a few moments later. At first, just a long, drawn out sigh. "Change of plans, people." he announces. "According to our new drell guide, what we experienced wasn't a gesture of Kell's kindness. It was just their way of scouting us out. She believes Kell's plan is to attack and that we need to get out of here ASAP. We're packing up and putting together some stretchers to get Namira
Nathan taps his helmet, groaning in frustration before replying. "Aye, aye, Jase. RTB." He cuts the comms and immediately pivots, waving them back. "Annnnnnd we go back."
Renala crouches beside the tent frame of the destroyed one, checking if any of the pieces are long enough. "Sorry," she says. "I can do it myself if this puts too much strain on your injury, Kaya."
Steve stops in place and brings his hands to his hips. A loud groan escapes him and he shakes his head. "This is insane." he says to those around him. "We barely even know that drell. Now we're droppin' everything on a whim cuz of what she says? Cuz of what we think she's sayin'? We ain't got no food. We're low on water." He gestures forward, "We're carryin' enough firepower on our backs to level that fucker and his entire
compound. Do either of you really think this is the right call? Really?" he asks, looking between Nathan and Ehanis.
Jessica waves Renala off dismissively. "Is fine. I am fine." she continues to insist. "Is just-.... a little cut, mmm?" she says, bringing her hand to her side momentarily before returning to slicing and dicing. "I am fine for walking. This stretcher is not needed for me."
Nathan has already started walking back just as Steve starts his complaints. "I just follow the boss, alright? So will you."
Ehanis frowns. "No, that's stupid," she says, not over comms. "If this drell is right, I think we should strike first. While they don't know that we know."
Steve hefts the bag on his shoulder, chuckling humorlessly. "That so?" he asks Nathan, eyeing him up, "You enjoy just blindly followin' bad orders, huh? Shit, you would've fit in just fine in the Alliance." he taunts, giving a short chuckle. With a gesture towards Ehanis, he gives a nod. "She's got the right idea. If this asshole is dangerous, do you really want him huntin' us down while we're runnin' around like a bunch of
chickens with our heads caught off tryin' to find some ship with a woman we don't even understand?" He bites his lip for a moment, cocking his head to the side as he looks to Nathan, "You know this is a shit idea, Ten. A shit idea that could get people killed. We could decline those orders, keep on walkin' and get ourselves a vehicle and enough food and water to get the fuck off this planet. We're carryin' enough guns,
Renala sighs. "I've seen evidence to the contrary," she says. "We'll need to hurry for the first hour or two, so that we're out of sight by the time Kell's people arrive. After that I suppose you could lean on someone instead."
Nathan stops, but doesn't turn. "...". He can't fully deny it. He does feel this is a terrible idea to some degree. It's a jump into the abyss, a delve into the unknown that could cost them their lives. However, he doesn't respond, conflicted. He trusts Jason's judgement, the man is charismatic and seems to know what he is doing.
Steve remains in place, his gaze lowering to the sand as he kicks a little bit of it loose. "He'll be pissed at us. Ain't no doubt about it. But he'll get over it if we get results, Ten. And we will get results. I ain't gotten by this long on my good looks alone. I know what I'm sayin'. But we're gonna need all the help we can get. If you say you're out...?" he slashes an open hand through the air, "Then that's it. I ain't
tryin' to get myself killed. We turn back and go get ready for the slow, painful process of dyin' of thirst. But we can do this, Ten..."
Jessica continues to cut through the material, bracing her knee against it to keep it steady. "I do not need to lean on someone." she pouts, "I am fine." She points towards the tent with her knife, "She is the one we need to be worrying about, mmm? Carrying her is going to be slow."
Nathan flexes his hand as he contemplates it, before making a noise of disgust and turning. "And if we don't?" He asks. however, the fact he is still stood here and listening suggests he's swaying.
Renala shrugs. "You're leaving on a stretcher, that's the boss' orders," she says. "Once we're far enough out to slow down, I'm sure you and him can renegotiate." She measures out a piece of the frame but waits for her to finish cutting before removing a long pieces of it.
Steve gives a shrug. "I don't know." he admits, "We die fightin', I suppose. But, hell, it's a whole lot better than dyin' in the middle of a desert due to dehydration, ain't it? I mean, shit, maybe it won't even come to that. Maybe the drell is wrong. Or maybe we just ain't understandin' what she's tryin' to say. I say we go to Kell's camp just like we planned. Let Jason know we ain't comin' back and tell him to start gettin'
our people outta that tunnel. He can keep in touch with us and let us know which way they're headin'. When we reach the camp, one of us goes in, leaves the weapons outside with the other two, and we negotiate. Maybe he gives us a car. Maybe he doesn't. If not? We take one. And whatever supplies we can get our hands on. Then we swing on by, pick our people up, take 'em the rest of the way to this fairytale spaceship in
the sky that's gonna get us home..........." he says. It's quite obvious he's not putting much faith into the idea that they'll be able to find this ship, or get it running if they do. "And if it ain't there? At least we got some wheels to get us back to Pilgrim's Haven." He shifts in place as he awaits Nathan's response, "It's your call, Ten. Like I said, I ain't gonna do it without you. We can't do it without you."
Jessica mutters under her breath as she pulls a rectangle of canvas free and slides it towards Renala. "There." she says as she begins to work on the second one. "I will lay on the damn stretcher, okay?" she groans, "....But I will not like it."
Ehanis looks towards the bunker. "Maybe we can reason with him," she says. "He can send us to scout out Kell's place while they prepare to get the fuck out of there. Use their trick against them." She lifts her two bags to emphasise her point.
Nathan stares at Steve for an uncomfortable amount of time before slowly placing two fingers against the side of his helmet. "Change of plan, Jase. We're pressing on to the compound. We'll still try the negotiations and see what we can get. Keep us informed of your location and we'll track you down once we're done," he says before keying off and saying to Steve,
"If we take the car, under no circumstances are we to fire inside the building, understood? I'm not shooting families. If it comes down to a fight, self-defence only. We shoot combatants only. Got it?"
Jason steps away from the tent as Nathan's voice comes in over comms. "What in the hell do you mean, 'change of plans', Ten? It wasn't a request. If Seriah is right, then for all we know, Kell will just shoot you on sight. I don't have time to argue with you, Ten. We need to get Namira and Jessica out of here. They're in no position to fight. Get your asses back here!"
Steve sucks in a deep breath but gives Nathan a nod. "You made the right choice. Don't worry about him. He'll get over it. We're gonna get them outta here and it'll all just be water under the bridge. Mark my words." He adjusts the bag on his shoulder and turns back in the direction they were heading before responding to Ehanis, "Reasonin' with him ain't an option. We go back and he's just gonna shut us down. He's stubborn like
that. This is one of those 'better to ask for forgiveness than permission' situations right here. And I think a crate of food, a tank of water and a vehicle might make a pretty strong case in earnin' us forgiveness."
Nathan grimaces visually as Jason chimes in over comms. His hand reaches up to respond, but pauses, unsure on how to approach this subject. He sighs and says, "Then don't argue, Jase. I'm sorry... just trust me on this one." He drops the comms and nods to the pair. "We're moving out, now. The quicker we get this done, the better."
Ehanis nods and turns around, frowning at Jason's reaction. "I see your point," she says, and begins walking towards the compound.
Jason brings a hand to his forehead, falling silent for a few moments. "Ten. Don't do this." he pleads, his commanding tone quickly falling away. "She says the ship is only a few hours away. Just-... just come back. If we get there and it turns out to be nothing, we've still got plenty of water to rethink our plans and approach this from a different angle. Together. But you saw that place, man. You're just gonna get yourself
Steve simply looks at Nathan expectantly and nods in the direction they were heading. Ever the devil on his shoulder.
Nathan start-stops, Jason's plea reaching his ears. He can feel a knot in his gut tightening and his face is a conflict of emotions. He flexes his hand and glances back towards the bunker. "Jason... I don't think we can risk it. At least with Kell, we have the chance to get food, water, maybe even transport. With her... it's too big of a risk. Please, please just
trust me on this. We can do it. We'll come back and we'll have more supplies and a better chance to find this ship... if it even exists." He turns back and stares forwards, taking another few steps. He hasn't chimed off the comms, however and even without a visual cue, Jason could likely fell the hesitation. "...We can do it."
Jason starts towards the door, his immediate reaction to storm out after them and drag their asses back, but he quickly gets a grip and slowly comes to a stop near the bunker door. If Seriah is right, they need to get Namira and Jessica out of this tunnel before Kell has a chance to attack or they'll be sitting ducks. He shuts his eyes, nods to himself and responds through clenched teeth. "Good luck, Ten... And if you do make
it back? I'm gonna fucking kill you, you understand? All three of you! Dead!" he threatens, though it should be quite obvious that it's less of a threat and more of a display of frustration. "Be safe and take care of Ehanis. I'll keep you updated on our location. You disobedient little fucker." He bites down hard and turns in a semi-circle, looking for the nearest thing to punch. After slamming his fist into a crate, he
gives it a little kick. "You hear that?" he says over comms, allowing a moment of dead air to pass before continuing, "That's the sound of that raise of yours that I mentioned being flushed down the toilet!"
Steve gives an amused little whistle as he continues to trudge along through the sand. "He sounds pissed." he says, seeming to enjoy the rant.
Nathan shoots Steve a withering glare. "Well, I'm used to slumming it from the bottom of the barrel," he says in response to his raise. "Stay safe, Jase."
Ehanis scoffs at the 'take care of Ehanis' bit of his message. "We might need a lot of food and water," she mutters.
Jason sighs, shooting Seriah a glance. "You too, Ten. You run into any trouble, you just fall back. We'll find a safe place for Namira and Jessica to settle down at and we will come for you, you understand?" he says, realizing that it's probably not an option, given the few hour gap that will be between them. But he's a fast runner. He turns around and starts back towards Korio, shaking his head. "Fucking assholes are gonna get
For four hours the group has wandered. After getting away from the bunker as fast as they could, Seriah led them first north a short ways and then west through a passage in the cliff. Since then their path has been a winding and confusing journey through a maze of towering rock formations. Mesas and cliffs rise around them, rock arches stretch above, all withered, by wind, sand and time. The ground itself is barren sand, but here,
for the first time they've seen live plants. Shrubs. Small, windblasted and malnourished, but alive. A small lizard was spotted at one point, but escaped before it could be caught. There is no end in sight, but Seriah seems certain she knows where she's going, still leading them onward. Namira is still awake, faint mumbles all that escape her. Being outside likely does her little good, but at least the cliffs provide shadow.
Jason is at the head of Namira's stretcher, holding the front end of it. "How much further are we going?" he asks, looking to Korio to translate. He has made sure to keep the other team updated with directions as often as possible. He has attached as much ammo and weaponry to his armor as he could manage, and the stretchers are serving dual purposes, both for the wounded, and to assist in carrying any spare equipment they could
Jessica remained on the stretcher for the first couple of hours. Then insisted on getting off and walking, assuring everyone she was okay. After fifteen or so minutes in which the group was slowed to a crawl by her limping, it was quite clear that they were better off with her on one of the stretcher and so she admitted defeat. She's currently laying across the second stretcher with her hands behind her head. "Is too bumpy." she
Renala is at the back of Jessica's stretcher, ignoring her complaint. "I'd guess we're going to take all day at the pace we're moving," she says. She had left most of her belongings behind aside from a few items: the cameras, the small computer, and the tools she used in the subfloor. What she did leave behind, she hid in the side room.
Korio is at the tail of Namira's stretcher. "How far is the transportation from here?" he asks Seriah, translating for Jason.
Jessica groans as she continues to shuffle, one arm moving to wrap around their water tank that she was forced to share the stretcher with.
Seriah glances back at Korio, adjusting her grip at the front of Jessica's stretcher as she does. "[Half soon]." she says simply. Carrying the stretcher is tiring, and she doesn't want to waste time with words that won't be understood. All things considered, they've made good time so far.
Jason continues forward. "We're almost halfway there?" he says. "Shit... How are you two holding up over there? Korio? Renala?" he asks, "We should be far enough away from the bunker to assume we're safely out of Kell's line of fire. Just say the word if either of you need to take a rest."
Renala lets out a small smile at them being halfway there. "I'm doing fine," she says. "I'd prefer we get to the ship as soon as possible, but... I have to admit, a break does sound good."
Korio nods at Renala's suggestion. "Yes. A break would allow us to recharge and tend to Namira." he agrees. "Seriah." he says, looking to the other drell, "We are going to stop for a few moments."
Seriah looks back at Korio again, nodding and ceasing to walk forward. They are in a relatively sheltered area, six or so meters wide, surrounded by steep cliffs and the ground covered in soft sand.
Jason matches Korio's pace, lowering Namira's stretcher slowly to the ground. "Alright, people. Let's take a short break, get some water in us, and then get moving." he says, taking a knee at Namira's side. "You hanging in there?" he asks as he looks down at her.
Renala lowers the stretcher a little bit, and waits for Seriah follows suit before continuing. "I hope the other team is faring well."
Jason reaches for the water canteen set beside Namira and unscrews the top. "Let's get you hydrated." he says as he slides his hand beneath the asari's upper back, supporting her as he pulls her forward. He brings the canteen to her lips, urging her to take drink. "We'll be out of here in no time. Just hold on, alright?" he asks, casting a quick glance behind them, silently hoping to see Nathan, Ehanis and Steve in the distance.
Renala sits down in the sand beside the stretcher, and takes out her water canteen. "So, assuming the ship is functional," she begins, "does anyone here actually know how to pilot it?" She takes a long swig of it before putting it back.
Jessica waits impatiently for them to set the stretcher down, as if she's unable to climb out of it before it touches the ground. "Finally..." she sighs as she climbs off the makeshift stretcher and begins to sip at her water canteen. "This is taking forever. You know what would make it quicker? Mmmm? If we had a skycar."
Jason smirks at Namira as he helps her settle back down onto the stretcher. "Well..." he responds to Renala as he recaps the canteen, "I guess that depends on what sort of ship we're talking about. Way too many variables to really answer that. I mean they're all different, you know? Depending on the-... the design... and the species... and the class of the ship-.... and-...... and none of that really matters, the answer is no."