Star Trek: Defiant

"The Planet of Professor Migalito" - Part Four

Written by Takila "Mak" Shuriik

Lt. Marinus made his way through the forest. He wondered where everyone else had disappeared to. Suddenly, a blipping sound began to emenate from Myron, his trusty M.O.U.S.E. It had never done that before and he had no clue why it picked now for the first time in nearly twenty years to begin doing so. He only hoped he didn't accidentally activate some hidden self-destruct switch -- Mak had borrowed it awhile back to get readings on that weird alien who was causing everyone to face their darkest fears.

The Lieutenant held out the tiny mechanoid, hoping it would offer a clue as to why it was blipping at him rather than beeping or tooting or whistling as it had normally done. The small holographic projector reactivated and showed a small red blip near the "North" label of the hologrid. Marinus presumed it was a tracker of some sort: the question was, for what? He couldn't distinguish the scale of the graph on which the holomap was plotted, but he continued onward. Suddenly, there was a rustle from a nearby bush. Mathew paused, reaching for his phaser. He knew where he was going, sort of, so he returned Myron and removed his tricorder. It showed a definite life-form reading coming from the bushes. He froze, setting his phaser to stun.

"You can come out from there, who or whatever you are!" he called. "But do it slowly." The rustling stopped. He waited, expecting some small rodent of some sort to dash out, which it did. Except it wasn't that small and it had huge, moose-like antlers.

* * *

Meanwhile, Dr. Laine found herself lost amid the intoxicating jungle flowers. She'd been at her work for nearly two hours and she was getting sleepy. What a wonderful place, this is, she thought. It would be the perfect place to spend a honeymoon . . . . She looked up at an unusual cry from a nearby palm tree. It was the first noise she actually remembered hearing since she landed. The thought occurred to her after standing for a few minutes, that it was particulrly unusual not to see some other signs of life besides vegetation. She wondered what sort of animal made such a sound.

Slowly, she walked in the direction of the call. She looked up at the trees, suspecting a bird of some sort, but saw nothing. Moving further into a patch of bushes, she heard the cry again and immediately looked toward it. On a fair sized shrubbery, she spotted the most beautiful bird she'd ever seen.

It resembled a parrot in most respects, but had a long sweeping tail in a bluish green that contrasted its otherwise red feathers. Rael stifled a startled gasp lest she frighten the creature away. The bird turned its long, peacock-necked head around in her direction and she ducked behind the bushes. She could still see the bird, cocking its head as if trying to get a better sense of the stranger in its midst. Then the bird turned towards her and fully unfurled its magnificent tail feathers as it flapped upwards vertically, seeming to hover in place above the shrub. Entranced by the display, Rael never heard the other flapping sounds from behind her until it was too late and all went dark.

* * *

Mak was grateful for the shelter the icy cave offered him. Sure, it was cold, but it offered fair protection from the bitter winds that would have made things even colder. It was beginning to get dark. Mak tapped his comm badge, but got no reply. Figuring there might be some interference from the ice cave, he stepped back out into the open and tried again -- static. He cursed to himself and went back inside. He hadn't seen any trees to get wood for a fire, so he improvised by heating a nearby rock with his phaser. It served well for the time being.

Having heard there were four main weather zones on the planet, he wondered if the others were equally dispersed or were simply somewhere on the other side of the giant glacial formations. He hoped Mathew remembered to bring Myron. With the new personal energy signature tracker he installed, Myron should be able to lead Marinus to him in the event none of the other equipment worked. The trick was distance. Myron had a semi-limited sensor radius: anything too far and there could be problems. Sure, the device was experimental, but if it worked, he would make it a point to program in the bioenergy signatures of all the away team members for future use--that is, of course, if they all survived. Suddenly, from somewhere outside the cave, came a monstrous bellow.

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