A Picture of Quaquan at Night
Summary: While out in the wilderness of Quaquan on a long training exercise, members of the AES discover the joys of nature. Here, part of the group set out to find their cook, who was chased into the woods by a bear late in the previous night. The hike, undertaken without the packs, takes a turn for the unexpected towards the end of the day.
Cast: Wiendrbac, Kurtz, Renkek Kashaan, Marlan, Crenshaw, Pavlo, Kastaprulyi, Stargazer
Air Date: 2005.08.26

Quaquan - Deep Forest (Valley Forest)

The forest here is dark and deep, the ground a thick rich loam, the air is rich with scents of earth and flowers. Insect buzzing fills your ears with the hum of life. As you walk along the path faint movement within the trees can sometimes be seen. Birds flitter among the branches, hummingbirds dash in and out of the sunbeams that make it though the tree tops, searching for open flowers to feed on. Occasionally a dragonfly hovers over the path before you and then darts away.

Today's Weather: Breezy with clear skies and moderate heat. Long shadows stretch out lazily away from the huge orange sun, which blazes toward sunset on the eastern horizon.

Wiendrbac pulls the gun from his belt, flicking the switch. The dull hum of his weapon charging can be heard, tapping the barrel against his thigh, eyes moving back and forth.

Wiendrbac peers over Kurtz shoulders at the broken branch, "Best thin' to do is check it out, yeah?" Wiendrbac slips past the cowboy, going to do just that, gun charged and ready.

Not having a gun, and with bears on the loose, Kurtz waits behind and lets Wiendrbac check the tree out.

Wiendrbac stops near the tree, gun swinging back and forth, before kneeling down to check the tree and the object left behind. Gun arm is propped over his bent knee, looking through the container's meager supplies, before tossing it over his shoulder. With that, he switches on his commset, speaking into the mouthpiece.

>>> COMMNET Jack on GEN_AES: It's clear. Crenshaw's left his pack, ain't much in it. I think big man's been slippin' off a little more then rationed limit.

Marlan steps up behind Wiendrbac, "See anything?" she asks.

Renkek Kashaan looks towards the area mentioned "Maybe it was Mr. Crenshaw?" he shrugs briefly.

Wiendrbac says into his commlink, "Clear! Crenshaw's discarded his pack, ain't much left in it. I think he's been skimmin' off the top."

>>> COMMNET Kastaprulyi on GEN_AES: Okay. I guess knowing Gallager's nearby is good. I'd like coming if you think I should.

Kurtz moves from his rear position and over to where Marlan and Wiendrbac observe the tree and Crenshaw's discarded pack. "Do ya think a bear might have chased up this far?" he asks.

The La Terran nods, two bags thrown over his shoulder now. "We need to break up. This travellin' in one group ain't cuttin' it, he could be in real trouble." He taps his commset, nodding at Marlan and Kurtz. "I can handle it alone, I got the gun. If somethin' comes up, I can hail ya, yeah?"

Marlan shakes her head, "Negative Captain. No one travels alone, da."

"Then send someone with me." Wiendrbac retorts, turning to his comm and responding to Kas.

>>> COMMNET Jack on GEN_AES: Com'on then, floaty. We could use ya help, yeah?

>>> COMMNET Kastaprulyi on GEN_AES: Okay. I'm coming.

"Uh, ya think maybe we could try yellin' fer cheffy, so he might hear us?" suggests Kurtz.

The big tree under which Crenshaw's pack was found is missing all of its lower branches. They seem to have been torn off. The tree patiently photosynthesizes.

"Go ahead, if ya like. We don't know that he's necessary nearby though." Jack looks up the tree, squinting. "Surely he's not up in the..."

Marlan turns, motioning to Kurtz, "You stick with the Captain, da."

A leg in charcoal grey trousers hangs out over the forest floor from the part of the tree where the trunk spreads out into myriad branches -- about eight meters above the ground. A crow hops onto the leg and looks down at the search party curiously.

Kastaprulyi slips quickly down the path left by past travelers, then drifts over the one left by Kurtz. The little Centauran leaves hardly a sound as it drifts quickly along. In a few places, as it shifts height to avoid a tree branch, its telekinetic 'footprint' shifts high enough to rustle the leaves or twist a broken branch.

"The tree," Wiendrbac finishes with a sigh. He yells, "Chef! If ya sleepin', I'm gonna kill you."

Kurtz cranes his neck upwards to gaze into the tree.

Renkek Kashaan blinks surprisedly and a bit worried at the sight he sees "I hope he's not..." he trails off as John yells.

The leg stirs and the crow hops back onto a branch. Crenshaw peers carefully over the side. "Oh, good," he says glumly. "Well, 'm kinda stuck. So if y'could 'elp me, tha'd be good, I guess." He doesn't give the impression of caring one way or the other. It's hard to imagine how he got that high up, as there are no longer any branches he could have climbed.

Marlan rubs idly at her stomach for an instant, "Hoop, you can't climb down?" she asks somewhat incredulously.

"I'm of the mind to just let you rot up there, mate, at least for a little while." Wiendrbac says, slamming the butt of the Ungstiri gun against the tree trunk and stomping off towards camp, all muttering annoyance and barely constrained anger, leaving others with the burden of helping the apathetic chef.

"Cheffy," says Kurtz, starring up at Crenshaw, "How in the name of Sam Hill did y'all get up there?"

Marlan turns, watching Wiendrbac leave, and shakes her head, sighing. "Kurtz, go back with him, da. I don't want anyone wandering alone. We'll take care of the chef."

Kastaprulyi slows to a stop as it comes upon Wiendrbac heading in the other direction. The little Centauran offers him a hesitant greeting and queries, "What's wrong?"

Crenshaw shrugs faintly. "Well, wuz easy to climb. Bu' then the bloo'y beah tried ta follow me oop. Didn' know the buggahs coul' climb. It kep' tryin' an' each time it's break anothah branch. I go' i' te stop by dropping me pack bu' by then theah wuzn't any way down," he explains. "Been oop heah... dunno, maybe a day now. Only the crows te keep me company. Been 'opin' you'd find me."

Wiendrbac stops as Kas ask him a question, looking at the Centauran. "Stupid chef got himself stuck in a bloody tree and can't get down. I can't deal with this right now." He draws a pack of smokes from his pocket, gun safely stowed away, lighting up. "It's just to damn much."

Kurtz gives a quick salute to Marlan and jogs after Wiendrbac. "I'll give y'all a little somethin' I brought with me that might ease yer spirits," he says to the La Terran.

Kastaprulyi seems to watch curiously, as if to see what Kurtz has brought. Kas adds thoughtfully, "Do we have enough rope for helping?"

Marlan shakes her head, rubbing at her stomach for an instant, "Let me see if I can bring him down telekinetically," she says. "Save us all a climb."

Crenshaw squints at Marlan, not having heard her clearly. "Wot?" he calls down. "Wot are ye gonna do?" He seems anxious not knowing what is happening.

Wiendrbac blows a river of smoke toward Kurtz, shaking his head. "Don't want ya booze, cowboy. I need a clear head." He snorts, "Specially seeing stuff like -this-.

Renkek Kashaan blinks more "I've heard of people that ended up in such positions from being too drunk as well." he shrugs "I don't not believe you just saying that is all." he smiles and waits and watches to see if Crenshaw is brought down.

Marlan's gaze looses its focus for a moment as she stares up at the tree. Moments later Crenshaw feels himself floating down out of the tree.

Crenshaw floats gently down. At least, he would be floating gently if the chef were not absolutely panicking at the unknown force moving him from the tree. "'oly...! Wot th'ell is 'appenin te me?" he cries. He flails about, then lands on the ground. He stares at Marlan with an expression that is a mixture of awe and fear.

Marlan reaches up to rub at the side of her face, already showing red from the bee sting, "Take it easy, Chef. I promise I've got no intention of killing you, da. I'm a doctor remember."

Kurtz blinks at the scene that has just occurred, his cigarette falling out of is mouth. He manages to smother it with his foot, still looking at Marlan and Crenshaw with no small amount of surprise.

Kastaprulyi slides around Kurtz for a better view, seeming more interested than surprised.

Wiendrbac simply shakes his head, watching Crenshaw float slowly down to the earth. "Incredible." He seems less surprised by Marlan's psionic abilities. "Why did ya think her eyed 'glows'? Contacts?"

Marlan turns, watching the sun set, "We've been out here too long, especially without flashlights. We need to head back, da."

Crenshaw recovers from his surprise quickly and nods slowly. "Sorry," he says to Marlan, a shameful expression on his face. "Guess I fooked oop again." He looks at his pack, which has been ripped to shreds by the bear and sighs.

Crenshaw holds out his hand for the tattered remains of his bag from Wiendrbac.

Wiendrbac simply stares at Crenshaw, bag still tossed over his shoulder. The normally polite and easy going La Terran holds the stubborn look, opening his mouth to ask a question. "What did you learn today, Chef?"

Marlan shakes her head slightly, watching Crenshaw and Wiendrbac.

Crenshaw scratches behind his ear to think about this. After a long moment, he announces, "Beahs can climb trees. Bloo'y well, too." He looks to Wiendrbac to see if this is the right answer.

Kurtz sighs and reaches into his vest pocket for another cigarette.

Marlan shakes her head, "Captain, teach him the lesson later, da. It's gotten dark and we need to get back." <Empathy> Waves of discomfort emanate from Marlan.

Wiendrbac sighs and tosses the bag over. "'bout as good as I expected. Let's head back to camp, guys." He says the last part after Marlan, turning away to walk back to camp.

Marlan once more lets Wiendrbac take point, content with taking up the rear.

The way back is difficult; the trees and vines that cross the path are now hidden in the darkness, making following the previous path difficult and making a new path near impossible.

Kastaprulyi fishes under its bell with one arm, taking out a flashlight as it returns a suggestion of acknowledgment. "I'm glad everybody's mostly okay," the little Centauran comments optimistically. "Maybe we should read some stuff about what's dangerous here."

Renkek Kashaan prepares to move back with the others and begins doing so as they do. He does keep lookout as they go for any oncoming attacks.

Pavlo sticks close to Marlan.

Wiendrbac continues marching forward, waving for Kas to hand him the light, seeing how he's the blind group's lead.

"I suggest we follow the path I did cut outta dah woods wit mah axe," says Kurtz, regretting he did not take his pack.

Kastaprulyi clicks on the little omnidirectional light and passes it to Wiendrbac, drifting along quietly after him. "What'll we do tomorrow?" it inquires curiously.

A muffled thud can be heard from behind, followed by an exclamation in Mierzynkovy.

"I wanta pass on through into the marsh, see-" Wiendrbac stops at the curse, hand falling to his gun. "Who was that? Pavlo... Marlan?"

Another set of heavy footsteps in the dark at the back of the party comes to a stop. "Uhh... cap'n?" asks Crenshaw's voice, a note of worry in his voice.

<Empathy> Waves of pain emanate from Marlan.

Kurtz sighs and drops his second cigarette to the ground, crushing it with his boot, and then turns around to face behind him. "If I was a wolf, I'd be able tah smell trouble commin'" he comments. He clasps the hatchet tightly in his right hand.

There's a slight yelp clearly from the party's smallest member, "Marly?" Then there are sounds of the boy feeling and moving around in the dark.

Renkek Kashaan blinks as he looks back towards Pavlo's voice "What's wrong Pavlo?

Marlan slowly pushes herself up to her knees, "Hoop." she comments, sounding out of breath. "'tis me, Captain," a pause, "We need to get...get out of this forest an...and set up camp," she repeats once more.

Renkek Kashaan blinks as he looks back towards Pavlo's voice "What's wrong Pavlo?" He says with a worry in his voice stopping where he is at.

<Empathy> Waves of pain emanate from Marlan.

Kurtz bends down, keeping himself low, and holds the hatchet out at a sideways angle before him. "What was it Cap'n? What's wrong?"

Wiendrbac's disembodied voice can be heard, a slight chuckle, quickly cut off. "You guys really need to get out in the forest more." With that, the wan spread of light continues on, swinging back and forth.

"I'll remind you...of that when you put on a...a worksuit." Marlan's out of breath voice responds from the back of the group.

Kastaprulyi pauses and comments with a feeling of concern, "Maybe we should check on Captain Ranix before we walk more..."

"Da is goot itea," Pav's voice agrees with Kas, "Am nyi beinnk able to carryink out."

Kurtz wordlessly follows after Wiendrbac and his flashlight beam.

"No' many forests neah Anigah," observes Crenshaw neutrally as his heavy steps resume. "Lotsa 'ills an' meadows, bu' no'many forests."

The light stops, flashing back to the group. Wiendrbac's grin is hidden by the darkness, amused by Marlan's response to his tease. "We also need to get out of this forest. Marly, can ya walk?" Again, the La Terran's voice comes back to the group, less callous and impersonal then before. "If not, Crenshaw'll help ya." A hand reaches out, grasping Kurtz' sleeve. "Stick we me, Cowboy. I don't think we're gonna make it back to camp and I may need ya axe, yeah?" Wiendrbac turns to the group, "Guys stay here. We ain't gonna make it back in the dark like this, just won't work. Check ta make sure Marlan ain't injured and get chubs a ration bar, I imagine he's starving." With that, and a tug at the cowboy's sleeve, the La Terran and his light disappear, looking for a nearby clearing.

"Don' worry bou' me," replies "chubs." "'m fine." His footsteps stop. "'ow bou' you, Can'n?" he asks, worried.

Pavlo remains close to Marlan once she's up and moving, "por myork shorshk" The boy pauses a moment. "ugh ogrog myork ousuie agrun"

As if on cue, no sooner has Wiendrbac announced that the crew should remain here then Marlan releases Pavlo and takes a few steps towards a nearby tree, leaning back against it, "Don't worry about Chef. Just stay close to the group. Grab a partner."

"Stupid, tea-sippin' varmant," mutters Kurtz to himself. He has his left hand on Wiendrbac's shoulders to keep track of the La Terran captain, and continue to hold the axe in his right.

Kastaprulyi circles in closer to the others, rising a bit, if anyone could tell in the growing darkness. A slightly chilly, but fortunately well-insulated, digit lands on Renkek's shoulder. "Maybe we can call the people at camp, say to bring more flashlights," Kas offers helpfully.

Crenshaw's heavy footsteps don't resume. "Ehhhh..." he says, seeming uncertain about whether he should really leave Marlan behind.”Don' sound so good," he informs Marlan sympathetically.

Wiendrbac continues pushing through brushes and twigs, scratching away at his skin, briars digging in at one point. If he notices, or cares, he doesn't seem to give the impression.

A grunt is heard in the darkness, it seems to come from Marlan's position. Those near her might notice her left hand now cradling her stomach. "Kevkiev shorshk," she says suddenly, tone pained.

Master linguist that he is, "kevkiev shorshk" still doesn't mean anything to Crenshaw. "Wot?" he asks.

Kastaprulyi takes out its commlink, the pale glow from its screen scattering through its bell as it activates.

And those close enough to see that might notice that Pav is right there. He moves his hand to find Marlan's at her stomach the other remains gripping her belt for 'security'.

Kurtz's grip on Wiendrbac's shoulder tightens. "I think somethin's mighty wrong with the Cap'n, Mr. Wiendrbac."

<Empathy> A sudden flare of pain emanates from Marlan.

>>> COMMNET Kastaprulyi on GEN_AES: "We found Gallager okay. We're stuck in the woods because it's dark, Captain Ranix's hurt. More flashlights, the medical kit might help... Anybody coming out should be careful of stuff like the bear.

Renkek Kashaan blinks and looks back towards Marlan's voice "What's wrong Captain?"

Kastaprulyi shifts slightly, the end of its suited arm remaining on Renkek's shoulder. Another arm reaches over to rub worriedly at the other arms.

Wiendrbac stops, Kurtz's voice distracting him. A moment's hesitation, before he nods. "Ya got that whiskey bottle, right? Get 'er to drink some of it, it'll help ease the pain of the bites... maybe cleanse the wounds and check if the bees left stingers inside the wounds. I'll continue lookin'."

Marlan's knees buckle or Marlan moves to sit, which you can't be sure. Her left arm remains tight against her stomach, "I've got the me-" Marlan's voice hitches for a moment, "'the kit." a pause and then with a steadier voice, "Pav, let go of ok. Chef, get him"

"I ain't got mah bottle," says Kurtz to Wiendrbac. "Cap'n told us to leave all our gear back at the campsite, remember? I sure wish I'd brought mah flask."

Wiendrbac nods, "You wanna head back or stick with me, mate? I ain't goin' back to check on 'er, we got our own duties." With that, the La Terran continues, so if Kurtz doesn't immediately follow he'll lose physical contact with the La Terran.

Kurtz follows after Wiendrbac. "I ain't no doctor. Best thing we can do 'fer her now is get all the stuff at dah campsite and call some help tah get out oh dis here jungle."

"Can' see wheah you ah," admits Crenshaw. He takes a few steps forward. "Too dahk. Come on, Pavlo. If the cap'n says she's okay she probly is, wot. Maybe jus' a bi' winded."

Pavlo lets go of Marlan and moves to track down Crenshaw, it can't be that hard.

"Captain Ranix doesn't feel okay to me..." the young Centauran remarks worriedly after speaking into its commlink.

>>> COMMNET Kastaprulyi on GEN_AES: "We have the medkit, still need help...

Wiendrbac breaks through a last row of briars, cursing as they scratch up his hand, into a clearing. "Hmmm..." The gentle sound of water breaking over stones can be heard, suggesting a stream, running down into the marshes. "Here we is mate." He raises his voice, hopefully close enough to be heard. "This way, north-east!"

>>> COMMNET Jack on GEN_AES: Hold ya position, Jared. Ain't no guarantee you'll find us, particularly with no leads and in the dark. If we get some information, we'll send it ya way, mate. Keep in touch.

>>> COMMNET Jared on GEN_AES: Roger. We'll hold down the Fort here. Nothing to report on this end.

"Ge'in' a bi' dahk, Cap'n," calls Crenshaw anxiously in Marlan's direction. "Ah you coming?"

"Can you help with carrying Captain Ranix?" Kas queries, speaking up a bit as it continues to float in contact with Renkek.

Pavlo grabs hold of Crenshaw's belt, "Fount him," he calls back to Marlan, "are sposta be stayink together, da." The boy points out. "Is same like when in spaze suit outsite ship."

"How close are we?" Kurtz asks Wiendrbac. "We gotta get help soon."

"I have no idea." Wiendrbac admits, "We may have to spend the night in this clearing and head back in the mornin'. Dontcha worry though, we'll get through this shit. This crew survived an attack by Demarians... a day alone in the forest should be easy to handle, yeah?" Again, he raises his voice. "This way! Over here!"

Marlan pushes up off the trunk she's leaning on. She doesn't respond to the others, at least immediately. "Ren...get the towards Jack."

Renkek Kashaan nods to Marlan and motions Kas and Pavlo to the directed area.

Marlan takes a couple of steps forward before doubling over, she grabs at her stomach but remaining on her feet.

Renkek Kashaan nods as he looks back and does motion Pavlo towards him and begins moving Kas and Pavlo towards the rest of the group steadily.

Kastaprulyi suggests a bit of uncertainty as Renkek continues on. "Maybe we should slow down some for Captain Ranix..." Kas comments. "Did Captain Ranix get sick before we started going back?"

"I think once we get back to camp and get the Cap'n treated we should call for evac off dis rock,” comments Kurtz, still following close after Wiendrbac. "Any idea what was wrong with her?"

Pavlo starts in the direction Wiendrbac's voice is comming from but pauses. "Goink to Wiendrbac is meaning leafink you, are comming?" he calls back to Marlan.

"Cap'n?" asks Crenshaw with deep anxiety.

As Kastaprulyi attempts to contact Marlan, pain sears back through the link.

"No idea. I imagine she may be allergic to the bees, though, or this particular strain is more potent then normal." The La Terran frowns, tapping his foot against the ground.

Renkek Kashaan looks to Kas, "Well she was stung by bees earlier; they may be affecting her now." He shrugs.

"Beez?!" Pav exclaims.

Marlan remains silent for close to 20 seconds, "Chef...” Marlan says, keeping her voice purposely steady, "Gonna...gonna need some help making it back." she admits to him.

"Yeh, oll roight," replies Crenshaw uneasily. He starts walking slowly in the direction of Marlan's voice. "Jus' wai'll I find you..."

SCENE POSE: Wienderbac and Kurtz are in a clearing. Pav, Kas and Ren are somewhere between said clearing and Marlan's position. Marlan is by herself near the tree she leaned on earlier. Cren is some distance from her, by himself in the woods.

Kastaprulyi suggests a bit of discomfort, continuing along quietly. ~Are bees bad for you?~ Kas asks worriedly of Marlan. The link constricts a bit with the wave of pain, but remains present.

Marlan seems to be doing a rather bad job of keeping her telepathic shields up. ~I don't know, Kas,~ Marlan replies distractedly.

Renkek Kashaan considers "I only know of what I've heard and read, that's that the honeybee has for bees one of the worst venoms around. Not as deadly as some venomous snakes and other animals, but their venom when stung can cause death if the person is allergic or even some have without being allergic to them totally, like how people who take too much medicine will die at times if treatment's not given soon." He shrugs "I doubt that will happen here, but there's always a possibility."

"Is no bugz on zee rock," Pav points out, "Are nyi alvheys knowing if allergic or nyi. Ya, am allergic to a bug on Le Terre hafin bin bitten here by anyfin yet. Am hopin I don't."

Wiendrbac continues standing in the clearing, drawing his gun, peering into the darkness. Again, his voice wafts over the area. "Over here!"

Crenshaw continues to feel his way through the dark as he tries to find Marlan. "Bloo'y 'ell..." he mutters as a branch thwacks him in the face. The fear in his voice is only barely contained.

Concern comes across the link with Marlan but is quickly overridden by a sudden stab of pain. ~In trouble,~ Marlan's voice says shakily in Kas' mind.

Marlan takes a few stumbled steps towards what she thinks might be Crenshaw's position.

Kastaprulyi doesn't seem at all comforted by the discussion on allergies. "Captain Ranix's in more trouble..." Kas comments suddenly, though it keeps a limb on its crewmate. The little Centauran suggests a concerned feeling of acknowledgment to Marlan and sends back to her, ~Can we do anything for you? Can you make noise so we can find you?~

Renkek Kashaan blinks to Kas. "If she's not back by daybreak I'll take some and go try to find her myself." He nods and motions to the clearing and shouts towards it, "Anyone there!? The Captain's fell behind more!" He continues towards the clearing, hoping someone he knows will answer.

Pavlo just stays with Ren and Kas.

<Empathy> Waves of slight worry emanate from Pavlo.

Wiendrbac shifts his grip, turning the flashlight and gun toward the voice, before waving the flickering beam over to him. "Right here! Who stayed behind to help 'er?" The La Terran responds, flashlight leading to his position like a beacon.

"Aw, 'ell," mutters Crenshaw. Of course nobody can hear this because by now he has traveled quite a distance in the wrong direction. "'ello?" he yells. "'m lost. Can' find the Cap'n."

Marlan is silent. Neither does Kas get a telepathic response from Marlan, though the emotions coming back remain the same.

Kastaprulyi returns an uncertain acknowledgment to Renkek. "I guess that'd be safer for the people looking... Captain Ranix is awake, not talking anymore..." The little Centauran continues, "Could we get flashlights, search in a pattern tonight?"

~Maybe talking about stuff besides what's happening now'd help,~ Kas offers hesitantly to Marlan, and somewhat uncomfortably with the shared pain. ~What were you doing on Quaquan before?~

Renkek Kashaan looks to Kas "With the animals and such about it's likely not safe to look tonight, We'd need a lot more light than the flash lights can provide likely." he shrugs and looks to John "I'm not sure if anyone is with her, Mr. Crenshaw is still in there as well somewhere at least." he shrugs briefly "I'm not sure there's anything we could use to look for either of them at the moment. Kas might could try contacting the Captain but that's it I think."

Pavlo sits down where he is shaking his head, "Is all in big mess." The boy mutters to no one in particular.

Wiendrbac blinks at their response. "You left the chef to help?! Oh jeez." He rubs at his face, his forehead, then drops the hand away. "We ain't movin' from here. We're stumblin' out blind and only make the situation worse." The flashlight is cut off, the last source of light dying away. "They'll just have to make it through the night. I'll keep yelling... hopefully they'll hear and follow."

Crenshaw is silent.

The sharp pain seems to come in waves but beneath it there seems to be a bit more focus and control. ~Training,~ Marlan's voice responds hesitantly to Kas.

Marlan crawls slowly towards a nearby tree, unseen by the others.

"Captain Ranix's talking some more," Kas mentions, rubbing uncomfortably at a few arms. "Will we sleep here, go back to camp?" ~I spent some time here too, not so long,~ Kas explains to Marlan. ~I was helping Xavin Carazz with a Mystic people's ceremony. They poisoned us, but it turned out okay, Xavin thought it was good... Are you making noise now?~

Renkek Kashaan considers "Well I've got my sleeping bag in my backpack but maybe not all do." he looks to Kas "Is there anything specifically she's saying, like for us to do or anything?" he shrugs and looks to John "No Captain the cook fell behind as well not sure if it was by choice or not but the Captain told me to get the kids to you." he motions to Kas and Pavlo.

"Shoult haf stayet wif Crenshaw or Marlan," Pav mutters.

"Sleep," Wiendrbac says, shoving the gun into the waistband of his pants. "We're wakin' up at the break of dawn to rendevous with Marlan and Crenshaw and headin' back to main camp..." He nestles down onto his rump, back against a nearby tree, pulling one leg up to his chest, stretching the others out. He nods at Renkek, a gesture probably lost. "Yeah, ok." He overhears Pavlo, offering a comforting word. "You did right, Pavlo. Marlan be'll ok, you'll see. Crenshaw too. Just... in the morning." The La Terran stands, quietly moving away, getting familiar with the clearing.

In the darkness and the silence, it is impossible to determine what Crenshaw is doing. Hopefully he isn't climbing another tree.

~Remember Xavin~ Marlan responds weakly, ~With Jack?~ she questions Kas.

Pavlo just sits where he is, hugging his knees to his chest and mumbles to himself.

"We're talking about our staying on Quaquan before," Kas answers Renkek, then offers helpfully, slipping over to Wiendrbac, "I can hang the light up high, so people can come to us better if they keep moving in the dark."

~I went with a Razor and the security people Victor Cross, Urfkgar then too,~ Kas explains to Marlan. ~Do you mean a security person John?~

Pavlo moves to curl up by Ren, at least that's a sensible idea from his point of view.

A sudden spike of pain. Moments later Marlan is trying, albeit not very successfully to raise her mental shields, apparently aware of her connection with Kas.

Renkek Kashaan nods and settles down and looks towards Kas. "When you all get done talking try to rest yourself as well we'll all need it likely tomorrow."

Kastaprulyi wavers in the air slightly as it goes to retrieve the flashlight. The little Centauran suggests a feeling of acknowledgment to Renkek, tapping on the little light so that it radiates from all sides and slipping upward several yards and over to the edge of the clearing. Kas pastes the light on the end of a hanging twig and slips back down to the others.

Kas tries to retain the connection for the moment, explaining encouragingly to Marlan after it recovers, ~We'll be sleeping in a clear place with the light on. We can go get help, look for you together tomorrow.~

Pavlo just curls up and tries to sleep.

Renkek Kashaan nods as he watches Kas and remains awake till he's sure both are at least going to sleep. He motions for Kas to join wherever without saying anything else.

Kastaprulyi takes out its clear inflatable pillow and commlink with a couple arms as it circles in toward Renkek's side. The young Centauran activates both devices and settles down on the pillow in the light of the commlink. "I'm with Pav, Renkek, Captain Wiendrbac. We'll sleep, look for Captain Ranix, Gallager when it's light enough."

Pavlo finally falls asleep curled up beside Ren.

Renkek Kashaan waits till Kas goes to sleep and once that happens goes as well himself relatively soon.

Kastaprulyi puts away the commlink and remains resting quietly upon the pillow, apparently asleep.

Renkek Kashaan is falling asleep with Kas on one side and Pavlo on the other both trying to sleep as well as another figure or two not far off from them sleeping as well. They're in a clearing. In the woods somewhere are two more figures likely sleeping by now as well.

An omnidirectional flashlight is pasted to the end of a twig, high in a tree at the edge of the clearing. Pavlo is curled against Renkek on the ground, Renkek is in a sleeping bag, Kas in on a clear inflated pillow, and Wiendrbac and Kurtz rest against trees as they sleep.

Soft footsteps are muffled against the rich loam of the trail that leads from the cliffs. A dark clad figure moves into the clearing, though the reflected artificial light that glows over the sleepers may make the figure appear to be shouldering small stars of its own. At the sight of the sleepers the figure halts with a small tinkle of silver, still mostly in shadow.

The young Centauran, despite the lack of eyelids on the ring of glittering pink eyes, does seem to be well and truly asleep at the moment, simply lying there with purple-clothed arms about it.

Pavlo is somewhat soundly asleep and so hasn't noticed the passage of the figure either.

Renkek Kashaan is sleeping or trying to he likely does notice the noise but says or does nothing to alert whatever/whoever.

When the little group of sleepers remains asleep, the figure moves more quietly into the clearing. Once embraced by the glare of the flashlight the figure develops into the image of a Qua woman who moves with the silent grace. The feathers in her hair rustle a little with a forest breeze as she stops again.

Kastaprulyi doesn't seem to notice the slow movement or the wakefulness of its companions, remaining still.

Stargazer stands for a moment, examining the ragtag group under the flashlight, a faint expression of concern shifts across her face. She clears her throat gently so as not to startle to much, then says quietly, "Greetings."

Pavlo starts awake; obviously the boy wasn't that soundly asleep.

Kastaprulyi seems to respond to Pavlo's sudden waking, shifting off the pillow by a few inches itself. The little Centauran uncertainly offers Stargazer a feeling of greeting, adding aloud in a childlike synthesized voice, "Hello..."

Stargazer puts on her best friendly Qua smile and makes no threatening moves, "I did not want to frighten you as I passed by your camp." she glances around; the word camp is used with caution. She turns her attention to the Centauran. "Greetings." she says again, "Are you having a vacation?"

Pavlo blinks at the woman, possibly not sure if he's awake or dreaming, "Is trainink exercise. Vone of our frients he got chaset by Bear, we come t' fink him ant got lost in dark tryink to get back." The boy explains. "Then Marly she got separatet, am thinking is sick. Got stunged by beez. Is somewhere there." He points off into the trees somewhere.

"Captain Ranix might need to be in a hospital more than we need training now," Kas adds worriedly. "Another person's lost separate from us too."

Stargazer blinks her eyes a few times, the warmly smiles at the boy, crouching down Qua-like to not be too high above him, "Sounds more like an adventure." she says in a way that women often do with small people, "You must be very brave. A bear and bees, how awful." When the Centauran speaks she glances towards it, pointing with her chin at the other sleepers, "Is that the Captain?"

Renkek Kashaan wakes as well and looks up at that time "Oh yes. Her name's Marlan Ranix." he looks up to the woman and sighs "We had to stop because of nightfall." He considers "However Kas here was talking to her." he motions to said Centauran "So she's still conscious or was at that point anyway."

"I'd like the adventure better if we had more safety stuff, more communication with people in cities..." Kas comments. "We don't know where Captain Ranix, Gallager are. Captain Ranix was walking slower than us because of pain, got lost. Gallager tried to find Captain Ranix in the dark, got lost too."

Pavlo points to one of the other sleeping men, "Is Kapitan Wiendrbac of Artemis," he points to the other, "is new employee of AES is called Kurtz," then he points to Renkek, "Is Ren, is crew from Athena, is Kas," he points to the Centauran, "am Pavlo," he points to himself. "Kaptain Ranix she is my aunty, is lost somewhere back there. Is mabe sick. Gallager he is cook, was one that got chaset by bear."

Stargazer rises from her crouching position, standing slowly to her full height, against the dark of the forest she is the essence of Qua womanhood. She peers out into the forest and before Pavlo started talking she seemed to be listening. The boy's voice drags her attention back to him. There's the gentle smile for the child again, she places a hand against her chest, "I am Stargazer. My village here in the valley; I am surprised that the young people hunting from my tribe did not stumble on you. They would have helped with the bear. Maybe we should look for the lost ones."

Renkek Kashaan stands and nods to Stargazer "Well if you can provide enough light we had made a path so likely they won't be far off that." He motions to Kurtz "He'd brought a small axe which is what was used to make the path on the way in to find one of the ones that is still lost. The one that was chased by the bear. We found him and were on our way out."

Stargazer looks down at her hands, she's not carrying anything. "I do not have extra light so maybe we should wait until morning."

Renkek Kashaan nods "That's what we had planned to do ourselves."

Pavlo just nods as well.

"Captain Ranix was hurting, still awake, still talking," Kas acknowledges. "I guess waiting'll be okay... Can you do something for keeping away dangerous animals?"

Stargazer glances up at the light and nods, looking back at the others she drops to the ground and sits Qua-like, her skirt spread in a circle around her. "I can sing them away." she answers and begins to sing quietly in Navajo.

Pavlo sits there and watches this 'singing away', humming along quietly to himself.

Renkek Kashaan smiles and watches as well and mentions to Pav and Kas quietly. "We'll definitely need sleep soon after this, else we'll get a talking to once everyone's safe I'm sure."

Kastaprulyi seems not entirely convinced by Stargazer's solution, but nonetheless watches intently for a while. This fades out as it drops back to the cushion and apparently begins to sleep again.

Pavlo is soon asleep again too.

Stargazer's singing softens and becomes soothing background for the sleepers. She continues as she keeps a watch over them.

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