Pilgrim's Reach

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Following a few steps behind the doctor, Wakefield and Gregor, Lucas found it reasonable only to bring his pistol for security measures. First the scene at the table, now this? Everything seemed so chaotic, even though the guards were carrying out some routine to the operation. If this intruder really was a serious threat, it should have attacked the soldiers by now.

Lucas decided against stepping on the scene once again. It was not in his nature to rush in head-on, he was a sniper at heart, after all. Wakefield didn't seem to enjoy this at all, strange how the counselling figure was the one with the most intense phobia of the entire crew!

No matter, Lucas followed Wakefield and his company, overhearing his discussion with Gregor. The doctor on the other hand seemed out of place. "Unless you find some reason I can't see to be here, I suggest you keep out of this, doctor." Lucas paused, making sure he had the doctor's attention. "I don't think we'll be needing medical assistance here, and surely, we don't want to loose good men like you here." Still standing next to Dr. Nick Lucas addressed Wakefield. "Where do you need me, Commander?"
Looking around Draug finally crawled further into the vent system moving pretty fast until he reached an intersection that he knew was there. " Pvt. Ratt front." Draug whispered in his comm. " Yes sir what do you need?" She responded. " I need you to clear the vent systems that are the smallest to get around in." Draug ordered. Pvt. Ratt then proceeded past him and down the smallest of the two tunnels, while he took the biggest.

It wasn't long before he smelled sweat. ( I'm close.) Draug then sneaked around in a side tunnel, surprisingly he found the stowaway in the side tunnel facing the same way he was. He quickly grabbed her by the foot and pulled her through the closest ventilation cover after him. She kicked him before they hit the ground causing him to hit the ground on his back rather then land on his feet. He tried to grab her but she got out of reach. She tried attacking, Draug just dodged every move she made. He did try a couple of time to do joint locks on her but failing because she had gotten into some type of slick substance. He finally got a good grip on her when some had worn of and managed to shicken wing her, while getting hit and kicked the whole time. He finally then bound her and radioed his team and Wake. " Found the stowaway... I'm in storage room 2A-C...Over. Proceeding to nearest sec team... Over." With that he threw the stow away over his shoulder, albiet her kicking and screaming all the way (even after he got to the sec team), and proceeded to the nearest sec team which was right down the hallway about 10 meters from him.
"De' hungry fox or de' rabbit."

"Which one runs faster?"

They landed in a heap, Draug on his back, Metris partially on top of him. His arm shot out to wrap around her, but she was fast enough to squirm away.

They're both quick to get to their feet.

He's surprised by how rapidly the young girl tries to take his balance with a crescent kick to his knees. Draug steps back and to her right, dodging her kick. He grabs her right arm, tries to lock the joints in her elbow, but she's always moving with him, wriggling free. What is that she's covered with? Motor oil?

"Let go!"

Her open hand hits his face in a resounding slap.

Strong arm. That will be a bruise tomorrow.

Metris cried out when Draug wrenched her arm behind her back. The joints in her arm, shoulder and back instantly pulled taut, ligaments a mere moment from tearing. Fresh, angry tears dripped down her filthy cheeks.

Her left arm soon joined the right as Draug cuffed them behind her back. The pain was not enough to staunch her feist, so Metris contented herself with biting, kicking, and squirming as he carried her down the hall.

They could hear her hollering all the way to the bridge.
Moro had calmed down by the time wakefield gave him his new orders. "copy that sir." a few moments later, he heard screaming, he ran to a group of his men." Skowdo, Esper, Clyde, carter, come with me." Moro and his personnel ran towards the source of the comotion. "surround them." he said, he was a little curious to see how this panned out, but he decided that Draug would likely appreciate some help. Moro didn't think that pepper spray or a taser were needed, yet. He spok loud and firm, yet calm. "maam My name is liutennant moro I am going to ask this once. Please stop fighting my associate." After the incident with the car he wasn't going to use this as the sole meens of pacifying the intruder, but he wanted to leave the more extreme methods of pacification in case things got worse.
Still waiting patiently outside of the bridge, Faerich couldn't help but notice the yowling getting louder; Suddenly 7 people turn into the hall, 5 of them security agents, the other one was holding the yelling female and marching/dragging her to the bridge, realizing this mustve been the stowaway Faerich follows behind the security team into the bridge where Guards force the woman to stand in front of Captain wakefield, Faerich, now stading off to the side watches as the scene unfolds.

"Real nice tact, eh?" he scoffed with a glance going to Wakefield. "Perhaps they should just beat her senseless, then shoot her with the tank... you really want me to take them outside?" Gregor asked quietly as he rubbed at his eye patch with a finger, and shook his head slowly at the scene that was coming their way. Wakefield would know how to handle this, Gregor thought... the man always did, which was slightly unnerving, but reassuring in the same sense. An oxymoron... that thought.

"So... it takes almost an entire squad to detect, and detain a teenager. God help us if we ever run into a school bus... I don't think we'd have enough platoons for that." He then turned his eye to Metris, and with that usual blank face, glanced her over a moment, then continued eye contact with her. "You're probably not in the mood for this question, but are you hurt?"

"maam My name is liutennant moro I am going to ask this once. Please stop fighting my associate, stand up and place your hands on your head."

Metris heard the voice, but she could not see who it belonged to. She was still slung over Draug's shoulder, the only view she had was of what was ever behind him. The girl ceased her struggling, shifted a bit, more for her own comfort, then proceeded to address the unseen speaker.

"Well, officer, I would love to comply," she was doing her hardest to glare at him from over Draug's shoulder, but was not having much luck. "As you can see, my hands are cuffed behind my effin' back!"

She was back to kneeing Draug's chest- not enough leverage to cause him more than an annoyance, but still satisfying. They were nearing the bridge, and Draug stepped up his pace, more than ready to be free of his thrashing and hollering burden.

When Draug stepped past Lt. Moro to enter the bridge, Metris was finally able to see his face. She called to him.

"Maybe some other time?"
She punctuated her question with a few choice swears.

And then she was standing again, that was a relief. Too bad everyone was looking at her.

There was a man with an eye patch, looking at her(with his good eye, anyway).

"You're probably not in the mood for this question, but are you hurt?"

She was wearing a stolen janitor's uniform, but the ID card clipped to her lapel matched her face. It was a pretty good forgery. Her short hair lay flat against her scalp, heavy with grime and sweat, little wisps of her hair clung to the sides of her face. She had done a good job at keeping herself fed and hydrated, it seemed, but the dark bags under her eyes suggested prolonged sleep deprivation. Her bottom lip was split, and her hands and knees were scraped from crawling around so much.

Metris didn't answer right away. For a girl who had alerted half the crew with her tantrum, she was being strangely quiet. It was almost startling, how quickly she could switch from raging to calm. Her dark eyes shifted from one member of the crew to the next, searching them.

Finally, she straightened her back, her small hands slowly, lightly, feeling the cuffs around her wrists.

"What are you gonna do with me?"
Nick stood a few paces behind Mr Kalesh, arms folded, watching the same viewscreen as Wakefield. The vehicle deck was hectic. There were several groups of people scattered, following the orders of their commanding officer no doubt. He remained silent, observing the Bridge at work. His fascination may have seemed foolish, however their expertise and precision was undeniable. Much like his medical crew.His concentration was broken by Wakefield's response to the young chronicler.

"With respect, Miss Lit," he said crisply as he turned to the reporter, "I would prefer it if you did not touch me."

Nick wasn't surprised. He had noticed Wakefields sense of cleanliness before, and respected it. Although it could be deemed rude, the manner in which the Counsellor had responed couldn't be placed under that termonology...though Nick had to hide his grin. Mr Kelesh then engaged the good Counsellor in conversation concerning the personel onboard. His lack of faith in the militia was disheartening. The Counsellors hit like a tornado inside Nick's stomach.

The Cheif of Medicine diverted his eyes from the two men to scan the Bridge once more, before returning his gaze towards the viewscreen. Before he could engage any new thought or prediction as to what was happening there now he was distracted yet again, this time by a man standing next to him.

"Unless you find some reason I can't see to be here, I suggest you keep out of this, doctor."

Nick spun his head round to face the man, who he soon recognised to be Sergeant D'Andrea. The doctor cocked an eyebrow and stood poised like a snake, his left hand resting on his chin, his right arm still folded.

"Excuse me, Sergeant?"Nick was surprised by what the soldier had said, if he was honest he was insulted.

"I don't think we'll be needing medical assistance here, and surely, we don't want to loose good men like you here." With that the Corporal turned to Counsellor Wakefield.

"Where do you need me, Commander?" Nick almost flinched in shock.

"With all due respect sir," He started, both to regain the Sergeant's attention and to clear his throat.

"Although I am medical personnel and play no part in Security, my presence is auhorised on this Bridge. I am Chief Medical Officer, and therefore, a consultant to Counsellor Wakefield. If he desires my absence, as you do, then by all means I will leave. Furthermore, I am of a significant assurance that there is no immediate threat to my life and although I appreciate your concern, I resent it."
The doctor and Sergeant D'Andrea had gotten into some kind of dispute, seemingly out of the blue. For Wakefield it was just another symptom of the stresses the expedition was putting on the crew. Every day there seemed to be more squabbles, more pissing contests, more clashes of pride and jurisdiction. And there was only so much that D&D could fix.

Leaving the two of them to work out their differences, Wakefield crossed the bridge and approached the stowaway and her entourage of guards. Unfortunately, Gregor was already giving his two cents worth to the security teams. The old veteran was right in what he said of course, but his way of saying it wouldn't score him any points with Draug, Faerich or the Lieutenant. If Gregor was going to lead these men on the first away mission, he would need more than insults and patronage.

But that was yet another thing that would have to wait.

Placing his hand on Gregor's shoulder, a silent gesture of calm, Wakefield stepped past him and regarded the stowaway. He made sure to keep beyond arm's length, not through any safety concern, but simply because he did not want to stand too close to the grimy, bleeding and dishevelled girl staring back at him.

"What are you gonna do with me?"

The answer he wanted to give involved the industrial food sterilizer and a cannister of anti-rad wash from the cargo hold. But unlike most, Wakefield had not yet lost his sense of discretion. His voice, soft and devoid of any telling trait, answered clearly. "Well, Miss, that will very much depend on who you are and how you got on board this carrier."

Despite his neutral expression, Wakefield was troubled. For the simple truth was that security around the Ezekiel had been watertight during the pre-launch weeks. For this girl to be here, unrostered and undetected... it either meant she had had inside help... or that someone had made a very big mistake...
"Very well, doctor. I meant no disrespect. Please forgive me while I eh..uhm.." D'Andrea didn't finish his sentence as he drifted slowly away from Nick. Clearly he had made an misinterpretation of the situation and the doctor's role.

While he had felt the way security was rushed, more specificly, in the numbers they had been called in, was faulty. Command had risked too many men. Even though one could say that with more ease now that they had the result of this commotion at their sight.

In his view, the girl was but a little itch they had to bare with. Unless she held some skills they could find useful, with the mission in mind, she could only spur more controversy among the crew. But a freeloader wouldn't dare to find her way onto this crusade, would she? It was too heavy-guarded for that kind of nusiance.

She looked fairly young, chrushing her with fear might do the trick, at least thats what Lucas had in mind when he confidently walked to the captive. Following Wakefield's question, he ordered information out her in militist fashion.

"Answer the Commander! Who are you and why in God's name did you put us through this trouble? Do you have any idea what a waste this has all been?!"

Lucas stopped only to peer at her firmly. Checking her expression to see if any of this preaching of his had any work on her.

"More importantly, since it's no magic-trick to assume you didn't do all you had to do to get here on your own, no disrespect. Who are you with? Who do you represent?!"

Lucas paused brieftly again.

"And uh..someone get her something to drink, please?"
Moro had made his way from the bridge. he stopped in a corridor, and looked around to see if there was anyone else near. he slammed his fist into the wall. It was a disaster, every decision he had made had backfired. Why the hell had he been put in this posiion? What the hell had he done to warrant this much responsibility?

He had been in law enforcement before he became a pilot, bu that was only for two years. Just because the bunker's equivilent to an air force wanted to give ranks to their members didn't actually mean they had earned it. Just because his uniform said Lieutennant didn't mean anything. He had taken and passed a test, they hired him, he did well at what they wanted him to do. That's no reason to give reasponsability to someone who is unqualified.

Moro continued to walk down the corridor. He took an elevator to the vehicle bay. He walked alon rows of aircraft. he paid no attention tot hem though, his mind was on just one. The jet was pitch black, it didn't reflect any light at all. The ASX 13 Warhawk was the most advanced plane in human history. The origional designers had spent over ten years in the planning stages. It had never been built before the rain, no one knew how the people in the bunker had all the data on the jet, let alone the means to build it.

Moro climed the set of stairs and sat in the cockpit, he lowered the canopy, and for the first time in days was able to relax. "this is where I belong." he thought to himself.
"Well, Miss, that will very much depend on who you are and how you got on board this carrier."

Metris did not know if she liked this man. Something about him unsettled her-the way he was too cool, too clean. She did not know how a person could stand within a place, but be so far away, yet that's what this man seemed to do.

Like hell she was going to tell him anything.

She was going to tell him just that when another man stood next to him and began to yell at her.

"More importantly, since it's no magic-trick to assume you didn't do all you had to do to get here on your own, no disrespect . . ."

No disrespect? Was he trying to be intimidating and polite at the same time?

"Who are you with? Who do you represent?!"

"I'm not with anyone," Metris insisted. She punctuated her next statement with a sardonic rolling of her eyes. "Not like I'd need help to get past the security, here." So it was a lie, she had help being smuggled aboard, but she wasn't about to snitch on her connection.

Never snitch on your connection. Everyone knew that.

"And uh..someone get her something to drink, please?"

Metris almost did a double take. What was up with this guy? It was like he was trying to be the good cop and the bad cop at once. Or maybe he just had a good heart.

That made Metris hopeful.

There was something tucked in the front of her jacket. Something that looked heavy.

Draug just stood behind her, and to the side, as she was questioned waiting for here to make any violent moves or to try and escape. Not that she could in the bridge but still you never know. Then came D'Andrea's questions. ( What the hell is this guy thinking is he trying to take her off guard or is he an idiot?) Draug didn't let his irritation show but at the same time fought his amusement. Then he saw the look on the stowaways face. ( I think he might be trying to take her off guard actually... I hope.) He didn't say anything as he then noticed something in her jacket. Not wanting to get into any trouble he first looked to see if anyone else noticed it before he mentioned something. ( I hope someone else notices it that way I don't have to point it out all though I think wake might have noticed as was about to say something before D'Andrea stepped in... At least I hope so.)

"Not like I'd need help to get past the security, here."

The girl had spunk, and that tickled Gregor something fierce. "Sir" Gregor slid his gaze to Wakefield who looked like he needed a bio-suit to just to be comfortable in the same room as the oil coated teenager. then to Lucas who'd tried his hand at interrogation "Lucas... let me give this a try." Turning his attention back to Metris, he pulled up two chairs, and motioned for her to sit, as he did the same. Crossing a leg at the ankle over his knee, Gregor leaned heavily into the chair with his eye fixed dead center on the girl's. "Alright then. We've got us someone who don't belong here. Someone who may have snuck on herself, or got nestled into the carrier. What I'd like to know is why you want to be here. You know exactly what it is we're doin', girl?"

Motioning for Lucas to uncuff her, the young man looked at him for a moment as if to subtle ask if Gregor was serious. He did as ask however, and placed himself at the exit of the bridge along with a few other soldiers who'd wandered this way at the commotion. Seeing Lucas lock the bridge down, Gregor returned to Metris, and reached behind himelf to grab a bottle of water, then handed it to her. With Lucas watching the exit, along with his fellow crew members around him, Gregor had absolute faith that the girl would not try to escape, and might become a little more open if shown some courtesy.

The veteran could almost hear Wakefield clawing his way back slightly... now that the filthy teenager had her arms free she'd be free to touch the entire bridge... it was likely Wakefield would spend the next week cleaning the entire area, then give it the white glove treatment. Regardless of all that, Gregor pointed to hhimself, and then to her. "I'm Gregor Kalesh. What's your name, and are you hungry?" he then asked seeing the girl did look a bit drained. If she'd spent the time hiding she'd more than likely not ventured too far for food as to avoid being spotted.

Metris answered his last question with an enthusiastic nod. Though she managed to sneak rations from the mess hall, she had to be careful not to take more than a little every time. Couldn't chance anyone noticing.

Her stomach ached.

She was lying on her back, slowly scorching in her jumpsuit under the merciless sun. Their food rations had run out three days ago.

"Remember 'de hunger, baby girl." Papy told her. "Don't ever let 'de hunger get 'de better of you."

Gregor withdrew a ration of chocolate from inside of his coat. The girl's eyes widened and her stomach let out an audible growl. She gratefully took the paper wrapped square. Then, like any starving person, Metris dismissed all sense of pride and ripped the paper open. The confection was gone within a moment, ravenously gobbled down by the girl.

The girl licked the remaining smudges of chocolate from her lips, then her fingers, then the wrapper itself. Satisfied that it was all gone, the girl opened the water bottle he had given her, regarding Gregor as she did so.

He said his name was Gregor Kalesh. Why was that name so familiar?

Metris pondered this as she knocked her head back, greedily drinking the water down with a prolonged, desperate gulp.

That night, the men Papy hired to protect them on their expedition, returned to camp with the carcass of a giant salamander. She lingered around the fire with the rest of the men, trying to get her share. The eight year old had no chance of maneuvering through the throng.

Someone held out a hunk of the charred meat to her. Metris snatched it, and tore a bite from it. After swallowing, Metris looked up to the man, her face a gap toothed smile.

"Merci, Mr.-"

Metris slowly tilted her head back down to face him. The now empty bottle fell from her hands.

"Mr. Gregor?"
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Watching the girl tear at the candy bar like a lion chasing the slowest gazelle in the herd, he let one single laugh escape his stoic face. "Well you're hungry enough... that means you're healthy." Seeing the bottle drop, he leaned forward slightly, and squinted his eye a bit. "What? You get hurt more than you look?" Glancing to Nick, he saw that the doctor was already pondering if the girl suffering from some sort of ailment. The man was damn good at his job, and seeing Nick shake his head, Gregor looked back at Metris. Something about the girl sparked the idea that he'd seen her before... but that couldn't be right.

It was a dark night when the group had returned to camp. They managed to bag a giant feisty salamander. The kind you could eat off of for months with a few people digging into it at a time. The group had set about cleaning it, and cooking it over a camp fire, with chunks of it speared into sticks rested over the fire.

There was a little girl traveling with the old man they were gaurding. She looked to be no older then seven or eight. She had long brown hair that seemed to be highlighted with red. Perhaps it was the light from the fire as she circled the group to get some of the food. Bless her for trying, but she didn't have a prayer getting a piece of the more edible rations. Tearing a piece of the meat apart, Gregor handed it out to the young girl as she circled for what seemed to be the tenth time. "Eat up kid. Not often you get some food with real taste."

"I'm going to ask you again now. What's your name? I have the feeling I've seen you before, and I don't like the thought my memory is going bad already."

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Nick stared at the young girl as the others went about questioning her. He payed particular attention to her movements, taking notes of any serious cuts or swelling for later when he'd get a chance to see to her. From what he could tell, she was simply over-tired, and starving. Probably dehydrated aswell. The doctor tried not to over-estimate his own abilities, but from time to time he surprised himself. She wasn't mal-nurished and Mr Kalesh was perfectly right, her hungry showed her own health. However, her eating would need to be monitored depending on how long it had been since she last had proper food consumption. All in all, she seemed fine. However he saw no need in questioning her before she was rested, but M Kalesh's methods seemed to head down the right track. He was having a conversation with the girl instead of interrogating her.

"What? You get hurt more than you look?" Glancing to Nick, Mr Kalesh noticed Nick had already began to form his own diagnosis in his head. The doctor met his gaze, cocked a questioning eyebrow, then shook his head. Nick edged closer to Counsellor Wakefield as Mr Kalesh continued asking the young girl questions. He was careful not to touch the Counseller, fully aware of his issues with cleanlinessrning his outstretched arm to his trouser pocket.

"Excuse me, sir." He waited until the Counsellor achknowledged him. "I need to take the girl to the medical wing. She needs rest and although she only has minor scrapes and bruises I'd very much like to treat them as quickly as possible incase of infection. I have rounds to do now, and if I may be excused I would have you make sure she comes to see me as soon as your done with your...questioning." He tried not to sound arrogant, or indeed act like he could give out orders, but he had a responsibilty to each member of this ship, one just as important as the Counsellor.
Of course, Doctor," Wakefield answered, only glancing away momentarily from Gregor and Metris. The girl had spoken Gregor's name and with it a quiet had struck the crew, many turning from their bridge posts to look for Gregor's reaction.

But the silence had no time to settle. Wakefield and Nick were forced apart as Sabrina barged between them. "Hey, what's she got there?" With her trademark lack of tact, the reporter loomed over Metris and prodded her jacket where the bulge was showing.

It was like she had delivered a static charge, for suddenly Metris recoiled and grabbed at Sabrina's hand. Her mouth opened, pulling the reporter's flesh towards her barring teeth.

She was going to bite.

Coming out of his seat, Gregor got between the girls, but in the process Metris lost her balance and toppled over with her chair. The object hidden in her jacket dropped free and slid across the bridge floor, deftly stopped by Lucas's boot.

Metris cried, a wordless protest, and was about to either crawl or pounce to retrieve her possession. But Draughlaw's pistol came against her head and gave her all the persuasion she needed to remain on her knees.

"Does 'fly on the fucking wall' mean anything to you people?" Gregor barked as he shoved Sabrina into the nearest chair. "Stay there and shut up. The grown-ups are talking."

"Hey, I was just trying to--"

"I said SHUT UP!"

Several sidearms had raised and Wakefield stepped between the lines of fire, raising both hands. "Stand down, all of you. No one's hurt." He cast an eye to Draughlaw. "Stand down."

The scout lowered his pistol, allowing Metris to curl into a foetal position by her toppled chair. She was breathing heavily, as if trying to ward off the tears that threatened to break. Wakefield took a step towards her, then noticed the discarded chocolate wrapper on the floor, still smudged with chocolate and saliva.

He stepped back.

"Doctor, I think some privacy is called for," he cocked his head towards Nick. "Find a room where you can do a medical check. Gregor, you can continue questioning her there. Sergeant D'Andrea, we'll need a security detail posted..."

As he looked to Lucas to give his order, he stopped mid-sentence. The Sergeant was rising from a crouched position, having picked up the object that had fallen from Metris's jacket. Light glinted from it as he held it up.

Recognising the object, Wakefield frowned and moved towards Lucas, taking the object from him.

It was a disc from the Merky - the one he had dictated the last pysche evaluations onto.

Wakefield looked down at the huddled form of Metris, as if seeking an answer, but knew it was pointless talking to her now. He slipped the disc into his pocket and nodded to Lucas. "Get her out of here."

Draug holstering his pistol watched as Wake pocketed the psche eval disc. Draug knowing his job was done left for the rec lounge. On the way down he still saw panicked security teams still running all over the place. ( I think Wake should call off the alert.) Draug triggered his radio, " Hey Wake you still got Sec teams goin nutz down here. Pvt. Ratt you can stop crawling around in the vents now." With that he walked to the nearest elevator.
Metris curled tighter into herself, through the tears and panic, only one thought it to the surface.

Don't let them find it!

Her secret treasure was still tucked into the front of her jacket. She felt gentle hands on her, trying to lift her. She cried and thrashed, ripping herself free, trying to shield her treasure with her body. If they found it, they would take it away.

She didn't even feel the syringe enter the back of her neck.

Metris simply thought she had cried herself to sleep.