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  Fleet Captain Kaveh Arzie, Lieutenant Lukas Behr, Dr. Brett Reese, Lieutenant J. G. Patricia Yancy, SD
 
Captive Audience - Stardate: 201804.22
 
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The buzzing wouldn’t stop. For a few minutes, Arzie thought it was coming from whatever room they were in. As he opened his eyes, he realized that the throbbing buzz was coming from his own head.

     Massaging his temples, he tried to gather his thoughts. A large, beige ship with spires and buttresses. A smaller ship. A purple. . . man? A restraining field. Where was he now? He looked around. A bed of some kind. The walls and ceiling were a mauve colour. The bed a queer taupe.

     Whatever restraining field had been on him, he noticed that that he was able to massage his temples, and hypothesized that the field was gone. Attempting to sit up, Arzie succeeded. The room was a comfortable size, and had two single beds. Lieutenant Behr was still asleep on the other one. There was a desk and chair, and a few cupboards, but not much else aside from a door. Looking out the small window he could see the Tahnna’Whanna system slowly going by as they passed the orbit of Tahnna’Whanna IX.

     Pat noticed the personal force field generator on their captor. She didn’t notice where the power pack was to power the force field, but it appeared to be draining the alien. Keeping her mouth closed, she kept trying to figure out how to locate and then incapacitate the force field, thus leveling the playing field.


     This whole being taken captive wasn’t really her forte, but she was doing the best she could. She was much better at puzzles, so she was doing her best to look at this situation as one giant puzzle to be solved, hopefully with all her crewmates and the Captain alive at the conclusion.


     The next thing she knew, she was waking up in a narrow bed in a strange room. Somehow between being tractored in and now, she had been drugged and put to bed. At least she was still in her uniform and not something else. This entire situation had just gone from a 5000 piece puzzle to a double sided 5000 piece 3D puzzle. She was determined to solve it.


     Slowly, she got up from the bed, grateful she wasn’t restrained. There were two doors leading from the room. Using the time honored eeny meeny miny mo, she picked the one that lead to a small bathroom. Well, at least there were facilities. The other door opened into a slightly larger common room. On the table was a bowl filled with strange fruit and a carafe of a slightly yellow tinged liquid.


     As suddenly as he recalled the blackness, the void disappeared with a static hum. He gasped and blinked, glancing around quickly. Lukas pushed up from the mattress, his fingers gripping the comforter that had been draped over him. Cerulean irises focused on the man sitting in the bed next to him. “Captain- Are you okay?” The German pushed the blanket aside and got to his feet. He glanced down and brushed his hands over his person, just to be sure he was still in tact. A soft grunt left his lips as he noticed the phaser gone.


     Quick strides carried him to the door first. He paused and took a step back when it opened for him. Lukas glanced around the common space, noting Lieutenant Patricia Yancy. He saw that she was investigating and retreated to search the cupboards. Finding them empty, his gaze shifted to the Catullan as he made his way out of the bedroom. The operations and sec-tac officer surveyed the larger room as he approached the engineer. “What have you found?” he asked quietly. He diverted to the main door and started tapping on the panel in an attempt to figure out the locking mechanism.    


     Pat looked at Lukas and shrugged a little. “They use personal force field devices to protect themselves and possibly to alter their appearance. I would have to get my hands on one to figure it out. I haven’t determined whether this fruit and drink are safe for our consumption, I was about to do a skin test on them when you came out. Is the Captain awake yet? I haven’t seen or heard from the Doctor yet, but she was still sleeping in the room she and I are sharing.”


     She selected a fruit that looked like a cross between an apple and a banana with orange skin. Trying the peel, she found that it didn’t peel, it was more like an apple’s peel, edible without removing it. Scraping it against the table to release some of the juice, she rubbed it into her arm and then waited to see if she would react to it. The juice was purple and smelled overpoweringly sweet. But before she tasted it, she was going to make sure that it wasn’t harmful.


     “Yeah, I’ll live.” Arzie said, sliding off the bed and moving into the common area. He nodded at Yancy as he snatched up a fruit. “What about you two? Neither of you look the worse for wear.” He said, biting into the fruit. “Has anyone seen Doctor Reese yet?” He asked as he began to pace around the room, inspecting the cupboards and panels.


     “She was still unconscious in the room we share, Captain.” Pat answered. Since no reaction was happening to her skin, she took a bite of the fruit she tested and found it tasted like a cross between pineapple and coconut. It was rather nice, add a little rum to it and you would have a naturally grown pina colada.


Arzie nodded. “Well, it doesn’t look as though there’s immediate threat to our persons.” He said, in between munches of whatever it was that this tasty fruit was. “Aside from the abduction, I mean.” He looked himself and his crew up and down. “Looks like they nabbed our communicators, as well.” He said with a frown. “For the time being, I say we just relax. Keep an eye open for a way to escape, but for now, let’s just see where this goes, eh?”


     Lukas frowned as he glanced over his shoulder toward the captain and the engineer. There would be no way for him to relax. The German’s mind was at work as he focused once again on the panel. The characters were foreign and there appeared to be no pattern to their arrangement. He was hesitant to simply try combinations out of fear that it would lock him out. Thick and calloused fingertips caressed the edge of the glassy surface in search of an access to the circuitry. “Damit bin ich überhaupt nicht einverstanden, (I’m not okay with that at all.)” he murmured to himself.


     Nodding, Pat continued to work the puzzle in her mind, trying to figure out just what sort of edge they could find. She also moved to look at the different glyphs on the different walls, trying to find some logic in the alien script. Careful to not depress anything, she traced some of the more interesting patterns of glyphs, praying nothing bad happens in her exploration.


Brett slowly opened her eyes and felt the thick gunk holding them shut. She rubbed it away and sat up, “Woah,” she said grabbing her head. “What the hell happened?” Looking around she saw there was no one else there. Slowly she stood and made her way out of the room. In the hall she stopped to listen for the others. Hearing nothing she picked a direction and made her way through the facility. Ten minutes and several turns later she heard voices ahead. “What the hell happened?” she asked entering the room and seeing Arzie and the others. “Feels like someone used my head for a soccer ball.” Without thinking she grabbed what looked like a bottle of water and downed it in one long gulp as she dropped into a chair.

     “Well, the gang’s all here as the saying goes. Glad to see you awake, Doctor. Try that fruit, it’s very interesting and hasn’t given any of us adverse effects and it even tastes pretty good.” Pat was trying to be helpful, something she didn’t have a lot of practice in but she hoped it would make her fellow lady captive feel better. She sat down next to Brett and took another of the odd fruit with the wonderful taste. She also took a drink of the slightly yellow tinged liquid and found it was slightly tangy, like lemonade only very sweet like apple juice and yet it had a spicy element like cinnamon. She had to admit it tasted very nice.

     Brett rubbed her temple in a vain effort to stop the throbbing. “So where is here and have any of you seen my med kit?” She took another bottle of water from the table and gave it a swing. The yellow one didn’t look to appealing right now with this splitting headache. She picked over the fruit and finally took one off the top, sniffed it, and tentatively took a bite. “Interesting.”    
        
‘I imagine “here” is the Solka-Het vessel we saw hovering over the Outpost.’ Arzie answered. ‘As for your med kit, no. It seems as though they have taken all of our personal effects prior to our depositure in this. . . suite.’ He sat down in one of the chairs and put his feet on the small coffee table. ‘I saw us pass Tahnna’Whanna IX just after I came to. My guess is that they mean to abscond with us. To what end, I don’t know yet. Perhaps as some sort of “ransom” or perhaps to study our physiology.’ Arzie mentioned with a casual bite of the fruit.

As if to punctuate the Captain’s hypothesis, a small screen came to life. Another purple-skinned individual with a kelly green line of downy feathers running across his jawline spoke to them from the other end.

‘Greetings, and welcome to the Solka-Het vessel Loyal Reeve. A representative of the Empire will be along momentarily to speak with you and offer our formal greetings. In the meantime, please indulge yourself of the refreshments provided.’ The figure announced before the screen flickered off again.

‘Well, that settles that.’ Arzie said, responding to the message. ‘Perhaps we’ll find out how we can best resolve our mutual issues, eh?’

   
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