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Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

[ T'Less | Beach | Unknown Location ]
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The last thing she remembered was lying in her bunk aboard the Allegiant. She had been having trouble falling asleep as she struggled to come to terms with what she had been ordered to do, both by Commander Dewitt first and then later by Captain Ives. Commander Dewitt had sacrificed her freedom, and potentially her life, to buy the time necessary for the Allegiant to escape from the Breen ships that had been hunting them, recover the away team from the surface and then escape into the void of space where they could no longer be detected. 

That had been when she had contacted Captain Ives. It had taken some time to reach them, for reasons that they had not had the time to go into, but they had ordered her, quite clearly and with no way for her to misrepresent what they had said, to avoid contact and make no attempts, either by herself or with her remaining crew, to rescue Commander Dewitt. That their mission was too important to risk it for the chance at liberating the commander.

Logically, she had understood that. But a part of her mind, or her heart, or something else, had refused to let that be the end of it. And so, she had tossed and turned in her bunk until sleep had finally claimed her.

Which was why the sounds of the ocean and the wet feeling of the sea washing over her lower legs was so astoundingly disorientating.

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #1
[ T'Less | Beach | Unknown Location ] 
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Opening her eyes, T’Less was confronted by bright sunlight filling her field of vision. It was blazing directly down at her, which was nice, but it was sufficiently high that the day was in full swing. Another wave raced up the sand she was laying on and washed over her legs, sending a shiver up through her body at the coolness of the water. Shutting her eyes, T’Less did a quick mental check of her body, using small movements to check for any injuries or loss of feeling. Satisfied, the Vulcan sat up slowly and took her first look around at an unfamiliar view.

The sun was rising over the water just to T’Less’s left and she couldn’t see the far side before it disappeared over the horizon. A slight breeze blew past her face from across the water and carried what she recognised as the smells of the sea on it. It made sense that it would in the context that she was standing barefooted on a beach, the sand beneath her slowly trying to consume her with each wave. It was altogether quite a pleasant location. But it was not where T’Less needed to be.

“Computer: End Program.”

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #2
[ T'Less | Beach | Unknown Location ] 
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When her view of the water was not replaced by the familiar view of the interior of a holodeck, T’Less sighed softly as her mind worked the situation at hand. The holodeck theory was only the reason with the highest probability that she had determined could be a possible cause for her current surroundings. It could still be, she noted to herself, as all it would take was for them to remove internal voice control protocols and she would be essentially be sealed inside until someone else released her.

It didn’t even have to be a Federation holodeck. It could be a Savi simulation like those who had been previously kidnapped had experienced. Or it some other heretofore unknown civilisation that wanted to examine her responses to different stimuli. The lowest probability origin she had mentally listed was involvement from the Q Continuum but that was at less than a one percent likelihood. It rated less than all this being a dream or some other fabrication of her subconscious. Not that it mattered for the time being. She was trapped here. Wherever here was.

Climbing to her feet, the Vulcan looked around at her surroundings, the beach on one side and a line of trees on the other, T’Less spotted a bag sitting on the side of a sand dune where the rolling tide could not reach it. With no other plan, T’Less began to walk barefoot across the sand.

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #3
[ T'Less | Beach | Unknown Location ] 
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As she approached the bag, T’Less saw that it was a backpack, propped up in the sand against her uniform boots. Noting that she now had come kind of footwear to protect herself with, the Vulcan knelt in front of the bag to check what, if anything, it contained. It was probably that whoever had set the bag here, against her boots, had also left other items for her to utilise in some way. Even if the bag was empty, she could still utilise the backpack itself to carry stuff in. Fortunately, it was not empty.

After lifting the flap and undoing the zipper, T’Less found inside the bag several items that would come in useful if she was here for any length of time. First, was a hatchet with a scabbard over its head. This was followed by a Starfleet issue pattern knife, although this was coloured differently and had the letters USMC stamped into the blade in front of the hilt. The scabbard for the knife was attached to a belt. Next came another blade, although it’s handle was bare, hollow tube open at the end. It took longer than she would have liked to admit before she realised that she was holding a spearhead without the shaft. The last three items in the bag were a simple hooded cloak and two canteens, a 1-litre and a 2-litre.

As T’Less put her boots on, she looked out over the waves, wondering again where she was and, more importantly, why she was there at all.

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #4
[ T'Less | Beach | Unknown Location ] 
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Her boots on, T’Less stood up, immediately noting to herself the impracticality of the raised heels of the boot against the terrain she was currently in. Conversely, the length of the boot’s shaft, reaching to just below her knee, offered increased protection and stability to her lower leg and ankle. For now, she would accept the trade off in the face of a lack of better options. The only alternative she could see was to go barefoot as she had been upon awakening.

Reaching back down into the bag, T’Less pulled out the belt and knife scabbard, along with the smaller canteen. She was unfamiliar with the significance of the lettering but so long as the knife was sturdy, it did not matter. Putting the belt on so that the knife hung from her left hip, T’Less hooked the canteen on to her right hip to balance it, shifting it rearward a little so that it did not impede her arm movement. Prepared, the Vulcan picked up the back and swung the straps over her shoulders, pulling them tight.

Prepared, she was about to walk away when she saw the scrap of paper that had been sitting under the bag, a single word scrawled on it.

SURVIVE

With her mind awash with the multiple meanings behind the single word, T’Less began to walk along the beach towards some trees she could see in the distance.

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #5
[ T'Less | Beach | Unknown Location ] 
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Walking across the sand dunes, going up and down them so that she could continue in the same direction she had chosen, T’Less had time to think about the message she had received. Her situation was now looking less like an attempt at humour and more like some sort of a test of her abilities. Otherwise, why equip her and leave instructions. She had the bare basic tools for survival that would give her aid without providing an advantage too gross to affect the potential results.

It was also the reason she was heading for the trees. The shore was refreshing and open, and the sea would hopefully provide her with food, but T’Less had no effective way to catch that food without resources nor was there a safe source of water for her to drink from. This, combined with the lack of shelter available, meant that the Vulcan needed to move on. She wasn’t sure of the local geography, there had been no map provided, but it seemed strange that the beach was so large. It was almost as if she had awoken where a great desert, a forest and the sea all met.

The sun appeared to be reaching its zenith as T’Less stepped into the shade of the first tree, the sand under her boots mixing in with the dirt that managed to cling to the ground around the tree roots. No came another decision, one that could, potentially, have far reaching consequences.

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #6
[ T'Less | Beach | Unknown Location ] 
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“I will need food, water and shelter if I am to survive here for any extended period of time,” T’Less mentally told herself, finding that it helped her to frame her thoughts better. She was aware of the dangers that prolonged solitude could have on a person’s mind but believed that, with her Vulcan training, she would be able to last a considerable period before beginning to succumb to the loneliness. “I must choose between entering the forest or following the tree line in search of fresh water. And If I decide to follow the tree line, in which direction I should go?”

T’Less sat, her back against a tree as she watched the shadows begin to lengthen, attempting to get an idea of what the planet’s day/might cycle might be like. Internally, she mulled over the idea, knowing that in one direction, she knew there was the ocean. She had crossed a vast swathe of sand to get to the forest that had stretched in either direction as far as she could see from the top of the highest dune she had climbed during her crossing. She had seen no mountains in the distance, preventing the easy choice of direction. 

“Logically, the highest probability for finding what I need is from entering the trees,” T’Less calculated, coming to her feet. “Though with that comes an increased chance of injury, death or loss of direction due to a lack of visible landmarks.” Decided, T’Less shouldered her pack and stepped into the forest proper.

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #7
[ T'Less | Beach | Unknown Location ] 
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She had lost track of how long she had walked through the trees. The canopy above, as interspersed as it was with breaks that allowed the sunlight to filter through, blocked T’Less’ vision of the sun itself, preventing her from easily judging the passage of time. All she had to go on was the angle of the shafts of sunlight that penetrated the canopy, the beams acting like the hands of a clock as they shifted. The Vulcan estimated that it had been at least two hours since entering the forest and that she had covered almost 5 kilometres in that time. 

She had stopped once during that time, to remove her uniform jacket and put it in her backup. This had been a necessity due to the increasing humidity, coupled with the sweating from her travelling, causing her clothing to dampen uncomfortably. Her skirt had slowed her progress, the design of the garment unsuited for traversing outdoor terrain but for the moment, there was not much she could do to remedy that without removing it.

Despite her species adaptations to a desert environment, T’Less was beginning to lose hope of find a river easily when her sensitive hearing picked up the tell-tale sound of water passing over rocks. Stopping for a moment to get her bearings, T’Less adjusted her course and set off again with renewed vigour.

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #8
[ T'Less | Beach | Unknown Location ] 
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More walking through the forest ensured that T’Less was saturated before she came within sight of the water. Even as she drew closer though, she began to realise that what she was hearing wasn’t the flowing of a gentle stream but rather the running of a stream where the shores narrowed and grew rocky. The resulting rapids, though a welcome sight when they appeared, ensured that there was nowhere safe for the Vulcan to approach the water's edge without risking injury. Something she knew could be fatal in this environment even if it didn’t kill her outright.

So, once again, she was forced to choose; upstream or down. She could see neither from her current position between boulders and the terrain in either direction was equally uneven. The sand, as best she could tell was behind her with the river flowing parallel to the forest’s edge. It was likely the source for all the greenery in this region and the cause for the abrupt boundry between the two environs as the water table beneath her feet shifted.

“It is easier to go with the flow than against it,” T’Less considered, seeing no other way to decide her course. Enjoying the cool spray from the rapids for a moment more, the Vulcan turned away and began to pick her way through rocks and boulders that littered the shoreline. 

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #9
[ T'Less | Stream’s Edge | Unknown Location ] 
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The sunlight was clearly beginning to wane as T’Less finally stepped around the last boulder in her path to have a smooth shoreline revealed before her. Despite her natural attributes and excellent physical condition, the Vulcan was worn out and in need of a rest. Time, despite noticing the diminishing light levels as she traversed the rocky terrain, had been difficult to track as she had no standard by which to measure it. She was unable to tell if more than several minutes had passed at a time without concentrating too much and ignoring what was around her.

Now though, with the terrain smoothing out and the day approaching its end, T’Less was forced to consider what she was going to do to protect herself from any of the potential dangers that surrounded her. She had seen naught but insects, several small lizard-like creatures with 6 legs and a few birds during her travels but wasn’t about to assume that they were as far as the food chain extended. Nature and evolution did not behave that way, T’Less knew.

But that was a consideration for later as the Vulcan moved over to the shore of the stream and knelt in the shallow water at its edge. The flowing coolness soothed her sore knees as she slipped the back from her shoulders and set it on the dry ground behind her. Leaning forward, T’Less cupped her hands and dipped them into the water to lift some of the fluid up for her to drink. She never got the chance though as something impacted her back and sent her pitching into the water face first.

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #10
[ T'Less | Stream’s Edge | Unknown Location ] 
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Spluttering at her sudden immersion in the cool water, T’Less rolled to the side to try and right herself, unknowingly saving herself from being pinned under her attacker's weight. Breeching the surface, the Vulcan sucked in a lungful of air even as she tried to spit out what water was in her mouth. It was neither dignified, nor pleasantly but it was thankfully mostly successful. Regaining her bearings, T’Less’ eyes fixed on the animal that attacked her, and looked about to again.

It was feline in appearance, with a strong, if slightly hunched build to it. Its forelegs were longer with broader forepaws attached to them and, to the Vulcan’s surprise, what appeared to be an opposable digit. Its body slimmed through the middle before broadening at the hips. This allowed plenty of room for the attachment of the animal’s 4 hindlegs and tail. It had fur along its full length with a somewhat tawny colouring to it.

Lastly came its head. The strong build of it along with the prominent ears and nose suggested a predator species, something that T’Less felt was confirmed when she added in the pair of 10cm canines that extended past the animal’s lower jaw. 

As water streamed off the pair of them, T’Less carefully reached for her knife while the animal roared its anger and displeasure at her.

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #11
[ T'Less | Stream’s Edge | Unknown Location ] 
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Her hand had barely dropped onto the pommel of her knife when the feline lunged at her. T’Less was forced to duck to the side, barely managing to avoid the searching claws from the cat’s forepaws as she did so. The water she stood in, combined with the skirt she was wearing was hindering her movements, leaving her concerned for her ability to survive the encounter with the predator felid, much less come away unscathed from it. Still, fighting was the only valid course of action that warranted effort as she was certain that she would not be able to outrun the cat on land and the water was too shallow here for her to swim to safety.

The cat turned on her, clearly frustrated that its prey had avoided it. It hissed at her and began to stalk her, its body angling slightly as it began to circle her. T’Less knew that it was searching for signs of weakness before making its next attack and kept her eyes fixed on it even as her hand finally found the hilt of her knife, allowing it to be slowly drawn in her defence.

“Your move,” T’Less whispered, her gaze fixed on the feline as it growled back at her while straightening its form.

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #12
[ T'Less | Stream’s Edge | Unknown Location ] 
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The cat hissed at her, in anger, frustration or consternation, T’Less didn’t know. She kept her body angled; knife held at the ready as she moved to keep the cat in front of her as it continued to circle her. After each step, it would pause and eye her, examining her as if wondering if her disposition had changed in the seconds since the step before. And when it found no change, it growled at her before lunging and swiping at her.

T’Less response was calm and measured; she brought her knife up and across, intercepting the cat’s strike and feeling her blade bite into its’ paw. The feline yowled in pain, snatching its paw back before withdrawing to a safer distance. T’Less didn’t move. She could see the blood on paw where she had hurt it, but she couldn’t tell if the injury was serious enough to make the feline consider her too much trouble to be worth it.

Lucked seemed to be on her side this time as after the cat attempted to put weight on its paw and hissed in pain the moment it hit the water, it growled at her before jumping back to shore and loping off into the trees on three limbs. Closing her eyes for just moment, T’Less focused on her breathing to calm herself. The cat was surely not the last predator that she would encounter, and she had to better prepare herself for the next confrontation.

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #13
[ T'Less | Stream’s Edge | Unknown Location ] 
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By all regards, T’Less knew that she had gotten away extremely lucky from her encounter with the predator. She quite easily could have been injured, or worse, despite her vigilance. It had only taken a moment, right when she had knelt to drink from the stream, for her to be seen as prey and attacked. In reviewing the engagement with the cat, T’Less noted several points at which she could have performed better or would need to make adjustments or improvements in the event of future encounters with predators. Something she deemed highly likely in this unknown area. All she knew about it was from her experiences since awakening. The only source of another power at work were the tools and equipment that she had been left and the single noted word. Survive. 

Sheathing her knife, T’Less waded from the water, droplets falling from the hem of her skirt as she contemplated what to do about her soaked boots. They were still impractical due to their design, with the now added saturation levels. But they were still her best choice given the unknowns of the terrain. Until she learnt more about what was around her, it was only logical to not want to step into or onto something that may be a detriment to her survival.

Removing her pack, the Vulcan filled both of her canteens before continuing in search of her next goal, shelter.

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #14
[ T'Less | Up A Tree | Unknown Location ] 
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She had searched for several hours for a safe place to rest and sleep, but when the shadows had started to grow long amongst the trees, T’Less had had to make a choice about what she was going to do. As a Vulcan, she was able to go without both food and sleep for several days, several weeks in the case of sleep, yet it was the unknown that worried her. She had already encountered one of what she expected to be many predators that inhabited this area as well as seen other creatures, both avian and terrestrial as she had explored. What other creatures awaited her in the shadows beneath the thickening canopy?

In the end, she had used the last remnants of daylight to scale a trunk, choosing instead to try and rest in the relative safety of the lower limbs of a tree than risk the openness of the ground. The tree she had chosen wasn’t anything special, it wasn’t the tallest, or biggest in anyway. It wasn’t even the easiest to climb. It was just the closest tree that fit the parameters that she had defined as adequate for a place to rest for the night.

Now, with her back resting against the trunk, T’Less focused on her ears, trying to use her sensitive Vulcan hearing to catch any stray sounds that might warn her of a danger that her eyes couldn’t see. Rest was one thing, sleep another. 

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #15
[ T'Less | Up A Tree | Unknown Location ] 
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The night had been longer than T’Less had anticipated and despite her attempts to rest, the Vulcan had found herself unable to relax in her chosen place. She didn’t feel safe. So, while she had stayed awake and watched, she had considered her situation. She was in an unknown place and time, with nothing but what she was wearing and had been provided. The only instructions she had received was a single word scrawled on a slip of paper. SURVIVE.

“Survival in this place will require significant effort on my part. While I have found a source of fresh water, I still need to identify food sources and somewhere that I can shelter that is more secure than a tree branch,” T’Less mused as she watched the first rays of the star’s light begin to pierce the canopy. It would soon be time for her to move again. Her plan for the day involved following the river, searching for sources of food or a place of shelter along its banks.

When she judged that it was light enough, T’Less scrambled down from the trunk and looked around carefully. She had searched for signs of danger before her descent but was being overly cautious given the ambush she had suffered the previous day. Removing her uniform jacket, no longer needing it to shield from the night’s chill, T’Less stuffed it into her pack before donning it. Patting her hips, feeling the knife on her left hip and the now attached hatchet on her right, the Vulcan set out.

Re: Stardate ????.? - Survival, At All Costs

Reply #16
[ T'Less | Trekking | Unknown Location ] 
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Her skirt had to go. T’Less had concluded that the garment was holding her back more than it was helping her. Idly, she wondered why it had taken her 3 days to determine logically that. Too long around Humans and their need for modesty. An odd concept given the risqué natures of the majority of those that she knew and interacted with. Still, now that it had been decided, T’Less was hesitant to either remove or modify the garment. It just felt wrong.

As she had followed the river, she noticed things that had not been apparent on the first day. First, was that the days were about as long as the nights were. Second, that while it wasn’t insufferably hot under the broken shade of the canopy, the humidity was practically torturous. She had refrained from removing her undershirt the second day, but it ended up thoroughly drenched as the moisture in the air clung to it. She had had to remove it that night to be able to try and rest. The third day, and every day since, she had instead pushed it into her pack with her jacket, resolving instead to trek in just her bra.

The third thing she had noticed was the terrain. The ground was soft underfoot, not hard packed from the baking sun or the repeated passage of animals or people. Looking behind her, T’Less, who had almost no skill in tracking, was able to clearly see where she had stepped. The soft ground also had the disadvantage of allowing her boots to sink in just that little bit more, forcing the Vulcan to exert just that much more energy in lifting her leg as she moved. That morning, T’Less had chosen to remove her boots and socks, instead travelling barefoot and already she could feel the difference in her mobility. Now it was the skirt holding her back.

“Perhaps tomorrow,” T’Less considered as her mind searched over alternatives.

 
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