|It's Not Cricket
Author: RoaringMice PM
Trip forgets something important. Cricket, Ferris Wheels, and the ties that bind.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Sci-Fi/Supernatural - C. Tucker & M. Reed - Chapters: 6 - Words: 8,436 - Reviews: 28 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 01-17-06 - Published: 01-10-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2746239
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Beta: SueC, with thanks.
Disclaimer: I don't own it, I make no money from it. Not written for profit, simply for pleasure.
Note: Parts of the structure of the first couple of scenes of this story were inspired by an SG: Atlantis story I've read recently. It challenged me to try the same type of treatment at the beginning of this story. However, I don't remember which story, or the author's name, so my apologies on that.
As they passed the eighth planet of the system, the shuttlepod's instruments lit up in a burst of light and sound. "Woah," Travis said from the pilot's seat beside Trip, his focus held by the monitors in front of him. "There's a data stream coming through in a language..."
Hoshi interrupted from her position just behind him. "It seems like a variation of Kengarian," she said as she stared over his shoulder. She looked down at her padd, nodding slightly as she read. "Definitely a variation of Kengarian. But...hmm," her voice trailed off as she concentrated.
Malcolm, from the back of the ship, said, "I thought this system had long since been deserted?"
Trip kept his eyes on the streaming data. "The Vulcan database said that this system was uninhabited, the residents of the central planet having disappeared over four generations ago."
Travis nodded, his hands flying over the controls. "They're awful chatty for people who aren't there."
"Hoshi," Trip said over his shoulder. "Any idea what they're saying?"
"Not yet. But I'm not sure it's actual people down there. It may be a recorded message."
"What do you mean?" Trip replied, spinning his chair to face her.
"It seems to be a series of the same phrases, repeated over and over."
"Can you reach Enterprise?" Trip asked, turning back to his instruments.
"No. Like the Vulcans said, the distortion in this region is too strong. We won't be able to get in touch with Enterprise until we leave the system."
Travis added, "Even if we left now, it would take at least an hour..."
Trip tuned out Travis' voice as he watched the information flow across his screen. He thought he'd seen -
"Travis, can you show that again?"
Travis made a quick adjustment to the controls, and the same data played across the instrument for a second time.
Trip simply stared at it for a moment. Then he said, "Again, please," and the data flowed across the screen once more. "See if you can land here," Trip said to Travis, pointing at one piece of data in the information streaming across their instruments.
Malcolm, now behind him, put one hand on Trip's chair. "Commander," he said, frowning as Trip looked back over his shoulder. "We know nothing about these people. It would be better to gather more information, then leave the system so we can communicate with Enterprise before we land."
Trip shook his head impatiently. "I don't think we have time."
"Why not?" Malcolm said.
Trip jabbed a finger at the instrument in front of him. "Because that is a Xindi energy signature."
"It's not far now," Travis said, looking up from his padd and nodding in the direction they were walking. "The signature is coming from about two kilometres in that direction."
"I still don't see why we had to land so far from the city," Hoshi said, flashing a nervous smile to Travis beside her, their feet raising dust from the empty road.
"Do you remember the Xindi?" Trip snapped from his position behind her.
"Yes, Commander. I do," she replied, not looking at him.
Trip let his tone soften. "We don't know who these people are, or even IF these people are, or why there's a Xindi signature in the middle of their city. Better to land far away and walk in quietly, then land close by and announce our presence."
Hoshi nodded, still not looking at him. She moved forward to where Malcolm was on point.
After a long moment, Trip said, "I'm an idiot," under his breath.
Travis slowed and fell into step with him. "She's still bothered by what happened when she was captured."
Trip nodded slowly. "I know." And he did know, he thought as he walked beside Travis. He thought of his sister, murdered in the Xindi attack on Earth, and he felt a sharp twist in his gut. Perhaps better than anyone, he knew.
It looked kind of like a stuck ferris wheel, thought Trip as he stared up at its top, at least nine meters up, the curved, silver edge framed against the twilight-lit clouds. Definitely not a Xindi ship, or weapon, although the Xindi-like readings were definitely coming from something inside the huge device in front of him. He rolled his neck, trying to work off some of his tension.
Why would Xindi tech be here, on this deserted planet? If it even was Xindi - he wasn't sure about that, now that they were closer.
He reached out a hand to trace the elegant swoop of one of the device's supports - he'd always been a sucker for new tech, never could resist. His finger touched the surface, which was oddly warm in the cool of the evening air, and he smiled, anxiety gone, suddenly lost in memories of childhood carnivals...cotton candy that always made him sick, and he'd go on the rides and make himself sicker, half on purpose, making himself dizzy, and he'd always wished he had the whole park to himself, no lines, and God, his sister used to love the ferris wheel -
"I wouldn't..." Travis said just as the support lifted up, revealing a panel covered in green swirling figures.
Trip shook his head against the onslaught of memories, then focused on the panel before him. Text, he supposed as his eyes traced the swirls. He pulled his hand back as Hoshi stepped forward with a surprised look.
"One moment, please," Malcolm said, and Hoshi nodded as he moved into place beside Trip and began scanning the panel.
Trip said to Hoshi, "Any idea what this says?"
Hoshi shook her head. "I'm not even sure that it's writing."
As Trip reached a finger out again, intending to trace the figures, he felt a hand on his arm. "Not a good idea, Commander," Malcolm said. Trip nodded without looking at him, eyes still tracing the intricate patterns.
As his teammates worked beside him, each focused on their own analysis, Trip stepped a bit closer to the panel, hand hovering just over the "writing", if that's what it was, swirling and swooping before him. Before he even realised it, he'd touched it, lightly, with the tip of one finger. He felt a rush of warmth spread from his finger, up his arm, to his cheeks, his toes, everywhere. His whole body felt warm, and soft, and comfortable, and he watched as the pattern of the swirls began shifting as he stared. That couldn't be right, he thought vaguely. He sighed, and that concern drifted away with the last of the tension of the day, his life, everything.
At the edge of one of the curves, to the left of the panel, there was a small, circular whorl, and he traced his finger along the surface until his palm rested across it. Without even looking, he knew that there would be a similar spiral on the right side of the panel, just out of his reach. Two people, he thought. Whatever this is, it needs two people to -
"Um, Malcolm?" he said quietly, so low that only his friend, working next to him, would hear. Before Malcolm could answer, Trip let go of the device. He reached across and took Malcolm's wrist, quickly guiding his friend's hand onto the rightmost spiral, letting go so that he could place his own left hand back on the instrument.
"Commander?" Malcolm said, his face expressing his surprise.
Trip was just about to pull away from the panel when there was a rush of noise and lights, and he looked up to see the ferris wheel spinning above him. Spinning? he thought as the world shifted and fell away.
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