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Sands of Time

Posted on Fri Dec 3rd, 2021 @ 7:33pm by Captain Tan'ato Tejera

Mission: Tempus Fugit
Location: ???
Timeline: ???

Captain Tan’ato Tejera winced and raised his massive arm up to protect his face. The wind tugged at the loose white robe he wore. It only protected him slightly against the stinging, blowing stand. The storm was getting stronger. He squinted, making out a massive shape through the blowing sand ahead of him, dark and looming in the strange red light of the storm. Straining against the wind, Tan plodded forward in the loose sand toward it, toward at least a bit of shelter.

Then Tan’ato’s attention was attracted by some movement to his left. Another figure, small and seemingly delicate, hunched in the blowing sand, struggling through the loose morass of the desert dunes. Tan changed course, forcing himself over to the figure as it seemed to be almost overtaken by a gust of violent wind, disoriented. He reached the figure and wrapped his tree trunk-like arms around it, turning to use his massive body to shield it from the wind for just a moment.

“This way!” he yelled to the figure, pointing and indicating the dark mass. “Shelter!”

Ledeya was confused, as she did not know where she was at all. It was a confusing situation, one made worse as the sand ripped around her, stinging her face despite her glasses protecting her eyes and the hood over her. She glanced up as a figure wrapped around her and pointed out a structure. His voice was familiar, but she could not place it right then and there.

“Yes. Let us head there,” she called over the wind and started to drudge further forward as the structure came into view, revealing it was a huge pyramid. Where were they? Was this another Q issue after the date she had been thrust into?

The sand got deeper, making the way tougher, and Tan’ato finally just lifted the smaller woman into his arms, holding her solidly draped across his chest, face tucked into him against the blowing sand. He circled the massive base of the pyramid until he found something that resembled a door set into a small alcove. It protected them against some of the storm, so he set the woman back onto her feet and put his shoulder to the stone. There was a grinding sound, and slowly it started to move under the strength of the massive Orion.

“Thank you,” the woman said. grateful to be back on her feet. She hated being lifted and not on her own feet, but she had been struggling to put one foot in front of the other with the sand getting deeper. Ledeya helped push the stone back and slipped inside, surprised to see torches lit already to guide them.

Tan’ato frowned at the torches, as well. “Were we expected?” he wondered, shoving the door closed against the blowing winds behind them as the torches flickered dangerously, threatening to go out. He was careful to make sure they could get it back open.

Tan’ato pushed back the hood of his desert kaftan, revealing his strong Orion features and short black hair. He put a hand to his belt, but found no phaser there. He did have a canteen, and it seemed full. Where was he? How did he get here? He looked over to the woman.

Tan took the water from his belt and offered it to the woman. “You are unhurt?” he asked her.

Ehestri shook her head at the offer of water. “I am quite well.” She was unhurt, but relieved to be out of the sand. “Tejera? Captain Tejera? Nightingale, right?” the woman demanded as she lowered her own hood and took off the goggles that had luckily been included. “I am Ledeya Ehestri. We met at the tech conference before Task Force 72 was changed around and Minawara took over.”

“Ah, yes, I recall,” Tan’ato said. He took a healthy swig of the water before replacing it on his belt. “I do not know where we are, or how, but it seems we were expected.” He looked at the torch flickering near them.

“I have no idea if we were expected. I have no idea what is going on. I am having a weird week thanks to an aged Q,” Ledeya explained, hoping to evaporate the concern.

Tejera frowned. “Q again?” he asked. “That figures. I--” He paused, realizing he did not recall what he was last doing. Everything was a bit...hazy.

“No idea. One moment I was on top of the Eiffel Tower in a beautiful red dress, and the next I am up to my knees in sand. Have you had contact with one of them before?” Was she a pawn now for a Q to play with and set up for male Task Force 72 commanding officers?

“Eiffel Tower in a red dress?” Tan cut that thought off, though, not inquiring into an admiral’s personal life. “I haven’t had Q contact in several months. I didn’t see a Q this time. I just...found myself in the desert.”

Tan’ato looked down the stone-lined corridor ahead of them. There was nothing but sandstorm out the door behind them. “Maybe we'll find somewhere more comfortable to wait out the storm,” Tejera said. “Earth has structures like this, right? Are we on Earth?”

“I have no idea. Not Human, but I guess we follow the light and hope it’s something better than the storm out there, hmm, Captain?” Ehestri commented with a smile as she took a firmer grip on the torch and started down the corridor that was literally for them.

“Maybe I should go first, Commodore,” Tan’ato said, urged by the fact that he was larger and stronger, she outranked him, and his own internal Orion deference and protectiveness toward females. He followed for now, though, towering over her, as they moved down the corridor. He didn’t know if this was Earth, so didn’t know if they would have the same sorts of things inside, even though he didn’t really recall their purpose on Earth, either. It wasn’t something he had studied.

"You could, but I won't let you," Ledeya commented. She was not a damsel in distress, and if she spent more than five more hours according to her chronometer there she was going to be a deadly out of control weapon. Ledeya looked at the walls and ran her hand over the words on the walls and frowned, as she could not make out what it was. "Any idea about these symbols?" she wondered, stepping back to allow him to look at them with her torch.

Tan’ato frowned, but did as Ledeya said. He moved over to the wall to study the symbols. “Some kind of...pictographs?” he asked. “Possibly writing?” He checked if he had a tricorder. It would have a Universal Translator available for writing, but it was absent.

Ledeya nodded. She could not help but agree with him over the symbols and what they could mean. It was nothing she knew, but there were so many cultures in the universe there would be no one who knew them all. “I agree with you, Captain, though it does look more Human,” she admitted as she heard a noise in the distance like something scraping along stone.

“So Earth, then,” Tan mused. His time on Earth had been decades ago, and he hadn’t explored a lot of it, being on probation and self-educating himself. Starfleet Security had kept an eye on him. “What was that place? Egypt?”

"Yeah possible," Ledeya said quietly trying to work out where the noise was coming from.

Tejera tensed when the scraping sound occurred. He had only a torch as a weapon. He felt his heart racing, his blood rising, at the possibility of violence. He forced himself to focus, taking deep breaths to calm his excitement. He would defend Commodore Ehestri, but he would have to keep control of himself. Why did that control feel more...frayed now?

Tan moved forward to the next intersection, closer toward the sound.

Ledeya held her peace as the man moved forward. She might have to let him go forward, as she could feel the pressure behind her eyes starting at the lack of dampener. "Captain, I need to tell you something." She needed to share her condition.

Tan’ato looked back and down at Ledeya. “Yes, sir?” he prompted, looking back in the direction of the sounds again before returning his attention to his superior officer.

"I...." The woman stopped as she saw a figure lurching towards them down the corridor. "Um... mummy?" she wondered as the figure lurched into the pool of light from a torch and they got a look at it.

Tan blinked in confusion, not turned around to see the lunging creature. “Mummy?” he asked, parsing his Standard. “Um, I don’t know who my mother is. I was an orphan on the streets for as long as I can remember,”

Ledeya did not even have time to argue or try and explain how wrong she was as she spun him around to see what was coming towards them. “No. Mummy?” The woman pointed behind him down the corridor where, like one of the old films that perused Cosmo’s movie night, a mummy stumbled towards them. Its short brawny body was hunched over. Two broad arms dangled at its sides and ended in tiny hands with bent fingers. It was slow and shambling, but Ledeya could almost feel the danger from it in the air.

“Oh,” Tan’ato said, staring at the shambling figure wrapped in bandages. “Greetings,” Tan spoke up, taking a couple steps toward it. “We seem to be lost, and apologize if we are disturbing you,” the Orion said. “Are you injured? Can we help you in some way? We do not have our usual medical equipment, but we are trained in emergency field medicine.”

"Sheesh... No," Ledeya said, grabbing the large Orion back as she started to back up. She could not believe he was offering assistance to a mummy who was coming towards them like an old horror film from Earth. "You really need to watch classic horror movies. They are the bad guys," she explained as the creature stumbled into the wall and then reoriented themselves to come after them again.

“Bad guys?” Tan’ato studied the mummy again. “If you watch the news, I’m the bad guy, too,” he pointed out. But he let Ledeya take the lead down another tunnel away from the mummy. “What does it want? Why is it angry?”

"I do not watch the news since I became the subject of news and rumours." Ledeya wanted to venture into what he could have done to be the subject of the news, but it was not the time or place to be doing that when there was a mummy running around chasing them. "Well, in films they are seeking revenge against those who defiled their tombs. We have done none of that, just got caught up in a strange game of a Q."

“So this place is his tomb?” Tan asked. “What do we do about it? We can’t go back out in the storm.” Even if they could find the exit again.

"It seems so, Captain," the Betazoid said, taking the nearest torch down to use as a weapon as she heard pounding on the door, signifying that the mummy had found them. "What would you do in a normal non-horror movie situation?" she demanded.

Tan’ato swallowed a bit and seemed to pale slightly. He simply nodded and took down a torch for himself, as well. “This will not be pretty,” he said simply, turning to face the door beside Ledeya.

"Not at all," Ledeya assured as she tugged on the man's arm and led him further along the corridor and away from the banging. They could keep running for a bit longer, as it seemed that the mummy was not the smartest. Ledeya wanted to understand what was going on and why they, of all people, were trapped in a movie, as mummies were not real.

Tan acknowledged Ledeya and moved further along after her. The corridor seemed to slope up, higher and deeper into the pyramid. Maybe there were other exits they could find.

Ledeya glanced back as she heard the door they had been hiding behind obviously was busted in from the sound. She did not say anything, but she could understand that her fellow captain would know what it was.

Tan’ato heard the noise and shook his head. “We’re going to have to find someplace to make a stand if we can’t get out,” he said. “Somewhere advantageous to us.” He paused. “Let me fight it, Commodore,” he told her. “I’m stronger. It will give you time to find the exit and escape.”

“We fight together,” Ledeya commented. Leadership, just like medical practices, you needed to know when and if to do something.

“Both of us dying doesn’t accomplish anything,” Tan’ato reminded her as they entered an open area. There were jars along the walls, and small statues of objects, as well as more paintings on the walls.

“Captain, I am not sure who have been your leaders previously, but a leader does not leave someone to die whilst they escape,” Ledeya said, looking at the pictures on the wall with interest as they described how to open a door.

“And a junior officer should sacrifice for a superior, Commodore,” Tan shot back just as confidently, emphasizing her rank. “You are more important to Starfleet than the captain of a hospital ship.”

"No one is more important than another." Ledeya countered as the man looked at her intently.

Tan’ato studied the pictures. “Wait. I think...these are important,” he mused. He pointed to paintings of a bunch of jars. It looked like the people in the picture were taking the organs from the mummy and putting them in the jars. “Do you see any jars like these?” he asked her. The room looked kind of like the room in the paintings, some kind of place where they did the mummifying, perhaps?

Ledeya looked around, holding out the torch to cast more light around as the door thudded open making Ledeya yelp and turn to see the mummy stumbled into the room zoning in straight on them. "So much for time," she murmured as she spotted the pots. "There!" she called to Tan'ato wildly. "I will distract and you can get," she ordered without hesitation.

Tan hesitated, but then gave her a nod. He picked his way through the overfilled room toward the jars, unsure what he would do when he got to them.

"Come on, mummy!" Ledeya yelled loudly. As she distracted the mummy, it ambled her way sluggishly thankfully, as she was the more animated of the pair. It lurched and grabbed Ledeya, but for a small woman she was not weak and stomped on its foot, making it fall back a step as she swung at it.

“Duck!” Tan’ato yelled. He had looked at the jars and did not known what to do, so he just grabbed one in his massive hand and chucked it at the mummy’s head. It smashed in a shower of pottery and dried, desiccated organ -- liver, Tejera thought.

"Easy for you to say," Ledeya said as the mummy dived for her again, but she rolled to the floor and then winced at what could only be body parts covered her. The mummy roared and grabbed her up by her neck, squeezing hard for a moment before the room filled with bright lights and Ledeya woke up on her ship. She let out a scream as she looked around and sat up from where she had fallen asleep on her couch. "Nightingale..." she whispered to herself as the computer beeped to let her know there was an incoming transmission.

The transmission wasn’t coming from a secure Starfleet channel, but a civilian one. Tan’ato Tejera appeared on the screen, shirtless, his numerous scarification tattoos in evidence over his massively muscular green body. “Commodore?” he confirmed, peering into the screen, speaking softly, glancing around offscreen occasionally.

“I am fine. So it was not a dream?” Ledeya said with a shake of her head. Damn Q was causing problems, but for the life of her, she did not know whose problem he was, because he was not hers.

“Apparently not,” Tan said. He seemed to be sweating, a look in intense concentration on his face.

"Leave this with me, Captain. I need to look into this," Ledeya said, feeling too drained to try and connect the dots of the events that were surrounding her. She needed to discuss this with the senior officers quietly as someone would have surely noticed her disappearance.

“Yes, sir,” Tan’ato said. “I –” He was interrupted by a feminine voice off screen. It sounded…displeased, and the look on Tan’ato’s face went…vacant as he cut off the communications.

Ledeya just chuckled and sat back in her chair and considered the situation until she was called by a voice to come to bed. No one had noticed her disappearance, but what was a Q wanting with her of all people?



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