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The Orchard

Posted on Tue Sep 16th, 2014 @ 3:28pm by Commander Mercia Kavi & Lieutenant Commander Vanora Stele

Mission: The Arena
Timeline: MD3

Once they had exited the invisible maze they had found themselves on a slight slope and a row of trees. Mercia hesitated as they looked through trees not knowing what laid beyond. Seamless had gone one way, and yet there was blinking light the other beckoning her.

Glancing back she could see a smoke rising from the ground, and somehow she just knew that it was less dangerous to move forward, and towards the light. Seamless was gone... Urging her group onward she stepped through the tree line and paused on the other side.

Before her was an orchard, with colorful fruits in every size and shape. Hunger gnawed at her stomach, as the scent his her nose. She noticed every one in her group, Clatra, Mago, Kib, and a Security officer she still hadn't remembered the name of, clutch their stomachs. "Those doesn't bode well." she muttered.

"Why?" Clatra asked moving around a little.

"Because suddenly we're all starving..." Mercia said. "Oh my God it hurts, don't eat though!" she yelled grabbing the security officer, who was reaching for a fruit tree. "We dont know if its safe." she said.

"Mercia look." Clatra said pointing.

On the other side of the orchard, hundreds of yards away was a massive arch, and in the arch was bright light. "The Star Door." Mercia said. Was this the way out?

Blood had ran down the young security officer's forehead but had all but does up. He limped slowly to the commander's side as he stated at the door with sweet relief running thru his mind and almost easing his soul. He looked worn down and exhausted as he tried to take it in. "Please tell me that is the way out."

Mercia looked at him for a moment, her arm aching and sore from where she'd been pierced and burned by an arrow. "I think it might be... but with the sudden starving hunger I'm feeling... I get the feeling these fruits are dangerous, and we have to walk through the entire orchard to get to that door." she said.

Mago was almost doubled over in pain. "I can't take it anymore!" he yelled out before grabbing the nearest fruit and taking huge bites, swallowing without chewing before coughing violently. He waved off the others as they approached him with terrified looks on their faces. "No, I'm alright," he managed to cough. "I was just... choking. Forgot to chew." Feeling less faint, he suddenly felt quite embarrassed at his lack of control and inability to follow Mercia's warning. "Maybe they aren't dangerous?"

Mercia glared at the kid, "Well if you blow up like a blueberry in a moment I guess we'll find out!" she snapped with irritation. "Here I am trying to keep the lot of you alive, and you have to go and grab a fruit!" She was standing next to a tree, and as she yelled at Mago she plucked a yellow fruit out and waved it at the kid. "And you eat it... oh... wow this is a pretty fruit..." she said.

The cadet took a couple steps back from Mercia, wondering how blueberries blew up, before noticing that Mercia had become distracted by the piece of fruit in her hand. "Must be a different species or variant," he guessed aloud as his stomach grumbled again, demanding more fruit. "The piece I had was more of a dark red."

Mercia sniffed it, her stomach ached, she wanted it so bad. Last time she had craved something so badly.... she blushed thinking of David, before pain went through her heart, she was still so confused about what happened.

It seemed they were all drawn to the fruit, Mercia was so hungry she wanted to take a bite so badly. Finally she caved, and instantly spit it out. "Oh it burns!" she gagged, feeling like she was about to be violently ill, and yet she was starving. her body was so confused.

There was a fluttering about in the trees, and a near bird like laugh.

Mago looked down at the fruit. "I don't understand. Maybe only the ones that I had were good?" He pulled off another dark red piece and took a huge bite, but just as quickly spit it out. "Ugh! That burned too!" He sat down on the floor, looking ill.

Clatra watched the two of them, curiously. "I wonder... she plucked a red fruit and took a tentative bite. It was juicy and the most delicious thing she'd ever had. She took another bite and it felt amazing going down her throat. "Hmmm." she picked another and took a bite. As she suspected it was bitter, and burned her mouth. She spit it out gagging, but quickly grabbed a yellow fruit that Mercia had.

She took a bit bite and the relief washed over her, the burning ended. "Eat red, then yellow." she said quickly to the two of them.

"Whats the point? Why?" Mercia gagged, "I'd rather not eat any of them, Oh but I'm so hungry!"

"Red, then yellow. Of course!" Mago understood the importance of Clatra's discovery. "It's an ordering problem. We're supposed to eat the apples in a given pattern." He looked around the orchards as he stuffed his mouth with one of the yellow apples. It was sweet and satisfying. "There are a lot of colors here, at least half a dozen I think. Clatra, you try one and I'll try one of a different color, that way we can increase our chances of getting the next one right." He grabbed a purple fruit and took a tentative bite. He then ran off in the orchards, out of site, but the sound of him emptying his stomach was loud and unpleasant. "Not purple!" he called out in a hoarse voice between heaves.

Kib was trying as well, eating a Red, then Yellow fruit. He snagged a pink one and took a tentative bite. "Its good!" he said.

"But what is the point of this?" Mercia said as she caught up, devouring the fruits in the right order so far. She didn't like the idea that the wrong choice meant someone was likely to throw up.

"Its a puzzle." Clatra shrugged as she examined the fruits looking for a pattern.

"I don't like we're being driven to eat... are you alright Mago?" Mercia asked as Kib tried the green and quickly lost his cookies.

Mago did look more than a little sick, but he waved off Mercia. "I'll be alright. I think." He quickly ate a pink fruit, feeling instantly better now that there was something in his stomach, and, ready to take another one for the team, tried purple again. With more relief than enjoyment, he sighed. "Purple is after pink."

Kib joined him, eating a purple fruit, and then tried the green one. "I think we have it!" he exclaimed.

Mercia followed suit as did Clatra. Soon their group felt satisfied, refreshed, and not sick any more. With the need to eat gone They could turn their attention to the door lit up arch way.

"I'm guessing that was some sort of code..." Mercia said. They approached the door and suddenly she felt something wash over her. She turned and let her eyes scan the distance on the other side of the orchard.

She felt draw, she felt happiness she'd never felt before.

Clatra looked the arch way over, She was nervous, but she had a feeling this was their exit. But it was a risk. She looked at Kib and Mago, and the security officer. "Well.. I'll go through first..." she volunteered. "Mercia?" she asked as the woman started walking away.

Kib grabbed Mercias arm, and the woman didn't even realise that he'd grabbed over her arrow, bleeding wound on her arm. "Commander!" he said.

She looked at Kib with tears in her eyes and a smile, "I've been called." she said.

"Called? Like Seamless?" Clatra asked with alarm. "Kib don't let her go, you... get on her, dont let her walk away."

"But you don't understand." Mercia tried pulling away. "Its where I'm meant to be!" she said looking off mezmorized.

Through the trees at the start of the orchard a beast appeared. It was hairy, large, and had tusks coming from its mouth.

"Oh He's beautiful." Mercia gasped reaching out towards him.

"Oh hell no! He's got seamless's skin around his arm!" Clatra said. "Lets move! fast!"

Kib and the security officer grabbed Mercia's arms and lifted her off the ground as she screamed her protest and following Clatra's orders the group plunged through the light door.

Mercia fell to the ground between the two men screaming. "NO! Take me back! No!" she screamed pain searing through her from the core of her being.

Clatra looked around, they were back in the temple near a wall, but she wasn't given long to look around before a transporter beam caught them up, taking them to Gladiators sickbay.



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