1000: Last Man Standing

by Dane Cristiane and Landry Steele
(As told by Commander Salvek)


After the elimination of Tubman, Parrish and Tenney, the tide slowly began to turn in favor of the Alchemy crew, despite the loss of Salvek.

What the Counselor lacked in wilderness combat skills, he more than made up for with his ability to “see” through rocks, trees, and anything else someone may be hiding behind. Adding to this talent his formidable skill at a similar game from his homeworld, he was nearly unstoppable despite struggling against the weather and his own fatigue. Reece and Grace’s would-be revenge against the Betazoid was spoiled when Vol Tryst had the last laugh against both Trills.

Reece first was spotted, in more ways than one, trying to get a butterfly to land on his finger in an open meadow. Vol waited patiently for the butterfly to move to a safe distance, and deposited a splatter of paint right between his shoulder blades.

“Shoot me in the back, eh Coun’sler? Too chicken to face me?” Dabin crowed in a horrific attempt to mimic Keiran’s accent.

“Not at all, Dabin. I just didn’t want to hurt Reece.” Vol shot back.

He had a feeling Grace was likely nearby as well, and Dabin was trying to keep him distracted so he would not pick up her approach.

“Yeah yeah yeah. So, you get anyone else yet Vol?”

Vol shut him out, trying to tune in on February’s thoughts. She was close, but he wasn’t sure exactly where.

At that moment, a high-pitched squeal accompanied by the sound of a voice over a bullhorn filled the forest. February could not help but groan in pain from the intensity of it, and Vol immediately picked up her location.

“Commander Reece! You have been eliminated! Report to the detention area immediately!” The voice of Jelca Rued boomed through the trees. Vol watched February, while February watched Jelca march out of the trees and into the meadow, still holding her bullhorn, and she shouted at Reece. “Now!

“All right, I’m going, geez.” Dabin picked up his weapon and headed for the forest. February harrumph in frustration. This Jelca woman seemed to use every excuse in the world to get near her Dabin and pick on him. When she finally looked away, Vol was standing right next to her with his weapon trained on her.

“Aww man! You cheated!” She protested, surrendering her weapon.

“Your husband spoke with the Alchemy team earlier, and we all agreed, no one can bring themselves to shoot you, so…” Vol squeezed out a pellet of paint onto the tips of her shoes.

“You still cheated.” She said with pursed lips. “And those were my best boots.” She took her gun, and jogged to catch up with Dabin.

Elsewhere in the forest, Zander Blakeslee and Micah Samson fell victim to the blue painted mystery man. Jariel Camen found himself between Ryn, Cristiane and Gira Lassiter by an unfortunate happenstance. Having no intention of shooting at any of the women, he took a few failed shots at Dane, and was eventually taken out by either Ryn or Lassiter, depending on who’s paintball you believed hit him first.

T’Dara and Trev Sterling fired on and hit each other simultaneously, eliminating both from the game.

When the CO2 and paint cleared, TC Blane was the last active member of the Sera team, with Ryn, Cristiane, Lassiter, Tryst and Landry Steele, whom no one had seen since this began, on the other side.

Dane and Gira hiked through the woods together. Cristiane had two goals in this competition. The second was to win, but the primary goal was to protect Gira from getting hit. Every time she told him to spread out and give her some space, he somehow managed to wander back to her side within a few minutes. He tried to make it look like a coincidence, but she wasn’t stupid, and she wasn’t all that put off by it either.

They had passed the detention area about half an hour previously, and knew that TC Blane was the only member of the Sera crew still out there. Dane could not help but snicker, just a bit, at seeing the entire command crew locked up while he was still roaming free. His enjoyment was short lived however. The Captain was incredibly observant, and one look from her told Dane she knew exactly what he was thinking.

“I see something,” Gira whispered. She stopped walking, and lowered herself down slowly. “Definitely a woman.” She added.

“It must be Ryn.” Dane guessed. He stood up cautiously, and upon seeing with his own eyes that it was their teammate, waved her down.

“Have you seen Tryst or Steele?” Ryn asked when she made it to the top of the hill.

“Yes, I have.” Came a voice from about twenty meters away. Dane spun and trained his weapon on Vol Tryst, then lowered it down.

“I’ve been following the two of you since you left the detention area.” Vol said.

Dane snickered at the Counselor. “Who put you up to that? The Captain or O’Sullivan?”

Vol actually looked hurt by the accusation. “Maybe, Mister Cristiane, I was merely keeping close to you so that if Mister Blane ambushed you, I could move in and catch him off guard.

“Is he the only one left? Lara asked.

“Just him.” Gira confirmed. “Maybe we should stick together. He can’t shoot all four of us at the same time, and if we flush him out we should be able to get him.”

Dane kept his eyes moving across the treetops, making sure he wasn’t perched from above. “I wouldn’t underestimate him. Commander Blane is more than a match for four people. I’ve seen him.”

As if to punctuate Dane’s warning, a sphere of paint appeared, seemingly from nowhere, and splattered right on the Counselor’s chest. Dane, Gira and Lara scattered, looking for cover, and Vol’s shoulders slumped.

“Damn.” He muttered. There was still no sign of Blane, but Vol could only just now hear his thoughts as the very edge of his perception range.

TC had made it a point to take out Vol first, and he had done it from a distance to avoid being “heard” by getting too close. Thus, the Alchemy team’s greatest weapon had been neutralized. Vol shifted his eyes at Dane as he began to exit the area as per the rules, indicating which direction Blane was approaching from.

The silence was, as the saying goes, deafening as they waited. The only thing that could be heard was Vol’s footfalls crunching through the leaves, and even that vanished after a few minutes. Dane shifted his eyes back and forth between Gira and Lara, looking for some indication that one of them might have spotted Blane. He didn’t hold out much hope however. Blane would be sighted when, and if, Blane felt like it. It was entirely possible he would take all three of them out without ever being seen.

Dane’s mind raced through every training exercise he had done with Keiran. O’Sullivan had warned him that all the lessons and holodeck scenarios could teach you the basics but nothing actually prepared you for the real thing- for matching wits with another being- like being there. He was right.

TC gave Vol ample time to vacate the area, to be sure the Betazoid didn’t have the chance to compromise his position to his teammates. This delay had the secondary effect of keeping his opponents on edge as well. The trio from the Alchemy team was still looking to the West, but Blane had already circled behind them to the East. He was perched in a branch, peering through the leaves, about four meters above the ground, with Lieutenant Ryn in his sites.

His plan was simple: to fire at her and miss. When his opponents realized Blane was behind them, they would all step out into the open to return fire, giving him the chance to hit all three. With the leaves mostly obscuring him from view, he was confident he could hit all three before any of them could lock on.

Blane sent a single shot, flying just over Ryn’s shoulder. Gira saw the paint splatter, and spun around. “He’s behind us!”

“Gira, no! Get behind the tree!” Dane shouted, as Lassiter stepped away from the tree, looking for Blane, along with Ryn. He was too far away to catch her, as the next shot from Blane splattered right on Gira’s leg. She tossed her weapon aside in frustration.

Lara squinted into the setting sun, trying to determine where the shot had come from. Her split second of hesitation cost her, as Blane shifted his weapon from Gira, back onto Ryn, and delivered another shot, eliminating the science officer.

Dane was not taking Blane’s bait, he remained hidden behind a tree, and had gotten a pretty good fix on where TC was based on the shot that had taken out Ryn. He returned fire, but his shots disappeared into the leaves. Even if he had hit Blane, he wouldn’t even know it.

“Get him.” Gira muttered to Dane.

*Easier said than done, but for you, I will try. * Dane thought. He nodded to both women, as Lara and Gira walked off side by side. He was alone now, and TC was out there. Dane didn’t expect Blane to take it easy on him, either. Blane never took it easy on him. All Dane could do is hold on to what he had learned, and hope for a miracle.

He realized the tree he had taken refuge behind was barely as large in diameter as Dane was broad in shoulder, meaning he had very little coverage around him. He was faced with the choice of holding his ground, or making a break for a larger tree. There was a pop of CO2, and a paintball narrowly missed his right shoulder. Dane instinctively flinched to the left, exposing his other shoulder. Blane fired again, and Dane had no choice but to dive away to avoid being hit.

He landed in the mud at the base of the tree, coving his uniform, face and hands with cold, wet filth. He fired wildly back in Blane’s direction. One of the shots must have actually come close. TC muttered a small profanity, and slipped off a branch. He held onto it with his one free hand, and then let go, dropping to the ground below. Seeing the opportunity, Dane began spraying paint at Blane.

TC rolled across the forest floor as Dane tried desperately to get a hit. Somehow through all the mud, leaves, and spinning, Blane managed to actually take aim with his own weapon, and shoot back. Dane went flat in the mud, and the shots went over his head.

Both men were drenched in dirt and muck by this point, making them even harder to actually distinguish from the forest floor. Blane rolled himself behind a tree for cover, and quickly regained his footing.

Dane was now faced with another choice. To retreat to a safe position, or use TC’s moment of vulnerability to try and finish him off. He struggled with mud caked boots to get back on his feet. The truth was he had only flushed Blane out of the trees by pure luck. If he let TC go now, he may never have another chance.

He charged the tree, knowing he had to guess left side or right side, and so did Blane. If Dane came around the tree on the side Blane was guarding, TC would hit him right in the chest. But if Dane came around the other side, he would have an easy shot at TC’s back. It all came down to a fifty-fifty choice.

Dane picked left, spun around the tree, and fired.

There was no one there. He looked straight up, to see Blane, who as quietly as a small animal had climbed the tree without Dane even noticing. Dane fell to the ground, and covered his head as Blane fired a single shot, right into Dane’s back.

Dane pounded his fist in the mud in frustration, and then tried to draw himself up from the mud. As he did, he heard a second shot from a paintball gun. “You got me the first time!” He shouted, then looked up at Blane.

TC’s mouth was agape, and Dane was shocked to see a huge purple splatter right in the center of Blane’s chest.

“Son of a b…” Blane muttered.

Dane spun around to see where the shot had come from.

“HA! Ha ha ha ha! I got one! How do you like them apples TC Blane!” Landry Steele was laughing and bouncing on her heels in excitement, about ten meters away, with her weapon still pointed right at TC.

“You have got to be kidding me.” Blane just shook his head in complete incredulity. “Where did you come from?” He demanded.

“Well, I was taking a nap in this little cave I found, and when I woke up I decided to see if the game was over yet, cause I’m really hungry. Then I found you and Dane, and… ha! I got ya!”

Landry was definitely true to her word. While Dane and TC were both covered with muck, Landry was still perfectly clean, looking as if she only needed a fancy dress to be ready for an evening on the town. Dane was trying very hard not to smile, knowing if TC saw him taking any sort of amusement from this, the Dane would be scrubbing the deuterium injectors with his fingernails for the next two years. Possibly while they were in use.

The conversation was interrupted by the hum of a transporter. Jelca Rued appeared, right next to Landry. “Ensign Steele, congratulations. You are the last standing member of the Alchemy team. The Serendipity team was officially eliminated when you hit Commander Blane. I hereby declare the Alchemy team the victors of this competition.”

“Woot! Go me!” Landry shouted.


Dane Cristiane and Landry Steele
As told by Commander Salvek
On behalf of the winning Alchemy team
Currently on Sibalt

NRPG: An official "1000th post" message will follow soon in the From the Ready Room section...~ZL