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Something Old, Something New

Posted on 28 May 2023 @ 6:24pm by Lieutenant Commander Joey Geisler & Ensign Ronin Tetnel
Edited on on 28 May 2023 @ 7:11pm

Mission: History
Location: Holodeck
Timeline: MD 3 Off Duty

It had taken Ronin a few days to design the escape room for Commander Geisler and he had done quite a bit of delving in the ships computer researching in order to come up with something unique. He was quite proud of it and hoped that she would like it as well. He looked around the frozen tableau in front of him and smiled, some of his spots crinkling at how amazingly detailed the holograms were. Oh, he knew about the forcefields and replicators, but the bio neural gelpacks made things look...real.

The scene was dark as yet, but a pale red moon hung in a otherwise starless sky, heavy dark clouds obscuring most of the horizon. The dim light cast by the moon revealed a very old looking castle seated at the end of a zigzag canyon carved into the planet by some past event.

Ronin himself wore the clothing of a peasant and had a wooden torch with a rag soaked in oil and a small sack tied to his waist, the only anachronistic item on him being his combadge that he wore inside his jerkin. He reached up and tapped it. "Ensign Tetnel to Commander Geisler. Could you meet me at Holodeck Two, please?"

Joey arched a brow when the call came through. She briefly wondered what the Ensign wanted, but figured she would find out in a matter of minutes. Thankfully, she was already off the clock, and quickly sent a message to Eden to let her know she would be a little late, then sent her husband a similar one with a few extra words thrown in.

Once she sent those, the Intelligence Chief rose to her feet and gave her combadge a tap. "I'm on my way," she said before making her way out of her department.

The journey to the holodeck took a few minutes and gave her some time to think about what was waiting for her. Whatever those thoughts were flew out the window when she moved through the door and saw her present surroundings. A castle? A pale red moon? What did she just walk into? "Ensign Tetnel?"

Ronin smiled and gave a scraping bow when the arch appeared. "Yesss, Missstresss, tis I!" he declared, his Trill spots clearly marking him as someone that didn't belong here.

Joey arched a brow. Mistress? This was definitely different. "Where are we exactly, and why are we here?"

"We are in Transylvania, Mistress Geisler," Ronin said, drawing out the syllables as he spoke. "Your mission is to escape Lord Dracula!"

The Mistress Geisler was definitely weird, but Joey was intrigued. "Lord Dracula, you say?" She echoed. This had the potential to be a lot of fun. "I don't suppose you have different clothes for me? I will stick out like a sore thumb in my uniform."

"Well, Count Dracula, historically," Ronin said as he broke character and went to the arch. "Computer, replicate Mina Harker outfit from Bram Stoker's Dracula." A moment later, the outfit appeared with the hat. "Your outfit, Mistresss." He bowed and scraped again before he turned his back.

"Give me just a minute to change, then we can get started," she said before finding something to duck behind. "What made you decide on Dracula?"

He kept his back turned even when she went behind a rocky outcropping to change. "It gives added incentive to escape. Mina Harker, who you're dressing as currently, was an interest of his."

Joey arched a brow as she managed to get the dress on, however, the laces on the back were a bit harder to manage on her own, but she did. "So... is that who I'm supposed to be portraying?"

"Yes, Mistresss," Ronin said with a simpering bow. "It gives you both incentive to try hard. You, to escape and him to make you his Bride."

"This is certainly going to be interesting," she said as she finished tying the laces on her dress. Joey looked toward the castle. "Where should I go to get this started? Into the castle or wander the grounds a bit?"

"When it starts, I'll take you into the castle and I'll be your guide if you need any help," Ronin said. "As Igor. Count Dracula's servant."

She nodded her head and took a deep breath. There was no telling what was waiting for her inside the castle, but she was ready to fine out. "I'm ready when you are."

"Computer, began program Escape From Dracula," Roniin intoned and a crack of thunder split the night. He turned to her and make a gesturing motion. "This way, Misstressss." He began to head up the narrow path towards the castle.

Joey followed behind him as her mind began to wander. She had no idea what to expect during this particular escape room aside from what she was told. That left room for almost anything to happen. One question remained, though. Would she actually be able to get free? "Are you going to be present the entire time?"

"I will be around close by but not always present," he assured her as they came to the castle gate that was opened with the draw bridge down. A stable filled half the inner courtyard, but only one horse seemed to be present and no other people.

She nodded and took note of the horse as they made their way to the stable. Joey wasn't sure what she needed to do, but heading into the castle was likely a good start. "Understood," she said, smoothing her hands over the front of her dress. "I suppose the only thing to do now is go inside. Or, perhaps, I should do a little exploring to get the lay of the land. That's what I think I'm going to do, if that's alright?"

Ronin smiled when he saw her look at the horse; she'd do good if she continued to be observant. "Count Dracula bids you welcome to explore as you will, Miss Harker and he will attend to you when he is finished with his nocturnal feast."

Nocturnal feast? Some poor soul was currently impersonating food. Still, Joey nodded her head. "Thank you. I'm going to explore a bit, but I'm sure we'll cross paths soon enough." She offered him a smile, then began to move further onto the grounds.

Soon she discovered that the castle is a dark and gloomy place, filled with cobwebs, dust and decay. The walls are made of rough stone, covered with decaying paintings and woven tapestries. The floors are covered with faded rugs and furniture covered in dusty sheets, and the windows are barred or boarded up. The only light comes from flickering candles or torches, casting eerie shadows on the walls.

"Not much of a housekeeper," she murmured as she took in her current surroundings. Joey swore she could smell the dank and mildewy scents in the air that were coming from the aging and decaying walls that time had not been very kind to. Simulation or not, she couldn't imagine anyone ever living in conditions such as these.

Further on, she discovered a banquet hall with a table that could sit a hundred people, but only one place at the end of the table had been set. A plate with a steaming pheasant and roasted potatoes were on it, and a glass of liquid that was dark red.

Given who owned the castle, Joey didn't think that glass contained red wine. Then again, based on what she'd read before, Dracula didn't eat, either. Perhaps, it was for appearances? She didn't really know, but also didn't plan to stick around long enough to find out. Without waiting a moment longer, she turned to make her way back out of the banquet hall.

A shadow separated from other shadows on the wall of the hall and stepped forward. Illuminated briefly by the flickering candles was a tall man, well dressed and very pale. "My guests are not usually in such a hurry," he said in a slightly accented voice.

Joey stopped short when the tall man appeared lest she run into him. "I apologize," she said. "I wasn't sure you wished me to stay."

"It is so rare to get visitors here," he sighed. "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Count Dracula."

What did Ronin call her? Mina Harker? At least that's the character she was portraying during this. "I am Wilamina Harker," she said, offering him a half curtsey.

"Please, be seated," the Count said and gestured towards the chair. "Your travels must have wearied you. I'll have my servant stir up the fires to warm your blood."

Joey settled down in a chair, wondering when she would have to start trying to escape. "A little, but it isn't so bad," she said, offering her host a polite smile.

"Drink, drink," the Count said with emphasis as Ronin came back into the room. "What is it EyeGore?" he almost snarled.

Eyegore, also known as Ronin, bowed and simpered as he approached from Joey's left. "I'm sorry, Master, I'm sorry!" he howled and gibbered before he tripped over his ragged robe and in an effort to catch himself, knocked her glass of wine over onto her place. As he tried to mop it and apologize at the same time, he made a bigger mess but hissed softly. "Don't eat or drink anything."

Her attention went to Ronin, then to Dracula. "It's okay. Really. No harm done," she assured her host. "I dined before I arrived, but I am a bit chilled."

"Fool!" Count Dracula shouted and backhanded Ronin, who rolled with it and went over the table. He turned to Joey and his fangs extended. "Your dinner may be ruined, but mine shall not be denied."

"Now would be a good time," Ronin groaned from the floor.

Joey blinked. Dinner? She wasn't going to be dinner for anyone. Without waiting for further instruction, she got to her feet and ran from the dining room as fast as her feet would take her.

"Ah, a lively one," Dracula said as he moved to follow her like a shadow flowing over the stone. "You shall make an excellent Bride," he called after her.

Many of the rooms in the corridors were either barren or the doors locked. At one door, a slithering sound was heard followed by a terrible commotion on the other side of it. The torches flickered and some blew out as a draft swept through the abandoned hallways. Ahead lay a partially open door and she saw a pale hand appear from behind it and motion towards her.

The hand definitely caught her attention, but she wasn't about to trust someone she couldn't see. For all she knew, it was Dracula himself. Quickly, she tried the other doors. They seemed to be locked. Of course, Joey mused. this couldn't be easy. It looked like she didn't have a choice. The owner of the pale hand was about to have some company.

With a deep breath, she flew through the door, not stopping until she was, what she felt, a safe distance away from whoever was by the door. In fact, she didn't care if whoever it was got knocked on their backside when she barreled through. This was a matter of life and death.

Whoever had been gesturing now turned and it was a very pale woman with very long fangs who hissed at her. She wore the tattered remains of a wedding dress and pointed a long fingernailed fingernail at Joey. "You will never be his Bride!" She screamed before she gathered herself up to run at Joey.

"Of course," she sighed, preparing herself to dodge Señora Psychopath. "I don't want to be his Bride! I'm already married!"

"I don't think she cares," Ronin's voice came from the fireplace as he appeared with a burning torch that he thrust at the vampiress. "Up the chute! It comes out in the next chamber up!" He tossed the burning brand onto a decaying chair covered in moldy cloth and it caught fire, causing the Bride to shield her eyes and shriek.

Up? Of course, she was going up. Had she not been in an interior room, she'd have gone out of a window. Then again, Joey wasn't that lucky.

Her dress wasn't going to allow her an easy climb, which meant she had no choice but to get rid of it, and that's exactly what she began to do while the Bride was distracted by the fire. Joey found herself grateful for the sports bra and boy shorts type undergarments she wore beneath her uniform. It was functional and comfortable while on duty, and that's what mattered to her.

It was easier and quicker getting the dress off than it was on, and once she was free of the heavy materials, she scrambled her way into the fireplace and began the journey up. If she thought the hallways were bad, they smelled like a rose garden in full bloom compared to this.

Ronin would have enjoyed the view if he hadn't been busy shoving the burning chair in front of the fireplace to block the Bride, but he had problem of his own. So did Joey when her discarded dress caught on fire as well and flames started to lick at her feet and the smell and temperature in the chimney got hotter.

Joey didn't feel the fire against her feet because of her boots, but she could feel the temperature increase inside the chimney. A quick glance down confirmed what she suspected. She did see a bright side to this as she quickened her pace... at least it wasn't A plasma fire. She'd dealt with one of those before, as well as others. It was almost like she was a magnet for it.

With sweat on her brow, she pushed herself as fast as she could, then came to another opening. It didn't matter what she would encounter, if she stayed in the chimney, the heat and smoke would definitely affect her negatively. Joey crawled out without hesitation, then flopped over onto the floor to catch her breath.

It was quiet in the room that Joey now found herself in and it didn't take long to determine that it had no visible exit. Just a molding bed, a piece of rotting furniture and a cuckoo clock on the wall that had long since stopped cuckooing for anything.

For an escape room style simulation, there wasn't much escape happening. After a moment to catch her breath, Joey rose to her feet and began to explore a bit, touching the stones on the walls, inspecting the furniture and tinkered with the cuckoo clock. Joey hoped there was something that would open a secret doorway or panel.

When she tugged the door of the cuckoo's roost open, it wasn't a cuckoo bird that came out but a wooden lever with an up arrow on the end of it.

Joey pushed the lever up as instructed. At this point, it was the only option there was.

When pushed, a groaning/grating noise was heard and a section of wall beside of the clock recessed inwards, revealing a long, dark hallway ahead of her. Behind her, the fire from the furniture and her dress could be seem in the fireplace dimly. Some broken furniture in the room could perhaps be used as a torch if she could get one lit on the flames below.

Joey had no intentions of going back down the chimney to set anything on fire. There was still smoke and uncomfortable heat inside. Not to mention a very pissed off vampire just on the other side of said fire. No, the Intelligence Chief would have to rely on her other senses, and with that thought, she began to make her journey down the hallway, feeling around as she went.

It wasn't long before she came up against a wooden door that felt flimsy enough to be pushed in and a slight breeze blew from under it.

Without waiting, Joey pushed the door open. She was just a bit nervous, but her options were extremely limited.

Now she found herself in an outer room of the castle with another fireplace and old furniture covered with rotting cloth and tapestries on the wall. A look out the window would reveal it's at least a twenty foot drop to the ground below.

There's no way I'm jumping out of here without getting seriously injured, Time to get creative, Joey thought to herself as she looked out of the window to see what the wall looked like before starting to dig around the room. If the stone had decent enough hand and foot holds, then she could climb out,

The stone of the wall was rough and there may be enough hand and foot holds for her on the way down if she were agile enough and her fingers were strong enough.

Could Joey make it out of the window and down to the ground? Perhaps. Was it safe? Absolutely not. Did she want to get out that way? Hell, no, but she would if she had to.

Pushing thoughts of escaping out the window from her mind for now, she began a quick search of the room in an effort to try to find anything that might help her get out safely. Cloth that would hold her weight to climb down on or anything else she could use as a rope to get out of the window safely.

Behind a moldy tapestry was a recessed door but no apparent way in. However under it was a compass etched into the wood, except North was in the South position and East was in the West position and the arrow north pointed south as well.

"What is this?" She found herself asking out loud. Joey studied the compass for a moment, the reached out to turn it until everything was in its rightful place, the sound of something popping open caught her attention. It wasn't long before she noticed on of the floorboards had come loose.

When she looked down and pulled the creaky floorboard, she found a skeleton key.

Joey reached into the exposed hiding spot to retrieve the key, then was on her feet again, making her way to the door to find the keyhole. Once found, she inserted the key to open the door.

The door opened to reveal that she was back at the entrance of the dining hall with the courtyard and stables not far away. Unfortunately, Count Dracula was on his feet and approaching her from the other end of the hall.

"My Bride, you have returned."

She wanted to groan. How did she come full circle? And when did he stop looking for her? "Like I told the crazy woman I encountered not too long ago, I can't be your bride. I'm already married. Happily," she added as she began to take stock of the dining hall for ways out.

"You look very inviting," he said as he approached her. "Were you preparing for bed?"

The only other exit was behind her which led to the courtyard and stables.

"No, I was not preparing for bed," Joey told him as she glanced toward the exit sideways. She wasn't obvious about it, but that was the way she planned to go in matter of seconds. Through that door and out to the courtyard where she remembered the horse being. "I had to remove my dress in an effort to save myself from the woman who thinks I'm going to be you bride."

"That would be Camilla," Dracula said as he continued to advance on her. "She is the most...overzealous of my Brides. Perhaps you could teach her her proper place."

"I appreciate the faith you have in me, but I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to teach her anything. As I've already mentioned, I'm married. Happily, in fact, and nothing is going to change that fact," Joey told him as she took off toward the door that would take her out to the courtyard.

Ronin already had the horse saddled and was busy looking like an inept servant as he tripped and fell in front of the enraged Count, who savagely kicked him.

"Come back!" Dracula shouted. "I command you!"

Joey didn’t listen. In fact, that pushed her further until she got to the horse that seemed to already be saddled. She stuck her foot into the stirrup and hefted herself onto it, then clicked her tongue a few times before bumping the horse against the ribs with the heels of her feet. The Intelligence Chief knew the horse would come in handy the moment she saw it when coming inside the holodeck.

It wasn't long before she found herself in the canyon she had came up and knew the holodeck arch was nearby.

It was time to escape this escape room, and as she got closer the exit, she brought the horse to a stop and dismounted, then ran to retrieve her uniform. She quickly got that back on, keeping herself on high alert, then made her way to the arch.

Ronin stepped out from behind a rock and smiled as he pulled his hood back. "Congratulations on escaping, Commander," he said. "Did you enjoy yourself?"

"Thanks," she said, half expecting the Count to pop up behind Ronin. "I did, but I had a feeling this is what I would be doing when you asked me to come here. Not this particular simulation, but and escape room of sorts."

The arch flickered out of view and then back in again, causing the Trill Ensign to go look at the panel. "That was odd, but it's over now. I'll run a diagnostic on it later and improve it."

Joey didn't seem to notice the arch flicker as her back was to it, but she did offer Ronin another smile. "Thank you again. That was fun," she said. "I'd like to give it another run after you've done more work on it. In the meantime, you should consider offering these to the rest of the crew for fun. Maybe do group ones?"

"That's a good idea, and I'll make PADDs next time so I don't have to be in every adventure giving hints," he said as he deactivated and looked around when he thought he heard a hiss, but only the now empty black room with yellow grids were showing. "Yeah. I'll run a diagnostic on this thing."

Joey blinked and looked around. She thought she heard the hiss, too. "What was that?"

"Probably some glitch in the matrix," Ronin said. "I'll send a report to Engineering."

"Might not be a bad idea," she agreed. "Let me know when it's done, then I'll run through it again. It was fun." With that, Joey gave him a smile, then made her way out.


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