Son Of A...
Location: Planet's Surface
"Do you think it's likely to come back?" Ensign Henry Bowman asked his colleague as he looked out into the thick underbrush. They had been on the perimeter for an hour and hadn't seen as much as a moving branch- he was starting to get bored.
Petty Officer Parker Penrose rubbed at the side of his neck and grimaced; the rash had become more and more aggravating the longer they were parked on the perimeter. "Do you think it's one of these plants?" his concern for his own discomfort far outweighing his interest in the ensign's speculation.
"It's probably that colonist you 'met' the other night." Bowman replied dismissively as he continued to peer into the underbrush, shining his phaser mounted light into the foliage.
Penrose grinned and was about to comment to Bowman in a way that would imply he was just jealous and he should shut his mouth, when he heard movement from the underbrush. In one swift movement he pulled up his phaser rifle and jumped from an almost lounging position to prone with his weapon leveled into the night. "Did you hear that?"
"You're damn right I heard that." Bowman hissed through his teeth as he too dropped to the ground on one knee. The rustling was almost immediately replaced by the same eerie silence which had been present before. "What the hell was it?"
The NCO peered through the din, his eyes searching for any hint of movement in the darkness. He snapped his rifle around a few degrees to the left, chasing a slight movement in his peripheral vision. "There!" he snapped, before standing up and launching forward into a run. "Come on, we can get it!"
"What?!" Bowman shouted after him as he too sprinted after the noise. "We've got to hold our patrol, Penrose! Penrose!"
The officer crunched through the undergrowth, following the sounds of footsteps ahead of him. He could barely see the glare from the flashlight on Penrose's rifle as he surged further into the trees. "Can you see anything?!"
Penrose was focused on the hunt; he couldn't see the thing but he sure as hell could hear something. Whatever it was, it was moving and was moving away from them, but not frantically trying to get away from them. He kept moving, convinced he was getting closer to the target.
Then suddenly, the noise he was following stopped. Penrose stopped dead in his tracks and held up his fist for Bowman to stop as well. He leveled his rifle and shone the flashlight through the trees, scanning for some sign of life, hoping to see two glowing eyes peering back at him.
Bowman crashed forward, managing to come to a stop just behind Penrose. His flashlight scanned around erratically, ignoring the usual pattern required by Starfleet. "You see anything?"
He didn't say anything, but Penrose did see something. In the near distance, not moving and not looking his way, he was certain that he could make out some kind of animal hide. Resting against a tree, it might as well have had a great big fluorescent target painted on it. He grinned a predatory smile and aimed his rifle.
The phaser bolt screeched through the air and slammed home, tearing through it's intended target. "Yeah!" Penrose whooped and pumped his fist triumphantly before patting Bowman on the shoulder and gesturing toward his kill, "C'mon, we got it! We got it!"
Penrose rushed through the growth, jumping over roots and sidestepping plants to get to his prize. When he got near, he stopped in his tracks and his shoulders slumped visibly.
"Oh." Bowman said flatly as he examined the remains of what used to be a large, purplish plant.
"Son of a -"
Ensign Henry Bowman
Petty Officer Parker Penrose