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Pod 12, Part 4: Facing the Lion in Its Den [PLOT]

Posted on Wed Nov 14th, 2018 @ 4:26pm by Petty Officer 3rd Class Fhiri & Lieutenant JG Murril Na & Lieutenant JG Yikete Oggt
Edited on on Wed Nov 21st, 2018 @ 9:32am

Mission: Mission 4: Riding A Pale Horse
Location: Planet ZP0442
Timeline: 13 July, 2394 - 1200 Hours

[ON]

Fhiri stood there, staring into the darkness inside the gash in the hull of the Klingon crash. It had all happened so fast. "Lieutenant?" She finally said, taking a precautionary step back and then turning to look at Oggt. "We need to talk." The wind was picking up, sending gusts of sand to scour against them and the ship behind her.

Oggt had watched Krith scurry over the sand hill like an ant and disappear into the desert. When Fhiri spoke, he turned and admitted, "I let her go." It had never been part of the plan and he expected Fhiri and Murril were surprised and probably upset by it, but he was prepared to stand for his conviction.

Then he noticed the science officer's absence. "Where's Murril?"

Fhiri shook her head. "One minute he was right her. Right HERE," she said, pointing to a spot in the sand where the faint outline of Murril's feet could still be seen. "And then a huge hand came out from there," she said, pointing to the rift in the ship's hull. "And it snatched him right in like a jorbath monster. It was so fast!"

Get out while you can! Krith's words reverberated somewhere deep inside, like watching a horror movie but unable to affect the unfolding sequence of perilous but obvious events. How silly the characters in horror flicks always seem, caught blissfully unaware as they rush in to save their friends whose fates have already been sealed. That's sort of how Oggt felt, like one of those fated characters on an unavoidable course with something terrible. He didn't hesitate as he ran into the split in the hull to find whatever had taken their science officer.

Fhiri watched Oggt run inside the ship without saying a single word to her. Had all the officers gone mad? She looked over her shoulder in the direction their unwilling passenger had traveled and saw only a set of deep footprints in the sand. She looked up at the sun, grimaced and turned back to the dark slash in the hull. Where's the profit in this? she thought and then carefully entered the ship.



Science officer Murril Na had two questions: Why can't I see? That one he remembered the answer to before he slipped back into unconsciousness. He was inside the stomach of the Bird of Prey. How long have I been out? That one he stopped trying to answer; he couldn't gauge the difference between seconds, hours, or minutes anymore.

Murril could tell that sometimes he was stumbling around in the dark by himself, but other times he was walking without using his own legs. So, sometimes the Klingon must be carrying him. As for the firearm, who knows where that contraption ended up. Murril didn't remember hearing it discharge during the scuffle.

The interior of the Bird of Prey was home to K'lak. He'd had ten years to fix what he could and change what he could. And he'd done it all by himself. Every day he asked why he had been spared. Why he hadn't been allowed into Stovokor with the rest of the crew. They'd been engaged with a Breen fighter, trading hammer blows, when their warp core had taken a direct hit. The end result was K'lak's daily life of misery on this horrible planet. He looked down at his prey.

"You are not dead, yet. Federation," he said.

Murril kept trying to sense the emotional intent of the stalker. Unfortunately, Na's injuries made it hard to read anything past the Klingon's choices of waiting, lunging closer, waiting, lunging closer. At least it was harder to surprise the Betazoid now, even in the dark. "When the next Federation ship comes to investigate, do you want us to send word to Klingon High Command of your location?"

K'lak still had the advantage of running this unlit maze, over and over, month after month, in the dark. Na kept walking systematically backwards and said, "Or would you like to travel with us?" Murril's backside banged into the unsecured lid of an open storage compartment. Na quickly tucked in both of his own arms as K'lak's grasp swiped through empty, black air. Murril safely stretched out his own limbs again, continuing to touch his way through the ship's cramped innards, guessing that it would be fatal for him to turn and run for it.

"You are never getting off of this planet, Federation. Nobody ever gets off the planet. I will keep you as a slave and you can serve me. That is my plan," K'lak said, lunging to try to grab Murrill once more. "Technology doesn't work here, if you hadn't noticed."

Murril damped down an urge to reply Great plan. I'm sure you have much need for a chemist. but spoke, "I see. How did your ship survive the drop? Any idea what's causing our lack of power? It is a natural phenomenon? Who are these Refams and Techlons? How far out have you been able to explore?"

"You ask too many questions," K'lak said, huffing. He was getting old. He had been old when the ship crashed. "This ship did not survive. Only I, cursed K'lak son of K'ral, survived. I do not feast in the halls of Stovokor with my shipmates. Instead I live here like a desert rat for the rest of my days," K'lak said. For a moment he remembered the dishonor. Drunk on duty during a battle! What a fool he'd been. He knew that was the real reason he'd been left alive.

Still in the dark, the Betazoid caught flashes of an emotion other than aggression. Murril disagreed, "Cursed? Anyone who survived on their own so long could be called blessed, not cursed!" Stove of core? No; it's a Klingon word I've... Stovokor? Oh! Oh.

Stovokor was a place known to every Klingon, but it was not on any map. Many Klingons spent their entire lives on a one-way pilgrimage to get there.

Murril respectfully unfocused the empathic link aside, similar to averting an unwelcome stare. The aunts were right again; Klingon dishonor is a VERY distinct emotion. You only need to sense it once. From then on it's impossible to confuse it for anything else. When it came to the topic of Klingon religious afterlife, everybody who wasn't Klingon was treading on holy ground. Na spoke differently to K'lak this time, as if consoling blood relatives at another funeral, "It was not your fault that you landed in a desert instead of a battlefield."

K'lak howled, lunging forward. "Do not attempt to cover me with your lies! You are not Klingon! You do not understand Honor!" K'lak yelled. "I have had much time to consider my actions and my fate. Do you think you can come here, to my ship, and tell me how your perceived truths apply to ME?"

This time as the Klingon rushed forward, Murril had more room. Grasping at air, K'lak felt an elbow collide with his forehead ridges. This hurt Murril more than K'lak, but Murril had run out of patience. When reason fails, all that's left is... Na had more ideas on what he could try and say, but what was the use. He was a science officer, not a diplomat, not a ship's counselor. ...force. Murril didn't expect to win. He didn't have any expectations. He did want to prove he was right by gouging out at least one of the whiny knuckle-dragger's eyes, though.



Oggt thudded into another dead-end corridor and let out a frustrated huff. The low light and strange configuration of the ship did not lend itself well to a methodical search. The whole place smelled pungently to him of unbathed Klingon, dampness, and death. "Do you hear anything? How many levels does this ship have?" he hissed to Fhiri.

"Three," Fhiri said. "Actually, Klingon computer systems are really interesting. They have this quadrary language that interfaces..." Fhiri's speech faded off as she saw the look Oggt was giving her. "Have we been this way before? Should we split up?" Fhiri said, leaning against an old bulkhead that promptly rained rust down on her lobes.

"No... no," Oggt shook his head with clear disapproval of their short list of options. "If we stick together, we'll stand a better chance. We need to figure out how to access the lower decks.

Fhiri dropped to her knees, she'd studied the Bird of Prey during her time working with her brother. Their cargo spaces were below deck and they'd dealt with more than one Klingon smuggler. "There should be access panels at regular intervals. They are heavy but everything the Klingons do, design wise, is heavy. Ah here it is," she said rubbing her hands across a rectangle shape in the floor. "Help me get it open. Without power, it is going to take some effort."

He recognized this wasn't the time to ask questions, but Oggt found himself somewhat fascinated by Fhiri's ingenuity and knowledge of foreign ships and systems. He knelt down next to her and wrapped his long, segmented fingers around the lip of the hatch and grunted as he pulled with everything he had. Muscles in his arms and shoulders rippled with effort and the hatch gave a reluctant groan as it began to slide back across the bulkhead. He mouthed a Saurian curse as he massaged blood back into his numb fingertips. "Tell me there's some light down there at least."

Fhiri grunted as they dropped the hatch nearby. It echoed loudly in the enclosed space, no doubt the Klingon knew they were inside now. She poked her head through the opening, expecting pitch black but instead saw a soft purple glow. "Huh. Looks like there is actually some light. Some sort of glowing rocks? Maybe something organic? I've never seen it before." She put her hands on either side of the hatchway and dropped down. Her boots thumped against a metal grating. The purple light basked the hallway, giving it a surreal feeling.

"It looks a little more intact down here," Fhiri said.

"Bio-luminescence? Maybe some kind of algae," Oggt said as he lowered himself down easily from the hatch. If this weren't a rescue mission of immediate necessity, he might have enjoyed poking around at the purple glowing things. "It's kind of ingenious." Outstretched with his long arms, he was almost tall enough to reach the hatch and touch his toes to the decking below so the drop was easy and he landed softly. "Do you hear anything yet?"

Fhiri tilted her head and closed her eyes. She was used to people asking her to listen for things, it came with the lobes. And to be fair, she did have extraordinary hearing. "I can hear water dripping somewhere. A faint metal grating on metal. And... yes, voices," she said and opened her eyes. This way!" She was thankful for the bio-whatever light that let her move faster. The interior of the Bird of Prey was similar to what she was used to, with a few low ceilings or buckled bulkheads from the crash. They came to an intersection and she stopped.

"I think it is just down this hallway," she said, slightly out of breath. Exercise was never at the top of her to-do list.




K'lak grunted and stumbled away from the Starfleet person. His heart was pumping hard and he felt a raging in his ears. But he couldn't quite find the rage that he had in his youth. Somewhere in the distance he heard a loud clanging sound and knew that there were more intruders.

"Who are these people who dare to enter my ship?" K'lak said in a growl. "I will have to kill them." But even he could hear the lack of conviction. Perhaps this was all a mistake. Perhaps he should simply have left the Starfleet alone. A slow pain began to creep up his arm.

Na didn't think it would do any good at this stage, but he mentioned out loud to K'lak, "WHY do you have to kill everybody you meet?!?" This was nothing like the Federation. Murril was frustrated. Reading this Klingon was akin to reading a book with pages ripped out. K'lak wasn't anything like the occasional Klingon travelers Murril had encountered while on Deep Space Four. "Well, if you see a tall lizard man, don't kill him. He's our physician." Murril half-expected a fist to impact out of the darkness.

"I was a warrior!" K'lak yelled. The pain in his arm was getting worse. He flexed the muscles and leaned up against the bulkhead. "You wouldn't understand. You are nothing more than a worm.

Fhiri had lead Oggt towards the voice, only having to backtrack once. Her lobes were often a problem with non-Ferengi but sometimes, like now, they were really helpful. By the time they reached the opening, they were able to make out the words of the Klingon. Fhiri paused and looked over to Oggt.

"So?"

"Fortune favors the bold," Oggt whispered, barely slowing down as he passed by Fhiri with no real plan to think of as he crossed into the room where K'lak was holding Murril.

He announced loudly, "Hey, sorry to interrupt. We tried knocking, but no one answered."

Unable to breathe with K'lak's grip around his throat again, Murril started kicking the Klingon in the crotch to no avail. ...three and four and five...you've got to be joking...and six and... Finally, K'lak let go of Murril. K'lak held onto his own shoulder instead.

Na inhaled stinging breaths. Murril couldn't figure out why K'lak had let go. K'lak's state of mind had unexpectedly frozen up. Then Murril recognized it, not from any sort of self-defense training but from the bedside of older, dying relatives. Something had stopped working inside the Klingon's organs, and K'lak couldn't brush it off anymore. Na pointed to the Klingon and tapped at his own chest rapidly. Murril croaked words to Oggt, "He's dying. Wasn't me. Doc."

Fhiri paused in the doorway, surveying the scene. It was clear to her that they were in the main engineering space of the Bird of Prey. She spotted the warp core, a unique Klingon design, and the remnants of the main computer system that someone had torn apart. When she heard the comment about someone dying, she refocused on the Klingon just in time to watch him tumble to the ground. "Whoah! Oggt, what...do you need me to do something?"

Oggt, for his part, couldn't believe what had just happened. He felt an emotional tug in two different directions: first, that they had successfully overcome the Klingon and rescued Murril but also a heavier pull that the stranger's life now hung in the balance. Are we really going to save this man who would just as soon capture and kill us? Damned Hippocratic oaths.

The Saurian rushed over to the limp body of the Klingon before he could reconsider his actions. "Untie Murril," he replied quickly back to Fhiri as dropped to his knees and hunched over body. He checked for pulse, expecting to find the familiar double-strum of the two Klingon hearts that should have been present. Instead, he found none. He ripped open layer after layer of clothing until the Klingon's chest was revealed. "Does anything have an electrical charge here?" He feared he already knew the answer. With no bone saw, the Klingon sternum was too thick and strong for standard chest compressions.

Na's hoarse voice added, "If no power, try drug?" Murril foraged in Fhiri's belongings and snapped a chemical light on. A bluish-green stick lit the engine room with dim, but passable, light. Looking over the walls, Na remembered that he had no idea what a Klingon first aid kit would look like or how to read Klingon. Did Klingon ships even have sick bays?

Fhiri scowled at the intrusion into her personal gear. "Hey! That stuff is mine," she said and then paused to consider Oggt's question. "Actually, yes. The warp core is dead but the components can be used manually to generate a static charge, if the atmosphere has enough electricity in it." Fhiri dashed over to the Klingon machinery. She reached into her recently violated bag and pulled out a basic e-tool and began prying off one of the console covers to the warp controls. "Klingon batteries are actually really interesting, from a design point of view. They are ridiculously complicated and bulky but they last forever. Lets see if we can get lucky."

Oggt ran his fingers along the Klingon's sternum, counting ribs to find the locations of the man's dual heart chambers. "Interesting," he commented under his breath as ran across a scar from a previous surgery and pressed his fingers against the spot. "Looks like our patient may have only one heart left." He glanced at Fhiri for her progress. "Going to need at least two thousand volts. You think that's possible?"

Fhiri tossed the panel aside and reached in, grabbing two of the huge batteries. They felt like latinum bricks, which would have been remarkable. "Oh yeah," she said dragging them over to where Gia was working on the fallen Klingon. "Probably more." She turned and ran back to the panel, pulling out a heavy cable and running it over to the batteries. She quickly stripped the cable and hooked one branch up to each battery, leaving the ends free for Oggt. She then cut another cable and ran it over to the warp core and hooked it up to a valve.

"There's an emergency release valve here. I'm going to trip it. It is going to release a bunch of chemicals that I won't bother explaining to you. Those chemicals are made to absorb the energy in the room and shunt it to the outside of the ship. But that won't happen. So it should run to the cables and then to the batteries. Oggt, just stick him with the cables. Or whatever the medically correct thing is," Fhiri said and then before anyone could say anything, she pulled the release valve.

The dark warp core made a whooshing sound and two different colors of chemicals dropped into the chamber. Immediately, they began to mix and sparks danced through the newly formed cloud of materials. Then there was a burst of light as the chemical chain reaction intensified, bathing the damaged engineering section in bright light. The cables sparked, energy running down them to the batteries.

"It's working!" Fhiri yelled. And then the cables split. Tendrils of electricity snaked out, arcing across metal bulkheads, ceiling tiles, long dormant consoles and the inhabitants of the room.

Na tried to visually follow and predict where the current would leap to next, but everything was happening too fast.

Oggt didn't even see the spiderweb of electricity coming as the current hit him and passed through his fingers into the chest of the Klingon. The Saurian slumped over unconscious next to his patient.

Fhiri flopped to the ground, her muscles spasming. She could feel the muscles on her face contracting under the influence of the electricity. There was a sizzling sound as her clothes smoldered and smoke wafted in front of her face. And then it was over. She never lost consciousness but it was a near thing.

"That went well," Fhiri said to the darkening room.

[OFF]

Lieutenant JG Murril Na
Assistant Chief Science Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298



Lieutenant JG Yikete Oggt
Medical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298
(NPC By Djokovic)

Petty Officer Third Class Fhiri
Transporter Specialist
USS Firebird NCC-88298
(NPC by LLwyedd)

 

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Comments (2)

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Gianna Djokovic on Thu Nov 15th, 2018 @ 6:12am

A lot of unknowns, high tension, this scene was fun to write. I'm enjoying their adventure so far. -Liam

By Lieutenant JG Soto Gantt on Thu Nov 29th, 2018 @ 5:38pm

Well, Fhiri, I guess it remains to be seen how well it went. :-D The tension and action were great and I liked the unusual aspects such as the crew going through a dark maze, K'lak the aging warrior, and Fhiri's defib attempt. Very enjoyable read.