Thread: Fallout
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,018
# 23
09-20-2013, 08:52 AM
"Security alert!"

Klur's head snapped round. "Disruptor fire... one shot only, so far... officers' quarters, deck six, corridor nine," the security officer reported.

"First Officer. With me. Bring weapons. Ops, you have the conn." And Klur left the bridge at a run. Tayaira paused long enough to draw a disruptor rifle from the rack, then followed.

The dark corridors of the carrier rang with their urgent footsteps. They paused, panting, at the door to the officers' quarters. Tayaira checked the charge on the disruptor rifle as Klur keyed the intercom. "Report. Any more shots?"

"No, sir," the security officer replied.

Klur glanced at Tayaira. "On the count of three," he said, "inside. Weapons ready." His disruptor was in his hand. "One. Two. Three!"

The door slid open and they burst through. Tayaira levelled her rifle - and stopped. There was no one in the room.

But there was something on the floor, by one of the bunk beds - Tayaira's eyes widened.

A severed hand, still oozing Klingon blood, lay on the deck, next to a bloodied d'k tahg blade, and a datapad. Nearby, the deck plates were scorched, as by a sudden energy release. Klur holstered his disruptor. He stepped forward, stooped, picked up the datapad.

"'I go now to Gre'thor'," he read out, "'but I will not take with me the hand that murdered a world. D'Elara, daughter of Skor, operations officer, IKS QIb laH'e''." He shook his head. "Stupid. Stupid."

Tayaira lowered her rifle. "She cut off her own hand," she said, "and then shot herself?"

"So it would appear." Klur touched his communicator. "This is Captain Klur. Stand down security alert."

"She cut off her own hand," Tayaira repeated.

"It took courage, and strength of will," Klur said. He spat. "And these things were wasted. Such foolishness...."

"Sir," said Tayaira, "we need to talk. Morale is bad, sir, and this - this -" She shook her head. She could find no words for what had happened. "Sir, this will worsen things yet further. We are listening on the channels you designated, but there are no transmissions. We must -" She stopped. She had no idea, any more, what they could do.

"We remain concealed and silent," said Klur, "until there is word that we may return to Qo'noS safely. It will come. Starfleet will never find us here."

"What does that matter," Tayaira snapped, "if we start to kill ourselves?"

Klur turned on her with a warning glare. She glared back. "We must do something," she said, "to prove to the crew that there is hope."

"What do you suggest?" Klur demanded.

She thought. "My House had contacts in the Federation. Perhaps we can seek out someone who can provide us with more information.... It is the waiting, sir, for a message that never comes, that weighs most heavily on our minds."

"The message will come," said Klur.

"You have confidence, sir, but the crew must be convinced."

"We cannot break communications silence ourselves, and we cannot safely leave this asteroid field. What, then, do you propose?"

"Perhaps, if we sent out an auxiliary vessel - your Chariot, sir, for instance - it might not be recognized, and might reach a non-aligned world nearby...."

Klur nodded. "It is a possibility. I will consider it." He looked round, as a shadow filled the doorway. "Yes?"

The Nausicaan warrior stood gaping at the scene. "I," he said, and gulped. "These are my quarters, and Lieutenant D'Elara's...."

"Yes," said Klur. "Jikkur, is it not? Lieutenant D'Elara is dead. You are now elevated to her rank and responsibilities. Serve well and bravely."

For one brief instant, the Nausicaan hesitated, and a strange look came into his red eyes. Then he raised his fist in salute. "Yes, sir!"

"Arrange for this place to be cleaned," said Klur. He still held the datapad in his hand; now, he dropped it to the floor. "We shall return to the bridge." He strode off down the corridor, and Tayaira followed.

As soon as they were out of earshot of Jikkur, Tayaira said, "Sir, did you see him? He hesitated when you gave your command."

Klur nodded shortly. "I saw. I cannot currently afford to dispose of any crew members - not while I cannot receive replacements. But watch that one. Watch him closely."