Literary Challenge #9 : Shore Leave
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Join Date: Dec 2007
12-27-2011, 04:12 PM
Truth be told, I am exhausted. I know we all have our assigned duties and responsibilities, but if I'm honest with myself, I am forced to admit that six weeks of updating a database isn't my favorite. Exploring ten planets and documenting everything we find is gruelling work. I almost began hoping to see a Borg probe warp into the system.
And now...now I have a decision to make. That's what command is about, right? Making tough decisions. Well, this is a tough one. As I said, I am exhausted. I need rest and relaxation or I'll drop. The ship needs a captain at 100%, and I am most definitely
But by the stars, I
hate shore leave. Not the concept, of course; in theory, shore leave should be wonderful. Yet somehow, it never is. Something happens, something goes wrong, or I stumble into some mess and before you know it I'm having to save someone or run for my life or who knows what.
I've talked to other captains. This doesn't just happen to me. It's
. Going on shore leave always seems to blow up in a Starfleet captain's face.
Perhaps the problem is where I go. I always choose either a quiet, restful place or a traditional vacation place like Risa. What I really need is a wilderness that nobody in his or her right mind would visit.
Here I come, Rura Penthe.
Obviously I wouldn't risk taking the
into Klingon space, though the cloak sure would've helped. And while I could probably get clearance using my credentials as Ambassador, I could hardly list my real destination, or even explain why I wanted to go.
Fortunately my Chief Engineer had a thought or two. Commander Albar has rigged up my yacht with a signature masker. It will mask my yacht's energy signature, and active scans will be patched and re-broadcast so that it looks like they passed through...nothing. In theory, anyway; he hasn't tested this yet. Lucky me. And of course, it won't stop a visual check.
I'm approaching the Rura Penthe system. So far I think I've gone unnoticed. The trick, Commander Albar says, is to make no sudden turns or other maneuvers that might expend more energy than the masker can cover up. Exactly what that limit is, he couldn't say, so I'm just playing it safe.
I'll still need to try and stay out of visual range of any patrols. It won't be that hard; Rura Penthe isn't heavily guarded. It doesn't need to be. And I don't plan on getting close to the actual detention area.
I'll grab my gear, clip a transporter recall chip to my shoulder, put on a large number of coats, and beam out as soon as I'm in transporter range.
OK, this is cold.
I mean, this is
. I think
would turn up the heat, here.
I thought that exploring here would be fun, but to be honest, it's pretty dull. Unless you like snow and ice. There's lots of snow and ice.
I do not like snow and ice.
My tricorder shows a spot about two kilometers away where the temperature is almost 30 degrees higher, so I'm going to go check that out. If there's nothing interesting there, I think I'll beam up and, once my fingers thaw enough to operate the ship's controls, go back home.
If I didn't know better, I'd swear it was a campsite. I'm picking up residual emissions from a heat flare, and it looks like someone cleared out a circle. I knew there was a reason to bring a hand phaser.
I don't see anything left, though: no trash, no food remains, no evidence of tents or other shelter having been set up. The tricorder isn't picking up life signs, but those can be masked. I just can't figure out why the hell someone would sneak around this place. Is there some kind of mythic buried treasure on Rura Penthe that I haven't heard about? Do Klingons have myths about pirates? I bet Orions do, but stKNARGH!
No idea how long I was unconscious. No idea what hit me. My phaser's gone. My tricorder's gone. Looks like most of my gear is gone. Wish my vision would clear a bit; all I see is fuzzy white.
Ah, there we are. Well that helps. Still lots of white, though I must admit it's sharper.
Oh, now there we go. Tracks. Time to find out what the hell is going on. Looks like they go over this hill -- yep. And hey, is that a Romulan pointing a disruptor at me? Well that's just fabulous.
Even better, I think that's a tricobalt charge he's got. A big one. He's planning on blowing up Rura Penthe? Why would someone do that? It makes no sense.
He's shouting something at me, but I can't hear him. I doubt I'd like it, anyway. So while he's yammering, I leap at him and grab his disruptor arm, shoving it down and to the right. He fires, and manages to blast the arming mechanism of the tricobalt device. Well, hey, I've saved Rura Penthe. Think J'mpok will pin a medal on my chest?
Bleargh...that was a hell of a right cross. I've still got hold of his disruptor arm, but his other is damned strong. A couple more of those and I'm out -- and I might not wake back up.
His arm comes down towards my head. I plant my legs and surge upwards and instead his fist crushes into my shoulder.
And hits my transporter recall chip.
There's no sign of a Romulan ship in orbit, but then there wouldn't be. I warp out and run back to Federation space as fast as I can.
How the hell do I report all this to Admiral Quinn?