So much for common knowledge. In this case at least it was dead wrong. Jerry looked out the bars of what his captors laughingly called "a cell".
It had started two days ago. The Potemkin an outdated Freedom class starship encountered a brand new Klingon D6. The battle, if it could be called that, was one sided at best. It ended with the Klingons boarding in mass and killing all that resisted. Well they thought he had stopped resisting, and for a time they were right. It is hard to resist with a sword wound through your gut. However, by the time the salavge crew came through, that was no longer a problem. They took him prisoner, along with Ensign Meyers.
He had to admit, those bat-blades were effective weapons. Once he got out of this he would have to get his hands on one. But first her had to get out of here. Ensign Meyers was another matter. She was cute, and the Klingons wouldn't ignore that for long.
Jerry had little doubt that the Klingons had some barbaric entertainment planned, and he and Myers would star. The problem was to figure out the plan, and take advantage of it. The two guards looked bored out of their wits, from what little he could see of them. He had been listening to them for the last two days. He had picked up some Klingon from their conversation.
He checked Meyers. She was still huddled in the corner.
"Myers." He whispered. "I am going to try and get out of here, I will come back."
"They'll kill you, and you'll be lucky."
"I don't kill that easy Ensign, buck up. No matter what, I am coming back for you."
"Yea Lieutenant, you're going to rise from the dead and save me at the last minute."
If she only knew. Jerry flexed his abdominal muscles, they felt good, the two days had mended him well, except for the new scar, and he would get payback for that, even if it took some time. It was time to practice his recently acquired Klingon. Good thing curses and perjoratives were a common part of the language. He fixed the two with a stare, and leaned on them. Anger, anger is the fool-killer, hate is the death of thought. Jerry wanted them angry and hating.
One of the Klingons looked up. The sound of his own language coming from the cell made him curious.
"/What do you want human?/"
"/I didn't want you Ugly, I wanted Stupid./" Jerry pressed his face against the cell bars.
The first Klingon came over to the cell, his bait was working. God, this was going to hurt.
"/I am the one you have human, any last words?/"
He reached through the bars. Jerry leaned back grabbed his arm and twisted it back until it popped.
"/I am sorry, you are Stupid. Now I can rip your worthless arm off, and watch you bleed to death you honorless slime!/"
The other Klingon laughed, spewing food all over. /Krass you fool, he has you now. You are going to die a fool's death, and I get to watch you bleed./"
"/You're next Ugly./" He gave Krass' arm another twist.
"/I am not sticking my arm in there for you to grab./"
Jerry gave another twist,. Krass actually grunted, Jerry could see the pain in his eyes.
"/You won't have to. I am coming out./"
He tightened the grip further. Krass yelled with that one.
"/See, he is Stupid, and you are Ugly, and he has no honor, and neither do you./"
The second Klingon was on his feet. "/You will eat that human./"
Jerry twisted harder, he felt the tendons rip, Krass howled.
"/You are in the dungeons guarding the worthless Human prisoners, you have no honor in your fellow's eyes./"
Jerry twisted again, Krass was trying to reach his knife with the off hand. Jerry noted the location, twisted again till Krass howled, let go with one hand and grabbed the knife. With the pressure off Krass tried to pull free, Jerry jerked him back and stabbed him three times through the bars. At this point he let Krass go, the Klingon fell heavily to the ground. Jerry still had the knife.
"/So, are you any better than him? No, you're just as worthless, and ugly./"
Krass bled freely on the floor, the wound far enough back that he couldn't cover it with his good arm. Jerry leaned on Ugly again, and leaned hard.
"/Honorless swine guarding the trash./"
The Klingon drew his laser. Hu oh, too much reaction.
Jerry backed away from the cell door, the Klingon pulled out his keys and opened it. He stuffed the laser in his belt, and back pedaled into the room. Fool.
"/So, you think you can fight Klingons Human slime, then come out and fight./"
He backed out of the closed cell into the larger room. Jerry gave him a mental slap to disorient him and came out after him.
The two combatants circled in the closed space, the Klingon lunged first. Jerry backed off and slashed for the face, slipping down for a belly strike, the Klingon backed against the table avoiding the slash. He pushed off, the table toppled and hit something. Jerry heard distant alarms. Working fast he disregarded the Klingon's knife. He felt the stabbing pain as it sunk into his chest. He spun to the right, pulling the knife out of the Klingon's hand. Came around and slashed him across the belly. The Klingon looked at him with the amazement of one that realizes he is dead before the fact. He hit the floor before a dozen Klingons came boiling in. Jerry grinned at them with the knife sticking out of his chest, and dove in. They came at him in mass. They kept stabbing him a long time before he passed out.
Gentle rain woke him, rain and a stench. Jerry opened his eyes into the rain. He still hurt. He slowly picked himself up, and looked around. It was dark, raining. Krass was laying not three feet from him, along with the rest of the garbage.
Jerry wasn't one to let advantage go unused. He striped the dead Klingon and donned the uniform himself. He didn't know how long that would work, but he could find out what world they were on, and what resources he could get. One advantage he knew he had, they thought him dead. He found something dark that smeared and smelled, and used it to hide the glare of his face. He would have to find cover soon, the crude disguise wouldn't work in daylight.
As he left the garbage yard he heard a large ground vehicle approach stop and dump its load. He grinned in spite of the pain. What they didn't know, wouldn't hurt him.
Jerry looked over the castle, it was local made, and at this time he was wearing local garb, and carrying Klingon weapons. It was relatively easy to mug another
Klingon, and take his weapons. He hoped it wouldn't mean reprisals from the Klingons on the locals, he was still wearing Klingon garb at the time he did the mugging, and he was careful not to kill his victim. One of the Klingon knives bought him his local "finery".
The question was, how to get back in, and rescue Meyers. He did like to keep his promises. However, the Klingons looked disinclined to simply let him walk in and do it. Last he checked, he was not a human fly, and the place was covered in moss. Did it ever stop raining here?
The occupational forces Security chief strode into the Commander's office.
"/By your order Commander Q'uarg./"
"/Yes, the human male is dead?/"
"/Yes Sir, the night watch dumped him with the trash./"
"/Isn't in customary to interrogate the prisoners before we dispose of them./"
Ho'tos looked nervous. "/Yes commander Q'uarg, but.../"
Q'uarg slammed his fist on the table. "/BUT WHAT!? Why wasn't the prisoner interrogated as per procedures!?/"
"/SIR, if I might make a proper report?/"
"/Make it good, Ho'tos./"
"/The report of the night watch is they answered a call from the cell level, they found the male prisoner out of the unlocked cell, Private Krass was down, and Private Ga'ost was going down. The human was fighting with a knife in his chest, buried to the hilt. He killed one more man, and seriously wounded three more before he was 'subdued'./"
"/And you 'believe' this?/"
"/I saw the body myself. He was cut to ribbons./"
"/How in the name of the Black Fleet did he get out of the cell?/"
"/The door was unlocked./"
"/And how was it unlocked?/"
"/I do not know Sir, both privates attending the prisoners were dead./"
"/Both dead, how, convenient./"
"/No sir, very inconvenient. It makes it difficult to find out which fool opened the cell, or why. And I am deprived the pleasure of killing them myself./"
"/None Sir, it is about the stupidest thing I can think of./"
"/What about the female?/"
"/Untouched, and she made no attempt to escape./"
"/Ah, your answers might yet live. Interrogate her./"
"/I am not sure how much these humans can take../"
"/Then be 'gentle', and get harsher only as you must./"
Jerry continued to watch the castle. No fortification was totally perfect, and he thought he had found the weakness. The Klingons marched a local "work force" under guard in and out every day. The guard would mean the weapons detectors, if any, would work poorly, and he had proven to himself that the old "I'm not here" trick worked. Next, transportation, or escaping was pointless.
Ensign Meyers sat naked on the stool, a Klingon to either side of her. She shook with fear, and cold. Neither one looked at her, somehow that made things even worse.
A third Klingon came in, sat across from her.
"/Unbind her hands./"
One of the two beside her released the cuffs she was bound in. She looked confused, rubbing her wrists. The third Klingon spoke again.
"A have been authorized to go 'easy' on you human. Provided you answer certain questions of import."
"I, I don't understand."
"Answer my questions and things will not become worse for you."
The forthrightness took her back. Klingons were supposed to torture you, and maybe ask questions.
"What do you want to know?"
"First, how did your companion get out of his cell?"
She blinked, that was what they wanted. That was easy, too easy.
"The shorter guard unlocked it."
"Why did the guard unlock the cell?"
"I don't know why, I"
The left guard raised his hand.
"/No!./ Perhaps you should start at the beginning of the Incident."
"Lt. LaSaille went to the cell door, he started shouting in Klingon, I think it was Klingon. He pressed himself against the door. The larger guard tried to grab him, Lt. LaSaille got his arm, and twisted it til he howled, then grabbed his knife and stabbed him, several times. The shorter guard pulled his gun, forced Lt. LaSaille back, opened the cell door, and put away the gun, and drew his knife. They fought, somewhere in the fight the alarm must have been pushed, then the guards killed him."
"Is there anything you can add to this?"
"There was a lot of shouting, I don't speak Klingon."
"Did Lt. LaSaille speak Klingon, to your knowledge?"
"He never demonstrated any."
"Thank you, that will be all for now. The guard will return your clothing, and take you to your cell."
Meyers still didn't know just what was going on as they took her back.
The Shuttle port was nothing more than a field with a landing beacon. Then again, getting a shuttle just might make them a better target. Terra firma is hard to shoot out from under your feet. Best look into hiding for the long haul. He had several tentive locations in mind. He best check them out.
Ho'tos once again stood before his Commander. Q'uarg read the report in his hands.
"/Do you believe this?/"
"/Believe, do not believe, it is what she said./"
"/Did you try and beat a better story out of her?/"
"/I saw no point in getting her to say what I wanted to hear. Beside, I didn't know what I wanted to hear. She was frightened, I think this time, enough./"
"/She knows no Klingon?/"
"/That much I am certain of./"
"/So what ever taunts he used so well, we will never hear./"
"/The security monitors arrived in shipment today./"
"/Too little, too late./"
"/Perhaps we should order supply to work for the Federation. Then supply will mess them up, and we will get to shoot them./"
"/Almost amusing. Shall I forward your suggestion to High Command?/"
"/High Command is not known for their sense of humor, Sir./"
"/No, they are not, I would keep that fact well in mind./"
"/Now, on the matter of local security. Lieutenant Ro'Qart was mugged by..." He consulted his report. "Another Klingon? His weapons taken?/"
"/That is the report, yes./"
"/You don't believe him?/"
"/I find the story difficult to believe. Everyone's whereabouts are accounted for. The alternatives are, unpleasant./"
"/What alternatives did you have in mind?/"
"/One, that he is lying to cover the loss of his weapons for other reasons. Two, that one of the locals had the audacity to attack him and take his weapons./"
"/Do you have a favorite theory?/"
"/No Sir, I have ordered searches of both the natives and the garrison, on the theory he was telling the truth, and in case he lied./"
"/Take want ever measures to think necessary. However, do not be harder on the locals than you must. An unsettled populace is more difficult to govern./"
"/By your order Sir./"
Ho'tos turned and left. Q'uarg looked out the high narrow windows of the tower wall. For a peaceful people they built good forts. Rain fell into the courtyard in hard sheets. He could see another que of local workers being brought in to maintain the grounds. A chill of unease passed through him. Q'uarg didn't like depending on client races for anything.
Jerry hid under the fold of the oilskin cloak that everyone wore on this perennially wet world. He stayed close the guard. Getting in the gate would be the difficult part. He concentrated on not being noticed. The rain weary gate guards waved them in. Good, either weapon detectors where not in use, or the guard screened him. He meekly followed the rest of the workers to the daily task.
Jerry examined the courtyard where they worked. Cobblestones were being pried up to make way for some manner of smooth surface. Klingons were installing what looked like security systems around the perimeter. That meant he would have to work fast. The guards were paying minimal attention to the workers. He felt the thoughts of the security system crewman. That one, he didn't like the work, the rain, he seem to dislike everything. That one was his mark. Jerry leaned into him, stroking the anger, making it larger, and more prominent in his mind.
There was a bobble, the housing was dropped. The angry Klingon burst out with an invective aimed at his coworker. Knives were drawn. Jerry faded back again, all eyes were on the fight. A senior officer was stepping in quickly. The two men were hauled off no doubt to explain their actions. Jerry faded further back, as normalcy returned to the inhabitants of the courtyard.
Jerry moved slowly, very slowly. The trick to not being seen, was to not attract the eye, distract the mind and don't attract the eye. It was easy to convince the mind that nothing was seen, if the eye sensed no movement. Therefore, movement was painfully slow. It took him a half hour or so to reach the door he had spotted. During that time, two Klingons had come out, and one had gone in. Getting through the door would be the riskiest part of the entire operation.
He stood by the portal, watching waiting, sensing. Another Klingon approached the door. Jerry tensed, this was it. The Klingon's mind was busy, wrapped in other concerns. Good, he was the one. The Klingon opened the door.
**/Hey!/** the voice called from back in the courtyard. The Klingon hesitated, looked back, door in hand. Jerry slipped into the opening, and found a hopefully out of the way place to hide.
The Klingon looked around for the one that had called him, shrugged and entered the door, closing it behind him. As he walked by Jerry slowly, ever so slowly let out a long held breath.
Jerry had followed this Klingon for the better part of an hour. It wasn't logical, it wasn't even a good idea, but he wanted his pistol back, and this Klingon had it. At last his target had moved into an area with no one else in it. Jerry reached out and grabbed the gun. As expected the motion did not go unnoticed. The Klingon spun around, knife in hand as Jerry thumbed off the safety. The shocked look on his face was a perfect complement to Jerry's feral grin. He was one of those that had fought him in the prison. Jerry shoved the barrel into the Klingon's gut, and pulled the trigger. The Klingon went down, his spine shattered by the expanding lead, the sound of the blast muffled by his flesh.
The Klingon lay in an expanding pool of his own blood, the horror in his face had not faded. Jerry took his knife, and slit the Klingon's throat. He quickly searched him for weapons, took them, and striped him of his armor. Then found a decent hiding place for the body. Once again dressed in Klingon armor hiding would be easier. Now, back to what he came for.
Once again the guards brought Eng. Meyers into the integration room and striped her this time they bound her spread to a rough wooden table. The Klingon Ho'tos entered the chamber carrying a slender rod.
"Ah Ensign Meyers, good to see you again." He turned to the guards. "/Leave./" And back to Meyers. "As you can see the situation is, different. You will tell me what I wish to know, and you will not suffer."
Ho'tos slowly ran the rod down her body, and suddenly jabbed the tip into her thigh. Myers screamed with the sudden intense pain. Ho'tos waited until her breathing had returned to normal.
"As you can see, the pain stick is a most useful tool. I understand that human females have some areas of the body more sensitive than others. It shall be interesting to discover what they are." He leaned close. "And I shall find them all unless you tell me exactly want I want to know."
Jerry heard the screams, before he reached the door. Meyers, it couldn't be anyone else. Two guards, this would have to be the hard way. He walked boldly toward the two, one started with discovery, and reached for his weapons, he cut them both down with the pulse laser.
He quickly opened the door and entered, the Klingon was busy, not facing the door. A bad move on his part. Jerry switched guns, then cleared his throat. The Klingon turned around. Shock all over his face.
"/Good afternoon sub-commander./"
"/A little early for that assumption I think./"
The pistol barked twice, the officer jerked, and hit the floor. Jerry stepped over him to check Meyers out. She was in one piece, no obvious damage. She moaned and opened her eyes, looked at him and promptly fainted. Great, he thought, now I have to carry a naked human woman and not look obvious doing it. Well, the quicker the better.
Careful work had gotten him back to empty guardroom where he had stashed his last kill. It was still here, no discovery yet. The rough ride had Meyer's stirring again.
"Are you awake angel."
"Jerry, is it really you?"
"Later, we have yet to get out alive. That happens, then I'll explain."
"Now Ensign. We have until the bodies are found to get out easy. Then it will be impossible. Here, put these on."
Jerry shoved the native garb at her. She quickly dressed, he could tell she hurt.
"Now, I am going to march you out 'under guard', look helpless and keep that hood up."
They walked out the main gate. Meyers nervousness played right into the ruse. Jerry heard alarms as they passed out of the gate, and into the driving rain.
The entire city was in an uproar, Klingons everywhere, natives running, the rain, as always. LaSaille and Meyers hid under the low eves of a building, and let the chaos happen around them. The night, and careful vigilance kept them unseen.
Commander Q'uarg walked into the medical rooms. Healers worked feverishly on Ho'tos, the others were dead, and now a third body had been found in the castle itself.
Q'uarg addressed the Healer. "/Will he live?/"
"/That will depend on him Commander, we have done what we can./"
"/I will talk with him./"
The Healer nodded and shot stimulants into Ho'tos' system. He groaned, and shifted on the hard pallet.
Ho'tos slowly opened his eyes.
"/What do you mean, dead man?/"
"/The dead human... alive... impossible./"
"/dead human... came in... shot me./"
"/Then this dead human is not so dead./"
"/impos... able. ....examined him... ...myself./"
"/That which is, is not impossible./"
"/he... Was... DEAD!/"
Ho'tos' eyes bugged out, his mouth worked, his body shivered. Then he was still as the death rattle passed his lips.
Q'uarg stood silent for a moment. He and the healers looked skyward and gave warning that another Klingon warrior was coming to join the Black Fleet.
LaSaille and Meyers walked through the dripping woods. The rain fell constantly. Both were now dressed in the fashion of the natives. Oilskin cloak and something akin to a wool tunic.
Meyers said. "OK, we don't have Klingons on our tail. You promised me an explanation.
"Yes, I did."
"Meyers, what's you first name?"
"Candice, you didn't know?"
"Nope, starships are getting bigger. You can't know everyone aboard any more."
"So when was your first starship trip?"
"2063 I flew the SS Savanna from Earth to El Nanth. Didn't get on another ship for a hundred years."
Meyers stopped in her tracks. "2063? That's only two years after the first flight!"
"That's right. At my urging the University of Michigan used the data to build it's own ship."
"How old are you?"
"I was born in 1948."
"1948, that's impossible, that makes you 300 years old."
"Yes it does. Are you starting to get the idea?"
"You're not human."
"That part I can't tell you. I was born on Earth, my parents died, my son died, in a accident that failed to kill me, but should have."
"So, what are you?"
"I don't really know Candice. I was born on Earth, of Humans, that much I am sure of. I have never found another person like myself, and not for lack of trying."
"So how did you avoid getting killed."
"I heal, really fast."
"Tet offensive, 1968, the Viet Cong gave me 47 nice new bullets. I didn't die. I should have, they cut me almost in two. Any other person would have been dead. I wasn't . I don't know how, it just is."
"So you heal really fast and don't age. Any other surprises?"
"I'm a Telepath."
"A Telepath. Is that how you learned Klingon so fast?"
"I learned some Klingon, and yes."
"So why don't you rule the world or something."
"Does the name Khan Nooian Singh ring any bells?"
"Yea, I took history."
"Well, I lived it. And just before I was born we had this guy named Hitler. Between Hitler, Singh, and Green, the idea of ruling the world earned a bad reputation. So I never tried it."
"Just like that."
"You had to be there. It really colors your attitude to have the world destroyed around you by power hungry madmen."
"Wait a minute, you said 2061? El Nanth? That's 74 light years from Earth."
"And your point?"
"How in the hell did you make it."
"Try barely. It took 84 weeks, in a prototype ship that kept breaking down, and we ran out of anti-matter on the edge of the system."
"So why are you a Lieutenant, you should know everything about starships."
"Not really, I did one, so I could escape Earth before Green killed everyone around me, and I haven't messed much with them since. I don't learn things other than language faster than the average person."
"All right Lieutenant, what now?"
"Call me Jerry, we could be here a while."
"OK Jerry, what now?"
"We find some food and hopefully dry shelter for the night, and hide form the Klingons til the planet is relieved."
"No one knows we are here?"
"Oh, I wouldn't bet on that. I see lights ahead, might be a hamlet."
Q'uarg looked that the officers gathered around him. He seethed. He addressed the lot.
'/Somehow, a (he spat the word) human prisoner, honorless surrendering scum!! Managed to escape, killing two Klingons. He also managed to get back in, killing four more Klingons, including our security chief. And then melt away with the other prisoner!! Is this want you are telling me!!!/" He pounded the table with each word.
He subordinates looked uncomfortable, shifting about, a few throats were cleared.
"/I want reports, before I slit your worthless throats and you can't report./"
"/What?!/" Q'uarg glared at the speaker.
"/I submit Sir that the prisoner was not Human./"
"/And what brings you to this enlightenment Lieutenant?/" Q'uarg's voice was silky soft.
"/Sir, I also examined the 'body' of the 'Human'. There was no respiration, and no heartbeat. I personally stabbed the body twice, in the heart to make sure. Sir, no Human could have survived./"
"/So, what do you think we are dealing with?/"
"/I do not know Sir, but it is not Human. A client race of the Humans perhaps Sir./"
TgarT from Intelligence spoke. "/Sir, that would hardly be a client race. Any being with such powers would not fall under so weak a race as the Humans./"
"/So, what do you think?/"
"/We know that the Federation consists of a number of races. I suggest Sir that we believe the propaganda that states that its races are equal./"
"/Based on what facts?/"
"/Orion sources report much the same as the Federation itself. With an Orion slant to the knowledge, of course./"
"/So what race is this being?/"
"Unknown. His pattern of behavior is not in the Federation database. I would suggest that it is secret./"
"We cut into pieces and burn any human 'bodies' we encounter. It should at least slow them down./"
"/Your suggestion is noted. As to the rest, find this creature, and the woman. Kill any native that harbors them, after you kill their family. Se that the entire village observes the punishment./"
Fleet Captain Garth looked at the Ane. "You expect me to believe this?"
**Captain, do you have reason to not believe?**
"A report form out of nowhere that the Potemkin was taken by the Klingons, and there are two survivors? What do you think?"
**I am in contact with one of the survivors, they have escaped from the Klingons, and are taking refuge in the forests.**
**Telepathy Captain. The man is important to me.**
"And the name of the man?"
**Lt. Jerry LaSaille.**
"Who is the other officer?"
**Eng. Candice Meyers.**
Captain Garth accessed his terminal. "OK, I have both listed a crewman on the Potemkin. However, what do you expect me to do about it?"
**Be aware Captain, you have people on Anaxar.**
"Thank you, Miss Aleilan, I will keep that in mind."
**The contact is two way.**
**He can communicate with me as I can with him.**
Garth sat a little taller. "That is different. Can you transmit intelligence?"
**If you so order him to gather it, yes.**
"If you will transmit the following orders..."
Continued in Part Two
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The Above is a work of fiction. All characters are fictional, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental.
Copyright Garry Stahl:September 1999. All rights reserved, re-print only with permission.