The Hunting Trip

"The Hunting Trip"
By: John Barnes

"Commanding Officer's Log, Stardate: 238012.11. The IKS Blood Thirst is preparing for launch. I'm taking my father Toraq and son Kahless hunting on a nearby M-Class Planet. Zuthar was supposed to come with for some male bonding time. However that plan changed when Lothar unexpectedly announced her desire for a divorce. Which after much argument and pleading, I granted her. At first I wasn't going to agree to the divorce, so she couldn't re-marry, thought that would show her. But then changed my mind, not for her, but for myself. Because I wouldn't be able to re-marry either. Maybe someday I may find a mate worthy to be claimed by me as my wife. Maybe, a 3rd times a charm, as the humans say. Though, I may not date for quite some time, which is ok, I wanted to be best prepared. We are discussing a 6 month custody arrangement for Kahless and Lina. I can't say the divorce comes as a total surprise. I had the oddest sensation for months, a vibe in me that practically screamed divorce, but I was foolish enough to ignore it, hoping for the best. But, it was not to be." After a long pause, Krothos said, "End Log." The Computer beeped in acknowledgment. He left his Ready room and went into the Bridge and sat back in his Command Chair.

The crew of the IKS Blood Thirst was finished with their launch preparations. Krothos tapped the comm-button on his Command Chair, "IKS Blood Thirst to Launch Pad Control, requesting permission to launch."

"Launch Pad Control to IKS Blood Thirst, you are clear for launch. Please stay at the coarse and speed that has been sent to your helm console until your out of orbit," replied the voice on the other side.

"Understood, IKS Blood Thirst, OUT!" said Krothos. He looked at his helm officer, "Lay in the coarse and speed provided and engage."

"Aye Sir," said the helm officer.

The IKS Blood Thirst lifted off the ground and flew into the sky. Minutes later they were in orbit of Planet Alpha.

"Break orbit at half impulse," ordered Krothos.

"Aye," said the helm officer, as he did as ordered.

"Set a coarse, Sector 230 by 562 mark 825, Warp 5." said Krothos.

"Coarse laid in Sir," replied the helm officer after he entered it.

"Engage," ordered Krothos as he in twined his fingers in his Command Chair. He looked at the tattoo ring on his wedding finger. 'I'll need to get that removed,' he thought to himself.

The IKS Blood Thirst was on it's way to take Krothos, his father Toraq, and his son, Kahless, on their Hunting trip. It would be Kahless's first hunt.

A few hours later the IKS Blood Thirst dropped out of warp at Galadrix 3. They flew on impulse power until they entered orbit of the planet. Major Krothos heard this place had some good game. He looked to Commander Nambia, "You got the Bridge. Change shift rotations from 3 shifts a day to 2 shifts a day. One regular shift gets a day of R&R on the planet."

"Aye Sir," she replied as he walked off the Bridge. Kalita took the Command chair.

Krothos went to his quarters, "Father, Kahless, ready to go?"

"I for one am, son. You Kahless?" asked Toraq.

"Yes Grandfather, I'm always ready," Kahless said a matter-a-factlly. Krothos and Toraq chuckled at the boy's eagerness.

"I have Ensign Lofthouse watch Lina until Commander Nambia is off duty," Toraq told him.

"I hope she could handle her," Krothos chuckled. He grabbed his hunting gear, "Lets get a move on, shall we?" The 3 of them headed to the transporter room.

Krothos, Toraq, and Kahless entered the transporter room and stood on the pad. Krothos looked at them and what they were carrying to make sure they had everything they needed. Once satisfied he ordered, "Energize." Moments later the transporter room disappeared around them.

The trio reappeared at a clearing in a forest setting. This was to be their camp for the next 3 days. It was warm with a cool breeze. Every plant was green, waters and skies were blue. If Krothos didn't know better he swore he was in a forest on Earth. Though this planet was made to hold Deer, Elk, Bear, Birds, and other animals to hunt. Created by the Genesis project for R&R, hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and even mountain climbing. It even had animal life from other planets dropped off on it. Mainly as game for hunting. There were Ranger and Medical Stations through the planet, but besides that it was uninhabited by humanoids as a place of residents.

They put up their tents and unrolled their sleeping bags inside. Krothos gathered a bunch of rocks and made a circle. He dug out the grass in the circle and shook the dirt clumps off. He sent Toraq and Kahless to gather sticks and branches for fire wood. Once they returned her stacked some in the circle, breaking longer once in hauled over his knee. He took two sticks and rubbed them together hard and fast until a light trail of smoke started showing up. He was explaining the steps to Kahless, teaching the boy survival skills in the wild. After they were set up they went fishing for their dinner.

"If this is a hunting trip, when are we actually going to, oh……… I don't know………. hunt?" asked Toraq. Looking over the camp fire as they ate fish they caught earlier that evening for dinner.

"Tomorrow, the boy needs to learn survival skills first," replied Krothos.

"Very well…….spoil-sport," replied Toraq. The comment had Kahless laughing.

"Sure, team up against me. Hurry and eat then go to sleep. Then tomorrow will come sooner," said Krothos. After they ate and sang a few songs and Toraq told Kahless a story they went to sleep.

On a cloaked Klingon Attack Cruiser not to far from the IKS Blood Thirst, Voltaire, an Agent on the Klingon Imperial Intelligence was watching Krothos and his away team's progress. Voltaire waited a long time to seek revenge against Krothos. He snared at the name of the traitor of the K.I.I., he would soon pay for what he's done. That is what Voltaire promised himself for the past 7 years. That FREAK of nature will pay dearly.

"Sir, here are the reports you ordered," said an officer as he handed Voltaire a PADD. It had the status of the away team, his best guess is that they were sleeping. There was no honor in attacking an unconscious enemy. And Voltaire mused in his mind, 'I will not stoop to the level of dishonor as Krothos.'

"Good. We attack in the morning. I will take a small away team to get Krothos, your job will be to destroy his ship," ordered Voltaire.

"Aye Sir," the officer replied.

Kalita Nambia rocked Lina in her arms in her rocking chair as she sang to her, “Rock-a-bye baby, in the tree tops. When the wind blows, the cradle will rock…”

“Ensign Henry Sato to Commander Nambia,” called an urgent voice over the communicator. Kalita tapped her badge, “What is it Ensign Sato?”

“Ma’am, I am detecting strange readings. They appear to be transporter readings… From in the middle of space,” replied Ensign Sato.

“I’m on my way. Nambia OUT,” replied Kalita. She placed a sleeping Lina in the crib. Then Kalita headed for the Bridge.

“Commander on deck,” hollered Ensign Sato as Kalita walked on the Bridge. She just replied with the simple, “As you were. Now what are you getting?”

Ensign Sato showed Kalita the readings. She looked to him, “Have you contacted Major Krothos yet?”

“I’ve attempted to, but communication systems can’t get through some type of interference,” replied the Ensign.

Kalita turned to the Helm Officer, “Ensign Jasper is the interference covering the whole planet?”

Jasper looked to his console, “No Ma’am, just the area under us.”

“Take us around the moon, Mr. Jasper,” ordered Nambia.

“Aye Ma’am,” Jasper replied as he did as he was ordered. The ship swung around the moon and then shook under weapons fire. The tactical station beeped as sensors detected a decloaking enemy.

“Aft view,” ordered Kalita. The image of a Klingon Attack Cruiser appeared on the screen.

“Channel open,” reported Ensign Sato.

“Commander Nambia to Major Krothos,” Kalita called out.

“Krothos here, go ahead Commander,” he replied.

“Sir, we are under attack by a Klingon Attack Cruiser. They beamed down an away team. Possibly to go after you,” reported Kalita.

“Beam us up,” ordered Krothos.

“Stand-by, Sir,” replied Nambia. She sank into the command chair, “Return fire then cloak. Helm, prepare to make a sharp turn.”

After a round of ‘Aye’s’ the crew put plan into action. The Blood Thirst shook again as they hit the enemy ship. After they cloaked, the Blood Thirst took a sharp turn avoiding another volley of torpedoes and phaser fire.

Once the Blood Thirst was able to stop then Kalita reported, “We’re ready Sir. However, we can only beam up 2 at a time.”

“Beam up Kahless and my father first,” ordered Krothos. Toraq was about to protest when the familiar red beams of light took him away. A phaser blast streaked past Krothos. He looked back to see a few Klingon attackers chasing after him. He bolted into the woods for deeper cover. Hoping the deeper cover will give him a tactical advantage.

“Where is he?” asked Kalita as she looked over her Science Officer’s shoulder. She then turned her head to the doors to see Krothos’s father and son enter the Bridge.

“Our scanners are being jammed,” replied the Science Officer. He read his console, “They’ve detected us.”

“Red Alert, all hands to battle stations.” Ordered Kalita. Just as the Red Alert Klaxon sounded, Kahless shimmered away in the red light of the Klingon transporter.

Toraq’s eyes widened as he glanced at where his grandson just was to see nothing. He bolted his head to the Tactical Officer, “Where did Kahless go?”

The Tactical Officer read his console, “He was automatically beamed to an escape pod that just launched, with his sister. It’s headed to the surface, over 400 kilometers from Krothos’s last known position.”

Kalita looked to Toraq, “Do you have Battle Command experience?”

“Your asking a Klingon if he has leadership skills in battle?” asked Toraq.

“Your right, stupid question. I’ll relinquish command to you. I need to prep sickbay for the wounded you’ll be sending me,” replied Kalita as she hurried off the Bridge.

On the Bridge of a cloaked Klingon Bird-of-Prey, a Klingon captain watches the beginning battle on his view screen, “Contact the IKS Qo’noS 2. Tell them his suspicions were correct.”

“You heard the Commander, lets get to work. Helm, set a coarse, 284 by 867 by 857. Engage when ready,” Ordered Toraq. He barked orders to the Tactical Officer as well, telling him to ready weapons.

“Sir, that’ll take us into the star’s atmosphere,” reported the Helm Officer.

“I am aware, just do it Ensign,” replied Toraq as he sat in his son’s chair. The IKS Blood Thirst flew to the sun of the solar system they were in and began to surf on the flames. The ship shook as the flames brushed their shields.

“They are following us in,” reported the Tactical Officer.

“FIRE at the star’s surface!” commanded Toraq. As the Tactical Officer did as he was ordered a giant flame from the star swooped into their attacker’s ship. The Blood Thirst outrunning the flame barely, but not enough to not feel the pressure of it. Consoles bursts into sparks. Smoke fills the Bridge air. Screens flicker with snowy static on some consoles.

“We won’t last long in here,” warned the Helm Officer.

“We’ll last longer than them. We just took out their shields,” replied Toraq. He looked at the bridge crew’s smoky, sweaty faces as the heat began to rise in the ship.

“By my readings, they have 28 minutes left in here. We have 2 hours and 15 minutes. Then there is no hiding in here for either of us,” reported the Tactical Officer.

“Can you target them?” asked Toraq.

“No sir, the heat is messing with targeting sensors, neither of us will be able to get a lock onto targets,” replied the Tactical Officer.

“At least we know we won’t be attacked,” muttered Toraq. He looked out the view screen to see the flames come from the star below them.

Krothos ran deeper into the woods as he heard the footsteps of his attackers following him. He ducked behind a tree and picked up a broken branch he noticed on the ground. Once one of the attackers grew close, he swung the branch, hitting his attacker in the head. Krothos pulled out his phaser pointing it at his to other attackers, who stopped dead in their tracks.

“Surrender Freak,” yelled Voltaire.

“Voltaire?” asked Krothos in almost disbelief. Then he sighed, knowing why Voltaire had hunted him down. Remembering his old KII days, it became clear. His eyes narrowed, “I thought I strongly advised the KII to leave me alone.”

“You did. They maybe afraid of you, but I am NOT. I’m not about to let you get away with what you did. You traitor,” replied Voltaire.

“You’re a dishonorable PetaQ. Attacking a Bird-of-Prey with an Attack Cruiser,” Krothos spat at Voltaire.

“You destroy an entire base and I’m the dishonorable one? Though you should know as the Emperor of dishonor,” Voltaire spat back. Then added, “Let’s see who here has more honor. A hand to hand combat to the death. And none of your cheap parlor tricks.”

“We’re in a forest, if I did it would start a forest fire that will claim all of our lives,” replied Krothos.

“It’s still a last resort option, if you were to lose,” replied Voltaire.

“I assure you I will not use my abilities,” Krothos promised. Both men stared at each other coldly as they threw their weapons to the ground. They sidestepped around in a circle, staying directly across from each other.

Voltaire launched himself at Krothos. Krothos grabbed Voltaire’s wrists and swung him around and around, trying to destabilize the other man’s balance. They tumbled and stumbled around the battle ground. Krothos kneed Voltaire in the gut. Voltaire wrapped his arms around Krothos’s legs and pulling it up as high as he could. Krothos fell onto his back.

Voltaire semi-circled around Krothos and then kicked his opponent in the ribs. Krothos grunted as he grabbed at his ribs. Voltaire kicked again and Krothos grabbed his foot and spun it around. Forcing Voltaire to fly into the air in a spin and landing face first in the ground. Krothos got to his knees and jumped on Voltaire’s back, pounding his head into the ground.

One of Voltaire’s men kicked Krothos off of Voltaire. The other Klingon joined him in holding Krothos down as Voltaire got back to his feet. Krothos grunted out, “This is cheating.”

“Oh Krothos, we agreed that it would be a hand to hand combat. We never agreed that it would be just the two of us. So you see, it is not breaking the agreement,” replied Voltaire as he kicked Krothos in the jaw.

“What now Sir,” asked one of the Klingon officers.

Voltaire thought for a moment, “We passed up some cliffs when we came here. We’ll throw Krothos off it then return to our ship and destroy the Blood Thirst.”

Krothos did not even have enough strength as he was slipping in and out of consciousness while the Klingon officers tied his hands together. They then threw Krothos over one of their shoulder and carried him off.

The Bridge of the IKS Blood Thirst was getting hotter and hotter. The crew had removed their jackets and opened the tops of their shirts due to the heat. Their bodies drenched in sweat. Then the ship shook violently as an explosion was heard.

Toraq stood up, “Report!”

“Sir, one of our own torpedoes exploded in the torpedo bay. I’m not reading any life-signs in there. And there is a hull breach there. Force-fields are not in place. The generators are overheated,” reported the Tactical Officer.

Toraq sighed, it was obvious that they needed to get out of the star. Their attackers had left the star already and were waiting in orbit for them. The Blood Thirst was in no condition to fight if nobody could load the torpedoes. But they wouldn’t last much longer if more torpedoes started blowing up inside the ship. Toraq exhaled a long breath, “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Helm, take us out of the star.”

“I can’t Sir, we are sinking deeper into the star,” replied the Helm Officer.

“What?” yelled Toraq as he looked at the helm console. He thought quickly, “Evacuate the bottom deck and seal it off. Then fill it with pure oxygen and open the bottom hatches at my command.”

“But Sir, that would do a lot of damage to the ship, especially the lower deck,” replied the Science Officer.

“This is not open for debate, just get it done, NOW,” barked Toraq.

“A-a-a-aye S-sir,” replied the Operations Officer. The crew must have secretly wondered who would be worse to piss off, Krothos or Toraq. They did their respected jobs as he had ordered.

“We’re here Sir,” yelled a Klingon, waking Krothos up. As he came to he saw they were near a cliff.

“I see you’ve woken in time to see your new home,” said Voltaire as he saw Krothos had come to.

“You won’t get away with this,” Krothos spat as he felt the vines that tied his hands together behind him.

“The Empire will never know what happened here, nor will your mighty Federation friends,” retorted Voltaire.

Krothos used his ability to burn the vines until they snapped and unraveled from his arms. Krothos pushed the Klingon officer nearest to the cliff, off the cliff screaming on his way down. The other officer pushed Krothos, but Krothos had spun around grabbing the officer’s arm, still spinning. The officer flew off the cliff with his comrade and Krothos fell on his back away from the cliff, hearing the screams of the second man.

Voltaire reached down and grabbed Krothos by the neck, pulling him to his feet. Voltaire snapped, “NOW IT’S YOUR TURN TO DIE!”

Voltaire and Krothos then wrestled each other around, trying to get the other to fall off the edge of the cliff. Voltaire slipped his foot forward, tripping Krothos. Krothos fell off the edge of the cliff, holding onto Voltaire tightly, taking his opponent with him. Krothos grabbed onto a slightly lower ridge, hanging on for dear life. Voltaire was hanging onto Krothos’s leg.

Krothos kicked Voltaire in the head again and again, “I’ve had about enough of you.”

Krothos gave one last hard kick in Voltaire’s face, breaking his nose. Voltaire let go in pain and fell to his death, screaming. Krothos began climbing back up to the top of the cliff.

“The lower deck has been evacuated and filled with pure oxygen,” reported the Operations Officer.

“Blow the hatches. Tactical, arm phasers. Helm, aim upward,” ordered Toraq. Shortly later the ship went up quickly, feeling like the whole ship was a turbolift as the oxygen acted as rocket fuel propelling them upward. As soon as they rose high enough to see the enemy ship Toraq yelled, “FIRE!”

The Tactical Officer fired everything they had at the enemy vessel, “Their warp engines are disabled and their shields are down. And so is ours, along with our long range sensors.”

“They are hailing us,” reported the Communications Officer.

“On speaker,” ordered Toraq. He wanted to watch the enemy ship since the long range sensors were out.

“I commend the Commander of your small vessel. You’re very skilled. It’s a shame we must kill you now. You might as well give up. Your no match for an Attack Cruiser,” said the voice on the other end, most likely the one in charge. Toraq saw the IKS Qo’noS 2 decloak behind the enemy ship. Apparently their sensors were down too.

“Yeah, but I’ll bet an Attack Cruiser is no match for a Negh’var class warship either,” replied Toraq.

“What?” the enemy commander asked.

“Look behind you,” replied Toraq. He heard the commander bark an order in Klingonese for rear view on the view screen, followed by a curse. Toraq began to chuckle at how dumb that commander must think he is by now. Then he watched as the IKS Qo’noS 2 blasted the enemy ship out of the stars.

Krothos made his way to the top of the cliff. He rolled over it, breathing heavily once he laid on his back, on the dirt. He looked up to see a small Klingon shuttle coming down near his location. It landed a few yards away and Krothos stood up, slowly approaching it. When the hatched opened, Toraq and a couple other Klingons stepped out, one being General Xek’Nar, the Commanding Officer of the IKS Qo’noS 2.

“Voltaire’s ship is destroyed, Major,” said Xek’Nar as they walked to meet Krothos half-way. He quickly looked Krothos over, his injuries didn’t look life threatening so Xek’Nar just ignored Krothos’s bumps and bruises.

“So is Voltaire, General,” replied Krothos. Then added, “Let’s go pick up my kids. I believe I noticed their escape pod shooting by.”

“Yes, they are 430 kilometers north-west,” answered Toraq. They all got into the shuttle and made their way to the escape pod. Once there, Krothos entered the password to open the hatch.

The hatch opened and Krothos peeked inside to see Kahless pointing a phaser at him, “It’s OK son. It’s just us.” Kahless put the phaser down and Krothos pulled him and Lina out. Xek’Nar placed a transport signal booster on the pod, then the pod disappeared. Beamed to the cargo-bay of the IKS Qo’noS 2, until it’s reinstalled onto the IKS Blood Thirst to be used again.

“Commanding Officer’s Log, Stardate: 238012.23. I’ve returned to the IKS Blood Thirst to assess the damage. The IKS Qo’noS 2 is towing us to Planet Alpha with their tractor beam. My father nearly destroyed my ship while trying to survive the battle. It’s going to be dry-docked for months for repairs. Most likely won’t fly again until after Lothar gets the kids for her turn. Speaking of her, Nick has informed me she is spending time on the Trokarian homeworld. The kids are currently on the IKS Qo’noS 2, being watched by my mother and sister.

Now back to my ship, my bottom deck has been turned into the inside of a Bar-B-Q pit. It’s all burnt to charcoal. There’s a hole in the side, the size of my…. Lothar’s house, due to a torpedo overheating and blowing up. Engines are rendered useless, shields are gone, phasers are the only weapons operational, and we’re lucky life support still works.

Considering it was a battle between a Bird-of-Prey and an Attack Cruiser, not such a bad job. Commander Nambia has moved the injured to the IKS Qo’noS 2, and is there to make sure their Doctors don’t amputate any limbs from the Starfleet personnel. Eng log,” Krothos ended it as he sat down at his desk in his ready room with a sigh.

He then mumbled to himself, “Maybe I should consider retirement. Because I am getting to old for this shit.“

THE END

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