I really do appreciate all of your comments. Some of your immediate questions will be answered in the following passage.
Gibraltar appreciate you liking the character work. I started out with an idea for A'nurd being this annoying Neelix kind of guy, but then I wanted to give him a little bit more bite. And hopefully you and BrotherBenny won't be disappointed when Tai unloads on these guys, though this passage might show that they can be formidable. BrotherBenny's idea of a Tai-Pava team up sounds like a good one to me
. How about Tai and Pava against a Hirogen hunting party? Or a ship overrun with Species 8472?
I want to thank you CeJay for the use of Sullivan, a future presidential candidate you used in one of your election stories. You had let me use him a long time ago, but at that point I was calling him Connor. When I thought more about the guy, I came across the name Cormac and liked that better.
Squat, muscled reptilians, with scaly pink skin and obsidian claws slashed at her. Shashlik threw her arm up to block the toxic blows, the claws ripping through the arm of her EVA suit, but not deep enough to rend her flesh. The Kaylar had no intention of allowing them to do so.
With her free hand she swung her mace, satisfied with the crack of bone and the grunt of surrender. She gave into the rush of battle, the call of hunts from years gone by.
She punched, kicked, and swung her mace like a dervish, her adrenaline pumping faster than her fear, even her excitement.
Shashlik would not fall like the hapless victims littering the decks of their own vessel. She would make her clan proud.
She cut through the throng of brigands that had descended on her, crunching many underfoot. Another short, muscled man stood back, observing. She knew instinctively that he had to be the leader.
She faced him, nostrils flaring, her lungs on fire, her hot breath fogging the faceplate on her suit. Shashlik didn’t know how much oxygen was left. She was prepared to fight until her last breath.
Like the others, the man wore a black breathing mask over his nose and mouth, attached to red goggles covering his eyes. “Impressive,” his voice muffled behind the mask, and she saw the corner of his mouth inch upward in a smirk. “You shall make good sport.”
Shashlik couldn’t help but laugh. She glanced down at the broken men before her. “For whom?”
“Spirited too,” the man chortled. “I like that.”
“Well let’s see how you like this,” She stepped toward him. The man stood his ground, not even reaching for the disruptor strapped to his leg or raising the black baton in his hand. His serenity gave Shashlik pause.
As her blood lust began to ebb, she realized her mistake. She whipped around, growling low in her throat. A dark-skinned, dread locked woman held a struggling Ramlo aloft, her large hands gripping his neck, and his smashed helmet was at the hulking woman’s boots.
“I would caution you that your colleague only has a few seconds of oxygen at most,” he replied, but Shashlik didn’t need the prod. She saw that Ramlo’s protestations were getting weaker and his skin was becoming a deathly verdant shade.
“Salvation is aboard our vessel,” the man replied, “Provided you drop your weapon and come with us peacefully.”
Shashlik glanced at Ramlo and the man mustered enough energy to shake his head no, which made up her mind for her. The mace dropped with a dull thud. “Now let him go,” she demanded. The woman didn’t budge. Shashlik took another step forward.
“Nadeen,” the other man called out harshly, “Beam the Arkenite to Burning Claw.” The woman grunted, flexing her shoulders, before dropping the man. He crumpled at the woman’s feet. Her pulled out a communicator from her belt and issued a guttural command. Shashlik reached out for Ram, but he had been whisked away before her fingers could reach him.
“Now, what to do with you,” the man said before her.
She rounded on him, “I’ve got a few ideas,” she answered, with balled fists. Before she could react, the man sprung, a fierce cry accentuating his leap, his baton clutched in his hand like a spear. Shashlik only took a step backward, a feeble attempt to gather herself, before he was on her, knocking her down with force.
She felt her leg twist awkwardly beneath, the bone giving way, agony exploding like a supernova through her body. But that wasn’t the worst…the man brought the baton down with all his might, smashing her faceplate, and digging into her cheek with an electric kiss….
“Shashlik, Shash!” It wasn’t just Ramlo’s frantic voice, but his frenzied shaking that brought her back to wakefulness.
“What the hell are you doing?” She rasped, for a moment thinking they were back in her quarters. “Why are you in…” She blinked several times, her mind taking in the dark, dank room. “I remember.” And then she winced, the pain coming back to her. She reached out for her throbbing leg, surprised it was still attached to her body.
“How are you feeling?” Ramlo asked, concern etched deeply on his face. Despite a darkened blotch around his neck, the Arkenite looked none the worse for wear. Shashlik sent a silent prayer to deities she suddenly found useful again.
“I’ve been better,” she said, trying to sit up, but Ram put his hands on her shoulders and forced her down. Even though she was still was weak and half-conscious, she could’ve pushed back against the man, but she decided not to. She did need to gather her strength. “What…happened?” She asked, the dryness of her throat made her tongue feel like sandpaper.
“We were taken captive by pirates,” Ramlo said, “Who plan to sell you to the Orions.”
“Orions?” she nearly spat the word. She hated the slavers and thieves. She wished that Starfleet had at least bent the rules once and rid the galaxy of them a long time ago.
“Yes,” he nodded solemnly.
“And what about you?” She asked, her mood darkening. “What is to be your fate?”
He glanced around the cell and then dipped his head, lowering his voice, “They know about the polaric ion regulator,” he said, fear blanching his features, “They want me to help them find it.”