This is a story submitted as part of the Flashback week competition. It’s a Star Trek story written by Chas Hammer.
Rage settled across Chas’ heart as he caressed the strands of her red hair, brushing away the mud. There was nothing that could be done. Her skin faded to white. The glow of life left her eyes.
Thump! Another impact. Crack! A pulse of energy surges past.
“Sir, they are getting closer.”
Chas looked up blankly at the ensign, whose name he did not know.
“Sir?” The ensign continued, a hint of desperation in his voice.
Chas looked back at the body and rolled her onto her side, removing the small Type 1 phaser concealed in her uniform waistband before placing it in his own.
“We have to keep moving,” Chas finally whispered, before barking, “Repack the medical kit!”
As the ensign fumbled to stuff everything back, Chas switched his tricorder from medical to tactical. Complete gibberish filled his screen – faint shadows of mass here and there, lifeforms appearing and disappearing at random. Both sides were pumping out so much electromagnetic garbage that sensors were unreliable. As long as the rain held up, they had a chance.
Peering out from the thicket under which they had taken cover, Chas noticed a ditch about ten meters away running through an open field to a stand of reeds. “This is our best option.”
“What about the commander?”
Chas turned his gaze back at the body. “We have to leave her,” gruffly adding in a statement meant for his own person, not the ensign, “This is no time to be sentimental.”
Pulling the phaser out from his waistband and setting it to maximum, Chas disintegrated the body, but not before pulling the combadge and rank pips off her uniform.
“Lieutenant Hammer, would you kindly explain to this board of inquiry why you vaporized the body of Lieutenant Commander Higgins?”
“I did not want her to fall into Cardassian hands, sir. I’ve seen what they do to the bodies of Starfleet officers. I owed her that.”
“I see,” the JAG attorney responded, drawing out the word see so he could gather his next thought. “And after that, you made it to the reeds, where Ensign Hu was killed?”
Everything was soaked through. Chas no longer bothered to wipe the rain from his eyes.
They had been hunkered in the reeds for a good hour. It seemed the Cardassians had given up looking for them. In fact it seemed the entire world had disappeared. No signals showed up on the tricorder, not even echos. Even the sounds of battle had disappeared, leaving the two of alone with the rain slamming into the muck.
“Here, eat something,” Chas pulled a ration kit from the haversack and passed it back to Ensign Hu. Both were leaning their backs against the other for support.
As they ate, Chas’ ears perked up. In the distance came the noise, a faint electromagnetic pitch. Chas adjusted his tricorder. Ensign Hu looked into the rain.
Out of the clouds swooshed a Federation shuttle craft. Before either could process the image and the hope it brought a crack of energy surged from the ground a hundred meters distant, striking the shuttle and causing it to spin out of the sky.
“Over there,” Chas exclaimed, motioning with his hand.
The pair slowly crawled their way through the reeds to where the bolt originated.
Suddenly they stopped. “One, two, three, four, five.” Chas counted the Cardassians huddled around the anti shuttle battery concealed in the reeds. Ensign Hu moved along Chas’ side to look. “Lets take them out,” Chas said in a hushed whisper as he pulled the phaser from his waistband.
“Sir, with all due respect, we’re not soldiers. When we crash we’re supposed to remain concealed and await rescue.”
Chas peered at the ensign and hissed, “They just shot down fellow pilots. They could have been the ones who shot us down. We are going to take them out. Prepare your phaser, that is an order.”
Both men aimed their phasers at separate targets and fired. Ensign Hu hit his mark, obliterating a Cardassian manning the battery. Chas missed his mark, the officer who appeared to be in charge.
The Cardassians immediately dove for cover and grabbed their disruptor’s, firing back into the reeds over the heads of Chas and Ensign Hu.
Chas pressed his head into the mud, looking up to see Ensign Hu drop another Cardassian. Chas opened fire again, missing each time.
Enraged, Chas stood up and charged towards the Cardassian position. He leveled his phaser at a startled Cardassian and blasted a hole through her chest.
Ensign Hu stumbled to get up. A disruptor blast took off his head.
“Commander Soniack, how would you categorize Lieutenant Hammer as an officer?”
“He’s one of the best pilots under my command. That is why he was chosen for the mission. He is meticulous in his planning. However, he does show a strong emotional streak, even for a human.”
One of the Cardassians grabbed Chas from behind. Chas summoned his strength to spin away, pushing the Cardassian off and into the path of the other. As both Cardassians collided and stumbled, Chas leveled his phaser and shot the nearest one.
A disruptor blast narrowly missed Chas’ head. He immediately dove to the ground and rolled behind a log, losing his phaser in the process. The remaining Cardassian lumbered towards Chas, kicking mud into his face.
Their eyes met. A grin spread across the face of the Cardassian as he prepared to fire. Not taking his eyes away from the Cardassian, Chas slammed a rock into the foot of the Cardassian and in one quick motion exploded from the ground and propelled his momentum into the chest of the Cardassian.
As the alien stumbled Chas flung his arm, the sharp side of the rock digging into the tendons and mussels of the Cardassian’s thick neck.
The Cardassian grabbed his neck and fell to his knees in pain. Chas yelled “Spoonhead!” as he tackled the alien, driving him back into the muck. With a quick blow the rock slammed into the center of the Cardassian’s head. Chas turned the rock to its blunt side, hitting again and again, the skull cracking underneath.
“This board of inquiry finds that Lieutenant Hammer performed his duty in a manner befitting a Starfleet officer. His shuttlecraft was lost to enemy fire through no fault of his own. Indeed, he is to be commended as a pilot for landing his crippled craft. This board further recommends that both he and Ensign Hu be recommended by their commanding officer for a medal commensurate for the bravery both displayed in eliminating the Cardassian anti shuttle emplacement.”
The vulchers had made quick work of the quarters. Chas looked around the dark, empty room that had once belonged to Commander Higgins. All of her belongings had already been packed by faceless crewmembers, those enlistees who never knew death and never would, into a small case to be shipped back to her parents on Earth.
Chas fumbled with the lock, finally managing to open the case. Into it he placed her combadge and rank pips.
Closing the case and looking around the room he broke down. “I’m sorry Nicole.” Falling to his knees, he buried his face into the foot of the bed.
Air rattled through the vents, the slight vibration of the ship at warp ever registered in the back of the mind.
Chas wiped the tears from his face and stood up. If he was to continue he needed to separate himself from his emotions.
Tugging at his uniform, he took a quick look at himself in the mirror before walking out of the quarters.