The Warping Dead Part 2

ENDEAVOR - CARGO BAY 3

The world glowed. A soft gentle glow heavily in the white hue. The notion of self awareness had not quite entered Aji’s mind. There was timeless nothingness. And suddenly her body shook. A vicious tremor that shuttered from the top of her head down to her tiny toes. Her teeth chattered violently as she suddenly sat up with a gasp, smacking her face into the clear viewport inches above her. A throbbing alarm filled her senses as a warm rush of fresh air rushed into the stasis pod. Aji struggled to reach up but her arms had been secured in the sleep suit she had been fitted with. Fitted poorly at that. Given most manufacturers did not make stasis suits in extreme extra small. She wiggled her arms about and found her way out of the arms and into the main body of the suit. With a little more effort she was able to pull all of her extremities into the center of the suit and began to fiddle about with the inside of the zipped interior. Her mind was filled with escaping her situation not really considering why no one had come to free her from the pod, or exactly why she was in a pod to start with.

Her mind went to a Borg cube. Rows and rows of drones in their docking ports stretched as far as she could see. She had beamed in to set off her anti-borg device. Oh good lord, she had been assimilated! She frantically felt around for tubes and implants…. No she was just fur and not even that odd feeling. She strained for her memories. She had initiated the code, waiting for the end that would follow as the cube self destructed. And then there was light. A transport beam. She had been pulled out. But why the chamber… She pulled her head out of the tiny hood they had placed her in and managed to unzip the suit. She was in a tight tube. A stasis pod, she finally recognized.

She crawled up to the faceplate to look outside. What she saw was pandemonium. Humans were rushing about, trying to get away from… other humans. That was alarming, this was not normal combat, this was more of a blind panic. She pounded against the faceplate hoping someone would see her. Suddenly a twisted mask of a human face was pressed against the plasteel plate. IT appeared to be gnawing at the clear surface, confused that their bites had no purchase and proved futile. Aji leaned back as the twisted face continued its rather messy assault on the clear faceplate of the pod. A sudden splash of crimson fluid washed over the plate turning the world red for Aji, but the human stopped its assault and slowly slid off to the side.

She could hear the clamps release on the pod and the main cover began to lift away. Aji steeled herself to escape from whatever might come for her as she was now exposed to the room around her.

To her relief it was the bald pate of Bolak that peered over the rim of the pod. He was drenched in blood and holding a large wrench in two hands. He clambered up and offered Aji a hand.

“Welcome back to the Endeavor.” he half whispered, ducking down quickly as a walking corpse ambled past them. “Avakhon is in cargo bay three with most of the other pods. I need to get to him.”

Bolak flew from sight then as an Antedian appeared at his side and dragged him to the ground. The fish priest was making sickly slurping sounds as it tried to gain purchase on the wriggling Linnik. Aji peered down in horror to see a large metal pipe sticking out of the creatures back and a jagged wound leaking bright purple brain tissue from a hole in its skull.

Aji looked at the ruined mess of a Antedian and back over at Bolak, her black eyes blinking twice. “Did I miss something? What’s our situation?”

Bolak struggled free of the writhing Antedian and brought the wrench he held down on the creatures head with a sickening crunch. Luminous purple matter sprayed up the side of the stasis pod and after a few convulsive twitches the fish priest grew still. Bolak met the eyes of the Tamian engineer,

“Apparently fish germs and nebula radiation equals..” he gestured down towards the crushed Antedian, “Zombies! Who knew?”

Aji heard the words, but had a hard time grasping what was being said. “Zombies. I thought only Terrans and Klingons had that kind of fiction. Flesh eating fish? Who let these on board? Where is the Captain? Zazi?!”

“No idea where she is. The Antedians are here to worship the damned Klingon, they transported themselves aboard when I sent over the stasis pods.” Bolak pointed towards the pod Aji had just climbed out of. “Balok plucked you out of the Cube before it blew. He was holding you and the rest of the missing crew in stasis.”

Aji looked even more puzzled. “Well…. I honestly don’t know if I am supposed to thank him or not. So Avakhon is back too? I thought we lost him after the… incident.” She jumped down next to Bolak coming to a sudden realization. “Um, yeah, I need clothes. Why does everyone assume just because you have fur, you don’t mind running around naked. I need a replicator. Quick.”

They ran out into the corridor outside and tried several doors until they found a room containing a working replicator. Bolak turned away as Aji set about ordering herself a new uniform.

Quickly typing in her memorized measurements, she queued up the machine, producing a yellow engineering uniform, suede gold outer jacket and a long flexible band of metal. She rapidly pulled the uniform on, zipped up the jacket and wrapped the band a couple times around her waist. She looked over to Bolak, “Better. Now let’s go get our ship back.”

“I am right behind you,” Bolak gave a mock salute, “But first I have a message to deliver to Avakhon from the Q continuum.” Aji stood there frozen for a moment waiting for more, the Tamian shook her head and blinked.

“I will explain everything later!” Bolak said placing his hand on the confused engineers arm, “But for now just follow me. It should be interesting.”

KUNZITE COLONY

Balok was a greedy man, and greed often lead to making stupid mistakes. It was that degree of carelessness that had lead Vaanaras right back to a wanton little moon that had been long since left in the dust some old cheesy Western. Tulde had begged her not to. He’d cajoled and pleaded, even threatened to contact the Admiral himself - but there was no changing her mind.

Vaanaras had gone rogue.

Now she sat astride a dark horse, watching a town evacuate beneath the errant thumb of a single man’s absolute stupidity. His castle had fallen, his ship had been captured, and now all that remained was for his life to expire as payment for his crimes. No other option remained. No other punishment would fit. Life in a prison of any kind - even Rura Penthe - would be far too good for him.

The horse beneath her shifted. She could both hear and feel his teeth working the bit in his mouth and the soft whuffs of his breath. A shake of his head set the rest of his tack jangling and Vaanaras knew the beast could feel her welling anger as it rose within her veins. Horses were empaths like that, but still the one she sat astride stood, anxiously awaiting her next command.

“Balok!” The Vorta cried when at last she caught sight of him. The animal flinched at the sound of her voice, but made no move to escape her, “Your game is over!”

Indeed it was. The imp froze at the sound of her voice rolling over his senses. It sent ice on a path along his veins, starting from the pit of his gut. The sun was behind her, but as he turned he could make out the figure of the pale rider poised in wait upon the ridge. “Vaanaras…” He hissed her name, cursing her mentally. Of course it would be Vaanaras. Vorta just never knew when to give up, and the little harlot had become a massive thorn in his side - a thorn that was swiftly becoming a blade. His arms left his side, coming up to expose himself in an invitation he’d soon come to regret, no doubt, but still he beckoned her to him and to him she rode… Slowly.

There was no rushing gallop, no dramatic onslaught of hooves against stone and dust. Instead, Vaanaras guided the beast down the ridge, slowly and with purpose. Even when the hill was but a memory and the emptiness of main street stretched before them with Balok waiting at the end, she refused to break from that agonizingly slow and steady gait. The truth was, she didn’t need to. The man was hers, his empire crumbled to ruin all around him, and this was the final piece of the puzzle that he had to have known was coming - or had he truly been ignorant enough to believe he’d be allowed to escape?

It didn’t matter now.

She was focused now on the feel of her coat as it slid off her shoulders, the way a cold, thin, spike of metal fell into her waiting palm. She could feel the tension of the reins tangled in her other hand as she neck reined the horse ever closer to her mark. Most importantly, she could see the look on his face as his eyes met hers and the exact moment he *knew* she was going to kill him. He backed away as she winged down from her saddle and closed the remaining gap between them in long, elegant strides. She was red in the cheeks, her porcelain skin and raven mane only serving to highlight the flush that had settled over her delicate features - and the more he looked her over, the more he truly realized the motive behind that ire.

She was with child.

While the swell of his midsection wasn’t massive, it was distinctly out of place on a woman of her stature. He laughed - a short guffaw of surprise - but quickly realized it was the wrong reaction when he found one of her feet firmly finding purchase against his chest, knocking the wind out of him and sending him to the dusty loam below.

“This is funny to you?” She hissed, standing over him.

“The Klingon’s, is it?” He practically yelped when the toe of her boot met his ribs, forcing him to roll onto his side. The laughter came again as he fought to look at her. “Is it?”

“So you’ve taken to asking stupid questions…” Vaanaras snorted. It wasn’t a dignified sound, but this wasn’t a dignified moment - even if it was a defining one.

Balok pushed himself up only to find himself being pulled the rest of the way when her fingers tangled in his tunic and drug him in her direction. She may have been petite, but she was strong and she was livid - two things that continued to shine down and highlight the fact that fortune simply wasn’t in his favor. “He was an easy capture. Because of yo--”

Wrong answer.

She felt, as much as she heard, the tight gurgle as he fell - pulling her with him and crashing back to the dirt road and she struggled to fall in a manner that wouldn't compromise her growing womb or the child within. Her hip smarted as she landed atop him and twisted to shove the sharp piece of metal deeper into his throat. "As were you." she grunted with the effort involved in severing his jugular and larynx. Only when he coughed and gagged for air, spraying frothy pink and red spittle across the bridge of her nose, did she relent. His eyes were wide, filled with pain and shock, but hardly surprise as he feebly grasped at her hands with his own.

They were shaking. He was suffocating as much as he was drowning in his own blood as it raced from jugular to wind pipe and down into his struggling lungs… And she - for the first time in her career - took satisfaction in the suffering her actions produced. “The Endeavor survives. Starfleet survives. You lose.” Vaanaras hissed with one final shove of her crude weapon against him.

The next thing she knew, Tulde had her by the shoulders and was dragging her away from Balok’s fading body. She didn’t fight the Tellarite when he lifted her into a careful carry, but her eyes refused to find his no matter how many times he asked for her to look at him. She wanted to watch Balok die as they left him as nothing more than a broken, bleeding body on some dusty moon in the middle of nowhere.

And she did.

He was nothing. Nothing but a memory that would soon fade.

JP By: Avakhon, Zuzutoo, Sparky, Largehobbit and October

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