Kor'Tar made his way to the aft shuttlebay with an engineering tool case in hand when he heard rapid footsteps coming from behind him.
"Commodore!” Commander O'Dell, decked out in his dress uniform, called out to him. Kor'Tar turned on his heels, "Billy, I hope you’re coming to tell me you have the arrangements for the Ambassadors ready, you know how demanding they can be. This trade conference will be vital to this sector."
"Sir, we have the V.I.P. quarters ready, but do you really think that now is the best time to go repair a malfunctioning sensor buoy?" Billy asked dreading having to deal with picky, bickering, know it all, Ambassadors.
"Commodore's prerogative. The sensor buoy must be repaired and this is as good a time as any, besides think of this as a diplomatic exercise for you and the crew." Kor'Tar said smirking as Billy felt the weight of responsibility falling upon his shoulders.
"Don't worry, if they should get out of hand there is a bottle of 2309 Blood Wine in the liquor cabinet of the Ready Room, and if that doesn't calm them down, there is a phaser set to stun in the desk drawer, but that should be used as a last resort, no use starting interstellar war over a misunderstanding. You'll do fine." Kor'Tar said grinning and whacking him on the back before entering the shuttlebay. Billy rolled his eyes and headed off to the transporter room to greet the Ambassadors.
Osiris Cain was busy doing a preflight check of the type 9 cargo shuttle Morris, "Lt. Cain, are we ready?" Kor'Tar asked the young bearded Trill officer who seemed a bit distracted by a young blonde ensign doing routine matinece.
"Lieutenant, I said are we ready to depart?" Kor'Tar said with his voice raised, slightly irritated. Osiris, looked up and blushed, and he swallowed hard, "Sorry sir. All pre-flight systems and diagnostics check out, we are good to go, sir."
Kor'Tar and Lt. Cain boarded the shuttle. Osiris took the pilot's seat while Kor'Tar took the navigation/operations console. The doors sealed on the shuttle.
The large clamshell doors of the aft shuttle bay opened revealing the black velvet void of space with stars as small pinpricks of light in the distance. The perimeter of the bay doors was lit with the blue light of the force field keeping the atmosphere inside the bay.
"Shuttlecraft 9, you are cleared for departure." Lt. Commander Lisa Terrell's voice said over the intercom.
Osiris pressed the comm button "Acknowledged, Kahless. Departing now."
The nacelles of the shuttle powered up, lighting the warp grilles an incandescent blue, and the hydrogen buzzard collectors swirled with their customary reddish orange color. The RCS thrusters lifted the craft off the deck with ease, and the impulse engines propelled it out beyond the force field and into open space.
Kor'Tar input the navigation coordinates. "The buoy stopped transmitting its signal over a week ago near the Typhon Sector, set a course of 8172 mark 5. Warp factor six."
"Aye sir, 8172 mark 5." Lt. Cain replied.
"Execute!" Kor'Tar ordered.
The shuttle jumped to warp.
"No, no, no! This will not do at all! These quarters are all wrong! I asked specifically that the bedspread be made from Andorian silk, and the lights be set to a warmer colored hue, and the stars are moving the wrong way out the windows I will be space sick for this entire trip if that is not corrected. The stars must move right to left, not left to right!" The bald headed Bolian Ambassador Knaph complained.
"Yes sir Ambassador, we shall see that all of your needs are met with momentarily , until then perhaps you'd like to visit one of the ship's holodecks to pass the time while we wait for the other ambassadors to arrive?" Billy said hopefully.
"Are the programs anything like that smut peddling Ferengi on Deep Space Nine has?", Knaph asked accusingly while stepping closer to Billy and sneering with a raised eyebrow.
"We have vast selection of programs suited to all kinds of interests." Billy said
"Perhaps I can find one to interest me." Knaph said doubtfully.
Kor'Tar emerged from the back of the shuttle, having changed into his causal uniform vest top, "What's our ETA?" He asked Osiris.
Osiris checked his console, "3.9 hours at present speed, sir." He replied.
"Good, we seem to be on schedule." Kor'Tar said taking a seat next to him.
"Commodore, may I ask you a question?" Osiris asked.
Kor'Tar nodded, "Go for it." he said.
"How well do you know Ensign Dawn Wilson?" He asked.
Kor'Tar smiled, "Well, Captain Guerrera of her last post, The Scorpio thought very highly of her skills as a shuttle matianence worker, and she has done well on the refits of the sensors on the shuttles so far. Other than saying the standard 'Welcome aboard', and 'If you need anything, just ask' I haven't spoken to her. Why do you ask?"
"I'm thinking of asking her out to dinner with me, then take a stroll through the under the fireworks on the holodeck." Osiris said.
"She'd enjoy that I think." Kor'Tar said.
"Well, how should I ask her? Anytime I'm around her I feel tongue tied." Osiris said.
"Just be yourself and try talking to her, she won't bite. Who knows, she may feel the same way about you and might be afraid to say anything herself." Kor'Tar said smiling.
"You think so?" Osiris asked.
"Just between you and me, I did catch her stealing some quick glances of you when you boarded the shuttle." Kor'Tar said with a wink.
Osiris was about to reply when the shuttle struck something causing it to roll to the starboard side throwing Osiris and Kor'Tar from their chairs against the consoles. The lights dimmed and the emergency backup lights switched on. Kor'Tar and Osiris made it back to their chairs as the shuttle shook violently.
"Report, what the hell was that?" Kor'Tar said as he held on to the console,
Osiris checked the sensors, "We hit a gravitic mine and we are hurtling out of control. The port nacelle is down"
"Can you get a fix on our position?" Kor’Tar asked.
"Negative, there is a planetary system in our path, one gas giant; two ice encrusted planets, and one Class L planetoid. We are being drawn into the system by the gravity of the gas giant." Osiris said alarmed.
"Steer us toward the Class L planetoid with thrusters, we've got to land and see how bad the damage is." Kor'Tar ordered.
"Aye sir!" Osiris put in the course correction as the cabin around the shimmied and quaked around them.
"This is going to be a steep descent, brace for impact!" Osiris called out as the forward windows of the shuttle began to glow orange from the heat of re-entry.
The shuttle streaked across the sky and hit rough into the soil at the base of a craggy old mountain.
Kor'Tar awoke to the stench of acrid smoke burning his eyes and nose causing him to cough, feeling the sting in his ribs told him he had a fracture, he gritted his teeth at the pain and tried to move his legs, they were trapped under a fallen beam. Kor'Tar grabbed the nearest long piece of debris and pried the beam off his legs; his left ankle was broke as his nerve endings told him when he pulled his legs free. Something warm was dripping down his face, his blood from a cut on his head.
"Osiris? You ok? " Kor 'Tar grabbed a palm beacon and turned it on, to see the young officer slumped over his console. Kor'Tar checked his pulse, it was weak but steady. Kor'Tar turned on the distress call and grabbed a medkit, He scanned Osiris and he was unconscious from the crash and had multiple contusions, Kor'Tar gave him a hypo. Kor'Tar healed the cut on his own forehead. He set his ankle while biting down on cushion from one of the seats, and braced it with a piece of debris and torn strips of the arm of his uniform. He grabbed a piece of debris to use as a makeshift crutch.
"I am going to go see if I can find us some help, stay here in case the distress call is picked up by a passing starship." Kor'Tar said as he hobbled out of the shuttle into a raging storm with wind rain and lightning.
The more Kor'Tar moved the more his body went into shock from his injuries; he collapsed from it at the base of the mountain near the entrance of a cave.
A hooded figure emerged from the cave and looked over Kor'Tar's body, scooping him up under his large arms and dragged him inside the cave.
Kor’Tar awoke slowly from his dazed state breathing in; he smelled the smell of vegetables cooking. He slowly opened his eyes and saw a woman stirring the vegetables in a pot over an open flame, he was about to try to stand when he felt both his arms and legs were strapped down to the bed. The strap over his ankle smarted as he moved and he groaned out in pain.
The woman heard him cry out, and she turned down the fire on the pot and rushed over to his side, sitting next to him on the mattress. She was slender, with messy brown hair tied in an up do, dark brown eyes, and curved hips. She was wearing older ragged looking clothing.
“Be careful, the bone knitter still needs a few more passes over that ankle before it’s healed. You must be parched, would you like some water?” She asked.
Kor’Tar nodded; she grabbed a canteen off a shelf and brought it to him, unscrewing the cap and putting it to his lips , she poured some into his open mouth. He choked on the first swallow and coughed hard, causing his broken ribs to sting in pain, he grabbed his side. He began to drink more, before finally putting his hand up for her stop.
“Thank you,” he said in a gravely voice.
He looked around at his surroundings inside the cave, there were bits of equipment that looked as if they had been ripped from an old ship, shevling units, a hydroponic garden growing various fruits, vegetables, bamboo, and simple furnature adorned the space . The bed he was on, a few chairs, and a counter with various tools and knives with a stool along the wall.
Kor’Tar looked back at the woman and down at the straps holding him to the bed . “Are these restraints really necessary?” He asked .
“You have many broken bones, a concussion, until you have fully recovered I must keep you safe so you don’t injure yourself more.” She said cupping his cheek in her right hand and looking into his eyes while her left hand played through his hair.
Kor’Tar nodded, “What is your name? How did you get here? This planet’s harsh conditions are not very hospitable.” Kor’Tar inquired.
“My name is Andisa. I was part of the crew of the mining vessel Balmos. We were passing through this system when we encountered a plasma storm, our sensors and navagtion were taken outand the ship impacted on the surface 12 kiliometers from here. Out of the 42 crew members only myself and 3 others survived the crash, but their injuries were so severe they soon perished as well. I’ve been all alone during that time. Time, there is a word I’d never thought I’d hear myself say again. The ship’s chronometers were damaged along with everything else. I grabbed what I could carry , and scouted out for a suitable place to make camp until rescue .” she said as her voice waivered on the verge of tears.
Kor’Tar placed his hand reassuringly on her arm. “It’s ok, I’m here now, My name is Kor’Tar. How long ago did your ship crash?” he asked.
“I’m not sure, I think it was a couple of years ago.” She said after searching her memory.
“Do you know what year?” Kor’Tar pressed .
“2379.” She stated.
“That was nearly 8 years ago.” He said doing the math in his head.
“Eight…years?” she asked as if she just received a blow to the gut.
She stood and walked over to the counter as if all the wind and energy had been knocked out her.
“I would have never imagined I’ve been trapped here for that long.” She said with astonishment .
She gathered her self up as best she could, “Are you hungry? I made a vegetable stew , it should help you get your strength back.” She said.
Kor’Tar nodded , “Yes please, I am starved.” He said greatfully.
She went and got a bowl off the shelves , and walked over to the pot of vegetables and scooped some of the steaming hot contents into the bowl for Kor’Tar along with a fresh baked roll, and a spoon. She got a raised tray off the shelf and placed it over his lap ,then placed the bowl, spoon, roll, and a napkin along with canteen on the tray. She loosened the strap over Kor’Tar’s shoulders , allowing him to sit up and eat . She got herself a bowl and pulled a chair next to the bed and sat down holding the bowl in her hand. Kor’Tar looked down at the contents of boiled vegtables as the smell met his nose , making his mouth water. He picked up the spoon sunk it into the bowl, raised it and blew off the steam and ate it hungrily.
“That’s very good!” he said as he picked up his roll, tore it in half, and dipped it into the broth, soaking some of it up before taking a bite out of it.
“Thank you, after 8 years of trail and error, I seem to have ;earned something about cooking without burning and ruining everything.” She said with a chuckle.
They continued eating the stew and chatting , until finally both their bowls were empty.
“Would you like some more?” Andisa asked.
Kor’Tar shook his head and smiled, “No thank you, I couldn’t eat another bite.”
Andisa smiled and took his bowl and her’s to the simple makeshift sink she had constructed and poured water into them . She came back to Kor’Tar’s beside , and sat on the matteress next to him and began to carress his chest as she started unzipping the neck on his uniform shirt while leaning closer to him and pressing her lips softly to his. Kor’Tar gently pushed her back, “I’m sorry, I think I have given you a wrong impression. While I am flattered , I cannot make love to you. My mate would be rather upset with you and me both if that were to happen. “
Andisa frowned, “You have no idea what it’s been like, no one to talk to, no one to laugh with, no one to love for all this time. Please love me! Just for tonight, no one will know but you and me!” she said as she continued to unzip Kor’Tar’s uniform shirt.
Kor’Tar grabbed her wrist, “I said no, I need to be getting back to the shuttle to see if my crewman has had any luck in contacting my ship.”
Andisa’s face changed to one of rage, “Your crewman is dead, I saw his body cold and lifeless. Fine if you want to go, you can. You’ll need a walking stick.” She went to the counter and pulled a large knife from it and went to the hydroponics table and cut off a stalk of bamboo with an angry face. She sat cutting the bamboo into the slices then shaving those slices into thin points. Kor’Tar watched her curiously.
“I thought you said I’d need a walking stick. I won’t be able to use it very well cut down like that.” He said.
Andisa , focused on sharpening the bamboo. “This isn’t for you to use, it’s for me” she said coldly.
She whittled down a half dozen of the sharpened sticks , and she came around to the foot of the bed, intentionly putting her her rear down on his injured ankle. Kor’Tar winced at the pain and cried out, she began bouncing her hips on it , each time making his ankle hurt worse than before. She finally stopped and crawled up his body till she was straddling his pelvis and she tied the strap across his shoulders and chest , tighter than before.
She started to grind her hips into him, “Will you love me?” she asked as she gyrated.
Kor’Tar shook his head, “No , I don’t even know you.”
She leaned down closer to his face, “Why must you make things difficult on yourself?” She asked as she grabbed his right wrist tightly. Kor’Tar clenched his fists as he struggled against her. She pried open his hand, grabbing his index finger tightly in her grip.
“I ask you again, will you love me?” She said looking him in the eye.
Kor’Tar shook his head defiantly, “The answer is no.” he said firmly.
She took one of the sharpened bamboo pieces and began driving the sharpened point of it into the bed of his fingernail . Kor’Tar screamed in agony , the pain was excrutiating .
“What do you want from me?!!!” Kor’Tar cried out.
“You know what I want from you” She said as she ground her hips into his pelvis again.
“I’ll do anything you want just please , stop” Kor’Tar said defeated.
“I’d thought you’d see things my way” she said smiling and removing the bloodied, bamboo stick from under his nail.
She started unzipping his uniform top again opening it up and removing it , she pressed her lips firmly into his and kissed him hard . She kissed down his face, neck, breastbone, down to his abs, and her fingers worked to unfasten his pants. Kor’Tar looked down at her as she worked , when they both heard footsteps coming from the mouth of the cave.
Terla , Lt. Commander Terrell, and Lt. Svinn came rushing in with their weapons drawn. Terla took a look at Andisa and what she was doing to Kor’Tar , and the look of horror in her mate’s eyes, and she lunged for Andisa .
“THAT IS MY MATE YOU P’TAQ!!” she growled as she grabbed Andisa and flung her off Kor’Tar and she headbutted her, then drew her hand back to strike her.
Lt. Commander Terrell stopped her, “YImev, yap! We have found Kor’Tar and this woman will stand trail for her crimes.”
Terla looked back at the woman as blood began to drip from her nose, “Very well,” she growled, glaring at Andisa with contempt.
Kor’Tar sat in his ready room reviewing reports when he heard the door chime .
“Come in,” he said as he put down the PADD he was reading and picked up his cup of Raktegeno and sipped it .
The doors slid open and Commander O’Dell walked in.
“Billy, come in, sit. How did things go with the ambassadors at the confrence?” Kor’Tar asked.
“About as well as can be expected.” Billy said with a tired sigh.
“That bad, huh?” Kor’tar asked.
He paused and took a breath.
“What have you found out about Andisa?” Kor’Tar asked.
“The wreakge on the surface was not of a cargo ship , but of a penal transport ship which was reported missing , the San Quentin . Her full name is Karena Andisa Bennett, she was being transported to the Federation Penal colonly on Andosia VI for murder, assualt, among a laundry list of other charges. We’re fortunate we found you when we did.After reading the report of what she did to you…” Billy said solemly, But Kor’Tar was eagar to change the subject.
“How’s Osiris?” Kor’Tar asked.
“He’s doing well enough . He’s getting ready for his date with Dawn Wilson, the first thing he did after Dr. Binion released him from sickbay, was find her and ask her out to dinner” Billy said.
“Good for him, I told him she’d be willing!” Kor’Tar smiled.
Billy looked at Kor’Tar for a long moment, “Permission to speak freely?” he asked.
Kor’Tar folded his hands on the reflective surface of his desk, “Granted.”
“I think you should discuss with Counselor Styles what happened to you.” He said with looking Kor’Tar in his eyes.
“No, I’ll be alright. It’s just going to take time. Thank you for your concern. Dismissed” Kor’Tar said.
Billy nodded, and got up to leave, stopping before he got to the door and turning around, “If you don’t talk to Johnathan, please tell me you’ll talk to someone.”
Kor’Tar nodded, “I’ll try, just not right now. Dismissed” he said emphsizing the sounds on the last word.
Billy left, and Kor’Tar pushed his chair away from the desk and grabbed his mug of Raktegeno as he gazed out the window into the stars, trying to shake the feelings and memories of what happened to him.