By Carol Sandford


Chapter 16


The remaining senior crew members sat around the vast table, very conscious of those that were missing; Commander Riker, safely out of surgery, but still out of action. Counselor Troi, sedated, pregnant and mentally exhausted. Doctor Crusher, up to her pretty ears in injuries and no sign of a lull in the battle yet, equally exhausted. And Data, still down on the planet's surface, fighting for all he was worth, the only man with endless energy, endless resources and endless nerve.

Even though, for the most part, that the aliens were on the losing side, they still kept coming.

And coming.

But Picard needed answers and solutions to end the carnage. He turned his attention to Worf. "Lieutenant, it's time you had a one to one with our prisoner. I want to know where they've come from, what their intent is, and more importantly, who's pulling their strings."

All eyes turned to his as he expected and his smile turned grim as he relayed his thoughts, "I don't believe for one minute that these creatures are the mastermind behind this attack. There is someone out there sending these men to do their dirty work and I want to know who."

Geordi was intrigued with the idea but baffled, even though, logically, it was the only recourse. "Sir, we have scanned this entire sector for a ship, or a space station, anything out of the ordinary, but we can't find a damned thing! Even if they were cloaked we would be able to find something!"

Worf had an idea of his own, even though it seemed totally preposterous, "Sir, they could already be ~on~ the planet. We may be looking in the wrong place."

Geordi shook his head, "No, no we've scanned that, too. Nothing."

A moments uncomfortable silence followed as words turned to silent thoughts. No one had a plausible explanation and that rattled Picard most of all. In the end he sighed and spoke. "Very well. Worf, talk to the prisoner, see what you can find out. I am aware that he appears to be mute, but there may be a way. I'll leave it in your capable hands, lieutenant."

As they all rose to a stand, no one could miss the air of expectancy that emanated from Worf; His lip curled back with his version of glee and Picard found himself denying the man his long awaited moment of glory. His voice was low and reprimanding, "I don't want him harmed, Mr. Worf."

Worf looked guiltily around to his comrades before yielding begrudgingly, "Aye, sir."


The Klingon's roaring voice echoed through the Enterprise's corridors, "Nuq Hortay. Tl'ang...nuq Segh?!"

The Klingon reeled out his questions one by one, "Ar! pIntIn?!" But nothing registered and nothing came from the alien's mouth. Hovering over the now cowering creature in the corner of his holding cell, Worf roared out the words again, "Nuq Hortay. Tl'ang...nuq Segh? Which Star System are you from. What is the name of your ship. What race are you?"

The alien glowered at him from painfully familiar eyes. Worf balked when he got up close to him, noticing the similarities to his own features; The high ridges on his forehead. The sharp, jagged teeth. But that was all that was alike. The rest was pure animal and it un-nerved Worf knowing that he had probably descended from this strain.

Worf tried again, "PIntIn. Who is your leader?" At the alien's blank stare, Worf cursed as he prowled the tiny cell, "Ghuy 'cha'! PetaQ!"

But as he rounded upon him once more, Worf saw red at the vacant expression. Grasping him by the scruff of his thick neck, he hauled him to his feet and beyond, his feet eventually hanging level with Worf's knees. Worf face got so close to the alien's that he could smell his fear; Felt him tremble as he not only clung on to Worf's massive forearms, but seemingly his very life."Ar?...How many?!"

But moments later, Worf threw the man down onto his cot in disgust. He had failed.

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