By Carol Sandford


Chapter 28


The first thing Worf heard as he materialised on the planet's surface was laughter. Commander Riker's laughter, to be precise. Damn Geordi for letting him know he was coming, and not only that he was coming, that he was coming hung like a donkey for all to see.

It took him a great deal of strength to ignore the incredulous laughter and meet Will, eye to eye.

However, before he could get one word out, Will spluttered. "Damn! I can see why Deanna took a shine to you, my friend. Are all Klingons built like you?"

Doing his hardest to play down the flattering remark, Worf smugly growled. "When you see our women, you'd see why we are...large."

Will's laughter grew in crescendo until tears filled his eyes. Worf stood by patiently waiting for the moment of hilarity to wear off. Eventually Will slapped him on the back urging him to walk at his side. "Damn, Worf, you're full of surprises. Sorry I got carried away. Haven't had such a blast since...Hell, I can't even remember."

The two men walked some distance before eventually Will stopped near a break in the trees. "The portal is just beyond those trees there. Worf followed Will's finger as he pointed to the are where the portal would reappear, and despite his inquisitiveness, Worf felt a ripple of fear thread through him.

"The portal, from what we've observed, seems to come roughly every hour. It's getting near to that time any minute now." Will turned to face the big man. "You ready for this, Worf?"

Unconsciously, Worf took a deep breath before answering him. "Aye, sir. I'm ready. Although I do not think I will becoming back."

Will looked at him with surprise and unease. "Are you okay with that?"

"Yes. That is providing that my death is not in vain. If I succeed in my mission then I will go Sto-Vo-Kor with pride in my heart."

Will was momentarily speechless. But not for long. Taking him by the shoulder and squeezing it to show his own pride at Worf's bravery, Will murmured. "You're a good man, Worf, and a good friend. Do your best to get back to us, okay?"

Worf could only nod, suddenly finding that his voice refused to work. Will understood his silence, knowing that no more words could be said. Giving Worf's hand a hefty shake, Will quickly saluted and walked away.

Taking a deep breath, Worf turned to face the area that he was heading to and started walking. As he approached he heard the distant sounds of movement amongst the trees and quickly realised that others were arriving to return in the portal, too.

As Worf hid behind a tree close by and mentally prepared himself to become one of them, he crouched down and began emitting similar sounds that he heard as they approached. Within moments, the area was buzzing with activity as they congregated in the area before him.

Practising the snarl and grunts that he could now hear barely a few yards away from him, Worf finally took the plunge and stepped out to face them. As their eyes turned to face him Worf momentarily wondered if his disguise was good enough. Geordi and co. had done their utmost to replicate the general that they'd kidnapped, but even so, they couldn't get him exactly right. There were subtle differences and if any of the aliens that now stood around him knew the general with any intimacy, they would know that it wasn't him.

One of them stepped towards him. Worf could see the puzzlement in his dull eyes and for a moment Worf was unsure what to do. But then a strange noise began to grow behind him, a strange and eerie windy sound that was completely unnatural to it's surroundings and Worf realised that the portal had emerged.

As all eyes turned with eagerness to watch it form, Worf was forgotten. As they began to chant in their own tongue, Worf began to mimic them. One by one they began to walk towards it, stepping into the swirling vortex and disappearing from view until eventually, Worf became the last one to go.

With trepidation he stepped nearer to the strange phenomena staring at it as though transfixed. This was it. This was where it began. He took one last look behind him, mentally saying goodbye to all that he knew, then turned back and took that last final step into oblivion.

Only time would tell if Worf Roshenko would ever return to that of what he knew. Only time would tell if he managed to achieve what he set out to do.

Time. The one thing they didn't have. The one thing that he needed to make sure he got himself home again.


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