Summary: "I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment because they'll never come again." - Cpt Jean Luc Picard
Kirok must decide between an honourable death or a living death.
Categories: Mirror Universe Characters: Ensemble Cast - Mirror
Warnings: Character Death
Chapters: 6 Completed: No
Word count: 2855 Read: 7626
Published: 19 May 2013 Updated: 24 May 2013
1. Prologue - A Hopeless Fate by Kirok-Of-LStok
2. Chapter 1 Moonrise by Kirok-Of-LStok
3. Chapter 2 One Helluva Ride! by Kirok-Of-LStok
4. Chapter 3 There are always options by Kirok-Of-LStok
5. Chapter 4 So Terrible a Thing by Kirok-Of-LStok
6. Chapter 5 It Never Is by Kirok-Of-LStok
Prologue - A Hopeless Fate by Kirok-Of-LStok
Something I've been building up on Evernote for months which needs bringing to term. Written as my contribution to Week Two of The Twelve Trials of Triskelion 2013: Ficlet Flashdance!
The Terran Empire cruiser stood facing the two space-suited figures who had just transported out of the shuttle which was slowly accelerating towards it, drawn by the scintillating rays of the tractor beam that played over it. The larger of the two swivelled it's head towards the other and grunted, "You bought us ten minutes at most. It won't even reach them before they realise we aren't on board."
The other just stared fixedly at its wrist. "She doesn't need to reach them, she just needs to get inside their shields..." As if in answer, a light stopped blinking to become a steady glow and, with an unmistakably girlish laugh, she punched a stud next it.
"Say goodbye to the Tardis!"
The cruiser's shields contained the explosion for a few scant seconds like a tiny sun until, failing, jets of superheated gas and debris shot outwards in random directions. Manipulating his suit to turn away from the explosion the larger grumbling tersely to himself, "Stupid name for a ship anyway."
"Oh, come on! I saved our skin again! What's it going to take to get you to say thank you?" She too started to yaw her suit away from the settling explosion but instantly bumped into her companion. "Hunh?"
"I'll say thank you if you can get us out of this one."
Space is not quite as empty as one would think, it has its own wildlife that usually consists of microbes that live on energy. However even in space the universal rule applies, big fish eat little fish, and a very big fish had been attracted to the recent explosion! The spaceborn organism was heading straight towards them, its hundred metre wide maw gaping like a hole in an asteroid full of writhing snakes!
Swearing steadily in a variety of languages, the woman grabbed the phaser rifle from it's magnetic latches on her back and fired a random shot into the centre of the creatures maw.
"I'm all out of ideas! It's your turn!"
Over her suit's com channel she heard her companion start to laugh, albeit rather bitterly, "As it happens I do have a plan!"
Faster than she could react, he swung her behind him and kicked his suit's back thrusters into life, pushing her away from him and sending him tumbling straight towards the certain death before them.
The young woman caught sight of her friend's face as their suits automatically compensated. Her com channel crackled with a moments silence before coming back to life. She saw the glint of his sharpened teeth as he smiled at her.
"Forgive me puqbe′"
In one fluid motion he turned his suit to face the oncoming death and, reaching over his own shoulders, grabbed a metre-long bat'leth.
The automatic settings of the woman's audio channel struggled to reduce the crescendo of his enraged battle cry as he sailed through the silence of space...
"Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam!"
Chapter 1 Moonrise by Kirok-Of-LStok
In which three are seen when there should be only be two, two arrive who are not seen and one is seen who is more than he appears.
Duncan McPherson surveyed the horizon with his digital monocular, sighing contentedly. This was the life he had always wanted! You can keep your warp drives and replicators, give him a horizon-wide wilderness to explore and unknown adventures to face!
Sweeping his gaze around the primordial wilderness he felt the thrill of what he was doing finally sink in. His friends had thought him insane when he had proposed the journey across the fabled forests of Gavin III for their gap-year holiday. He was disappointed they hadn't joined him but, surveying the snow-covered, ruggedly-forested mountains laid out before him, his chest swelled with pride at the impending adventure that they would never know.
He savoured the moment. The bitter cold, his breath hanging like steam before him. The third, tiny moon rising from the horizon to edge towards the two larger satellites. The uncanny stillness which seemed to spread as the last breath of the day's desultory wind died as twilight crept over the foothills behind him and onto the forest canopy.
Growing faster and brighter by the second, Duncan straightened as the speck became a dot and the dot a spark that threw off tiny streamers of fire. As a child, he had seen a meteor land in the mountains but that had streamed a tail behind whilst this had no tail it... was heading directly towards him!
With a scream like a thousand demons, the fireball blasted overhead at tree height, the compression wave throwing him to the ground where he lay, half covered by the many-legged steed he had hired that morning. Within seconds, the blast wave was dwarfed by a hurricane that covered him in a mountain of tree trunks and wood chips.
Gradually the violence of the storm above him abated and bracing his legs beneath him and heaving his massive shoulders upwards he strained, back muscles creaking, until, in a shower of greenery and animal parts, he rose from the undergrowth like some primitive arboreal spirit!
He stood for a moment, stooped and swaying, every muscle and ligament in his body screaming in pain. He had survived, he realised with surprise. His senses clearing, the details of his surroundings sank into him. The soup of dirt, greenery and smoke around him was being pushed away by a steady wind that blew from his back. Turning, he squinted into a world gone mad.
The giant trees of the mighty forest that he had been traveling through for the past day were nowhere to be seen! They now lay lie like heaped firewood in a kilometre-wide channel stretching to the edge of visibility where an unearthly glow pulsed.
He surveyed the devastation. A destructive power greater than any natural force he had ever heard of had torn this forest apart. Safety, even survival, lay with the settled tribes of the sea, a hundred kilometers to the North.
Without hesitation the McPherson turned towards the glow and started crawling through the Hell before him.
This took me longer to cut it down to make it fit the 500 word limit than it took me to write it!
Chapter 2 One Helluva Ride! by Kirok-Of-LStok
Where the two emerge, though not entirely whole
When explorers break new ground in the wilderness, they actually find the easiest as well as the most direct way of going their desired direction. Duncan McPherson had been going in the right direction but the going was brutally hard! At best an uneven mat of mulched greenery, it was strewn with hidden air pockets that could lead to a metres deep fall or jumbled walls of tree trunks.
The hard slog seemed to go on forever but in truth there was no easy way of telling the passage of time because of the smog of dirt and debris that would continue to settle for weeks. As he struggled on through the night, his way was lit by the glow of brushfires that dotted the weird canyon carved through the primordial forest, the heat stifling and scorching.
Tumbling down a massive wall of shattered timbers, a chill wind swept the smoke away long enough for him to glimpse a crimson dawn breaking over a saddle in the mountains and the ruined remains of... whatever it was that had fallen from the sky!
There was no crater, as you would expect from a meteor, instead the snow covered hillside before of him was peppered with bonfires, some just smouldering, others burning fiercely, the closest scattered thinly, the furthest a giant mass throwing off metre-high plumes of flame. The truly amazing thing was that in the midst of all this, there was movement - someone was over there!
Breaking into a run, Duncan could see as he got closer that there were, in fact, two people out there, one on the ground being dragged by the other. These were dangerous times so when he was ten metres away he slowed to a walk, resting his hand on the phaser under his greatcoat.
“Hello there! D'ye need a hand?”
The standing figure spun clumsily to face him, taking up a defensive stance above the one on the ground. Getting a clear view of them for the first time he saw that they were wearing spacesuits, of a strange design, covered from head to foot in charred remains of what looked like... meat?
“Help me! He's dying!”
A metallic, electronic voice boomed from the standing figure who swayed gently for a moment before collapsing. Dashing over, he could now see that it was a Klingon on the ground so, suspecting who they might be, he hurried to remove the helmet of the one who had been standing. With a clunk and hiss it came free to reveal a beautiful young Bajoran woman with wild red hair, cropped short on one side and braided on the other.
Duncan had seen her enough times on holovids to know Redjac Merrys, pirate or freedom-fighter depending on your viewpoint. Looking back at the Klingon on the ground he felt the bile rise in his throat as he surveyed the horrific stumps of his legs and one arm.
Then this must be Kirok of L'Stok.
This is a bridging chapter without which the rest will make no sense - as it is I'll only be adding sections of what will probably end up being twice as long
Chapter 3 There are always options by Kirok-Of-LStok
Segue to a Vulcan ship that has picked the three up from the Gavin III. To get the background between the two protagonists of this chapter read (or listen to) "Motherhood” and its sequel, “Fatherhood”
The doors of the darkened sickbay quietly slid open to admit a tall, middle-aged Vulcan, however the senses of the single, totally paralysed patient in the room had been honed through decades of battle. "Who is there?"
"You know my name."
The voice from the bed paused for a second, "T'Lor! It has been too long."
"It is you who never sought me out."
"We did not part well, you were disappointed that I turned away from your Vulcan teachings and followed the ways of my forebears."
"It was not for me to choose. You have had...” the Vulcan paused, "an eventful life.
"And now it is over. I know. The space beast's energy drain has started an irrevocable shut down of my nervous functions. Why did you come? Surely not for a sentimental farewell?"
A rattling laugh that sank into a gurgling coughing fit came from the biobed as an eyebrow was raised in the darkness.
"I came to return something that belongs to you."
T'Lor slid something from his waist that gleamed dully, a D'K Tahg, the ceremonial knife of the Klingons, which he held before Kirok's eyes!
“The Heart of L'Stok! Handed down from Karvac, the first of the L'Stoks. What more fitting way for me to die than that the person who was there at the start of my life should be there at the end of my life! I am asking you vav to help me perform the hegh'bat, to help me end this life with some dignity.”
The Vulcan's face was as inscrutablebut his words cut like a knife. "The House of L'Stok is no more. Your warriors and ships - L'Stok Hall itself! - they are all gone. All wasted on a grab for power that was doomed to failure"
The old Klingon gave a mocking laugh, "Aye, all wasted."
"What if I told you there was an option. A way that you could not only live on but achieve the greatness and honour that you so crave?"
"I would say that you are suggesting a half-life sustained by Vulcan science but devoid of honour. I have chosen to live as a Klingon and wish to die a Klingon. To feast in the halls of Sto Vo Kor with my ancestors..."
With a cold disdain the Vulcan sniffed. "Then, Kirok of the house of L'Stok, I would say that you are a coward for giving up when there is a hope of life, honour and glory."
A gasping, rattling breath heaved from the the broken creature, spots of blood-flecked sputum spraying upwards from his paralysed head as his wild, staring eyes struggled to look at his tormentor.
"Kill me! Kill me now! For if you do not, I swear I will find a way of getting up from this bed and tearing the life from your throat!"
The corner of T'Lor's mouth twitched in it's effort to hold back the Vulcan equivalent of a grin. “That is the Kirok I knew.”
Chapter 4 So Terrible a Thing by Kirok-Of-LStok
Duncan leaned back in the chair beside the biobed, propping his feet on the bed - a dangerous manouver in a kilt! Fishing around in his sporran, he triumphantly pulled out the remains of last night's haggis.
"D'ye believe that stuff about there being a good day tae die?" he said before he bit off a chunk of the bulbous sausage.
The ragged breathing from the bed came a little faster before the old Klingon said, "Is that nice?"
The young man stopped chewing for a second to look reflectively at it before answering, "Ah've had better. Why d'ye ask?"
"Because if I could move from this bed I would take it from you and shove it so far up your..."
"Hey! Hey! Hey!" In his hurry to head off the insult, Duncan nearly sprayed his replicated meat substitute across the bed. "It was a fair question! Ah'm studyin' history, right? An' the Klingon race is held up as the quintessential example of the berserker ethic." He leaned back, "There are some who say that, in a society, it is a self-destructive ethic that can only lead to a volatile end to a society."
Again, there was a pause before the Klingon spoke. "And like a good historian you're recording this?"
Duncan laughed. “Of course!”
"We Klingon's love life - we live life to the fullest! - but to us, how we leave life is a statement that defines who we are and what we believe our life is worth. When a Klingon says it is a good day to die, it is not just a battlecry, it is a statement to the universe that he believes that what he will do this day will form a fitting end to his life."
Duncan nodded, "Ah'll pay that, as long as the end justifies the means."
The old man's voice grew softer but, at the same time, more intense, almost pleading. "It's more than that, it is the fulfilment of a lifelong dream! As children we are indoctrinated by tales of death and honour, it is true, but we are also taught to fear an empty, useless death. I have done great things, won great victories, wagered it all and lost everything in the gamble. I have known love and friendship, I have held some of those friends in my arms as they died."
Duncan could feel the ghosts of Kirok's past gathering. Were they whispering a welcome to him or was it they he was pleading with to join?
“Is it so terrible a thing to want to join my love, my friends and comrades in Sto-Vo-Kor? I am old and I do not want my life to ebb into nothingness. I can think of no better exchange for my life than to give it in exchange for that of my greatest friend.”
Duncan looked from the biobed to the door of the sickbay, quietly rose and left.
Redjac took his seat and buried her face in her hands.
Chapter 5 It Never Is by Kirok-Of-LStok
Those who know death as a close companion fear more than their own death. Break out the tissues! Minor course language
Red Jac sat beside Kirok's biobed, lost in the past, talking to him, hoping he could hear her.
"Do you remember the Bloodbath Arms on Deep Space 12 when I dragged those Velconians off you? You were so drunk! I wasn't far behind you but at least I had more sense than to pick a fight with a Velconian, never mind two of them!" She smiled wistfully at the memories of all the good times they had shared. "You subconsciously called me your daughter - puqbe - that night and I was surprised but then... there has been a lot of blood and laughter shed and shared between us."
“We've always looked out for each other. In my case I've only ever fought for profit or power but you! You're a fight magnet! I've seen you run into a brawl, scattering them like ninepins, just for the sheer Hell of it! Didn't it ever occur to you that someone else might care if you lived or died, you selfish bastard?” The off-hand insult wasn't delivered with venom, rather it was venting exasperation.
“Of course it did.”
She stood and smoothed the blanket covering the motionless Klingon, her hand coming to rest on the rock-like shoulder of her only true friend over her years of battle.
"Do you remember when we escaped from the Terran's across Mount Kosciosco? I had a phaser hole in my shoulder big enough to put your fist into. You carried me clear across a mountain, you hid us in a cave for three days and you kept us alive with ice melt and whatever you could catch. I remember floating in and out of consciousness on the edge of death as you chanted over and again, not today... not today... "
“Such a brave, brave warrior. Afraid of nothing... except losing your friends.”
She stared at the biobed's readouts.
She turned abruptly and walked towards the door, pausing one last time to speak without turning.
"I never told you this but you were wrong. You've always been wrong. Today is not a good day to die."
The straight lines on the biobed's readout above the old Klingon had not moved all the time she had been there.
"It never is."
I think our fascination with the Klingon ethic of death is because it is so truly alien for most to welcome death. Why are martyrs so eager to die for their cause? Wouldn't it be better to live for a cause
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.