“Klingon Vor’cha class cruiser, not far out and getting closer,” Tomalak reported calmly.
Instantly the two snapped back into old habits. Imperial military training was hard to forget, no matter how long it had been since one had last served.
“Can they see us?” Bochra asked.
“If we can see them, they can see us. They don’t seem to have picked up on us yet - maybe they think we’re a piece of debris.”
But even as he said that, the great ship changed course, heading for them.
“All right, scratch that,” Tomalak said. He scanned the nav board.
“We’re passing through a solar system,” he said, pointing to the board. “The third planet is M class. Can you get us down there safely?”
Bochra looked doubtful. “I...I haven’t flown in years...not since...Patahk died...in this little ship...we’ll probably be killed on entry into the atmo!”
“If you can’t do it, we will be captured by Klingons and we will most definitely be killed. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer ‘probable death’ than a ‘most certain, messy, painful death.’ Don’t you?”
When he put it that way, Bochra had to agree. “I’ll do it. I’ll have to divert all power to the shields.”
The little craft shuddered as it changed course, heading for the nearby planet. The Klingon ship followed them, gaining until it was almost on top of them.
“They're powering up disruptors,” Tomalak said. “Any time you want to take us down...”
“Going in,” Bochra said. “Hang on.”
The entry was...unpleasant, to say the least. Several times it seemed that Bochra’s prediction would be right, and they were going to burst apart and burn up. But the craft held together and punched through the atmosphere into the cold, grey skies of the planet. It seemed that they were out of danger.
And then the engines gave out.
The craft began to plummet, and this time it seemed that they would surely die. But Bochra was not called one of the best pilots of his generation for nothing; he managed to use the momentum of the fall to catch the wind under the wing-like protrusions on the hull and slow the descent. At the very last second, he pulled up hard on the throttle.
It helped, but nothing was going to save the little ship. It plowed into the ground, gashing the earth for a good 1/4 mile. Finally it skidded to a stop, mangled wreckage that was barely recognizable as having once been a spacecraft, and everything was still.
Tomalak opened his eyes, squinting against the harsh light of the gray sky. All things considered, that hadn’t gone as bad as it could have. It wasn’t a great situation, of course - now they were stuck on a planet with no way out, very few supplies and possibly hostile natives, but they were still alive, which was something. Being alive meant that there was still a possibility to turn the situation around to one’s advantage.
He concentrated for a moment, seeking out the thread of thought that would answer his burning question. After a moment, he found it. Bochra was alive, though likely still unconscious. The thread was strong, meaning that the other man was close by - probably on the other side of the broken hull that bisected the crash site.
He pushed himself up, fighting back a wave of dizziness and nausea. He didn’t know what had hit him hard enough to knock him out, but whatever it was, it had been sharp. Blood trickled down his face and he wiped it away.
The emergency transmitter was lying just out of reach. He tried to stand, and hissed with pain. Fractured hip, if he wasn’t mistaken. He leaned forward as far as he could without jostling his leg and just managed to swipe it close enough that he could pick it up.
Surprisingly, it still had a fair amount of power left in it, and he felt some annoyance that he hadn’t thought of using it first, rather than the hardwired transmitter. Ah well, clearly it had been for the best that they hadn’t. He turned it on and set it to transmit on all channels, except the ones he knew that Klingon ships used. Evidently they’d managed to shake off the battleship by disappearing into the atmosphere, but he wasn’t going to take the chance that it was still lying in wait somewhere, scanning for distress signals.
A small flutter at the edge of his consciousness told him that Bochra was also waking up. He closed his eyes and waited for the flutter to bloom fully into awareness.
He dragged himself to his feet, bracing himself against the wreckage to avoid putting too much weight on his bad leg. Following the thread of thought, he found the younger man lying just around the other side, a heavy beam collapsed across him.
He limped closer to his fallen companion, and with strength born of desperation, managed to lift the wreckage and move it off him.
Even with the debris gone, Tomalak could tell Bochra as not in any better condition. He dropped awkwardly to his knees and felt for a pulse. Faint and slow. No blood - internal injuries, then. He felt his hope fade away. Unless a miracle happened, there was no way Bochra could survive this.
Killed another one, eh Deathwing?
“Shut up,” he murmured, sitting back against the wrecked hull as the wind howled.
Tomalak was not one to be helpless. He was a (former) Fleet Commander, the head of a (formerly) noble house, a powerful telepath, a master tactician. There was no situation he’d ever been unable to get out of, by one means or another.
Until now. They were stuck on a death planet, and Bochra was going to die. And there wasn’t one damn thing he could do about it.