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The Star Sailors' Story
Chapter 9
“What we leave behind is as important as how we've lived. After all, Number One, we're only mortal.” - CPT Jean Luc Picard (Human) aboard USS Enterprise
“Speak for yourself, sir. I plan to live forever.” - Commander William Riker (Human) aboard USS Enterprise

Colonel Jons came back to consciousness with a start. The first face he saw was that of Consular Officer 4th Class Rebecca Roberts. “Colonel? Oh, please be OK. Please!!”

He tried to sit up but gave up on that idea almost instantly. When he tried to speak, he found that was nearly impossible, producing a mumbled groan. From long experience he realized he had taken some fairly massive facial trauma. That meant weeks in regeneration, but it was certainly better than being dead. He struggled to make her understand that he needed to know what had happened, what the situation was and she finally got some glimmer of what he was after.

“Oh! It's terrible! Everyone's dead and everything's blown up and it's horrible and we're all going to die!!”

Since Jons could hear people moving around and wasn't hearing weapons fire, he was reasonably certain she was incorrect. He managed to gargle out “Dottthadi?”

“They left. It was so awful! You almost crushed me when you grabbed that one! She shot a bunch of Gorn. She was terrible! I thought the Gorn were going to win and then she just started killing all of them!”

His eyes bugging open despite the pain, he struggled to ask “Wwooman?!”

“Yes, it was a girl. Her helmet got blown off when something exploded near us. It's a good thing the Dosadi were all around where it blew up, it HURT!”

Grenade, he decided. And it would seem he was continually underestimating the females of other species. That was a habit he was going to have to break. “wwoooman.” he slurred again, slowly shaking his head back and forth.

“Oh it's OK, Colonel. I think she died. They shot her a lot because she was killing them.”

Slowly turning his head to one side, he could see large chunks of Dosadi battle armor scattered around the floor, big pools of congealing blood and a shattered blue-grey and tan combat helmet as well as several empty plasma rifle magazines. Bits of medical kits, and bits of people were mixed in with the scorch marks and other debris. He could also see the bodies of over half a dozen Gorn Marines laying grotesquely where they had fallen. His eyes welled up at the losses. “Fucking Dosadi” he thought to himself. Trying to speak clearly he gurgled out “Wwheere?”

“I said already. They left. After they killed everyone they talked to the ambassador and a few minutes later they all left. Even the ambassador!”

Struggling with his damaged mouth he gasped out “bodieth?”

“All OVER!” Seeing the expression on his face a small, dim light went on in her brain and she said, “Oh. The Dosadi, They took them with them. I think there were seven of them killed. I know three were. You could tell. Some of them got on me.” She shuddered and then vomited at the memory and began weeping uncontrollably.

Finally a medic made his way over to them, “Sorry to take so long , Colonel. There were heavy casualties.” He relaxed. At least he would live to see his home and family again.

Eletha sat nursing two of her kits, listening to the soft whirs and beeps of the medical equipment attached to the diagnostic beds. The other two were playing quietly around the equipment, but being good. The deeper thrum of the pulse monitor began going faster and she leaned over the form in the bed, still covered in healing-gel, the burns visible even through the disgusting blue-green of the gel.

Wilkes' eyes opened and darted left and right, struggling to make sense of what they were seeing, struggling against the restraints. Eletha said quickly, in Standard, “Shh! You're going to be OK. Don't fight. You're in the hospital and immersed in gel. Your lungs and skin were badly burned. This will help you heal but you must relax and let it work. It's going to feel very strange, but don't try to breathe “ your lungs are full of gel. But you don't need to breathe. It's OK. You're going to be fine.”

His mouth opened and closed again, his eyes puzzled.

Eletha pulled a small circular communicator out of her belt and spoke into it. Wilkes was clearly struggling to say something but there was simply no way that was going to happen.

A few minutes later, Corin came into the room sporting a rakish eye-patch and with a sizable chunk missing out of his right ear. He leaned into Wilkes' field of view and smiled. “Well, it looks like there's something left of your tale after all! I'm glad I'll be around to hear it, thanks to you as I understand it.”

Wilkes struggled again and Corin said “Be still, Crew Leader. I know “ you want to know what happened. Relax and listen to the tale and each part will be in it's proper place.” Corin hitched his butt up on the edge of the bed so that Wilkes could see him through the gel. Having been in the gel himself once before he knew how distorting it was to both sight and sound. He hoped they'd be able to regenerate his eye and ear without another trip into that horrible muck.

“I'll begin where my memory ends. The phaser hit came from the battlecruiser Zion and cut straight through the Delos' east hangar pod. It was just our bad luck that it hit when we had the ready-locker door open. In any case, the explosion knocked myself and M'Ralin and his entire crew out of the fight. M'Ralin didn't make it, I'm afraid, but the rest of his crew did, thanks to you. Your crew was able to get everyone out before the door closed, even those that were buried under debris.

“And there you were, standing in a plasma fire like one of the gods themselves, forcing the flames away from the ready-locker while the air-tight door came slamming down like Loreth's blade. Now let me just say that you are the luckiest being that I have ever encountered. Apparently one of the hull plates let loose right after the door closed and blew you “ and the fire “ and a bay full of atmosphere out into space. Directly in front of Lt Voreth's crippled Thunderbolt on recovery. He said he almost ran you down, but instead, his gunner had the forethought to snag you with their grappler beam on the way past and into the landing deck. You were exposed to vacuum for about 15 seconds is all. Which, of course, is plenty long enough to give you more scars than anyone should be allowed!

“The reports I got back from the Marine party you beamed down were also astonishing.” Wilkes eyes were narrowed, focusing on Corin with everything Wilkes had. “According to them “ and the transporter logs - that was the fastest transport on record. Speaking of which, Admiral Nolin wants to speak with you personally about an unauthorized redirection of power from the fighter bays to the boarding-pad. However, they were also the only team that materialized in an intact formation until we took out the Gorn jamming fields so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

“There's some hard news though, Wilkes. The Marine team materialized almost in front of Furball “ how you managed to find him none of us will ever know, but they were surrounded by no less than eighteen Gorn Marines. A bunch of the Gorn grabbed the traitor and ran, but engaged our team on the way out while the remaining dozen shot it out with the team. They were getting slaughtered when Sooth, who had been grappling with some Sword Worlds diplomat clubbed him like a baby seal and just started picking the Gorn off like she was on a shooting range. The Gorn seem to have taken that personally.

“They shot the hell out of her, Wilkes. When the team recovered wounded, her armor had been almost completely shot off. But while they were shooting her, she just continued killing them one after another. Battle records show that she was directly or indirectly responsible for killing eight of the twelve and wounded two of the six guarding Furball. They fought with great honor, Wilkes. Not a single civilian was hit by our fire, but they paid the price. Five dead including the Team Leader and six injured, three massively.”

Seeing Wilkes struggling in the gel, Corin finally realized what he had failed to say “No! No! Ahh! I'm a fool, Wilkes, she's alive. She was one of the critically injured! I said when they recovered wounded they got her.”

Wilkes' eyes were still wild and Eletha said quietly, “Tell him.”

“She's not conscious, Wilkes. The medics don't know if she ever will be. She lost a massive amount of blood and they're having to regenerate a good size chunk of her shoulder and a lot of her back. Her skull was fractured in several places, one ear was shot off...” Wilkes eyes were closed. It was impossible to really cry immersed in healing gel, but it was obvious to the two aliens that that was what was happening with his mouth open and his chest struggling against the gel. The Dosadi believe knowledge is power and have no culture of breaking bad news gently. There was a faint hissing sound as the bed administered an anesthetic and Wilkes lapsed into a drugged sleep.


Finally healed and back on his own holdings, Colonel Jons was indulging himself with a glass of wine by a roaring fire as a winter monsoon doused the fields. Thanks be to GOD he was done with regeneration and able to again enjoy his wife's cooking and little creature comforts like this.

Sorral was safely married off to her young Lieutenant and his wife had already taken advantage of the new influence that pairing had brought them. Truly the woman was a marvel. He allowed himself to gaze into the fire and thought about that. He knew women “ the good ones at least “ were capable managers of house and purse. But he was forced, now, to accept that there was much more to the gender than domestic pursuits. That young human aboard the Succession for instance. He had never in all his 75 years encountered someone able to helm a starship like that.

Rubbing his hand along his newly regenerated jaw, he remembered the Dosadi Marine who had crushed his face. He had reviewed the ballroom sensor logs that T'Skay had sent him and she had been very young. Her battle armor had no stripes of rank on it whatsoever “ she was a raw Troop but had reacted flawlessly, beating him fairly and then carrying out her duties with a single-minded focus like none he had seen in many bloody battles. He recalled watching the tapes as she calmly fired her weapon despite repeated hits from Gorn fire and then reloading and continuing to fire even after a grenade hit and one shoulder had been blown nearly off. He had actually wept when she finally toppled forward into a pool of her own blood, but then, the Colonel was a very emotional man.

It was a pity she had died, but the Federation woman was right. There was no way anyone could survive that many wounds. He would have liked to have met her under different circumstances. Woman or no, she had been a Warrior and definitely worthy of the title Marine.


Corin walked along with Wilkes as they headed towards the Delos' launch bays. “So, you're returning to the Hood?” he asked. His new eye itched and the new skin on his torn ear was still hairless and left it feeling cold.

“Well, it's time, Corin.” he laughed, “My orders were to the Delos for a year, not forever. That's not how the Exchange Program works. They had to extend it to allow me to recuperate here.”

“Yes, but you're not seen as a Federation officer any more, Wilkes. You've proven yourself. You're a Dosadi “ just an uncommonly ugly one.” He smiled at the human, “Look at yourself! A Warrior Pendant, an Honor Tattoo around your eye and an earring. I've seen Federation entertainments “ they'll think you're a pirate.”

Wilkes laughed, “I've already cleared being able to continue to wear both as a 'Foreign Decoration for Valor'” But I'll tell you this, it's not forever, Corin. We just wanted her to get a taste of MY culture before we settle someplace. Captain Karmes was fine with taking Sooth on as a Security Officer, despite her injuries “ and you'll get another human in exchange!”

Corin groaned as they entered the shuttle bay. “Hopefully THIS one can learn to speak Dosadi. Your accent is still atrocious.”

Wilkes and Sooth both laughed as Wilkes took the handholds on Sooth's wheelchair and began to push her into the shuttlecraft. She was still a patchwork of fur, scars, and bald new skin. She turned her head towards Corin and said, “Once I get out of this damn thing and we get back here, I hope to hear that you and Eletha are mated.”

“It's too soon for that, yet, Sooth.” Corin said and as the shuttle door slid closed he said more softly, “But in a year's time? Who knows? That's a long journey yet.” and he turned to go back to the East Living Pod.

Chapter End Notes: Acknowledgments

I would like to acknowledge the heavy influence of the following works:

The Dosadi Experiment by Frank Herbert (the name mostly)
The series of Star Trek books by James Blish
Dreadnought by Diane Carey
Battlestations by Diane Carey
Uhura's Song by Janet Kagan
The Belgariad by David and Leigh Eddings
Second Hand Lions (New Line Cinema)

Images used in creating the title pages:
Graphics are from Wikipedia, NASA

Hydran Cruiser:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the original movie.

Cougar warrior on The Star Sailors' Story:

The Dosadi vessels are my own creation in the game Spore.

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