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.
Chapter Notes: Where the two emerge, though not entirely whole
Chapter End Notes: 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