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Captain Douglas Gorrim lay dazed and confused before the Chilo. As he gathered his sense he noticed the Chilo staring at him. Probably trying to assess whether or not I’m unconscious, and whether or not to kill me, Douglas thought. He seized on the Chilo’s momentary loss of concentration. Douglas realized that the inside of the mouth wasn’t amour plated as it leaned down to bite him. Douglas shoved his phase pistol into the creature’s mouth and pulled the trigger. He saw the phase beam ricochet around the inside of the Chilo’s head and then its eyes were backlit. It then collapsed dead on top of him.

Douglas collapsed back against the door and pushed the monstrous caterpillar creature off him. Then he took a deep breath and sighed with relief.

He uneasily stood up and walked over to the body of his ex-science officer, James Comsox. The Chilo had very effectively crushed him to death. So Douglas did the three simple things he could do. He turned James over and put him in a more dignified position, closed James’s eyes for the final time and said a prayer to any god that would listen for a bright life destroyed.

Douglas recalled so many moments with his science officer, his excitement at the smallest discovery, the way he kept submitting science papers even after the start of the war with the Romulans.

“So we didn’t forget once we won, Captain we are explorers, not soldiers.” That had been what James had said so often.

Deep down Douglas had been glad of it. It had given him hope in the darkest hour that tomorrow would be brighter. Now that bright future had sent a monster to kill him for just being human. It wasn’t fair, thought Douglas.

Then a second Chilo hit Douglas from behind and send him flying across the floor. “You will die in pain, Vermin for daring to kill a Chilo,” was the angry telepathic message.

Douglas felt for his pistol and saw that he had put it down by James’s body when he had moved him. The Chilo spotted the weapon and vanished.

Douglas could see the trap: he needed to get the weapon, but the Chilo would appear behind him the second he moved. Then the Chilo appeared again at the same spot. It seemed confused that he hadn’t moved for the weapon.

“Fear me, Vermin,” it said telepathically as the Chilo advanced on him.

His scanner started to play that annoying tune again to indicate it had detected a Chilo bio-signature.

Fat lot of use you are now… thought Douglas and then he had an inspiration.

He grabbed his scanner and activated its self-destruct system. Taking careful aim, he threw it at the Chilo’s mouth. Sadly his aim was still rubbish and the scanner exploded to the left of the Chilo’s head, but clearly a fear reaction made it vanish again.

Not wasting his second chance, he dived for James’s body and the phase pistol. Just as he reached the pistol the Chilo reappeared and it stamped down on the pistol and Douglas’s hand, pinning both the pistol and his hand to the floor.

“Aargh!” Douglas screamed in pain.

“Die,” was the simple telepathic message.

The Chilo leaned in to bite and Douglas saw James’s pistol was within reach of his free hand. He grabbed it and shoved it into this Chilo’s mouth and pulled the trigger just as the Chilo tried to bite, with a result that it bit the pistol in half.

Douglas screamed as the exploding pistol took the Chilo’s head off, along with three of his fingers on his left hand.

The Chilo’s headless body collapsed to the floor, thus freeing Douglas’s other hand. In pain he grabbed his first aid kit and with his badly bruised right hand tried to find something to stem the bleeding and pain in his left hand. He thankfully found some strong painkillers and injected himself. For a moment his concentration wandered as the painkillers made everything slightly mellow and yellow.

Then the pain in his hand brought him back; he found some basic bandages and he was sure he should be able to do something with the bandages, but couldn’t think how. Pesky painkillers, he thought.

Then with a laugh he remembered his phase pistol; on the kill setting it would cauterize wounds. He picked up the pistol, and checking the setting he shot off a quick beam at his bleeding hand. It indeed cauterized the worst three of his fingers.

But even through the painkillers that stung a lot, he thought.

Looking at the other finger and thumb, he decided they didn’t need such drastic action, so he just applied a load of anti-septic cream and then bandaged up the mess of his left hand.

He gathered up the pistol and scanner, and put everything but the pistol into his jumpsuit pockets.

Then slightly unsteady on his feet he made his way to the now opened door. With caution he set off to explore the T.I.C. headquarters, looking for a proper medic and also a way to get back to the Ariane.

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