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[2010: MAY-JUN] Redemption

Tal Tel-ar

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Tal had to duck his head in order to step out of the shuttle. As he did the heat struck him like a living thing. It was an intense dry heat that could suck the moisture from an exposed man and leave him a withered husk if he was not careful.

It had been almost 4 years since he had last been here. Back then he had been just a simple Lt. with a simple job. Unfortunately it had been one that had blown up in their faces. Now he had a bounty on his head. One that would pay more than most of these people could hope to make in 2 lifetimes.

Some would think him crazy for coming back here, to this cess pool of a planet. Back to Cart’hen III, but it was something he had to do. Soon he would be going to Earth. The home world of the woman he was going to ask to be his wife. And he could not do that. Not until he had gotten revenge.

Revenge for the savage injuries he had suffered while in police custody. Injuries that had left him flat on his back closer to death than alive. Injuries that had taken 6 months of constant surgeries just to give him back the hope that he might walk again one day. After that he had been confined to a hover chair for over a year.

Now, finally after 4 long years he was back to normal. His life was back on track. In fact it was going better than he had ever thought it would. He was now the first officer on the USS Challenger-A and soon if every thing went right he would be married to Elina Rose Kincade. A dark haired beauty with fire and spirit.

A sudden sound snapped him out of his memories and instantly Tal noticed what had caused it. The rattle and clanking came from what passed as public transportation around here.

It was a large, heavy, rusted contraption that moved on wheels. From the sounds of it the thing was on its last legs but would probably still be in use long after he had left. Behind the engine with its driver were 2 flatbed ore cars.

The vehicle stopped and the driver yelled out some mish, mash that passed for the local slang. Fortunately Tal understood him. It was probably the only good thing to come from his previous visits here.

For a moment Tal considered walking. It would probably take about as much time to get to the city as riding on that thing and he would probably not be sore as hell once he arrived.

Unfortunately that would make him stand out. Right now he wanted to blend in so he walked forward, paid his fare and moved to the last ore car where he climbed up and sat with his legs hanging over the sides.

As he waited patiently for the vehicle to move his thoughts drifted back to his last visit here. Everything had gone wrong. Someone had informed what passed for a government around here of their arrival. That and enough about their mission that steps had been taken to stop them. Tal had been acting as the advance scout. The initial meeting with their contact had proceeded as planned but then the city police had appeared and Tal had been forced to run with the girl.

They had made a good try at escaping. Unfortunately the girl had been tagged and they had followed her with ease. They had run right into a trap, one that had cost the girl her life and left Tal bleeding and unconscious.

When he had regained consciousness he had been hanging from the ceiling in a small dark room. A couple of the police men worked him over good before he met with their superior. That’s when the real pain had started. After that it was all a blur.

The sudden jolt as the vehicle started moving snapped him out of the memory and back to reality. Tal forced him self to relax. To ignore the choking clouds of dust that soon covered him and made his eye’s sting.

After what seemed an eternity the painfully slow and cumbersome vehicle made the long 3 mile trip from the landing field over the rim and down the inside of the old strip mine to where the city lay at the bottom of the pit. As soon as it rumbled to a stop Tal hopped off, slapping at the robes that he was wearing. Each slap resulted in a small cloud of dust which he ignored as he glanced around.

It took only a few moments for him to spot his contact. She looked so much like her older sister that is was almost uncanny. For a moment he regretted risking her life like he had her sisters. Still he vowed that this time he would not fail.

The tall slim, yet curvy girl walked over. She appeared nervous. She kept starting to glance around but stopped herself. As she got closer she refused to look at him. Her large green eye’s kept shifting, as she looked anywhere but at his face.

Instantly Tal reached up to pull the hood back and off his head. He needed his antenna to be free in order for him to be able to use them to their maximum effect. Almost instantly he managed to overhear something that made him reach for one of the 2, Andorian phaser’s he had under his robes.

As he did Tal kept scanning the crowds. He kept shifting his gaze quickly back and forth as he twisted to see behind him as well. There, over near the alley between two dilapidated buildings were 2 police officers. There was no way he would ever forget those uniforms.

“Duck!” Tal yelled at the girl as he grabbed her with one hand and opened fire with the other. He could see the fear on her face as her pale amber skin flushed a deeper shade of yellow.

“We have to run.” She managed to reply. “They mean to make an example of you.”

“How did they know I was going to be here?” Tal asked her as he propelled her ahead of him into the closest alley way.”

“I don’t know.” She replied. “They were waiting for me at my place 2 days ago. They gave me a choice. Lead you into a trap or spend the rest of my life in prison.”

Tal glanced out and fired a couple more shots. What had been a crowded little market area was now empty. It was empty except for the dozen or so uniformed policemen who were leapfrogging towards them through the ramshackle mess of overturned carts and crates.

“Where to?” Tal asked her as he glanced back at where she crouched down behind him. She looked back up at him. Her big eye’s wide and her face a picture of indecision. As soon as he saw the look Tal knew he was in trouble.

“They have the area covered. We’re trapped.”

Tal returned his glance to the front as he reached into his robes and pulled out the other phaser. Now with one in both hands he felt better, more confidant of their chances.

“In that case follow me!” Tal called as he charged out into the open. As he did Tal fired with both weapons and he kept up a steady stream of fire as he moved as swiftly as his 6’4” athletic form would allow him.

“Are you crazy!” she shrieked from behind him but Tal never even slowed down. As he figured it his only chance was to break out of this trap before they could close the jaws tight around him.

When he reached the closest open alley way on the other side of the market area he slowed to look behind him and to fire a few more shots. He was a little surprised to see the girl ducking and weaving as she tried to catch up. As he had expected the cops were ignoring her and the majority of the weapons fire was directed towards him.

As soon as she had entered the alleyway Tal turned and took off. Even with all the hours he had spent memorizing the maps for this city he was still not sure where he was or where he was going.

Still anyplace was better than here. With that in mind Tal forced himself to move as fast as he could which when you considered the narrowness of many of these alleyways and the breadth of his shoulders made it pretty hard.

Even with that Tal was pretty sure they were moving fast enough that they should be able to out pace the cops who were following them. That is until he burst out into an open street to see a large tactical vehicle with city police markings all over it. For a second Tal debated weather it would be safer to dash into another alley or to back track his steps.

That is until he spotted the face of the man he had returned here after as one of the men in the vehicle. At that point his mind kind of went into overdrive and everything around him seemed to slow down.

With out a single pause in his forward motion Tal rushed to the side of the vehicle and thrust his weapons in through the open firing ports and started shooting as fast as he could trigger his weapons.

It was only the sudden tugging on his arm and the freaked out shrieks of the girl that snapped him out of it long enough to let his logical mind take over. A quick glance showed that everyone in the vehicle was stunned. If they were lucky they had a few minutes left before there pursuers caught up to them.

Tal opened the door and reached in. One by one he pulled the unresisting police men out of the vehicle and then dumped them into the dirt and filthy of the street. The last one he pulled out was the man he had come back here for. His dark features still retained a degree of superiority and cruel vindictiveness.

“Are you crazy. Do you know who that is? “ The girl asked in a panicked tone.

“Yes. I know who it is. He is the man who killed your sister and then tortured me almost to death.” Tal replied in a voice that was as hard and unforgiving as steel.

“Him?” the girl replied in a stunned tone. Then her face twisted up with hate as she started to hit him with her tiny fists. “You son of a [...]." You motherless targ humping dung eating #$%^&*.”

For a moment Tal let her vent her anger. Then he dropped the man and reached out to grab her. “We don’t have time for this. Get in.” Tal commanded. For a second she continued to struggle and kick out, but then she finally stopped. Tears were trickling down her face and she had to stifle the sobs of fear and loss. With one last good kick she gave it up and entered the vehicle.

As for Tal he looked down at the man he had come so far to find and kill and was surprised to find that the suppressed rage and hate was gone. Maybe seeing the young woman venting her rage had snapped him out of it. Or more likely it was his renewed belief in the vows he had taken as a Starfleet Officer.

Regardless Tal knew he could not kill the man in cold blood. Still he could make the man pay for the many acts of cruelty that had marked his climb to power. With a slight smile on his face Tal reached down and easily picked the man up. For a brief second Tal just held him. Then he smashed the man down onto his bent leg.

Tal could feel his spine snap like a twig and even stunned as he was he still gasped out in pain. Then he dropped the body like a sack of meal and leapt into the open door of the vehicle. He was just in time.

Weapons fire struck around him and he felt the sudden hot burn of pain as he was hit in the side. Spinning around Tal slammed the door closed and then he turned to climb into the driver’s seat. As he did the engine started and the vehicle lurched into motion.

A single glance showed it was the girl. After a few seconds it was also apparent that this was her first time driving as the vehicle bounced off first one building and then rebounded to hit one on the other side of the narrow street. Tal was bounced around like a tennis ball for a few moments until she got the hang of it.

“Head up to the shuttle pad.” Tal told her as he finally found a safe and comfortable location in which to survive her driving skills.

“What good will that do?” she asked.

“It’ll get us clear of the jamming devices and I can call for a beam out.”

“Oh. So you’re leaving.”

“We’re leaving. It’s the least I can do. After all I owe you. If not for me your sister might still be alive.”

“It wasn’t your fault.”

“I know that. Still I can’t leave you behind. Especially after that. Your life would be in constant jeopardy.”

She shot him a glance but remained silent. All her concentration geared towards trying to keep the vehicle on what passed for a road. In a lot less time than it had taken to travel down into the city, Tal found himself transported back up and out of the huge pit that it had been built in.

Instantly he dug into a concealed fold in the robes he was wearing and pulled free his comms badge. At the first tap a signal connection was established and he allowed a slight smile to appear on his normally stoic features.

“Lt. Cmdr Tel-ar to Runabout Neptune, 2 to beam aboard.” A few seconds later the familiar transporter affect shifted their molecules thousands of meters into the sky and out into the depths of space. There to reappear inside the craft in question.

“Sir is everything OK?” asked the youthful Bolian male who sat in the pilots seat.

“Everything’s Ok Ensign. Take us back to Starbase 118.”

“Yes Sir.” He replied as he turned back to the controls and proceeded to obey orders.

Tal turned to where the girl sat, seemingly stunned. “Are you OK?” he asked.

She turned to look at him, a faint look of wonder on her face. “I’m in space?”

Tal relaxed and moved to sit down on the closest seat before he answered her. As he did he spoke in a soft, almost gentle tone. “Yes. Your in space.”

“What… where will I go?” she asked in wonder. A little bit of fear and panic breaking through.

“Don’t worry. I can think of a number of worlds where you can go to live. All of them a 100 times nicer than that dust pit below us.”

She seemed about to ask another question but Tal spoke before she could. “Enough questions for now. You must be tired. There is a bed back there that you can sleep in.” As he said it Tal pointed the way for her.

She gave him a tired smile as she allowed herself to be distracted. Then she got up and moved towards the bed.

As she did Tal let his thoughts wander. He might not have killed the man responsible for making his life a living hell for 2 years but he had gotten revenge. Even better he had been able to safe the sister of the young woman who had lost her life trying to help him back then.

Tal allowed a slight smile to temporarily sweep across his face. He could live with the results of this trip. Now all he had to do was find a ring. One with a large enough stone to impress Elina’s family and as his friend Jason would say. Seal the deal.

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