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More than just a storm


Tal Tel-ar
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As the shimmering effect of the transporter diminished Tal glanced around. He was surrounded by the densest jungle on the planet which when you consider that the planet was Duronis II was pretty dense. The small clearing he was in existed only because of the waterfall and smooth exposed rock surrounding it.

But the tranquil beauty of the location was not why he was here. Tal barely noticed it and then only to notice the absence of foul smells. That was the hardest thing for him to adjust to living on a planet as backwards as this one. The underlying stench of so many people crammed into one small area along with all the other smells, putrid and otherwise that assailed his antenna every time he left the Embassy and entered the city proper.

No, he was here to relax and for him that meant the absence of people and technology. Fortunately finding a place to get away from it all was not that hard to do. He would have preferred a nice desert or even some frigid arctic wasteland but the first was almost totally missing from this world and the second was hardly worth considering.

So here he was, deep in the heart of the largest jungle on the planet, about to enjoy 3 days away from it all. His antenna twitched to the buzzing of numerous flying insects. They flocked to him as he dropped his backpack and started to get undressed. A few even went so far as to bit him hoping he would satisfy their hunger. In that regard they were sorely disappointed. His alien Andorian blood was to chemically different from the native version for them to be able to digest it. In fact most of the insects that bit him died soon after as the white blood cells from his blood attacked their systems.

Finished undressing Tal neatly folded his uniform and packed it into a small pouch that he then sealed shut. He slipped his communications badge into the outer pocket, placed in on the rock surface next to his backpack and then turned away, running the few yards to the edge of the rock where he flung himself out into the deep pool at the base of the water fall.

He surfaced, enjoying the cool feeling of the water against his skin. After swimming for a while he climbed out and got dressed. His clothes a drastic change from his normal uniform, especially the savage looking knife on his belt.

Now all he had to do was find a place to string up his hammock and then find something to eat and he would be set for the night. A slight smile drifted across his face as he anticipated the welcome challenges awaiting him.

*************************************

The rain poured down, a torrential flood of rain that reduced visibility to less than a dozen feet. Even here under the trees at the edge of the clearing where he had been staying he was drenched. His shirt was plastered to his skin and water ran down his face, dripping from his nose and chin in a continual never ending cycle.

Most people would have been annoyed, maybe even irritated. Most would have curled into some kind of rain gear and tried to cower under some kind of shelter but not Tal. He merely leaned back, letting his body settle back into the soft cradle that was his hammock.

Suddenly his antenna twitched and his eyes opened. He sat up again and looked around. Something was wrong. A sudden flash of light was quickly followed by a booming crash of thunder. The sound and vibration in the air caused his antenna to suddenly lay back against his skull. For a few moments he was practically blind, his enhanced sense of hearing neutralized.

Tal rolled out of the hammock and dropped to the ground. As he did a sudden flash of light streaked across the clearing and almost cut his hammock in half. Instantly Tal rolled deeper into the jungle, away from who ever had just tried to kill him.

He crouched in the dark, most of his body under the large drooping fronds of some native fern plant. His keen eyes scanned the clearing, seeking any sign of movement. However it was his antenna that warned him of movement. Someone was behind him, creeping closer.

Tal remained motionless, except for his eyes. Time seemed to stand still as he waited. Lighting flashed again, followed by another powerful crash of thunder. Still nothing.

Suddenly Tal spotted the man just as another flash of lightning lit up the area. He held a scanner in one hand and some kind of energy pistol in the other. As soon as Tal spotted him, he moved. His legs acted like a spring to power him up and out, thrusting him rapidly towards the man as he started to swing his weapon towards him.

Just as his finger tightened on the trigger, Tal smashed a devastating uppercut right into his jaw. It was powered by his entire body and he felt a sickening crack as the man’s jaw shattered. He dropped, out cold before he even hit the ground. Tal glanced around quickly. No movement, except for the pounding rain.

Turning his attention to the man, Tal realized he was Romulan. Young, fit, wearing typical jungle fatigues and armed with a knife, disruptor pistol and scanner. Tal searched him quickly and removed all his gear, including a small signal transponder that would allow a cloaked ship to lock on and transport him away.

Puzzled Tal wondered why they had attacked him. True he had meddled into their attempts to influence the local political elections, but this was to well planned for it to be any of the local Romulans. No, unless Tal was very mistaken this guy was either some specially trained soldier or a member of the Tal Shiar.

Either way he was not alone. The first shot had come from in front of him, not behind. Now that he knew it was Romulans he also could be fairly sure that there were 4 more of them sneaking around looking for him.

Tal quickly searched him again, glad that he did when he found a small communications device. He added it to the rest of the gear and then moved all it out of sight under the large fern he had been hiding under.

Finished he eased into the jungle, moving silently, all his senses alert for the others. It took a while. Longer than he had expected but they were obviously being very careful.

It did not help as Tal disarmed the man easily. Next he tried to pull his knife but Tal grabbed his wrist and held him still while hammering a few blows into his chin and face. Suddenly his knees gave way and he dropped to the ground.

Just like the last one he searched and removed all his weapons and equipment. Then he took it with him as he slipped off into the undergrowth. As soon as he could he hid the stuff, then he continued his search.

This time he almost blundered into one of them. His senses warned him in time to throw himself forward. Even with that his left shoulder exploded into agony as it was partially hit with a grazing shot. For the next 10 minutes he was on the run. Constantly ducking and weaving, barely staying ahead of the enemy fire.

Finally he managed to work his way over to where the river ran through the jungle. As soon as he got there he dove in. The cool water felt fantastic, it almost instantly started to relieve the tingly, burning sensation where he had been hit.

It also let him break contact with the enemy. As he swam upstream towards the waterfall he allowed himself to think back over the previous mad dash through the jungle. Had he been shot at by 2 or 3 individuals. It took him a few seconds, but the more he thought about it the more he was sure it had only been 2.

Once he reached the edge of the clearing where the waterfall was, Tal moved to the bank and was about to climb out when 2 men entered the clearing. As before they both had disruptors and scanners.

Quickly he took a deep breath and forced himself under, pulling himself along until he got to a spot where the water was more than 6 feet deep with in a couple feet of the bank. The whole time he kept looking up. Waiting.

Suddenly he spotted them. They had just walked up to the bank and seemed to be arguing about something. Tal took advantage of their momentary distraction and propelled himself out of the water. Reaching out with his long arms and grasping their shirts in an iron fingered grip. After that it was simple to yank them both into the water and hold them under till they finally stopped struggling.

Instantly he surfaced, took a deep breath and then hauled both of them out of the water. He turned them over, face down on the smooth rock surface and applied pressure until they both expelled the water in their lungs. His antenna leaned forward, searching for some indication they were breathing. He caught the faint rasp of indrawn air seconds before he flung himself forward over them towards a grassy section of ground.

Tal turned to look up at another man. His face was a strange mask of rage and anger. In his hand he held a savage looking knife. He paced forward, his brown eyes gleaming with deadly intent.

Tal could tell he was an expert hand to hand fighter. The way he held the knife, moved, it all spoke of years of practice and training. He moved closer, his balance superb. His eyes watchful as the tip of his blade kept shifting, never still, masking his intent until the last second.

He lunged, flipped the blade to the opposite hand, slid forward and thrust, aiming for Tal’s eyes. At the last second Tal slapped the blade away, moving in close as he did. It flashed by his head missing by a slim fraction. Tal surged ahead, slamming his elbow into his head. It rocked him, forcing him to take a step back as he tried to stab his fingers into Tal’s face.

Tal followed up with a punishing uppercut to the jaw and ended it with a spinning kick. He sucked air into his lungs, calming his breathing as he moved forward and made sure the man was out cold. Only then did he search him.

As soon as he was done he searched the other two, made sure they were both still breathing. The one moved slightly, trying to rollover. Tall lifted him and struck swiftly. A controlled strike that instantly knocked him out cold.

Looking around Tal collected all their technology, placed it into one pile and when he was done he went and retrieved the other two men and their gear. Tal then retrieved his backpack and loaded all their gear into it. All he left them was their knives. By the time he was done it had stopped raining. From the looks of things dawn would soon be here. Tal undressed, wiped himself down and retrieved the bundle with his uniform in it. As soon as he was dressed Tal replaced his communications badge on his chest and activated it.

=/\= Cmdr. Tel-ar to the USS Thunder. Beam me up. =/\=

=/\= Understood sir. Just be a minute. =/\=

While he waited for them to transport him back up to the ship Tal stood calmly waiting with his backpack in his hand. Then he vanished to reappear aboard the ship. Looking around he saw the transporter chief smile just as he asked a question.

“So sir. Did you have a good vacation?”

“Yes Ensign. I did enjoy myself.” As he said it a slight ghost of a smile drifted across his features.

“Glad to hear it sir. Take care.”

“I plan to Ensign.”Tal replied just before he turned and left the room. Out in the corridor he activated his communications badge as he walked towards his security. =/\= Cmdr. Tel-ar to the bridge. =/\=

=/\= Yes sir. Lt. Michaels here. =/\=

=/\= Lt. I want you to place a mark III jamming satellite in space over the location where I was beamed up from. =/\=

=/\= A mark III? =/\=

=/\= Yes Lt. Schedule it for retrieval in a month. =/\=

=/\= Ok Sir. May I ask why? =/\=

=/\= Pest control Lt. After all even pests deserve a vacation. Tel-ar out. =/\=

Edited by Tal Tel-ar
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