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To live a memory best left in the past‏


Tal Tel-ar
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Tal breathed in the hot dry air as the transporter affect vanished leaving him stranded on the surface of Cart’ahen III for the next 2 weeks. It was almost like coming home. That is if Tal had a home. He never had, however he had been raised in the training barracks on Ten-nok VII. Just like this world it was a hot dry desert and he suspected that those were not the only similarities between the 2 worlds.

However unlike Ten-nok VII, the indigenous people of this world had not been allowed to develop on their own. They had been easily conquered and enslaved by the Klingons. Then they had spent the next ?? years working in various mines. It was only when the Klingons had found better sources of raw ores closer to home that they finally abandoned the world and left the natives to try and survive on their own.

Now true the Klingons still had a facility on the planet but now all it housed were criminals and political guests. A glorified prison with the reputation that no one had ever escaped or been released. Add to that the various cities and towns that had been developed by more species than it was reasonable to expect in one place and you had the current hell hole that was Cart’ahen III. A place where anything goes, where corruption goes hand in hand with greed, avarice and brutality. And those were just some of the finer sentiments that motivated the majority of the population.

Fortunately that was not why he was here. Instead he was here because he was bored and an old friend from the Academy had asked him for a favour. Now true she was not really a friend. Merely one of the many young ladies that his room mate had dated during their time at the Academy. However she had been instrumental in helping arrange Tal’s very first date. So in a way Tal did own her one.

Besides when he had heard her request he had been intrigued. It seems she was doing some research and needed some first hand, eye witness data about the small percentage of natives that had decided to return to the old ways and live a nomadic existence in the deserts that covered most of this planet.

Their situation was not only unusual but fairly unique. After all how many species had undergone the extreme social upheaval that they had been subjected to. According to the records the Klingons had forcible stripped them of all their history, culture and social traditions in order to make better workers out of them. Then after generations of hard labour and brutal domination they had just been tossed out to fend for themselves.

So here he was, deep in the desert, as far from any of the larger communities as he could get. And while he could never attempt to pass himself off as one of them he could try to make his presence less offensive. So as a result he had left his uniform behind and was dressed like one of them. Or at least as much like them as the few data files that were available seemed to indicate they dressed.

Suddenly his antenna detected something. It sounded like movement. They were coming from a couple different directions and seemed to be moving fairly rapidly. Tal lifted the hood off his head to allow his antenna better access to the sound waves. It would also serve the purpose of identifying him as an outsider. According to the few files that had been available, the nomads were normally hostile towards anyone not a member of their small tribe.

The only exception to this were the few traveling traders that moved from place to place. Most of the tribes considered them to be too valuable a source of rare goods to ever risk offending them. Hence the 2 huge packs that Tal had on his shoulders.

Tal waited patiently. The sun beat down and soon sweat started to bead his forehead and still he waited. Then suddenly over the top of the closest dune came a man dressed all in flowing robes the color of the sands around them. He kept walking until he was only a few arms lengths away.

Then he unwrapped his face and tossed back his hood. His features were unusual but the scars made him look tough, dangerous. Even through the robes Tal could tell he was strong. His eyes were cold, hard with a kind of restrained anger that could erupt at the least provocation.

He stared back, looking Tal over. Judging him. Evaluating his right to live. Evidently Tal passed muster because a slight grin crossed his homely features as he brought his left hand up and struck himself on the right side of his chest. When he spoke his voice was deep, yet soft. With that elusive quality that let you know he was in charge.

“Welcome stranger. May you always have water and never become lost.”

“May you always have water and strong sons to follow in your foot steps.” Tal replied.

And with that simple exchange of greetings Tal was welcomed amongst them. They brought him to their camp. Gave him food and water and spent many hours bartering for the goods that Tal had brought with him. While he did not truly care if he made a profit he knew he needed to play the part if he was to learn as much as possible about these people.

In the end he knew they got the better of him but he did not care. For the first time in a long time he felt almost relaxed. Like he had found something that was missing, something that had so far been missing from his life. In the process he had been able to amass quite a bit of what he hoped would be useful data.

So here he was, nearing the end of his shore leave. Standing near the tent he had been sharing with a number of single males. It was merely a suspended canopy that blocked the sun but still allowed full movement and sight in any and all directions.

The sun was just reaching it’s zenith and the heat was climbing slowly. Soon it would be so hot that any exposed skin coming into contact with metal or rock would be burned. As a result the last few members of the tribe that were not already in the shade slowly moved to join the rest.

Tal turned and was about to join them when something made him stop. He turned back and looked out towards the surrounding sand dunes. Heat waves danced their shimmering little dance, distorting even his enhanced vision. There was little sound, just the idle chatter of people relaxing. Most of the animals were asleep, but even those few who were not made very little noise.

Something seemed wrong, but try as he might he could not find any reason for why he felt that way. Everything seemed the same as always. Was the heat starting to get to him? Tal finally gave it up with a slight shake of his head and turned back towards his tent.

WWWWWWHHHOOOOSSSHHHHHH

Tal threw him self forward into the tent but the ground rose up and slammed into him. Dust was everywhere, obscuring his vision and something had landed on top of him. He managed to twist enough so that he could reach back and push it off only to see that it was one of the men he had been sharing the tent with. His lifeless eyes stared off into the distance, covered with a thin film of dust.

Looking around Tal spotted a huge crater in the ground where the far side of the tent use to be. Everything was tossed around, scattered piles of flesh and equipment mixed with sand and blood.

Tal crawled towards a large pile of debris as more lethal sounds shattered the air. These were intermixed with screams of pain, rage, anger and fear. Tal shoved his hand inside his robe, fishing for the small hand phaser he had brought with him as he pushed himself up and glanced over the mound he was crouched behind.

It looked worse than it sounded. Everywhere he looked people were running around, stumbling in a daze or cowering behind anything that might offer the least little bit of protection. Mixed in among them were a few strangers, men with bloody blades who hacked and slashed at anything that came close to them. As he watched Tal saw a young girl almost cut in half when she staggered out in front of one of them.

Tal raised his phaser to shoot but before he could, he spotted something out of the corner of his eye and rolled away just in time. A large sword like weapon slammed into the ground where he had been lying just a second ago. The man wielding it was splashed with blood. His face a snarling mask of rage as he lunged forward.

Again Tal managed to roll out of the way before the blade could make contact. Only this time his body stopped moving when he smashed into a pile of debris. He was trapped with no where to go as the blade was lifted up and started to fall.

Suddenly the man dropped the blade as a large spear head exploded out of his chest splattering Tal with his blood before he dropped to the sand. A large foot slammed down on his back as the tribesman that had finished him twisted and tugged on his weapon trying to free it from the body at his feet.

Tal started to get up, spotted another on of their attackers approaching the tribesman from behind and managed to get off a shot that slowed him down long enough for Tal to hit him again. This time he fell backwards onto the dead man that had landed on Tal earlier.

Getting to his feet Tal looked around carefully. Each time he spotted one of their attackers he fired a shot. After about 6 shots he could not spot any more of the enemy. An eerie, unnatural quiet had descended on the camp. One intermixed with moans and the agonizing cries of the wounded.

Tal waited a few more seconds then moved towards where the fighting seemed to have been the worst. He stepped over bodies and around piles of gear. It was all such a waste. Such a needless waste he thought.

Tal twisted aside as a spear was thrust towards him. He felt the edge of the blade cut the skin on his stomach just before the point struck his phaser. It glanced off but damaged it so badly in the process that it overloaded and lightning like arcs of energy exploded out of it. The result was that his hand felt like it had been subjected to an electrified firestorm.

The phaser dropped from his now useless hand as Tal ducked under the follow up stroke his attacker did using the shaft of the weapon. In response Tal smashed his injured hand into the pit of his stomach. As he did it Tal twisted at the waist and put his entire body behind the blow. Even with that he was unsure which one of them regretted his actions the most, even when he lifted the man off his feet with the punch. Tal immediately followed up with another punch that shattered his attackers jaw.

With the man down Tal looked around. It seemed to be all over now. All that was left was to bury the dead and care for the wounded. As he stood there he realized that this planet was similar in so many ways to his own home world. It went way beyond them both being desert planets. At the heart of it all was the reason he had chosen to join Starfleet. He realized that was his home now as he moved to assist the closest wounded survivor.

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