“You miserable, rotten excuse of a Klingon!” Herring shoved Hruk’Tal.
The tunnel went silent, the other slaves watching in horror as the slender captain attacked the Klingon twice his size.
Hruk’Tal spat a Klingon insult. It sounded like a very large cat hacking up an extremely large and juicy hairball. He allowed Herring to push him to the center of the tunnel.
“Come on, Fredericks.” I grabbed his sleeve in one hand and my crystals in the other.
We slipped around the edge of the crowd gathering to watch the Klingons smear Captain Herring across the rocky floor. They shouted worse insults, pushing and shoving each other. Several of the spectators got stepped on and joined in the fight. Within moments, they’d started a riot.
“Hold these.” I pushed crystals into Fredericks’ hands.
He nodded, eyes wide. He kept up against the side of the tunnel.
I grabbed the bars of the gate. “Hey! They’re slaughtering each other in here! You have to come!”
The guard I shouted at took one look at the fight inside and swore. He shouted for his friends to come help. They shoved their way through the gate, leaving just one outside.
I twisted wires to the metal of the gate. The wires for the lights ran right outside. I tugged one loose. Half the lights died, plunging the tunnels into gloomy twilight. I jabbed the loose end of the power cable under the bare wires wrapped loosely around the bars of the gate and the crystal.
“Duck!” I grabbed Fredericks, pushing him back to the wall.
The crystals spat sparks before exploding. The entire gate collapsed. Dust filled the air.
Hruk’Tal and his Klingons charged the opening, guttural war cries adding to the noise and confusion. They fired weapons at the guard still standing outside. He collapsed.
I hauled Fredericks after them, Captain Herring taking rear guard.
We ran for the lift. The lone guard didn’t stand a chance against the Klingons. He fell at his post. Hruk’Tal grabbed his weapon, tossing it to me.
“Inside, now!” Herring shoved the lift door open.
We crowded on and started it moving, up towards the surface.
“Get down and hide,” Herring ordered.
“We do not hide!” Hruk’Tal shouted. “We are Klingons!”
The five of them shouted a war chant.
The lift jerked to a halt. We hung fifty feet below the surface tunnels.
The Klingon war chant died. They traded looks.
“Climb, for your honor!” Hruk’Tal leapt to the cables holding the lift. He swarmed up, the others on his tail.
“Come on, Fredericks,” Herring lifted the other man to his feet. “We’re almost out.”
“I hate climbing,” I muttered as I followed them up the cables.
We paused at the sound of weapons firing.
“That’s a Federation phaser!” Herring said. He climbed faster, leaving me to keep Fredericks moving.
The sound of fighting faded as the two of us reached the top, crawling over the edge.
“Quartermaster Stevens and Ensign Fredericks? I’m Commander Carroll of Section 37. We have the Galileo standing by.” Commander Carroll pulled me to my feet.
Another officer in Starfleet uniform helped Fredericks up, escorting him out of the mine.
“Sorry it took us so long to track you down,” Carroll continued. “The Fellucians have an entire navy on the border.”
“So, you’re here to rescue us?”
“Not exactly,” Carroll said. “The Galileo can’t take passengers. We’re here to help you steal a ship from the Fellucians. Admiral Williamson is expecting you to bring it to Starbase 14.”
We caught up to Herring and the Klingons at the entrance. The planet outside was a howling mass of swirling snow and freezing cold.
“The supply ship is due tomorrow. With the help of your new friends, we’re taking it.” Carroll smiled, like a manic chipmunk.
“And who will fly it?”
“We will. The Galileo has a new unit that will allow us to operate the ship remotely. We just need you on board to keep things running. We’ll be in touch the entire time. Special ops Warner and Taylor will see you have the proper equipment.” She marched past me, out into the frigid wind.
Hruk’Tal threw his head back and howled defiance at the storm.
“Rabid Klingons and gung-ho Starfleet ops.” I shook my head. What happened to my nice quiet retirement? I shouldered the rifle stolen from the Fellucians. I was a cook, not a marine.
I was also freezing, but at least we were out of the mines.
Red light streaked over our heads to explode against the mountainside behind us.
“Take cover!” Carroll shouted as rocks rained down.
We ran into the blizzard.
Personal Log 1-11: Infiltration