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Part of USS Jaxartes: Mesakh wuh kim-shah krup

Part 6: Krus shehkuh

Caverns - Planet Eza
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Every day was basically the same; wake up, wash, eat, exercise.  A regimented routine of total monotony, designed to were them down and slowly sap their mental strength, coupled with all of the mysterious goings on in the white room.  Four times now, Lieutenant Bolka had been in that room, four times tests had been conducted on her body, and four times she’d barely made it out of there.  She could only assume the others had spent a roughly equal amount of time in there; but the rest would forget, had forgotten. They would have no doubt felt the pain and experiences she had, but their memories were successfully being wiped, hers were all too vivid.

So this was it; the day they would make their escape. There was a huge network of tunnels leading off from the main cavern.  Most were naturally formed, at some point an underground river had run through here, carving its meandering path.  Other tunnels had clearly been constructed with the use of hand tools; the walls bore the marks of hammer and rod.

Half way down the tunnel that lead to the exercise area, another much smaller tunnel branched off to the left.  By the tunnel stood one of their Pelcaza guards, as was always the case.  This time though, things were slightly different.  The two Federation officers made sure they were at the back of the group, everyone exercised together under the watchful gaze of a half dozen guards; two of which were always positioned on a higher ledge inaccessible to those below them.

The Pelcaza nodded at them as they approached; he held two lit torches in his right hand, and passed one to the Vulcan. “I wish you speed and safe passage.” He whispered to them both.

“Thank you my friend.” Replied Salan. “You take a great risk in helping us.” 

“I fear for the future and what might happen when the Helgeshran becomes all powerful.” The man informed them.  “He is no God, regardless of what many believe.”

The Bajoran tapped him lightly on the shoulder. “We will bring help.”

            **********

The tunnel was narrow, barely wider than their shoulders, and on occasions they both had to turn sideways to get through the gap; at other times the height meant they had to stoop.  In one tricky section, they had to almost crawl on hands and knees to progress.  Once beyond that, the tunnel opened out again; to a point were only with outstretched arms, could both sides be touched at once.   A flat protrusion offered the two of them a place to sit and catch their breath.  Slipping a hand inside one of the pockets of his robe, Salan pulled out a small flask.  It was made from the skin of an unknown animal and had a wooden tube attached with a stopped in the top; he removed it and past the flask to Laira.  She took a sip of the water inside then passed it back to him.

“How far?” She enquired.

“I estimate we’ve come about half way.” The Vulcan answered.  He pointed in the direction of the next section of the tunnel. “We should meet up with the river shortly.”

Benefitting from the short rest and the drink of water, the pair of them continued their journey.  The next section of tunnel was fairly easy to navigate and they made faster progress along it.  The noise of running water gradually grew louder as it reverberated off the rock walls.  When they came to it, the underground river ran directly across their path.  It was roughly twelve metres below them and ran through a gorge spanning three metres. On the far side of the gap, level with the tunnel they’d just walked along; ran a walk way. It followed the route of the river far beyond what the torch could illuminate.

This was by far the trickiest and most dangerous part of the whole escape plan.  The walk way sections of which were carved into the rock face and other, wooden planks bolted in place; was clearly a route the Pelcaza used from time to time.  They’d been told it should be deserted when they arrived, but not to wait around too long, just in case.  The second issue was they’d have to jump across the gap.  If either of them slipped and fell; dead or alive the river would sweep them away in seconds. 

Salan handed the torch to Bolka and walked back along the tunnel a few paces.  He turned, took several deep breathes and focused him mind; then ran.  Both feet landed on the ledge fairly safely, but forward momentum took the Vulcan into the hard unforgiving rock wall.  The Commanders instinct had been to put his arms up; in order to stop himself and grab hold.  The pain just below his left wrist from the impact was sharp and sudden; only the discipline and focus of a Vulcan mind prevented him from acknowledging the pain verbally.  The arm wasn’t broken, Salan was reasonably sure of that; he had though, and judging from the location of the pain probably cracked his Ulna.

After taking a few short breathes and careful turning round so his back was pressed against the rock wall, he instructed Bolka to throw him the torch, which he caught with his right hand.  He then encouraged the Lieutenant to make the same leap he had.   The Vulcan heard rather than saw her running, until she came racing out of the tunnel.  Bolka, whoever had misjudged her landing, one foot landed on the ledge, but the other caught the edge.  She slipped arms flailing; the look of sheer panic on her face, captured by the light of the touch.  Instinctively and with lightening reflexes the Vulcan’s arm shot out and grabbed Bolka’s right hand.  For the two of them it seemed like an eternity as he held the Bajoran; supporting the majority of her wait with his injured arm.  Fire erupted through the bone, and across every nerve ending.  But despite the agony, there was no way he was ever letting go.  There was only one logical course of action and only seconds to do it in.  Salan dropped the torch, giving him both hands free to pull Bolka to relative safety on the ledge.

They held each other in the now total darkness; the torch extinguished and floating off down the river below.  The Lieutenants breathe laboured and heavy, gasping for air between the sobs. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” She repeated over and over.

“Shhh, its ok.” Salan said softly. “I’ve got you.”

They stayed like that for several minutes as the Vulcan comforted and calmed the Bajoran.  Without any light to help guide them, this part of the journey would be much more challenging; but keeping pressed against the rock face and moving cautiously, the Commander believed they could still make it out of there.

            **********

In the cave of the Helgeshran, Rahs approached.  “They have reached the river.” His booming voice informed the Trill.  “Are the guards in position and ready to act?” 

Rahs bowed. “Yes my Lord, the have instructions to capture the Bajoran, but allow the Vulcan to escape.”

“And what of those who betrayed me, by adding in this escape?” The entity enquired.

Lei’s fingers clicked, and a Pelcaza was dragged into view with the help of two others, who unceremoniously dropped him to the group in from of their master.  They left swiftly, not wishing to witness what would come next.  “Their ring leader.”

“Look at me.” Helgeshran commanded.  The man looked a defiant look in his eyes, yet with a creeping hint of fear and trepidation.  “Do you really think you could defy your God?”

“You’re no God!” Spat the man. “You don’t even pretend.  You’re just pure evil and nothing more.”

The laugh that followed, echoed like thunder; Helgeshran’s eyes blazed like the sun, as two thin lines of fire emanated from his pupils, lanced towards the Pelcaza before him.  Death was swift yet agonising.  Flesh and cloth consumed in fire; then bone and ash in a crumbling heap on the floor.

“Display his remains in the main chamber, as a warning to any others like him.” Helgeshran commanded.  Lei Rahs bowed once more and signalled for that the two other Pelcaza should return and remove the remains.

Everything was going as planned; that was all that mattered.