“Foxes & Hounds – Part 6”
As his transport hovered just above dark Vulcan sands, Aev Keirianh realized Vulcan deserts were as inhospitable at night as they were during the day. Skimming one dune after another he deftly piloted his ‘borrowed’ craft toward a location far from public scrutiny. Twenty four hours had passed since he had left his friends and Vulcan catacombs behind to seek out those who sought to end his life. The time tracking his prey had been short. Certain persons had been most cooperative when properly motivated. He had learned the location of his would be killers and yet something bothered him. It was all too neat, too easy. Aev smelled a trap, but this was his only lead. He had no choice but to follow their breadcrumbs even if they had been tainted with poison.
An audible alarm indicated he was close to his destination. A tiny oasis, kilometers away from any known settlements, was his target and where he had been told he would find them. Slowing his craft he gently brought it down behind a large sand dune. He would proceed the remaining distance on foot to maximize his odds at surprise. If his information was reliable he was confident he could infiltrate their camp. Once inside he would bring justice to those who had murdered the innocent. He would also send a message to his hunters. Those that continued to pursue him would meet their makers.
Armed with old, but functional Romulan weapons, Keirianh had picked up a few additional items to complete his kit. He left the transport and set off through the sand eager to reach his final destination and learn the identities of his attackers.
=== Later ===
Keirianh focused his binoculars on a tiny desert oasis some half a kilometer away in the distance. Three trees and a small patch of bushes, grass, and ground plants were all that stood in an endless sea of sand and rock. A single lantern hung from one of the trees like a beacon in the night. There was no camp, no soldiers, and no movement.
A subtle cool breeze kissed the ground causing the lantern to softly sway. Someone out there was expecting him this night. How they had come to learn of his intentions was annoying, but not completely unexpected. Was this call a trap or an invitation? He could not be sure. Switching his optics to infrared he scanner the area and the horizon for signs of life. Nothing. Only the lantern radiated heat. If it were a trap perhaps robotics were in play. A robotic gun turret would be easy to deploy and disguise with little or no heat signatures. Simple. Neat.
He did not sense deception or ambush. Someone seemed to be waiting for him.
=== Earlier That Day ===
Leon Athalla slowly opened his eyes. The world around him was a blur which for a moment failed to come into focus. He wondered briefly if he was dreaming until a dull pain invaded his consciousness. Suddenly his vision cleared and he saw a familiar face hovering over him. It was Keirianh’s friend, the monk, Valaran.
“Good you are awake.”
Leon pushed himself upwards to discover he was no longer in the dark catacombs but in bed in a small stone room filled with bright sunlight. He shielded his eyes which had yet to adjust.
“What happened? I remember talking and then everything went dark. Did I pass out?”
“No. Keirianh did not wish you to follow him Leon. His destiny lies upon a different path than yours.”
“Where is he”, Leon barked as his hazy memory slowly crystallized in his mind.
“Gone. Where to I cannot say.”
“Gone? You mean he…”
“Do not be angry human. He must face his past and his destiny alone. Neither of us can interfere.”
“The hell I can’t”, Athalla shouted attempting to stand only to fall backwards into the bed.
“Aev was careful not to injure you, however that blow to your head will require time to mend. I suggest you rest here…”
“No! That bastard lied to me! He’s not on a mercy mission! He’s out for revenge. Innocent lives will be in his line of fire and I doubt he has the self control to spare them at the expense of his enemies. He must be stopped! This madness cannot continue!”
“It will come to an end one way or another Leon, but he will not spill the blood of the innocent. His quarrel lies with those who have taken life. He seeks only justice for those responsible for recent events who may possess the means to elude Vulcan security. Aev Keirianh is a resourceful and cunning soldier. If anyone alive can track these killers it is him.”
“No! He can’t appoint himself judge, jury, and executioner! Sunnuva bitch! My ass is already in hot water because of him and he’s only going to make things worse! The Vulcans are quite capable of finding and dealing with these terrorists! We don’t need to be involved! Doesn’t he realize what he’s doing?”
“Leon. He knows. He knows all too well. He left to protect you. Do you not see?”
Athalla paused looking into the monk’s dark eyes. “Why?”
“Search your heart human. You will find the answer there.”
Leon’s hands curled into fists. “He’s a fool! I have to stop him before he gets himself or someone else killed!” Athalla once again stood and feeling that his footing this time was sure headed toward the wooden door of the room.
“No Leon! Do not go! I fear all you will find is more pain.”
Leon stopped at the door turning toward Valaran. “Pain or not, he cannot do this alone. I have a duty to myself and this uniform to protect the innocent. I cannot let him run free to dish out justice as he sees fit no matter his justification. I may agree with his motives, but I am obligated to uphold Federation law. I’m sorry, but he cannot be allowed to run free as a vigilante.”
“Wait! Leon! If you interfere…be warned. If you stand against him you will jeopardize your friendship. You may become the fox and he the hound. He will not hesitate to stop you in order to achieve his goals as difficult as that may be to hear.”
“Well he isn’t the only badass in town. This must end.”
Athalla pushed open the door and stormed out of the room leaving Valaran alone.
“Ai'Kholairlh-a tyohr aei. May the Elements have mercy upon them. May logic prevail where emotion is uncertain. Do not punish him Keirianh. He is young and brash as were we at his age. Save your sword for those more worthy of its blade.”
“Lt. Athalla to Charon Transporter Room! Are the damned transporters operational yet?”
“Mr. Athalla, so good to hear from you again. Are you in need of rescue yet again? A jealous boyfriend or husband after you perhaps?”
Leon recognized the snide voice of the transporter operator, Lt. Nelson. He seemed to take great pleasure in rubbing salt in old wounds.
“I’m sorry but I have nothing so dramatic for you to convert into scuttlebutt Nelson. Just beam me up!”
“Well I think we have a transporter working around here somewhere. You sure no one else is coming aboard?”
“Just shutup already and get on with it”, Athalla yelled from the open courtyard of the Vulcan monastery.
“Fine. Standby. Energizing.”
[ To Be Continued… ]
Lt. Leon Athalla
Romulan turned Vulcan Monk