Gezegend – Chapter 3

Gezegend – Chapter 3

by mizvoy


“I don’t know what I was expecting to see when we finally got here,” Mike Ayala said as he and Tuvok crept closer to the government center that had been the focus of the initial rebel strike. They crouched behind a crumbling wall that afforded them a clear view of the battle zone. Littered with dead bodies and moaning injured, its colorful mosaic surface was marred with bomb craters and smoking piles of debris. “Maybe I thought the captain and Harry would be hanging around with a working communication device so we could beam up to Voyager.”

“An illogical expectation,” Tuvok replied.

The day had started on a happy note. Ayala had been thrilled to be included on the away team, anxious to visit the planet’s surface after too many weeks and months inside Voyager’s hull. He’d heard that Broden was as close to Earth as any planet they’d visited in the Delta Quadrant, and he was more than ready to breathe fresh air and feel the sun on his face.

He hadn’t been disappointed. He, Tuvok, Harry Kim, and the captain had beamed down to a small park that was next to the farmer’s market. The sight of all the fresh vegetables, the smell of cooked food, the colors of the awnings, and the press of vendors and customers had been a balm to his soul, a reminder of his childhood home, the home that the Cardassians had so cruelly erased from existence.

He envied Janeway and Kim for having the opportunity to walk through the market, but there was no help for it. He and Tuvok were there to visit a nearby military installation with the hope of finding compatible technology to repair Voyager’s weaponry.

He climbed into a ground vehicle and watched the scenery as it passed him by, an urban environment like countless others he’d visited over the years. The streets were lined with businesses and homes, the sidewalks busy in areas of commerce, nearly empty around the residences. He saw a schoolyard, full of excited children, and he saw temples of two varieties, one type built of white stones and huge glass windows, the other type of red brick and narrow slots of glass, like rifle ports in the side of a fort.

Tuvok sat beside him in the middle of the transport’s back seat, but he was busy conversing with their three escorts. The comments had to do with security measures, types of weapons used, and the fact that their people had never encountered hostile aliens. Ayala had frowned at that remark, for Voyager had found more hostility than friendship in their six years in the quadrant.

“What’s this?” the driver said, bringing the vehicle to a stop. Ahead of them, a large building loomed, no doubt their destination. “It’s gone quiet, and I don’t see anyone in the guard tower.”

Both Ayala and Tuvok were immediately on alert. Mike noticed that a residence beside them was surrounded by a low, thick brick wall which would provide them with some measure of protection should the vehicle come under attack. He leaned back and nodded toward it so that Tuvok would see it. With a look, they agreed that the wall would be their first safe place.

“I’ll get out and look,” said the other Broden in the front seat as he opened the door.

Then, somewhere behind them, a brilliant white light bathed everything around them, wreathing the vehicle’s radio in blue lightening and eliciting a whine that could only mean a complete breakdown of their communication devices.

“Now,” Tuvok whispered, pushing Ayala toward the vehicle’s door.

They spilled out onto the street, regained their balance, and headed for the protective wall just as a thunderous explosion occurred near the city’s center. Seconds later, guerillas poured from the surrounding buildings and streets, mowing down their three escorts and blowing up the transport in a fiery blast. The two Starfleet officers crawled along the wall toward an alley and wedged themselves behind a trash dumpster to wait out the attack.

They quickly discovered that their commbadges and tricorders no longer functioned.

“What the hell happened?” Ayala wondered. “Some sort of rebel uprising?”

“Only time will tell,” the stoic Vulcan replied, sounding unworried. But Ayala knew better. Even a Vulcan can be shaken by a near miss.

They remained in their hiding place for over an hour, until the sound of fighting faded into the distance. When they finally deemed it safe to crawl back into the open, they found the streets filled with refugees heading for the suburbs and crying for them to come along. Or, at least, that’s what Ayala supposed they were saying.

“The universal translator is malfunctioning, too,” Ayala sighed as he and Tuvok watched the people stream by. “But they seem to want us to come with them.”

“I think we should make every effort to reconnect with the other members of the away team,” Tuvok decided as he headed down the street against the flow of refugees who looked at him as if he were crazy. “That means we head toward the battle.”

Ayala glanced back at the burning military facility and then followed him. “It’s going to be a long walk, Tuvok.”

“We can pick up what we need along the way,” the Vulcan replied. “These refugees are leaving behind their belongings, and I doubt that any of them will miss a canteen of water or a sandwich or two.”

Hours later, after dodging three assault teams that seemed determined to drive the citizens from the city, they had finally reached their destination. They had seen few uninjured citizens in the last kilometer and fewer armed rebels, yet they were aware of a military presence surrounding the government buildings. They were careful to keep under cover.

“This is much more than a rebel uprising,” Tuvok remarked as he studied their surroundings. “The amount of damage suggests some sort of military coup, perhaps a full-fledged holy war.”

“Holy war? One of those coups that happens every hundred years or so?” When Tuvok nodded, Ayala groaned, “And it happens right after we beam down to make friends. Looks like our bad luck is holding.”


Ayala took a moment to access his tricorder again, hoping to find it operational. There were some promising changes in the initial dampening surge, but they were slow in appearing and had undergone subtle changes over time. “The initial overload we experienced has weakened, but now it looks like they have a dampener in effect.”

“I feared they might do something like that. It is unfortunate that we can’t simply scan for human lifesigns.”

“I know. We’d have to spend hours wandering around out there to find them,” Ayala said as he surveyed the large open area. “They could be anywhere.”

“How far are we from the beam in site?” Tuvok wondered.

“I think it’s about a kilometer that way.” He nodded to their left. “Looks like the market the captain wanted to visit is about a quarter of the way around the plaza.”

“The question is, did they linger in the market long enough to avoid being out in the open when the battle began? Were they in the plaza itself?”

“They didn’t have to be in the plaza to find themselves overwhelmed by the battle. If they weren’t injured in the first explosion, they would have faced the first big wave of people trying to escape and the most militant of the rebels. Hundreds of people might have stampeded through the market pushing them farther away from us.”

“You’re right.” Tuvok moved to a higher location that allowed him a better view. He tried to imagine how the battle had progressed by studying the areas of greatest damage and the location of the bodies and the rubble. “So you think the main thrust of the battle was toward the government buildings, directly across from the market, and the refugees would have naturally run in the opposite direction.”

“Let’s stand over here, in the shadows,” Ayala suggested as he joined Tuvok, mindful of his exposure. He noticed that no one moved among the wounded and had spied snipers in the ruined walls of the buildings that circled the plaza. “No one is out there helping, and I’m thinking the snipers want it that way.”

“Snipers would not dress in red.”

“What else would you call them?”

“I’m not sure why they would prevent these people from being treated for their injuries. It makes no sense to us, but it could be that we simply fail to understand the dynamics of this jihad.”

“If our people were in the escaping masses, they would have been pushed in that direction.” He pointed toward two streets that intersected the plaza to the left and then webbed out through the market and into the city.

“I think you might be right. Most of the people would have run through the market to safety. The question is this: were the captain and Harry still in the market? Were they in the middle of the plaza? Or had they already gone into the government buildings?”

“Buildings?” Ayala asked, his eyes passing over the rubble that smoldered around them. “I guess these used to be buildings. There’s no way to know where they were, is there? We left them at the beam in site when we started for the base. How long were we in transit before the battle started?”

“I’d say no more than twenty minutes.”

“Did they walk slowly through the streets? Or did they hurry to get to the meeting?”

Tuvok raised a single eyebrow. “I think the captain would have dawdled. She was a full hour early for the meeting with the prime minister, and it is her habit to enjoy the sunlight and the market areas on a new planet, take in the mood of the people, study their food and clothing.”

“So you’re guessing they were outside the building?”

“I hope they were.” Tuvok didn’t bother to look at the smoldering remains behind them. “I’d say the prime minister’s offices were obliterated in a second or third explosion. If they were with him, they would have been lucky to survive.”

“We could do a brief reconnoiter of the ruins.”

“Not with those snipers taking aim at us,” Tuvok shook his head. “I don’t think we want to go into the open, either, Lieutenant, not tonight. No one is moving around out there.”

“But the captain and Harry might be among the wounded.”

“I realize that, but it would take hours to locate them, and we’d have to stop in less than an hour because the sun is about to set.” He pulled out his useless tricorder again and sank down behind the wall, gesturing for Ayala to join him. “Our best hope is to scan for them.”

“Is it working?”

“No, but as you suspected, there is now an active dampening field in effect.”

“That’s bad news,” Ayala commented, pulling out his own tricorder. “Except that there has to be a field emitter somewhere nearby. If we could find it and shut it down, even for just a few minutes, we could do a quick scan and save ourselves a lot of time.”

“We could also contact Voyager.”

“You’re right.”

“I suggest we spend the next few hours trying to find the location of this emitter.” He secured the tricorder in his belt. “We know that it is on the far side of the plaza from here, which means that we will need to work our way around the edge without being detected.”

“Let’s just hope these snipers aren’t too upset with us for moving around.”

“We will have to be careful.”

“If they survived they blast,” Ayala continued, thinking aloud, “they would have run into those streets, along with everyone else who was trying to escape the rebels’ attack. They would have gone in the same direction we need to take to find the field emitter.”

“Perhaps we will find them along the way.” Tuvok paused to look at the setting sun. “Or, better yet, perhaps they, too, are trying to disable the emitter. I’d say we have no more than an hour before we lose the sunlight. With power still down, this whole area with be totally dark soon, except for the glow of the fires.”

“We’d better get moving, then. I have to admit that I wasn’t looking forward to picking through the dead and wounded. It would be hard to leave people lying there when they need help.”

“Once we disable the emitter, we will find the rest of our team and get back to Voyager. Perhaps, at that point, we can come back and offer the injured the help they need.”

Ayala nodded, swallowing hard. “It’s just that most of these people are innocent bystanders, old people, school children, families here to enjoy the beautiful day. They were all unarmed, helpless. It’s such a terrible waste.”

“I believe it was a human Army general who observed several centuries ago that war is hell.” The Vulcan looked around at the ruins and the casualties. “Nothing has changed in the intervening years, Lieutenant. War is still hell.”