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Seek First...-Pt. 12
Seek First to Understand
The breach is ragged, with plenty of jagged edges on which to catch the shuttle if I misjudge. I power down, letting inertia take us in. My hand is steady on the helm. I hope, because my heart is beating almost as fast as it responded to T’Pol’s manhandling. Get your mind on the mission, Tucker. There will be plenty of time to replay the events with T’Pol afterward.
Once I’ve set her down and secured her to what I laughingly call the deck, then the real work begins. Infiltrating the Xindi armory isn’t going to be easy. Now that we are executing it, I think downloading data is the most unrealistic part of my plan. We have to set charges for a time delayed explosion, and return to the shuttle with at least one Xindi for interrogation. I don’t want to know T’Pol’s estimation of mission and success.
Travis couldn’t have landed any better, I say to myself. The latches of our helmet click in unison. As she opens the shuttle hatch, phase pistol at the ready, I examine through the shuttle view port the bulkhead for a hatch opening.
“That looks like a hatch at ten o’clock, T’Pol.”
She moves in the direction I indicate. I watch her back, literally and figuratively. I’m hit by a moment of clarity, like the sun beamin’ through clouds after a tropical rain. Watchin’ her back is a good thing. Feels right. Like I am meant to be the one. As if the situation weren’t scary enough, I gotta have a life changing revelation too.
She changes the setting on her pistol to maximum. We need to get through that hatch quickly. The alert sounds. Xindi are on the move.
“What’s the delay, T’Pol?” I’m curious. Hesitation isn’t something T’Pol displays very often.
“A Xindi patrol is within 20 meters of the hatch.” No other explanation is necessary.
I move to one side, reaching for a broken conduit that extends from the bulkhead. I nod when I’m ready. She fires. A gaping hole appears where the hatch was and through it six Xindi crewmen float rapidly drawn by the change of pressure. They twist and turn trying to grab hold of anything, but the cold and the vacuum finish them off.
I don’t linger to bid them fare thee well. I scramble inside the ship and head down the now depressurized corridor. Someone in command is probably pushing buttons to re-pressurize the area, I imagine. Maybe even sendin’ a repair crew to check out the situation.
“Six down. Have you any idea how many more we might meet on the way to the armory?”
“None for the next twenty meters.” That’s the limit of her scanner.
“Funny, T’Pol. Real funny.”
We reach a Y junction. Never could resist quoting Frost when I reach a fork in the trail.
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both. And be one traveler, long I stood, And looked down one as far as I could, To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair ”
I wave to her and take the left corridor. She takes the right.
She surprises me – again, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.”
She quotes a different poem, but it is Frost and it is apropos. I begin to chuckle.
“Sleep, darlin’? I can’t remember the last time I had a good night’s sleep.” I couldn’t resist adding. Maybe if I had someone snuggled up against me, sleep would come?”
The alert sounds. It is soft, but unmistakable through the comm…“I heard that Sub-commander. Are they in your sector or mine?”
“It appears they are headed your way, Charles.”
I gasp. She has called me by my first name for the first time. Every kindergarten kid knows how special the Vulcan’s think first names are. They’re almost illogical about it. Focus Tucker!
“Tag, I’m it.” Adrenalin surges. “I’ll meet you back at the shuttle in 15 minutes, T’Pol.”
The enemy patrol appears. “Hey guys, can you show me the way to the head, I gotta pee real bad.”
It has been a merry chase. They have the advantage of intimate knowledge of terrain. My advantage is the EV suit, which lets me duck in and out of depressurized portions of the ship. I keep popping up just enough to keep them tracking me. I have no way of knowing for sure if they think I’m alone, but I got to continue the illusion, for T’Pol’s sake.
I want to recreate the previous Xindi disappearing act. Get them close enough to a breach that they are sucked out into space. But I don’t want them anywhere near the shuttle. Bad form to let the enemy know your method of escape, before you’re prepared to execute.
“YooHoo, over here fellas.” I wave, then rabbit.
I watch with satisfaction as my pursuers are sucked out into space. I will not apologize. Their species was responsible for 7 million deaths – for my sister’s death. I have another five notches to add to my tally. That isn’t nearly enough to balance the scales.
There is no sign of new pursuers, so I begin working my way toward the shuttle, using the interior corridors. I don’t hear as much as feel the pounding of feet coming up behind me. People are on the run. I slip into a darkened alcove to assess the situation, when T’Pol flashes past. I peak in the direction from which she came. Xindi – mad and yelling – are approaching. They don’t look like they plan to take prisoners.
End of Part Twelve.
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Four of you have made comments
Great! Great! Great! Thank you so much for posting again today! What a nice surprise to find! Ooo, tension is building! Adrenaline surge! Keep it coming!
Each chapter is so great and love the fact that you get them out so quickly. Thank you, thank you. And it makes so much sense for T'Pol to loose her control because of Expanse, perfect sense!
I was so pleased to find more chapters when I checked in today! :-) Thank you so much...I'm really enjoying this story! Keep up the great writing!
I love the way you're writing the two points of view! Great, great stuff! Thank you!