Star Trek Hunter
Episode 14: When Death Comes
Scene 11: Stitches
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14.11
Stitches
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The U.S.S. Hunter had traveled at warp 3 for less than ten minutes before crew members began awakening only to find themselves locked in the brig or in their quarters. It took hours to verify that the effects of the past few hours had been lifted.

Crew members who had been anesthetized remained unconscious for several more hours and a few who had been dosed repeatedly – Investigator Buttans Ngumbo, 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor and Tactical Specialists Belo Garr and Belo Rys – all woke with splitting headaches.

The worst physical injuries had been sustained by Flight Engineer Kerry Gibbon, Ensign Tolon Reeves and Lt. Jazz Sam Sinder, all three of whom had suffered concussions, as well as, in Kerry Gibbon's case, a skull fracture, several fractured ribs and a rather badly broken nose. Additionally, Ensign Chrissiana Trei had suffered a broken arm and Transporter Engineer K'rok had broken his left hand trying to beat down the door to the computer core. Belo Rys and Belo Garr both had nasty bruises from taking direct hits from a phaser set on heavy stun.

The psychological impact was much harder to gauge. With very few exceptions, the vast majority of the crew had been frightened out of their wits. But instead of seeming traumatized by these terrifying visions, they were oddly giddy, joking, and laughing – occasionally uncontrollably. This behavior held true for those whose visions had been less frightening; Jarrong, Belo Cantys and Kenny Dolphin all seemed to have gone through some sort of catharsis. Only two crew members reported not having any visions at all – Dr. Jazz and Engineer Gibbon – and even they were oddly lighthearted in spite of the pain of their injuries.

In light of all this misplaced frivolity, Justice Irons decided to maintain warp 3, which would add weeks to their journey to Star Base Eleven. She wanted to keep the Hunter away from the shipping lanes and more populated space to give her crew time to recover. This took several days. Which time was also needed to untangle the many additional subroutines that had been added to the U.S.S. Hunter's AI code. When both Dr. Sarekson Carrera and Hunter were finally satisfied that the foreign codes had been thoroughly expunged from Hunter's matrix, the Engineering Department set about re-stabilizing the zip drive. After six days of crawling through dark space at warp 3, Dr. Carrera and his team were finally satisfied that the Hunter was ready to return to recursive warp.

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"All hands, once we reach warp eleven, we should arrive at Star Base eleven in fourteen hours." Justice Irons was in the captain's chair. She felt it was only fitting for her to be the one to return the Hunter to normal operations.

"Engineering, Sarekson, are you ready to take us back into recursive warp?"

"Bridge, this is Director Carrera. The Engineering Department concurs. All readings are nominal for recursive warp mode, Captain."

In front of Irons, Flight Operations Director Kenneth Dolphin was pulling a rare duty shift at the pilot's console. His assistant director, 2nd Lt. Gaia Gamor, was at the navigator's station.

Irons felt a little formality wouldn't hurt after all the crew had recently been through. "Lieutenant Gamor, lay in a course for Star Base Eleven."

"Course laid in, Captain."

"Lieutenant Commander Dolphin, take us to warp 9 – engage."

"Aye, Captain, engaging recursive warp at warp 9," Dolphin responded. He touched a control on the pilot's console.

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In engineering, Dr. Carrera had already enabled the recursive warp mode. The engines thundered to life.

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The U.S.S. Hunter promptly imploded, destroying the ship, killing all hands and taking a radius of nearly 110 light years of local spacetime, including several star systems, some of them populated, with it backward into oblivion…

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14 – When Death Comes