Star Trek Hunter
Episode 20: Survival
Scene 12: Pepperheart
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20.12
Pepperheart
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"I estimate the first of the romulan warbirds will arrive in about eleven hours." Lt. Commander Tauk, wearing a full EVA suit, was standing well behind Commander Kenneth Dolphin (also in an EVA suit), who was inspecting the wreckage of a klingon bird of prey.

Dolphin carefully gripped a twisted hull plate. He easily lifted the massive piece of metal and tossed it into space. This exposed a corner of the bridge of the wrecked vessel. The asteroid the klingon ship had collided with was so small it had very little gravity. For safety, Dolphin and Tauk were independently tethered to pitons driven into the asteroid. Dolphin unhooked his tether from his EVA suit and magnetized his boots, then ducked and crawled into the bridge. Tauk followed him. They turned on their helmet lights.

"Pep…" Tauk said, grief evident in his voice. Dolphin walked slowly over to join his 2nd officer.

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Wedged firmly into the captain's chair, his legs crushed beyond any hope of recovery, an oddly beatific expression on his face - almost ecstatic, was the enormous body of Commander David Pepper. His chest had been ripped open from his neck to his waist, his enormous rib cage split open, exposing now completely desiccated organs. A hole in the middle of his organs where his heart should have been. For all this damage, there was surprisingly little blood. In Pep's right hand was a viewer.

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Tauk took the viewer from Pep's hand. He and Dolphin looked at each other.

Tauk thumbed a control on the viewer. Two files were displayed. One was titled "Read Now." The other was titled "Read Later."

Tauk looked at Kenny again, then pressed a control that activated the file titled "Read Now."

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Pep's image appeared on the screen. He didn't look good. "Losing atmosphere. We've been here 6 days. Not enough power to send a signal. I have a hemorrhage. It is beyond Mlady's ability to heal. I have left a longer message – for later. Within the two hours, I will be dead. When you find me, my blood will be gone, but my heart is not missing. It will be where it has been for the past 20 years - with her. It should give her enough food for a prolonged hibernation. When you wake her, if she is still alive, do not feed her. Keep her bound. She will try to attack. But she should calm down within five minutes. Once she is calm, you can feed her blood, but only Tali's blood will be truly nutritious for her. It may take a long time for her to recover to her normal state. You will find her in the atmosphere reclamation chamber, next to the warp core. This last is critically important. None of her remains may be allowed to remain here. Whatever you find of her, alive or dead, return all of it to the Federation. As for my empty shell, I die in command of the I.K.V. 'Iw Hov. I am to remain with my ship."

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Lt. Cmdr. Tauk led the way slowly deeper into the broken klingon ship.

"How are we going to feed her without Tali Shae?" Dolphin asked.

"One step at a time, sir. Let's find her and get her back to the tactical unit first," Tauk replied. Dolphin could hear the ferengi's tortured breathing through the communicator in his helmet. Eventually they worked their way through a number of air locks to a section of the ship that was still pressurized.

"Close to zero degrees Celsius," Tauk said. "Almost no oxygen. Mostly CO2."

They found Lt. Cmdr. Mlady wrapped in a pile of blankets.

"Can you beam her directly into the maintenance hatch?" Dolphin asked.

"I set up a transporter code just for that," Tauk replied. He touched a few controls on the arm of his EVA suit and with a familiar pattern of lights, Mlady was beamed out.

"Time to try out our other new transporter program," Dolphin said. "You first."

Tauk looked around, then found a cargo container – walked over and sat down on it. Dolphin touched a few controls on the arm of his EVA suit and Tauk was beamed out.

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Moments later, Commander Dolphin was transported into the pilot seat on the bridge of the tactical unit. Tauk was rocking back and forth in the tactical/navigation seat next to him, eyes squeezed shut, a grimace of pain on his face.

"Looks like your idea worked, Tauk," Dolphin said. "The transporter successfully separated me from my EVA suit and beamed the suit's components directly into storage." He paused, watched Tauk rocking. "The painkillers and stimulants aren't working anymore, are they?"

"We need to leave before the romulans get here," Tauk replied. "Then we need to revive Mlady."

"I don't know how we're going to do that without Tali Shae."

"One step at a time, Kenny. Let's find a nice secluded patch of space to go dark in. Far away from here."

"I'm not taking any chances with the remains of the 'Iw Hov," said Dolphin. "A photon torpedo to its weapons array should be sufficient. The secondary explosions will take care of the rest."

"Aye, Commander," Tauk responded, then touched a few controls. "Torpedo away." Then, very softly, "Goodbye, Pep."

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The tactical unit glided away as a photon torpedo struck the wreck of the bird of prey just below the bridge, causing massive secondary explosions from its unexploded munitions, demolishing the remains of the small attack vessel and the asteroid it had collided with.

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* 'Iw Hov – (thlingn hol - Blood Star)

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