Star Trek Hunter
Episode 23: JAG Wars
Scene 13: Sanctuary
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23.13
Sanctuary
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Jeene Boel and her children were on the run. Facial surgery had removed the evidence of bajoran ancestry from their faces. But records of their nose jobs had been kept and this information had now fallen into the hands of the newly minted Trillian Master Forces – renegade elements of the Trill military that had staged a coup under the leadership of General Hialal Mulaax. Jeene's husband, Rumor Boel, was a trill intern with the Vulcan High Command, most of whom had been killed in the hours after the destruction of the planetary government district in western Laren Manev. A vulcan science ship had evacuated all surviving personnel, including Rumor, but had been unable to locate the remainder of the Boel family due to interference from Trillian military vessels.

It was astounding how quickly a bureaucracy had been put in place to check documents and control the trill population. While light skin was common among all trills, those with strong spotting along their necks were considered somehow to be the epitome of trill evolution. Those whose spots were very light were thought of as some sort of bastard race while those whose spots covered most of their bodies were thought to be little more than animals. This racial prejudice had been suppressed for generations and had only returned to the surface during a few short-lived periods of military domination.

Despite the best efforts of the trill government, the military still relegated trills with less than preferred spotting characteristics to support roles with the rationalization that restricting membership in fighting units to preferred trills fostered unit cohesion and morale on the battlefield. While never called on to actually fight, the military had used the Cardassian War, the Borg Incursions and the War with the Dominion to increase its resourcing and recruitment.

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The Vulcan High Command in Exile had provided the Boel family with false documents showing them to be from an undiluted preferred bloodline, despite their bajoran heritage. But the sporthogs would know better. The Trillian Master Force had sporthogs that were trained to sniff out hybrid trills - and were being used to round up hybrids and send them to internment camps.

Jeene and her son and daughters were waiting in line at a checkpoint when the sporthogs were brought out. Simple possession of the false documents would mean a death sentence for her and her children. She gathered her children, broke out of line and ran. They were so close to the Cave of the Symbionts – one of very few safe places and the one she had trained herself and her children to run to in case of danger.

It took only a few moments for her young family to dodge among the houses of this small village into a broad field of siplar grasses – the most common and versatile agricultural product on Trillus Prime. While tall enough to conceal their presence, the grasses also betrayed the Boels' location as they ran. Not that it mattered to the sporthogs. They were following a scent and bellowing their love for the hunt. Trillian Master Force soldiers, riding individual hover-scooters, followed the sporthogs. These vehicles were dangerous to ride cross-country at high speeds, but low speeds were sufficient to catch runners.

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Jeene and her children made it to the edge of the field, which was bounded on this side by a ravine and a shallow creek. No longer hindered by the tall grasses, they could finally run with all their effort, but the sporthogs broke free shortly after and would catch the family before they made it across the creek.

Just as she was despairing for her children, Jeene saw a strange creature in a red uniform stand up from the ravine, pointing a massive rifle at her. The gun barrel lit up like a star and made a nasty, spitting, belching sound. Jeene could smell the charred air as a plasma burst from this gun passed close to her face. A few yards in front of her, a fat, powerful sporthog had caught up with her oldest daughter, Jet, and was about to leap onto her – its head lowered to skewer her with its tusks. A second plasma burst from the strange man's rifle picked the hog off its feet and threw it backward while simultaneously roasting much of the loud, smelly beast.

Jeene rushed past the strange man and was helping her children across the creek before it registered with her that he had not been shooting at her, but had instead quickly and expertly gunned down the four sporthogs that had been chasing her family and was now involved in a gun battle with surprised trill soldiers. While the five pursuing trill soldiers thought of themselves as an elite unit, they had never actually fought anyone who shot back at them before. Now they found themselves engaged with a battle-hardened veteran armed with what was essentially a cannon. He made short work of them.

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The Boel family had run a few dozen yards beyond the creek, but stopped there to catch their breath. The odd looking soldier effortlessly hopped the creek and walked toward them. His red uniform was dirty and torn. Jeene was now able to recognize it as a Star Fleet uniform, but she had no idea what kind of man was in it. His face was covered with dark blonde fur and he had more of a snout with pronounced incisors instead of a mouth and nose. Large, dark sunglasses obscured his eyes. Bushels of dark blonde hair cascaded from the top of his head almost to his knees. The setting sun picked out red highlights in his hair and fur. Where his uniform was torn, more tawny fur instead of skin was revealed. He wasn't particularly tall, but he was broad and carried the massive plasma rifle – a gun that looked like it belonged on a stand – casually slung over his shoulder as if it were a toy. He walked with the casual swagger of someone who only rarely spent time indoors. He seemed half man, half beast.

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Jeene had never seen anything so heroic in her life..

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"You are already on sanctified ground," said the furry soldier – his voice a low rumble. "If my readings were right, we are not far from the rear entrance to the sanctuary."

"Where did you come from?" Jeene asked.

"Deep Space 9. My interceptor was shot down. I destroyed it, but I kept this plasma cannon." He patted the gun on his shoulder.

"I am Jeene Boel. My husband is with the Vulcan High Command. My daughters, Jet, Tana and Illa. My son, Car," said Jeene.

"You are part bajoran. You've had surgery to disguise the nose ridges – your children too," said the soldier. "If you are ready, you should follow me to the sanctuary."

"How did you know?" asked Jeene, gathering her children and following.

"I could smell it. And I could see the slightly different skin tone around the surgeries."

"Would you tell me who you are?"

"Lieutenant Grorher. I was assigned to help design the new bajoran interceptors and train their pilots. The bajorans are smart. They're using the lighter, Star Fleet design. But they get a little extra staying power in a dogfight with a backup pair of rear-facing plasma cannons." He patted the gun on his shoulder again. "This is pretty much the only part of my

interceptor that wasn't destroyed. But I brought down 14 trill interceptors in one day. Still, I'm not happy about losing my entire wing. They were good people – all twelve of them. None of them survived. We needed orbital support."

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Grorher fell silent as twilight turned to night. He led the small family into the tree line, pausing occasionally to look carefully around the trees. They had been walking for well over an hour when he stooped suddenly beside a tree and carefully pulled ivy aside, revealing a door. "This is it. Stay behind me. There are guards. We will be challenged several times."

"How did you see that?" asked Jet, the oldest daughter. She was taller than her mother, but very much a gangling teenager.

Grorher turned toward her. His sunglasses were hanging around his neck by a lanyard. Moonlight briefly glinted in his eyes, making them glow, giving him a demonic appearance. "My people hunt by night. Sleep by day. Or we used to." He opened the door. "Stop just inside. You will want me to go in front."

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