“Why are we staying here?” Teresa asked.
“We’re cloaked, remember. That Bird has our general position because of our transmission, but it can not see us to target us.”
“I wonder where his wingman is,” Matt mused.
“Oh he’s around. Cloaked most likely. Just waiting for us to fire on the one we can see.” Sissy thought. “Glenn, ready the photon torpedoes and get a targeting solution on that Bird. I want to be able to take it out if we have to.”
“Aye, Captain. I have a solution. Locking it into the fire control. Captain, weapons are ready.”
Cutter silently moved onto the bridge and raised a weapon at the back of Sissy’s head.
“Captain!” Joanie called as she leaped to block the Captain.
Cassandra raised her weapon. Joanie dropped to the floor and Cutter turned his phaser on Cassandra. They both fired. The sound of the big .45 was deafening. Cutter was thrown back, his right arm was covered in blood, his weapon clattered to the floor.
Sissy turned and cried “Hold your positions, everyone. Dr Kay check on Joanie. Teresa see about Cassandra. John, cover Cutter.” I knew I should have jettisoned the bastard, Sissy thought. Damn.
“No need Captain,” John said. “He’s gone. Beamed somewhere.”
“Captain,” Donovan reported, “transporter beam locked on the bridge. It’s gone now.”
“Captain,” Glenn said, “We have been fired on. Phasors. Shields at 98%.”
Sissy turned, too much was going on at once. But one thing was clear: Cutter had betrayed their position.
“Glenn, take out that Bird, now. Matt; move us before the other one can target us.”
“Aye, Captain. Cloaking device deactivated. Firing torpedo array. Tube one gone. Tube two gone. Tube three gone. Re-engaging cloaking device. Torpedoes away flying straight and steady. ”
“Move now!” Sissy called.
“Already done Captain. But that Birds wingman has released his weapons.”
“Evasive maneuvers. Get a solution on that second bird and come about.”
Mere seconds went by before the original Bird of Prey exploded violently in their viewscreen. Followed closely by impact shockwave as the second ship’s weapons impacted the Excaliber. The ship reeled and alarm clackers sounded.
“Shields at fifty percent. Rear phasor bay inoperative. Clocking device, torpedo tubes and warp reactors reading nominal,” Greyhawk called out. “He missed us Captain, but not by much. And he’s cloaked.”
“Glenn, do you have a firing solution. We must take out that second Bird.”
“Ready Captain, come about to 270 and reduce speed to .2 warp. Recommend a computer modeled spread pattern since we can’t see the sucker.”
“Matt, make it so.”
“Aye captain. Ready.”
“Fire! All tubes!”
“All tubes away Captain.”
Long moments elapsed. One torpedo exploded in space then two more. In the wake of the forth explosion, a Bird of Prey slowly materialized, showing the Excaliber it’s stern. It was attempting to turn.
“It’s damaged, Captain, Shields are down. Weapons powered. Maneuvering engines only,” Greyhawk called.
“Matt, move in. Glenn, any torpedoes left?”
“Get a solution and kill that sucker.”
“Matt get in close. I don’t want to miss.”
“Ready Captain,” Glenn called.
The Bird was almost fully turned about when it was ripped apart.
“Target destroyed, captain,” Greyhawk confirmed.
Sissy sat back. The tension in her neck and lower back was almost unbearable. “Cancel red alert.”
“Dr Kay,” she called, “How’s Joanie and Cassandra?”
“We have to get Joanie to sick bay stat, it’s bad. Cassandra will live, but she will need attention soon,” Sondra called coolly as she activated the levitation stretcher which would carry Joanie safely to sick bay.
“I’ll assist,” Glenn said, “I’m have advanced medical training.”
Sissy nodded. “Go. Teresa, you too.”
She thought for a minute. “Matt, we have got to get down to the planet now, before someone else comes looking for us. I’m taking John and Greyhawk with me, everyone else will stay with you. You must get out of here, effect repairs, and return when you can. Cassandra can help you with that.”
“I want to go with you. Joanie and Cassandra are hurt. I have weapons and security training. You need a security officer with you.”
Sissy looked at Cathy. “Matt, can you manage without Teresa?”
“Yes Captain. No problem.”
“OK, get what we need from the weapons locker. Supply John and Greyhawk as well. We beam down to the planet in fifteen minutes.”
Sissy put on her new shoes.
Cathy materialized in an alley and disturbed a mugging.
It was night and the rain poured down on her. The victim was on the ground yelling and two big guys were working him over pretty good.
"Hey," Cathy yelled. "Knock it off!" The two muggers straightened, leaving the third guy moaning on the ground. They turned to gawk at her shapely frame, accentuated by her Starfleet uniform. The men leered and literally began drooling as they walked towards her, momentarily ignoring their prey's confused attempts to get to his knees and crawl off.
"Welllll ... lookie here, Jimmy. She's a hot one, ain't she?" The bigger of the two, dressed shabbily and in a dire need of a shave, held up a knife. His belly preceded him by at least a foot.
"Oh, yeah," his partner confirmed, walking a step behind.
"Far enough," Cathy said calmly. She held her hand phasor, no bigger than a cigarette lighter, at her side, pointed at the "leader". "Leave now and you won't get hurt."
Big Belly made an ugly noise that wasn't exactly a laugh. "Oooooh. Hear that, Jimmy? If we leave now, the slut won't hurt us." He puffed his chest and Cathy blew a hole through it. His body stood for a minute, then collapsed, reeking smoke rising through the rain.
Jimmy stopped dead in his tracks. He stared down at the big guy. Then he looked up at Cathy, putting his hand out defensively. "OK, lady." A queasy grin. "Awright, calm down now, I'm leavin'. 'Kay?" He began to back away.
"Too late," Cathy said. She flicked her phasor to maximum stun and blasted him unconscious, then zapped the hapless muggee while she was at it to stop his slow, painful squirming away. She placed a locator on Jimmy, then walked over to the victim and slapped a locator on him as well. She scanned all around; not a soul to be seen anywhere. At last she opened a channel to the Excalibur.
"All clear," she declared. "Matt, two to beam up. Tell Dr Kay one needs medical attention and they both need to have their memories worked on." Regarding the still-fuming carcass next to the equally motionless Jimmy, she felt a passing urge to wash her hands.
Moments later, Sissy, John, Greyhawk and Teresa beamed down. Sissy had decided at the last minute that Teresa's expertise in psycho-history might be important when dealing with a culture in the early stages of space travel. The two Cathy had tagged disappeared at the same time.
Sissy looked down at the smoking body that smelled disquietingly of roast meat. She suddenly felt twice as heavy, and tired, and wished, not for the first time, that this were over for her. For everyone.
"Did you have to kill him?" she asked.
"He called me a slut,” Cathy looked down as well, “I hate that word.". Her stony expression never flickered. "Besides," she added, "he had a knife."
"Cool," John said. "Shortens my better-off-dead list. Thanks." He and Cathy chuckled.
"OK," Teresa said briskly, "First, we're going to need clothes that will allow us to fit in. Greyhawk and John, you guys take care of that. There's a small shed of some sort over there where Sissy, Chris and I will hide out until you guys get us something appropriate to wear, then we'll start exploring." She pointed away from the corpse down the alley.
"Shopping?" Greyhawk said incredulously. "Ye're sending us out shopping for ye?"
"Stealing, more like," John replied cheerfully. "This is gonna be more fun than I thought." He winked at the women.
"Oh, yeah," Teresa said, "we'll need money too. All of us."
"Money, lass?" Greyhawk said, "We need money?"
"What people used before credits," Teresa explained.
"Money works like credits, it's exchanged for goods, but it's in a physical form, like coins or pieces of paper. They will keep their money on their persons, usually."
"Heard of it, never seen any," John put in. "But we'll figure it out." The two men started off.
"And get me something blue," Sissy called softly after them. They stopped.
"Blue. It brings out my eyes." At this, John rolled his. Sissy grinned.
"I want red," Teresa said, "It goes with my skin tone." She pulled her face as straight as she could.
"Yeah, yeah," Cathy chimed in. "Black for me. All black." Everyone stared at her. "Makes me look dangerous. More dangerous. And a leather jacket ... with spikes." She favored them with a wicked smile.
John and Greyhawk exchanged doubtful glances.
"Maybe I'd better go with you," Teresa teased. "God knows what you guys will pick out."
"I dunt think so," Greyhawk shook his head. "I think we're gonna hafta get a wee bit rough. But we promise to make you ladies look good. Verra good."
The guys exchanged glances again. A little smile passed between them. Then they walked off into the rain.
"You think they'll be OK?" Teresa asked the others dubiously.
"I don't know, Teresa," Sissy replied. "It’s never a good idea to send a man shopping for clothes. Let's get under cover!"
To be continued......................
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