Subject: FRONTIER: One more away mission before the sun sets

SD 70817

Angus awoke and looked at his chronometer, 0550, briefing in ten 
minutes.  He put on a clean uniform and picked up his phaser, but then
he hesitated, on the table was a Kzinti phaser that he had been 
running tests on earlier, he had discovered that the K's weapons 
appeared to be significantly more efficient that his own Starfleet 
issue arm.  After a moments deliberation he holstered the K-phaser and
made his way to the conference room.  The main briefing only took
twenty minutes and Angus then hastened to the holodeck where the
security team were assembled for their own briefing.  

Ten minutes later the six security officers were beamed down to the 
planets surface.  They had decided to split into three teams of two so
that they could cover more ground; Leana and Angus formed one, Patrick
and Louise Priestly another, and Gurney Idaho and Jervis Chambers the 
final.  Just as they parted a huge shadow rolled over the ground, they
looked up and saw an ominous looking black cloud blotting out the sun.

Leana looked at the cloud with concern, "Angus, do you think it's 
possible that the Kzinti have a weather satellite that we couldn't 

He turned, puzzled, "What makes you think that?"

She continued looking up, "There was no sign of any weather system 
moving into this area, there's no way that the weather could change  
that much in fifteen minutes, and a good thunder storm would ionize 
the atmosphere enough to prevent beaming on or off the planet. If so,
they must know that we're here."

Angus' face grew darker even as the sky did, "I think you're right," 
he said, then activated his wrist comm, "Angus to Frontier, We've 
noticed an electrical storm gathering over our position, keep a lock 
on our comms, but have the shuttles prepared in case the storm breaks.
Also, scan carefully for a weather satellite, we belive that's what 
caused the sudden change in conditions.  Angus out."  He turned to the
others, "This doesn't change our plans," he said. "Continue with utmost
caution and keep in contact."  With that the group split up and headed
out their own ways.

The weather rapidly worsened as Angus and Leana walked slowly, 
sweeping their tricorders in front of them, along a sparsely vegetated
ridge just over which the shipyard lay.  Angus' tricorder whistled 
quietly, "I'm picking up a life sign, indistinct, I can't get a proper

Leana turned to face him, "I'm picking them up too, multiple signals, 
closing fast."

Angus tapped his wrist-comm, it beeped once, he tapped it again, same.
"I'm not getting a connection signal on the comm," he tried once more,
"Murray to Frontier, Murray to Frontier! are you recieving?"

Leana drew her phaser, "They might be jamming us." She paused, "Those 
life signs are getting closer."

By now, the sky was nearly pitch black, and suddenly a ragged fork of 
lightning split the heavens from horizon to horizon, a deafening peal 
of thunder echoed arond the mountains.  The wind picked up to 
hurricane force and rain began to fall in torrents, then, the elements
went to war. 

Angus tried to control the panic welling up in him, his tricorder 
continued to measure the swift approach of the life forms.  Visibility
was extremely poor and he could barely see ten metres in front of him,
he shouted to Leana, "Quick, back this way, we have to get back to the
others!"  Briefly, a flash of lightning illuminated the ground and 
Angus saw what looked like some sort of large dog, its baleful red 
eyes piercing even the raging tempest around them.  A phaser beam 
flashed and he heard a growl of pain from somewhere in front of him, 
he raised his own phaser and fired several bolts at the source of the 
sound which was abruptly cut off.  Almost immediately he saw another 
movement to his left, the darkness was practically tangible and with 
the fierce wind driving the rain into his face he was unable to see if
the shape was Leana or another of the hounds, however it pounced at 
him leaving no doubt, he fired repeatedly and the thing dropped, 
twitching, at his feet.  

The lightning flashed again, silhouetting more shapes on the ridge 
beside him, he turned, firing his phaser at the shadows.  Then he 
heard Leana's voice over the din, "Angus!  Over here!"  he ran to the 
sound until he could make her out in the oppressive darkness, suddenly 
he felt a sharp pain in his leg, it gave way and he fell to the 
ground.  Something heavy landed on his back, winding him, then he 
heard a burst of phaser fire and the creature rolled off him.  Leana 
grabbed his arm and lifted him to his feet then supported him as they 
staggered back to the transport site.  They were nearing a thicket of 
trees when Leana stumbled on a rock and they both fell heavily to the 
ground, Angus dropping his phaser in the mud, he recovered quickly and
reached for his phaser, as he did so he felt a dogs teeth clamping 
onto his arm, he yelled in agony until a hail of orange beams from 
over the ridge hit the creature, felling it on the spot.  Patrick 
stormed over the ridge firing constantly dropping the hounds left and 
right he was bleeding from many wounds but in the tempest his face 
betrayed no look of weakness or anguish, both of which were preying 
heavily on Angus' mind.

Angus heard other shooting, much more distant, and he hoped the others
were faring better than he was, he stood up, trying to balance on his 
good leg. He managed to limp forward a short distance but before long 
he crashed flat out in the mud and lost conciousness.

Two and a half hours later (0900 hrs approx)

When he awoke he was in a cave, the same one he had been in the day 
before and judging by the lack of noise he assumed the storm had blown
itself out.  Leana was leaning over him tending to the wound in his 
leg, she was covered head-to-toe in dirt and blood and her jumpsuit
was torn, one of the sleeves was missing, although he soon reached the
conclusion that it was this which was tied round the bite on his arm. 
He looked up at her again and saw that her emerald eyes still shone 
brightly through the dried blood on her face. He sighed. "Your hair's 
a mess," he said, she laughed for a moment and then winced slightly 
and he noticed a white cloth tied round her waist, which was slightly 
red at the edges.  "Your fair mane's not so neat either," she replied,
she managed a small smile but her tone was despondent.

"Is everyone alright?" he asked.

She paused before answering, "Gurney's OK, Patrick and Louise are both
in a fairly bad way but they should be alright and Jervis, Jervis 
didn't make it.  We can only thank the Prophets that Captain Festore's
people arrived when they did, otherwise we'd all have been dog food."

At that moment Anne Festore walked over to where Angus lay and sat 
down beside him, "How are you feeling?"  she inquired.

"Fine thanks, never felt better." A depressive tone had crept into his
voice, and Anne immediately picked it up,

"What's up?" she asked. "You can tell me, I'm a good listener."

Angus looked up at her and sighed deeply, "This was my first proper 
command," he said, "my first real responsability and the first test of
my leadership skills, and I've screwed up big time, there's five 
injured people in this cave, and one dead, and they were *my* 
responsibility, my first duty is to those under my command, and I've 
failed them."

"Don't be so hard on youself," she replied, "you've been dropped in at
the deep end, you haven't had a chance to explore your abilities and 
you limitations.  But you have friends to help you out and always 
remember that, you *need* friends, especially at this time, because 
you *will* make mistakes, nothing can prevent that, all you can do is 
try to continue, learn from your past, so you can be all the better 
prepared for the next time."

Angus could tell by the edge in her voive that she was speaking from 
years of hard earned experience.  He nodded in acknowledgement and she
stood up and walked up the entrance tunnel to the cave.

Leana sat down beside him again, she helped him into a sitting 
position and offered him a cup of thin soup, made from the rations the
escapees had managed to take.  When he was finished she took the cup 
from him and said, "There's a shuttle on it's way down, we'll be back 
on the Frontier in an hour, they're taking down some medical supplies 
as well, and the counsellor's coming down to help the wounded here.  
And when we get back the whole security team is due for an extended 
period of R & R in sickbay, Protoplasers, neural imaging scans and all
the cordrazine you can drink."

Angus laughed and again noticed that bright sparkle in her flawless 
almond-shaped eyes.  She leaned forward and kissed him lightly on the 
cheek, "I'll see you later, I'm going to get some rest before the 
shuttle gets here."

He smiled, "Be see'in ya bright-eyes," he said.

She too smiled, and then lay down and fell immediately asleep.

        Respectfully submitted;
                Allan MacLennan
                [Lt.] Angus Murray

"Put you faith in God and keep your powder dry."
        Oliver Cromwell

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