Chapter 14


Chapter 14

Chekov and Sulu clutched frantically at the sides of the air cab. Even in heavy battle conditions, the Enterprise had never rolled and lurched like this. His neck jerked and hit the back seat hard! Chekov groaned in pain, he feared that he and Sulu would not live long enough to see who the Orion Ambassador was meeting. He deeply regretted that he would not be able to fulfill his keptin's orders; he had never disappointed his beloved Keptin before. He consoled himself with the thought that death was an excellent excuse for the failure to fulfill one's duty. He thought that after his death, the Keptin would understand and know that he had tried his best.

The air cab driver was singing at the top of his lungs, (more like bellowing at the top of his lungs, Chekov thought bitterly) a hunting song which seem to have the same horrible refrain over and over again. They hit a low air pocket and Chekov's stomach rebelled against the violent motion of the cab and his ears against the driver's voice. His stomach gave another protest and he knew suddenly that he was going to throw up on poor Sulu.

"Sulu, please, make him stop. I am feeling wery wery sick," Chekov said.

Sulu closed his eyes as the driver veered to avoid a terrified driver. He hoped desperately that the traffic police would stop them soon. He was sure they had broken every traffic law in existence, and he knew that presently they were exceeding the speed limit by thirty kilometers at least. His stomach plunged as they made a ninety degree turn, dropped straight down vertically, and stopped suddenly in mid-air. Only the seat belts saved them from flying up and out of the view windows. The sudden stillness was disconcerting.

The driver turned in his seat and grinned at them showing gleaming white pointed teeth. "We are here. The prey you hunt is getting out of his cab over there. You pay now?" His white teeth flashed again, a feral grin "or we can hunt more if you desire."

"NO!" Sulu yelled. "I mean no thank you," he said more quietly, trying hard to regain his composure. He looked at the meter reading and took out his credit chip. The driver inserted it into the compu-slot and the credits were paid to him. Sulu gave him a healthy tip in the fervent hope that he would never have to see him again.

"We'll get out here, don't wait for us," Sulu told him, thankfully setting both booted feet on the ground.

He helped the very pale Chekov out of the cab, and they stood unsteadily and watched the cab make another ninety degree turn and zoom off.

"Sulu, I must kiss the ground, it is a miracle we are alive," Chekov said fervently.

"No time, Pavel, we gotta go, there goes Dizchard." Sulu grabbed the unsteady Chekov and pulled him along.

The scarlet cloak was easy to keep in sight as the Ambassador led them through a maze of back streets in the ancient section of historical Chinatown. It was very crowded, but they managed to keep up. Coming out of an alley way, Dizchard stopped at a small restaurant with a few tables and chairs set outside under a green striped awning. The Ambassador sat down and Sulu and Chekov watched a waiter approached him.

"He is ordering coffee for two, Sulu," Chekov whispered. They crouched in the alley-way directly across from the restaurant. A half wall hid them from Dizchard's sight, but they had an unobstructed line of vision to the Exalted.

They waited impatiently while Dizchard downed two cups of coffee in quick succession. "Look!" Sulu grabbed Chekov's are in excitement. "Someone is coming," he whispered.

A young man walked into their line of site. He was of medium height, his skin a very light green, his hair blue black and thick. His face was thin and handsome, and his clear large brown eyes and firm jaw were arresting even across the street.

"Bozne, moi, Sulu. Look he valks with a limp" Chekov breathed triumphantly. "I think ve have found one of the kidnappers."

"But what the hell is Dizchard doing meeting with one of the kidnappers?"

The Keptin was right, Sulu, the Ambassador is not to be trusted. He's an Orion Pig!" Chekov clutched at Sulu's arm. "They are beginning to talk," Chekov whispered. He cocked his head to listen. The little receiver in his ear was working perfectly.

Chekov could hear that Dizchard's voice was noticeably agitated as he spoke. "Tarz, it's good to see you. How are you, how the hostages? Where have they been taken, do you know where they are hidden?"

"Everything is all right, Ambassador. So far the hostages are fine, and there is no danger to them until the vote," Tarz replied. He paused and from across the street, Chekov and Sulu saw him draw a deep breath and look around before he spoke. "They are being hidden in a sealed room in Alcatraz Children's Park. It is safe enough for now; the park is closed for renovation, and Retz feels secure hiding them there for the time being." His voice rose with anxiety. "Dizchard-Za, what is happening? You waited so long to contact me? Do you know yet how the Ambassador will vote? I must know."

Dizchard's voice echoed heavily in the little receiver in Chekov's ear. "I do not know anything as yet, Tarz, about the Ambassador's vote. But I do know that Kirk feels strongly that Orion should not be admitted into the Council. I fear that Kirk as some influence on the Ambassador and may yet persuade him to his way of thinking. He blames us for the kidnapping and thinks we could have prevented it if we had let the Council know of Retz' threats." Chekov could hear the Ambassador's voice heavy with weariness.

"Dizchard-Za, you know that there was no swaying Retz from his chosen path. He would have done worse if I had not influenced the other warriors at the meeting." Sulu saw Tarz run his nervous hand through his thick hair. "Retz is bent on his vengeance and hates The Federation so blindly that there is no reasoning with him."

"Tarz," Dizchard's voice was heavy, "the other delegates feel Sarek and Kirk should know about you. I strongly opposed them on this issue. It's far too dangerous to let anyone else know your identity. If Retz discovered you are our agent, he would kill you with no hesitation and the hostages too." He shook his head wearily. "For now, it is better left as it is even if we incur Captain's Kirk's enmity."

Chekov's eyes were huge with astonishment as he listened and whispered the conversation to the impatient Sulu.

He heard Dizchard say, "You had best leave now, Tarz. Retz may become suspicious if you are gone too long. We will talk again soon. I will find a different location for us to meet and I will contact you; our usual code. If Sarek votes for us on the Council floor, we must find a way to rescue the hostages immediately. It is imperative for us to do so, or Orion's prestige and credibility will suffer irreparable harm if they are killed. What good would it do Orion to belong to the Federation if they see we have no honor, no care for innocents, and no notion of helping others."

"But how?" Tarz' voice rose in frustration. "I have little influence over the group, and even less with Retz. If the Council vote is for admission, the hostages will die and I will not be able to prevent it."

"We must find a way. What about the transporter, can you find a way to beam them out?"

Tarz shook his head. "Impossible. Only Retz has access to the transporter, and only he has the lock code and coordinates to the room. Since the room is shielded we could not even get life reading from the hostages to beam them out with another transporter. If we could find a way to drop the shields, or if I could get a signal out, it might be possible, but otherwise no."

"Can you smuggle in a communicator?"

"No, everything and everyone is searched before going into the room. Retz trusts no one."

"Then you may have to kill Retz if there is no other way."

"It would be a suicide mission for whoever attempts it; he is well protected by his body guards and he is a formidable warrior." His voice sounded bleak. "I am honor bound to you, Dizchard-Za, and there is no one else to attempt it but me."

"Don't do any thing yet. There is still time to plan. I will think, Tarz. There has to be a way. It may be that we will have to tell Kirk and Sarek. Although I do see how they could get the hostages out; warrior guards, a shielded room, transporter lock key, the park closed, with all that, it still remains impossibility to me." They sat silently. Then Dizchard stood and clasped the young man's arm. "Please go now, Tarz, I must be alone. There are decisions that must be made."

Tarz gazed stonily at the Ambassador for a moment, bowed his head, and walked quickly away without looking back. Dizchard sat down, put his head in his hands and after a few moments, he too, walked away.

"Sulu, quick you must follow Tarz. I will report to the Keptin and continue to follow Dizchard." Chekov pushed the protesting crouched Sulu after Tarz and whipped out his communicator to make his report. He could now look his Keptin in the eye because he had not failed him!

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