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Running Down The Clock

Posted on Aug 14, 2018 @ 12:04am by Captain Kassandra Thytos
Edited on on Aug 14, 2018 @ 12:04am

Mission: The Trouble With Triticale

“Running down the clock”

(cont. A Show Of Unity)

* * *=(/\)=* * *

Stardate: 2.18.0812.2026
Scene: Port Emily’s streets

Edwards had clearly put in plenty of time training however the sheriff of a backwater planet trained. Probably with 2D video games and good old fashioned shooting ranges. He moved like someone who’d read, memorized, and taken every line of every manual he’d ever read to heart.

I’m up, they see me, I’m down, she could practically hear him think as he slunk from cover to cover. Kassandra suppressed a smile, and continued sauntering down the side of the street casually, her pulse rifle casually held on one shoulder, puffing on a cigarette. She wasn’t exactly surprised, after all, being a sheriff on Sherman’s Planet was liable to be boring, leaving one ample time to brush up on all the training manuals, but giving one very little time to actually practice them. He seemed a man more at ease with his fists, or heaven forbid, his words, than with a gun, running after Klingons.

“Relax, ain’t a Klingon round here in shootin’ range, an’ anyhow, all yer doin’ is makin’ me nervous what with you bein’ more skittish than a half-broke horse,” Kassandra said wryly.

“One of use has to be on guard. Yer takin’ all this a mite too casual, if you ask me,” Edward said, a hint of reproof in his voice. “Sorry that our triticale an’ some provincial farmers ain’t enough for you to take this seriously-”

“You think I ain’t takin’ this seriously? An’ don’t be thinkin’ I’ve been gone from this place so long I ain’t able to tell when a body’s accusin’ me of bein’ an elitist, nor exactly what an insult it is,” Kassandra frowned at him. “I’m takin’ this seriously, but I ain’t about to start a fight an’ risk an intergalactic issue over some damn grain that this damn planet oughtta diversified from decades ago. An’ I ain’t about to have none of my boys and girls bleedin’ their lives out over y’all’s damn inability to see past the dadgum gr-”

[[Kassie? Are you there?]] Her mother’s voice said urgently out of her communicator.

“Ma, what the hell are you doin’ on this frequency? This communicator’s for official business. Not sos you can pester me,” Kassandra bristled slightly at the break in protocol.

[[Well I wouldn’ta, Miss High-and-Mighty, only there’s a pack o’ Klingons just done shown up here, makin’ way for the silo, an-]]

“Oh, fer gawd sake, Ma, jus’ let ‘em have it. Stay inside, let ‘em take it. Ain’t worth life nor limb-”

[[Well *I* know that!]] Sandy said testily. [[I wouldn’t be calling, only your Da’s got his dander up, an’ you *know* what happens when you da’s dander get up…]] Kassandra did, as it was the exact same thing that used to happen to her, he’d go and do something stupid. [[Valdyr’s here, an’ maybe he’ll be able to talk sense into yer Da, but if they both get hurt…]]

“Ma…” As much as Kassandra wanted to rush to her father’s side, she knew that it would be a gross misappropriation of resources. She was here as a Federation Marine, on duty, performing in an official capacity. For her to show favoritism to one civilian, for her to abandon her post to for personal reasons, was highly unprofessional at best, and at worst, could land her in the brig for abandoning her post.

“What’s the matter?” Edwards asked as she trailed off and let the silence hang.

“I can’t go help her, but I ain’t got no words to tell her that,” Kassandra said, placing her hand over the receiver of her communicator. “There’s hundreds of other farms that are likely gettin’ visits from Klingons, an’ I can’t be goin’ an’ showin’ her preferential treatment. When people ask why I went and saved this farm’s ‘cale an’ not the other’s, well, I can’t be sayin’ cos it’s my parent’s farm. My duty is to protect what I can, an’ it’s a long ways outta town, in the time it takes me ta get out there, maybe I’da been able to save the grain at a bunch of closer farms an’-”

“The core worlds sure have strange ways,” Edwards said, a slight frown on his face. “Everyone here’d understand. Family’s family. You shouldn’t be expected t’ sit by when they need you.”

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the-”

“Bullpucky. We’re going, an’ that’s final. You’re technically supportin’ me, so I’m givin’ you an order. If anyone gives you any guff you just cite section 396, paragraph 25. Tell ‘em you’re obeyin’ the local civilian government’s orders. Ain’t no one gonna stand by an’ watch their family’s farm get raided cos a some stupid sense a’ core world duty. ‘Sides, yer family’s an institution, I’d catch hell if I let Cyril’s farmstead get plundered. Tell yer ma we’re comin’.”

Kassandra nodded appreciatively at the man, whose face creased into a relieved smile.

“Alright, Ma. We’re on our way. We’ll get there soon as we can.”

[[Good. Even if they take the grain, I can’t be havin’ both the menfolk injured, cos we’re gonna have to replant. Do try ta hurry.]]

“That’s gratitude fer ya.” Kassandra grumbled, while Edwards chuckled.

* * *=/\=* * *

Scene: Thytos Farmstead

The main yard of the farmstead was pure chaos by the time Kassandra and Edwards arrived. Her father, fueled by gumption and pure, unfettered frontier ingenuity had turned the yard into a war zone of epic proportions. In one corner, reprogrammed combines squatted like toads in the shadows next to the once neatly stacked triticale straw bales, their threshers tearing into the neat squares, chewing it to pieces before spewing the duff up into the air in gouts. The brisk breeze quickly whipped the organic matter into a blizzard, slowing the advance of the Imperial Klingon raiding party. From their cover behind the combines her father and Valdyr launched burning rags wrapped around rocks from slingshots. Their impromptu projectiles ignited the fuel laden air, raining smouldering ash down on the Imperial Klingons.

Adding to the disarray were milling farm animals that her father had unleashed in defense of his home. A flock of antagonized, hissing, honking geese nipped viciously at one of the Klingons, nipping at his legs and groin with their beaks and pummeling him with their wings. The Klingon didn’t seem to know what to make of the strange creatures, and swung at them growling at yelling with his fists. Ham Bone the droopy eyed, slobbery bloodhound her father doted on was engaged in enthusiastically humping a downed, and frankly horrified looking Klingon as they struggled to their feet. A herd of goats, led by a very impressive billy, ran amok amongst the mayhem, kicking their heels and butting left and right. Even the barn cat, a grumpy, cantakerous, one-eyed tom that was so mean no one had even bothered to give him a name, instead referring to him only as ‘The Beast’ seemed to join in on the fray, gleefully rubbing up against the legs of the Klingons in sinuous figure eights, tripping them up.

Kassandra grinned. Trust her Da to be tricksy, always had something up his sleeve. She stepped into the whirlwind of chaos, pointing her pulse rifle into the air and firing.

At the sound of the shot, the hullabaloo abruptly stopped as her father let out an ear-splitting whistle. In an instant the combines stopped and the marauding animals turned tail and vanished. Edwards stepped to Kassandra’s side as the Klingons turned, growling, struggling to see the and assess the new arrival in the thick clouds of straw pulp and dust that whipped through the air.

The lead Klingon looked them both up and down slowly.

“You. Who are you?” He barked, his eyes locked on Edwards, evidently having decided he was the leader.

“The cavalry!” Kassandra’s father bellowed as he peeked around the side of the combine. “That’s my girl, an’ she’s gonna kick yer sorry tuckuses from here t’ kingdom come an’ turn ya inta cream a Klingon soup!”

“Her an what army?” The Klingon asked derisively. “She is so puny all I need do is sit on her.”

“I’d be careful of my mouth, if I was you, Mister. She’s got a legendarily bad temper, an’ she don’t need no army to let you know you’ve raised her dander,” Edwards chipped in, his phaser not wavering from the group of Klingons. “That there’s the best fighter t’ come from Sherman’s Planet. Undefeated record holder for the annual Tribble Shoot, veteran of the battle fer Earth, an’ of course the sister to the crown jewel in Sherman’s Planet’s crown. You harm her an’ the rest of the planet’d be baying fer blood. Not that you could. She could take ya out all by herself if she wanted.”

“That I could,” Kassandra smacked her chest aggressively, inwardly wincing at the addition of her sister to the list of her accomplishments. She stepped towards the Klingons and in an exaggerated gesture dropped her pulse rifle and stripped the top of her uniform off.

“You’re insane,” the lead Klingon said incredulously. “You think you can fight three Klingon warriors and win?”

“No, but I don’t want to win. I just want you to leave this farm alone, give up and let em keep their grain, an I can do that without firing a shot.”

“That’s ridiculous-”

“No, it ain’t.” Kassandra stepped up to the Klingons until she was nose to nose- well, nose to sternum, anyway- with the leader. “Cos you don’t wanna hurt, or worse, kill me, an’ that is what yer gunna have to do to get that grain.”

“We are Klingon,” the leader scoffed. “To kill our enemies are glorious.”

“Yeah, but yer also playin’ the long game, an’ I bet you have orders too. Stealin’ the grain, firing on the Phoenix, even all yer agents on the ground, the Federation kin ignore or wave away with harsh condemnation, but you all killin’ an unarmed civillian? They’d have to retaliate. So. Basically, unless you wanna be real shortsighted, you’re gonna turn yer ass around sos you don’t have a fight on your hands, cos as I said before, ya get the grain over my dead body, at which point the Feddies come in to wiper yer new empire out afore it’s even had a chance to start.”

“Or I could just knock you out and toss you in with the livestock, you annoying, yapping little thing,” the Klingon retorted derisively.

“You kin try, but I guarantee ain’t gunna be as easy as all that. By the time you got through with me, y’all will have wasted your precious time here, messin’ with me. But go ahead. Let’s dance.” With that, she headbutted him.

Headbutting, while a viable show of strength for the well armored Klingon skull, was a significantly dicier proposition for the comparatively weak skulled Humans. The hit must be accomplished with the top of the head, or risk knocking oneself out, and it must always, always, always, hit something soft, and preferably movable on your opponent. Kassandra chose the nose, driving her head upwards into the nose of the Klingon. Even so, the difference in skeletal structure meant it hurt, and Kassandra quickly backed off, trying to disguise the fact that she was reeling from the impact. She clambered to the top of the pile of hay bales as the Klingon leader recovered from the headbutt. The Lead Klingon glared at her, clearly thinking about taking her on, but instead he rumbled at the other Klingons, and they turned away back to the silos.

Kassandra had been expecting that and took aim at one of the small sand bags holding the tarp to the top of the bales. The baggie of sand arched neatly through the air and hit one of the Klingons in the back of the head. The Klingon turned and growled at her angrily but a sharp order from the leader caused him to turn back. Kassandra waited a beat, and then kicked another bag at the Klingon, clipping him again. The Klingon roared and, heedless of his superior’s yells, ran at the bales, trying to climb them to get at her. Kassandra kicked a hay bale down on him, and he fell back cursing. The group of Klingons turned as one and came back towards her, temporarily forgetting their mission, or so Kassandra thought.

They pushed the bale of hay off of their companion, and the leader looked up at Kassandra, who was readying herself to kick another bag of sand off at them. She froze. Something about her sensor readings of the Klingon’s face, his muscles, his expression, though she couldn’t ‘see’ it, gave her the inescapable impression of cunning cruelty. He raised his disruptor, slowly, so she could see his intent, knew what was coming…

And fired it into the bales.

The dry grass caught instantly, the flames licking across the surface more rapidly than she would have imagined possible. With a rather embarrassing squawk, Kassandra backed up to the edge of the bales, trying to escape the flames. She pinwheeled at the edge, indecision between leaping backwards down the drop, which was a good fifteen feet, or hoping she had enough time to climb down in a more dignified- and less likely to break her ankles- manner.

Edwards made her decision for her. He was around behind her, moving quickly, his arms outstretched.

“Miss Thytos, JUMP,” he bellowed.

She didn’t have to be told twice. She launched herself towards him and he caught her before they both tumbled into a heap of arms and legs as Valdyr and her father rushed past. They staggered to their feet and turned towards the inferno as the enormity of the situation hit them. The blaze had to be stopped or the farm would go up in flames. She hesitated and turned towards the Klingons, the two situations fighting for her attention. The lead Klingon smiled wolfishly at her, a grim expression of victory. Kassandra swore, turning back towards the spreading inferno, and the Klingons laughed.

The sound of their laughter burned more than the heat from the fire, as they made their way towards the silo. Soon the sound of transporters began, and it was undeniable to both her sensor nets and everyone else on the farm. The grain was lost. With a heavy heart, Kassandra rushed towards the inferno, armed with one of the oxygen exclusion fields kept for just such an eventuality.

* * *=/\=* * *

TI: A little later

“All the grain” Kassandra’s mother lamented over the jugs of sweet tea and lemonade that the four dirty, smoky, ashy amateur firefighters

“Aye, but the farm is safe. Got the fire out, anyways,” her dad said placidly.

“No thanks to that daughter a’ yours,” Sandy’s sharp eyes found Kassandra, who looked up indignantly. “Called you out here cos I thought you were serious, thought you’d rough ‘em up and take names, but you didn’t do nothin’ but horse around an not take a thing seriously jus’ like-”

“Are you kiddin’ me? I did my best, didn’t think they’d be lightin’ the place ablaze, an I was not horsin’ around!”

“Name callin’ an tauntin? What do you call that but horsin’? You never could take things seriously, don’t know why everyone thinks yer such a hardass,” Sandy was on a roll. Kassandra suddenly found herself fighting back tears at the unfairness of it all. She bunched her hands under the table, getting ready to fight back.

“Beggin’ yer pardon, Missus Thytos. She weren’t horsin’, she was tryin’ to keep em occupied until they had to return to the ship. Couldn’t fight ‘em outright, not without possibly startin’ a major diplomatic incident. She was doin’ what she could. Honest.” Edwards jumped in. Kassandra glanced at him gratefully, and he grinned slightly. “Course, she probably shoulda remembered that straw’s mighty combustible.”

* * *=(/\)=* * *

A post by
Alix Fowler
Kassandra Thytos
An Underappreciated Daughter


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