“A Touch of Darkness”

Stardate 74811.9; October 24, 2397

 

Episode 69

 

Written by Chris Adamek

 

 

 

Prologue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Altorus V was not a remarkable world.  By most accounts, the backwater planet was too far removed from the tumult of galactic affairs to be considered valuable; it possessed no valuable resources, and its feeble denizens made poor slaves.  As far as Xi'Yor was concerned, it was not worthy of his attention—and as his vessel entered the Zhargosia Sector, the Overseer had no intention of visiting the world.

 

Then, nearly three cycles ago, a fortuitous encounter with an El-Aurian changed everything.  According to the ancient listener, a birdlike alien had been seen frequenting a small tavern in Altorus V’s primary business district.  Since avian species were rare, instinct told Xi'Yor that the seemingly unremarkable planet might hold some interest to him after all…

 

Because the business district was small, locating the aforementioned tavern proved a simple task.  Talyere, though rather inept at the controls, was able to locate the structure after only a few moments of searching—and Xi'Yor was nearly disappointed.  Had his bumbling colleague wasted any more of their precious time, that certainly would have been sufficient grounds to terminate the pedantic fool.  Alas, Talyere’s demise would simply have to wait… at least until they returned from the tavern.

 

When compared to the noble elegance of an Elorg structure, every alien structure appears decrepit—thus, Xi'Yor’s expectations for the tavern were low to begin with.  However, as he materialized inside the facility, it soon became apparent to the Overseer that even his lowest expectations were far too high…

 

A dreadful stench hung in the stagnant air; according to Talyere, it was the smell of meat in an open fire.  Xi'Yor was not surprised that lower species, such as humans and their allies, would resort to such savagery—but the very thought of ingesting such things made Xi'Yor feel ill.

 

Though the rancid stench was indeed offensive to Xi'Yor, the tavern’s many patrons proved even more offensive.  Never in his life had Xi'Yor seen such a collection of simpletons.  Species from more than a dozen Alpha Quadrant worlds were congregated at the tavern’s myriad tables, and most of them appeared to be less than reputable.  Why these cultures resisted Elorg rule was beyond Xi'Yor’s ability to comprehend; things would have been much different—much better—had his victory not been denied; all these lower forms of life would have been terminated long ago.  But perhaps another time…

 

Slowly, Xi'Yor worked his way toward the bar in the center of the facility, mildly hopeful that the bartender—a sinister-looking Ferengi—would be of assistance.  However every barstool was occupied, making access to the Ferengi difficult—but not impossible.  The Overseer swiftly approached a puny Bajoran and placed a firm hand upon the alien’s shoulder and said, “Move.”

 

The Bajoran quickly came about and drilled a disapproving gaze into Xi'Yor’s skull.  “Sorry,” he said evenly, “I was here first.  There are a few empty tables over by the—”

 

“That was not a request,” Xi'Yor stated, tightening his grip on the Bajoran’s shoulder.  “If you fail to comply with my order, I shall personally remove you—and it will not be a pleasant experience.”

 

“Yeah,” said the Bajoran.  “I’ve heard that before.” He chuckled, and started to shrug Xi'Yor’s hand away—but the Overseer did not budge.

 

“It is unfortunate that you are of no use to me,” said Xi'Yor as he reached for his disruptor.  “You would have made an excellent prisoner.”  And without so much as a second’s thought, he trained the weapon upon the Bajoran and fired, watching with perverse pleasure as the violet beam of jagged light streaked into the Bajoran’s back.

 

The Bajoran gasped in surprise, for he obviously did not expect to be terminated.  Of course, as he crumpled to the floor writhing in pain, he was, no doubt, wishing death would overcome him a bit sooner.  Xi'Yor smiled, kicked the Bajoran aside, and assumed his seat at the bar.  “Ferengi,” he called.

 

Within a few moments, the insidious little Ferengi stood across from Xi'Yor, his curious eyes carefully inspecting the Overseer and his comrade.  “What can I get you gentlemen?”

 

Xi'Yor drew himself nearer to the Ferengi.  “I require information,” he said.

 

The Ferengi nodded agreeably, and quickly drew a padd from his belt.  “What kind of information?” he inquired.

 

“An El-Aurian recently informed me that a birdlike alien has been frequenting your establishment.  Where is he?”

 

“A birdlike alien,” repeated the Ferengi as he stared at his padd.  “That will cost you five strips of gold-pressed latinum.”

 

Xi'Yor’s eyes narrowed.  “I have no currency,” he replied.  “Just give me the data I require, or you shall join your Bajoran patron on the floor.”

 

“I believe the price is open to negotiation,” said the Ferengi.

 

“I am not.”  Xi'Yor swiftly raised his weapon and pointed it at the evasive little Ferengi, but before he could pull the trigger, he felt a firm hand fall upon his shoulder.  Xi'Yor swiftly turned around, expecting some sort pedantic speech from Talyere—but was instead greeted by an angry Bajoran’s fist.

 

The fist crashed straight into the Overseer’s jaw, cracking bone and loosening teeth.  As waves of pain surged through his racing mind, Xi'Yor could barely hear the Bajoran’s angry taunts. “That’s for Nakal!” he cried; presumably, Nakal was the pedantic fool terminated only a few moments earlier.

 

The reminder of Nakal’s death brought a smile to Xi'Yor’s face, and he could not help but chuckle.  “It was my pleasure,” Xi'Yor replied.  His jaw was definitely damaged, but he had endured worse.  “And it will be my pleasure to terminate you, as well.”

 

And on that note, Xi'Yor fired his weapon—and quickly realized that life was indeed fragile.  The Bajoran was dead even before he hit the floor. “A pity,” Xi'Yor groused.  But he did not have time to reflect upon his actions—for those very actions seemed to have stimulated aggression in all those around him.

 

Talyere was engaged in battle with two lanky Andorians.  Several Nausicaans—seven, perhaps eight—were incensed by the excitement, and immediately began to attack the Andorians, and anything else that moved.  Before long, the entire bar was engaged in mortal combat.  Phaser beams streaked across the room and into the ceiling—one errant beam managed to strike the Ferengi bartender, carving a bloody cavity into his chest. 

 

Not wanting the Andorians to have the pleasure of terminating Talyere, Xi'Yor made haste to assault them.  Knowing he would be unable to engage both Andorians simultaneously, he chose to focus on the smaller of the two.  It took a good four punches before the Andorian realized he was under attack, but before he could retaliate, a rogue barstool slammed into the Andorian’s head.  Xi'Yor heard a loud snap—and the Andorian plummeted to the floor.  With one target out of the way, Xi'Yor swiftly moved onto the next…

 

…And amidst the bloody chaos, a lanky, hooded alien quietly slinked out of the tavern…

 

 

 

Proceed to Chapter One

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