Star Trek Hunter
Episode 13: The 15,000 Cities of Cun Ling
Scene 15: Requiem
Ensign Tolon Reeves and Tactical Specialist Jarrong were both recuperating in Trantor General Hospital. Belo Rys, Belo Garr and Belo Cantys stayed with them. Because Lt. Tauk was restricted to shipboard duty, they insisted that 2nd Lt. T’Lon attend the funeral to represent the Ground Operations Department.
The U.S.S. Hunter’s transporter systems chief, Midshipman Tammy Brazil, was also recovering in Trantor General with Lt. Napoleon Boles in attendance. The Trantor doctors were fascinated with the field dressing Dr. Boles had applied that had made it possible for her breast to heal. From the shape of the wound, the doctors anticipated they would have needed to amputate.
There was no choice when it came to Ensign Tolon’s hand - his left arm had to be amputated just below the elbow. A prosthetic was created for him that looked completely natural, but he was warned that it would never be as sensitive or as controllable as a real hand. Because he was a hybrid, there was no chance that a compatible donor could be found and within two weeks of his nervous system adapting to the prosthetic, he would never be a candidate for a transplant.
Joey Chin’s body had been too mangled to display in state, to the dismay of his parents, brothers, sisters and many cousins who lived in Ba Sing Se. Following family tradition, which Joey had requested when he had entered basic training just under three years previously, his body was, following a thorough autopsy, pulped and the remains placed in a large, black planter along with a river willow sapling, to be planted along one of the many rivers that ran through the great Earth Kingdom city.
Justice Minerva Irons presented the eulogy jointly with the U.S.S. Hunter’s Director of Flight Operations, Lt. Cmdr. Kenny Dolphin. Given the gravity of the events and the large number of dignitaries in attendance, there was no hope of this funeral being an intimate affair. Nearly 6,000 people, including the majority of the Irons, Chin, Lin, Smart, Young, Li and Wu families filled one of the courtyards of Ba Sing Se’s Imperial Palace. The Dai Li were out in force; well over 500 Dai Li agents were visible among the crowd with several more out of uniform, providing covert security.
Along with Joey Chin’s immediate family and the U.S.S. Hunter’s entire Flight Operations Department and several other crew members in the front row, Commander Oshreb Sav, Seiv th’Stavin (a distant cousin of Emperor Sin IV), Ba Sing Se’s Mayor Chris Young, Trantor’s Mayor Harry Issacs, and Federation Councilmember Emory Ivonovic were among the most prominent dignitaries.
“I could lie to you. I could tell you that Flight Specialist Joey Chin gave his life heroically in the line of duty.” The communicator embedded in Justice Irons’ chest was connected to the public address system, bringing her voice clearly to the thousands of people in the courtyard and a far larger audience scattered throughout Trantor and across Cun Ling who were watching this event live on their viewscreens.
“But Joey was not on duty. He was on leave and wearing civilian clothing. Just another tourist walking into a pub in Trantor. One of millions of tourists walking into any one of thousands of pubs in Trantor. He was kidnapped, along with his crewmates because they served on the U.S.S. Hunter, which has seen action against a separatist movement identifying themselves as Andoria First.
“Joey was kidnapped, tormented and eventually tortured to death to satisfy a grudge. This is what happens when terrorists attempt to supplant the rule of law with the more ancient rule of personal honor. Endless cycles of revenge. Savagery. We will not meet savagery with savagery, but with justice. However, when the many members of Andoria First who have been arrested are brought to trial, I cannot sit in judgement. I am touched too closely by their crime.
“To Joey’s family, please understand that I know what it is to lose a son in Star Fleet. I have lost three children in the service of Star Fleet and two of my grandchildren and two great grandchildren as well. And Joey was in battle - a battle for his life and for the lives of his four crewmates. None of his crewmates would have survived without him. Although Joey was a combat pilot, it was not his combat skills that saved his crewmates' lives. It was his warmth and his kindness that saved their lives and gave them the strength to hold on just a little longer and he will be greatly and bitterly missed.
“Flight Specialist Joey Chin was a member of the U.S.S. Hunter’s Flight Operations Department. I have asked my Flight Operations Department Director, Lieutenant Commander Kenneth Dolphin, to speak about Joey. Kenneth?”
Kenny Dolphin had been standing next to and a half step behind Justice Irons on her left side. He took one step forward and to the left. His internal communicator connected into the public address system, creating an ambient breath.
“Today is Joey Chin’s 21st birthday. We had planned a party. A little over a week ago, along with another pilot, Joey conducted a flawless first strike against a facility, destroying vital infrastructure to a private residence. In that attack we confirmed that four andorians were killed. Four out of an entire facility population of 167. Our telemetry shows that the only people killed in that strike were those unfortunate enough to be in the vital systems we needed to take out at the moment of our attack. As a direct result of that flawlessly conducted strike, three young andorian girls who had been held at that facility against their wills and at threat to their lives were rescued - by the very crewmembers that Joey saved only a few days ago.
“Sometimes fighter pilots are portrayed as romantic heroes. Sometimes as heartless killers. Joey became a fighter pilot because he just wanted that feeling of flight. He loved to fly solo. But Joey was in the business of saving lives. And his primary tool was a Star Fleet Interceptor. Over the past few days, he saved the lives of his crewmates with his kindness, his warmth and his gentleness.
“The Flight Operations Department will remember a trusted wingman. The Ground Operations Department will remember a kind, gentle and beautiful young man. I will remember the young man I occasionally caught discussing romantic poetry with a small circle of friends on our crew. And now I am faced with the unenviable task of finding another pilot to take the place of a young man who cannot be replaced.”
As Dolphin was speaking, he noticed 2nd Lt. T’Lon, Dr. Tali Shae, and Commander David Pepper getting up from the front row and trying to exit as discretely as they could. Which, given Pep’s enormous size, was completely impossible. Out of the corner of his eye, Dolphin could see them hurrying across the courtyard, then being beamed out.
After the ceremony, Dolphin found himself speaking with Emory Ivonovic, who introduced him to Seiv th’Stavin, who had accompanied Ivonovic into the caverns to rescue the Hunter’s crew. “Siev was the one with connections to the Andorian Naturalborn Coalition,” Ivonovic was saying. “Many of their members had become increasingly uncomfortable with Andoria First and the separatists. They were the ones who told us where to look and convinced some of the guards to defect and give us access…”
A clearly distraught woman elbowed her way into the conversation. “I recognize you! You’re that horrible man who hates hybrids! Why are you here? What gives you the right?”
Dolphin found himself responding: “Councilmember Ivonovic rescued our crew from Andoria First. He carried Joey’s body out…”
“I have five daughters,” Ivonovic said, “and for the past two and a half years, that young man put his life on the line to protect my daughters. I only wish I could have gotten...” Ivonovic swallowed hard, took a breath, grimaced… “I wish I could have gotten there sooner.. I wish I could have brought him out alive…”
- * -
“His babies!!!” wailed Cantys. She collapsed into Dr. Tali Shae’s arms. They were in the small surgery behind the Hunter’s medical office. “I’m carrying his babies!! He’ll never see his babies!!” She buried her face into Tali’s chest, and wailed, her tiny body wracked with uncontrollable grief.
Tali held the Hunter’s youngest crewmember tightly, stroked her hair. “I know baby. I know,” she whispered, her voice cracking, unable to talk, her antennae curling, emphasizing the grimace of grief on her face.
A few feet away, Dr. Jazz Sam Sinder was talking with Pep and T’Lon. Buttans Ngumbo was nearby.
“It was really only a matter of time. We performed four surgeries since he arrived. His circulatory system was unique. Andorians and humans really aren’t very compatible. It’s a wonder his heart ever worked at all. There was never a chance of finding a compatible donor and for the same reason, the chances of a prosthetic working for him were… unacceptable. So we just repaired it as best we could. This time it just… pretty much… just… fell apart. We had him on the table and open within three minutes, but there just… wasn’t anything I could do…”
“You did your best, Sam,” said Pep, laying an enormous hand on the bajoran doctor’s shoulder. “You kept him alive this long. You gave him years he wouldn’t have had without you.”
T’Lon’s face had turned a bit pale, causing the dark green scar on her right cheek to stand out more. She had unconsciously brushed her hair back, revealing her ears - the top half of her right earlobe had been cut off by a phaser blast only days before during the assault on th’Istel.
Buttans Ngumbo stood across from her, a blank expression on his face. Registering only shock.
On the surgery table between them, chest sewn back up, eyes closed, oddly large antennae finally motionless, lay the body of Investigator Lynhart Shran.