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Literary Challenge #68
STO Halloween, Part III

Captain Seifer beamed into a dimly lit, dank, empty corridor aboard the Vor'cha-class I.K.S. B'Cnah. In the distance, the deadpan moans of an infected Defense Force officer could be heard coming his way.

"Dammit. The Klingons too??"

As the foaming-at-the-mouth warrior turned the corner for Seifer, another Klingon, Ch'Tong, approached from behind and sliced a mek'leth through the infected's head.

"Yes, the Klingons!" Ch'Tong took notice of the Captain as the body hit the floor between them. "I assume you were remarking in such a fashion before I arrived here. It's just a general response I call out on occasion, hoping it applies."

Seifer nodded. "It does."

"That would mean the Phoenix-X is being plagued with the same bitey-bitey-snatch-snatch! After I transported back here, the whole ship started falling apart."

The Captain looked at him. "We learned that Avery was the original carrier, and that it can only spread through attempts at cannibalism."

"No Klingon shall eat another: That has always been one of our people's most influential sayings."

Seifer took out an isolinear chip. "We can ensure that remains true. You see, I have a cure on this, but need to get to your medical bay to read the information and manufacture it."

"That's going to be tough. There are infected all over the decks from here to there and the lifts are offline," Ch'Tong explained. "Besides, where's Menchez? Is he standing right behind you?" He leaned slightly to change his viewing angle to no avail.

Captain Seifer hesitated, unsure how to explain things. "Uhh, well, you know how people can sometimes trip over things? Well, we were being bombarded by drooloids and that spike in Menchez's boot happened to hamper certain foot over foot movements— and, well, you can imagine the rest."

"That sounds unnecessarily step-by-step, unless, of course, you're covering up someth— Wait. By the gre'thor of gre'thor?? You allowed him die so you could escape??" He then pointed in vile accusation. "You're a betrayer!"

Seifer held up his hands. "Nah, bro. It ain't like that."

"And what is that vernacular you speak? It is utterly horrible!!" But in Ch'Tong's increasing cloud of passion, he failed to notice a door prying open next to him, where grabby-infected-hands lurched out and clung on. "Arrgh!" As he was being taken in and bitten into, he spat out in pure strain at Seifer, "You petaQ! You better help me right now! We both have to die here right nowww!"

But Seifer was locked in complete shock as Ch'Tong was taken through the doors, too late to act on the request even if he wanted to. "Dammit. That didn't work out so good." He then attempted to call out to Ch'Tong as he picked up the mek'leth, "I'll make use of this. Thanks!"

As he took a step forward, his weakening leg set off pain detectors in his head. Seifer pulled out one of Armond's hyposprays and shot his shoulder with it.

"Ohhhh yeah. Better than ketrecel white."

The doors from the corridor to the Shuttle bay on the Phoenix-X were pried open by a herd of infected. Menchez, covered in blood, tore his way through the bodies with his d'k tahg and approached the Danube-class runabout U.S.S. Iroh. Inside was Kayl, trying to get it online.

"Captain Menchez?" she said, shocked, as she opened a hatch for him. "I thought Klingons hated slow, steadily-paced violence?"

Menchez helped her close the door as the shuttle bay began to flood with dreary dead-heads. "We do. But violence is violence, and when murdering comes-a-calling, Menchez-comes-a-knocking. In times like these, it is okay to fight like a rabid-unfocused-Ferengi."

"Anyway, if things don't start working out for us, rabid-unfocus is all we'll have left," she explained, gesturing to the windows. The entire shuttle was hauntingly being surrounded by clawing and crying infected. "By the way, what happened to Captain Seifer? Did he die from doing nothing? He likes to do a lot of nothing."

The Klingon clenched his fist. "That petaQ left me to be fed to the wolves while he transported to the B'Cnah. We are to head over there and stop him from his arrogant attempt at mundane-ity."

"I'm not sure how I deciphered that, but are you saying he has a cure? Are you saying you have a death wish??"

Menchez gritted his teeth. "I intend on killing your Captain for that one shred of honor within the vacuum of dishonor we've all been mandated. His attempts at reset are harmful and presumptuous!"

"Uh, reset is a Starfleet tradition. I'm sorry, sir, but I can't let you go through with your openly explained planned actions," she went over to a storage container and rifled through it in search of a weapon.

Just standing there, waiting, Menchez began to lose his patience. "Oh, for the love of Sto-vo-kor. Just take my mevak!" He threw her the weapon.

Kayl caught it and launched it toward him. Menchez knocked her arm away and jabbed his d'k tahg at her. Dodging, she grabbed his arm with her free hand and elbowed him. The two stopped when the console next to them beeped.

"I had a program running, which I wrote to counter the dampening effects around the ship," she glanced at the display. "It worked! I knew the Delta Rising subroutine would over-power everything."

But, Menchez, breathing heavy and weak from something else, quickly lurched his head into Kayl's shoulder and bit right into her!

"Aah!" Kayl screamed, pulling back and falling to the floor, bleeding. Her skin started to turn pale. "How dare you do that and not take me out to dinner first??"

The Klingon pulled out a hypospray and shot himself with it. "Ahhh, perfect. It's a good thing Armond had several of these, off-screen." He then turned to Kayl. "My apologies. Your honor will be joining our dishonor, if that makes any sense word-wise." He then activated the Iroh's impulse engines, hovering it off the bay floor and knocking several brain-dead officers back.

One of them was Bekk Rinn, visiting for the festival. "Heyyy! I'm not infected?? I'm just camouflaged in blood and guts!" The other lazy-eyed officers turned to his direction. "Ah, I shouldn't have talked."

Seifer, crawling through the maintenance tubes of the B'Cnah, had teamed up with several surviving Klingon Defense Force officers: Ulkegh, Necktos, Tayana — all of which he unintentionally betrayed to sudden influxes of infected, brain-thirsty warriors.

Kicking out a service hatch, Seifer entered the medical bay, which was yet to be technologically compromised. "Dammit. What are the odds that all three of them would get 'Seifered'? That's what I'm calling it until the reset."

"If I heard your self-deprecation correctly, most of the crew is dead," Terek, the tall and old Klingon medical officer emerged from the shadows.

Seifer approached and handed him the isolinear chip. "Indeed. I also discovered that the B'Cnah's infection originated through Avery's Klingon jackal mastiff, which he acquired on that Pach-class ship and likely infected on purpose for you guys and— well, it was this whole side-mission thing. I'm trying to get to Level 60."

"I admire a thorough man in the face of death! But you do know I still cannot ignore the betrayals, right? Killing is the most conflicting and confusing thing a Klingon Doctor must do."

The Captain shook his head. "You're too late anyway. I'm already dying." He took out a hypospray and shot his arm with it... but this time there was no effect. "Bloody hell. It stopped working? This is what I get for being a bad Captain, and I was hoping the reset would patch that."

"Huh? Oh, sorry, I have a tendency to block out other people's personal issues. Also, I was busy reading your data. This appears to be a cure," Terek said, having plugged in the isolinear chip and began scanning through the medical monitor. "According to this, in 2273, your very own Admiral Kirk, Mr. Spock and Doctor McCoy encountered this disease on the previously quarantined Calibus VII. The epidemic was a hybrid organic-cybernetic infection leading to attacks of desperate-franchise-crossing proportions."

Running out of energy, Seifer leaned against a medical bed. "That's.... impossible... I've seen every historical database-episode, even the Pike one."

"Oh, this was cataloged as sequential imagery, a 'comic' if you will— titled, 'Infestation'— Likely nobody read it," he confirmed. "What an obscure and odd reference, though," Terek commented. "Even so, I can actually replicate this quite quickly. It's likely Avery added the dampening effects to the infection for his commendable anti-Federation efforts, so we should distribute in gagh form."

As he began replicating the cure, Seifer found himself confronted with the reality of the 23d century. "That Klingon bastard..... was right. We're just ripping off Kirk...?" He struggled toward Terek in altered-resolve. "We.... have to.... stop.... the reset......"

But the sudden banging on the medical bay doors over-noised him. Terek walked over to the entrance. "Who is it?"

"It's Menchez, you fool!" came the familiar voice.

The Doctor attempted to work the door's unlocking mechanism. "Captain!" But he had trouble unhinging the archaic metal handle. "You'd think we'd have advanced these things by now."

"Terek," Menchez started, recognizing the delay. With his body getting weak and tired, his mind began to drift out of the moment. "I've come to the conclusion that the only way we can all ever be sure of our... deaths... is if they are....... in dishonor....."

Doctor Terek paused. "Sir, you already know I'm impervious to personal issues. Besides, it sounds like you're forcing death for peace-of-mind— despite that being the actual nature of it all."

As he opened the door, Menchez surpassed the unconscious stage and immediately turned into an infected walking corpse— the Klingon Captain charged at Terek, colliding into him while biting right into his neck.

"Auggh!" falling to the floor, the bite shocked-still Terek's motor functions. "This has been— an eventful— Klingon-Halloweeeeennnnnggghh!"

Seifer's vision blurred and he turned as well. After a moment of painful screams from Terek, Menchez finished feeding and stumbled over to Seifer.

The two undead-like, drooling, Captains, unable to acknowledge each other, remained pacing around the medical bay having partook and surpassed in one of the most sacred Klingon-Halloween ceremonial traditions ever: the sharing of a near-death experience. Happy Halloween!

The Soveriegn-class U.S.S. Zephyra came upon the two adrift vessels, the Phoenix-X and B'Cnah.

"Ma'am," Kuri started, "It appears that both crews have endured a viral, living-death-inducing infection! Captain Seifer and Captain Menchez are walking around aimlessly around what seems to be vats of a gagh-cure. I believe it should be easy to administer if we feed it to everyone in much the same way a mother bird feeds her baby hatchlings."

Captain Aeris, ignoring her tactical officer, gritted her teeth in utter annoyance of what was before her. "...........Those idiots!"

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