"His name was Irin."
Chekov looked up from the body, the second they'd found, though this one had clearly died from a disruptor blast to the chest. The not-leather vest the man had worn had been pulped and the flesh beneath hadn't fared much better. He knew from experience that the blunt force shock to man's internal organs had been the cause of death. "I am sorry to not have known him better." An understatement, to be sure. Chekov didn't believe he'd actually heard the man speak.
"The first, at their camp, was Adiron."
He didn't know what to say. It was difficult to lose friends, and though he knew the life he had chosen held certain dangers, it wasn't something you got used to. Elorra classed herself as a hunter and a warrior, but the little he knew of Pentosian culture, both of those were more traditional labels. Ranger was more appropriate to what she actually spent her time on, and the title she hadn't given for him to call her, a steward of the forest. He was glad for the distinction, knowing Klingons also used the word warrior, and did not mean quite the same thing by it. In any case, on Pentos it was not a profession in which one expected to lose friends, though he suspected injuries must happen now and again. A civilized world, if by different measures than those the Federation used, so there were few occupations that were truly dangerous.
She was not used to losing friends, but so far today had seen the deaths of two.
Standing up out of the brush, Elorra now held two spears. She held one of them out to Chekov. "You are unarmed."
Once again, he had no idea what to say. It seemed a safe assumption that a primitive weapon in an advanced society had a special place. Given the ecological tendencies of the Pentosians, he doubted they allowed much in the way of more modern weaponry, but the gesture must be significant and if he said or did the wrong thing, it might be bad for relations with the native government, still a concern, but perhaps a secondary one at the moment.
Finally, Chekov reached out a hand, wrapping around the haft farther from the head than Elorra's. "I will do my best to bring honour to the weapon and its former wielder."
"It is difficult to ask more." She released the weapon completely to his grasp. "Come." Elorra pointed. "The ugly ones went that way."
And they'd done so leaving a trail even Chekov could easily follow.
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Between a Rock and a KlingonScience Fiction
Stuck on a primitive planet with a troop of Klingons between him and the Federation enclave, Chekov has to enlist the help of the native sentient species to stay in one piece and find his way back to the Enterprise. "Between a Rock and a Klingon" is...