Frontal assault was not at all the right phrase. Even assault was incorrect. Against sixteen Klingons, that, Chekov had to admit, would be suicide. The fact that he couldn't shake the feeling he was sneaking towards suicide anyway did absolutely nothing to deter him from their objective. He wished again for a transporter, a communicator, or even a half-charged phaser, anything that would help adjust the odds just slightly in their favour. There was nothing, of course, and again he did not feel as if should waste time and mental energy wishing the impossible. Not that he could help it.
He and Elorra had agreed to approach the Klingons from the same side, but many meters apart, and slowly coming together was an easy thing to do since she was far more adept than he at moving through the forest unseen and unheard, for reasons that had nothing to do with his less-gold-than-normal uniform shirt. But if he had been seen by the Klingons, they had made no sign of it and were waiting for the last possible moment to pounce. That last moment seemed to be near at hand. Nearby growling Klingon conversation was almost continuous, yet just distant enough to be safe if Chekov and Elorra remained silent, and he still felt the nearest shelter the most likely site for prisoners.
Doing his best to stay low, Chekov moved closer and closer to the shelter, a simple dome of some artificial fibre, and wondered where Elorra might be. A flicker of movement off to his right through the trees, he saw a Klingon dressed all in black, forgoing the gold sash and shirt normally worn, step fully out of the shadow of a large tree, wicked knife held point down in a clenched fist high above his head. The Klingon took one slow and careful step, and then a second. Unless some unwary animal had wandered into the Klingon sphere of influence, there was only one thing he might be stalking, and Chekov not allow that.
The Klingon was turned just far enough away from Chekov that he should not be in the man's peripheral vision as he took two pounding steps forward, holding the spear like a staff for a strong overhand swing to bring down upon the Klingon's head. But those pounding steps made too much noise, and those incredible Klingon reflexes took over. The Klingon's body twisted, and the knife spun in his hand to point skyward and catch the spear in the blade's guard. There was no clash or clang of metal on metal, just a quiet thunk as the two weapons tapped together and the slow spread of a wicked smile on the Klingon's face
The Klingon reached out and grabbed at Chekov's spear with his other hand, and he pulled it back just in time to avoid losing it, although the warrior's fingers almost brushed the haft. The grin never left his face as he drew a second knife and took a step forward towards Chekov with one in each hand.
Chekov tensed, tip of the spear pointed towards the Klingon and held at eye level. He tried to relax, keep the muscles strong but at the same time loose and ready. He'd never trained for armed combat, at least not with a spear, but one of his instructors at the Academy had given a series of seminars on impromptu weapons. Comfortable was the wrong word, but he certainly felt less uncomfortable with a broom that happened to have a blade on the end instead of the sweeping surface.
And then it didn't matter how prepared or unprepared Chekov might be to use the weapon. The tip of another spear pushed out of the warrior's chest, and he looked down, color draining from his face as the shock shook his already dying body. He dropped both blades to the ground and clutched at the spear point with one flexing hand. It disappeared, and the Klingon dropped to his knees, revealing Elorra standing behind him, her face far paler than her victim's had suddenly become, if in a blue direction.
Chekov circled the collapsing Klingon, staying well outside of reach as he moved to Elorra's side. She could not tear eyes from dying alien. "I never..."
He whispered back. "I understand. Taking a life is not an easy thing, but, as much a platitude as it sounds, what else could you do?"
She shook her head hard. "Nothing. But he more or less let me kill him. Why did he not call for help? There are fifteen others."
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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...