THE CALLING: Part 2, Chapter 5
A Work Of Star Trek Fan Fiction By Richard Paolinelli
© 2020 RICHARD PAOLINELLI . ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO COPYING OR ANY OTHER REPRODUCTION OF THIS STORY IS PERMITTED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION. This is a work of fan fiction based in the universe of Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry. It is not intended to be sold, to be used to aid in any sale and is not to be copied or used in any other way by any other party.
“You notice he’s about twice as big as you are?” McCoy pointed out as Forelni prepared to enter the arena to face the first champion. “Not to mention he’s the smallest of the three and at least a fifth of your age?”
“Bet on him then,” Forelni quipped over his shoulder as he stepped through the gate.
“I just might,” McCoy yelled back over the roar of the crowd as the Kallitan warrior entered on the other side. “Damnit, Jim, this is insane. Why doesn’t Spock beam us out of here?”
“I assume both Spock and Scotty are busy trying to do just that, Bones,” Kirk replied as he, Ambassador Kleine and McCoy were led up to a box next to the First Counsel. “Our job is to stay alive long enough for them to get past the shield. Right now, that is Mr. Forelni’s mission.”
“How can you be so damned calm about this?”
“Because this was the most likely outcome according to both Spock and Mr. Forelni when we discussed scenarios,” Kirk lowered his voice as they were seated.
“He must be mad to think he can pull this off,” McCoy muttered.
“Or he’s as good as the legends about him say he is,” Kirk pointed out.
Down below in the large arena’s dirt-covered circle, Forelni stood silently as he sized up his opponent. Where he remained in full uniform, his opponent was garbed in green briefs and a loose leather tunic. He was also carrying a formidable-looking club wrapped in heavy chain. Forelni looked around for his weapon and found none was going to be provided.
With a look up at the First Counsel, followed by a mocking shrug, Forelni didn’t bother to wait for the traditional signal to begin the contest. He simply charged at the Kallita, launched himself in the air and landed a solid kick right in the middle of the champion’s forehead.
The Kallitan’s eyes rolled up until only white was showing and he crashed hard to the floor and did not move. The crowd fell into a stunned silence. Forelni gathered up the club and slowly strolled back across the arena. The rules of combat dictated that when a combatant fell he had 15 seconds to regain his feet after his opponent had pressed his designated plate, starting the timer.
Once at his plate, Forelni dusted off his uniform and inspected his nails, scornfully declining to push the plate and start the timer. After a few more moments he finally did so. The unconscious Kallitan never so much as stirred, though it was apparent he was still alive as his massive chest rose and fell.
“About those legends, Jim,” McCoy whispered.
Several men scrambled into the arena and carried off the beaten champion. One man cautiously approached Forelni.
“You are not permitted to keep that,” his voice unsteady.
Forelni favored the man with a bemused glance before casually flipping the club end over end to him. The guard staggered under the weight of the club as he caught it then turned and fled to the other side of the arena where he turned it over to the second champion as he entered. Taking the recovered club in his left hand, the champion pulled a similar-sized club from his belt.
Attached to the end of the second club was a thick chain and at the end of the three-foot length was a steel, spiked ball that looked very much like a flail from Earth’s Medieval period. The way the brute swung it around it looked like the man knew what he was about.
Forelni cocked his head up at the First Counsel and favored him with another mocking smile at the disparity in armament between the two combatants.
This time, the opponent didn’t wait for Forelni to make the first move, stepping forward while he waved the flail in a constant arc over his head, the second club ready to swing should Forelni charge.
But Forelni simply stood his ground until his opponent drew near, then he rolled under the ball as it passed, driving a solid kick into the man’s shin for good measure. The brute barely flinched, spinning to slam the flail down where Forelni was on the ground.
Forelni rolled out of the way just in time to avoid having his skull crushed, used another kick – this one striking the man’s forearm – to propel himself out of the flail’s range. The sequence repeated several times over, the brute attacked, Forelni dodged, landed a blow and got out of range before a counter-attack could land. But he wasn’t making much of an impact on the champion, who didn’t appear to be slowed by either the exertion or Forelni’s blows.
Finally, Forelni stopped his dodge and roll routine. Stepping into the arc, Forelni braced himself and let the flail hammer into his left shoulder, one short spike digging into the flesh above the shoulder blade. Before the brute could react, Forelni grabbed the wrist holding the flail with his left hand and pulled it toward him hard while driving his right fist hard into the brute’s forearm. The brute’s howl barely drowned out the snapping of the bone.
Forelni swatted the flail away and spun around sharply to drive his left elbow into the brute’s solar plexus. Balling his left hand into a fist, the elbow still positioned in the man’s chest, he drive the palm of his right hand into the fist, like a hammer pounding a spike, three times in rapid succession.
The brute’s mouth dropped open and Forelni closed it, driving the palm of his right hand into the brute’s jaw, lifting him off the ground to slam unconscious to the ground.
The crowd was stunned into silence as Forelni slowly, obviously in pain this time and not showing off, made his was to his panel and pushed it. The fallen brute never tried to rise as the time ran down to zero. Then the crowd burst into cheers and many began to chant Forelni’s name, much to the First Counsel’s displeasure.
“Well done, Starfleet man,” the First Counsel raised a hand for silence as he rose from his seat. “You will face my third champion in the morning. This battle will be to the death.”
A gasp shot through the crowd. Kirk rose to protest but was waved back down by an armed guard.
“This is not within your own rules, First Counsel,” Kirk managed not to roar his protest.
“I just changed them,” he replied as he turned away.
The guards waved Kirk, McCoy and Kleine to follow them back to the cell where they would spend the night. Down below, several guards fearfully approached Forelni to escort him back as well. He limped slightly as he followed, his left arm dangled at his side. He’d won two fights, but had obviously paid a price in doing so.
He was shoved into the cell next to his three companions, despite McCoy’s protests that he needed to examine Forelni and his request for his med kit. All of his pleas were ignored.
Forelni leaned against the bars of the cell and McCoy did what he could with water and strip of a blanket from one of the small cots they’d been provided.
“The shoulder wound isn’t too deep,” McCoy muttered. “If I can stop the bleeding. How’s the knee?”
“Twisted it a bit when I dug in at the last,” Forelni reported. “I’ll be okay in the morning.”
“Hmpf,” McCoy disagreed but busied himself with the wound he could do something about.
“You there, stop that!” a voice command from outside the cells. The door to Forelni’s swung open and a young Kallitan woman, carrying a small woven basket, was harshly pushed inside. She was a slim, fair woman, dressed in a simple tan tunic that ran to an inch above her knees. She wore a braided leather necklace that held an onyx stone with a four-digit number – 8392 – carved into it. A guard rolled a cart of food and two jugs into the cell a slammed the door shut as he stepped back outside. Another cart of food and drink were rolled into the other call for the three men.
“What’s this?” Kirk demanded.
“All the food and water you will get today,” the lead guard snarled as he stepped inside to draw a curtain between the two cells. “Make it last. If you wanted a woman, you should have stepped into the arena instead of him. Only men are treated like men here.”
“So you’ve never been with a woman you say?” Forelni dug a barb in for hell of it. The young woman stifled a giggle. The guard’s face ran the gamut of reds before he slammed the curtain the rest of the way closed and slammed the cell door shut even harder and stormed out of sight.
“He’s going to be very cross with his men after that?” the young girl remarked.
“Good,” Forelni replied. “I’m only sorry I didn’t have the chance to put a boot in his backside on the way out.”
“You are a strange man, my lord,” she noted, withdrawing a clean cloth and a cup of what looked like a salve from the basket and looked over his wounded shoulder.
“My name is Bari Forelni, not ‘My Lord’,” Forelni said gently, not wanting it to sound like a command. “and yours is?”
“My…Bari Forelni,” she corrected. “No warrior has ever asked a slave’s name before.”
“Then I am delighted to be the first. What is your name?”
“A pleasure to meet you, Bryna,” he sketched a painful bow. “Thank you for attending to my wounds.”
“You must be in perfect health and well-fed,” she replied. “I have been ordered to do so.”
“So I’ll be able to put on a good show in the morning,” he replied dourly.
“No, My Lord,” she replied, forgetting his earlier admonition, as she finished patching the wound on his shoulder. “So that you will be ready to properly enjoy tonight.”
He was just about to ask her what was happening tonight when he recalled the drawn curtain that separated this cell from the outside world and then the guard’s response to his Captain’s query only a minute or so before.
Obviously, the briefing material on Kallita’s gladiatorial customs had been somewhat incomplete, he thought to himself as Bryna slipped out of her tunic.