"Cuff him…"

Kirk could hardly wheeze out the words. His hands were throbbing, the knuckles bleeding, and his arms feeling like lead after a satisfactory slew of revenge punches. John Harrison's face—though in need of a good wash—didn't so much as have a bloody lip or sign of swelling.

As quickly as the firefight with the Klingons occurred, no one had had time to retrieve the handcuffs from inside their ship. Therefore, Harrison was marched along by Spock's phaser-rifle on one side of him and Uhura's pistol on the other. He was as compliant as a Doberman fresh out of obedience school, but he peered out beneath a mess of black hair with the eyes of a wild predator.

It took everything Kirk had not to change his mind and blast a hole in Harrison's chest, just like the one he gave Pike. It would have been less than their original plan of obliterating him with the admiral's prototype torpedoes and still more mercy than he deserved.

Once they were all onboard the K'normian trading ship Kirk silently took his place at the pilot's seat, the very air around him burning with his brooding. John Harrison was directed to sit in one of the rear seats of the ship, and he did so without resistance. He even took a moment to comb back his unruly hair with his fingers to put on a misleading appearance of dignity amid his weather-worn leather duster and dirty face.

After the manacles were duly clasped around his submissive wrists, Spock and Uhura took their seats adjacent to Kirk's. The engines were fired up and the ship lifted off the ground. Harrison sat calmly, as if waiting for his name to be called at a doctor's office, his hands looking more comfortable than they should have in the metal constraints around his wrists. His eyes were forward, his posture impossibly straight and unfaltering after such an insane takedown of an entire Klingon squadron.

He killed them all with a few blades, a phaser rifle, and what Kirk could only assume was a phaser turret scavenged from an abandoned Bird of Prey in the ruins where Harrison was hiding. No human being could wield a weapon like that, let alone with one hand.

These reeling thoughts were only enforced by the painful throbbing in Kirk's hands from punching him. God damn, his hands were killing him. It was as if he had just pounded his knuckles into concrete.

Who the hell was this guy?

And why did he have a nagging feeling in the back of his mind that he was forgetting something important?


Meanwhile, back on Kronos…

All that was left of the K'normian ship in the ruins of the Ketha Province were the indentations in the ground where it had landed, and perhaps the smell of Klingon blood and an array of things burning that didn't seem to go away, no matter how hard the wind blew. The ground was littered with bits of Klingons.

Lieutenant Lewis squinted upward at the clouded sky, the gun in his hand drained completely of power and usefulness. "They're not coming back, are they?"

"And the captain made sure we didn't even have communicators in our disguises…" Lieutenant Hendorff growled and threw down his gun. "Cupcake—you asshole!"