Desert Crossing

Starlog 53, February 13th, 2152

Well, it seems we'll never get to Risa! We're just not meant to have a shore leave!

This morning we were peacefully on the road to Risa again when we received a distress call: it may be cynical and, of course, we had to answer, but I cursed that bloody alien!

"What were their problems about, if I may ask?" I asked Trip at lunch, in the mess hall. He had just come back from the alien craft.

"Their warp injectors were filled with plasma residue. I really don't know what he had on his mind, where do you think to go with a ship like that?!" he chewed back, irritated.

"It's like letting a child drive a car." I agreed.

But the surprises didn't end here: apparently Zobral, the craft's pilot, invited Captain Archer and Trip on his planet for some kind of match and the Captain obviously accepted, he would never turn down a challenge.

Trip didn't seem to happy about it: Zobral's planet is something like a giant desert.

"You know, this reminds me of survival training. And as much as the Cap'n likes challenges, I would rather lay on a beach on Risa rather than walking in the desert!" he muttered.

"Why isn't he taking T'Pol on the planet? She's used to the desert at least, she might go as far as liking it!" I mused.

"Apparently Zobral wants to thank me for repairing his shuttle. Next time I'm going to crumble it up, what the hell!" he complained.

"Now, now. You're from Florida, you'll like that warm weather!" I said.

"OK, let me spill a bucketful of water on your head just because you're British" he retorted, annoyed.

"It doesn't always rain in Britain!" I answered glaring, even if I was amused "You can always ask the Captain to take someone else with him."

"Did it done" he sighed "There was simply no way. He promised that I won't have to eat snake meat this time."

I looked at him, bewildered: "Snake meat? What the hell…?"

"Let's not speak about that, OK?" he asked uneasily, with a slight blush, and I had to keep a laughter.

Starlog 54, February 15, 2152

I swear I'm going to kill the Captain someday!

Yesterday I got a call from T'Pol: "Lieutenant, please report to the Bridge immediately".

I rushed there and she informed me that apparently Zobral was a terrorist. She had just been contacted by a government officer who informed her that Zobral and his men were responsible of some terroristic attacks – against civilians as well.

"And who are they?"

"They are called Torothans. I have already informed the Captain and advised him to get back to the Enterprise. We are waiting for him."

"Why haven't we teletransported them yet?" I asked, but deep down I already knew the answer.

"Because the Captain wanted to speak with Zobral before." T'Pol answered.

Of course. Someday he will try to speak to a bomb too.

I got to my station and noticed that something was wrong:

"There's a number of ships strafing the encampment." I said worriedly to T'Pol.

"Hail the Captain." She answered.

He answered immediately but his voice was barely audible.

"Captain, are you all right?"

"We've taken shelter. Should be…" his voice answered. Hoshi guiltily told us that she couldn't do more than that because the region was full of jamming signals.

At least he was alive but the situation was very serious and moreover we knew nothing about Trip; I felt shivers running along my spine. I tried hard to localize their biosigns but there was no way.

"I can't localize their biosigns. I'll take a shuttlepod and find them myself!" I said defiantly.

But T'Pol argued that it would've been difficult to do so during an assault and she asked Hoshi to try and contact the Torothans Chancellor instead. Obviously he refused to help us, he refused to wait for us to get our officers back, he threatened to attack us too. And to end it well I lost sensor contact with the surface and I wasn't able to see anything.

I found out that this problem was due to a dispersion field and I wanted to try and disable the satellites that produced the field but T'Pol argued again saying that it would've been too intrusive. I know that I was impulsive and that I could've done something really reckless just because I was scared and I don't like it; I should prevent my personal feelings to cloud my mind, otherwise I'll never be a good security officer.

T'Pol also mentioned to Hoshi that the Captain should make a protocol about how to approach alien species; I think that would be useless. He's a master at ignoring protocols.

I was studying another way to disable that field when Zobral's vessel approached and hailed us. He asked us to bring him on the Enterprise before his ship was detected because he had something to tell us.

"Where are the Captain and Commander Tucker?" T'Pol asked him as soon as he set foot on the ship.

"They're alive and, for now, safe."

"Why did you do this? The Torothans…"

"The Torothans persecuted my people and I wanted to get the Enterprise's help." He cut in.

"Why the Enterprise? It's just a small ship…" I argued, not understanding his point.

"But we knew about your legendary accomplishments and about how Captain Archer freed thousands of Sulibans…"

"Wait a moment. They weren't thousands but more like dozens." I clarified.

"How many?"

"There were eighty nine. There were only eighty nine Suliban, not thousands." I answered.

"And the army you defeated?"

"I would hardly call it an army. It was more like a few dozen prison guards, and to be honest they didn't put up much of a fight."

Zobral was helpless and I would've felt sorry for the man had he asked for our help in another way. But he told me something interesting: he had gotten to the Enterprise using a gap in the Torothans' detection grid.

"It occurs once every forty six minutes, but it is only open for less than one minute. " he explained.

"I'll need all the pertinent data."

"Ha! You'll need more than that. The maneuvers are extremely difficult. It took us years to learn them." Zobral argued.

"I'm a quick study." I retorted.

"I don't have time. My men are waiting for me."

Oh, your men are waiting for you and so you run away after making a mess? I don't think so!

"Then they'll have to wait a little longer. You're the one that got our people stranded down there. " I told him harshly.

He protested but eventually he had to help us; he went in the shuttlepod together with T'Pol and me and gave me instructions. Eventually we found the Captain and Trip next to a Torothan mortar; I fired it and thankfully we were able to rescue them, exhausted but well.

The first thing Trip said once he was aboard the shuttlepod was: "This is the last blasted desert I set my foot on."

Trip later told me that Zobral hadn't hurt them at all during their permanence, that he just wanted our help and that in his opinion Zobral was right about his battle. I agreed with him, of course, but we can't get involved in every conflict we meet on our way. What would've happened if the Vulcans had revealed and interfered with our story during our wars?

I'm very sorry about Zobral even if he has been reckless, I hope he will succeed in his attempts. I will also speak with the Captain about setting a protocol on how to approach new species: I know he'll never respect it but at least I'll have the right to fuss.