Jaeger Prvi...Chapter Three

As my time on Risa drew to a close I was astonished to find myself both eager to leave and anxious to stay.

Getting back to familiar territory would bring relief. I wasn't used to this intermingling of species, this constant surrounding of other people. From the first brush of manhood, a Hirogen male is taken from the family enclave, put into training camps, and only when he has proven worthy given a ship and allowed to join the Hunt. From that moment he is alone, driven to long quests in the search for Trophies, and only occasionally does he rejoin the others for gatherings or to take a mate.

And yet, having tasted the fruit of companionship, the thrill of seeking to please another, the joy of looking into those smokey hued eyes has only whetted my appetite and I find myself longing for more. Casya has changed my world beyond what I ever imagined, and for the first time this solitary existence holds no appeal. I am....

"Incoming transmission."

The sudden crisp staccato voice bolted through my thoughts and I quickly turned my attention to the console before me. Tapping a button, I scanned the message eagerly, a grin of excitement overtaking my normally stern face. She was coming! I quickly fed in the coordinates and set my ship to Warp.

It had been a few weeks since I left Risa, and I had been idley wandering through a nieghboring system, waiting. The spare time had given me ample opportunity to make any repairs and as I dropped out of warp to meet the U.S.S. Vancouver, I knew I was prepared.

Or so I thought.

When the first shimmering wave appeared my anticipation knew no bounds. And then she was there, standing before me, an impish smile tugging at her lips. My jaw droppped. Instead of the standard Starfleet uniform she wore a jumpsuit identical to mine! Before I could gather my wits she teasingly asked, "Is this appropriate, for the Hunt?"

I watched her spin slowly in a circle, noticing how perfectly she filled out her outfit, and groaned. Without a word I grasped her hand and tugged her into my arms. She came to me willingly.

After a few heated moments we parted, panting slightly. "Welcome to the Hunter," I managed to say.

Turning, her hand in mine, I led her deeper into the ship. Our first stop on my tour were the living quarters. Casya walked to the center of the room, placed her hands on her hips, and slowly looked around. Motioning to the hammocks tacked to the walls she asked, "This is where you sleep?"

Watching the play of emotions in her eyes I could almost hear another question, unspoken, underneath. I shrugged nonchalantly. "Yes. But it's due for an upgrade," I replied, taking a few steps closer, holding her gaze with my own. "I have found, while on Risa, that there are many comforts to be had while sleeping in a bed."

One exquisitely shaped eyebrow lifted and a teasing smile bloomed on her lips. Immediately I flushed with embarassment at the hidden meaning of my words, and she laughed. Leaning toward me she reached up and gently cupped my cheek. "I didn't know Hirogen could blush."

Covering her hand with my own I agreed, "Neither did I."

With those words we turned to the next room. My nerves flared. The Trophy room might just bring me some trouble. This was the reason for the Hunt. Displaying our relics was a sign of our victory and pride. It was also a means to promotion within the Hirogen culture. The more Trophies you had, the higher your rank.

Normally I wouldn't have a problem showing them off. But among the weapons and carcasses, nestled in the midst of tubes containing internal organs floating in a viscous green fluid, were the skeletons of various bi-pedal species. Among my time here in this Quadrant, I knew that most of the species here didn't display the bones of their enemies as a sign of their prowess.

Casya might not understand.

But my fears went unnoticed as she exclaimed her interest and praise for the Trophies I had collected. I answered all of her questions, sharing the story of how I defeated that one, or what I used this weapon for. Then she spied the beast from the cave and grinned in glee. "You've left this one intact," she murmured, reaching out to gingerly touch it's massive head.

"Yes. A most worthy prey."

Her eyes studied its form as she said, "Starfleet still doesn't know where it came from." I stepped behind her and she leaned against me, continuing, "and the Risian government found its eggs deeper in the cave. They've destroyed them all, except one, for study."

We were interrupted by the computer informing us of an incoming transmission. We went to the main viewscreen and brought it up on the display. Instantly my mood lightened and a feeling of gladness surged through me. I smiled. "Z'Argath, old friend! What brings you this far from home?"

He folded his arms across his chest and I could see the barely controlled fury his action spoke of. "By the Gods, Jaeger," he muttered darkly, "Tis a bad omen that brings us together again."

We went back years, Z'Argath and I, to when I had first found myself stranded in the Alpha Quadrant. I had run into him on one of my Hunts and we both recognized the lust for battle in each other. Within moments we had thrown our lots in together and were now closer than brothers. For him to have left his planet in search of me meant trouble. And his anger compounded my sudden worry. But before I could speak he railed at the sky behind him, "Z'Argellum has gone missing!"

"Missing?" I repeated dumbly, in shock. Draconi held their children close to their home pods, even in adulthood, making their community tight knit. For his daughter to be missing was a tragedy of unprecedented panic.

"Yes," he scowled, shaking his horns in anger and frustration, " she has decided to throw her lot in with a Ferengi trader named Skom."

I heard a soft gasp behind me and quickly glanced back, warning Casya with my eyes. Draconi did not deal well with Starfleet, and they would refuse to deal with a woman. She took my warning in hand and refrained from speech as Z'Argath continued, "She has been gone for many moonfalls and we are most anxious to retrieve her. When I get my claws on that Ferengi," he sneered, flexing his hands and shaking his horned head in his fury.

By the time the viewscreen had gone blank we had agreed to the Hunt and received whatever information my friend had to give. Turning to Casya, I demanded softly, "Tell me."

Her beautiful face twisted with disgust. "Skom," she snorted derisively.

"You know him."

"You might say that. He was one of my contestants on Risa. He caused a bit of trouble."

I listened with growing anger at the audacity of this sniveling coward called Skom. His brashness inflamed me and the urge to wring his neck nearly overpowered me. Casya joined me at the computer console and we began the Hunt together.

We started with the Draconis Cluster and followed his meandering route to Risa. From there we ended up stalled in the Parada System, until I received a hail from an old friend. Beaming to the fourth planet we hurried into the local bar and found him waiting.

"Greetings my friend," he muttered, letting his eyes flick behind me.

"She's okay, Kamin," I encouraged, drawing Casya closer.

He hesitated briefly before motioning us toward a secluded corner. "So. We share a common foe."


"Yes, Skom. He's known for his shady dealings. Apparently, even the Ferengi homeworld would love to get their hands on him."

Casya snorted with disdain. "What did he do?"

Kamin grinned and rubbed his chin. "Among other things, he apparently decided to violate the 31st Rule of Acquisition."

Smiling at my obvious confusion, Casya filled me in. "Never make fun of a Ferengi's mother."

"Ahem yes, well, the Grand Nagus is offering quite a load of gold pressed latinum for his return," Kamin added, chuckling, reaching down to tug at his vest in a familiar gesture.

"Is that why you are here?" I asked, hoping my Hunt wouldn't be spoiled.

"No. No," he assured me, waving away any of my concerns. "I'm here on other business, but I do have some information you may need."

After a few more moments, with our next destination in mind, we bid him farewell and headed outside to our transporter coordinates. Just before I activated the beacon Casya placed her hand on my arm. Knowingly, she said, "Wasn't that Cap....?"

I cut her off quickly with a wink. "Yes. But he prefers to remain anonymous." She grinned and nodded, stepping back.

Once on board we quickly fed the new coordinates into the computer and headed toward Deep Space 9.

After docking, we made our way to Quark's Bar, where weary travellers usually ended up. Casya was saying, "The information from....Kamin," she grinned again and we shared a wink before she continued, "is only a day or two old. He should still be here."

Watching the excitement playing with her eyes, the flush of the Hunt upon her cheeks, caused my blood to boil. Life with this woman would be intoxicating. Just outside the bar I reached for her waist and pulled her to me. Her eyes deepened with emotion as her lips met mine. She pulled back and whispered tenderly, "Jaeger, I..." But whatever she intended to say was lost as her eyes caught on the room behind us. "Look," she pointed.

I turned just at the moment the female across the room noticed me. She hurried over and threw her arms around me, pushing her way inbetween Casya and me, crying, "Jaeger! Oh Jaeger! You found me!"

"Z'Argellum," I chided gently, begging Casya with my eyes to forgive the rudeness of this child in my arms. She merely shrugged and led the way deeper into the bar.

Once seated, she suddenly lost her happiness at finding me and began scowling. "Father sent you. Didn't he?" I didn't need to answer, and she didn't wait for a reply. "Well, serves me right. I've never been so humiliated in all my life! By the Gods, Jaeger, that Skom is the vilest serpent to ever slither across my path!"

Enraged at the sudden thoughts that skittered through my imagination, it took all of my strength not to rip the table in two! Casya however, thankfully, was a bit more serene. She placed a restraining hand on my knee and asked, "Did he hurt you?"

"Hurt me? Hurt me!" she cried out like a petulant child, wringing her hands in anger. "He did more than that! He promised me everything the galaxy could hold if I would run away with him." Her bitter eyes swung between us for a moment before continuing her diatribe. "You know, of course, the reason. My Father is the Regient of the Draconi, and Skom thought we were rich with gold pressed latinum. Hmph! As if money matters!"

"But what did he do?" I asked, calmer now.

"Well, everything was fine until we got to Risa. Then he told me he had business to tend to and left me on the ship for seven suns. Seven suns! I grew bored and was on the verge of beaming to the surface when he suddenly appeared and hastily began to prepare to leave orbit. We were almost to Deep Space 9 when he pulled out a contract."

"A contract?"

She shot me a pained look. "Yes. A five year marriage contract. By the Gods, my family would be humiliated if I were wedded to this...this...unfeeling creature! He then informed me after five years the contract would be renegotiated. Whoever heard of being married for only five years!"

Casya and I exchanged amused glances.

She continued. "I refused! So he deposited me here, and now you know." Suddenly, her anger spent, she began to sound more like a hurt child with her next words. "And do you know what hurts the most, Jaeger? While I waited for him on Risa, he spent his days trying to woo another woman."

Wisely, Casya didn't mention her role in that drama, but instead reached out in sympathy. I was at a complete loss as the girl burst into tears, but was very proud of the way Casya comforted her. Through her sobs we learned that the miscreant had just left her and was on his way to his ship. Casya urged me to follow, promising she wouldn't be far behind.

Moving quickly, knowing that surprise was my best weapon, I managed to beat him to the docking bay. I could hear him whistling as he rounded the corner. His eyes widened in surprise but otherwise he didn't appear overly worried. "Out of my way," he whined, making shooing motions with his hands, as if I were some troublesome pest.

"Z'Argath sends his greetings," I replied quietly.

This time I could see panic settle into his beady little eyes. But he still tried to bluff his way out. "Heh heh, what does it matter? The girl is fine," he blustered, eyes darting back and forth, seeking escape. "I am certain we can come to a profitable arrangement. Hmmm. Shall we proceed to my ship?"

Thinking he had the upper hand, Skom lunged first to the left, then to the right, in an effort at confusing me. But I had no trouble simply picking his squirming body off the floor and I held him in midair. Immediately he began to scream and whine and cry, begging for leniency, and I had the pleasant memory of a Vidiian doing just the same when I caught him. I think my grin may have terrified the poor Ferengi even more.

Into this madness Casya came. "Why, hello Skom," she greeted quietly, crossing her arms and watching me drop him to the floor.

Shocked into momentary speechlessness, he sat there for a moment, staring dumbly at her as if at a vision. Then all at once his senses returned and he scrabbled toward her. Trying to appear confident, he sneered jubilantly at his would be protector, "So Casya, you have changed your mind. Good, good. I knew you would come crawling back to me."

Casya rolled her eyes and tapped her chin in thought. "Hmmm. Jaeger, maybe we should finish him off here?"

Catching the mischief in her tone of voice I fell into the humor of the moment as well. "Maybe you're right. Z'Argath didn't specify whether he wanted him dead or alive."

Terrified now, unaware of the teasing glances we shared, Skom fell to his knee's and begged for his life. He offered Casya everything he could think of, from his private stash of gold pressed latinum to his seat on the Ferengi Futures Exchange, even to the firstborn of his children! If only she would spare his life.

Casya leaned down, laughing. "Enough Skom, you aren't going to die today. But you are going to receive some justice."

We dragged a screaming and crying Skom to my ship. When he was safely ensconsed in his new...quarters...Casya couldn't resist adding, "You know Skom, when Z'Argath is through with you. I'm sure the Grand Nagus would like a moment of your time." We both laughed when his face paled but by this time he had determined to merely pout in his captivity.

Leaving him in the cargo hold, we made our way to the front of the ship. Casya giggled. "You know, after everything he pulled, it feels good to give him what he deserves."

I agreed and we fell into a comfortable silence. After a few moments I turned to her and said, "I have a surprise for you."

"A surprise? I love surprises," she smiled at me.

"Now, you go change into something nice and meet me in the Holo Suite."

I was waiting for her when she entered. She was more beautiful than ever in a black gown that hugged her figure nicely. I watched the wonder infuse her face as she took in the vast landscape spread out before us. She took my outstretched hand and I guided her to the edge of the balcony. We faced the sunset of an alien planet, the yellow sky giving way to fiery reds and golds as the three suns began to dip below the horizon. In the distance, over the treetops, we could see a flock of birdlike creatures at play. She sighed and leaned into my arm that encircled her. "It's beautiful," she murmured gently.

"It's my homeworld," I replied.

Surprised, she turned her face to mine. "Your homeworld? I thought Hirogen had no homeworld but space?"

I chuckled and drew her back into my arms. "At one time, long ago, we lived on a planet such as this. But over the decades our technology grew, and our planet's resources dwindled, until we could no longer survive on it. We had hunted our world to extinction. But that was an expected outcome of our growth, so we took to the stars and began the Hunt anew. Over time the Homeworld was forgotten, and our ships took it's place. But if you search deep enough you can still find references to that world among our oldest databases. I built this after that fashion."

We settled into quiet comtemplation, watching the Tarnigan's play and feeling a soft wind fluttering at our cheeks. Not wanting our food to get cold, we turned to the table and had just settled in when the warbling cry of a Tarnigan sounded nearby. Casya was enchanted by the sight of the creature as it fluttered it's wings and roosted on the railing next to us. Slowly she stood and held out her arm. Delicately the creature stepped onto the offered limb and settled it's emerald wings in close. I watched, spellbound, as the two of them played.

When the creature tired of our presence and flew off, we returned to our meal and spent the next hour talking over our day and getting to know each other better. I never grew tired of watching this woman, listening to her musical laughter, accepting her playful advances. But the day had been full and the sunlight was fading quickly, so we stood and prepared to leave.

Just before she turned from me I reached for her and pulled her close. "Casya," I breathed into her hair, stringing a trail of kisses down to the perfect corners of her ruby lips. She smiled and leaned into my embrace, accepting, encouraging. I pulled her in closer, deeper, wanting to get lost in this woman and never find my way out. We pulled apart and she rested in my arms for a moment, her head tilted softly against my breast. "You'll never know how much I long to make you mine," I whispered into the air above her dark tresses.

I felt the slight tremble of her smile. "Oh Jaeger," she replied softly, "I think I may have some idea."

We chuckled at her comment, letting the tension of the moment slip away, and turned to face the sunset one last time. "It has been my honor to have had you join me on the Hunt today. We work well together."

She nodded her head and gave me a whimsical smile. "Thank you Jaeger. Today has certainly enlightened me as well."

I nodded and leaned down for one last kiss. A perfect ending to a perfect day.

2013 - KJWereb

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Hey there! So glad to get a message from you. Just give me a minute to look it over before posting it. Thanks so much for understanding.

Blessings, Kathy