(very short story)

In the distance a sound like thundering hooves could be heard. And
as the noise grew louder it became clear it was indeed a horse. It ran
at high speed, but the beast did not follow a straight course which
could either mean the rider wasn't very experienced with this animal
or that he was somewhat unsure of his headings. By the looks of things
... it probably meant a little bit of both.

Pulling the reins to him, the rider forced his mount to a halt and
dismounted. Carefully his eyes scanned the edge of the forest but
found his sight blocked by countless leaves. Sometimes springtime
wasn't the best time to go out riding, he figured. Some birds flew
from the trees, scared away by something. Or someone?

Listening for any unusual sounds he hoped to get a clue about where
he was supposed to go next. And he did hear something, a faint sound
made by a woman. It sounded like she was in trouble. A muffled cry...

The warrior lifted the quiver, filled with a few remaining arrows,
from his back and hung it over the saddle. They would be useless where
he was going. Then he drew the sword that hung from his side and
proceeded in the approximate direction of the cries.

Within minutes he had hacked his way through the dense wood and had
reached an opening. He noticed the woman, or actually a lady sitting
at the base of an old tree-stump, as well as the creature that was
holding her captive there.

His eyes shifted back to the woman. Seeing her sitting there,
helpless to get away from her captor, his rage got the better of him
and with a roar he leaped clear of the overgrowth. The lady looked up,
maybe not as surprised as she could have been, and there was an air of
amusement around her. Not so with the creature, some being that vaguely
resembled a humanoid figure. It approached the new arrival with it's
arms raised. Whatever it was, it did not seem to be the least impressed
by the man's growls and it clawed at him.

In response the warrior extended his right arm, pointing his weapon
directly at the creature's eyes that were only two inches away from
the tip of the blade. That, at least, seem to make an impression. Then
the man let out a breath of air. He looked tired, most of his anger had
subsided for unknow reasons. Perhaps all had turned out too easy.

The creature stepped back and raised it's paws. But this time it held
them lower, and with the palms up.

"Unarmed, heh?" the warrior said. "Let no-one say I refused someone a
fair fight!" Having said so, he lunged the sword away to his left. Then
he moved towards the creature that now showed it's yellow-stained fangs,
a futile attempt to smile. Suddenly, out of the blue, a small blade
appeared in the beast's claws. It flickered in the sunlight which
alarmed the warrior and he sidestepped quickly, avoiding the dagger that
was thrown at him. Ducking for his sword the man rolled away from his
attacker and in his roll he grabbed the hilt and struck behind him,
hitting the monster with the broad side of the blade. Then he rose to
his feet and lifted the weapon once more. He froze. The man's thoughts
were not where one would expect them to be. He dropped the weapon and
glanced over his shoulder to the woman.

"Is all *this* really necessary?" he asked her.

"Computer, freeze program!" Deanna had gotten up from beside the
stump and had almost cleared the distance between them by now.

"Worf, you definitely know when to pick the moment to break out of
character." She stared at the holographic creature at his feet, lying
motionless in the grass, and found she had difficulties keeping from
laughing. "You looked really funny, jumping from the bushes like that."
she said. A chuckle managed to escape her. Worf swallowed deep.

"May I remind you this was *your* idea? I merely followed your ..."

She didn't allow him to continue. Deanna put her index-finger on his
lips and gave him a peck on the cheek.

"Yes, I know." she said. "You're my hero." With those words she
turned around and walked to the arch. Worf watched her leave, admiring
the form she managed to show off pretty well, even in the plain white
dress she'd picked for the occasion. The arch-doors closed behind her.

He sheathed his sword, thought about saving the program and decided
against it. There would be others. Then he thought it was probably best
to leave the deck now and to return to his quarters, since his shift
would start in an hour or so. He had some preparations to do before

Besides, he needed to change. The green tights were all but killing

-The end-