of the USS Kongo, Constitution class starship and
one of the queens of the fleet. All his long life he never expected
this. He could feel sweat prickle on the palms of his hands. Now he
understood the requirement for white gloves as well as full dress when
reading in. Captain LaSaille checked his reflection in the glass of the
gangway, tugged again at the unfamiliar white gloves, and crossed the
gangway orders in hand. As he crossed the threshold of the ship the
honor guard came to attention, the bosun's pipes sounded on his entry.
LaSaille saluted the keel, and the pipe salute ended. He turned to the
smart female Commander waiting for him.
to come aboard Commander?"
stepped up to the waiting podium. He laid the elaborately scribed
orders on the surface, and began to read.
order of Starfleet Command under the Commission of the United
Federation of Planets, the Office of Fleet Operations I Captain Jerold
Ryan LaSaille am
requested and required to take command of the USS Kongo,
NCC-1710 as of and after April 17, 2261. Commander I relieve you." He
folded the orders smartly and handed them to the waiting Ensign.
stand relieved Sir. Would you care to inspect the ship?"
will be well Commander. Proceed."
Commander turned and Captain LaSaille fell in beside her.
years have treated you well Mr. Meyers."
you Captain and you as well. You don't look a day older."
I sense a little sarcasm?"
truth is the truth. Main engineering sir is the usual starting point
for an inspection."
indeed." LaSaille turned to the Chief Engineer. "Captain LaSaille."
Commander McCaffrey Sir, please come this way."
walked down the line of engineers, decked out in duly fatigues. The
engineering department was, as expected, in perfect order.
hours later, the inspection over, Captain LaSaille looked around his
new quarters as he stripped the abused dress uniform. It wasn't exactly
the Ritz, but it beat the old Ennex class cruisers. His kit had been
delivered during the inspection, and currently sat on the floor beside
the room's one table. He reached into the kit bag and pulled out a
steel blue slab of metal, an ancient Colt 1911. He checked the safety
and action. He pulled a clip out of the bag as well, emptied it,
counted the rounds, loaded the clip, loaded the gun and set the safety.
for a place to put it?**
do you think girl?**
wonder about you and that gun.**
keep it safe. It keeps me safe. We are going to need a bigger bed.**
believe he thought sleeping alone was a virtue.**
Diaz was a "stern" commander.**
believe "prude" is the term.**
here nor there. It is me now, and I do have my own style. The bed has
to go. See how big a bed we can get in here, and get it.**
did it go?**
was polite. I was polite. Long term it remains to be seen.**
worries you more, you, or her?**
not sure. I'm really not. In any case, I need to get some real
furniture in here and a new bed.**
LaSaille sat down at the briefing table. The senior staff was fully
we have had introductions. I will be getting to know you all better in
time and will make time for some one on one with each of you to discuss
your concerns and views on your departments. In the meantime, Starfleet
would really like the Kongo back on station. We are
responsible for getting her there.
understand that the Kongo has just undergone a
standard refit. I am not familiar with the Constitution class of ships
as a Captain, although I did serve in a command staff position on the
Republic uner the late Joe Marshal, and the Enterprise
under Captain Pike,. We are assigned to routine patrol in the Orion
sector. Let's go down the line. Mr. McCaffrey?"
Commander Ian Shaw McCaffrey was a fair man, red headed and freckled.
He spoke eagerly. "Engineering is fit and ready sir. Most of the
upgrade was to the warp drives and the computer system. We have the
latest model of the Mangiflux warp drive. The design boys promise us
warp factor 8 flank, warp factor 6 in cruise. As this drive has also
been fitted to the Exeter, with excellent results,
we can expect this
second major change was to the computer system. We have the new
Daystrom Duotronic systems on board. It is a vast improvement from the
older computers in both performance and memory storage, especially
memory storage. We can now store the entire Federation database, and
have room for growth.
We will endeavor to stretch the systems a bit. Mr. Ghurn?"
Commander Burt Ghurn a somewhat thinner than average Tellarite started
from his inner musing. "Hum? Oh, yes. Sciences is ready. We have the
new system up to speed, and fully integrated with all labs. It promises
to cut down our reliance on independent computers in each lab setting."
hope we can find some science to do worthy of your department. Dr.
Commander Denise Ballard, a long time veteran of the service, turned
her crusty attention to the Captain. "I'm getting used to it. With the
new computer everyone is so proud of, sickbay got a complete
switchabout. I can't find anything, including my office. However,
medically we are set to go. I managed to keep my staff out of the
clutches of fleet reassignment, so we are all use to each other. In
medicine it is the people that matter, not the gadgets. Oh, we got a
few of those as well. That includes a new regeneration rig that I don't
want anyone eager to try out."
will endeavor to do so I am sure. Mr. Tate?"
Vivian Tate a bright blue-eyed human woman with chocolate skin and
platinum hair spoke. "Tactical and security are at peak performance
sir. We had minimal turnover during the refit."
major changes in your department?"
Sir. Weapons are much as they have been. We did replace all the phaser
emitters and one torpedo delivery system, but with like equipment, no
We will try not to test them too much."
said. "I understand your cruise with the Lydia Sutherland
was noted for being a quiet one."
by that you mean we didn't shoot people much, yes, it was. However, it
was interesting enough on all the other fields. I would prefer the
Kongo had a similar cruise."
said: "Are you trying to avoid fights Sir?"
we can, yes. However, we are not leaving anyone defenseless to do so.
The Galaxy being what it is, I suspect we will not get away without
said. "Captain LaSaille is not known for leaving people defenseless."
you commander. Mr. Collard?"
Jean Collard, a dark and petite Izarian woman spoke up. "We have had a
basic shake down with the new engines. Mr. McCaffrey's confidence is
proven out in the handling of the ship. Best she's ever been. I'm
looking forward to this."
jg. Kerabom Liquard, a taciturn Andorian said. "Navigation is prepared,
Kyle Steel, clean cut and very Prussian looking said. "Ve have every
thing ready. Da new computers are on line as mentioned. Ve should
experience much quicker translation solutions."
factors are we discussing here?"
to real-time, instead of hours."
Everyone knows their job. My trust is in you. Let's get underway. Mr.
Meyers, is the ship provisioned and ready to sail?"
We will depart 0900 hours tomorrow. Dismissed."
LaSaille rose and quickly left the room. Most of the officers of the
Kongo lingered for a few minutes.
Collard looked after the retreating figure. "So Candice, rumor has
rumor is usually worth what you pay for it Mr. Collard." With that
Meyers left the room.
Collard cocked her hip as the door slid closed. "Well, that was short
Tate looked up from closing down her terminal. "The Captain, is a
private man, and the Commander doubly so."
sighed. "I had hoped for a looser administration."
smiled. "Jean, in the matter of your private life, it will be, but
Captain LaSaille is a private man."
Steel said. "Yet, I thought it was Commander Meyers that served with
Tate rose to leave. "Yes, but we are neighbors after a fashion. I've
heard a lot about him."
pouted. "So, give, what's he like?"
have heard that he is fair, he listens, and he is a private man." She
said before the door closed behind her.
hear this. USS Kongo is scheduled for departure at
0900 hours tomorrow. Repeat, The Kongo leaves at
0900 hours. All personnel consult your terminals for final orders. That
look like a good bunch, Starfleet competence all the way.**
stroked Aleilan's mane. **I don't really know them yet. I can't even
say I know Meyers anymore. Ten years, a lot can happen in ten years.**
lot usually does.**
did you get this bed?**
I couldn't find one I liked, so I had it made. You're avoiding the
the subject will not pass
what good does you and I discussing it accomplish? We parted, hurt, ten
years ago. I can't call what passed between us love. It was lust. A
needful lust yes, but lust.**
after two years, lust wouldn't have lasted. I had hoped friendship was
there. Love? I didn't feel it was love. When you have two people who
are the only two humans on the whole planet, it changes things.**
does it change?**
it what you will, love, lust, it doesn't matter. It hurts that she felt
she had to leave that way.**
I sensed jealousy.**
I was a fifth wheel she hadn't planned on.**
I have had relationships in the past, and you never got in the way of
are not the only Ansisi with close ties to an Ane. All you past loves
have been Ansisi.**
was special.** Aleilan moved closer to him.
hugged her closely **Yes, Anne was special. We never had a
chance to fulfill how special that could have been.**
Life seems to be a series of regrets.**
is unlike you to get maudlin.**
can I with you for a stabilizer?**
you regret that?**
your own question Aleilan.**
have some datawork to finish before we sail. Are our personal effects
I had best see to the ship.**
watched her brush her hair. "If you pull any harder, you will be bald."
smirked at him. "What, you don't like the Deltan look?"
as a preference, no. Why don't you talk about it?"
I don't want to."
had a hot affair with this guy for two years, and dropped it?"
he threw me over for his four-legged girlfriend."
seen her. Girlfriend?"
he said it was him and her, or nothing. They had something 'special'."
this isn't like you. Catty is not your temperament."
Meyers flopped into the chair. "Look Guy, the man... I thought we were
at least friends. Five minutes after we got to base he was all over
her, in preference to good food and a hot shower. How am I suppose to
deal with that?"
he dump you?"
exactly. I got an assignment. I guess I ran away before I had to deal
he's the Captain, are you going to run away, or deal with it?"
like the job. I had better learn to deal."
LaSaille settled into the center seat at 0850. Cmd. Meyers stepped
beside the command chair. LaSaille looked in her direction with an
expression of concern. He continued with the ritual of the ship leaving
Mr. Meyers, are we are ready for space?"
sir. All crew are aboard and fit. We are fully fueled, all goods are
secured, and all systems are green." She dropped her voice. "Why the
replied in kind. "It occurs to me that starship designers have not
taken the comfort and safety of First Officers into consideration."
didn't realize it should be considered."
think it should, but we'll get back to it."
Collard said: "Spacedock confirms, we are cleared for departure at 0900
all. Mr. McCaffrey, sever all umbilicals."
Cmd. McCaffrey worked his board. The thump of the dropping power
umbilicals could be faintly heard through the hull. The atmosphere
changed. Where the Kongo had once been tied and
dependant on the dock
for life and power she was now once more a free and living thing.
McCaffrey said. "Thrusters at your discretion sir. Impulse and warp
drives on standby."
Steel broke in. "Message from Spacedock Sir. The Commodore says 'Good
mission, and good luck'."
our thanks to the Commodore and spacedock. Mr. Collard thrusters at
your discretion at 0900, depart Spacedock."
aye sir. Thrusters at my discretion, 0900 depart Spacedock, in three
two, one. Thrusters now."
Kongo drifted away from its slip and into the exit
lane of the
spacedock. The huge doors yawned open and she silently slipped into the
harsh void that was her natural environment.
Liquard said. "We are in clear space and free to navigate."
added. "Impulse and warp at your discretion Sir."
said. "Mr. Liquard. Set course for Starbase 24
aye Sir. Course set, heading 87 mark 5."
give me one quarter impulse."
aye, one quarter impulse."
Kongo pulled quickly away from the blue and white
globe of the Earth.
Captain LaSaille stood and took a quick look around the bridge.
Collard, come to full impulse. We will engage the warp drive after we
pass the Jupiter perimeter. I will be in my office. Mr. Meyers, you
have the con. Call me when we reach the Jupiter perimeter."
aye Sir. Full impulse and warp drive at the Jupiter perimeter. I shall
call you then."
hours passed as Jerry worked thorough the piles of datawork that a ship
the size of the Kongo required. Four hundred people
seemed to generate four times the amount of data that 200 did. Prestige
and rank aside, captaincy of a heavy cruiser involved hours per day of
boring work. He had been a Starship Captain all of a week, and he was
rapidly getting buried. The chirp of the intercom was a relief.
Sir. Ten minutes to the Jupiter Perimeter."
I'll come up."
left the desk with no regrets. He walked quickly to the nearest
turbolift and headed for the bridge. It had been two years since he had
been at warp speed. He was looking forward to this.
doors opened to the bridge. Jerry took in the atmosphere again. The
Kongo's bridge was much larger than the bridge of
Sutherland. He liked that.
on the Bridge."
surrendered the command chair. "We are at the Jupiter Perimeter. We are
at full impulse heading 87 mark 5."
slipped into it. "Good. Proceed on that heading at warp six."
aye, warp six."
deck rumbled beneath them as the warp drive came up to speed. The stars
are on heading 87 mark 5, warp six."
smiled. "Smooth. A good ship. My compliments to the Engineer."
new Captain of the Kongo spent the rest of the
shift getting into things. He moved his way down the decks using the
companion ways, avoiding the turbolifts. Sure they got you around fast,
but you didn't see anything. Elimination took him to deck six, and the
Ballad was in the main ward, so was most of her staff. It looked like a
briefing of some sort. Jerry slipped into the examining room before
anyone noticed him. The new bio beds looked to be a good improvement on
the models the Lydia Sutherland had. He was
examining the examining
instruments. The Fineberger was a new model as well.
heard the door open, and relaxed. There was no point in jumping the
Doctor in her own sickbay.
noted that LaSaille had the Fineberger in his hand. "So Captain, are
you a Doctor too?"
ran it over her. "You look to be in good basic health. Your heartbeat
is a bit elevated."
eyebrow arched. "OK, you can work a Fineberger. That rates you as
having more medical knowledge than 90% of the Captains in the fleet."
smiled. "Yes, I am an MD. However, I haven't done much doctoring
lately. I try to keep up on trends and knowledge."
been at least 50 years." He handed her the Fineberger.
to the records you are not that old Captain."
records are wrong. We need to talk, privately."
led the way back to her office. "Alright, talk."
is a doctor patient talk."
records are wrong. I am not 46. I haven't been 46 since 1994."
gave him a long measuring look. "You better be convincing, or this
could be the shortest commission on record."
think I am crazy?"
have to admit, it's a good assumption."
me ask you this, how old is Aleilan?"
cocked that eyebrow again. "Ane are unusual, so I looked. She has a
birth year of record of 1976. That would make her Ane middle aged."
nearly died in birth. Her mother had a torsion of the uterus. Good
thing I was there to help. She was born into my lap."
My first, and most violent."
are starting to convince me. Why?"
be trite, I am not like other men." Jerry lifted his shirt. Scars
crossed his belly and chest like a map. "I got the majority of these in
the four years war fighting six Klingons, and loosing. I healed."
the ship's doctor. Things happen. I don't want you surprised when the
'dead' Captain gets off the table."
bad can you heal from?"
am not trying to test the limits. I might find them. That was about the
worst I have dealt with."
was the car bomb in 2063. I was in the car. I was hit by a considerable
number of machine gun bullets in 1968. That was the first time. You
tell me which is the worst way to almost die? I stopped comparing."
medical records reflect none of this."
why tell me?"
need to know. You are the Doctor."
you have complete medical records? Correct ones?"
He held out a data solid. "Please do not let that get around."
took it and placed it in her smock. "I would like to have a more
through talk on this subject, and others if you don't mind."
think about it Doctor. I need to get to know you a bit better. All the
medical information I can remember is on that solid."
good is your memory?"
Aleilan's help it is good, not perfect, but good."
not going to try to practice medicine too, are you?"
one Chief Surgeon is all we need. I will make an effort to understand
the reports you send me. You doctor, I'll captain, agreed?"
smiled. "Agreed. Who else knows about your 'quirk'."
of course, and Commander Meyers."
was with me on Anaxar for two years. She witnessed that fight with the
Klingons. After that it would have been hard to hide."
shot him a look. "Anything else I should know?"
shot her one back. "No, I don't think so."
Mark 14 photon torpedo; It was best weapon in the fleet. At least that
was the opinion of Lt. (jg) Giles Masterson. The diagnostic module
beeped. He pulled it from the access hatch and put it back into his
tricorder. With the weapon verified as functioning normally he closed
the hatch and turned the connectors. The hatch light turned green.
Masterson keyed it off, and pressed the stud to stow the torpedo.
good Mr. Masterson."
nearly jumped out of his skin. "Ah, yes, good."
can see your don't have a future in security Guy."
won't have one as weapons specialist Candy if you give me heart failure
by sneaking up on me. What's the good word?"
Captain wanders the ship."
flipped his tricorder off. "I would expect that really, it's a new ship
suppose. What is the junior officer scuttlebutt?"
things too delicate for line officer ears?"
cocked and eyebrow. "All of it."
leaded back on the torpedo housing thoughtfully. "Scuttlebutt has it
that he has a more 'fatherly' command style, and a few weird habits."
I would trust. I didn't hear any weird things from the Lydia
chatted them up I take it?"
I knew you would ask, and I wanted to know myself. Us lowly lieutenants
junior grade must keep up on the latest trends. Flogging might make a
come back. You have to be ready."
real papa bear."
bears can be mean."
was the impression I got. Fatherly, but don't cross the line. So how
mean can he get?"
saw him put two slugs into a Klingon officer with no more emotion than
you use putting a fork into a steak."
lead bullets, it is an affectation of his. He carries an old slug
thrower, and I do mean old."
eyes lit up. "OK, spill, how old is it?"
Second World War. I am quite familiar with the workings and weight of
the weapon. I never got to fire it. He didn't have many bullets."
I wonder how much is original? An antique like that could be worth a
small fortune. He just carries it around?"
kills Klingons with it. Your obsession with weapons is showing."
That's the scuttlebutt. He's Papa Bear. Kind, fatherly, fair, and holy
Hell in five flavors if you cross the line."
nodded slipping back into a more formal stance. "Mr. Masterson how is
the torpedo supply."
taking the cue assumed his role. "I have inspected 28 percent of the
torpedo inventory. Thus far all weapons are 100% functional. If that
situation holds, which I expect it shall, you will have a full report
on your desk by the end of the watch."
good Mr. Masterson, carry on."
hear this. Battle station drills will begin at 1100 hours and will
randomly occur after that. That is all."
the Kongo smoothly making progress toward Starbase
24 her Captain was poking around the engineering spaces. He could hear
the spines stiffen as he passed crewman at their posts. Several times
he looked over a crewman's board and nodded his approval with a
cheerful "carry on." His informal tour took him at last to the Chief
Engineer's lair. As he expected the Chief Engineer was in it.
McCaffrey, a moment of your time if I might?" Captain LaSaille leaned
against the door to the Chief Engineer's office.
of course sir. What can I be doing for ye?"
noticed that the bridge seems to be a station short."
don't catch your meaning sir. The bridge has all the stations it is
designed to have."
and that leaves my first officer standing. Now, the only time both the
first officer and I are going to be on the bridge is in a crisis. The
ship can be shaken quite badly. People have been killed that way."
sir, that they have."
handed McCaffrey a data solid. "Have a look."
inserted the solid and looked. The schematic showed a station to the
right of the center seat, mostly out of the way. It featured an
anchored seat and a small panel. McCaffrey considered the plan. "When
would ye be wanting this done Sir?"
it be done underway?"
but not with ease."
you have the parts fabricated, and ready for when we reach Starbase 24?"
enough, and plenty of time to work out the details."
Then we will do it that way. I want the parts ready when we make dock
will be done Captain."
smiled. "Good. I'll leave you to the business you know well Mr.
hear this. Final call for instructors for the voyage out classes. We
have a 100 day haul at the least, let's make the most of it. Classes
currently available are listed on the Ship's bulletin board. That is
had just gotten her tray from the slot and was looking for a place to
sit. Lt. Tate waved. "Candice, over here." The
woman was sitting with several other officers. Lt. Gene Collard, the
Izarian woman was anything but the stiff warrior that Fleet Captain
Garth had made popular. Also present was Lt. Kyle Steel.
smiled and made her way to the table. "Good morning. What is the news?"
said. "I was hoping you could tell us. Are we going to get the
traditional layover at El Nanth?"
your looking to a few days at home?"
you need that real El Nanth sun to keep this tan. UV beds don't make
Steel looked. That's a tan? I thought is was your natural color?"
I am told I was born pink as they come. On the El Nanth worlds you wear
sunscreen, swallow melalin daily, and watch your exposure. All that and
you still end up chocolate so deep it never comes out."
Collard said. "Is that wise, all the sun exposure?"
or not it's what you get. El Nanth is a blue-white furnace. It's a
hostile land for humans and just about everyone else. You do what you
can to protect yourself. I fully expect to get skin cancer. You get it
cured and keep on stepping."
said: "I haven't inquired to the Captain as of yet. I understand he is
from the same area. I shouldn't assume."
Steel said. "I understand it's a great leave. Even if only a few days.
A lively nightlife and all the fresh orange juice you can stomach."
Tate beetled her brows. "Did you know it is possible to tire of fresh
feigned a shocked look. "Impossible."
Meyers added. "It is a 74 day haul to El Nanth and we are still not to
the Orion sector, which is our assigned patrol area. I'll clear it up
with the Captain."
pressed the call on the Captain's Office. "Come." The voice sounded a
tad irritated. She walked in, Captain LaSaille had a good half dozen
PADDs on his desk, and was working the terminal as well. Meyers noticed
Aleilan lying behind LaSaille's desk.
you have a minute sir, or is this a bad time?"
looked up, and shoved the PADDS away. "They are all bad times." He
waved at a chair. "Have a seat. What's on your mind?"
have had some inquiry's from the crew as to whether we will lay over at
paused. "Yes, we do pass close by and it is a long haul. Sure give the
necessary orders to alter course for El Nanth. I will talk to whoever
is Admiral of the Starbase and get the Kongo a
quick look over as well. I have some modifications I want done. We
might as well do them there."
I might ask Sir?"
as you are the main beneficiary. I want another station inside the ring
for the first officer."
if I might ask?"
think about it. About the only time we are both on the bridge other
than entering or leaving a dock is crisis situations. The first officer
has no tactical screen, no terminal, and has to grip the rail if things
get rough, if the rail is close enough."
true, but I don't think there has ever been such a station."
have always done it that way is the worst reason to do it that way."
Sir, but why now? I would think that someone would have done it by now."
idea has a first."
guess this time you're first."
doesn't happen often. Anything else Mr. Meyers? As much as I would love
to chat, there is way too much datawork to do."
didn't bring a yeoman with you."
I've never needed one. Light cruisers are not huge Starships."
Sir, huge Starships are huge and have huge crews with huge piles of
datawork.. I suggest you get a yeoman. It really is a necessity on a
idea Commander. Recommend someone please and assign them ASAP, before
the Captain vanishes under the PADDs."
smiled. "Yes Sir. I will review personnel and you shall have a yeoman
before the end of the shift."
smiled. "Thank you."
hear this. Ensign Janice Joyce, report to the Captain's office. Ensign
Janice Joyce, report to the Captain's office.
Meyers stepped onto the bridge. Lt. Sawyer was relaxed in the center
seat. The end of another shift was coming up. Two engineers where
taking readings of the deck next to the command station.
morning Mr. Sawyer."
stifled a yawn. "Morning Commander."
are on heading 87 mark 5 warp factor 6 steady as she goes. No
incidents, no special orders."
read the situation back. "We are on heading 87 mark 5 warp factor 6
steady as she goes. No incidents, no special orders. I relieve you."
stood up and turned over the center seat. "I stand relieved."
slid into the seat. "Good night Lieutenant."
yawned again. "Thank you sir." He made is way to the turbolift.
stations were being relieved as well, in order, one at a time as the
Captain desired. Meyers took a quick look around. All was in order. The
viewscreen offered no diversions. She flipped out the command tactical
screen and called up the security report she had been reading at
breakfast. Starfleet command could never be happy with thing as they
are. A new Admiral in security meant everything was getting turned
proximity light started blinking. Lt. Collard's hands flew over her
board. "Proximity alert. Two vessels sir."
Quantum Foam, the other is a Qzin police cutter, registered
as the Ready Tooth."
shields and ready phasers, yellow alert. Hail them Mr. Steel, let's see
what is going on."
sir. I have the SS Quantum Foam on visual sir."
screen flickered to show a grizzled human in a faded Tellarite merchant
marine jacket. "Federation Starship, we have been pulled over by these
pirates. Help us."
continued working his board. "Qzin ship is hailing sir."
screen split showing the blunt muzzle and fan ears of the Qzin. "I am
Charr-Captain of the Ready Tooth. This vessel is
carrying contraband. Our actions are legal!"
Quantum Foam's Captain did his best to look scared.
"They're out to steal my cargo and eat my crew!"
even if you deserve it. We are protecting our system as is our right by
broke in. "Captains, please. Quantum Foam, I didn't
catch your name."
Captain Paul Harrison."
Harrison, Charr-Captain, I must investigate. I will call my Captain to
investigate both your claims. Remain at station keeping. Mr. Steel, cut
channel." Meyers hit the all call. "Captain to the bridge."
who had been following the exchange from his office, hauled himself to
his feet. "You're on your own for a while Mr. Joyce."
Janice Joyce, his new Yeoman, smiled grimly. "Yes sir."
trotted to the bridge. Things looked about as he expected. Meyers slid
out of the command chair as he came down the steps.
been following it."
like the usual?"
don't know. The Qzin don't tend to hold their ground like this when
they are wrong, and know it."
can solve this quickly enough. I'll..."
is a new security directive on your desk."
I hadn't gotten to it."
believe it involved the Qzin sir."
He swung the tactical screen around and entered his code. "Secure eyes
only. Crap. Mr. Steel tell our birds to continue to stand by. Mr.
Myers, Fleet insists I read this in private. I shall return."
minutes later, back in his office LaSaille chased his yeoman out and
pulled up the necessary White Paper. Ten minutes later he was headed
back to the bridge.
turbolift doors slid open. Mr. Steel announced "Captain on the Bridge."
you were. Mr. Meyers I need to handle this in person. Will you go to
transporter room two and escort our guests to my office. Mr. Steel."
channel opened. The Captains were waiting each with is own look of
impatience. "Captains. If you would come over to the Kongo
we will get
this matter settled '
bristled. "Why do you want me off my ship?"
the same reason I want Harrison off his ship Charr-Captain, so I hold
the upper hand."
do not trust the Federation."
that might be, if you wish a just resolution, you must come here."
would bring my Telepath."
broke in. I want my mate present then."
your self Captain Harrison. Mr. Steel, cut channel"
Ghurn you have the con. I'll be in my office."
had just finished piling his yeoman with the excess PADDs as the call
them into my quarters." He shooed her through the door. **Aleilan, come
in here please.**
LaSaille got himself looking 'Captainly' and Aleilan settled. "Come."
and his wall of a mate led the way. Charr-Captain and a scrawny Qzin he
assumed was the telepath followed. Meyers and two security guards ended
the procession. LaSaille remained seated. He looked at the over crowded
office. This would never do. He got up and led the way into the
captain's conference room. He indicated seats around the table. Meyers
took a seat, the wall and the two security guards remained standing.
Aleilan followed and found a corner. The Qzin telepath kept sneaking
looks at her.
what is the problem." Harrison started to open his mouth. LaSaille
interrupted. "Let's hear from Charr-Captain first, he has the
person," he spat it out, "is carrying a dangerous drug for sale on the
interjected. "I have no drugs."
looked at him. That was the truth, but not quite. "Charr-Captain,
explain please. What is this drug?"
thaan. An addictive euphoric. It destroys my people. Rass
thaan eaters do nothing but lay about, occasionally eat and
use more rass thaan. It steals their spirit and
will, yet they forever crave it."
continued to look smug.
said. "And what is the human name for it?"
Qzin's eyes flicked from Harrison to LaSaille. "Basil."
made a mighty effort to control the impending mirth. One of the
security guard snorted. Jerry shot him a withering look. "Are you aware
Charr-Captain that basil, or rass thaan as you call
it is, to humans, a harmless herb used in cooking?"
I know this. Doubtless something we enjoy would be harmful to you."
nodded. "Yes, that could well be true. However, for a human ship to
carry basil is no crime. We have a good deal aboard ourselves."
is in the intent is it not."
that is often true."
this basil is headed for the Patriarchy for sale, it is contraband."
would agree yes."
him his next port of call."
laughed. "Yes, I am headed to the Patriarchy. I am also headed to other
places as well."
said. "Did you plan to sell any basil or rass thaan
on the Patriarchy?"
scrawny little Qzin pointed a claw at him. "He lies."
snorted. "Are you going to believe that, thing."
folded his arms. "Yes, I am, because you are lying."
little Qzin flinched. Charr-Captain cuffed him.
is a telepath, Aleilan is a telepath, I am a telepath. We all say you
ears were straight out. "You, agree with Telepath?"
Truth is truth Charr-Captain."
you will turn him over to me."
agree his is a criminal, but you will not surrender him?"
know and I know that is not the way it is done. I agree that enough
evidence of a crime exists to arrest him."
and his wall of a mate started to move. Security covered them with
spat. "But I caught him, it is my prize."
he will be transported to Starbase 6, and tried. Please attend so you
can place your complaint. If he is convicted you can request
bristled. "Why? It is never granted."
eating criminals, and that could change. Captain Harrison, you and your
mate are under arrest for carrying contraband. Mr. Vort."
security guard stepped forward. "Sir."
that our two prisoners are transported to the brig. Mr. Meyers if you
will see that Charr-Captain and Telepath are returned to their ship.
Thank you all."
the room and corridor cleared LaSaille made for the bridge again.
sat down and tried to look cool. "Mr. Steel, ask Lt. Kaswheel to report
to the bridge please, then connect me to the Quantum Foam."
connection was quickly made. "Second Mate Carter here." Said the face
on the screen.
Carter, your Captain and mate have been arrested for carrying
contraband. My prize commander will be aboard shortly. I expect your
full cooperation in all matters on your way to Starbase Six. Do I have
looked pole axed. "Yes Sir."
turbolift doors opened, Meyers and Kaswheel. Jerry turned to them with
the connection open.
Kaswheel, you will take command of that vessel and sail her to Starbase
Six at her best speed. Take a crew of 20. Secure the ship's company."
Andorian came to attention. "Aye, aye sir."
hear this. Lieutenant Saul, please report to the main biology lab. Lt.
Saul to the main biology lab. That is all."
Vort sat eating with his circle of friends, all security strangely.
"Yea, he treated the pussycat with respect."
Gomez chided. "Mr. Vort, never consider the Qzin 'pussycats'. They are
your pardon sir, but we have them contained."
also have the antimatter that fuels this ship 'contained'. It is no
sir, but Qzin?"
how would any of us fair against one without phasers?"
taken sir, but why treat with them respectfully?"
older man shook his head. "If we are ever to teach them to respect
others, we must respect in turn."
Franks said: "Agreed. The important question is, how long do we get to
spend at Starbase Six."
dug into his green beans. "I don't imagine it will be long. I wouldn't
even count on station passes."
Quantum Foam was not a speed demon, it took twelve
days to get to Starbase Six. The Ready Tooth kept
formation the whole way. LaSaille watched the crew relax as they locked
down after docking. Meyers stood beside the command chair.
off our consumables. You may authorize station passes to the crew once
the ship is seen to. I'll need to see Admiral Decurte and file
statements with the Advocate General. I'll have a good idea of the stay
time after that."
made herself comfortable in the foyer while Jerry went into the
Admiral's office. Admiral Decurte, a broad, white haired man that
favored a Vulcan haircut and a walrus mustache was waiting for him.
Captain LaSaille, I didn't expect to see the Kongo."
didn't expect to stop, but we ran into an incident in progress."
put the Qzin in their place I assume."
sir, they have a legitimate complaint. I'm filing with the Advocate
General and turning the prisoners over to them. I imagine that
Charr-Captain is already there.
frowned. "I don't like giving them any leverage Captain. What is it
that again. Captain, if every human ship that carries basil was stopped
they would own us."
is the crime. From the evidence I have gathered Harrison intended his
basil for sale on the Patriarchy."
evidence is that"
lied about it when directly questioned."
up by the two I have aboard."
have two telepaths?"
myself and Aleilan."
is mighty damming. I still don't like it. They are sneaky and over a
hundred years after the last war they still push every chance they get."
we expect reason, we must be reasonable, and abide by our own laws."
but I still don't like it."
don't find myself inclined to 'like' them either, but fair is fair."
So, what does the Kongo need?"
little Sir, we are only 12 days from Earth and 24 days out. I would
like to top off, and get going as soon as the Advocate is done with us."
see little reason to amend your orders. Carry on then."
got up as he came out of the office. **Advocate next?**
I hope they don't give Charr-Captain too much trouble.**
and Telepath where sitting in the outer office when LaSaille and
Aleilan entered. Both had their ears back. Charr-Captain got up as they
entered. He came over to LaSaille.
LaSaille, this one will not covey my complaint to the Advocate." He
pointed at the Lieutenant manning the desk.
have you not recorded this being's complaint?"
he's a Qzin, they are always making false complaints."
was baring teeth.
turned to him. "Calm yourself." Back to the Lieutenant. "You're
you are reduced one grade in rank pending disciplinary review."
put an edge to his voice. "Ensign, it is not your job,
to pre-judge the complaints that are brought to you by any being. It is
your job, or was, to record them for the Advocate to hear."
since you are slow to obey orders, confine yourself to quarters until
further notice. Computer?"
the previous exchange. Forward the log to the Ensign's commanding
officer. Signed, Captain Jerold Ryan LaSaille, USS Kongo,
narrowed his eyes. "You are dismissed."
former Lieutenant stumbled his way out of his chair and into the hall.
voice spoke from the Advocate's office door. "You were pretty hard on
the kid Captain."
turned to the lanky Bantu woman standing there. "Do you honestly think
looked thoughtful for a moment. "No. I'm Captain Jamala Haki, Advocate
General for the sector."
Jerold LaSaille, USS Kongo."
it, and bring your friends with you."
followed her in as did the two Qzin and Aleilan. Telepath putting as
much distance between himself and Aleilan as possible. One
they settled in Captain Haki continued. "Computer?"
recording, Complaint of Charr-Captain."
am Captain Jamala Haki, Starfleet Advocate General for sector 8. Now
comes Charr-Captain of the Qzin Police Forces and Captain of the Ready
Tooth. Also present are Captain Jerold LaSaille, USS
commanding, the Qzin Telepath from the Ready Tooth,
and Aleilan, an Ane. Charr-Captain, what is the complaint?"
said. "I accuse the master of the Quantum Foam and
his crew of conspiring to transport rass thaan to
the Patriarchy with the intent of selling it there."
evidance do you have of this alleged crime.?"
thaan is on his ship, he had a stop planned on the
Patriarchy, and he lied when asked if he planed to sell it there."
evidence do you have that he lied?"
statement to that effect by Telepath, and corroborated by Captain
LaSaille, and the Ane Aleilan."
LaSaille, do you agree with this as a statement of fact."
do. I wish to append the log of the USS Kongo as
is so noted that the log of the USS Kongo is
LaSaille what are your qualifications to know if someone is lying?"
am Ansisi, a Human telepath that is part of the Ane All."
noted. And Aleilan, do you corroborate the statement of Charr-Captain
Heki looked stymied. "Computer, pause log."
can't hear her."
don't have a telepathy to speech device. They exist, but I don't have
access to one.**
can we get one?"
USS Nia has them, it is currently in shake down
testing near El Nanth.**
far away. We will have to strike your testimony."
eyes narrowed. "Well that affect the trial?"
it shouldn't. Telepath and Captain LaSaille's statements are more than
enough to file an indictment. The truth will be known. Start log."
statement by Aleilan is telepathic in nature, and failed to record. I
testify that she answered the question in the Affirmative. End log."
said. "How much time are we talking? I do have a ship to get on
days on the outside. Both the prosecution and the defense will need a
day to get statements and do discovery. We will hold the trial after
and Aleilan walked back to the ship. **Well,** said Jerry, **that was
that is why the interface was invented.**
we don't have one.**
can call ahead, I'll have one readied should we have a need.**
were coming off the gangway as they approached the ship.
said. **That was quick.**
barely had time to touch the consumables.**
Shall we catch a bit of rest ourselves?**
hear this. Now hear this. "USS Kongo NCC-1710 departs at 2100 hours.
All crew are recalled to the Kongo. The USS Kongo NCC-1710 departs at
2100 hours. All crew are recalled to the Kongo. That is all."
LaSaille trotted onto the gangway. The trial was quick and sweet.
Admittedly the Qzin were not happy. Harrison and crew were getting off
with hefty fines, and a warning not to enter Patriarchy, if they valued
their lives. Then Harrison wasn't happy either. He had a conviction on
his record that would look bad when his master's license came up for
review. He smooched Aleilan on the nose as she got off on the fifth
deck. He continued to the bridge. LaSaille
slowed down as he came off the turbolift. Mr. McCaffrey was sitting at
a new station and checking out the attached tactical display. A crewman
was running a fuser along the seam in the carpet. McCaffrey
turned to a technician at the sciences station. "Run the data stream
again Mr. Clarke."
turned to the board and did as asked.
looks good. Top o' the afternoon Captain."
McCaffrey, I hardly expect this done so soon."
sir, tis well ye should know that ye never give engineers an idle
moment, or they change the whole ship around on ye."
glad you only had three days."
not enough time to be dismounting the warp drives for the flossing of
them, that would take at least four."
sir. Try it out." McCaffrey got up and waved broadly to the new station.
had a seat and checked out the controls. "Mr. Clarke, send your data
watched the results then shut the panel down. "Very good Mr. McCaffrey.
Just what I wanted."
sir, thy will be done."
hear this. Ensign Mirmyr's 1100 belly dancing class has been canceled
due to extra duty. That is all.
Tate carried her tray to the table. Conversation was lively today.
Miller was talking: "This new Captain is different. Dock passes within
two hours of docking, and less than a month in space?"
Card broke in. "Giving the Qzin an even break. That's unusual."
Tate said. "Captain Diaz would have done the same thing."
yes. Not to imply that Captain Diaz was less than just. Captain
LaSaille is well, more easy going."
Tate pointed her fork at him. "In some things Ensign, but not in others.
came back. "How about that new station for the First Officer? I've been
in fleet ten years and I have never seen something like that."
Tate continued attacking her sausage. "That one I'll give you.
Obviously the Captain considered that it was needed to better serve the
ship. Mr. McCaffrey was his usual self in efficiency in getting it in.
mused. "I wonder if he would vet a change in the hall carpeting, I've
never liked that color."
snorted. "That would improve efficiency."
looked hurt. "It would improve mine."
McCaffrey pressed the call on the Captain's office door.
entered and took a seat. "Ye be wanting to see me sir?"
I am going to punish you for being good at your job."
in a word. Something not so simple."
the recent incident I found myself running around the ship. Why is my
office on deck five, the main briefing room on deck three, but the
bridge is on deck one.?"
where the designers put them sir."
very efficient. As you are aware the business of the ship keeps me down
there more than on the bridge. I don't like being this out of touch."
would ye have me do sir?"
want an office on deck one."
I'm good Captain, but where would ye be wantin me to put it, the head?"
looked over the plans." Jerry brought up a graphic. "This bulkhead here
to the right of the main view screen has nothing behind it. If we
extend the bow of deck one like this, we would have room for a small
office and a conference room. Not as big as the main briefing room to
be sure. But enough for those quick off bridge chats."
the Captain's pardon, but that is a lot more than a chair and a
tactical display. That's major dockyard work ye be talking about."
you do it?"
I'd have to get approval from Fleet. I need to schedule the dock time.
Have the thing made. All this not to speak of the designing of it. Aye,
I could do it, and lay the ship up another month."
you had the cap prefabricated?"
week, if it was done to the last conduit."
can arrange that, if I can get the design from you."
I be asking how."
are going to El Nanth. I have some Influence there. Give me your
designs and I can have the cap fabricated to your exacting standards by
the time we arrive."
the matter of permission?"
Captain, it be a big leap off a steep step. Altering the lines of a
worry Chief. My problem. You just design it for me."
do that for ye. But I hope ye know what you're in for."
hear this. Ensign Malloy to sickbay. Ensign Mallory report to sickbay.
That is all."
Meyers reached up to the comm panel and muted the all call. The man
beside her stirred.
Masterson rolled over. "Can't sleep?"
My brain won't shut down."
what is it this time? Protein stores? Plasma flux readings?"
should he worry you? We seem to have drawn a gem. The crew is really
starting to like him, and you served with him once."
got a lot more personal than that. I don't know Guy, the man has become
a cipher to me. It's like someone totally different. Kind, gentle, non
he some kind of... animal?"
Anaxar? Controlled cold fury. I saw him kill without so much as a
flicker of emotion. It's like that man was erased and someone different
with the same memories replaced him."
think I would be glad to see that man erased."
about it he was that way period. Through the entire patrol he seemed to
have a chip on his shoulder about the whole war."
heard of people taking war personally before. He might be one of them."
but that personally? He really was mad at the Klingons for starting a
war with him. Not the Federation, but with him."
you don't see any of that?"
Now he is calm and even handed, not even much of a temper. He never did
show any temper."
I suggest something?"
man on Anaxar was the anomaly. Candy you told me this man is old, old
enough to have fought in the last wars on Earth."
but keep that under your hat Guy, seriously under your hat."
it be that he does take war personally, in that he is tired of it?"
he even said something to that effect. 'Every time I stick my head up,
it's another lousy war.' War is not on his list of things to do."
you really say you even know him?"
I can't. Two years as the man's lover, and I don't even know him. He
is, and I suppose always was, a cipher."
you still want that?"
turned to her lover. "No Guy, it's over."
do I resolve unresolved issues that are ten years old?"
country... The term sprang unbidden and unwelcome to his mind. In
country, that was Anaxar, only wetter, and colder. In
country. He had been here nigh on to two years now. He knew the forest
well. The eternal hiss of the rain, the sounds of the animals, the lay
of the land. Jerry hunkered lower suddenly tense with the caution that
thought engendered. The last assignment had gone well, too well. He
knew he couldn't work forever without the Klingons getting wind of it.
He was being followed, tracked back to the cabin he and Meyers shared.
That would not do.
stream was up ahead. Jerry slipped into the cold water. He bit back the
gasp that threatened to escape. Two hundred yards, up stream, double
back, follow his own track. Stay upwind, these guys had great noses.
There, the hunter was at the steam, trying to follow the track. The
Klingon froze, Jerry stopped cold. Their actions were too swift to
follow. The Klingon warrior whipped around the knife flashing, (BOOM!)
The bullet entered his left cheek and blew out the back of his head.
The Klingon warrior fell heavily into the water. Jerry pulled the knife
from his gut. Damn that hurt.
in the brush... Jerry turned and fired. The bullet caught the Klingon
in the hip, spun him around and dropped him. The warrior used the
momentum to roll back to his feet. (BOOM!) The second bullet caught him
square in the chest. He sat down. Slowly this time he tried to rise.
Jerry flicked the knife into his neck. He dropped and stayed there.
Jerry quickly retrieved the knife and rifled his person for further
weapons. As he worked Jerry counted off, three more bullets. He only
had two left. There would be a third hunter at least. He was being more
cautious in his approach. He better have some weapons as well. Jerry
blue eyes washed the scene away.
rolled over and sat up. **Why?**
I haven't thought of Anaxar in years, never mind dreamed about it.**
is usually the older wars that trouble you.**
I being troubled, or reminded?**
you can answer those questions.**
I never did resolve that and now, well she is here. Anaxar was the
place, so that is what surfaces in my mind.**
is to resolve?**
brushed the mane from Aleilan's face. **A question to make me think?**
haven't dwelt much on Anaxar or Candy for five years.**
see her every day. It makes her hard to avoid.**
the questions she arouses?**
the questions. Being the commanding officer has problems. I can't
properly say "Mr. Meyers, we need to resolve old lover's wounds
would rather make things worse if I read Humans right.**
do, this time.**
know you. So what will you do?**
stepping, and look for an appropriate opportunity.**
Station grew large in the viewscreen. Jerry smiled at the sight. It
meant home to him now. The Savanna was still docked at the spot he left
her. He would have to see to a visit.
Collard said. "El Nanth Starbase is asking for helm control sir."
them have it Jean."
aye sir. Helm control to El Nanth Starbase, now."
was impressed, he couldn't tell the difference.
big door irised open as they approached. The Kongo
rode into the
massive dock as if on rails. The ship slowed as they approached the red
dock membrane. As the last of their momentum died the amoeba like dock
membrane gently reached out and grasped the hull of the Kongo.
eyes bugged a bit. "How does it do that?"
chuckled. "Ye tell them Jean, and thanking ye for it they will be."
said. "Ian has it to a 'T'. No one knows how they work, or how anything
works on the station. It's an artifact three quarters of a million
years old. We take it as it comes."
bridge crew finished locking down the stations. Soft thumps indicated
that umbilicals were being attached to the ship.
hit the all call. "Attention all hands, this is the Captain speaking.
We are docked at El Nanth Starbase. Consult your monitors for duty
rotation and leave schedules. Please address any questions to your
section leader. Enjoy your leaves, and we will see everyone in two
weeks. Captain out."
Collard finished locking down the helm she turned to the Captain. "Are
you taking leave sir?"
smiled. "I'm going home for a few days. I hang my hat in this system.
Oh and people take the sun warnings seriously. El Nanth will peel your
hide off in layers quicker than any place you have ever been."
Hull looked the plans over. He flicked between the pages. "I don't know
Jerry. It's a big modification to make."
I wondered on the Republic and later on the Enterprise
why the class didn't have a day room for the Captain. It's an old and
a lot of modification to make. It will change the whole look of the
how often do we look at them? Look I had the cap made on my own dime.
It's over at El Nanth Starships. My Chief Engineer says he can get it
on in a week. Yes it will change the look of the ship, but will not
alter her warp dynamics in the least."
does this thing mass?"
couple of tons. Yes it will change the ship's trim. I've worked that
out with Mr. McCaffrey as well."
reballast. The simulations we ran show no loss in tactical performance."
don't know Jerry. It's a big change for a convenience."
see it as a matter of efficiency. I've done this job now for a hundred
days. In that time I have hopped from the office to the bridge dozens
of times. Sometimes several times in an hour. I want to do the mundane
work of the ship a little closer to the action. You know how critical a
Captain's call can be sometimes. What if that call is needed in the
time it takes to get from the office to the bridge?"
have the thing made?"
we only have two weeks here."
if I said no?"
out the effort. I'll let the Ane weld it on the Nia."
flipped through the designs again. "I don't have the dockyard workers
to spare you."
have El Nanth do the work. They fitted out the Nia. They know the
I am not at all certain about this, but your ideas have generally
worked in the past. If you have it done, 'on your dime' as you put it,
I'll let you do it."
grinned. "Thank you. There won't be any regrets."
grumbled. "I better not regret it. Now, what are you and Aleilan doing
at your service Mark."
hear this. Technicians Bell, Givens, and Kessle report to the Chief
Engineer's office. Technicians Bell, Givens, and Kessle report to the
Chief Engineer's office. That is all."
Ballard watched the crew passing through sickbay for "sun care kits".
She grumbled to her Head Nurse.
all Jimmy. I wonder how many are going to come back with any skin?"
wouldn't worry too much Doctor. I notice how much the sun warnings are
suns and class M worlds are not supposed to mix."
Maxwell continued to make up more kits. "Well they do here. How do Ane
built for it Jimmy. Their eyes reflect ultraviolet, and a good deal of
blue. That's why they look solid like that. They have one tough hide
and pigmented mucus membranes. They have the evolutionary adaptation,
you going on leave?"
but I am saying off the beach. I am also taking a hat, with a wide
brim. First, I have another call to make."
Ballard leaned against the old dock space. Two over, the USS
Ulysses S Grant had docked there. Howard Nelson and his crew
had walked this very deck.
men, every one. I was saddened to learn of their loss."
turned, the Captain stood in the open area. This level of the docks was
not frequented. "How do you know I was thinking of that?"
you're here. The "Grant Dock" seems to be becoming a place of
pilgrimage. Two, you are very loud when you think."
minds again eh?"
hard thing to learn is how not to read them. I take it communing with
the lost was not your reason for coming."
was one of them. You were the other. I figured this would be one of
always visit the old girl." Jerry walked up to the aging hull. He
entered the code, and the door slid back into the hull. "Come on in
followed him in. He led her to the wardroom, took a bottle down and two
glasses. He poured a measure each.
eh? I thought you were going to let me do the doctoring."
is bartending, different but subtly the same."
sat down and looked into the glass. "I am singularly dry of toasts."
let it bother you. I'm not the toasting and drinking kind. Since you
are in a history mode, Admiral Barnard last drank from that decanter."
took a longer look at the glass, and the bottle. "You don't drink much."
than that. "Mark Sylow gave me that bottle of bourbon in 2062."
Madam. From the most famous distillery in Kentucky." Jerry took a small
sip. "It has improved."
sipped likewise. "Hmm, yes, that IS smooth."
what are the questions?"
many to ask I don't know where to start. Who was Mark Sylow?"
of the young men that helped me build this ship. I understand he was
one of the victims of Wintermute. He probably died hating my guts. Then
again, he likely wasn't thinking about me at the time. So many young
men, young women, bright, beautiful, all dust. Colin Powell, fresh
faced second lieutenant in 'Nam. He was killed in the Eugenics war.
Mark Sylow, Shara Green, 'Padre', those kids off the Grant. None saw a
quiet grave at the end of a fulfilled life."
don't know. A man on the African plains with a priest's collar, and a
deep faith in his God. He wanted to help people, and he knew a little
jackleg medicine. He was as much a doctor as any of us. What demons
chased him he hid well."
you never had good times?"
smiled. "Yes, this is a good time. Those hundred years I spent baking
my brains out on Savanna. My first marriage, all happy times, and
forever too short."
you been married since?"
times. I buried two wives on Savanna. A good dozen or more love
affairs, some serious. I'm no monk. They all end the same, she dies."
worry about the stability of the Captain, Jerry."
I ramble on about old friends and lovers over Kentucky bourbon? I
thought that is what old bourbon was for. You are asking the leading
an old woman by Human standards. Late middle age if I get into the
right state of denial. You are, how to say it, a look beyond to a place
I cannot go, but really want to."
used to tell people that immortality was not something they wanted, if
it is immortality at all. They would call me a liar with their eyes, or
even right to my face. Make up your own mind Denise, would you want to
be me? You can't pass it on, you can't gift it. You and you alone may
have the golden prize."
don't know. Life is attractive to me. I love life, but to live on
passed one's time and one's friends, I don't know."
don't know is a good place to leave it. I don't know. I step a day at a
time. Right now I am Captain of the Kongo, and that
is a happy place to
be. What about you?"
the worm turns. What about me?"
are you still out here?"
my good man, that is where my friends are. There is one more important
have yet to see it all. For that reason Jerry, I envy you. You will get
to see more of the universe than I ever will."
do I deal with it?"
the universe? Why, enjoy!"
my delicate condition. How do I deal with it?"
do not live to be 320 years old. Yet here I sit. I've been cursed,
wondered at, attacked, even worshiped. The last was the most
disturbing. How do I deal with it?"
have you done so far?"
mostly, told the truth when it was too obvious to deny."
don't know that I have advice you can take on that Jerry. But is has
been my experience that lies catch up with one, usually when least
convenient. I tell the truth, it leaves my life less complex."
knocked back the rest of the bourbon. "My Father always said much the
same thing. I'll keep that advice in mind."
Meyers looked out from the shelter of the Starfleet hostel in Crystal
City. The pavement simmered and it was only mid morning. A few people
moved around, all worn long sleeves, big hats and sunglasses.
Vivian, you where not kidding. It looks evil out there."
not that hot. We are far enough away the the sun to keep the heat no
worst than tropical. However, the UV exposure is 5 times worse. Your
SPF 20 is only SPF 4. You did use the third spigot on the shower?"
That helps a lot. Now the shopping is to die for. Let's go."
Collard adjusted her native costume and headed out with the others.
"Will we see many Ane?"
was wasting no time getting down the street. The pedestrian ways had
covered awnings, and people used them. "Not likely, there's a couple to
the right. Most are out on the open plains. If you want to meet the
locals we can rent a hovercar and head out. They will question your
eyes right out of their sockets. The young are the worst."
would be a shame to be here and not see Ane."
you two want to. Ane are old news to me and I'm old news to them."
asked. "What's it like growing up here?"
there are not many non-Ane people, less than a quarter million
humanoids. This is the only city in the system. Most of the Ansisi live
on Savanna, which has the only small town. Other than having the
universal market at your doorstep and an awareness of the sun delivered
with mother's milk, it's a lot like any other small colony world."
was rubbernecking. "This city is beautiful. When was it built?"
thousand years ago by someone called the El Aurians. They eventually
left and the city was left behind. It was here for the first refugees
from Earth. They also built High Crystal. Here is the mall. Ladies,
shopper's paradise. If an Orion calls you 'good stock', kick him in the
balls. He hasn't been here long enough and needs the lesson."
women worked their way down the stalls. Slowly they gathered the usual
bits that Starfleet bought. Candy was looking over an intricate bowl.
guy looking at me is giving me the creeps."
looked at him. "Yea, if he creeps you out that badly, shoot him. On
stun, kill will get you talked about."
man quickly wiped any expression from his face, and busied himself with
looked after him. "You aren't kidding?"
look mean, I'll tell you why later."
put the bowl down. "Lunch sounds good how about you Jean?"
my feet are killing me."
few minutes later the three women were enjoying crisp salads with tall
drinks to match.
couldn't get enough of the salad. "This is great stuff."
was digging in likewise. "Local farms, we grow for export now."
waged her fork. "Are you a farmer's daughter?"
Fleet brat. My Dad is a Chief Petty officer in the Fleet construction
corp. Mom likes dirt-side better than Builder Station. She said the
place gave her the creeps. Oh, Mom wanted me to bring you home for
dinner, if that's all right?"
said. "Sure, sounds good, home cooking and all."
squirmed a bit. "Can I take a pass. Guy was meeting me tonight."
smiled. "No pressure, it's my fault for not saying something sooner."
what's the deal with just shooting people?"
you read the local rules issued?"
not as well as I should have. I got the part about stay armed. I
assumed the place was dangerous."
are two laws here. 'Be it harm none, do as you will.' and 'There is no
such thing as an over reaction to force.'"
dropped her fork. "You really meant kick him in the balls."
bit of it."
mused. "This explains some of the stuff I have seen for sale."
much that is illegal elsewhere is not illegal here. Be careful what you
buy to take off planet."
LaSaille watched the zero pressure painters at work. McCaffrey was as
good as his word. The work was almost finished and they still had 6
days of layover left. Well, he had an Admiral to see.
got up as the door slid open. "Jerry, I've got a plum for you. A chance
to do a little science."
come rarely enough. What do you have?"
Terantix Three. It's on the way to Starbase 24." Hull pulled up the
chart. "They are in an industrial stage as of the last report. We
recently recorded a burst of radio from that location, and we are now
getting indications of spaceflight technology."
want us to sneak around and snoop."
exactly. Get as much information as you can without contact. They are
at a delicate stage."
is at the spaceflight cusp, how are they politically?"
than many worlds at that stage. They have three nations. Tarnax,
Gendrot, and Endvore. No active war as of last report."
be they found a better way to compete?"
be. Give it a good looking at, take your time."
chance of cultural raids?"
they will see you. They have some fine telescopes and radar technology.
They have bragged about them among themselves. You can't risk a direct
up all the data for my science officer. He will want a look for sure."
will be in the standard update."
Anything else we need?"
the usual Orion warning. They have been steering clear of our big
units. It makes me think they might have gotten a sensor upgrade."
keep that in mind. It's an improvement if they can see me coming from
further away, that increases the effectiveness of my patrol."
one way of looking at it. What plans do you have before you sail?"
plan to get home long enough to sleep in my own bed a couple of nights.
I think I can sneak a three-day pass in there."
luck on that. Enjoy your time off. Dismissed."
cuddled deeper in the bed, afterglow was, dreamy. Guy nuzzled closer.
for your thoughts?"
know I have any Guy, you drive them right out of my head."
windows boomed and rain beat against the pane. Candy looked out. "So
much for our romantic view."
told they pass quickly. The rain comes nearly every night with the
terminator. Besides the real romantic view is in bed with me."
Have you been here before?"
I didn't get planet side. We, had a war to fight."
still bothers you."
don't think it will ever stop Guy. I don't know that I would want it
to." She hugged closer. "I don't like war. I've been there, and it
is here to hurt you now."
wracked his jaw to pop his ears at the sudden pressure change and
opened is eyes. Yep, they were home. Teleporting was not fun.
Transporters were less jarring.
love, but it's true. The transporter is smoother.**
it won't reach from Builder Station to Savanna.**
can you without help.** He ruffled her mane. **Go play. You haven't
gotten much of that either.**
trotted out of the house, and broke into a dead run before she reached
the roof edge. Jerry stood in the courtyard and looked around. Home, he
relaxed just looking at it. The UV dome softened the light in the
courtyard and let his transplanted Earth plants thrive. The house was
large by Earth standards, and built on the Roman model. The central
courtyard and garden offered a sanctuary from the harsher atmosphere
outside, but the house blended into that outside seamlessly. Water
flowed from the cascade in the North and through the pebbled stream of
the garden. Rooms bordered all four sides. Some rooms were enclosed,
but most opened on both sides. Patios and low walls beyond the roof
line made telling where the house started and ended difficult. It
ambled its way down the low hillside, shaded by native trees and is
open to the plains beyond.
tall blonde woman came out of one of the rooms facing the courtyard.
"JERRY!" She flew across the space and gave him a hug. Two
things were immediately apparent, one, she had Elizabeth's "face", and
second she wasn't wearing a stitch. Jerry pulled back a little for a
better look. "Elizabeth?"
She took a step back.
admired the effect. "Ah, this is new."
had it for several months. It's the new Stoner biomech."
giggled at the physical effects her state of dress was having. "I can
how functional is it?"
Everything works at least from the outside. It doesn't have the brain
capacity so I have to run it as peripheral. R&D is working on
bit as much as I would like, and a little more than I would like
have you, done anything with it yet?"
yet. It's taken me the last several months to learn to walk and talk."
is the more than you would like part?"
is a chore, but I am learning to like some foods. You have the results
of eating to deal with. I cannot simply turn it off and leave it in the
moved close to caress her. "So, what is the opinion, worth it?"
Biology is messy, but, yes I like the sensate world. I want to learn
caressed her hip and she moved closer. "I think that can be arranged."
came out of his study. The lights against the dome gave a soft effect.
It was enough light to see by, but not enough to obscure the outside
view. Low rolls of thunder filled the evening air as the sunset
thunderstorms moved west. The high green note of the setting sun graced
the clouds as they followed the slow roll of the terminator. He had too
little time this time. Home was good, but adventure waited. Adventure
is what he had signed up for. That three day pass was Starfleet time,
not the Savanna 36 hour day. Several
dozen Ane lay about the courtyard in clumps. He went around and gave
his friends a last hug and cuddle. Elizabeth had a light shift on now.
It didn't hide much. Her body was a pleasant surprise. He would look up
the technical details later.
time to go. Take care everyone. I'll see you around the All.**
grass and fresh water.** Came the massed reply.
grabbed his kit bag and Aleilan's neck. He closed his eyes.
again he popped his ears. El Nanth Starbase hadn't changed.
to the Bridge."
smiled for about the tenth time that day as he walked from the new day
room to the bridge. It really was worth fighting to get. "What do you
have Mr. Sommes."
alert Sir. Unknown target."
the screen." A lump appear in the middle of the screen. "Magnify." The
lump resolved into a ship-shaped lump. "Drop toimpulse at one hundred
thousand kilometers. Mr.
Ghurn, what do you make of that?"
Captain. I am not getting an energy reading. Mass is one million tons.
It is an artificial construction."
ship's engines ramped down and the view slowed to a crawl. Collard
said. "Range one hundred thousand kilometers, proceeding on impulse."
am getting minimal power levels now. The mass is a hollow cylinder 3
kilometers long and a kilometer across. The center holds a mechanism I
would take to be Bussard ramjet."
frowned. "But ramjets don't work."
is correct Captain. The interstellar medium is not dense enough to
power a ramjet unless you are already over 0.5c. Nonetheless, I believe
we have one here."
what is their speed."
Tate consulted her board. "0.001c sir."
near fast enough."
turbolift doors opened. Candice Meyers emerged. She slipped into the XO
station without comment and proceeded to come up to speed. By this time
the Kongo was in close weapons range.
any life signs?"
turned back to his scope. "I'm not reading any sir." He made an
adjustment. "No, not even accepted hibernation levels."
Meyers said. "Do you want to board Captain?"
sir. You will get one tenth G due to spin, but it's way too cold."
you want to take a look?"
your team, and be careful."
haze of the transporter faded. The landing party looked about getting
their bearings. Frost covered everything.
Sommes said. "Damn it's cold. It eats right through the suit."
Cmd Ghurn added. "Correct. Commander we should not linger. The current
temperature is 32 Kelvin. Our suits are not rated for very long in
fan out in twos. Get all the readings you can. We are out of here in
scraped the frost off one of the nearby boxes. "Commander!" Meyers came
peered though the haze of frost. "We figured as much. Ghurn, how frozen
ran his tricorder over the box. "Ambient temperature. Exceedingly
shook her head. "That means they are dead."
but perhaps not permanently."
could be unfrozen?"
no. However, I am aware of developments in the works that could
successfully revive them."
let's get back and report."
Ghurn finished his report. "That is the extent of it Captain. From the
evidence the ship is a failed colony effort. We counted 2000 deep
hibernation tubes, all frozen at ambient temperature. We found no
was the energy reading?"
in the hull sir. It's dead."
said. "Mr. Ghurn indicates it might be possible, in the future to
Ballard took the question, nodding to Ghurn. "Yes, there are some solid
leads in that direction. Nothing I can say that will be ready in 'X'
asked. "What is your recommendation Doctor?"
it, they ain't getting any deader."
nodded. "We will take that recommendation. Burt, do what science you
can remotely. Vivian, find me a nice souvenir by sensors and beam it
over. Something that will look good in my office. Ian, make me a
salvage tag. Starfleet ID."
Sommes looked a little confused. "Sir, why beam something off?"
salvage rights Lieutenant; still in force. If we leave her as she is,
anyone can still claim it. It I take so much as a teacup, it's ours. If
it's ours, Starfleet can protect it until medical science catches up
with the problem. Burt, I'll give you 48 hours to get your readings."
I permitted to board sir?"
don't see why not. Just keep the dangers in mind."
hear this. Man down high energy physics, Medical to high energy
Tate pressed the call for the Captain's day room. She wore white
micro-fiber gloves, and carried an ancient looking weapon.
have your souvenir sir."
smiled. "You finally have it warm enough?"
it took a week, but we couldn't warm it too fast." She set the stand
under her arm on the table and carefully placed the gun in it. Then she
locked the built in force field down.
the force field necessary?"
it hits the floor it could shatter."
If I might ask Mr. Tate, why that item?"
Ghurn's science team found it on the bridge sir, in the Captan's hand."
killed himself with it."
stopped. "A message Mr. Tate?"
all of us sir. Mistakes can be costly."
you. That will be all."
left the room. Jerry stared at the gun. "Talk to me."
LaSaille settled into the command chair. "Report."
have arrived at Sigma Terantix sir."
me a cometary orbit, and cut the engines. Mr. Ghurn, the sensors are
grunted a reply and got busy.
hear this. Ensign Fine, Ensign Howard, to sociology. Ensign Fine,
Ensign Howard, to sociology. That is all.
Tate wandered into the main Rec-hall. The big screen was on. The show
was local. Some analog video signal cleaned up and translated. Two
smaller screens showed the survey in progress. Several people sat in
isolation zones, doubtless listening to audio programming. She spotted
Janice Joyce, the Captain's yeoman looking over the smorgasbord.
sir. This is really exciting."
me Vivian. We're off duty. I love this stuff, 'strange new worlds'."
new people, new cultures. When I was a kid I was part of the group that
surfed the Starfleet academic databases for music and bits of culture
from uncontacted worlds. If we got news that someone had joined the
warp drive community their music was colder than two-day-old oatmeal.
It had to be edgy and uncontacted."
hobby. Now we are on the collecting end."
this is so rad."
could hold a dance, using local music."
like it. Lets."
slumped in his seat in the Captain's conference room. He had gathered
the senior officer quietly. "Asteroid..."
shifted in his seat. "Yes sir. We have the orbit calculated. They have
two months to live."
All for nothing." He slammed his fist into the table.
looked from one of her fellow officers to the other. "Let's shoot it
waved a hand aimlessly. "You know it isn't as simple as that."
jumped in. "No, it isn't simple, but we have the most powerful ship in
the fleet! If we can't come up with a plan we are not worthy of her."
turned to Ghurn. "Bert, tell them."
have powerful optical instruments is orbit. We cannot act without being
looked from Ghurn to LaSaille. "Do they even know?"
continued. "Yes, one of their lesser Instruments is pointed right at
it. I am sure they know."
Ballad said. "There is no indication of this in any of their media."
shook his head. "It wouldn't be the first time that a government kept
something from the public, 'for their own good'."
looked around the table. "Candice is right, we have the power."
shook his head. "We have the power, but do we have the right? There is
that little sticking point of General Order Number One. We must not
interfere in the natural development of a pre-warp culture."
spoke again. "Sir, how can that apply? They are dying. Bert how big is
big Tellarite replied tonelessly. "Big, enough. Major extinction event,
might crack the planet."
turned to Ballard. "Doctor, don't you have anything to add?"
to add? I don't like it, I don't approve, but I don't recall being
asked if I approve."
eyes narrowed. "Has anyone here ever seen a Ceetian?"
came from around the room.
are you likely to. They are the reason we have the Prime Directive as I
have heard it called. It is still questionable as to whether they have
a sustainable population left. No one may ever see a Ceetian, again."
looked at the long faces around the table. "But why should that apply
here? These people are reaching into space, not hiding under the trees.
We need to save them." Collard and Tate were both nodding.
sat up and straightened his uniform. "I would agree, but orders are not
something we can ignore when we feel like it. That is why they are
expressed as orders. General Order Number One says no interference, and
as much as we might like to interfere just this one time, we are not
disobeying orders. Dismissed.
levered himself from his chair with a grunt and left. Vivian Tate fled
the room, on the verge of tears. Dr. Ballard gave LaSaille a long, hard
look, and departed without a further word. The last of the senior staff
left the room, nothing was said. LaSaille still sat there. Meyers
stopped at the door and squared her shoulders. She turned around,
I must protest!"
sighed. "There is nothing left to protest. We have a principle to
uphold, as painful as that might be."
about the principle of life? Billions of people are going to die, not
might not, could, but will! Doesn't that count for something?"
it counts, but we have gone over this. We must not interfere in the
natural development of a pre warp culture."
if that 'development' is to die?"
spun out of his chair. He paced, angry. "Life dies all the time. More
life rises to replace it. One asteroid will not make a difference to
it will make a critical difference for that life, those
people. I frankly, Sir, do not care about life a million years from
now, or a million years ago. I care about, the, life we, have, now."
looked at her flatly. "Epsilon Thirty Cee."
didn't get hit by a rock."
they didn't. They got hit by us. We were the cause of the collapse of
an entire culture, the near extinction of a species because of an arrogant
attitude that we knew best. The issue is still not decided.
They could yet die to the last. Who is to say that will not happen
me Captain, but that rock is going to do some hefty
interfering if we do nothing."
nothing is what we must do."
Jerry, what do we have to lose? You said it yourself, they are doomed.
If we walk away, BAM! One million metric tons of
death, express delivered. They are as good as dead. By the time we
reach Starbase 24 it will be over. The ecosphere might not even make
it. A billion years before life forms again. Unless we try."
it's a natural event, we have no say."
Are we unnatural? What force outside of nature made us, or makes this
ship run? Everything is within the laws of physics or it couldn't work.
Sir, the attitude that we are an unnatural force is more arrogant than
any contact, no matter how disastrous. Are we God to decide who lives
and who dies and by what means? If that asteroid was an alien fleet you
would be calling for reinforcements and prepared to sacrifice this ship
and all within to save those people, and we would be right behind you.
But because it is an asteroid, and not a fleet, and all we risk are the
phasers, we do nothing. I challenge you to tell me how this ship and
her crew are any more or less natural than that hunk of cosmic slag."
stood poker faced. "Are you done?"
realized she was panting, sweaty. "Yes Sir."
accept your challenge, and I will give you my answer tomorrow." He left
the office by the door to his quarters.
Meyers stood there for a long moment. She didn't know of she had won,
or lost, but it was movement."
in her quarters Candice Meyers looked at her reflection in the mirror.
The gold uniform, the section patch on her breast. "Guy, I'm resigning."
bit hasty aren't you? He hasn't said no absolutely."
have to be ready. I cannot serve in a Starfleet that will stand by and
watch an entire world die. That isn't what I came out here for."
scrubbed at his face. He couldn't do it tonight. Three centuries of
practice or not, too much on his mind tonight to find his center. So
much for throwing the question to the All.
your mind is so troubled, perhaps you have the answer already?**
rolled to face Aleilan on her three quarters of the bed. **Why would an
answer trouble me?**
not answers often more troubling than questions?**
go getting all Ane on me.**
am already 'all Ane'. How could I be otherwise?**
now. What would you do?**
Ane do not have the means to act, no matter what we might choose.**
have the means to act.**
you are blessed with a meaningful choice.**
you call this a blessing? I want to do something, but the memory of
that little golden man, and his abject, fear... I never want to be the
cause of that again.**
heart says yes. How can we be different from the universe that contains
us? Hell, even that is an arrogant statement, we are not "contained" we
are part of the universe, made of stardust.**
your troubling answer?**
difference between us and that rock is we have the responsibility of
what is your choice?**
cannot choose less than life, and face myself.**
if you lose your commission over it?**
have lost greater things, and survived. Cuddle, Sweety?**
moved closer to him and he snaked an arm over her neck. Captain Jerrold
Ryan LaSaille slept the sleep of the just.
on the bridge." The tension was palpable as the Captain walked across
the bridge without a word and entered his day room. It was barely
closed when the comm chirped. "Bridge,
LaSaille here. Commander Myers to report to my day room."
eyes were on her as she stood. "Lt. Collard, you have the con."
was not as calm as she hoped she looked as she pressed the call.
"Come." She entered and the door closed behind her like a guillotine
gave full consideration to your words last night Commander. It was a
difficult night indeed."
difference between us and the asteroid is that we
have the responsibility of choices. I wish for you to call a briefing
at 0900 hours for all senior staff members. The subject will be, how to
smash that rock. Dismissed.
tension in her chest snapped like an over-wound spring. "Yes, Sir, at
once Sir." She turned to leave.
looked back. "Yes Sir?"
be too relieved until we see if we have any career left."
if you hadn't decided this way, my career was over anyway."
planed to resign?"
spent the night drafting the letter."
may be needed yet. Send me a copy, I might crib from it."
you are all aware the subject of this briefing is, 'how to stop the
rock'. I am of the opinion that this action will violate General Order
Number One. Anyone not comfortable with the idea of not having a long
and illustrious career in Starfleet should retire from the proceedings
snorted. "Been there, done that, but I ain't never saved a whole
planet. Let's get down to business."
one got up. McCaffrey added: "I would be guessing that will speak for
the lot Captain."
around the table.
smiled. "Good, let's do this. First problem, can we reduce that rock to
the point it is not a threat to the life and ecology of the planet?"
Tate said. "We have the fire power. While we can't destroy it all at
once, we can nibble it away."
the mass of the asteroid, I estimate three weeks."
interjected. "Lass, if ye will be taking three weeks, how do ye be
planning to do it."
should well know lass that the ship's phasers, while powerful, are not
meant to be fired for three weeks solid. I am not wanting to be a wet
blanket here, but if we burn out the phasers, the good people below are
in the same boat they are now."
tapped is stylus on the table. "How heavy a duty cycle can the phasers
thought for a moment. "Hours, perhaps a full shift. If we keep it down
to burst, no long blasts."
you maintain the banks between the shifts they are used?"
I can keep them going a while like that."
is our state of replacements?"
are fully stocked, I have enough spares to replace one bank, four
times, completely. I have or can fabricate additional spares of the
most perishable parts."
said. "The Kongo has four phaser banks. If we
rotate them one bank a
shift, and they are maintained between shifts, and we keep it to short
bursts, can we do it?"
shook his head. "I wouldn't want to be pinned down on that lass, I
wouldn't. Try, I can. Assure, well that I cannot."
said. "Will you try?"
sir, with all me heart and skill, but I'll not be makin' promises I
will try then. The question remains to astrophysics. Mr. Ghurn can you,
given our limitations, devise a plan to cut the rock up?"
started. "Devise it yes. In the time we have... that depends on your
definition of 'destroyed'."
disintegrate the asteroid completely, and fulfill Mr. McCaffrey's
requirement we go gentle on the phasers, we don't have enough time, on
rough estimate. How destroyed is enough?"
said. "Small enough to not kill people, or as few as we can get away
added. "Under a meter would be best. That is still going to result in a
lot of minor hits. Statistically people will die 4 billion people, a
whole planet, some rocks will hit people."
grunted. "But, the ecology, and the culture will not be impacted."
said. "I don't think we can average a meter either. It has to be a
meter and under."
said. "What is the impact zone?"
replied. "The area they call the Indrun Sea." He pecked at his terminal
and brought the graphic up on the central screen. "The resulting
tsunami will hit 30% of their most populated coastlines it will destroy
land as far as 500 miles inland. That is not the worst. The returning
ejecta will, well the effects are well known. Destruction of
civilization, mass extinction event, minimally. This asteroid is large
enough and fast enough it could disrupt the crust."
paused. "Mr. Ghurn, being we are going to the trouble, what do the
natives call themselves?"
we are working to save Bolia then. Mr. Ghurn, get us some real figures
to deal with. Mt. Tate, work with Mr. Ghurn and formulate a plan to
fire the phasers by. Mr. McCaffrey, I suggest you prepare your team for
a good deal of phaser maintenance. We will be effectively under battle
stations for weeks. We won't have anyone shooting back at us. But I
expect this will be wearing on everyone. I know that all departments
will pitch in. We will reconvene at 1500 hours. Dismissed."
scrubbed his chin. Stubble was forming. Time to depilate again, heck he
might grow a beard. Two days of plan and discuss, discuss and plan. No
one had gotten a lot of sleep. The final proposal was in front of him.
"OK, we have a solid plan. We can nibble the asteroid away to the point
that it is only the most spectacular meteor shower of all time, and
keep our phasers working while we do it."
Tate said. "Yes sir. By the final action plan it will 25 days and we
can conserve the phaser relays and emitters."
said. "Aye, but we won't be in any shape for a long fight."
nodded. I'll take that under advisement. We still have the Prime
scowled slightly. "I thought we had gone over that?"
agreed that we have to help, but we still have the Prime Directive, and
we are going to try and uphold that."
said. "Respectfully sir, with us blasting chunks of rock off the
asteroid, how? They have some pretty good telescopes."
will keep the asteroid between us and Bolia Vivian."
stood up and stretched. "Frankly? I doubt it, but we will make the
effort. Mr. Meyers, isolate and seal the logs from these briefings. No
doubt they will be required at the court martial."
Kongo's phasers reached out to the asteroid and blew a chunk the size
of the Kongo herself from the main body.
at will according to plan Mr. Tate, lets be efficient about this, time
Weenot levered himself out of bed. Sleep was useless. Two months, that
was all, just another two months. He and his colleagues had worked the
figures again and again, there was no mistake. He
still wasn't sure that silence was the best course of action. However,
the Leaders had been adamant. The people would not be told. Nothing
could be done. Let the people live and die in ignorant peace.
wandered into the bathroom and blinked at the brightness of the light.
He ran a hand over his bald blue head, stubble. To perdition with
fashion. He refused to spend one more minute of his remaining two
months removing perfectly good hair from his head. Padway
went to his workroom and turned on the computer screen in the darkness.
A few moments with the key board had him logged into the telescope that
was monitoring the object of their fate. AEG-2435 rolled impassively on
the screen. A
bright flash backlit the object for a moment. When it cleared a small
piece of the great asteroid had broken away. Again the object was
backlit. The smaller piece was further reduced. Within half an hour the
smaller rock had been reduced to gravel.
Weenot sat glued to his seat. His mouth hung open. He could well be the
only person that was watching this in the whole world. He was gripping
the monitor sides, his shoulders ached. Another flash another large
rock broke off. He willed himself to let go of the computer. He found
himself sobbing. Tears welled in his eyes till he could no longer make
out the screen, only the frequent flashes. He
dabbed at his eyes, and stumbled for the phone. It took three tries to
get the number right. The phone rang.
voice squeaked. "Put the Tyrant on."
Tyrant Melnose is sleeping."
is professor Weenot, PUT HIM ON!"
be reasonable, you..."
isn't a time to be reasonable. Get him up and PUT HIM ON THE PHONE!!"
the room the monitor continued to flash. A long tense silence followed.
A sleepy voice answered.
here, Weenot. This had better be good."
have been monitoring the object, I couldn't sleep."
voice got cranky. "Fine, now neither one of us is sleeping..."
again?" The cranky tone was gone.
is breaking up the object. I am seeing bright flashes, then a bit
drifts off, and that is destroyed."
Sir. I am dead sober. Pull it up yourself."
phone on the other end hit the table. Weenot waited. After a few
minutes the phone was picked up again. "HOW?!"
do not know sir. I suspect it is an artifice however. I don't see how a
natural phenomenon could account for it." In the background his
computer continued to flash.
heed a better picture." All tiredness and crankiness was gone.
Big Instrument would show much more detail, but you have forbidden it
from being pointed that way."
I had my reasons."
ones at the time. Could you countermand that order?"
could hear a bit of the other conversation, likely on a second phone.
He carried the phone back to his computer. The screen flicked again but
not with the bright flashes. A larger and more powerful instrument was
now on the channel.
you see anything?" Tyrant Melnose was back on the phone.
increased the magnification. From behind the Object, beams of energy
lanced out, the rock broke up further. "Yes sir, I can see something.
Beams from behind the Object of some type. It must be a ship.
stared at the screen. "I will compose a message. Can the Obecara
telescope reach that far?"
sir that and much more."
we will use that, in the morning."
Tyrant. Thy will be done." The phone hung up from the other end.
didn't move from in front of the screen that night as the strange
people of the unseen alien ship lent them mercy for what reason he did
LaSaille woke up he went to the bridge at once. Gamma shift was still
hard at work on the rock. The Kongo was working off
the ventral phaser
bank as planned. Karl
Steel was up early and manning the board. He looked concerned. LaSaille
wandered over to communications.
do you have Karl?"
looked up briefly, nodded. "I'm not sure Sir. It's a binary message,
sublight, it keeps repeating."
doubt sir. Big radio telescope if I am not mistaken."
are they saying?"
a common code, one they have been using for centuries. 'Our grace to
you.' and it repeats."
been spotted. I rather figured we wouldn't avoid it. Make, 'You are
welcome. We must work now,' in their codes Mr. Steel."
Cornish looked at the Captain. "You're going to contact them sir?"
Mr. Cornish. If one will hang for a sheep, they might as well hang for
Melrose looked at the answer. "They understand us?"
lapsed into professor mode. "Sir, we have been sending radio signals
out for two hundred years. If starfaring people exist, which obviously
they do, then we are known."
they have waited this long to contact us?"
back. 'Who are you, will you come to see us?'"
LaSaille looked at the latest translation. "OK, message back. Let's see
if your universal translator is up to the task. (ahem) People of Bolia,
we the peace loving people of the Galaxy hold life and self
determination as the highest of values. To that end we do not contact a
people until by self determination, they come of their own accord out
among the stars. As life is also among out highest values we will not
willing see a people die if we have the means to prevent that death.
will do all we can against the asteroid. Our best efforts will not
completely destroy the asteroid, but reduce it to smaller stones that
will still rain on your world. These stones will each be dangerous, but
no one or even the whole mass will threaten life, or your civilization.
we have done this work, we will leave you to your own self
determination. We will eagerly await your coming to the stars. End
not going to identify us?"
Lieutenant, it's better if we don't."
handed Tyrant Melrose the message. He read it slowly.
that is how it will be."
how will we ever thank them?"
becoming the people they expect us to be Weenot. We now have an
appointment with destiny"
hear this. Chief Engineer McCaffrey to the main phaser bank, Chief
Engineer McCaffrey to the main phaser bank. That is all."
LaSaille rubbed his face. "Switch to the starboard bank. Rake them
Tate bent to the task. "Aye aye sir."
again the phasers fired into the debris field that had once been an
Tate said: "Firing sequence complete."
turned to science. "Mr. Ghurn?"
Captain..." Several minutes passed. "We do not have any stones larger
than one meter in diameter."
Intercom beeped. "McCaffrey to bridge."
we won't have the using of the main phasers until I can see a dock. I
have weakening in the main coolant fixtures."
it down and drain it Ian. We're done."
St. Mary for that."
punched the all call. "Attention all hands. This is the Captain.
Mission accomplished, the asteroid has been reduced. My deep thanks for
the extra effort all hands have put into this project. It is likely all
the thanks you will get. Job well done people. Captain out. Mr.
Liquard, plot a course for Starbase 24. Mr. Collard, lay it in and best
speed. It's time to pay the piper."
Kongo pulled into Starbase 24 a sorry sight. Covered
in dust, blast marks all around the phasers. The Captain turned to the
bridge crew as they shut down the stations.
you can get started. You have informed the dockyard of our needs?"
you're with me. Time to face the music."
Toloth was waiting for them. "LaSaille, you said you were conducting a
rescue. It looks more like you fought a fleet action the last month."
sighed. "A little of both Sir."
was the rescue site."
got that, what was the rescue, and why so long?"
had an appointment with an extinction asteroid. We converted it into
You were successful?"
sir. They will have one nasty meteor shower and nothing more."
couldn't divert it?"
long did they have?"
is a fairly advanced culture LaSaille. Did they know?"
serous matter. What was the nature of the contact?"
all in the logs sir, sublight radio."
they see your ship?"
we hid behind the rock until we didn't have enough rock to hide behind."
suggest you do not say any more until the hearing."
rise." The admirals entered and sat. "As you were."
Admiral Nogura spoke. "This is a formal hearing to determine if
courtmartial proceedings should be brought against the Captain and
officers of the USS Kongo for violation of General
Order Number One. Mr. Prosecutor, you may proceed."
it please the court I will enter into evidence the logs of the USS
Kongo pertaining to the incident in question. You will find
within those logs that the Captain and officers in question are quite
aware of the nature of General Order Number One, considered that they
could well be breaking General Order Number One, and willfully chose
actions that in the opinion of the Advocate General are clear
violations of General Order Number One."
logs are so entered and shall be exhibit A. Captain LaSaille, to you in
whole or in part dispute these logs or the statements pertaining to
you have any reason or explanation for your actions?"
sir, I do."
leaned forward. "Then please explain."
The Federation itself is based on certain principles. These principles
guide the laws and orders under which we govern ourselves. It is my
opinion, and that of my officers that these principles come first, and
over ride any order that under the circumstance present may violate
them. General Order Number One prohibits a Starfleet officer from
interfering in the natural development of a sublight culture. What
I ask are we? Are we somehow meta-natural? Are we apart from the
universe that contains us? I came to the conclusion that no, we are
not. We are every bit as natural as the asteroid. The difference being
that we have the responsibility of choices.
choices did we have? Two that I could see. To take action was to risk
discovery. To risk polluting the culture of Bolia with the knowledge
that we exist. To not take action was to ensure that the cultures of
Bolia would never, never change at all. They would
be forever free of pollution. They would be dead.
is proclaimed in the document that binds us that life is sacred. This
is the First Principle of the Federation. Life is sacred. To preserve
life, to cherish it, to help it flower, this is the reason we are
gathered together. We chose to follow the First Principle, to preserve
life. Culture will take care of itself. Indeed, by this time had we not
acted four billion people, would, be, dead. All civilization and
culture on Bolia would, be, erased. There would be nothing to defend
with General Order Number One. This
is the sole article of our defense and justification for our actions. I
hearing board whispered among itself for a moment. Naguaro spoke. "We
will retire and consider the logs of the USS Kongo
and the statements given here. The hearing is adjourned.
senior staff of the Kongo was gathered in a quiet
corner waiting for
word from hearing board. Candice
looked over her fellow officers, each showed signs of nervousness. The
Captain sat still as death, watching the activity in the spacedock. She
moved beside him. "Nervous?"
can you be so, calm?"
too shall pass."
this another 'perspective of the old' thing?"
it is. four billion people live and love because we acted. The ire of
men for the way we acted cannot change that."
you were ready to walk away."
that age and wisdom do not go hand in hand. I have you to thank for
you thank me, even with this?"
but we knew the consequences before we started. It is a little late for
regret and worry now."
staff lieutenant came in. "The court is ready to reconvene."
the hearing panel had settled in Rear Admiral Nogura began. "Captain
LaSaille, I have a number of questions as regard to your actions
concerning the Bolian attempt at contact. I wish for your to explain
sir, I will do my best."
did you answer their hails?"
Admiral, my Mother always taught me to be polite. It was obvious the
Bolians knew we were there. They aimed the signal right at us. Now for
myself. If someone tried to save my life, and I tried to thank them, I
would feel funny if they didn't even reply."
are projecting your feeling onto the Bolians Captain, do you think that
made the effort to contact us. As the logs indicate once we had
admitted to being there, an obvious fact, they invited us down for
dinner if you will."
could you tell this court your answer?"
said, no, thank you, and explained the principles of General Order
Number One, and why we had it."
the Bolian reaction to this?"
made no further attempts at contact."
again the Admirals talked among themselves at the table. At last they
turned again to the hearing.
Admiral Nogura read from a prepared statement. "It is the finding of
this hearing that the Captain and officers of the USS Kongo
NCC-1710 acted within the principles of the Federation, and
by association, those of Starfleet. This court further finds that if
the wording of General Order Number One is so flawed as to cause doubt
in the minds of any officer that they should hesitate in the saving of
life; that a review of General Order Number One is in order, and should
commence at once. This court recommends to Starfleet command that a
committee of officers review General Order Number One and institute
changes in the wording so that no doubt or ambiguity will remain that
in any case where life is endangered, Starfleet must act.
more this court recommends that the USS Kongo NCC-1710
be awarded the Red Cross Unit Citation for valor in the saving of life.
This hearing is ended.
looked the Captain over. Jerry ate quietly. "You
worked to get the Kongo, why?"
a family connection."
thought your family was long dead."
still a family connection. My Father helped sink her."
Could you explain that?"
told you most of it Candice. My Father served in the United States Navy
in the Second World War, on Earth. He was a Navy pilot, that is, he
flew prop driven aircraft."
was a Dauntless pilot. The Dauntless was a dive bomber."
gravity bombs and aiming by dropping them while in a dive." His hands
demonstrated the concept."
devices in the 20th century?"
high explosives. The gravity made them drop."
what is the family connection?"
Father flew the mission that damaged the IJS Kongo.
That damage later led to her sinking."
right, so you wanted this Kongo?"
satisfied an inner desire. I claim no logic or reason for the decision."
Father collected his Kongo, you wanted one too?"
shrugged. "As good a explanation as any. The Kongo
is one of the queens of the fleet. I wanted one, like every other
Captain in Starfleet. I could have placed my sights on the Exeter,
or the Kongo. I considered the Lexington,
but Wesley doesn't look to be going anywhere."
home town, Lexington, Kentucky."
you aimed at the Kongo?"
you get everything you want?"
You walked out of my life."
you still want me?"
Why reopen the wounds? I want to settle things with you."
seems to me that would require reopening the wounds."
they ever closed?"
played with the food on her plate. "No, I can't say they have."
don't impress me as a two man woman."
don't impress me that way either."
have a good thing with Guy. Is that something you want to give up for a
her, I thought we had a good thing going."
her I take it you mean Aleilan?"
was born into my lap. Mine was the first mind she touched after birth,
and she nearly killed me. I've explained all of this before. Aleilan is
my other half. She came first, by several centuries."
you're a two woman man."
in the manner you picture it. There is more than one kind of close
not your lover?"
a shallow viewpoint."
is not an answer."
do you mean to me to deserve an answer Candice?"
stood over the table. "That two years was for nothing?!"
it? You assumed a kind of relationship. You didn't stop to consider
that a sexual relationship was not the only kind of intimate
relationship that could exist. I don't even consider sex 'intimate'
anymore. Sex is so shallow a contact compared to mind to mind."
don't even care."
sat back. "If I didn't care, would we be having this conversation? I'll
point out, you started it."
sat back down. "I was sacred, I was lonely. You were heroic, you
rescued me. I... I wanted you."
understand. I was sacred too. Holding you was a great comfort. I
respect the depth that most humans place on sex Candice. I would have
married you, if you had asked."
didn't you ask?"
don't need the pain."
sat ramrod straight, his voice a dry whisper. "You're going to age,
you're going to die. I have the cursed luck to live. How many times can
I love and lose? 20, 30? When does my heart crumble from being broken
Candice? How may loves can one man bury?"
sat quietly at the cold recital. "Jerry?"
lose Aleilan eventually. Ane are long lived, but they don't last
forever. Will I go mad? Will I live a thousand years a madman?"
I don't have answers for you."
don't have answers for me. I am an explorer of the most frightening
kind, and I can't even quit the journey. Can you understand? Love
hurts, it always hurts me. I have walked away from the graves of a
dozen women that I loved."
why do you love?"
I am Human. I need love as surly as any man. I yearn for woman, and I
love her. Fragile and short lived as she might be, I need her. I never
ask, I wait for her to ask, and if my heart agrees, I marry, I love,
and I know I will suffer the pain of loss. That is what it means to be
I, didn't realize..."
could have told me."
sat still for several minutes, silent. "Yes, I could have told you. So
obvious, so simple, and me so blind. Will you forgive me?"
if you can forgive me."
It's better for both of us. You have Guy. I will live."
we can be friends?"
stood. "Better, we can be comrades." He held out his hand.
shook it. "Let me say it again, Welcome aboard Sir."
-- 2361 El Nanth Starbase.
we almost there Grampa?"
just a little farther."
Old Bolian brought the cargo lifter to a halt. The young boy jumped
from the craft and ran to the window. There, framed in the
transparency, was an old starship in perfect trim. The USS
Kongo NCC-1710 enjoyed a golden retirement. The young boy
pressed his face to the glass.
An old Constitution class. Does it work?"
it's privately owned now, and it is kept in perfect trim, fueled and
ready to fly."
said this one was special, how?"
hundred years ago, that ship saved Bolia from destruction. Only my
Grandfather and the Gendrot Tyrant knew. When I was your age my
grandfather told me of the starship that saved us. The Night of Falling
Stars would have been the utter end, if not for that ship and her crew."
truly and really. It took me years of research in old logs to find the
one ship that was there. I was surprised to find she still exists."
third voice said: "Would you like a tour?" The sandy haired Human
tour, could we Grampa?"
hesitated. "If that would be alright."
I'm the ship's caretaker."
they left the old Bolian stopped at the open hatch. He caressed the old
hull and softly whispered. "Thank you."
Ryan LaSaille said never a word.
First Principle -- Garry Stahl, March, 2004
story beat me up for over two years, more like three. I forget when I
first wrote the opening phrases to this tale. It has languished in the
directory for years. March 2004, it finally jelled. This
is my first contemporary TOS effort. It is two years before James T.
Kirk becomes a Starfleet hero and gains the USS Enterprise.
Jerold Ryan LaSaille less bold, and a class ahead of him is just
getting his "Queen of the Fleet".
IJS Kongo was sunk in 1944 by the HMS
Sealion II. As mentioned she was returning to Japan for
repairs. The damaged suffered at the hands of American dive bombers
USS Lydia Sutherland is an old fan tradition that is
drawn from the "Hornblower in space" idea. The Lydia
(32) was the firgate we first see in the Hornblower tales (in order of
writing.) And the Sutherland (74) Hornblower's only
ship of the line command. Tradition has it that Commander James T. Kirk
loses the light cruiser in a heroic defense, and is rewarded with
promotion and command of the Enterprise. The matter
is covered in one of the pro books, but I forget the title.
are my take on Kizn which appear in the one Larry Niven written tale
from the Star Trek Animated series: "The Slaver Weapon". A frank
re-write of his short story "The Soft Weapon". I am of the opinion that
Niven could have written a new story thank you. Either way. I change
the spelling and a few details. I do stick with the idea that Qzin and
Cait are related species as Allen Dean Foster suggested in his
adaptation of the TAS stories to novel form. I believe Foster did a
beautiful job in the "Logs" and often regret that I sold mine.
why the Kongo? "Kongo" was one of the names
suggested for use in the Making of Star Trek and it made the final list
even thought it never made it to the screen. I latched on to the name
as a kid, and it was my ship when ever we played Star Trek. Jerry
Saille was my captain. The character has evolved from the frank Mary
Sue of playing Star Trek in the basement to I hope a more rounded and
Subtext 2011 --
I made few changes here. A couple of words, a paragraph division
and scene separations. This is one of my newer tales and
therefore I hope less embarrassing. Oh, and I managed to get the
Foster Logs back too. And added the Animated Series DVDs as well.
This one was done out of order
spurred on by my making the cover. The scene is perfect and only
required altering the ship slightly and adding the title.
or questtons on this file? Mail
Return to -- Epiphany Trek: The StoriesCopyright
© 2004, Garry Stahl
All rights reserved, reprint only
The preceding story is a
work of fiction. All
characters are fictional. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is
coincidental. All original characters ships, races and situations are
copyright © Garry Stahl.
copyright © Paramount Pictures.