Another installation of the Wanderer
series. Thanks to everyone for your comments and praise. I should have more soon.
By Jack D. Elmlinger
Jedani Corryn strode down the hallway, fighting to keep her panic in check. Here she was, again, on a new ship with no friends and no inclination to make any new ones.
, she thought, smiling faintly, causing a young ensign to look at her, somewhat oddly, no old friends. Just no organic ones.
The Kobliab lightly patted her pocket, feeling the reassuring weight and shape of an isolinear chip.
Passing through the inhabited sections of the U.S.S. Wanderer
and into area as yet not populated, she lengthened her stride, eventually breaking into a run. She skidded to a halt in front of the first holodeck that she saw and removed the chip from her pocket. Carefully – ever so carefully – she slid it into the card reader in the holodeck’s computer.
“Read or download?,”
the computer asked her.
“Download, and then password-protect the file to my vocal pattern,” she commanded.
The computer chirped an affirmative. There was a slight hum/whirring sound from the reader and then… “Download complete. Remove chip and enter when ready.”
Jedani carefully removed the chip from the reader and stowed it safely in her pocket. She waited until the doors were open before stepping inside.
Standing just inside the door was a single hologram of a man in a Starfleet Medical uniform. He had a slightly puzzled look on his face.
“Jedani?,” He asked. “What are you doing here?” he looked around the holodeck before adding,” What am I doing here? Where are we?”
Corryn held up the single isolinear chip. “I couldn’t leave you behind, Doc. I’m sorry.”
The Emergency Medical Hologram’s confusion seemed to grow for a moment until a look of suspicion and then anger filled his face. “You didn’t!
,” he cried. “Please tell me that this is some engineer’s joke and that this is still the Arthur C. Clarke
! You didn’t
take me with you to the Wanderer
Jedani’s smile faded. She paced back and forth until she finally spun on her heels to face the EMH once again. “How could I not?,” she asked him. “They were going to replace you? How could I allow one of my best friends to be just… just… quietly decommissioned?”
“What?” There was fear on the hologram’s face. “Replace… me?”
“Starfleet said that you were inferior. They were replacing you… And all of the Mark-IIs… With Mark-IIs. ‘Feminine’, they said. ‘Superior bedside manner’, they said. Well, I couldn’t just sit by and leave you there to be… to be discontinued. Okay?” She was close to tears.
The Doctor tentatively approached her. He sighed and said,” I hope you got clearance for this and that you didn’t just steal me, Commander Corryn.”
Jedani looked up at him, blinking through the tear that were threatening to spill down her face. “I did,” she whispered.
The Doctor rolled his eyes. “Good. Now, let’s talk about the real
reason about what you wanted to bring me along.”
The Kobliab sat down on the holodeck floor and looked up at him. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Right,” he responded,” and you brought me along because you have so many organic friends here, right?” He sat down next to her, lowering his voice slightly. “Or what it was because you were afraid?”
“Afraid of what? Afraid you’d miss me?”
“No. Afraid that what happened to Max might happen to one of your friends if they come to rely on you.”
Jedani’s eyes went wide. She shot up to her face, her clear skin pale by comparison. “Never
mention that name again
The Doctor stood up as well, staying a respectful distance from her while keeping his hands raised in a non-threating gesture. “You’re afraid that the ghosts of your past might come to haunt your vision of the future. They already are, Jedani, and they will as long as you hold onto your guilt!”
In a rush, he closed the distance between them and grabbed her by the shoulders. Her eyes shot up in a gesture of hostility mixed with surprise and anger.
”It wasn’t your fault!,”
the EMH shouted.
Jedani Corryn stepped away from him, breaking his grip on her. “Be that as it may,” she said in a deadly, calm voice, not betraying her inner turmoil in hearing the name that she thought she’d forgotten and that she had burred long ago. “I can’t let it happen—“ She broke off as she heard the holographic physician hum softly to himself.
“What is that?,” she asked him.
“This?” The Doctor hummed the tune again and Jedani nodded. “It’s just an old Earth tune. It just happens to make me think of you.”
Jedani raised an eyebrow. “How does it go?”
The EMH paused, then sang softly.
Make new friends, but keep the o-old,
One is silver and the other’s gold.”
“It’s good advice for you. You should.”
Jedani interrupted him. “Oh, it’s brilliant advice. Silver, gold… and what’s next? Latinum?”
“Jedani--,” the EMH started to say.
she cried at him. “I didn’t come here for counseling or to be scolded, or to be—“ She broke off, looking miserably at the hologram. “I have a mission briefing at 1500. Senior staff. I have to be there.”
The EMH nodded and then, almost affectionately,” Take care of yourself, Jedani.”
The new Chief Engineer of the U.S.S. Wanderer
nodded. “Computer, save and end program. Lock access to my vocal patterns.”
There was an affirmative chirp from the computer and the Doctor vanished. The holodeck doors opened and as she left, she found herself singing the song under her breath in Kobliab.
”Make new friends, but keep the o-old,
One is silver and the other’s gold.
A circle is round, it has no e-end,
That’s how long I want you as my friend.”