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|August 2 2014, 04:33 PM||#1|
Location: Pacific NW
Winter Challenge, Unfinished...
Lieutenant Uhura sat with her back to the communications console on the bridge of the USS Enterprise, facing the command chair. “No, Mr. Spock that was not what I meant.”
The command chair swiveled precisely twelve degrees towards her, propelled by the ship’s Vulcan first officer with an economy of motion that wasted no energy turning any farther than he needed to in order to get a clear view of the Lieutenant. “That may be so Miss Uhura, but it is not what you said.”
In front of the two, seated at the navigation console, Lieutenant Sulu grinned at the exchange but did not turn to look.
A red light began blinking and was matched by a tone in Lieutenant Uhura’s earpiece. The look of puzzled levity which had been on her face was replaced instantly by a blank professional mien as she touched her earpiece with one hand to maximize the audio signal. She swiveled back to her station and began rapidly pushing buttons and turning knobs.
“Mr. Spock, I am receiving a subspace distress call from bearing one six five mark two seven four. Audio only. It’s garbled but I am trying to clear it up. And Mr. Spock, the signal is on old subspace channel one.”
Spock paused a moment, one of his eyebrows raising out of curiosity, then he swiveled his chair back to center even as he began giving orders. Spock pushed a button on the command chair and spoke into the transceiver “Yellow Alert, Yellow alert, Captain to the Bridge.” Even as the alert claxon began to warble and the yellow alert light to flash from various lighted panels, Spock continued. “Mr. Sulu, lay in a course, bearing one six five mark two seven four, warp factor eight.
Mr. Sulu worked his controls for a second, “Course laid in Mr. Spock.”
“Engage Mr. Sulu.” Spock said. The ship surged to warp smoothly with the hum of its powerful engines.
“Lieutenant Uhura are you sure the broadcast is not subspace channel two?”
Uhura checked her com board, flipped a switch and pushed a slider bar slightly before answering. “No sir. Mr. Spock, it is definitely channel one. I should have it cleared up in a minute.”
“Very well, Lieutenant, please do so with some alacrity.” Spock stopped himself from correcting the communications officer on her lack of precision. The likelihood of her completing the signal boost and noise removal should by his calculations take only 53.5 seconds, but he had other concerns.
“Mr. Checkov, do you have anything at that bearing?”
Ensign Pavel Checkov flipped several switches on his navigation console and studied the readout briefly. “Yes Sir, five parsecs along that bearing is a G type yellow dwarf star containing several planets. It is unexplored, but was designated Vaarlam’s Star by Russian astronomer Uri Kostikan in 2287. This sector vas..”
“Thank you Mr. Chekov, that is quite enough. Lieutenant Uhura, have you been able to enhance the clarity of the message?” Spock responded, maintaining his track in two conversations at once.
“Almost Mr. Spock.”
Just as Spock was about to move to the science station in an attempt to assist Uhura in clearing up the signal, the com panel on the command chair whistled at him. Spock leaned slightly towards the tranceiver and pushed the respond button. “Spock here.”
The voice of Captain James T. Kirk, Captain of the starship Enterprise, came through the speaker with a hint of concern. “Mr. Spock, why did we go to yellow alert?”
“Captain, we received a distress call on subspace channel one. The signal is faint, and Lieutenant Uhura is attempting to clear it up. In the meantime I have set course for the source of the signal.”
“Very well Mr. Spock, I’m on my way.” Kirk answered, relieved, before switching off the circuit from his end.
“Mr. Spock, I have the signal as clear as I can make it.” Uhura announced from the communications station.
“Very well, Lieutenant, put it on speaker.”
Uhura flipped a switch, swiveled her chair towards the main view screen and removed the earpiece from her ear in order to hear the broadcast message more clearly in the open room. The speakers crackled at the still faint and distorted message, but the words were understandable.
“Mayday, mayday,” a male voice began, “This is Jonas Grundy, Captain of the S.S. Minnow out of Honolulu. Seven of us are stranded on an unknown planet. Mayday, mayday…” Uhura silenced the signal temporarily. “The message repeats sir.”
Spocks eyebrow lifted in curiosity, “Fascinating.”
The turbolift doors swished open revealing a shirtless Captain Kirk toweling sweat from his glistening torso. Hanging the towel over his neck, Kirk stepped onto the bridge and towards the command chair. Spock stood and moved smoothly out of the way as if the exchange has been coordinated.
“Captain, the distress call claims to be from an S.S. Minnow, stranded on an unknown planet with seven survivors. It also references Honolulu as its origin.” Spock bent over the viewer at his science station as his fingers worked various controls by touch.
A yeoman with auburn hair, walked out of the turbolift and handed Captain Kirk his gold command tunic. “Thank you yeoman.” Kirk said with a smile, and handed her the towel. Kirk took a second and pulled the tunic over his head, tugging at the lower hem to ensure the garment fit well.
Spock remained at the science console, turning a knob at the side of his viewer as he commented. “This is most illogical Captain, there is indeed a reference to S.S. Minnow out of Honolulu Hawaii captained by a Jonas Grundy. But it is listed as a small surface vessel, missing from a three hour tour following a storm, and that reference is in the historical archives, circa old earth date 1964.”
Captain Kirk frowned, “Hodgkin’s law of parallel planetary development?”
Spock stood and looked towards the Kirk. “That is one hypothesis Captain, but it does not explain how this message is being transmitted via subspace, even old style. I believe the technology of the era was no more advanced than light speed radio transmissions. And it does not explain how the Minnow is so far from Earth, and so removed in time from its origin.”
“Then Mr. Spock, we have a mystery.”
During the exchange between the first officer and captain, Lieutenant Uhura had returned her earpiece to her ear and had continued monitoring the signal. “Captain Kirk, the signal is a live transmission and is getting stronger as we approach the system. We are required by regulations to respond to a distress call by any vessel.”
Before Kirk had a chance to respond, Spock interceded. “You are partially correct Lieutenant, but while regulations do not specifically reference starships, I believe that is the intent. Also, there is the Prime Directive to consider if indeed the transmission is originating from a planet evidencing twentieth century earth technology and culture without even considering the anomalous direct Earth parallel of the missing surface vessel.”
“Of course Mr. Spock,” Uhura continued, undeterred by Spock’s answer, “but the transmission itself is definitely not twentieth century Earth technology, it’s on subspace.”
“I am aware of that Lieutenant, but as whomever they are seem to be in no immediate danger, I believe an approach involving additional data and analysis would be prudent.”
Captain Kirk, an amused look on his face, perhaps from hearing the exchange, nodded. “Very well Mr. Spock, continue your analysis. What is our ETA, current speed?”
Checkov answered without even looking at the navigation console, “Three hours fifteen minutes Captain.”
Kirk stood, and began heading for the turbolift when Uhura switched the signal back to speaker. “Captain, I think they ARE in trouble, listen to this.”
From the speaker came not the repeated mayday message from a calm masculine voice, but the distinct sound of disruptor fire, combined with male and female screaming in the distance.
Kirk turned, his jaw setting, all amusement vanished from his features in an instant. “Klingons? Mr. Spock?”
Spock, tilting his head slightly to hear the sound better as he switched from his analysis of the limited data in his possession to long range sensors, answered. “Unknown Captain, but the sonic profile is consistent with Klingon disruptors.”
Kirk banged his fist on the red safety rail surrounding the lower central bridge platform.
Over the speaker, a nervous female voice spoke sotto-voce. “Help! Someone please help! They shot the Professor and the Skipper with some kind of beam. They are chasing the others, I think they are going to shoot them to. Oh please help. Oh no, one of them saw me.” There was a clunk, like something being dropped, followed by footsteps running through sand. A final disruptor blast echoed through the speakers and the signal was abruptly cut.
Kirk, done with analysis, filled his voice with full command authority. “Red Alert Mr. Sulu! And maximum warp. Mr. Spock, you’re with me. Mr. Sulu, you have the bridge.”
Stopping at the com panel next to the turbolift doors, Kirk punched the button. “Security, have an away team meet me in transporter room one, on the double. Dr. McCoy, grab your medical kit and report to transporter room one, we are responding to a planetside distress call and there may be casualties.”
Spock stepped past Kirk into the turbolift, grabbing the operation handle and twisting it, but not giving a destination until Kirk cleared the doorway. “Transporter Room One.”
Seconds later the two stepped from the corridor into the transporter room where transporter Chief Kyle was already finishing his pre-use diagnostic. Kirk strapped on his away belt, checking the Mark I Phaser’s charge level, even as Mr. Spock checked his tricorder before placing the strap over his shoulder.
The security team, consisting of three stern faced men in red shirts arrived within a minute, already armed with the more powerful Phaser II’s.
They waited almost another full minute for the ship’s Doctor to arrive. While they were doing so, the com circuit opened from the bridge with Sulu on the other end. “Captain, we have entered the Varlaam system. Only one planet is marginally Class L. It does have a sizeable and apparently pre-warp population. Sensors also indicate intermittent disruptor fire around a remote location away from any population centers. I am sending coordinates now.”
“Mr. Sulu, any sign of a Klingon ship?” Captain Kirk asked.
There was a slight pause before Sulu answered. “There are some impulse signatures, but nothing traceable. We’re not picking up anything.”
“Understood Mr. Sulu. Get those shields back up as soon as we transport, but stay at Yellow alert.”
“Captain,” Kyle said from the transporter console, “I have the coordinates locked in Captain.”
The Ship’s Doctor, Leonard McCoy arrived just as Spock was readying himself to check on the man. He had his medical kit, but was struggling to adjust his duty belt as he came through the door.
“What in blazes is going on Captain, what distress call?”
With the rest of the away team already in position Kirk motioned for Doctor McCoy to join them on the transporter pad. As the Dr. Stepped onto the platform, he shook his head slightly, but said nothing.
As soon as he was in place, Captain Kirk said, “Energize Mr. Kyle.”
The Transporter chief complied and the landing party was engulfed in the shimmering light of the transporter beam, their forms quickly loosing cohesion as they disappeared.
And reappeared in a reverse sequence on the planet below. Covered with still visible craters and numerous large boulders and only occasional scrubby vegetation it seemed instantly an inhospitable place. The sky shown a dim red in the distance, and indeed most of the soil and boulders were a similar color. The air was a bit warmer than the comfortably controlled temperature aboard the Enterprise, and also dry.
The security detail spread out, establishing a quick perimeter as Mr. Spock began scanning the area with his tricorder, it’s whirring filling the silence otherwise filled with the men’s breathing, and crunching footsteps.
Captain Kirk pulled the communicator from his belt and flipped it open with one hand. It activated with a double chirping beep. “Kirk to Enterprise.”
“Enterprise here.” Uhura’s voice answered, almost instantly.
“Have Chief Kyle keep a lock on us. We haven’t encountered hostiles but we are searching for survivors.”
“I’ll keep you updated, Kirk out.” He flipped the device shut and replaced it onto his duty belt.
Nearby, Spock spoke over the whirring tricorder. “I am picking up residual signs of disruptor fire from this direction,” He said as he faced eastward. “Some kind of…interference. Also, a large metallic structure and several smaller stone structures seventy five meters beyond those boulders.” Spock switched a setting on his tricorder and continued scanning for several more seconds before continuing his analysis. “Picking up several lifesigns in this direction,” he said, pointing off at an angle from his original facing as he did so, “possibly Klingon….and…..human.”
Kirk motioned to the closest security officer. “Carlson, take Phillips and go check those buildings.” The security officer nodded and moved off, un-holstering his phaser as he did so.
“Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, Garcia. You’re with me. Let’s go check out those lifesigns. As the four trotted off in one direction, with Kirk in the lead, Carlson and Phillips moved carefully around a distant boulder in another, at a walk, leading with their phasers.
Spock managed to keep his tricorder out and continued scanning as they moved.
Before they had travelled two hundred meters, the first body appeared ahead of them. It was a male human, face down on the ground wearing a gray jacket. A ribbon festooned straw boater hat lay on the ground nearby. McCoy knelt at the man’s side, quickly scanning the man with this handheld medical scanner. He looked up at Captain Kirk, “He’s alive Jim, but just barely. Damn Klingons and their barbaric disruptors.” As he talked he pulled a hypospray from his med kit and turned the selector ring several clicks before placing the device against the man’s neck and discharging it with a hiss. “This will stabilize him for now, but he needs treatment in the sickbay aboard Enterprise.”
Suddenly, the sound of a volley of disruptor fire echoed from the direction of the two security officers Kirk had sent to examine the buildings. The sound of a second volley had barely begun to reach their ears before Kirk sprang into action, sprinting towards the sounds of combat, and leaving the others several paces behind before they had a chance to react.
Dodging larger boulders and shrubs, Kirk nimbly leapt over smaller ones in his haste. At some point his hand grabbed the phaser from his duty belt and held it firm as he ran.
Kirk heard a single phaser blast which was quickly drowned in a third, and final volley of disruptor fire. He redoubled his effort and pushed himself even faster, determined to get to his men. Behind, Spock kept up effortlessly, but had given up on his scan temporarily. Garcia ran flank with the Doctor, who struggled to keep up.
Carlson’s body lay sprawled several meters ahead, Kirk saw it just as a burst of disruptor fire splintered a rock in front of him. Instead of continuing in a straight line, Kirk dove to one side and rolled behind a boulder, ending up kneeling with his phaser pointing in the direction of the incoming fire. He snapped off several shots towards a shadowed figure partially concealed behind a distant boulder, pinning the attacker down. His uniform tunic was torn at the right shoulder where he had rolled on the rough ground, and the skin beneath was scratched and bleeding, but Kirk took no notice.
Spock and McCoy had smartly pulled up short, concealed behind a large boulder, but Garcia took a more aggressive posture, advancing from cover to cover, firing in turn, and attempting to take advantage of the cover his Captain was laying down.
Kirk continued firing with one hand, but grabbed his communicator with the other. He thumbed it open, muffling the double chirp. “Mr. Spock, there is one attacker at my 10:30. I’ve got him pinned down and Garcia is creating quite a distraction. Move around and see if you can flank whoever it is shooting.”
“Yes, Captain,” Spock replied, setting his communicator down, but leaving it open as he quickly took another local reading with his tricorder muting the sound as he did so. “Captain, I am reading three Klingons. One is keeping you occupied while the other two are maneuvering to attack from the rear. I will attempt to neutralize them. Spock out.”
Quickly memorizing the vectors the Klingons were taking, and the surrounding terrain they were using as concealment to flank his captain, Spock snapped his the case of his tricorder shut and handed it to Dr. McCoy. “Stay here Doctor, and keep your head down.” With that Spock moved off amongst the rocks, his slender figure surprisingly spry and agile as it did so.
In his effort not only to further distract his foes from Spock’s movement, and also in an attempt to ascertain their identity, Kirk began shouting towards his opponent. “Whoever is attacking us, this is Captain James T. Kirk of the Federation Starship Enterprise. We are on a peaceful rescue mission, responding to a distress call from the planet surface.”
Even though he had been expecting Klingons since hearing the initial disruptor fire, the proof given by the voice of his attacker was still a bit puzzling.
“Lies Earther! Your officers fired on us first and we merely acted in self-defense. We were responding to a distress call ourselves.”
The Klingon continued firing rapidly, directing several shots on Kirk’s and several towards Garcia in turn. Garcia had wisely taken cover and was sporadically returning fire, conserving the charge on his weapon. The Klingon could beat them in disruptor to phaser simply by outlasting them with his higher capacity weapon. Kirk hoped it didn’t take Spock long to get around behind and hopefully neutralize him soon.
What were Klingons doing so far from Klingon territory? Kirk wondered. He knew presenting facts to the Klingons at this point would do little good towards talking them down from the fight, but perhaps he could goad one into leaving cover briefly, if he could anger the Klingon sufficiently.
“Then explain how my ship heard Klingon disruptors before we even arrived on the planet?”
The returning shout was punctuated by more disruptor fire which flashed harmlessly over Kirk’s head. “We don’t have to explain anything to you, Earther scum! The only thing I am going to explain to you is how I am going to….Ugh”
The Klingon’s harangue was cut off abruptly midsentence. Kirk waited a second before standing and moving quickly to check on his downed security officer.
“About time Mr. Spock, I was wondering what was keeping you. Bones, this man needs medical attention.”
Spock stepped out from a nearby rock, tricorder out and scanning. “Captain, I did not get to that Klingon, I did however, neutralize two of them that were as you thought attempting to get behind you. It is logical to assume that someone else must have. There is a human life sign approaching from the Klingon’s position. Perhaps Ensign Phillips?”
Dr. McCoy arrived and began checking on Carlson, his medical scanner whirring briefly.
Kirk stepped away from the sound and pulled his communicator out, flipping it open. “Kirk to Phillips.” He said, then paused, listening. A communicator receiving tone sounded a short distance off, but the hail was not answered. Kirk followed the noise, then bent over and picked up a communicator from the dry soil. “Here’s his communicator, and it looks like there was a struggle.”
Spock’s matter of fact statement, “Captain, we have a visitor,” brought Kirk to his feet, instantly curious.
Standing perhaps fifteen meters away, a glimmer of recognition on his face was a man with neatly cut, but slightly windblown brown hair. He wore a white button up long sleeve shirt with the sleeves rolled partially up to his forearms, and a pair of plain khaki pants.
A cluster of coconut shells with a fine diamond patterning of lines carved into the outer shells hung by a strap over one shoulder. Several other coconuts, these with intact shells, hung over his other. Incongruently, he held a Klingon disruptor in one hand, but he held out his hands to his sides in a non-aggressive gesture.
“Humans? Are you from the United Federation of Planets? My research indicated the Federation was a peaceful organization, you’re not here with these ‘Klingons’ are you?
Kirk frowned and stepped towards the man, introducing himself. “I’m Captain James T. Kirk of the…Federation Starship Enterprise, and no, we are not with the Klingons. ”
The man walked forward and met Kirk halfway, “Forgive my manners, I am Professor Roy Hinkley, one of the seven passengers and crew from the Minnow. It was my signal I presume that brought you here?”
“Professor, if I may call you that, our archives indicated the Minnow was a surface vessel on Earth lost nearly three hundred years ago, also…” Captain Kirk began to question the man standing before him, when Mr. Spock stepped forward, apparently previously unnoticed by the Professor and cut in.”
“Three hundred one years, seven months, thirteen days to be precise Captain. Mr. Professor, may I ask how you and the other castaways came to be on this planet, which happens to be three sectors away from the Sol system? Also, how do you happen to be in possession of a subspace transmitter, a device which was not invented until some two hundred eleven years after your disappearance?”
Kirk, amused to note that the Professors eyebrow lifted in surprise at Spock’s appearance, commented. “Allow me to introduce Mister Spock, my first officer. Mister Spock is from the planet Vulcan, one of Earth oldest allies.”
The Professor nodded and stepped forward, “Fascinating! Is the universe populated by many intelligent species so closely related to humans? First Klingons, and now Vulcans, both with apparently only the most superficial physiological differences between themselves and Homo Sapiens-Sapiens. Oh, forgive my rudeness, this is all quite surprising.” The Professor held his hand out in greeting, “Pleased to meet you Mister Spock.”
From behind Kirk, McCoy interjected, breaking up the conversation in progress.
“Captain, we’ve got two men here that need to get back to the enterprise, including one of the castaways. Permission to beam up with them.”
Kirk paused only a second, “Permission granted Doctor.” Flipping open his communicator, Kirk spoke into it, “Kirk to Enterprise.”
The voice of Lieutenant Uhura came through the small speaker in the device, “Enterprise here Captain.”
Kirk wasted no time, “Uhura, Dr. McCoy is beaming up with two casualties, one of them is a castaway from the group we received the distress call from. The other is approximately one hundred fifty meters to the south, have the transporter room lock on and beam them up. Let me talk to Mr. Sulu.”
“Yes Captain, right away sir.”
The communicator beeped faintly as the signal was transferred. “Sulu here Captain, all quiet here, nothing to report.”
“Good, Mr. Sulu. Keep your eyes peeled, there are Klingons on the surface, so there’s a ship up there somewhere.”
On the bridge of the Enterprise, Sulu sat rigidly in the command chair while talking to Captain Kirk. Uhura relayed a message from her communications station. “Mr. Sulu, transporter room reports a lock on Doctor McCoy and the wounded men, they are ready to beam them up.
Sulu looked over to the Ensign manning the science station, “Anything on sensors?”
“No sir, all clear.”
“Very well, lower the shields just long enough to beam the landing party up, then raise them again.”
Chekov replied from the helm console, where he was filling in in Sulu’s absence. “Yes Sir, Shields down.”
Sulu merely motioned towards Uhura, but she had already began speaking with the transporter chief. “Transporter room, Energize!”
At the science station, the ensign looking into the viewer shouted nervously, “Ship de-cloaking dead astern Mr. Sulu, and I think its powering disruptors!” He had the presence of mind to switch the main viewer to a rear view in time for the wavering image of a Klingon D-7 Battlecruiser to coalesce into recognizable shape just before twin star-shaped flashes of disruptor fire erupted from beneath its nacelles.
The bridge shook violently. The crew hanging on to their respective stations as they were shaken back and forth while the inertial dampeners struggled to compensate for the sudden impact.
“Shields up!” Sulu snapped into action. “Engage with phasers and photon torpedoes!”
On the planet below, a look of anger grew on Kirks face as he listened to the exchange on his communicator. “Sulu, get my ship out of there!”
Sulu devoted an instant to answer before cutting the circuit. “Aye Captain.”
The silence that followed as the communicator cut off was broken by Spock. “Captain, Lieutenant Sulu is a competent officer. Assuming the attacking vessel was a D-7, there is only a forty-eight point seven percent chance that it will be able to defeat the Enterprise, if that is indeed its outcome.”
“Confound you, Spock and that icy green liquid you call blood, our ship is up there under attack and you calmly give her fifty-fifty odds as if you were reporting the weather. Aren’t you worried?” McCoy quipped, obviously agitated.
“Forty-eight point seven against Doctor, hardly even, but in any case worry is illogical. We can do nothing to influence the situation in orbit. I suggest we attend to the situation at hand and care for the wounded as well as possible. Captain, I believe it would be wise to assume there are more Klingons in the area and proceed with caution.”
Kirk, still obviously pensive about the Enterprise, composed himself with some effort. “Agreed Mr. Spock. Professor, there are a series of buildings due north of here. Is that your compound?”
The professor had watched the conversation between the three Starfleet officers and the ship with obvious curiosity, looking at Kirk’s communicator as he used it casually. But for all his interest in the technology displayed he was able to maintain his focus on the severity of the threat to his fellow castaways.
“Yes Captain Kirk, that is our inhabitation. At the time of the Klingon attack, I was conducting experiments some distance away for safety reasons.” The professor hefted one of the scored coconut shells as an example. “I heard the sound of significant energy discharge from the direction of the huts. When I went to investigate I saw them shoot Gilligan, the Minnows first mate, with their energy weapons.
(and that’s as far as I got…sorry)
Russell David Johnson (November 10, 1924 – January 16, 2014) was an American television and film actor, best known for his role as The Professor on the CBS television sitcom Gilligan's Island. In an interview with Starlog magazine in the early 1980s, Johnson said that he had wanted to appear in the original Star Trek during its run on NBC from 1966 to 1969, but he was never cast.
p.s. I had never even heard of the animated series Gilligan’s Planet until after I had conceived of this story and was doing “research” for it. HONEST!
|August 3 2014, 03:08 PM||#2|
Re: Winter Challenge, Unfinished...
Love how you managed to get most of the TOS cliches into this as well. Kirk shirtless, twice, rolling and jumping, redshirts being shot and even a variation on the classic Bones line. To bad we never get an explanation on how the SS Minnow managed to get itself on that planet.
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|August 3 2014, 04:03 PM||#3|
Location: The void between my ears
Re: Winter Challenge, Unfinished...
I hope you will complete this, even though it's past the challenge deadline. Great job with the TOS cliche's and I think you captured The Professor spot-on. Would love to see more dialogue between him and Spock.
"You are beginning to damage my calm." - Jayne Cobb
|August 3 2014, 04:12 PM||#4|
Location: Pacific NW
Re: Winter Challenge, Unfinished...
And thanks, it was fun writing this absurd tale...The idea came to me quite out of the blue when I envisioned Spock and the Professor in a technobabble contest.. We'll see if I can pull that off!
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