Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by The Badger, Sep 12, 2010.
That was great. Loved the background on Grant.
Apologies as usual for the lack of updates. Real life keeps getting in the way (people say Star Trek fans have no life, if that were true, I'd have all the time I need for this). I'm still working on it though!
Take your time - this is worth the wait.
The surface of Galador III. October 27th, 2151.
The sinking feeling in Hoshi Sato's stomach was only partially due to the upwards motion of the Beowulf. She was sick with worry over what may be happening to Professor Partridge. Trying to concentrate on the task at hand she hit the transmit button on the communications panel. "We've just launched sir. We'll be with you in less than two minutes."
"Acknowledged Hoshi. Trooper Grant's found a good trail, we're getting close. I'll keep you informed. Until then, Archer out." The Captain's voice was flat, distorted. They were operating under military protocols now, and the compression software intended to stop the enemy listening in or tracing transmissions had the side effect of removing most of the distinctive tones from a persons speech. But Hoshi didn't need to hear his tones to know that Archer was angry and upset.
Trooper Tipping flew the craft. They were avoiding a straight line approach, coming in from an oblique angle. Again, military protocol. Although it added only a minute to their journey it annoyed Hoshi, who wanted to get there as fast as possible. But with the rest of the landing party onboard---the alternative was to leave them at the camp site unguarded---they weren't going to take any chances they didn't have to.
"Did you say something Ma'am?" Tipping asked.
"Ah, just practising my Axanar." Hoshi replied. She hadn't realized she'd been doing it until he'd asked. "It's very difficult for humans to speak. Getting the tone right takes a bit of concentration. I thought I should try and get back into the knack." She paused, then clicked her tongue a few times.
"And what does that mean Ma'am?"
"'Please don't shoot'." she said, adding "I'm hopeful we can resolve this peacefully."
There was a non committal grunt from the marine. "Well, just in case we can't...I'm bringing the cannon on line."
Despite being a military vessel, Beowulf class landing craft were not well armed. A single 72 MJ plasma cannon, for self defence and landing zone suppression, was turret mounted at the chin. Normally it lurked within the craft, to avoid messing up the aerodynamic and stealth characteristics. As Tipping activated it panels slid aside to let it drop into place, and the coils began to charge.
There was an addition to the craft's normal fire power. From deep within their supplies the Marines had unearthed a veteran EM-2HB rapid pulse laser. Judging by the slight reluctance in their body language as they unshipped it, Hoshi would have bet good money that it was here without the Captain's knowledge. Probably something Mr. Reed had insisted that they take along just in case, 'but don't tell the captain'. The laser was now pintle mounted at the open starboard hatch, operated by Corporal James in a quick release monkey harness. Too heavy to really be man portable, and with a tendency to overheat, 'Emmy-deuce' had found a role as a vehicle mounted medium weapon. With energy and coolant supplied directly from the Beowulf itself it could well make a difference in any conflict.
One of Hoshi's monitor screens showed the top of the weapon, pointing down at the blur of tree tops bellow. James' helmet communication system, including the output from the small camera, were routed through a cable into the Beowulf's internal systems. Although low tech, the direct link couldn't be detected or hacked like a wireless system.
It also meant a greater resolution for speech, and the concern in Corporal James' voice was evident as she asked "Do you reckon she's safe, Hoshi?"
Hoshi had no way of knowing, and James must have known that. She wanted reassurance more than an honest estimate. "Hey, of course she is. She's got us on her side, remember?"
Hoshi sat back in her seat, studying the monitors. As much as she hated to admit it, she was glad the Marines had broke out the heavy fire-power. Despite her words to James, she wasn't at all confident.
Gradually Polly became aware that she had returned to consciousness, though she still felt dizzy and light-headed. Some instinct told her to remain still, and let her captor think she was still out of it. There was the sound of rattling and clanging, like metal draws opening and banging shut, then footsteps moving away. After a moments hesitation she risked opening her good eye a fraction.
Vision was still blurred, but she could make out the tall figure near a bright area she presumed to be the cave entrance. There looked to be some sort of barricade there, it's shape too regular to be natural. The figure was holding a rifle of some kind, it's details too indistinct for Polly to be sure of the type. For a moment the captor turned in her direction, light glistening off the insectile eyes, the only features she could determine.
She almost laughed. As an aficionado of old science fiction, the fact that she, a nubile young-ish Earth woman, had been captured by what could be described as a 'bug eyed monster' was too ironic for words. It was the sort of thing she could spin into an amusing anecdote later. Assuming there was a later.
She stopped that train of thought right there. There would be a later. There would. Tales of the Axanar eating their prisoners were just stories with no basis in fact. Propaganda. Soldiers tales, to frighten the rookies. That's all. That's all.
A hissing whine, not loud but sudden, caught her attention. At the cave mouth the slender shape flinched and raised it's gun. After a moment her befuddled brain supplied an identity for the noise. A Beowulf landing craft, using sonic baffles. The baffles couldn't stop the sound entirely but they reduced it and made it difficult to determine it's origin. If she could hear it this clearly then the source must be close. That implied that not only was she being searched for, but the searchers must have a fair idea of her location.
A tiny blossom of hope began to push back the fear that had threatened to overwhelm her. She was suddenly aware of a discomfort in her shoulder, a jagged bump on the floor of the cave. With Bug-Eyes frantically peering out in search of the source of the noise, she felt safe enough to wiggle downwards slightly, until the bump was besides her head. It might have been wiser to move the other way and work on her bonds, but she was having trouble breathing. And so, with great caution, she rubbed the side of her face against the jagged edge, trying to tease the adhesive tape away.
Captain Archer looked up as the noise of the Beowulf blasted overhead, trying to spot it, but it was pointless. The tree canopy was too thick, too little of the sky could be seen, and with the baffles active he wouldn't know where to look in the first place. He flipped his communicator open instead. "Hoshi. Trooper Grant's followed the trail to a cave in the cliff face, about thirty meters north west from our current position. The trees aren't as thick there, so don't get too close yet, there's no telling what the Axanar will do if it sees you. I think you can risk sending one of the drones over. Get James and Tipping to work out a way to approach that place undetected, we can't see a way from here."
"Acknowledged sir. What's your current status?"
"We're currently holed up in the tree line, hopefully unseen. Grant's got the cave under surveillance, but the mouth is partially blocked with what looks like parts from a spacecraft of some type. Hmm. Maybe you should get the remaining drones to check around here, see if there's any trace of...hold on." Whilst he'd been talking Mayweather had come over.
"Sir, Grant's spotted something."
Archer followed Mayweather over to where the sniper had secreted herself, sitting cross legged behind a fallen log. She'd removed the rifle's under slung grenade launcher, replaced it with a bipod stand for greater stability. There was a data cable leading from her telescopic lens to a marine issue heavy duty pad. Without taking her eyes from the lens she said. "Saw something interesting. Thought you should see."
The captain got down low and crawled over to the pad, taking care not to show himself above the fallen log. He looked at the pad. A freeze frame image, a patch of ground at the base of the cliff, trees, bushes. And five rectangular piles of stone, with larger rectangular stones at the head of each.
Travis had followed Archer over, staying low. "Those look like...graves." he said.
"Yes." Archer replied. "Yes they do. And that is interesting."
Mayweather thought for a moment. "Yeah, yeah that is weird. I mean, didn't you say..."
Archer nodded, and turned to Grant. "Red, where is this?"
"About ten meters north of the cave mouth. I was looking for a way to approach, saw the stones, thought it might be significant."
"I'll say so." Archer nodded. "Can you get us a closer look at one of these headstones?"
"Sure." The rifle's barrel swung north then back. Less than a second. But a new image, crystal clear, popped up on the pad's display screen.
Mayweather peered closer. "I said it before and I'll say it again. Weird."
Using another data cable Archer linked the pad to his communicator. "Hoshi, I'm sending you an image. I need a translation."
Things went slowly, the secure compression adding to the transmission time. Eventually they got a reply. "Sir? You're not going to believe this..." She explained. Archer did believe it. He was beginning to figure out what was happening.
"OK, the Beowulf has a public address system, right? Here's what I want you to do...."
To her immense relief Polly managed to get the tape half way off her mouth. She sucked in a deep gulp of breath. For a moment she considered getting the rest of it off, but decided against it. The bit she had loosened still hung limply over her mouth. In the darkness it might look as if she were still gagged. Maybe now she should work on her bonds...
Suddenly the whine of the Beowulf loomed closer. And with it, a voice. Hoshi's voice, booming as if from a loud speaker. The words were lost on Polly, it sounded like it could be Italian, and while she knew Latin well enough she was unfamiliar with the more modern language. Still, there was something about what was said, something that triggered memories...not the words...but...
The rhythm. The rhythm of the words was what was familiar. She'd heard it before, even spoke it herself, though not often, and not for a very long time.
The Lord's Prayer.
The slender figure staggered back as if punched in the gut, giving cry to a low, keening wail. The rifle dropped to the ground. Gloved hands rose, tearing the insectile goggles free and tossing them aside. The hood followed.
A man. Mid twenties or so. Dirty, unkempt, matted hair and beard. Tears left trails in the grime on his face as he sobbed uncontrollably, shoulders shaking. He collapsed into a foetal position, wailing.
Polly stared dumbstruck. Then, very uncomfortably, she rolled over and over until she was lying atop the dropped rifle. "Weapo..." she coughed. She took a deep breath, cleared her throat and tried again. "Weapon safe! Room secure!" she shouted.
Hoshi's magnified voice, which had been repeating the prayer from the beginning, cut off. She repeated her statements, over and over, until hazy shapes appeared at the cave mouth.
"Don't hurt him." she said. And, once more, passed out.
Ah, a survivor from the Patton. Facinating.
But somehow I don't think we're out of the woods yet.
BTW, Badger, considering Polly's interest in old SF, and Martial Arts movies and TV, how familiar is she with Highlander?
It might be fun to hear her throw out a quote that only she gets.
That was interesting. ANd highly unexpected.
I was bored to bloody tears and decided to screw around with an MS Paint-like application online and created an e-book 'novel cover' for 'strange new world'. Enjoy.
The problem is Badger's Enterprise is a modified ringship. It doesn't look anything like the NX.
Nice try though.
She probably knows it quite well. Unfortunately, I don't. It's been years since I saw it, and thanks to the TV channels messing around with the schedules I only caught a few episodes, so don't expect any quotes. Although Queen's 'Princes Of The Universe' is a favourite of hers. Especially when trying to distract herself from shuttle flights.
As Duncan says, the Enterprise in my fiction isn't of the NX design. That's a brilliant cover though, and I love the look of it. Thanks for that!
(Though I do hope it wasn't reading this that had you bored to tears!)
Ask and ye shall receive my friend.
The whole series available for free as a streaming download. Although there are commercials.
Finally got caught up with the story so far! Poor Polly - all trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey (although she seems to have quite the kinky side ). And a survivor from the Patton - I was not expecting that. Nicely played! Can't wait to see what other surprises you have in store.
Give me a picture of the desired "ringship" and I'll redo the e-book cover for you, if you'd like.
UES Enterprise. Orbiting Galador III. October 28th, 2151.
The stabbing pain in her lower right shin reminded Hernandez as to why exactly it was unwise to traverse the corridors of Enterprise at speed. The various pipes and conduits that criss-crossed the passageways could catch a hurrying crewman---or officer---unawares. She swore under her breath and kicked angrily at the offending obstruction.
Brilliant. Now her foot hurt as well.
Ignoring the pain as best she could she set off once more towards the sickbay. Impatience welled within her. Impatience...and hope.
It can't be possible, she told herself, the odds against it must be...astronomical. And yet the evidence was there. The survey team had found a human on the surface of the planet. The only explanation was that he was a survivor of the earlier expedition, the one she herself had been on. He couldn't have been brought to this system by the Axanar, they had captured humans during the war, but that had only been during planet bound conflicts. None were relocated to other worlds. And she was fairly certain Trip Tucker had been joking when he suggested the survivor was long missing pioneer Zephram Cochrane.
So, a survivor from the raid. Hence her impatience. Hence her hope. It wasn't as if she knew everyone from that mission. The chance of it being a familiar face was low. And as for it being one of her friends...Well, the survivor was male, so it couldn't be Diana. Nuyen? That was possible. Nuyen worked in the engine room of Destroyer D-11, and the body they found in the wreckage had yet to be identified, so maybe it wasn't him, and maybe her old classmate had somehow made his way to the only habitable planet in the system, and maybe....No. Stop. Stop thinking like that.
Just to add to the irritation, she knew she could have done this sooner. After receiving the distress call from the landing party Enterprise had raced at maximum impulse back to the planet. Beowulf Two was already in flight, docking as soon as possible. She had stayed on the bridge, hearing the reports of two casualties being rushed to sickbay. She could have left Moshiri in charge and gone down to see for herself there and then, but rather she waited until checking with the captain.
There was a guard on duty outside sickbay, a marine. She was surprised when she recognised him.
"Trooper Dumont? What are you doing here? I thought all the landing party personnel were off duty for the time being."
"Ah, yes ma'am. I volunteered. Until we know more about the survivor he has to be considered a potential risk."
Hernandez's brow furrowed. "But why volunteer? This could be done by any Security trained crewman...ah. I get it. It's your penance, right?" She'd remembered what Reed had told her about how they made up for mistakes.
He looked baffled for a moment, then his face cleared. "Ah...yes ma'am. You could call it that."
"Carry on then."
The interior of sickbay was dark, the lighting subdued, but it was bright enough to make out that only one bed was occupied. She turned to Millington, Locke's assistant, who was sat at the desk. "Where's the survivor?"
Millington gestured to a connecting hatch. "He's still in the isolation ward for the time being. The doctor wants to keep him under close observation for the time being."
Hernandez grunted, and inclined her head towards the occupied bed. "How is she?"
"Recovering. It was a close run thing though. Good thing Locke was with the landing party. A few more minutes with that concussion, well, the effects could have been permanent." He lowered his voice and leant closer. "Maybe even terminal."
"Oh, Lord. I didn't realize it was that bad. Are you sure she's alright?"
He nodded. "Should be. Though it'll take a little time before she's up and about again. Plenty of rest, that's all she needs. You can talk to her if you want, she's awake, though heavily medicated. Just for a few minutes, mind."
Hernandez wasn't really in the mood, but she couldn't really refuse, so she made her way over to the occupied bed. Professor Partridge looked somehow smaller as she lay there. She wore pale green hospital pyjamas, and a bandage was wrapped round her head. The area around her right eye was swollen and purple, it was the only colour noticeable on her face. Although she normally sported ivory white skin, that somehow seemed natural for her. Now, the almost grey hue looked dreadful.
Hernandez cleared her throat. "Hey. How you doing?" she asked softly.
Partridge's good eye opened, and after a moment focussed. "Oh, hi Maria. Nice to see you. How have you been?"
It seemed absurd, the injured woman asking after the healthy one. Hernandez laughed slightly without quite knowing why. "Not too bad. What about yourself?"
"I could have been killed, Maria." A look of fear came across Partridge's face. "I could have died. I should have stayed at home, where it's safe. But....I saw ducks, Maria. And trees, and grass. Not the ones from Earth, but entirely new to us. I stood on a strange new world. If I stay, I could die. But the things I'll see...the wonders...I don't know what to do."
Feeling sympathetic, Hernandez shrugged. "You'll figure it out Polly. You are the smart one, after all."
Partridge closed her eye. "Yeah. Hey, let's see if my brain's still working after that bump on the noggin. I've worked something out. You let me know if it's true or not, OK?"
"You didn't come all this way to see me, did you?"
Hernandez hesitated. "Ah, no. But I am glad to see you're OK, though." she added quickly.
A faint smile. "Thank you for not lying to me." She lay back. After a moment the screen above the bed changed, a helpful green message stating 'SLEEP' for those who couldn't follow the life-signs displayed.
"I hope you're not disturbing my patient." a voice rumbled behind her. She turned to see Locke at the hatch to the isolation ward.
"Doctor. Ah, I know this may be...somewhat unusual...but, ah, I'd like to see the survivor. If I may."
Locke grunted. "You can't go into the chamber, but there's an observation window. He's resting now so don't you go bothering him. Right, I'm going for a smoke." he added, fishing a pack of cigarettes from his coat pocket.
She went through the hatch, into a short dimly lit corridor. To her left was a wide thick window. There was a communications panel next to it, though remembering Locke's instructions she had no intention of touching that. At the far end of the corridor was a thick hatch that led to a small chamber for donning, or removing, hazmat suits. Access to the ward itself was via a small decontamination chamber come airlock, as it was here that infectious or unknown diseases would be treated. There was no evidence of that here. It was simply being used as a convenient and secure place to hold a potentially hostile patient.
He was asleep in the bed, surrounded by life support equipment. A saline drip fed a tube in his arm. A computer display showed a rotating molecular model, a red pulsating message reading 'Unknown Compound Detected'.
She watched for maybe a minute, maybe an hour. She couldn't tell.
Eventually she stepped back from the window.
"No." she said softly. "No, I don't know this man at all."
I feel so much for Hernandez - her past is literally coming back to haunt her now, and she can't even give it a name. A powerful installment, if all too brief (as always, Badger ). Looking forward to more!
UES Enterprise. Orbiting Galador III. October 30th, 2151.
"His name is Alphonse Stucchi." Hoshi said, looking down at her note pad. "He was a crewman, a sensor operator, on the destroyer D-19."
Archer sat back in his chair, looking round the briefing room as he silently digested the information. In many ways it seemed nothing had changed from that first briefing just prior to their arrival in the Galador system. There were two notable differences however. Trip Tucker was now present, looking grave. And Professor Partridge sat huddled between him and Hoshi, as if seeking protection. Her normal exuberance was gone, and she spent most of her time staring blankly down at the table top.
"Stucchi...name doesn't ring any bells." Hernandez said, shaking her head. "But then, there were lots of people on that mission. I only knew a couple from that ship, and none of them that well."
Travis asked "So how did he get to the planet? It's a long way to walk."
"OK," Hoshi said, taking a swig of coffee, "we've only got his recollections here, and for various reasons they might be pretty unreliable---"
"I'll say." Locke interjected.
Hoshi gathered her thoughts. "It seems that the D-19 was damaged in the battle against the Axanar ships. There was a hull breach, and Stucchi was blasted clear of his ship by the sudden decompression. Good job it's common practice to wear spacesuits on destroyers. He drifted for hours, eventually losing consciousness as the oxygen supply ran out. When he recovered, he was on a small Axanar ship."
Archer nodded. "They can be violent in combat, but Axanar culture requires that any prisoners they do take are well treated."
"Right. I guess the Axanar must have known about Galador III, as they headed straight here. They managed to make planet fall in the mountains."
Tucker said "Now that would ha' been tricky. We found their ship earlier today. From the images the landin' party sent, it looks like it were one of the shuttles they sent down to the gas giant to pick up deuterium. They can fly through atmosphere well 'nuff, but they ain't got no landing gear or terrain sensors. Musta' had a crackerjack pilot on board."
Hernandez lifted a laconic hand. "Why didn't we detect the ship from orbit?"
She'd directed the enquiry at Partridge, who gave no indication she'd even heard the question.
Tucker cleared his throat. "Most of tha' ship is made from a high density ceramic. Don't show up too good on radar. They stripped off 'most all of the metal components, hid 'em in caves nearby. Guess they were worried tha' humans might get there before their own people did. With all the metallic ore in those rocks, an' with vegetation growin' over the ship, it'd be darn difficult to spot from orbit. 'specially if you got no reason to be lookin fo' a ship."
Hernandez nodded. "Very well. Carry on, lieutenant."
Sato glanced at her pad again. "Right. It seems that after the initial culture shock, Stucchi was accepted into the group as they struggled to survive. Luckily they were in a temperate area, with clean water and plentiful hunting. Things weren't exactly perfect though. Several times they were attacked by creatures native to the area. Those boar like animals you saw captain tended to avoid confrontations, unless cornered. But shortly after planet fall two of the Axanar were badly injured by a pack of vicious dog like creatures."
"The ones we kept finding the bones of?" Archer asked.
"Yes sir. It seems they were so dangerous, the survivors had no choice but to wipe them out. They managed to lure most of the pack into an ambush, killed them all, and hunted down the rest."
Locke reached for the packet of cigarettes on the table in front of him, caught Archer's expression, and diverted his hand to his coffee cup. "That explains a lot. Quite apart from the remains we found, we did spot a number of species that should have had natural predators in that ecosystem."
"And since that time, they'd been getting by as best they could." Hoshi said. "After a few years, though, the Axanar, started getting sick. Really sick. Stucchi did his best to look after them, but they all died over a space of a couple of weeks. He's been on his own since then."
"What, they just died like that?" Reed asked. "Is there some sort of medical risk we should know about?"
Locke shook his head. "The fact that Stucchi survived on his own for so long suggests that, if there is any risk, it is not one that humans are susceptible to. Axanar physiology is very different to our own, remember, and our own survey found no evidence of significant risk to humans."
"But didn't the guy actually think he was an Axanar?" Tucker said. "Somethin' screwy goin' on there."
"A combination of many factors. Trauma, isolation, stress....plus this." Locke placed a small zip-lock plastic bag on the table. A brown, thin rectangle lay within.
"What is that?" asked Moshiri.
"The captain should know, he discovered it."
Archer leant closer. After a moment his face cleared. "Ah. The fungus."
"Indeed. Archer's Fungus, we're calling it. A nutritious little substance, with---"
"Hallucinogenic properties." Mayweather interrupted. "Mild hallucinogenic properties, I seem to recall."
"Mild, yes," Locke said, "but as this has been a staple of his diet for eight years, it would have a significant effect." He lifted the bag and regarded it's contents gravely. "You know, it's just occurred to me. Given the nature of Axanar neurotransmitters, this may have been acting as a toxin on them. They might have been fine until they reached a critical level, and then..." He trailed off.
Hernandez said "So, he becomes so confused that he thinks he is an Axanar. And then a human landing party turns up. And the last he knew humans and Axanar were at war."
"Right." Sato said. "He thinks we're a scouting party, looking for him and his friends. So he starts planning military action against us."
"And as part o' that mil'tary activity, he goes dumpin' the last o' the ship's fuel into the nearest river. Hopin' to poison the landin' party." Tucker put in.
Locke shook his head sadly. "A futile act. Even if we had been taking our drinking water from the lake, even if it hadn't evaporated as it had warmed, it would have diffused too much to cause us significant harm."
"It did a fair bit of harm to Corporal James." Reed said stiffly.
"And to that boar we found." Mayweather added.
"True, but both ingested large amounts of concentrated compound. The boar was very close to the point where the contaminant was introduced to the river. James was further down stream, which may well have saved her life. Even so, I don't think she'd have suffered so badly if she hadn't over exerted herself. Damn fool idea, going for a run like that."
"Hey!" Reed snapped. "My people need to keep in top physical condition. It's not easy on a ship, we've not exactly got the room for long runs, and the gym isn't quite what we---"
Archer interrupted. "Gentlemen, let us stay on topic, please! Hoshi, carry on."
"Thank you captain. Well, that's pretty much it. When we sent our expedition into the mountains Stucchi thought we were on to him. He took Polly as a hostage, something to negotiate with if needed, although he himself seems more than a little confused about things. Somehow he'd got the idea that she was in charge, or at least very high up in the chain of command."
No comment, no quip, from Partridge. She is in a bad way, Hernandez thought.
Archer leant forward, both hands on the table top. "Now at first we thought we were dealing with an Axanar. The tracks we were following came from their standard issue boots. But as soon as Red Grant spotted the graves we knew something was up."
"Because Axanar don't bury their dead. They cremate them." said Mayweather, a look of self satisfaction on his face. "Bet you all thought I wasn't paying attention at the briefing."
"At any rate," Archer went on, "once we could read what was on the headstones we could tell that whoever had made them was an Italian, or at any rate an Italian speaker, and a Christian. So I thought having Hoshi recite the Lord's Prayer in that language might have an effect."
"You rescued the Professor and captured Stucchi alive. That seems effective to me." Reed said.
"The question now is what to do with him." Archer said.
Hernandez's brow furrowed. "What do you mean, do with him? We take him back to Earth, of course!"
"What, straight back? Abandon our mission?"
"Of course not!" Hernandez snapped back, temper flaring. "But we can't abandon him either. He's one of us. Living or dead, we don't leave our own behind. He has to come with us, until we return to Earth."
"A noble sentiment, Commander," Locke drawled, "but quite impractical. Stucchi has adapted to his life on the planet. To suddenly confine him within this ship, to surround him with people...in his current mental state that could cause extreme emotional trauma. As in, 'twenty four hour suicide watch' emotional trauma. For months. He may never recover from that sort of shock"
"Maria." Archer said softly, "this doesn't sit too well with me either. There's no ideal solution. The best thing we can do is return him to the planet...hear me out! Please! We return him to the planet, and make sure Earth knows about him. Sooner or later, hopefully sooner, there'll be a follow up expedition. Perhaps a long term survey. With people there Stucchi can acclimatise, get used to humans, to being human."
"We can give him rations, medicine." Locke said. "If he avoids the fungus he should return to normal, given time."
Hernandez felt hollow, drained. "So that's it then. We're leaving him. Like the others."
Hernandez was silent. After a moment Moshiri spoke. "We found...bodies sir, three bodies, in the wreckage of the D-11. We could get them out of the ship, but we've got no practical way to store them sir...." she trailed off.
Sato cleared her throat. "Well. Maybe when they do a full survey they could---"
"No. The D-11 is falling out of orbit." Hernandez interjected. "It'll be too late. Too late. They are lost."
Archer put his hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry Maria, I really am."
"Me too sir. Thank you." She took a deep breath. "But sitting here moping won't change anything. Sir, I must officially protest your decision to leave Stucchi behind, and inform you that I will be considering alternate options."
"So noted. And if you can think of something that works, I'll be delighted. I don't want to leave him behind....We've got a few more days until it's safe to use the warp drive. Use all the time you need Commander."
"Yes sir." A faint smile played round the edges of her lips.
"What's so funny?"
"I was just thinking, it's a bit ironic, isn't it? Professor Partridge, the noted Atheist, saved by a prayer. I bet she'll never live that one down."
"Ah, but I have always recognised the vital importance of religion, when dealing with a disordered mind." came a familiar voice.
"And she's back!" Sato grinned.
Hernandez groaned and looked down the table, to where the professor had regained some of her usual vitality. "Oh, Lord. I didn't know how good her silence was 'til it went away. Perhaps I could slap it back into her again."
"Save your energy Commander Maria, save your energy! You'll need it for kicking yourself. The solution to your problem is quite obvious, both elegantly simple and simply elegant. Really, any world renowned genius could have thought of it."
"Ladies, please." Archer said. "Professor, why don't you tell us your idea...and I'll let you know if it's any good."
Another excellent installment, Badger, and well worth the wait. I'm glad we finally got some answers about the toxins in the water and the 'Axanar'. Great stuff! And poor Polly... but at least she seems to be coming out of her trauma-induced shell by the end.
Looking forward to more of this excellent tale!
Yes, that was great. Consistent and logical in the way it played out-and Polly just gets more sympathetic. I'm liking this a lot.
What does he mean "if"?! Of course it's a good idea. Polly's a genius, geniuses never have anything less than merely good ideas. Most of her ideas are bloody brilliant!
And that would also be used to describe this chapter. Well done, Badger.
A long time ago, a young man by the name of Mal was browsing tvtropes.com, when he came across mention of a Professor Polly Partridge. A quick google search later he found the story of the maiden mission of the UES Enterprise. A week or so and many many laughs after that he caught up to the published chapters, and is now trying to think of a way to carry on this comment without sounding like an idiot.
Anywhos, I just signed up on this site to leave my 'feedback' on your story, something along the lines of: that was ruddy brilliant.
So yeah, thouroughly enjoyed what you've written so far and am now waiting patiently for the next chapter. Keep up the good work. :P
Glad to have you with us Malachi, and thank you for your kind words! I'll not ask what you were doing on that particular page that mentions Polly...well, it's tvtropes, isn't it? You start off looking at one thing for perfectly valid research purposes, innocently follow a couple of links, and before you know it you're on 'Brains & Bondage'. Happens to us all. (And I do hope Polly lived up to expectations?)
I'm working on the next part now. After that, a wrap up, so this story should be finished fairly soon (that's a Badger definition of 'soon' though). Before attempting another one I'm going to get the basic plot structured much better. Too much time on this one was wasted trying to fit a few vague ideas together. Having a plot already sorted out will leave me more time for the actual writing business.
And then there's that Doctor Who story I've had percolating round in my noggin for ages. See if I can shoehorn a hot chick in a kinky outfit in to keep Duncan happy.
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