Star Trek - Genesis

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Crazy Eddie, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 12, 2006
    Your Mom
    I have never posted a fanfic on this BBS before. Didn't think I ever would. But I started writing this story for fun in my free time and it's grown to the point that I'm afraid I might stop working on it unless I get some feedback on it.

    So a preface, and a warning: this is a NuTrek story set several months after the events depicted in STXI. If you have personal issues with the recent film, or if you are one of those people who strongly believe in the sanctity of "teh canon," you should save yourself the headache and not read this story.

    I have not decided, yet, whether or not this story will lead to future events that will in any way resemble anything we have seen in TOS or the previous feature films. As I said, it's a story based on a reboot, so all options are on the table.

    I plan to post new chapters every week or two; questions/comments are welcome.
  2. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 12, 2006
    Your Mom

    Catalog Star System HB22147
    USS Constellation NCC-1017
    Stardate 2358.43.2

    Beginning Day Forty One of our survey mission in this star system. Science Officer Masada has reported the conclusion of the outer planet survey [see attachment for complete report]. Crew morale is exceptionally low, partly because of the recent loss of Lieutenant Onayemi, but more distant because of what the EBC is already calling "The Vulcan Incident." Though I'm not sure "incident" is the word I'd use. Maybe "Massacre" or "Holocaust" would be appropriate. In any case, our expanded mandate feels more like a mercy mission than any colonization survey, though I suspect the Vulcans would be too proud to see it that way.

    We're still having trouble plotting a survey route because of this system's weird composition. Most of the large luminous objects in the outer orbits are remarkably low density, mainly composed of molecular hydrogen and noble gases. The denser inner planets are indicated on gravitic sensors, but thanks to the distortion from the innermost world--an L-Class giant, what astronomers used to call a "Hot Jupiter"--we're unable to get a precise fix on their orbits and positions. Three of the seven largest objects have been pinpointed within the star's estimated habitable zone, and one has a spectral pattern suggesting a possible oxygen atmosphere. Since that seems to be a good starting point, I've ordered Ensign Gambrelli to move us into a standard orbit around the candidate planet to begin our first ground survey. My expectations for this system aren't very high, but I'm always willing to be surprised.

    - USS Constellation Mission Log, Captain Mathew Decker

    "Entering standard orbit, Sir," Ensign Gambrelli reported, only seconds after the ship dropped out of warp. Without the distortion field from the warp drive the Constellation was just another free-falling object hurtling through space under the tyranny of Newton's Third Law. An array of dozens of magnetic nozzles extruded a thin spray of supercharged hydrogen blasted from Constellation's main fusion reactors at thirteen thousand kilometers per second. Senior Navigator Horowitz had programmed their insertion maneuver to drop the ship into the gravity well as close as controllably possible to the planet's orbital velocity; the impulse engines made up the difference in the space of about half a minute, and Constellation eased into a circular orbit several thousand kilometers above the surface.

    A small fleet of automated probes immediately ejected from the launch bays on the neck of the ship just above the torpedo deck: four atmospheric probes and four orbitals, each programmed with a slightly different mission and designed to detect slightly different features of the planet. Constellation had arrived on the night side of the planet, so there was nothing to see through the viewscreen window. Masada's station, however, had a more detailed image from the infrared telescopes and the first lidar spectrographs of the atmosphere and surface features. The radar survey would take more time, a few minutes at most to map the surface and oceanic features, but for now early analysis was already underway. "It reads as Class-M, Captain," Masada said, "first probes will enter their search orbits in eight minutes, twenty seconds."

    Captain Matt Decker watched the large circular screen in front of his science officer flash into a blank wireframe graphic. Over the next twelve to sixteen hours that screen would become a detailed 3-D image of the entire planet and all notable features thereof, but only the most general information would be available in the short term.

    All eight of Constellation's probes maneuvered automatically on preprogrammed trajectories, instructed to adjust their orbits with a handful of navigational milestones that would make them most effective overall. The orbital probes, which had the loosest parameters, skimmed the edge of the atmosphere just to gage the edge of its effective surface and then hoisted themselves back into higher orbits, stabilizing at an altitude of a few hundred kilometers. Their atmospheric cousins--more torpedo-like than the orbital devices--simply power-dove through the upper layers of the atmosphere, letting compression and drag destroy their extra momentum. Once reduced to subsonic velocity, all four of these probes went into a kind of floating hover, each on an opposite side of the planet, suspended a mile or two above the surface on an antigrav generator where they could probe the terrain as it slowly rolled beneath them.

    "All probes are now in position," Masada announced, twenty minutes later as Constellation began slowly to emerge from the planet's shadow, "We've got telemetry coming in."

    "Geographic analysis," Decker asked lightly, "Any good camping grounds?"

    "Coming through now, lateral sweep is almost finished. We'll have a full map of all surface features in a few seconds."

    "Good. How's the weather down there?"

    Masada gazed into the hood of the infrared telescope and panned the viewfinder over the surface of the darkened planet, with data from the ship's sensors combined with the thousands of megabytes of data from the probes, "Definitely Class-M, Captain. Scans confirm vegetation and animal life similar to Earth types. Large body of water, deep oceans... yeah... all around, surprisingly similar to home."

    "Hm... compositional data?"

    Masada slid his chair away from the telescope to the gravitic/subspace sensor control on the end of his science console, "Probable Class-M planet, tentatively designated HB22147-C," he announced, making this an official report from the flight recorder's log, "Equatorial diameter, approximately twelve thousand seven hundred and fifty kilometers. Mass, five point nine one zettatons, density five point five three kilograms per cubic meter. Orbital period, twenty three point nine three hours--" Masada paused here, looked at his screen in puzzlement as the report was beginning to look entirely too familiar.

    Decker had noticed it too. He came to his feet and stepped a little closer to the science console, looking over Masada's shoulder as he began double-checking the sensor reports. Meanwhile, the alien sun had begun to rise over the disk of this new world, lighting an ever-growing blue-green crescent on the surface of this world. "Atmosphere composition?" Decker asked carefully.

    "Twenty one percent oxygen, seventy eight percent nitrogen, one percent water vapor, argon, carbon dioxide and other trace gasses. Average surface temperature, three hundred and thirty seven kelvins, approximately one hundred and one point four kilopascals average pressure..." Masada now looked at his console in complete disbelief. "That's... one moment, Captain, I'll have to run a quick diagnostic..."

    But Decker wasn't looking at the science station anymore. The rising sun had lit enough of the surface world that the coastlines of its continents were becoming visible to the naked eye, partly shrouded in a band of clouds, but in a shape at least as familiar as Masada's sensor readings. "Horowitz... call me crazy, but does that look like Africa to you?"

    By strange coincidence, Horowitz had just been thinking that. He set the navigational sensors to take a lidar sweep of the visible surface and then enhanced the image with an overlay on the hud, showing the outline of the coast even on the still-invisible night side. Here, now, a slightly garbled but perfectly legible coastline stood out on the viewscreen, not just the coast of Africa, but the outline of South America and the Caribbean Islands, of Mexico and the Gulf Coast, Florida and the North American Eastern Seaboard.

    "Earth..." Horowitz looked over his shoulder in amazement, seeking confirmation--or at least a smirk to confirm an elaborate prank--from his Captain.

    "Not Earth," Decker said, "Not our Earth."

    Masada looked through the viewscreen and then threw himself back to his sensor consoles. "That's impossible on so many levels..."

    "Yeah, it's impossible alright," the boot of Italy and the Swiss alps slid over the horizon, "But that doesn't mean it's not there."

    "Another Earth?" Gambrelli said, breathless, "A duplicate?"

    Masada shook his head, "Not an exact duplicate. I'm detecting no vessels in orbit, no aircraft, no subspace transmissions or radio signals."

    Decker's heart skipped a beat, "Life signs? What about life signs?"

    "Direct and indirect indications of vegetation and animal life..." it would take more data than he had to get a definitive answer, so Masada decided to estimate. He directed the aerial drones to probe the ground below them out to the horizon with astral-kinetic probes, paying special attention to areas that--on the "real" Earth--would be densely populated. Those signals were designed to register on life-energy patterns: the unique bio-electric energy fields produced by the presence of sophisticated life forms, and most strongly with intelligent life forms, producing a psychedelic spiral pattern that looked like a representation of a magnetic field collapsing on itself. When the drones failed to return conclusive data, he directed Constellation's more powerful sensor arrays, one towards San Francisco, one at Mexico City, and one at the Andean Mountains of Peru. All three scans reported back in a matter of seconds, a report concise enough for him to conclude, "Scans show no sapient life forms, Captain. Only animal life and vegetation."

    "What in the--" asking the obvious question would get him nowhere. This planet could not exist--it should not exist--and yet there it was, right in front of them, like the Lost City of Atlantis floating out of the mist. "Tatiana," he ordered of his communications officer, "Program a coded message for Starfleet Command, Priority One. Something tells me we're going to need a little help on this one."
  3. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    For never having posted before you certainly know how to catch a reader's attention. :) This is terrific stuff, and the level of detail with which you imbue your writing captures the imagination.

    I'll be along for the ride. :techman: And welcome to the Fanfic board.
  4. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 12, 2006
    Your Mom

    Planet HB22147-C, Standard Orbit
    USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)
    Stardate 2358.51.7 - 07:58 hrs

    Holographic displays and scrolling graphics on the transparent monitor constituted complete information overload to anyone in the room who didn't have a lucid, computer-like intellect. Such little difference it made, though, since those not technically savvy enough to understand the displays were not required to understand it anyway. Everyone knew this was a scientific briefing, so the unofficial protocols of a Federation starship prompted a seating arrangement to reflect this reality: the UESPA planetology team--all of them civilians and all but two of them actually graduate students--dominated most of the first row, while the cartography and astrophysics sections dominated the remainder of this and the second row. The entire left flank of the room consisted of a cluster of communications officers with Lieutenant Uhura as center of gravity, with Ensign Sulu on the opposite wing, holding court with a score of sharply dressed navigators and shuttle pilots. The assorted rifraff down the middle had no particular arrangements, since they were he least relevant to this briefing; a half dozen security officers and phaser room specialists, a few curious junior engineers, a token representative from the Starfleet Press Corps, and Doctor McCoy--in the geometric center of the auditorium--acting as the sole representative of the medical department.

    The senior most officers held court near the front of the room, facing all others, in a position to either conduct part of the briefing themselves or prompt input from the "audience" of officers gathered around. These eight men and women represented the operating nucleus of this particular mission, and these all orbited around the personal authority of Captan James T. Kirk. "Everyone take your seats," the Captain announced, for the benefit of the three or four people still standing at the moment. The graphics in the holoscreen froze for a moment, snapping back to the beginning of the pre-arranged presentation programmed by Spock and Marcus for the occasion. "This briefing is primarily for the science teams and the communications sections. Tactical Section department heads, you should be taking notes too."

    "Excuse me, Captain," Ensign Sulu spoke up from his territory of the briefing room, "First question, on notes. Is there any reason to expect combat action resulting from this survey?"

    "Not that I know of. Why do you ask?"

    One of the shuttle pilots, two seats behind and to the right of Sulu, spoke up, "I'm wondering if we'll be doing anymore dustoff-type missions. That terrain looks pretty hostile up close."

    "Hold your questions for now. This is... well, it's a complicated situation."

    "I'll say..." Muttered McCoy, loud enough to be heard but quiet enough not to rate serious recognition.

    Kirk handed over the podium to the ship's Chief Irritant, the one member of the UESPA team anointed with the title "Doctor" Carolyn Marcus, who took her place as if the entire universe had been waiting for her to speak. "Good morning, everyone, thank you for your patience," she began in that infuriatingly smug manner of hers, as if the meeting could finally begin for real now that she it was her turn to speak, "First a little background to set the stage. As most of you are no doubt aware, the planet below was identified by the USS Constellation during its colonization study. This one is noteworthy for being unknown to Federation telescopes until very recently, which is unusual considering its proximity to the Vulcan system." The first of several images appeared on the twin holoscreens, orthographic views of the Constellation on the left and the first orbital visuals of the planet on the right. From his seat near the front of the room, Captain Kirk noted with satisfaction that both images looked deceptively familiar; Constellation because it resembled an older and somewhat smaller version of the Enterprise, and the planet because even at a glance its shorelines and color patterns were nearly identical to those of Earth. Captain Decker had since been ordered elsewhere to resume his survey route, but the planet--and the mysteries it held--remained for the Enterprise.

    "As you can see," Marcus went on, "Constellation's initial observations raised eyebrows throughout the Federation. Apart from the visual evidence here," the left screen changed to a sensor readout, a pair of spectral analysis charts of the planet's atmosphere and lithosphere respectively, "early scans confirmed an atmosphere with ninety five percent commonality to that of Earth, with a crust and mantle structure of ninety nine percent commonality. It has nearly identical mass and dimensions as Earth, though a somewhat higher density in the upper core. The main differences are the planet's orbital characteristics: it completes one orbit in three hundred and two days, although its rotational period is no more than ten seconds slower than that of Earth."

    Here Marcus paused, a silent cue for Commander Spock to pick up the pace on behalf of his own department that did was responsible for Enterprise' first assessments on the scene. For the sake of expedience, Spock omitted the parts of his report that confirmed Constellation' findings and skipped to the parts that Enterprise had found for itself since arriving here six weeks ago. "Constellation's initial scans identified various signs of civilization on the surface, including scattered but indeterminate life signs. Our first task on the scene was to evaluate type, intelligence and sophistication of the inhabitants of the planet. Not knowing what to expect, we began with an assumption that the population may also have been a copy in some way of Earth inhabitants and attempted contact on that basis. The results..." the right screen changed to a set of aerial photographs, changing in five second intervals, apparently showing every major city on Earth, "...were quite fascinating." A choice of words that reflected the fact that every one of these photographs showed a major Terran population center lying in ruins, its buildings either imploded or knocked on their sides, bridges collapsed, roads and lots overgrown with wild vegetation no one had bothered to tame in generations.

    "Our first assessment showed the cities to have been abandoned for approximately three centuries," Spock went on, "based on the rate of growth of the vegetation and the pattern of decay in the surviving structures. This estimate was confirmed by the technological remnants within the cities, consistent with roughly mid 20th century Earth development. As for the reason for abandonment, early hypothesis included some type of planetwide cataclysm, likely a viral infection or bacteriological contaminant. The lack of widespread devastation ruled out nuclear holocaust or other similar scenarios--"

    "Pardon me for interrupting your bill of goods, Mister Spock," Doctor McCoy snarled from his perch in the center of the room, strategically placed, it turned out, since at this moment he was speaking for almost the entire crew, "But aren't we missing the big picture here? Anything could've destroyed the population of the planet, but we still don't have a clue what created it in the first place!"

    Doctor Marcus answered gently, "On what basis do you assume this planet was created, doctor?"

    "You don't have to be a Vulcan to see that's the only logical explanation! What are the odds that another M-Class planet exactly like Earth would just happen to pop up in a totally alien solar system all by itself? And besides, last week the geological team found that both of the moons have a different composition from Luna, which means they didn't form from a primordial impact against this planet. That means we've got two identical planets with two completely different histories. So, again, what are the odds?"

    "Probability is not causation, Doctor," Spock chided, though at the same time conceding, "Although your statement is logically valid. There is no natural phenomenon that could explain the existence of this planet, similarities and all. Hence our second hypothesis as to the calamity that devastated its population: that which created this planet in its present condition may also have precipitated its demise."

    This seemed to take Doctor Marcus by surprise, though not--apparently--because her theory was any different. Actually, Kirk thought she seemed gratified that another expert on the ship had also come to that same conclusion. "In the end," Marcus took over, "This may lead us to a clue as to who or what created this world, and for what purpose. The possibilities are endless, as are the mysteries. But not to get distracted..."

    "Indeed." Spock moved to the next set of slides, replacing both screens neatly. This one showed a life-energy astral pattern superimposed over an orbital photograph of the devastated Gaza Strip. "Global surveys of all local population centers found the destruction was not entirely uniform. As expected, certain areas apparently weathered the cataclysm better than others, and this lead to the discovery of pockets of survivors in isolated areas. This initially lead to a support of the viral hypothesis, since the surviving populations were in areas that--as of 1990s Earth--were economically and industrially under-developed and lacked regular connection to the outside world. Our most promising areas included the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in North America, the Gaza Strip under Israeli occupation, rural areas in Indochina and the Malay Archipelago, Cuba, Haiti, and certain African regions undergoing civil war. The pattern in these regions was for less ubiquitous destruction of population centers, however..." and Spock almost cringed at the thought, "... the survivors demonstrated a marked regression towards animalistic behaviors. Primitive social skills, little or no linguistic capacity, extremely limited intelligence and an elevated aggressive response. Physical abnormalities in these populations were common, but phenotypically consistent, suggesting an evolutionary mutation into a type of bipedal apex predator." The two slides changed now to orthographic views of two such specimens. The first, showed a tricorder scan of a scronny, clearly malnourished and totally nude male with shaggy overgrown body hair, the quintessential "cave man" of anthropological lore. The second, though, was a curiosity: only vaguely human, entirely hairless, with brown and grey spotted skin; its head was a flattened brick that housed a pair of small beady eyes and one gigantic nostril, smashed into a meaty torso between two beach-ball-sized shoulders at the base of huge powerful arms that ended in a set of disproportionately long fingers.

    No one but Doctor Marcus and a handful of Spock's science teams had even seen this image. It sent waves through the audience, and set the security men stirring. The communications sections breathed a collective sigh of disappointment, since there was no indication that such a monster would have any desire to communicate with them.

    Mister Scott made his first contribution from behind the Captain's seat, "That beastie's not from any Earth I'd remember!"

    "Quite right, Mister Scott," Spock said, "This, then, leads to the current state of our investigation. A thorough search of the remaining population centers shows only Gaza, the Congo Region and mountainous inland of Cuba and Haiti are still populated, in this case only by the two creatures you see here, with the latter in far greater numbers and appearing to dominate the former."

    One of the communications officers--a dark-haired Orion woman who until now had been taking extremely thorough notes on a palmcomp--asked, "Is there any evidence that sapient life forms did exist here? I mean, for all we know this planet was created as a hunting ground for some kind of carnivorous creatures."

    Spock raised a brow, "A curious question, considering the existence of the ruins cannot be explained by anything other than sapient life forms..."

    "I think Ensign Ayala is referring to indigenous life forms," Lieutenant Uhura added, "I mean... well... to the extent that any organism here could be considered indigenous."

    "I understand." Spock folded his arms and thought it over, "In the six weeks we have been exploring this planet we have seen indications that some type of civilization did exist here as early as three hundred years ago. Admittedly this evidence is largely circumstantial, based on carbon dating of the ruins and the variation of ages of construction..."

    "That doesn't mean anything," Lieutenant Sulu said, "For all we know, this could be some kind of gigantic ant farm."

    Spock stood up straighter, "I'm unfamiliar with that field of agriculture, Ensign."

    "It's... uh... sort of an aquarium, Sir. Usually two flat panes of glass with sand between them... and they have... well, not real, but little plastic farmhouses for the ants..."

    "The point is," Kirk rescued Sulu from his own stumbling, "The signs of civilization may have been placed here for the amusement of those predators. Like a castle in an aquarium or something like that."

    Spock frowned, "That would seem to be a highly illogical use of time and energy, constructing the facade of an entire civilization simply for the... amusement... of primitive carnivores."

    Doctor Marcus shared his frustration, but not his conclusion. "Until we know something about the intelligence that created this planet, we can't really assume anything. For all we know, it's a cosmic practical joke."

    Doctor McCoy snorted, "Somebody out there's a got a hell of a sense of humor."

    "In either case, that does not explain the presence of the caveman organisms," Spock said, "Or their relationship with the larger organisms, what the away teams have begun to call the Reavers."

    "What relationship?" Kirk asked. This was news to him.

    "They are genetically similar in most respects, in fact more similar to each other than humans are to chimpanzees. Furthermore, they are locally coincident and belong to the same social groupings."

    Kirk stood up slowly, "Then the Reavers aren't hunting the cave men?"

    "Based on observed behavior," Spock confirmed, "They seem to view one another as the same species, though the cavemen demonstrate a remarkably sedentary lifestyle. For confirmation we are still awaiting direct or indirect evidence of interbreeding between the two phenotypes. There is also Ensign Chekov's theory that the difference may simply be a matter of sexual dimorphism."

    Doctor Marcus turned an accusing eye towards Chekov, sitting quietly behind Sulu, trying not to be noticed. "You think the Reavers are the female of the species, Ensign?"

    "Uh... um... yes, Ma'am."

    "Based on what?"

    Chekov shrugged, "In my experience, Doctor, the female of most predator species tend to be larger and more aggressive."

    Spock raised a brow, "That would seem to suggest genetic tampering with this species, whatever their original form. The mutation may depend on the influence of a Y-chromosome."

    "Or a passive X-chromosome that became dominant somehow," McCoy said, "In some isolated populations, certain suppressed traits have a tendency to resurface. If those traits have an evolutionary advantage, they can actually overwhelm the dominant gene."

    "Gentlemen," Kirk stood up, feeling the briefing beginning to derail, "This is all fine speculation, but what we lack here is information. There are a few basic questions we're still no closer to answering."

    "Indeed," Spock nodded, "The question of who manufactured this planet, and why."

    "Most importantly, how," Marcus said, "at least, that's what the Federation Council wants to know. Needless to say, the ability to construct entire planets to a specific design is far beyond Federation technology."

    "For now, though," Kirk said, "we need to narrow down our priorities, solve one or two problems at a time. This planet has enough mysteries to occupy Starfleet for generations, but they didn't send us here to solve all of them."

    Spock nodded, "In fact, the specific priorities of our mission include an examination of whatever intelligence might remain on this planet, as well as a search for the intelligence responsible for its creation."

    McCoy snarled from his spot in the center of the action, "And how do you propose we do that? Go down there and start asking the locals?"

    Spock stared at McCoy, then almost as an afterthought back at Kirk, "I propose we should do exactly that, Captain."

    "They don't seem very talkative to me, Spock."

    "No, Sir, they don't. However," and he raised his voice to make sure the rest of the department heads could hear, "on the assumption that some remnant of intelligent life may still exist on this planet, it should be our priority to identify and preserve such intelligence for any clues as to the history of this world and its origins. A living specimen would be ideal, of course, but written or digital records would also be of value."

    Kirk nodded, though he sensed something in Spock's voice that told him there was probably an away mission and a considerable amount of danger in the works some time in the next twenty four hours. "What's your plan, Spock?"

    The Vulcan simply nodded, as if confirming that Kirk had guessed his intentions correctly. "Flyby scans of the Gaza Strip area show a relatively large population density of the caveman-type organisms co-mingling with a smaller group of active reavers..."

    "All males, Sir," Chekov added, still partially hiding behind Sulu, "I checked the readings myself. No females of the caveman wariety."

    "... which, if Chekov is correct, may indicate disproportionality in that particular population. If the changes are the result of viral influence or mass mutation, a pre-cataclysm population may still exist there."

    Kirk scratched his chin, "I dunno, Spock, Gaza was a pretty rough place in the 1990s... in fact wasn't it known for having an extremely high population density?"

    "In fact, it was known for having one of the highest population densities on the planet, coupled with perpetual guerilla combat against neighboring partisans and a proliferation of militant ideology. It is my belief that the high population density, coupled with the presence of armed reactionary elements and the availability of firearms may have delayed whatever fate consumed the rest of this world."

    "That's a hell of a belief, Spock... almost a leap of faith."

    Spock raised a brow, "Faith is illogical, Captain... however, in this case, it may be all we have left."

    "I see." Kirk turned to the department heads gathered in the room, and as he did, saw the looks of dread spread across their faces, "I know how you all feel... I won't order anyone to go, but I will ask for volunteers. First team to find what we're looking for might just earn themselves a nice fat promotion."

    The looks of dread faded a bit as various officers weighed the the risk of dismemberment by reavers--or having their heads bashed in by snarling ape-men--against the possibility of a jump in rank. The senior officers recognized this as an invitation to pass the offer on to the ambitious upstarts in their own departments, while the junior officers--including Chekov and Sulu--mulled it quietly in their own heads.

    "All qualified volunteers should report to the Engineering Ready Room at eighteen hundred hours tomorrow," Spock announced, "Be advised, this will be a prolonged away mission deep in the heart of potentially hostile territory. A degree of danger is to be expected."
  5. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Enterprise is on scene and will now have the opportunity to get to the bottom of this seemingly duplicate Earth. The presence of Carol Marcus should serve to spice things up... though in this reality, I'm guessing they've yet to encounter each other.

    You've established a fascinating premise, and I'm looking forward to what the surface teams discover. :)
  6. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    I am very curious about what you have going here. The Reavers seem genetically engineered, but their lack of hostility to the "humans" would rule them out as the cause of the destruction. A duplicate Earth is so implausible that I eagerly await your solution. The inclusions of Dr Marcus and the choice of titles has me speculating, of course.
  7. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 12, 2006
    Your Mom

    Planet HB22147-C, Standard Orbit
    USS Enterprise (NCC-1701)
    Stardate 2358.52.1

    Sixty five men and women were waiting for Spock in the Ready Room by the deadline, an eclectic mix to be sure, from various departments all around the ship and all from different backgrounds. As a Starfleet tradition since the Second Romulan War, every single one of these officers and crewmen were required to be a jack of all trades and a master of one, and assigned to ship's departments according to that one speciality in which they were uniquely distinguished. To this end, Commander Spock quickly divided them up to have the specialties more or less evenly distributed. With twenty six security officers (and nine others with advanced combat training) he split the volunteers into thirteen groups; three on each shuttle as a security force, one additional officer with a science or engineering background as operations officer, and finally, one member of Doctor Marcus' survey team as section leader. Naturally, the Commander personally took command of the one team that lacked a third security officer, reasoning he could trust himself to do double-duty before any of his subordinates.

    Mission planning went smoothly enough, considering the prevailing anxiety of the volunteers. The team leaders picked out twelve landing sites on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip, just outside the crumbling wall the Israeli Military had once erected to contain the strip's one and a half million restless inhabitants. Once the away teams made landfall, the shuttles would provide air support, scouting the urban terrain for possible leads or threats and--if necessary--provide defensive support if the locals got a little too frisky. Each team head its own search sector, and the method of searching each was their own responsibility.

    "This," Spock reminded them as the planning session closed, "is to be a forensic examination of the region. Any artifact, any recording, any book, any painting, anything that could possibly have been created by an active civilization is to be considered evidence. Also required is DNA analysis of any locals encountered, microbial analysis of the soil and food supply, and catalogs of additional flora and fauna to compare against present Earth records. Your ultimate goal is to locate and contact any sapient life forms that may still survive in the area."

    A series of nods circled the room. By now, most of the volunteers were either wearing or wrestling their way into field jackets and equipment packs for the flight to Other Earth.

    "Any questions?" Spock asked.

    No one replied, save Doctor McCoy from the seat closest to Spock and the rest of the team on which he had forced himself, "I don't suppose there's a reason you're planning this away mission like a military assault, Spock."

    The Vulcan frowned. "If you prefer to think of it along those terms, Doctor, then your role as the analogous battlefield medic may be greatly appreciated. Otherwise, recognize that this mission plan is simply the most logical technique available to us."

    "If you say so, Spock."

    Twenty minutes later, Enterprise's shuttle bay thundered open behind a forcefield curtain. Artificial gravity was shut down, and one after another the twelve active shuttles drifted off their landing pads and maneuvered gracefully into open space. In standard orbit, Enterprise was in purely inertial flight, orbiting the planet only by its native momentum and the planet's gravity; once the shuttles were clear of Enterprise, their impulse engines powered up, and mass suddenly ceased to be a factor. Within minutes they slipped gently into the upper atmosphere, held aloft only by the action of a few thrusters and a subspace field that cheated both the laws of physics and the tyranny of gravity itself.

    Shuttlecraft Fourteen was the first to arrive, making a low-altitude pass over the Mediterranean sea as the sun set behind it. Mission pilot Hikaru Sulu checked their position against Enterprise' sensor plot and raised altitude just as the coast became visible on the horizon. It hardly defied his expectations: drab, dreary, lifeless, a kind of desolation that was anything but magnificent. The cluster of ruins that had once been Other Earth's Gaza Strip looked more like a sprawling garbage heap than the remains of an urbanized refugee zone. Even "Real Earth" Gaza never looked like this; this planet was as alien as any other world they had visited on training missions and simulations alike.

    "I have a visual on our landing site," Doctor Marcus said from the Ops station. Paradoxically, too, since technically Sulu was the Operations officer on this team. "Five kilometers due east, just behind that security wall."

    "I'll make a low pass and scout our search area." He fired braking thrusters just before crossing the coast and then descended to just above one hundred meters, coasting on momentum alone. At some low velocity he didn't bother to specify, he set the sensors on full scan and swept the entire region below the shuttle, images and data relayed directly to Marcus' station.

    "Wow..." was her first response, followed moments later by "Oh wow!"

    "What do you see?"

    "An anomaly."

    Sulu glared at her, wondering of their illustrious science officer's penchant for cryptic remarks hadn't rubbed off.

    "Suddenly I'm not so sure that cataclysm really happened centuries ago."

    "What do you mean?"

    "You see that?" Marcus pointed through the window, where in the fading light a few isolated flashes were becoming visible, like the twinkling of sand in the sunlight. "You know what that is?"

    Sulu stared, but shook his head.

    "Small arms fire."

    "What, really?"

    "If these people are using cordite--and I don't see why they wouldn't be--I don't see it staying viable in these conditions more than a few decades."

    Sulu shrugged. "You never know. But it's something we ought to look out for, don't you think?"

    "I suppose so."

    The landing site was up ahead, clearly marked on the heads up display on the shuttle's canopy window. Sulu brought the ship in a slow descent towards it and started the landing lights in the passenger compartment for the away team to prepare for a potentially rough touchdown. "How long you think this will take?"

    Marcus shrugged. "How long do we have?"

    "We should setup the transporter modules as soon as we're down. Statistically speaking, ninety percent of all accidents on away missions occur in the first thirty minutes after beamdown."

    "But we didn't beam down this time. What are the stats for shuttle missions?"

    "You don't want to know."

    "That's reassuring." She watched him work the controls for a moment and the corresponding movements of the shuttle as it descended towards pale dust. Deep down she secretly admired him for being able to maneuver this craft so gracefully; in her college days she almost had a heart attack just learning how to pilot a conventional aeroshuttle, and these new wide-body Starfleet shuttles were nearly three times that size.

    Fitting, now that she thought about it, since the starship that contained them was three times the size of anything Starfleet had ever put into space. With a crew of nearly seven hundred hundred and an arsenal of the best equipment and technology Earth science had ever developed, the 1700-Class "Enterprise" wasn't a starship as much as it was a self-propelled flying city. Just this one ship could do the work of any five starships of any other class, no matter what that work entailed. Brand new ship with a brand new crew and a brand new Captain fresh out of the academy... "You know," Marcus brought it up now that she had a spare moment and no one of consequence within earshot, "When I was assigned this mission I was told I'd be working under Captain Pike. It gave me a bit of confidence, you know? Thinking that whatever happened, we'd have someone watching over us with a proven record, someone we could count on."

    "Things change," Sulu said offhandedly, "There's been some serious shuffling of the ranks ever since the Vulcan Incident. The fact that you're here at all probably means that Starfleet couldn't spare any of its own specialists from other assignments and had to borrow a team from UESPA. And then there's the political situation..."

    "What political situation?"

    "Well the Klingons have declared war against Romulus, and Starfleet's dragging more and more ships out of mothballs to keep the borders secured. Then there's all the shenanigans in the Laurentine System and Starfleet trying to keep the Xindi from dragging half the galaxy into their civil war..."

    Marcus looked incredulous, "As if borders and territory really matter in the vastness of space."

    Sulu looked slightly annoyed, but cultivated his patience. "In spatial cosmography--especially in a strategic context--a "border" in space is any region where a subspace corridor passes close to a system controlled by one side or the other."

    "Subspace corridor...?"

    "It's a region of low subspace-energy density. Our warp engines have better... I guess you could say better traction in those regions. For example, a standard freighter at warp four can make the Earth-Tellar run in about five days. That same trip in normal interstellar space would take two or three weeks."

    "You're saying its a bit of navigational convenience."

    "Something like that. Now the Romulan Neutral Zone delineates a section of the Vulcan Corridor between Andor and Romulus, about seventy light years long, that both Romulan and Starfleet military vessels aren't allowed to enter. There's a tributary of that corridor that splits off just before the Romulan end of the neutral zone, called the Gamma Hydra junction. It connects several key Romulan colonies with the Klingon frontier. That junction and the surrounding systems is where the Klingon offensive is concentrated." Sulu slapped the controls and cut landing thrusters, more abruptly than might have been safe. The shuttle dropped the last five feet or so to the ground, slamming on its landing skids for the hydraulics to bear the brunt of it.

    Doctor Marcus gripped the arms of her chair in an instant of panic, but Sulu went on as if nothing had happened, "The Klingons have no treaty with us to stay out of the neutral zone, so they can use it as a retreat path knowing the Romulans can't follow them. If the Romulans violate the zone, they risk opening up a second front with the Federation... on the other hand, there's nothing to stop them from attacking Earth outposts themselves and blaming it on reckless Klingon marauders. So Starfleet's job right now is to try and contain the war without getting involved in it while at the same time doing damage control from the Vulcan Incident. And that doesn't even take into account that Gamma Hydra connects with two other corridors that lead deep into Federation space, both of which could eventually be used by the Klingons if they end up capturing that sector. Basically, the entire fleet right now is trying really hard to tow the Federation between a rock and a hard place."

    Marcus smiled, "It's good to know our rookie Captain has such competent people under his command. All the same, though, I'd still feel more confident with an experienced commander on the bridge."

    "What do you care? You're not even in Starfleet, and UESPA hasn't operated its own ships in forty years." Sulu said without looking up from his monitors, finishing the post-flight powerdown.

    "Just saying. I'd feel better knowing the man responsible for keeping me alive had some deep space experience, wouldn't you? I mean, according to his service record, Captain Kirk has only ever commanded a flight simulator and a phaser control room on the Farragut, and even that was just a training mission."

    "He did well enough in the Vulcan Incident."

    Marcus squinted at him, "Maybe he got lucky?"

    "I'm fine with that as long as he keeps getting lucky."

    "Well that's you... and what about Mister Spock?"

    Sulu shrugged and unclipped the restraints on his pilot's chair, "What about him?"

    "He's more intelligent than Kirk, more rational, certainly more experienced."

    "You know what, Doctor? Nobody in the fleet was more experienced than Admiral Pike, and he's alive today only because Jim Kirk is one lucky son of a bitch. The moral of the story is, in this line of work, it's better to be lucky than smart."

    "If you say so."

    "I do say so." Sulu ducked into the passenger compartment and joined Buckley and Kruzman in unloading equipment from the cargo pod, "Tell you what. If Captain Kirk somehow fails to get us all killed, you have to have a drink with me when we get back to the ship."

    Marcus smiled. "That sounds like a safe bet. You're on."
  8. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 12, 2006
    Your Mom
    22:50 hours
    "Alpha Team to Enterprise, all mission teams have reached landing sites. We are beginning search phase one."

    Lieutenant Uhura answered, "Acknowledged, Alpha Team. We'll monitor your progress from here." This, of course, was the understatement of the day. Almost the entire bridge had been geared to support the ground effort; the engineering stations had been converted to mission control for the shuttles, along with the twin ops stations in the rear of the room that now displayed vital sign tracking of all sixty seven members of the landing party. The main viewer was ablaze with a real-time map of the Gaza Strip along with sixty seven transponder beacons, plus the locators for the thirteen shuttles and the half dozen aerial probes dropped in ahead of time to help the group coordinate their efforts.

    Kirk watched the transponder signals begin to fan out, encroaching slowly into the strip in three-man formations: two security men armed with phaser rifles and one officer with a tricorder and a field kit. His main interest was on Spock's team, the command group for the entire mission and--by design--covering the most densely populated region of the Strip.

    Tying in his own intercom, Kirk asked, "Alpha team, we've gotten reports from other units about small arms fire within the strip..."

    "I confirm, Captain," replied Spock from the surface, "Gunfire appears sporadic, isolated pockets of activity. Indications are, its activity peaked some three hours ago and is now declining in intensity."

    Kirk raised a brow, "You mean the shooting just started?"

    "Sensors showed no evidence of gunfire when we surveyed this area a week ago."

    "Then whatever's happening now wasn't happening when we got here."

    "Correct, Captain. Aerial surveillance is attempting to identify the gunmen, but so far we are unable to pinpoint their exact location. Tricorders have been set to scan for cordite, and we are continuing the search on foot."

    "Right. I want regular reports every six hours. Enterprise out." Kirk closed the channel to the away team, then tapped the page on his chair to the tactical section, "Phaser room."

    "Tomlinson here."

    "Mister Tomlinson, set your number two phaser bank to a strong stun setting, planetary bombardment mode. Just incase the away teams need some extra support."

    "You'll have it in five minutes, Captain."

    "Kirk out."

    "Multiple life forms conwerging on Charlie Team, Keptin," Chekov was reading it off his control panel, but the same was vaguely discernible on the viewscreen.

    "Any danger?" Kirk asked.

    "Hard to say, Sir, but there is another group of life forms moving ahead of them, passing Charlie Team now. The first group may be pursuing them."

    "Advise Charlie Team to stay clear and continue their search. Meanwhile, continue scans of the planet surface for any signs of active technology or power signatures. Maybe somebody's still got a ham radio or something."

    "Aye, Keptin..."

    "Captain... I'm picking up a radiation surge on sensors," Ensign Rodriguez, the acting science officer in Spock's absence, reported from the starboard science station, "It's in high orbit, bearing one nine eight mark fourteen."

    "I have it, Keptin," Chekov reported a heartbeat later, "Readings show an unknown wessel dropping out of warp speed, moving into standard orbit."

    This was all happening too fast. An away mission this size was already taxing Enterprise's logistical limits, let alone the unwanted surprise of an uninvited guest. "Go to yellow alert, standby battlestations."

    A number of things on the Enterprise suddenly changed, even at a relatively low alert condition. The yellow alert condition prompted all nine of the ship's phaser banks to power up to standby mode, with gun crews and operators checking their power cells and swapping out any units whose reports were even slightly out of spec. The coolant lines for the main deflector screen were opened all the way, and the capacitors for the forcefield generators were charged to maximum capacity. Though not quite at battle stations, Enterprise was now in a condition where the full force of its power and technology could be redirected in a matter of seconds to the singular task of engaging and destroying a hostile force; not prepared for a fight, but prepared to block if someone should take a swing.

    After several tense minutes, Chekov reported, "The alien wessel has entered standard orbit, Keptin. Inclination forty eight degrees, apogee of two thousand kilometers."

    "Uhura, lock in on the alien ship, standard greeting and friendship messages."

    "Aye sir."

    "No intersect in our orbits," Chekov went on, "he may not be aware of us, Sir."

    "Or he may not be interested, which is just as good... either way, keep an eye on the alien ship, I want to know the moment it blinks in our direction."

    "Yes, Sir."

    "No response yet from the other ship," Uhura said, "Should I continue hailing?"

    Kirk nodded, "Two minute intervals, standard linguicode. And alternate friendship messages with a request for identification."

    "Aye, Sir."

    And turning back to his science officer he asked immediately, "Have they scanned us?"

    "No, Sir, but at this range they don't really need to."

    "Same for them. What do you make of it?"

    Rodriguez plunged her face into the scrolling lights of the sensor scope, reading telescope and optical sensor data from the ship's medium-range sensor array. The library computer ran an analysis routine against its own memory banks even as Rodriguez ran one in her own head; both came up with the same result, "Modular construction, between one hundred and three hundred thousand ton displacement. I can't get a solid reading on its armaments, but its emission spectrum suggests some type of phase-layered ferromagnetic material."

    "No recognizable armaments, Ensign?"

    Rodriguez frowned, "There are a few surface features that are in the right place to be some type of weapon emplacement, but I can't speak to type or cap--"

    "Alien wessel has dropped something into the atmosphere, Keptin!" Chekov sounded entirely too excited for what his monitors were showing him. Kirk kept his eyes on Rodriguez and waited for her sensors catch up.

    "It looks like a reentry capsule," she reported immediately, "ballistic flight only... ablative heat shield... about twenty five tons... no life signs aboard."


    "Um..." she worked her console for a few moments before the results came back, "If it follows its present heading, it will land on the western shore of Alaska, close to the Aleutian Islands. No present danger to the away team."

    "Must be Santa Claus making a delivery," Kirk nodded, appreciating for once the novelty of an alien race whose motives were not saturated with wrathful xenophobia. On the other hand, alot of the more noteworthy academy situations were based on the worst-case scenarios dreamed up by a generation of long-dead explorers. It was distressing to think he'd spent all those years preparing for things that would never happen, or failing to prepare for things that would. "Bailey, you and Chekov monitor that ship, be sure to give it a wide berth."

    "Aye Captain."

    "Aye, Keptin!" the two officers poured themselves into the helm console now, and suddenly their workstations became a galaxy of holographics as they began programming escape maneuvers for every possible action the alien ship might take.

    Satisfied, Kirk turned to the opposite corner of the bridge, "Uhura, contact Alpha Team, tell them keep their eyes peeled for any alien presence on the surface."

    "Yes, Sir, but... isn't the alien capsule heading for the other side of the planet?"

    Kirk smiled, "They've seen us, and they know we've seen them. If they're smart, they'll monitor our landing party as closely as possible without initiating contact."

    That seemed like merely a wild guess, but Uhura followed the order anyway.

    "Speaking of which," turning lastly to his science officer, "I want you to launch two standard probes, inertial guidance only. Put them in a Molniya orbit with maximum dwell time over Alaska so we can cover that area at all times."

    Rodriguez nodded and programmed the starboard probe bay. "Captain, at that altitude we won't get very detailed readings. We'll be able to track their movements, but..."

    "That's all we need, Ensign. We're not out to spy on them, this is just a precaution."

    "Aye, sir..."

    Three minutes later, the launch hatches on the side of the "neck" of the ship irised open, each releasing a Starfleet observation probe into space, port and starboard. Both probes accelerated away from the ship under the drive of micr-fusion thrusters, ponderously slow without the benefit of space-denting subspace fields, but quickly enough to cancel their angular velocity around the planet and launch into an extremely elliptical North-South orbit.

    Thousands of kilometers away, the alien ship took note. Not that the commander on board had expected its counterpart to do otherwise, and like Kirk, it was a relief to discover commonality with an alien--but not overtly hostile--intelligence. With due caution, the alien ship waited until Enterprise was below the horizon, then released another reentry capsule, this time on a much flatter trajectory that would bounce off the atmosphere and back into space before again plunging to the ground below. It would take a few hours to arrive, but that trajectory was calculated to bring the second capsule to a landing site on the eastern shore of one of the planet's enclosed water reservoirs, just off the beach of what humans would call "Gaza City."

    Had to post this chapter in 2 parts because of the character limit - NT
  9. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Continued excellence! The logistics of the mission are spot on, and the characterizations are flawless. :) Looking forward to discovering who the new arrivals are.
  10. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 12, 2006
    Your Mom

    Planet HB22147-C, Gaza City
    Stardate 2358.52.1
    22:58 hours

    "Surprisingly logical deduction," Spock muttered to himself as he closed the communicator. It was already after nightfall, a stifling darkness in which no creature dared venture into the ruins without benefit of a tricorder and an orbiting starship to support. The only lights visible were the faint pinpricks of tricorder screens and hand lamps moving through the canyons of crumbling buildings and ancient streets, the perfect lure to attract the more daring predators, or the perfect deterrent for the more timid ones. Presently, Spock's position on the hilltop overlooking old Rafah gave his tricorder an almost un-restricted angle on the ruins, and it only took a few seconds to chart a path through the ancient refugee camp that would take him through some likely points of interest.

    A few paces in front of him, Doctor McCoy glanced over his shoulder, "What's surprising about it? Jim's pretty sharp when he needs to be, even when dealing with a completely alien intelligence."

    "Indeed." Truth be told, Spock hadn't thought much of Kirk's intellectual abilities even after his uncanny output of lucky guesses and personal miracles during the Vulcan Incident. He wasn't sure they were anything more than lucky guesses even now, and yet the basic logic behind those guesses was nearly impeccable from every level of analysis. This, Spock found especially perplexing; it was if Kirk was making perfectly sound command decisions entirely by accident.

    "Did they say what race?" asked Crewman Janice Rand, one of the three officers assigned to Alpha Team's security detail, from her spot just behind Spock.

    McCoy shook his head, "If they knew who they were, they would have told us. They're either unidentified or totally unknown."

    "Could it be Klingon? I mean, we're only twelve light years from the neutral zone..." Presently, Rand hovered over the Vulcan's shoulder with a phaser rifle in one hand and a tricorder in the other, apparently using the latter to calibrate the targeting sensors on the former; the targeting monocle on her left eye was flashing a malfunction warning in all the colors of the rainbow. The adjustments were consuming more and more of her concentration and at this point, even Spock was beginning to notice the sudden reduction of pace.

    "Crewman," Spock reached back and tapped a control on the back of the rifle, and the malfunction light vanished. Rand blinked a few times in confusion until Spock explained, "Did you collect that eyepiece from the ship's armory?"

    Rand suddenly looked half a foot shorter. "No, Sir I... uh... Ch-Chief McCahill issued me an eyepiece for my hand phaser, so I didn't check one out from the armory."

    "Each phaser rifle is calibrated to a specific targeting device, Crewman," Spock explained patiently, "Next time, check out the eyepiece as well."

    "Yes, Sir. I'm... I'm sorry, Sir, I'm still getting used to the security department."

    "You'll find many practical differences from the personnel section, Crewman. And to answer your question: Starfleet intelligence has clearly identified most types of Klingon vessels currently in use, resulting in a high chance of positive identification. Furthermore, their imperial fleet and the bulk of their warrior caste are currently committed to hostilities with the Romulan Empire, making deviation to this sector all the more improbable."

    "So it's a first contact scenario?"

    Doctor McCoy said, "If we're lucky, it'll be a no-contact scenario. We've got enough to worry about without having to open communications with a totally new species."

    "I see what you mean... but God I hope they're friendly."

    McCoy chuckled, "Call it a Christmas Miracle."

    Spock glanced back at him, "A what?"

    Rand smiled, "Don't you know, Spock? It's Christmas eve!"

    "I am unfamiliar with that calendar reference, Crewman.

    "Oh, uh... it's an old Earth holiday steeped in religious imagery and commercialism. It's mostly a celebration for children, gourmets and young lovers."

    "Ah... similar to Halloween or Valentines day."

    "Something like that."

    Starting back down the slope, Spock followed the map on the tricorder screen as if it were a computerized treasure map. Rand followed just behind him, while Crewman Wells and Crewman Gallager stayed in step just a few meters behind. As they got to the edge of the town, their formation changed, with Wells and Gallager moving in front of Spock and making "leapfrog" progression forward, each one moving to a cover position as the other moved past.

    Spock flipped open his communicator and stopped just behind Wells in one narrow alley on a downward slope, "Spock to Eighteen."

    "Eighteen here," answered Ensign Meyer in the cockpit of shuttlecraft eighteen, now hovering more than half a kilometer directly above them.

    "Check on obstacles ahead. Any life forms or other hazards."

    "Looks clear for the next five hundred meters along your path. Your target building seems mostly intact, though part of the east wall has collapsed into the building next to it."

    "The one with the satellite dish on the roof, correct?"


    Spock flipped the communicator closed and batted Gallager on the shoulder, "Set your pace to five hundred meters and then regroup. Move out."

    Gallager moved forward, passing Wells on the way and then crouching a position using part of a rubble pile as cover from whatever may have been ahead. As soon as he stopped, Wells advanced behind him--as did Spock and Rand just behind--until Wells passed Gallager and stopped at another position still farther ahead. Slow as it seemed, Spock estimated that at their present pace they would arrive at the first building in twelve point nine minutes.

    So far--uninvited guests notwithstanding--everything was going exactly to plan.

    Stardate 2258.52.6
    - 0431 hours -
    Echo Team, location in Grid 17, day six of survey mission. Morning report, Voice Log. Ensign Jack Riley reporting.
    Nothing to report...
    Woah... wait...
    I've just stumbled on the corpse of a humanoid male. About fifteen years of age. Partially dressed in some kind of khaki outfit that looks like a army fatigues patched together from four different sources. There is an old-style Kalashnikov rifle lying on the ground nearby. It doesn't have a battery pack, so I'm assuming this is a powder and gas-operated version. It must be the source of the cordite traces we came here looking for. The corpse is mangled, partially crushed, but I'm not sure by what. In the condition it's in now this kid couldn't possibly have gotten here under his own power. I'm a little wierded out by the fact that this corpse isn't wearing any pants. I'm documenting the scene with spatial and photographic analysis for forensic reconstruction of the--
    Tricorder just picked up a life form reading. Five meters away. Is there someone else here? Hello? What the f--

    Ensign Riley did not completely see the thing that was rushing towards him in the pale light of dawn. He did feel it, though, as a curled up fist the size of a pumpkin slammed into his chest and knocked him on his ass some ten feet to the other side of the room. As it moved again it passed through a spot where sunlight trickled through a crack in the wall and Riley was able to see its outline. First impression: it was enormous. In fact it was a miracle it had chosen to punch him instead of simply ripping him in half like a wet napkin. But that brief glimpse of its shape triggered synapses in his brain that materialized the rest of it, like a transporter beam assembling a lone passenger from a particle stream, and he recognized the oversized arms and shoulders and relatively scronny legs to be that of an Other-Earth Reaver, that type of omnivorous apex predator that--Spock had warned them all--was an incredibly violent yet less-than-proficient killer.

    Instinct handled the rest from here, the basic fight or flight reaction universal to every organism that had ever harbored a desire to not be eaten: Riley set a course for the nearest hole in the wall and pounded his feet towards it like a rabbit diving for a hole.

    The reaver followed him, waving its gigantic arms dementedly like a bird flapping its wings out of synch. It was shockingly fast for something so bulky, but to no avail, as the hundred and forty pound Irishman slipped easily through the crack in the wall. Well not exactly easily; something on his uniform snagged on an odd corner of the concrete and he spilled on the way through almost straight down, landing on his face with his legs in the air, flopping in the dust.
    The first sound he heard was the sound of Crewman Torens exploding into belly laughs. The second sound was a mortifying crash as the three hundred and sixty pound predator crashed into the wall behind him and thrust one arm through the opening with a bone-chilling snarl. That arm was almost as wide as Riley's entire torso, each spindly finger as long as his forearm.

    Torens was still laughing, but now more from shock and surprise than humor. Petty Officer McCarthy said something unintelligible, and Ensign Doyle screamed like the leading women in old horror movies.

    Despite the pain of his face-vault, Riley still had the wherewithal to reach for his phaser, theoretically still clipped to his belt on his uniform trousers. But the phaser was gone, as was the belt, and now that he checked himself, so were his trousers. All three were now dangling on the end of one of the Reaver's flailing digits, a tangled mass of shredded fabric and tumbling equipment on what was left of his equipment belt.

    Riley grabbed the belt before he could think not to; the Reaver snatched its arm back with such force that it almost dragged him back through the hole in the wall with it. The buckle snapped against the concrete and the phaser, tricorder and communicator all spun into the air in different directions and clattered to the ground.

    Another snarl and a crash against the wall and a three-foot section of concrete exploded into the alley, followed by the Reaver's opposite arm. McCarthy fumbled with his equipment belt in a panic before aiming his tricorder and pressing what--had he drawn a phaser like he intended--would have been the trigger until he tripped over a hysterical Doyle and landed on his shoulders behind her. Torens scooped up his phaser rifle and leaned into the opening, just in time to be plunged into oblivion as the Reaver smashed a section of the wall directly into his head.

    Riley found his communicator first, then fiddled through the rubble until he found his phaser. Luckily, it was still slaved to the targeting monocle, which--equally luckily--was still clipped over his left eye. He snapped the phaser to its stun setting just as one last blow shattered the wall in front of him, brought the phaser to bear as the Reaver vaulted into the alley. He saw a reticule appear over the target before he really knew what the target was, and as the beast lunged at him he squeezed the trigger.

    For an instant the Reaver vanished behind the crackling blue inferno of a phaser beam, and for a horrifying second Riley thought he had accidentally vaporized the poor beast. But as his finger relaxed, the creature was still there, swinging its arms in the air in front of it, still very conscious if the growing intensity of its snarls were any indication. After a short disorienting moment it occurred to Riley that this thing was probably too big for his phaser to stun it; at this point he collapsed into a mass of panic, scrambled to his feet, and shot down the alley in warp field of terror. Predictably the Reaver followed, snarling after him, swaying oafishly with its its massive arms slapping the walls every step it took.

    McCarthy scooted to the side just in time to avoid being stepped on by the Riley as he passed him. Then he scooted aside again as the Reaver stomped past. A few meters ahead the alley opened into an ancient debris-strewn courtyard. Riley looked around for anything that might provide an obstacle; he set his sights on a narrow doorway off to one side, and made exactly one step in that direction before something caught his foot and he bellyflopped painfully on the bare concrete. Just paces behind him the Reaver picked up speed, screaming balefully as it went...

    And it ran right past him without slowing down. Both of its arms were hanging limp by its sides, fingers actually dragging in the dust as it ran/swayed ahead, and now that he had a moment to think about it, its primal calls sounded more pained than angry. And as the creature came to the end of the courtyard--still making no obvious effort to slow down--it ran head-first into a concrete wall and tumbled unconscious onto its back.

    Riley clambered to his feet and picked up his phaser. He thought about stunning it again to be safe, but not wanting to actually kill the thing he decided against it. At this point the rush of adrenaline finally wore off and Riley became aware of three things: first, that the courtyard he was standing in was completely covered with relatively fresh carcasses, most of them stripped to the bone, plus a few mounds of dung piled up in the corners. Second, that a distant howling of other creatures was growing steadily closer as this beasts' family raced to its aid, which made sense since this courtyard--evidently--must have been their nest. And third, possibly most seriously, that his pants were missing and his boxers were soaked in a warm yellow liquid that he seriously hoped was rainwater.

    "What in the cosmic hell was that all about?!" McCarthy asked, running after him with his tricorder in hand.

    "I was just checking out a corpse in that building," Riley said, catching his breath, "Then that blasted thing came out of nowhere and knocked me on my ass!"

    McCarthy jogged past Riley, knelt down next to the Reaver and popped the medical scan head out of its slot on the side of the tricorder. "Blunt force trauma, skeletal damage... what the hell did you do to this thing?"

    "I stunned it, but it didn't work for some reason."

    "I'll say. You shot it in the arms."

    "Oh..." then Riley thought about this and his eyebrows arched, "Oh! Right, because these things use their arms to balance at high speed."

    McCarthy nodded. "Probably panicked."

    "Well, it doesn't know about phasers, it must have thought I'd poisoned it or something."

    "I wasn't talking about the Reaver, genius."


    "Why didn't you just shoot it again?"

    "Hell, I dunno." Riley sighed, partly for the fate of the Reaver but also for the demise of his favorite uniform slacks. "Anyway, good news for us, right? We've finally got a live specimen for Mister Spock."

    "I guess so, yeah... where's the kit?"

    "Torens had it." Riley looked back to the alley where Crewman Torens was still lying up on his side, squirming gently, clutching his head in agony. "Hey Torens!"

    "Torens!" McCarthy shouted, "You okay?"

    Between clenched teeth, in a low Klingonish growl, Torens managed to utter back, "I hate you, Riley!"

    "Yeah, he's fine." McCarthy snapped open his communicator and tapped in Enterprise' monitoring frequency. "Echo Team to Enterprise. McCarthy here."

    "Go ahead, Echo Team," Uhura answered from orbit.

    "Just had a close encounter of the wild kind. We've got a Reaver specimen here that might need some medical attention, and I think our science officer needs an ice pack."

    "Acknowledged, Echo Team... indigenous life forms are closing on your position, collect all equipment and specimens and standby for transport."

    "Give us thirty seconds. McCarthy out." he flipped the communicator closed, then turned to Riley with a grin, "Cheer up, Ensign, you're not the first man in Starfleet to piss yourself on an away mission. You're just the first to have it documented in a ground-team log entry."

    Riley smiled like this was the most charming thing anyone had ever said to him and replied, "You're a bastard."

    "No I'm not, I just really hate you."

    Riley sighed.

    "C'mon, let's pack up so they beam us over to the camp."
  11. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 12, 2006
    Your Mom
    Hey Gibraltar!

    You guess correctly, and I've about decided this may be interpretted as "that time" when Kirk and Carol actually met. I'm not really sure how old David was in TWOK, but these events are meant to have taken place a couple of years before he would have been born in either reality.

    Not to give off spoilers, but I have a difficult decision coming up re: how much retcon I could realistically get away with before readers try to lynch me. I think of STXI as a complete reboot and therefore anything goes, but I'm not sure to what extent fanfic readers are willing to follow me where no trekkie has gone before.

    Either way, sit tight, more updates are coming soon.
  12. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Aug 27, 2009
    Lyon, France
    Intriguing, well-written story you have here. The characters are spot-on both for the new film and in taking them towards what we know they are or will be, and I love the fact that you're showing us the STXI timeline's Carole Marcus and a glimpse of Commodore Decker.

    Can't wait to see what you come up with next and how this is all going to play out.
  13. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Wow, I'm surprised Riley survived that encounter. It's created more questions than answers, and suggests the away teams may need some heavier firepower. :lol:
  14. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    I'd say you have a lot of leeway-the JJverse is a different flavor. People in it may give in towards personality-driven tendencies but as the movie pointed out, its an alternative universe. That should allow a lot of variations from canon. You're doing great.
  15. Kaziarl

    Kaziarl Commodore Commodore

    Dec 24, 2007
    Portland, OR (Kaziarl)
    Certainly got me interested. Keep up the good work.
  16. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 12, 2006
    Your Mom

    Planet HB22147-C, Gaza Strip
    Stardate 2258.52.6
    - 1120 hours -
    The ground teams had setup transport sites in a convenient locale near the Rafah crossing, within short walking distance of most of the search teams and strategically close to Alpha Team's landing site. Since then the camp had mushroomed into a shanty town of collapsible aluminum huts that made up the field lab complex, the scientific mecca for the away team to pool all of their findings and samples for analysis and decontamination before shipping them back to Enterprise for more detailed study.

    For an all-volunteer team, Spock found their industriousness quite gratifying. Over the last three or four days he had actually started to grow disheartened from the slow progress of his own search, but stepping into the anthropology lab/hut for the first time he was struck with the impression that someone had given the ground teams the false impression that they were collecting artifacts for the world's biggest museum. The shelves stretched from wall to wall, stacked so high the supervisors had to use stepstools to reach the top levels now, with literally thousands of items tagged and entombed in hermetically sealed containers having been scanned examined tested and tried by every instrument the athropology team had at their disposal. He could only see the closest items through the clear plastic containers: children's dolls, books, handheld video games, posters, tools, cassette tapes, compact disks, and an astonishing collection of cellular phones.

    Lieutenant York was fiddling with one of those phones when Spock came in, and almost seemed startled by the Vulcan's arrival, perhaps under the impression that being caught fiddling with an ancient device like this would somehow offend Spock's sensibilities. "Commander... uh... good to see you. Welcome... and you too Doctor," he added abruptly as Doctor McCoy came into the hut behind him.

    Spock excused his awkwardness and spared him the trouble of having to compose himself. "Is that a cellular handset, Lieutenant?"

    York nodded and handed it over, and now it was Spock's turn to fiddle. "Actually, it's a pre-paid satellite phone. An old-world precursor to our communicators. Nobody at the time knew what a huge precedent this was." York said this almost nostalgically, as if he was secretly channeling the sensibilities of that forgotten era through his supernatural historian powers. "According to the cultural computer, Palestinian youths made extremely wide use of cell phones for social networking, as did militants, politicians, even policemen. Constant warfare with neighboring factions basically shattered their communications infrastructure and forced them all to improvise. That's lucky for us, because all of these old phones used EEPROMs to store data in a non-volatile state."

    "Which means it's still readable after all this time," Spock said, remembering Earth's technical history. "Fortuitous."

    "Tell me about it."

    "How many of these phones do you have, Mister York?"

    "So far we've collected a little over forty thousand, and about half of them we beamed back to Enterprise already. Most of it's just routing information, but the real valuable stuff is multimedia: text messages, audio and visual recordings. There's also plenty of books, journals, what looks like a virus war between rival Zionist and Jihadist websites, some doodles and sketches on paper and cardboard, and a handful of videotapes shot on old-style VHS. We also found one extreme curiosity." York gestured for Spock and McCoy to follow him to the back of the hut, through rows and rows of artifacts and objects harkening back to a long-dead culture. In one corner of the hut there sat an object sitting on a small examination table, closed off in a stasis chamber to suspend any chemical reactions in the object without the damaging effects of freezing or desiccation. "This is what I called you about, Sir," York said, gesturing to a yellowed and brittle but otherwise mostly intact newspaper, "It's dated 5 November 2001. Look at the headline."

    Spock pulled out his tricorder and let the system translate from Arabic into Vulcan. But before the translation was even finished, the photograph on the cover caught his eye, and he knew what to expect before the words even came thought. "Judgement Day: Repent of your Sins."

    McCoy snorted, "Of all the superstitious dolts..."

    "An under-developed corner of an under-developed world. What do you expect, Doctor?"

    "I'd expect a little optimism, not self-recrimination. Then again I suppose when this article was written they were probably past that point."

    York nodded, vaguely sympathetic to the photographer who--having somehow snapped a photograph of a reaver tearing the hood off a pickup truck to the extreme horror of its occupants--must have thought the same thing. "Based on some of the content from the cell phones, it seems that these people believed the cataclysm was a sign from God that the world was about to end. It drove the rapid formation of an apocalyptic cult who believed they would be spared if they devoted themselves to religious purity before it was too late. They became rabid isolationists, sealing their borders from the outside world and imposing a strict religious code."

    Spock nodded. "If the reaver mutation is caused by a type of pathogen, then an isolationist strategy would be the most logical choice."

    "If they did it for a logical reason, Spock," McCoy said, "That's just religious mania disguised as a survival strategy."

    "But it didn't work," York went on, "Based on the cellular videos, the mutations continued for a number of years. The isolationists lost control pretty quickly and the community split up into a collection of small armed bands."

    "What did the paper say about the international response?" McCoy asked.

    "It's hard to separate fact from propaganda," York said, "One editorial blamed it on a conspiracy of Jewish scientists, two letters claimed it was an alien invasion. The main article accused the United States, pointing out the fact that the reavers were first reported in the American Northwest."

    "Nothing more recent?" Spock asked.

    "Well, that's just it: there are no mass media sources after 2003, just text messages forwarded around by the isolationists and some angsty teenagers with dark senses of humor. Most of that information comes from a few thousand handsets that were reconfigured to operate in a peer-to-peer mode using low-power transceivers as a relay. As near as well can tell, all the phones reconfigured to operate in that way had much later activity logs, some as late as 2014."

    "I see..."

    "But Commander, there's something really weird going on here."

    Spock raised a brow, "Define 'weird.'"

    "The field teams did standard workup on all of these artifacts, tested for age, wear, radioactivity, and so on. They found a discrepancy here. The average age of most wooden components is about three hundred years, but the average age of the electronics, the books, the posters, most of these are less than sixty years old. Now, that's consistent with our findings of these phones, based on proton resonance scans of their batteries and memory circuits. One device I profiled this morning looked like its battery had been discharged no later than twenty years ago."

    "Fascinating." Spock looked at the newspaper again and let the tricorder translate the rest of the front page. Then it occurred to him that the field teams had probably already done this, so he turned to York again, "Have you scanned a transcript into the library computer?"

    "Of course, Sir. Should be available through the Enterprise. By the way, we've had to beam down another twenty specialists to keep up with the load. That puts us at two hundred and sixty on site."

    "Your point Lieutenant?"

    "Well..." York looked down and studied his feet for a moment, then glanced up at Spock sheepishly, "Aren't you worried about the evacuation limit, Sir? I mean, two hundred and sixty would just barely fit into the shuttles..."

    "The evacuation limit for this mission, Ensign, including evacuation transport capacity, is three hundred and ninety. There are also twelve un-used shuttlecraft still aboard the ship."

    York nodded, "Still... don't you think it's kind of reckless to have almost a third of the crew planetside with that alien ship in orbit?"

    McCoy raised a brow. "Stop being coy, Lieutenant, and say what's on your damn mind."

    York sighed, "I just think someone... perhaps you, Sir... should mention it to the Captain. You know, just in case."

    "Just in case the Captain is unaware that having a third of his crew on an away mission with an unknown alien ship in co-local space is potentially hazardous?" Spock asked, stone faced.


    "I believe, Lieutenant, that Captain Kirk may anticipate and mitigate potential hazards just as effectively without the benefit of your valuable command experience."

    "Yes, Sir," York sagged and pretended to have something really important to do with his tricorder, "I'll have that transcript available for you if you need it, Sir."

    "Thank you, Lieutenant." Spock stepped around McCoy and strode out of the tent like a tropical storm passing through an island chain. McCoy followed, rudderless, not sure where Spock was going and not really caring except for that nagging sensation that had consumed him for the past hour or more than somebody needed to keep on eye on that green-blooded hobgoblin before he volunteered the away team for something even more irritating than an extended ground mission.
  17. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 12, 2006
    Your Mom
    "Spock!" McCoy caught up with him just beyond the doorway and sidled up to his elbow in a hushed voice, "You hear that back there?"

    Spock nodded. "The discrepancy bothers me. Radiometric dating should be consistent with all--"

    "I'm not talking about the damn analysis. I'm talking about a pattern of morale. It's not just Lieutenant York, there's talk all over this camp and back on the ship."

    "I have always noticed a certain abundance of irrelevancy in human speech..."

    "It's more than just chatter," McCoy's voice raised a little in irritation, "We've got officers questioning the Captain's abilities, questioning his experience, questioning his judgement, hell even questioning his dedication to the fleet. A while ago I had to treat a petty officer for a snake bite; he commented that he wasn't worried about dying, because he's sure they'd just give his son command of a starship right out of high school."

    Spock slowed his pace and glared at the doctor, "General disdain for an authority figure is neither unprecedented or unhealthy, especially among humans. In fact, it seems to be one of Captain Kirk's most useful traits."

    "You may be right. But disdain for authority can lead to an outright challenge. A captain on a starship sometimes needs to make difficult decisions. Now what happens if Jim Kirk has to order a hundred men to their deaths to save the ship?"

    "Your concern is logical, Doctor," Spock paused a moment and faced him, "For the time being, if you would keep me informed of any further deviations from what you theorize to be 'normal' morale conditions..."

    "What I theorize?"

    "It bears mentioning, Doctor, that your experience on a starship is as limited as the Captain's. We may both find the next few weeks to be a learning experience."

    Several huts down, Spock found his way to the forensic field lab, the largest compound in the camp with four tents adjacent to one another through sealed tubes reinforced with force fields. The main tent that held the entrance had the same chaotic arrangement of specimens, except in this case most of the containers were filled with old body parts--bones, tissue samples, hair, teeth--along with collection slides, fragments of clothing, utensils, shoes, bottles and food containers. Spock didn't meet anyone here, the DNA and tissue analysis was being fed directly to the library computer to be collated into something coherent for the final report. Instead, he made his way straight through the building to the door on the opposite side and stepped into the next hut, a kind of triage area that had been setup for living samples--preferably sapient life forms--but had been otherwise completely un-used until this morning.

    Doctor Ramsi Ayash held vigil here by himself, along with a single enlisted officer with a phaser, half asleep on a folding chair. The Reaver was sedated and restrained in a tractor field in the middle of the room, hovering some two and a half feet above an examination table that in the mean time held a small wedge-shaped device that made intermittent high pitched clicking sounds. This was Doctor McCoy's arena, and so Spock let him do the honors. "Morning, Ramsi," McCoy said as he took his place in front of Spock.

    Ayash answered with his thin Arabic accent, "Have I got a patient for you! That navigator... what is name... Chekov, no? I have scored point for his theory."

    McCoy smiled, "You confirmed this is female?"

    "Double X chromosome, it is female. And I am just finishing photosection now. Those enormous shoulders there," Ayash pointed to the gigantic mounds that formed the base of this creature's equally gigantic arms, "They are deformed pectoral formations. You see this?" he pointed to something on the top corner of the "shoulders," something that Ensign Sulu had once compared to the horns on a samurai's shoulder armor. "This is mamary gland. Full functional, not vestigial or malformed. It having merged with shoulder muscles into single massive formation."

    Spock said, "Would these creatures classify as true mammals?"

    "It classify is true humans. This polymorphism is genetic mutation of some sort. This," he pointed to the shoulders again, "And this," to the arms and the long fingers, "and even this," to the squashed head and distorted remnant of a face, "this tissue is all malignancy, all the way to bone structure. I estimate seventy percent of the reaver's mass is actually cancer tissue."

    McCoy looked at the creature in astonishment, "The thing is a walking tumor..."

    "Mutation is a consequence of re-sequencing process, whatever process was used. DNA molecules are having normal structure and everything is blueberry pie. And then there is this," Ayash waved both of them over to a computer console against the side wall. A display there--what he was working on when they came in--showed an extreme close-up, probably nanoscale, of one of the Reaver's cells. Spock saw that the cell was in the process of undergoing perfectly normal division, with chromosomes dividing up along the spindle body, ready to separate into two new bodies. But at the critical moment, the cell seemed to reverse course; the spindle collapsed, and the otherwise circular body suddenly exploded into a shape like a mediaeval mace, spearing any nearby cells with its barbs. Almost immediately, the cell collapsed into itself as a shriveled mass of protoplasm, but the cells that had been around it all twinkled unnaturally, then expanded, then quickly divided and expanded again.


    "What causes that?"

    "I have not the foggiest. As I say, DNA replicates normally and everything is blueberry pie. Then suddenly the cell attacks neighbors, they turning cancerous, they do the same to neighbors, and not so blueberry pie. I have theory, but it is... strange, no?"

    "Any theory is valid at this point, Doctor," Spock said.

    Ayash nodded in agreement. "This effect. It reminding me of experiment on Mars colony, say, forty years ago. Doctor Isaac Soong using transporter system to replicate organic tissues..."

    "The bio-replicator experiment." Spock nodded, remembering himself, "Doctor Soong attempted to use a transporter system to dub the pattern of a living organism onto a mass of inert material with the goal of creating a perfect copy. Initial tests showed promising results, but his first attempt with a live animal subject caused severe disruption of the duplicate's genome."

    "Even that was different," McCoy said, "the duplicate lab mouse lived for thirty eight seconds before it exploded. It didn't mutate into some kind of crazy supermouse."

    "Regardless," Spock said thoughtfully, "the analysis of the creature's cell structure did yield similar results."

    McCoy looked at Spock, then looked at Ayash, "You're saying this creature--this person--was replicated?"

    Ayash grinned, "Doctor, this entire planet having been replicated, no? Why not the people too?"

    "The principal is sound, doctor," Spock said, "Given proper materials, a sufficiently immense replication matrix could allow for the duplication of an object the size of a planet. Indeed, duplication of massive structures may already be possible with existing technology. It is the duplication of details--organisms, geologies, cities, cultures--that requires more precision."

    "Apparently too much precision since the entire civilization got some kind of..." McCoy looked at the Reaver, "Xenoforming breast cancer."

    "It evidently lasted long enough for this culture to develop along similar Earth-like norms."

    "Well..." McCoy thought for a moment, "The industrial fabricators on the Enterprise are the size of a grain silo and they produce finished products maybe two meters on a side. What kind of machine could have built a planet? Something that massive moving through space, we would have seen it from Earth."

    "Indeed." Spock looked at the recording of the cell-burst play through again and studied the more detailed sensor notation scrolling on an adjacent screen. Which, McCoy had learned by now, pretty much left him off in his own little world until that analytical mind of his could be bothered with the more mundane effort of carrying a conversation.

    McCoy turned his attention back to the Reaver, still held aloft in the tractor field. "Can I ask you something, Ramsi?"

    Doctor Ayash said, "You just did, Leonard."

    "Why didn't you volunteer for the search mission? I thought you grew up in Gaza City."

    Ayash shrugged, "Gaza City today is not Gaza City of 20th century. And Gaza City of 20th century is not Gaza City of the Other Earth."

    "Well, sure, but aren't you the least bit curious?"

    "That is why we have history books, no? Besides, if I was that curious about home town, I would be tourbus operator, not Starfleet."

    "Fair enough."

    "I am curious about this one, though," Ayash gestured at the Reaver, "I sit and I think, if this planet is replication of Earth, then perhaps this creature is mutation of someone I know." he grinned, "This could be my mutant duplicate sister, no? She must having better luck on this world than on real one."

    Spock glanced back from the computer console, seemed to think about something, then turned back to his work.

    McCoy snorted, "If you can call it luck."

    "Oh, I forgetting to tell you. Photosection of pelvic region turn up the good news. This Reaver being two weeks pregnant."

    "Oh, wow." McCoy looked at the creature and grimaced, "The male's sex drive must have mutated to match."

    "Not at all. I have profiled several corpses recovered from city center. Fifteen males, all dying from internal injuries. They being crushed while mating. And mutilated and partially eaten afterwards, so probably not consensual on the male end. After what happening to Ensign Riley, I am recommending male team members use much caution from now on."

    "What did happen to Ensign Riley?" Spock asked.

    "He was attacked by this young lady here. I have not mentioned it to him, but his tricorder recorded the reaver's calculated attempt to disrobe him. I suspect the young woman probably would have stimulated his... er... anatomy somehow, forced a mating, then following normal behavior, eaten his intestines to prevent other females doing the same. It is typical behavior of reavers towards males not of the same social grouping."

    "Reminds me of my ex wife." McCoy sighed and moved back over next to his remarkably unperturbed companion, "Spock, I've got a sudden urge to leave this planet. Will you still need me down here?"

    "No," Spock said tersely. Then after a moment added, "When you return to the Enterprise, bring the creature with you. You can conduct a more thorough examination using the ship's xenobiology lab."

    "I'm not sure an examination would help at this point until we know how this thing was created in the first place." McCoy said, "And I'm not convinced it was replicated either."

    Spock looked up curiously. So did Ayash.

    "Think about our fabricators. They can't create things out of thin air, they have to have raw materials to work with first. If this planet was created, it had to have been created from something, and the easiest way to do that is if your base material is chemically similar to your desired product. Now, what if this creature here was an indigenous form of life transformed into something not-so-indigenous? Its original genome might still be recoverable somewhere beneath all that programming."

    "That is a leap of speculation, Doctor, but it is at least as plausible as any other hypothesis."

    McCoy nodded, "Well I'll leave it up to you to find the answer, Spock, I'm a doctor not a detective..."

    "Doctor Ayash," Spock stood up slowly and pointed at the monitor, focussing his attention on something he had been looking at for the past minute or more, "Do you recognize that?"

    Ayash looked over Spock's shoulder, as did McCoy once he decided not to leave right this minute (and fully convinced he was about to regret it).

    "If I did not know better," Ayash said, "I would say that is hearing aid."

    "Hearing aid?" McCoy leaned closer, staring slack jawed.

    "Hearing loss was widespread in the local population," Spock said, "A consequence of constant high-speed flybys by military aircraft. The problem primarily affected children."

    "Then this creature was probably child during Israeli occupation..." Ayash looked back at the Reaver in amazement, "How is that possible?"

    "Either this creature is extremely old," Spock said, reaching for his communicator, "or this planet is extremely young."

    "How could--?"

    But Spock was already tuning in to his team's frequency. "Spock to Doctor Marcus."

    "Carol here."

    "Have you completed the quantum dating analysis on the coastal soil samples?"

    "I... uh... finished those samples an hour ago, Mister Spock."

    "Good. Save your results with due precision, then return to the test site in twenty minutes and repeat the entire analysis before returning to base camp with both samples."

    "What? Why?"

    "Just a theory, Doctor. Meet me at base camp in two hours. Spock out."
  18. Kaziarl

    Kaziarl Commodore Commodore

    Dec 24, 2007
    Portland, OR (Kaziarl)
    Curiouser and curiouser
  19. CaptainSarine

    CaptainSarine Commander Red Shirt

    Aug 27, 2009
    Lyon, France
    Intriguing... Some interesting theories floating around here, can't wait to find out what the actual explanation is. Two really well-written secondary characters here in York and Ayash. I also love what you have done with the crew, making them question Kirk's ability to command - it makes the story ring true that Kirk would suffer the disdain of older, more experienced officers considering how quickly he became Captain!

    More!!! :)
  20. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    You've added some very compelling chapters here, as well as some stand-out ancillary characters. The situation on this faux Earth becomes more and more curious as the numbers stubbornly refuse to add up to an equation that makes any kind of sense.

    The crew’s anxiety about Captain Kirk is only natural, given the extraordinary circumstances surrounding his meteoric and unprecedented rise to captaincy. Voicing such concerns, most especially to the ship’s XO however… yeah… not the brightest idea ever. :wtf: I’ll be interested to see if Spock and McCoy will conspire in some fashion to bolster Kirk’s reputation with the denizens of the lower decks.

    Oh, one typo that’s cropped up at least twice now bears mentioning... you've referred to Sulu as Ensign Sulu on a couple of occasions. Just FYI.

    Wonderful, detailed, and utterly compelling stuff. Please keep it coming! :D