Starship Enterprise (Alternate Version) "Regeneration"

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by The Badger, May 3, 2012.

  1. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    OK, I've finally stopped mucking about and got on with some more writing. Those of you who have read my stuff before know what to expect. For new readers (I'll be lucky), this is basically what Enterprise would have been like if I'd had been in charge. Some things are the same, some slightly different. And some very different. Hopefully you should be able to pick it up without trouble, but if you want a look at my earlier efforts, they're here:

    and here:


    The man ran.

    Running was something he was used to. He'd gone to college on an athletics scholarship, earned his place on the track and field. That had been a long time ago, and his work had been considerably more sedentary since then, but he tried to stay in good shape. He walked from home to office in all but the most inclement weather, and participated in the regular fun runs at least twice a month.

    This run wasn't fun. Anything but. Instead of the heady rush of endorphins and sense of achievement, this was motivated by fear, a soul devouring terror. His lungs burned, his heart pounded. Not too far, he told himself, I'm nearly at the main tunnel. Be safe there...

    Even as he thought that, the conviction arose that he was lost, that he'd taken a wrong turning. The network of tunnels and caverns down here was positively labyrinthine. Standard procedure dictated one should always carry an inertial mapper and distress beacon whenever one entered the complex. His were in his briefcase, which had slipped from his panicked fingers when he began his desperate flight. Now he was relying on memory alone, and wasn't sure just how trust worthy that was under the circumstances.

    It would help if he could get a good look at his surroundings. Unfortunately the lighting system they'd installed down here took a few seconds to come up to full strength after detecting movement within range, by which time he'd already passed. So as he ran all he could see was just dimly illuminated by the lights behind him. He could take a glance over a shoulder, hoping to see some familiar patten in the hieroglyphs on the walls....But no. The floor was uneven, crooked. To look behind whilst running at such breakneck speeds was risky. He could trip. And then...

    That was the other reason. What was behind him. What was behind him. If he turned, he might see it, a good look rather than the glimpse he'd gotten earlier. He could hear it's gibbering, caterwauling cry as it scampered along in his path, the patter of it's feet as it followed in his wake.

    Suddenly he realised where he was. The intersection up ahead, turn left there and he'd be almost at the main entrance. There was always a guard on duty there, not so much for security, but to provide a first response if anyone ran into trouble down here. But the guard would be armed, something the security people had insisted on. I'd argued against that at the time, didn't want guns and jack boots on an archaeological dig. Boy, will I swallow my words!

    Abruptly the running man was struck by a conviction that his pursuer was playing with him, tormenting him, and that on the very verge of safety he would be mercilessly struck down. Even as a sob of fear escaped him, he reached down into his self resolve, drawing forth the strength for one last desperate dash. Skidding round the corner, he gave it everything he had left. Ten, twenty, thirty metres, and the tunnel spread out to a vast high cavern, eye searingly bright after the twilight of the tunnels. The lights here were kept permanently on, there was usually someone working here. Not now though, there were no signs of life. The main door, on the opposite side of the cavern, was shut. Next to it lay the small low shed like structure where the guards usually spent their shifts. He ran as best he could towards it, zig-zagging between the various containers that were scattered all around. As he did so he noticed something...

    The sound. The creature's hideous cry. It was different, quieter. No, not quieter in itself, but more distant. Whatever it was that had been following him, it hadn't entered the cavern. It was still back there in the tunnels.

    The man emitted a choked sound, half laugh, half sob of relief. He risked a glance back, now there was some distance between them, and caught a fleeting glimpse of some dark shape lurking at the tunnel mouth. It was hooting and gesticulating wildly, but seemed in no hurry to come any further.

    The running man slowed his pace. He was nearing the guard's shack, and exhaustion was taking the remains of his strength. Just a little further to go and then he could----His foot slipped. He sprawled helplessly against the nearest container, scrabbling onto it for balance as he spat out a curse, and just managed to avoid falling further. Panicked, he looked back at the tunnel, half expecting to see his pursuer halfway towards him. But no, the dark shape had advanced no further. He took a deep, shuddering breath to steady himself, and glanced down to see what he had slipped in. Rivulets of a greyish brown liquid ran sluggishly down the uneven floor to pool in a slight depression. He looked upstream, to find the source of the liquid. Some barrel or container, leaking due to improper storage? No....

    A body. The liquid was blood, draining from what was left of the security guard. He was a Denobulan, though whatever had happened to him had caused such disfigurement, such dismemberment, that it was only the colour of the blood that made identification of the species possible, He looked like he'd been torn apart.

    The man gagged, the urge to vomit at the sight of such carnage threatening to overwhelm him. Every instinct screamed at him to get away from the body. He fought it down, reaching for the holster on what was left of the belt. He'd never fired a gun, but it would be some comfort to....The holster was empty. He looked around, scanning the ground nearby for the weapon. Nothing. And then he realized the distant shape at the tunnel mouth was gone. A flicker of motion amongst the containers about halfway along. His pursuer was now in the cavern with him!

    He turned and staggered as fast as he could to the guard shack. He could hear the creature's soft padding feet approach as it followed him. By some miracle he managed to reach the shack, yanking the door shut behind him. There was a ferocious Claaang! as something hit the door, shaking the shack. He fumbled desperately at the simple mechanical lock, fastening it just as the handle began to rattle. He stepped back in shock. It understands doors!

    He looked round. The shack was rectangular, the door at one of the narrow ends. It was dark inside, the only light coming through a small window on one side. Transparent aluminium, so it should withstand the creature. All the same, better to stay away from there. If he remembered rightly, there was a communications point at the far end, and a weapons locker too. Gasping for breath, he staggered in that direction. As he did so, two thoughts struck him. First, the lighting should have come on in here by now. And second, the guard had been dead before his pursuer had got to the cavern.

    And as his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he realised there was something in the shack with him, something large and dark and moving towards him...

    There was no one present to hear the man's scream. And even if there had been, it would have been drowned out by two inhuman, hideous voices crying out in delirious triumph.


    The Declaration Class Cruiser was Earth's first true Starship design: a deep space vessel capable of long range, long duration missions with minimal support. Designed by the United Earth Military Authority as a pure warship, it was the most advanced, ambitious project Earth's fleet had ever attempted.

    Too ambitious. Over budget and behind schedule, the project faltered, stumbled, nearly failed. UEMA turned reluctantly to a rival organisation, the United Earth Space Probe Agency, for the extra funding and resources needed to complete construction. UESPA agreed, at a cost.
    The last ship of the production run would be modified, outfitted for scientific research, and turned over to UESPA during times of peace.
    This is the story of that ship. Crewed by a mix of UESPA, UEMA, and even civilian specialists, it's mission to explore and defend the final frontier.
    These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise.

    UES Enterprise. Entering Epsilon Delta system.
    November 26th, 2151.

    The howl of the warp engines gradually faded as the ship returned to sub-light speed. Emergency sirens and flashing alert lights were conspicuous in their absence. Captain Jonathan Archer let out the breath he'd been holding in relief, allowing himself to relax. "Now that all sounds like it should. Hoshi, get status reports from all departments please, start with engineering. Though I imagine Trip would be on the blower if there was anything wrong."

    At the communications console Lt. Hoshi Sato gave a nod of acknowledgement. "Yes sir."

    Archer tuned to the navigation station. "Haleh, can you get an exact fix on our position?"

    Lt. Moshiri was already checking her instruments. "Ah, right where we should be Captain. More precisely, we are within one standard deviation of our planned arrival point."

    The captain raised an impressed eyebrow. "Close enough that any apparent difference from where we wanted to be might be down to our sensors being not quite precise enough to nail down out exact position. Considering the distance travelled, that's one heck of an achievement. Great flying, Travis."

    "Just a walk in the park, Captain." drawled the helmsman, Lt. Mayweather. He managed, almost entirely, to keep the smug tone from his voice. He was one of the best pilots in the fleet, and he knew it.

    "Captain, I have those status reports." Hoshi said. "All departments report condition green. The chief engineer would like to discuss warp field stability with you, at your convenience."

    "Hmm, I'm sure he didn't phrase it quite like that." Archer said wryly.

    Hoshi grinned. "No sir. He said 'I can yack with him when he's good and ready'."

    "Thanks Hoshi. OK. Haleh, at full impulse how long will it take to reach ED-19? What do the Denobulans call it? Herrodon?"

    "Herroton sir. At full impulse, let me see, we are approximately forty light minutes out, so I'd say just over four hours sir."

    Archer nodded. "Alright, lay in a course, pass it to the helm station. Travis, soon as you've got it, sound the manoeuvre alarm then pour on the coals." He sat back in his chair. "Now, the important bit. Is there any sign of a courier ship in this system?"

    His comment was aimed to the officer at the sensor station, but the answer came from Hoshi Sato. "Captain, I'm picking up the pre-launch countdown of a Mercury class courier. Triangulation indicates an orbit around Herroton."

    "Oh, hell!" He leapt from his chair, passing rapidly to the communications station. At this distance, the countdown signal was more than half an hour old. The courier they had been hoping to reach may have already left the system. "How long left?"

    Hoshi raised a hand to her earpiece, listening intently. "Two days, nine hours, nineteen minutes. Looks like our mad dash to get here on time wasn't necessary after all."

    "Yeah, but if we'd got here to find the courier had just left, that would have been somewhat annoying. OK, signal the courier, tell them we're sending a data package. Then---"

    He was interrupted by a slightly alarmed voice. "Captain!"

    After a moments pause, he turned round. "Is there a problem, Maria?"

    Commander Maria Hernandez, the Enterprise's first officer, had lifted herself halfway out of her chair at the gunnery station. "I'm sorry to interrupt, sir, but I must ask, were you planning to send the data package by transmission?"

    "That was my plan, yes commander." he said, holding onto the console for support as a series of high pitched chimes heralded Enterprise's acceleration to full impulse.

    She stood carefully. "I must caution against it in the strongest possible terms. While we currently have peaceful relations with the Denobulans, we should always be cautious about the dissemination of potentially sensitive data. We don't know who might be listening in."

    Archer rubbed the back of his neck in thought. "And problems with the warp drive on Earth's newest class of vessel could be considered sensitive." On the last mission Enterprise's warp field had de-phased critically. It was a problem potentially endemic to the entire Declaration class. If so, those ships would be effectively crippled. The engineering and science teams had been working together on a solution. Archer wanted that information sent back to the Admiralty as soon as possible, hence the need to reach a system with a regular courier service to Earth. "OK, I see your point. Let's get over to them, and give them the data personally."

    "Yes sir. I'll start work on a secure cache as soon as my duties allow. It will be ready before the courier departs."

    For a moment he considered telling her no, there were plenty of officers capable of doing that task, she didn't have to try to do everything herself. But then he reminded himself that she would insist in doing this. It was the only way she'd be satisfied that the cache were truly secure. It wasn't that she didn't fully trust anyone. Actually, no, he told himself, it is that she doesn't fully trust anyone. "Alright. Carry on. But as we've got a couple of days, there's no hurry. In the meantime, I'll go see what Trip wants. You have the bridge, commander."
  2. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    That opening was intense and I had the feeling, inspired by Jurassic Park. It certainly reminded me of it. In a good way. Vicious but intelligent creatures chasing down a doomed man in the dark, making him believe for just a moment that he is safe until they strike.

    And while I may not be in the camp of people with any serious reservation on Enterprise, I like your interpretation of it so far. Specifically the way the technology is shown to be much more primitive here which makes the eventual progression to the TOS era more logical.
  3. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Thanks for your comments, CeJay. I'm glad to have your opinion, and hope you find it all of interest. Certainly I was going for a 'Man Vs. Monster' type opening, of the Jurassic Park style, so I'm glad that came across.

    And you're right about the technology too. One of the things that disappointed me about Enterprise was that it felt too familiar. Everything we were used to from other Trek series was present, though sometimes with slightly altered names (phase pistol, anyone?). So I wanted to emphasise the differences. No transporter, no FTL communications, no stun settings. Hopefully that'll make things distinctive.
  4. Duncan MacLeod

    Duncan MacLeod Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 24, 2002
    New England
    And he's BACK!!!!

    Great to see you writing again, Badger. Can't wait to see how this adventure plays out.
  5. jerriecan

    jerriecan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jun 7, 2011
    What can I say but Hooray! Badger is back in full force. :) A great start, and I'm looking forward to where Regeneration goes!
  6. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Herroton City. Herroton. Epsilon Delta system.
    November 26th 2151.

    Governor Trex lifted the guman fruit and examined it carefully. The light glistened off it's emerald green husk. Apart from a couple of small blemishes, insect bites most likely, nothing marred the surface. So far so good, but that was not the important thing. With a small knife he cut through the husk, peeling it back to reveal the fruit within. His nose crinkled slightly in disappointment. The aroma was....not right. Not quite.

    He cut himself a segment and popped it into his mouth. Yes, as he'd suspected, not quite right. Pleasant enough, but without the sharp, slightly bitter after taste. It would probably taste very nice cooked in a pie, but wasn't suitable for eating. Not yet, he told himself. The attempts to introduce the fruit to this world, this entirely new ecosystem, began less than a year ago. Initially the trees refused to grow at all, but the scientists had figured out how to adapt them to the local conditions. It was just a matter of time.

    And until then, he did have a supply of the real thing. It wasn't really efficient to grow the trees under controlled conditions in the hydroponic greenhouses, but everyone liked guman fruit, so Trex had allocated the resources to allow it. Good for morale. That had caused some raised eyebrows at the time, with some of the councillors suggesting he'd let his own love of the fruit over-ride his better judgement, and that the greenhouses would be put to better use providing larger amounts of staple foodstuffs. Vrok in particular had been critical of the decision, but everyone knew she wanted his job and liked to stir up dissent wherever she could. And then of course the biochemists had cleared several of the local flora and fauna as safe for consumption, so food shortages were not a problem.

    Trex scowled at the thought. Food hadn't been a problem. He put down the half eaten guman fruit and looked again at the report on his desk. Several farmers in the outlying regions had reported the loss of large numbers of chevan beasts. Chevans were fairly docile animals, didn't need much work to domesticate them, and carried a lot of meat. Unless the disappearances could be halted, and soon, there were going to be a lot of hungry people in the colony. Vrex were probably to blame. Those vicious predators had even attacked colonists on occasion. Fortunately they stayed well clear of the city, although that was probably because it was located near the centre of a flat barren plain, with little cover in which to work their ambush tactics. But, the more fertile areas were the chevan grazed....that was much more to their favour.

    A dark shadow fell into the room. He flinched, half convinced for a moment that a vrex had somehow entered the city undetected, to loom at his window. Turning, he smiled at the sight of Redmane, who smiled back in his simian way. Trex stood and opened the window. "And how can I help you, my hirsute friend?"

    If intelligent life was to arise on this world, the governor mused, it would be amongst the descendants of these creatures, the mahwee. From a biological point of view, they of all the species of Herroton possessed the closest resemblance to Denobulans. Although he'd not say it out loud, he rather thought they looked a lot like the humans. Hairier, of course. And also possessing a strong curiosity. Despite being tree dwellers by nature many had relocated to the city, building nests out of whatever they could find in various nooks and crannies.

    Redmane---Trex's nickname for this particular mahwee---knuckled into the office as he usually did, looking under the furniture, examining the computer screen, opening draws, not searching for anything, just generally nosy. Quickly he sniffed out the guman fruit, reached for it, hesitated. And turned to look imploringly at Trex.

    Interesting, Trex thought, he clearly understands the concept of ownership. "Go on then." he said, gesturing first to the fruit, then to Redmane. The mahwee apparently understood, biting first at the husk, then, when that proved unappetising, ripping it off to get at the innards. "Well, you seem to be enjoying that. aren't you? Of course you don't know what proper guman is supposed to taste like. Now there's a thought, is it good for you? Hmm, too late to worry about that now, you seem to have finished that one, but I think I will talk to the scientists before I let you have any more."

    A buzz from the intercom caught his attention, and startled Redmane, who darted out of the window and scampered away across the roof tops. Trex watched him for a moment, then shut the window and hit the intercom switch. "Yes?"

    "Governor, we've just received a message from an incoming Earth ship. They are requesting permission to enter orbit, and wish to speak with you as soon as they are close enough for real-time communications."

    "An Earth ship? That's puzzling. There's no incoming vessels scheduled any time soon, is there?"

    A slight pause. Trex imagined the officer on duty down in the Command Centre examining the schedules carefully. "No sir, nothing on the books for over a month. And that's the re-supply run from home. There should be nothing from Earth for six months, at least. Apart from the courier runs, of course."

    Trex starred at the carpet as he thought. "Very well. Give them permission to enter orbit, but to attempt no landing without permission. Remind them, politely, that this is a Denobulan colony, and all humans present are at the express invitation of our government. I'll talk to them when they are in orbit. Oh, get in touch with Smith at the archaeological site, see if he knows anything about this. Can't imagine he will, he wouldn't keep quiet about it, but we had better check."

    "Yes sir."

    "By the way, do we know what ship this is?"

    "Yes sir. It's called the Enterprise."
  7. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    An impressive amount of detail you managed to squeeze into this little segment. Especially liked the introduction of the indigenous species which may or may not play a role here later. In either case the way Trex handle Redman's appearance tells us quite a bit about him.

    Something tells me Smith at the archeological site will not be answering many calls ...
  8. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Herroton City. Herroton. Epsilon Delta system.
    November 26th 2151.

    The name 'Enterprise' seemed vaguely familiar to Trex, though he couldn't quite place it. He activated his computer and ran a search. Almost instantly large numbers of results turned up. Few were from the general Denobulan archives, as a small colony on the edge of Denobulan territory Herroton had little need for military information, and as such there was very little data present on alien space vessels. But thanks to the human presence at the archaeological site the Earth courier ships always brought back-copies of what they persisted in calling 'news papers', even though paper itself hadn't been part of it's make up for decades. The papers were archived automatically, the local database was more than large enough. Trex spent some time researching the ship whilst waiting for it to get into range.

    Presently the intercom buzzed. His secretary, announcing that Commissioner Tovan had arrived to see him. He did not have an appointment. Trex bade him to enter.

    "Greetings, Governor. I understand we have an Earth ship approaching." Tovan was a tall man who, apart from a slight limp, which he had been known to exaggerate when it suited him, carried himself with a military bearing. A veteran of the last bout of skirmishes with the Antarans, he had drifted from post to post over the past few decades, before finally ending up as commander of the colony's combined police and civil defence force. Trex considered him to be somewhat set in his ways, but liked him anyway.

    "Yes, a Declaration class ship called the Enterprise. I've just been reading up on it. Fascinating. I think...oh, please sit down Tovan." He gestured to the chair opposite him at the desk.

    "In a moment. a moment. I just want to stretch the legs. The old war wound, you know." He patted his leg for emphasis, and began strolling in an apparently random path around the office. "Declaration class you say? One of their new warships. Wouldn't mind a good look at it. I'm sure High Command would be very interested in any thing we could find out."

    Trex turned back to his screen. "I very much doubt the humans will be offering guided tours. Still, any data we pull in from our regular scans, we can send off home next time one of our couriers is here."

    "Regular scans only?" Tovan's apparently random course had led him, with a certain degree of inevitability, to the drinks cabinet. "Do you mind...?" he added innocently, lifting a curved bottle.

    "Regular scans only." the governor confirmed, giving the same gesture of permission he'd earlier given to Redmane. "We'll not do anything that could be considered espionage. Our treaty expressly forbids that."

    Tovan muttered something, his words drowned out by the pouring of liquid. The sound went on for a distressingly long time. "Well, I suppose we'll still be able to get something useful. Ah, the old leg's feeling a lot better. Think I'll sit down now. Look, what's got you so engrossed? You've hardly looked up from that screen."

    "Well, I know what you look like." Trex said with a chuckle. "This does make for interesting reading. We've only got the non-classified information, the data the humans have released for their general public, but still...Do you remember that business a few months back, the rescue of the Vulcan Premier? That was Enterprise."

    Tovan sat carefully. He pushed a small tumbler across the desk, keeping a much larger one for himself. "Now that is interesting. I was back home when that news broke. Spoke to an old friend in Special Operations. She couldn't tell me everything they knew, and they only knew a little themselves, but they were quietly impressed. SpecOps has a lot of respect for the Pathfinders, the Earth Marines special forces unit. Apparently they're the ones that carried out the rescue, although why they were on the Enterprise in the first place is a bit of a mystery. Ship security is normally a job for the regulars."

    Trex took a sip of the Saurian brandy, enjoying the warmth as it went down. "Ah. Something else important. Despite being part of their military, it is commanded by a UESPA officer. None other than Captain Jonathan Archer. Oh, come on, surely you've heard of him Tovan!" he added at the Commissioner's blank expression.

    "Should I have?"

    "Should you ha...? He was the commander of the Earth ship that made first contact! Spent nearly a year on Denobula as part of the early diplomatic process! You know, him!"

    A flicker of recognition passed over Tovan's face. "Oh, yes. Yes, I think I remember now."

    "You think you remember. Anyway, if we meet him, be careful with your words. He is known to have a basic proficiency in our language. Maybe better than that now, the records are a little out of date. And also be careful around..." he turned back to the screen, reading the unfamiliar name. "...Hoshi Sato. She is their communications expert. Fluent in dozens of languages, including ours. Probably speaks it better than you do."

    Tovan grunted. "That's not too difficult. Anyone else I should know about?

    "I'll get my people to put together a briefing pack. It'll be based on what little data we have available, so it will probably be rather scant. Although there is you wouldn't be interested in her."

    "Her?" Tovan asked casually

    Trex said nothing for a moment, making Tovan wait. "Yes, a Professor Partridge. Civilian science advisor. One of their best minds, apparently. And also something of a celebrity, hence the surfeit of information on her. It seems that when not working she likes to be in the public eye. Going to the best parties, appearing in the mass media, romantic relationships with Royalty. Although the latter is always rumour, the papers are quick to point out. She has also worked as something the humans call a 'glamour model'."

    "What's a glamour model?" said Tovan, with a furrowed brow.

    "One of these, apparently." Trex turned the screen so Tovan could see it. Tovan went very still for a moment, though his eyes widened. Then in one sudden movement he drained his tumbler, gulping the fiery liquid down.

    "By Kralon! She is most....handsome, for a human. Perhaps, in the interest of interplanetary relati---"

    He was interrupted by the buzzing of the intercom. "Governor, this is the Command Centre. The Earth ship is on final orbital approach, following our navigational instructions precisely. They've started transmitting their test signal. We should have real time visual communications soon. If we respond with our signal they can calibrate their systems at the same time, and that would speed up the process."

    "Very good. Begin transmission. I will be with you shortly." He turned off the intercom and stood. "Coming?"

    "Certainly." Tovan said, standing. He reached across the desk, picked up Trex's unfinished drink, and polished it off. "No sense letting it go to waste, hmm?"
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Trex and Tovan are surprisingly well fleshed out characters leading me to believe that they are not your ordinary, garden-variety antagonists in this story, if at all.
  10. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Thanks for the comments CeJay. Given the quality of characterisation in your own works that means a lot to me.
  11. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Herroton City. Herroton. Epsilon Delta system.
    November 26th 2151.

    Trex and Tovan left the governor's office, Trex giving his secretary the rest of the afternoon off. As they approached the elevator to take them down to the Command Centre, Tovan cleared his throat. "Listen, Governor. Do you mind if I give you a bit of advice? Perhaps I'm getting paranoid in my dotage, but I feel that....Oh, Kralon, not again!"

    The lights in the corridor had flickered and dimmed. Glancing through an open doorway in passing Trex saw several office workers staring in frustration at their computer screens, displaying a blur of static. There was muttered swearing, and the occasional slap to the malfunctioning equipment. As they reached the elevator he exchanged glances with Tovan.

    "The stairs." they agreed simultaneously.

    The stairs were designed for emergency evacuation as well as normal use. In addition to the standard lighting, now dim and failing, fluorescent panels provided a modicum of illumination. It certainly felt safer than the elevator under the circumstances.

    "I was talking to Phlox over at the Medical Centre." Tovan said as they descended. "He reckons it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt. And if he's performing an operation when the power goes out...."

    "Are there any operations planned, at this time?" Trex asked, brow furrowed. He couldn't recall anything from the weekly reports, but that was not the sort of information he'd regularly need.

    "I don't think so. But I rather got the impression Phlox was worried about emergency situations. Some one getting themselves mauled by a vrex, or something."

    "Hmm. I see your point." the governor said. "Of course, the most frustrating thing is, no one knows why it's happening. Environmental services are completely baffled. Their own words, 'completely baffled'."

    Tovan lightened. "Here's a thought. That human ship. Enterprise. It's bound to have a top notch engineer onboard. Maybe we can get them to have a look at the power plant."

    Trex nodded slowly as he thought it over. "That's an idea. We could give it a try, if the opportunity presents itself. Ah, that's better." The main lights had resumed their normal brightness. "Now, what was that bit of advice you wanted to give me?"

    "Advice? Not sure I---Oh! Oh yes, I remember. I was going to suggest you watch yourself.Councillor Vrok will undoubtedly attempt to make some political capital from this. You allowed a foreign warship to approach our world unchallenged, and you did so without consulting or informing the rest of the council. She might even claim you've been exceeding your authority."

    "That's absurd." Trex said. They had reached the floor, and he held the door open for Tovan. "It's part of the governor's job to make decisions when the council isn't available, or if things need to be decided in a hurry. Besides, we have good diplomatic relations with the humans, and a number of them at the dig. I'd hardly risk damaging our friendship by refusing orbital privileges without good reason."

    "True enough," Tovan said, returning the salute of a patrolling security guard, "but Vrok will find a way to make it work for her."

    "As I recall, she's in the middle of her hibernation cycle right now. Not available for consultation, I should say."

    Tovan nodded. "Yes, for another day or so. But you didn't talk to the councillors who are available. And that gives her something to complain about. Although, as I think about it...She probably won't raise the matter herself. Probably get one of her supporters to do it. That way, you look bad for ignoring the council, but she keeps out of the mud slinging."

    "It's this sort of politicking I detest." Trex said grimly. "I became governer to help guide this colony into a new future, not to get involved in power games like this."

    Tovan shrugged sympathetically. "Comes with the territory. Here we are."

    For security reasons the Command Centre was located in a reinforced bunker beneath the building. Although no trouble was anticipated Tovan took his duties as Commissioner very seriously, so both had to present credentials to the watchful guards before being allowed access. Inside half a dozen Denobulans monitored display screens, accompanied by the steady whirr and bleeping of the computers. Everything seemed to be running smoothly. Given the importance of the systems in this room, everything had emergency back up battery supplies. If power was cut off completely the Centre could run for a full day with no loss in efficiency. That, at least, was the plan. So far it had coped with the short term power losses without trouble.

    "Governor, Commissioner. The Earth ship is just entering orbit, and communications systems are calibrated." said a technician, approaching them. "We've set it up so you can use the main communications alcove."

    "Thank you. Any word from Doctor Smith at the dig site?"

    "Just a brief message. He claims to be unaware of any Earth ship. And apparently there's some business at the dig got his attention right now. A couple of missing personnel. One of their scientists, and a security guard."

    "That's worrying." Tovan said. "Still, it's a maze down there. Soon as we've finished here I'll head on over, take a team with me and help with the search. Assuming they haven't turned up by then."

    "Very well." Trex said. "Right, let's get on with it."

    The alcove was a small room just off the main centre, with several comfortable chairs facing large display screen. Currently it was showing the human's test patten. A camera located just below the screen would allow his image to be transmitted to the Earth ship. Trex thanked the technician, closing the sound proofed door after she left, and sat. To his mild surprise Tovan didn't sit, taking a position just to one side of the main screen. Somewhere he can see what's going on, Trex realized, without being seen himself. Crafty old devil.

    He tapped the controls built into the armrest to begin the process, feeling slightly nervous for some reason. For a moment the screen dissolved into a blur of static and white noise, before the message 'Stand By' popped up in Denobulan, accompanied by a steady tone.

    After a few seconds the tone cut out, replaced by a fragment of speech, too short to be understood, then the screen resolved into the image of a room similar in shape and form to the one Trex was seated in. It was also a pulsating fluorescent purple. The 'Stand By' message flashed up again, before the room returned in more reasonable colours, a pale cream. Sat on one of the chairs, facing the camera, was a dark haired human male in the blue uniform of UESPA.

    As the display settled down, he raised both hands to chest level, flat, with the palms facing down. "Khaa'li dorax za'roon." he said in near perfect Denobulan. The traveller is grateful for the welcome. "I am Jonathan Archer, commanding officer of the United Earth Ship Enterprise."

    Trex returned the traditional gesture of greeting. "Fado'run dorax ty'rath." he replied. Hospitality is a boon to both guest and self. "It is an honour to meet you, Captain Archer. I am Trex, Governor of Herroton. To what do we owe this unexpected, but most welcome, visit?" Even as he spoke he cursed the crassness of his comment. By pointing out the unexpected nature of Enterprise's arrival, he implied it could potentially cause him problems. By stating it was welcome, he suggested nobility in himself for facing those problems without complaint. An experienced diplomat like Archer would not be fooled by such cheap stratagems. Worse yet, it was precisely the sort of thing Vrok would do.

    Archer gave no sign of having noticed the implications, but that could just mean he played the diplomacy game well. "Governor. I apologise for our unscheduled entrance into sovereign Denobulan territory, and on behalf of United Earth I offer thanks for your kind permission to enter orbit over your world. We have some potentially important data that must be sent to Earth as rapidly as possible. Given the nature of the data, it must be directly transferred to the courier."

    "Surely you don't think the Denobulans untrustworthy, Captain?" Trex asked, a wide smile indicating he spoke lightly.

    Archer returned the smile, though as a human he could not match Trex for it's width. "Oh, I wouldn't say that. But if the data were to leak out, my superiors would not be pleased. If I had allowed an open transmission in this system, they would be investigating here most thoroughly. And that would be no way to repay your hospitality."

    With his peripheral vision Trex could see Tovan nodding: Archer's explanation made sense. "So. You are here for the courier then."

    "That's right. Although...while we're here, I don't suppose there's any chance we could visit the colony? And the archeological site of course, it sounds fascinating."

    "For what reason?" Trex asked, brow furrowed.

    "Well a bit of shore leave is always welcome." Archer replied. "Also, simple curiosity. It's why we're out here, exploring the heavens. The desire to see something new. It's part of human nature. Some might say the best part."

    "Curiosity." Trex repeated, reminded of the way Redmane the mahwee had looked round his office. "Well, that's understandable. I'm sure something can be arranged---" he spotted Tovan stiffening from the corner of his eye "---but I'm afraid I will have to put that one before the full council. I'm sure you appreciate a matter of this importance should only be decided when all those relevant have had their voices heard." Tovan visibly relaxed.

    "Of course, of course." Archer nodded. "Having a horde of humans descend on your planet is not something to take lightly. Please, put it too your council. We will of course respect your decision. In the mean time, might I offer an invitation, to you and your colleagues? A formal dinner, our chef is exceptional. Followed by a guided tour of the Enterprise. We're rather proud of her,"

    "A....guided tour of your ship? That is...most unexpected." He forced himself not to look directly at Tovan. Even so, he could easily make out the expression of surprise on the Commissioner's face. "I for one would enjoy dinner, and I'm sure there are those amongst my colleagues who would find a tour of your fine vessel to be of great interest. I'd have to put it to the council, of course."

    "Of course. And we''ll have arrangements to make. I'll speak to my people, put the wheels in motion, as it were. So unless there's anything else that needs to be dealt with right now, I'll wish you a very good day. Thank you again Governor, and we'll be in touch."

    "Thank you Captain, and good day." The screen went blank.

    For a few moments there was silence. Then Tovan spoke. "Kralon has blessed us this day! We've actually been invited to look round their ship! I did not expect that."

    "Oh, calm yourself Tovan. It's not as if they're going to be showing us around the most classified, secret parts. We'll probably see a shuttle bay, some corridors, and a dining hall."

    "Don't be so miserable. Any data on alien ships is of use. High Command will be pleased with this, very pleased. Haven't you always wanted more resources, more funding for this place? Practically guaranteed now, I think."

    Trex brightened. "You may be right. Yes. Yes. This could be the beginning of something big. You know, Tovan, I've got a feeling our luck may be about to change."
  12. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    The continued Denobulan perspective here is quite interesting and not exactly what I expected. Yet it's fascinating to see Enterprise and the humans through an alien prism.

    And you're doing a great job at both the little details (communicating with a starship takes more than flipping a switch) as well as the bigger issues (Denobulans may be a friendly species, doesn't mean they don't have their own agenda.)

    Great stuff.
  13. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    UES Enterprise. Orbiting Herroton.

    Captain's Log, 28th November 2151.
    It's taken a little bit of preparation, but we are ready to greet the official party from the colony. Apart from the Governor himself, we will be playing host to several councillors, plus a few of our own people from the archaeological site. No decision has yet been made as to whether or not we will be allowed shore leave, so I'm hoping to make a good impression. Chef assures me the dinner he is preparing will be sublime, a mix of human and Denobulan recipes. Everyone has been reminded to be on their best behaviour!
    The confidential data has been successfully transferred to the courier: Commander Hernandez proclaims herself 'satisfied' with the security arrangements, which is as close as she typically gets towards showing enthusiasm. The courier is scheduled to leave tomorrow. If all goes well, the data will be with the Admiralty within two weeks.

    It was a truism almost to the point of cliché that serious military officers disliked full dress uniform. Maria Hernandez despised it intently. While she had much love and respect for her normal uniform and all it represented, the variant she was required to wear for the most formal of events was, to her mind, both uncomfortable and ridiculous. The collar was too tight, the boots too stiff, and the braiding, in her opinion, entirely pointless. At least she had the option to wear trousers. She'd never been one for skirts. She had joined the military to serve her home world, not to parade around in this silly get up. Unfortunately, it seemed that formal events would be quite common on the Enterprise's diplomatic missions.

    She followed Captain Archer towards the starboard docking port, taking care not to bang her head or trip over the spaghetti like tangle of pipes and conduits that littered the corridors. Complicating matters was Archer's little dog, Porthos, who followed his master just far enough back to be repeatedly getting under Hernandez's feet.

    Archer seemed quite at home in his dress uniform. But then Archer was quite at home with situations like this. It's what he did, what he was good at. He knew the Denobulans, but even if he didn't, he'd find a way to get to know them, to find similarities, to make connections. Hernandez only knew the Denobulans from reports, most of them Threat Assessments. The idea of giving them a meal and a tour of the ship wouldn't have come highly on her choice of actions. She could see what he was doing it, trying to get goodwill to support their application for shore leave. She just couldn't see why. Oh, yes, a bit of leave would be nice, but it was hardly vital at this stage of the mission. And while the archaeological dig was the sort of thing that Enterprise had been sent out to investigate, the human presence at the site meant Earth would learn of any discoveries, rendering Enterprise's participation unnecessary.

    She'd raised this matter with him earlier, just before they left the bridge. He'd smiled and leant closer. "I'll let you into a little secret. Letting Earth know what we discover out here...that's my job. But that's not why I do this. Just being here, seeing things for myself. Not reading about it or looking at pretty pictures, but actually getting out there and experiencing whatever new thing the universe has to offer us...That's my motivation. That's what it's all about."

    She had frowned at that. "To be honest, Captain, I don't see it."

    He had looked disappointed with that.

    He'd kept quiet during the walk, apparently deep in thought, but as they approached their destination he straightened up and seemed more cheerful, turning and shooting her a smile as they reached the entry hatch to the reception chamber. He spun the locking wheel and held the hatch open for her. She thanked him and passed through, almost tripping over the dog as it darted past.

    Four people were already present. Hoshi Sato looked as uncomfortable in her dress uniform as Hernandez did. She was present to help with translations. Phillip Locke, the ship's doctor, also seemed fidgety and ill at ease, though in his case it was unlikely to be clothing responsible. As a civilian, albeit a former member of the military, he was dressed in a fairly smart, if a little threadbare, gray suit. The most remarkable thing about his appearance, to those who knew him at least, was the complete absence of a cigarette. Hence his clear agitation. The reception chamber was a no smoking zone. Locke usually flaunted such rules, but the presence of the ship's chief engineer, coupled with Archer's insistence that nothing be allowed to interfere with the smooth running of proceedings, not even a wisp of tobacco smoke, stayed his hand.

    Said chief engineer, one Charles Tucker the Third, known as Trip to his friend, was also wearing full dress uniform. His looked like he had slept in it, and it had been a rough night. There was something inherently crumpled about the man, which fascinated Hernandez for some reason that eluded her. Had she been aware off the way she gazed thoughtfully upon him from time to time, she would have been shocked and disturbed in equal measure.

    Trip was currently deep in discussion with the ship's chief scientist, Professor Polly Partridge. They'd first met many years ago at Cambridge and had remained close friends ever since. Whether they had been more than that was a matter for whispered speculation in some quarters, but Trip always insisted that he had '...been a perfect gentleman'. This was something that Hernandez found satisfying, for reasons she never thought about too closely.

    Partridge had evidently realised, or had explained to her, that her customary figure hugging catsuits might not be entirely appropriate for the occasion, and wore instead an elegant powder blue trouser suit with frills at the neck and wrists, plus a pair of black gloves made from the same glossy high tech material as her usual attire. Hernandez wasn't sure why she always wore gloves, but speculated it might be a fear of cross infection. Given her self proclaimed cowardice that certainly seemed plausible. Or possibly it was down to her love of dressing up. Had Polly not been such an ardent pacifist, Hernandez thought, and had she joined the military, she would probably love dress uniform.

    Polly also wore a pair of heels far higher than anything Hernandez would attempt, though just a fraction of her typical choice. That had nothing to do with the occasion. Over the past few weeks, the Maintenance department had detected unusually high levels of metal fatigue in the deck-plates of certain parts of the ship. It was eventually determined that the Professor's near constant use of stiletto heels was to blame, and very firm restrictions on what would be allowed were put in place. As first officer, Hernandez had been the one to put the new rules to Partridge, and it had taken a lot of effort not to laugh as she did so.

    "...honest, I've really no idea how I'll react when I see him again." Polly was saying in her clipped, precise British accent as they entered. "It's been years since we last met, and we didn't exactly part under the best of---Jonathan! And Commander Maria! There you are."

    The two officers already present saluted, whilst Locke offered a vague grunt of recognition.

    The intercom whistled. "Bridge to Captain Archer."

    He lifted the handset. "Archer here. How's it going, Haleh?"

    "Sir, the shuttlebus is approaching the starboard port, and is requesting permission to dock."

    "Permission granted. Also, remind them that the Enterprise has artificial gravity, and that the arrows in the access tube point downwards. Make sure they get orientated before they enter the gravitational zone, as suddenly dropping onto your head is not a good start to proceedings."

    "Yes sir, I'll make sure they know. Bridge out."

    Tucker crouched down to scratch Porthos' head. "You sure this little fella's gonna be welcome, cap'n?"

    Archer nodded. "Pets of all kinds are highly popular with Denobulans. And Porthos here had often met their diplomatic staff on Earth. He likes them and they like him."

    "Marvellous." Hernandez said wryly. "The captain's dog has more cultural experience than me."

    "To be fair, Maria, it's what we all suspected anyway." Partridge said airily.

    The hatch opened, and Major Malcolm Reed entered, along with four of his Marines, looking resplendent in their immaculate uniforms. "Honour Guard reporting for duty, sir!" he barked, offering Archer a crisp salute. Like Partridge, he was British, but where the professor spoke with the cut glass tones of Received Pronunciation, his accent was the soft burr of Yorkshire.

    Archer reluctantly returned the salute. He didn't much care for military formality. "Major. This is to be a formal event. Diplomatic. I don't think the weaponry is appropriate., do you?" Reed's belt supported both a holstered pistol and a sheathed sword, whilst the four troopers carried rifles.

    "You did say full dress, sir. This is part of the uniform, for us." He gestured to his troopers. "You'll notice my men are carrying the EM-400 rifle. For my unit, that has been supplanted by the EM-414. The '400 is only now used by us for ceremonial purposes. And while I could run someone through with my sword, I don't really think it'll come to that. At least, I hope not. It'd make a devil of a mess."

    Hernandez glanced at the rifles. They were, as Reed said, the older model. As far as she knew, the marines hadn't brought any of these with them when they were assigned to Enterprise, so these particular ones must have been borrowed from the ship's security detail. In which case, for all Reed's comments about 'ceremonial usage only', they were still fully functional. The power packs were not attached, so they couldn't be used, but each marine had a number of belt pouches, each big enough for a couple of the packs. She caught his eye and offered the merest hint of a nod. She approved. It might not be diplomatic, but it seemed sensible to her.

    Archer, she guessed, would not approve. He looked at Reed silently for what felt like an eternity, before sighing. "Very well. Fall your people in, Major." There was a tone to his voice that suggested, to Hernandez, that he knew precisely what was going on. but was willing to let it slide. This refusal to insist on doing things his way struck her as odd, almost inexplicable. It seemed inappropriate for a ships captain. Yet, she knew from experience, Archer's approach seemed to work.

    With his troops lined up Reed took two steps towards the head of the line, hesitated, then headed to the other end. That, at least, Hernandez could understand, at least partially. Reed was avoiding standing next to Professor Partridge. He seemed nervous around her. Not the social nervousness many men experience around attractive, glamorous women, but actual fear. Mild, low level, but fear none the less. Others had noticed it too, and it was a matter for wild speculation and ribald commentary across the ship.

    "So, I've been meaning to ask. Why are they docking at one of the ports?" Lieutenant Sato said. "Why not just use the shuttle bay?"

    "They're usin' an old, civilian, Eagle class shuttlebus." Tucker explained. "We gave it to this colony when we joined their arc'logical dig. Bit too big ta safely fit through the bay doors. Good ships otherwise."

    "I like Eagles." Partridge said. "Big, big windows, smooth ride...I get nowhere near as travel sick as I do on these military shuttles you insist on using. Plus, of course, the name reminds me of that time Earth's moon was hurled from orbit by a massive nuclear explosion."

    Everyone paused. Eventually Hoshi hazarded "Early twenty first century internet meme?"

    "Mid to late twentieth century television, actually, but that's a good try Hoshi. We'll make an expert of you yet."

    A siren hooted, and lights flashed. Moshiri's voice, on the tannoy. "Shuttlebus is docking in five, four, three, two, one---" a series of metallic, heavy clunks "---zero. Shuttlebus has docked. All lights show green, we have hard lock on all seals. Entry tube is pressurizing...entry tube is at standard pressure. It is now safe for passage." The siren and lights ceased.

    Archer picked up the intercom handset. "OK, Haleh. Give them permission to come aboard. Archer out." He nodded to Hernandez, who tapped an authorization code into the nearest keyboard. Slowly, ponderously, the heavy, vault like door to the entry tube swung open. The tube itself was well lit, flashing arrows pointing downwards. A figure was already floating towards them, guiding himself on the ropes attached to the tubes surface like the rigging on a sail ship. As she watched the newcomer swung himself round so he was orientated the right way up, and crossed the boundary into the ship. He dropped, fast enough to cause his knees to flex and force him to throw an arm out for balance, but quickly steadied himself.

    Archer stepped forward to assist him, moving back when it was clear help was not needed. He said something in Denobulan, making the palms down salute Hernandez recognised from the footage of Archer's conversation on the communications link. From that footage she recognised the newcomer as Trex, the Governor of Herroton. He returned the salute and then, to her relief, spoke in English. "Captain. Shall we continue in your language? Because of the human presence at the site we all speak it to some degree. It might make things easier."

    "It would indeed, Governor. Thank you for your consideration. And again, welcome onboard the Enterprise."

    Trex beamed, an unnaturally wide smile. "Delighted Captain, absolutely delighted. We had a good look on our approach, we can see why you are so proud of it. Ah, here are the rest of my party. Be careful as you enter the ship, the gravity is a bit...sudden. Gravity. On a ship with no rotating sections. Remarkable. Oh, do watch your footing, Tovan, you'll be flat on the floor if you're not careful."

    Of the half dozen or so Denobulans that entered only three really registered with Hernandez. The first, Tovan, was apparently the head of security at Herroton and had the air of an old warrior about him. When introduced to her he exclaimed "Aha! United Earth Military Authority, am I right? Yes, yes. Of course I am. It's the uniforms, Trex, that's how you tell. Blue for UESPA, black for UEMA Space Fleet. And those over there are in the green of UEMA Marines. Don't see any khaki. Do you not have any Ground Forces with you?"

    "Ah, no sir." she replied, wondering how much of his bombastic buffoonery was an act. "We have no need of them with our current mission profile."

    Next she was introduced to a Doctor Phlox, apparently a former colleague of Locke on the inter-species medical exchange. After greeting her enthusiastically he looked her up and down a few times, then asked if the qualadine she was taking to relieve the swelling of her right knee was causing insomnia or dizziness. Locke barked a single laugh. "Same old Phlox.Thinks he's Sherlock Holmes." Slightly off balance by the question, she replied that she had indeed had trouble sleeping recently. He nodded, and said he'd see what he could rustle up.

    Then came Councillor Vrok, a young and pretty female who seemed friendly enough, yet there was putting about her. There was a slightly predatory air, as if she was always on the look out. Unbidden, the word 'opportunist' thrust itself into Hernandez's perceptions, dangling in front of her demanding to be acknowledged.

    For her own part, Commander Hernandez did her best to smile and greet the guests politely, giving the appropriate salute, but not attempting the traditional greeting. She'd practised saying it a few times, but wasn't confident enough to try it for real. Still, at least the next part should be easier. These guests were human, after all.

    First came the head of the Earth representatives at the dig, a small neat man with a small neat moustache, who went by the unlikely sobriquet of Doctor John Smith. She was shaking his hand and trying to make out what he was saying in his small neat voice when she became aware of a disturbance in the line. Professor Partridge had left her place and stalked towards the latest newcomer, a silver haired man who despite his apparent age carried himself with youth and vigour. There was something familiar about him, though Hernandez was sure they'd never met.

    "Polly!" he exclaimed, holding his arms out to greet her. "So good to---" He was interrupted by Partridge's fist, hitting him square in the face.


    He staggered back, clutching his nose, blood streaming between his finger, and a cry of agony filled the room. Not from him, her. Partridge hopped away cradling her fist and wailing. I'll have to teach her to throw a punch if she's going to do that, Hernandez thought.

    The chamber was in uproar. Trex demanded "What's the meaning of this!?", Tovan shouted wildly in Denobulan, Smith said something incomprehensible and Vrok watched it all intently. Captain Archer held his arms out and called for calm, but Hernandez had her own ideas about how to achieve that.

    "MAJOR REED!!" she bellowed at parade ground volume. That in itself had the effect of silencing the ruckuss. "Major, place Professor Partridge under arrest immediately. Take her directly to the brig, and detain her there until further notice."

    "Better take to sick bay first." Locke said. Along with Phlox, he was attending to the silver haired man. "She's probably done more damage to her hand than she did to his nose."

    "Understood. Carry on Reed."

    Reed gulped. "Yes Ma'am. Delaney, Priest, you heard the XO. Get it done."

    As the marines left with their sobbing prisoner, Archer leant closer. "Was that really necessary, Maria?"

    She shrugged cheerfully. "Well, we wanted to avoid a diplomatic incident. We had to convince everyone we are taking this matter extremely seriously. I think it worked."

    "Riiiiight." Trip Tucker drawled. "An' that's the only reason. I'm kinda surprised you did'na have Polly clapped in irons."

    "We don't want her enjoying herself." she replied.

    Archer snorted. "Things seem to be calming down. I'll talk to Trex. Let's see if I can salvage this situation."

    Trip rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Well, Polly did say she wasn't sure how she'd react when she saw him again. Guess we just found out."

    "Yes." said the silver haired man, approaching them. He held a handkerchief to his nose, though it no longer appeared to be bleeding. "Understandable, I suppose."

    Hernandez looked at him carefully, trying to work out where she had seen him before. "So you've met the professor before, mister...?"

    "Oh yes, I've known her for years. Oh, sorry, we've not been introduced. Soong." He gave a formal little bow. "Doctor Arik Soong, at your service."
  14. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Well, that certainly went well.

    Not being familiar with your interpretation of these characters didn't matter at all here thanks to you expertly introducing them all through Hernandez's POV.

    Still really liking your attention to detail here including the different branches of Earth forces, type of weapons used, Partridge's wardrobe choices (nice!) as well as the shout out to another classic sci-fi TV show.

    Great stuff.
  15. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    Thanks CeJay.

    I often use Hernandez as my viewpoint character, as her military background makes her unfamiliar with the scientific, diplomatic and exploratory aspects of the mission. It's a useful way to explain what's going on without having people telling other people things they should already know. Conversely, for the more militaristic moments, I've used Archer's and Sato's perspectives.

    And Partridge's clothing came about because I liked what 7of9 and T'Pol wore, but thought it wasn't tight or kinky enough.:lol:
  16. Duncan MacLeod

    Duncan MacLeod Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 24, 2002
    New England
    So Polly has a history with Soong, and not a very pleasant one it seems. This intrigues. I presume Spiner is still playing Soong or do you have someone else in mind?
  17. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    UES Enterprise. Orbiting Herroton.

    Captain's Log, 28th November 2151. Supplemental.
    Despite the...incident at reception, the Denobulan party have agreed to remain on the Enterprise. Much of the credit for this must go to Dr. Soong himself, who has spoken to the Denobulans on our behalf. Not only does he not seem upset by the assault, he appears to be almost amused by it. I'm curious as to why, but don't want to press the matter at the moment. The situation is still potentially fragile, so Lieutenant Sato, Commander Tucker and myself will remain with the party to try and smooth things over.
    To get answers, I've despatched Commander Hernandez to talk to the Professor.

    When the Enterprise was modified for it's new role, extra storage space was considered to be more useful than a dedicated brig. The events of the first mission had proved that concept wrong, and a detention centre had been added during the recent repairs. This was the first time it had been used. There was an outer chamber, with a desk and a couple of chairs for visitors, and two small cells next to each other. The front wall of each was transparent aluminium, allowing permanent observation of any prisoners, though the wall between them was solid steel, giving a modicum of privacy should the other cell be occupied. A couple of bunk beds, a lavatory and a sink were the only furnishings, all exposed surfaces rounded off or padded where possible to minimise risk of injury.

    There was a female crew-member---not a marine, one of the ship's regular security staff---on duty as Hernandez entered. The XO dismissed her, telling her to wait in the nearby crew lounge until needed. She then took one of the chairs and placed it in front of the occupied cell. For one crazy mixed up moment she considered putting the chair the wrong way round and straddling it whilst conducting her interview, but common sense prevailed.

    She tapped the button to activate the intercom. "So. How's your hand?"

    Polly Partridge was sprawled decorously on the lower bunk, eyes closed. Her right hand was bandaged, hints of purple healing accelerant gel showing around the edges, her glove lying beside her. After a moment she spoke. "Sore."

    And that seemed to be that. Hernandez settled down into the chair. Getting Partridge to talk was not usually a problem. Getting her to shut up was the trick most times. This would require a different approach. "Doctor Arik Soong. I've been racking my brains but it's no good. I'm sure I know the name from somewhere but I just can't place it. So where have I heard of him?"

    After a protracted pause, Partridge spoke. "He's a geneticist. Noble prize winner. A brilliant mind. Quite, quite brilliant. His work on DNA resequencing is...beautiful. There's no other word for it. Moved me to tears."

    "A brilliant mind, eh?" Hernandez asked laconically. "Guess that means he's almost as good as you."

    "Better than me, much better." was the surprising reply. Partridge went on to add "Of course, it is his speciality. But speaking honestly, his is one of the few minds I can honestly look up to. Make a note in your diary Maria, I don't make that admission often."

    "Hmm-mm. So what exactly is your speciality?"

    "Omniscience. However, I've not answered your question. I've told you who he is, but not where you know the name from. Three years ago he made the headlines. He publicly questioned our current stance on the use of genetic engineering,suggesting that Augmented humans might well be beneficial to---"

    "Whoah there!" Hernandez interrupted. "That was him? Damn, I thought he looked familiar, but had no idea! Yeah, yeah I remember now. He was arrested, wasn't he? They found he'd been doing experiments on live embryos or something."

    "No!" Partridge said sharply, holding up a hand for emphasis. She winced, it'd been her injured hand. For the first time in the conversation she opened her eyes. "No, he hadn't. What he had been doing was running computer simulations, modelling the effects. But there was never any evidence that he'd been experimenting for real. However when you put scientific illiterates in charge of investigations, conclusions are leapt to. Yes, he was arrested, though no charges were ever brought. The damage had been done though. No university or research group would touch him after that. Too much bad publicity, especially if you include the death threats and fire bombings. There's a lot of people who are a bit touchy on this subject. I'd heard he'd left Earth, and gone to Vulcan. I had no idea he was here until we got the list of guests. That caught me be surprise, I can tell you."

    Hernandez folded her arms. "Alright. That's where I know him from. But what about you? What's your connection to him?"

    "Come now Maria, you know the answer to that." Partridge said, closing her eyes again.

    Hernandez opened her mouth to insist that no, she didn't know the answer, then thought better and closed it again. The professor, she realised, was challenging her to work out the answer for herself. And she wouldn't do that unless all the appropriate facts were already available. A university tutor? A work colleague? A relative maybe? Hernandez shook her head. No, I don't know enough about her to conclusively say that for certain. They're obvious guesses, plausible, but with no evidence to support them. The only thing I do know is...

    She slapped her forehead in irritation, the answer so obvious she was annoyed it had taken her so long. "Sunnova---! Damnit, he was in that photograph you showed me! The Institute. Of course."

    The corners of Polly's mouth twitched upwards. "The Institute." she confirmed.

    Hernandez sat back, mentally reviewing what the other woman had told her all those months ago. The Institute, a privately backed education scheme, taking the very brightest of Britain's children and giving them the best possible start in life. Education experts from around the world were hired to monitor the children's progress, developing tailor made curricula. Polly had been admitted at the age of four, and within two years had qualifications a school leaver would aspire to. That had been before the funding dried up, and Partridge had found herself transferred to what she referred to as an 'absolute dump of a school', in reality one of the most prestigious and renowned boarding schools in the country.

    And Arik Soong had been one of the experts. When she'd seen the photo of Polly and her classmates, she'd found something familiar about one of the adult supervisors. Obviously she'd recalled enough of the Soong scandal to recognise his face, even if his identity had eluded her. "Well, I've had a few teachers I'd like to punch in the face."

    "Ha! Quite the opposite, Maria. I loved the guy. Loved him to bits. He was...I'll not say like a father, 'cause that'd be disrespectful to my dad, but certainly like an uncle. That's what I called him. Uncle Arik. I've got a fair few uncles too, but none of them knew much about science, so he was the one I could talk to about that." She sighed. "And then, when it all fell apart...that was it, he was gone. Just a job for him. Just a job.
    And then I learnt, a few years later, that although the Institute had shut down, somehow they'd found funding elsewhere. Not enough to keep the whole thing going, but several of my classmates were still getting the benefits. And Doctor Soong had hand picked them, and was practically running the show. He'd picked them Maria, and he hadn't picked me. Why not? Wasn't I good enough? Smart enough? I don't know, I just don't know. Those few times I've seen him since, I've asked him and not gotten a straight answer. All I do know is...I feel betrayed."

    Hernandez nodded slowly. "That's understandable, I suppose. And did you hit him the last time you met?"

    A chuckle "No, that's a new one for me. I've had sharp words before, but never anything like that. No. The last time we met...almost exactly four years ago. I think I was getting over it. Certainly felt less angry around him. And then...Look at me Maria. I'm gorgeous, sexy, talented, charismatic---"

    "Immeasurably modest." Hernandez added wryly.

    "That too. I've got a body a woman half my age would envy, an IQ so high they're having to rewrite the scale, six doctorates...six doctorates! I have six doctorates! No one has six doctorates! Except me, and that twentieth century quantum physicist who disappeared mysteriously. Pity about him, his string theory showed promise."

    "Is there a point to this, or is it just time to feed the ego again?"

    "The point, Commander, is that I differ from the ordinary to such a degree that I enter realms of sheer awesomeness impossible to describe using conventional language, and that can only be expressed through higher mathematics. Or possibly expressionistic dance. And that of course is wonderful and sublime and majestic, and it remains so right up until the moment a certain big gobbed idiot starts blathering on about how great it would be to start genetically modifying people again."


    "Yeah. So of course the scientifically illiterate press start digging up all they can on him, and find out about the Institute, and wouldn't you know it, one of his old pupils is completely fantastic, so she must be modified herself. Never any proof, but the sort of person who believes such crap doesn't need proof. The absence of proof is all the proof they need. 'Why, that just shows there is a conspiracy working to cover it all up!' And so the rumours fly." She sounded bitter.

    Hernandez had heard such tales about Polly herself. She'd acted to discourage the rumour-mongering, but had to admit she wasn't really sure what to believe herself. A short sighted tone deaf cowherd with a propensity to travel sickness didn't sound like one of the uber mensch, but factor in everything else and it suddenly became plausible. "It's not like it's ruined your career though, has it?"

    "No, but it caused me a lot of hassle at the time. And I'm getting a bit fed up with having to defend myself from anyone with an agenda. Yeah, it's just a nuisance really, but it's one I would rather live without. And I guess I've had a lot of anger over that festering away, right up until the moment I saw him again. I'm ashamed to admit it, but punching him was a very satisfying experience. Right up until the moment the pain hit, anyway. Oh, how is he? Seems strange to say this now, but I do hope he wasn't hurt."

    "Bit of a nose bleed for a while, but it's cleared up now. You did yourself more harm than him. If you are going to go round punching your old teachers, you ought to learn to do it properly."

    "No chance of that." Polly said. "I liked a lot of my teachers. And the ones I didn't like, I killed off years ago."

    There was a time when Hernandez would have frozen for a moment before realising it was a joke. Now she just shrugged. "Oh, that's alright then. C'mon, let's get a quick coffee, then the Captain wants you to publicly apologise to Doctor Soong." She stood, and tapped in the unlock code.

    "That's fair enough." Partridge said, swinging her long legs off the bed. She stretched. "Damn, these mattresses are uncomfortable."

    "It's a brig, not a luxury hotel."

    "In that case, they're too comfortable. Hey, you know what this place needs?"

    "I don't want to know. Seriously, I don't---"

    "A rack. A big, wooden, medieval rack. There's not much room here but if we get rid of that desk---"

    "Shut up. I know you're only saying this to annoy me, so just shut up. Don't forget your glove."

    "Thanks. Oooh. How about an Iron Maiden? Plenty of room for one of those,"

    "Polly, as executive officer I have certain powers. I could, for example, prohibit any footwear that does not have a permanently flat heel. Safety reasons."

    A pause.

    "I'll shut up."
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2012
  18. Duncan MacLeod

    Duncan MacLeod Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 24, 2002
    New England
    Didn't see that coming. And as I think on it, I should have. Polly fan that I am and all.

    Excellant chapter Badger.
  19. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    OK, officially add me to the Polly fan club as well. The woman is a riot. And to think she has six doctorates. Six doctorates! Nobody has six doctorates.

    But it was actually Hernandez, or rather her thoughts which made me laugh out loud in this chapter when she nearly channeled her inner Commander Riker:

  20. The Badger

    The Badger Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 11, 2008
    Im in ur Tardis, violating ur canon.
    ^Glad you liked that bit, CeJay. I also considered having her put her foot on the helm console when giving out orders, but it'd probably have a different dynamic if an attractive woman did it.

    Apologies for the delay in updating. I did have a night off in which I planned to get on with it, but then a colleague got sick and I had to fill in. I've got a bit of the next chapter done, but not as much as I like. :(