The Yes Album: Star Beagle Adventures episodes 3-6

Lovely little moment between Skip and Spike. He may be an unconventional captain, but he’s clearly a great leader for his crew.

And that’s some extreme Prime Directive work. Retrieving camping gear from the stomachs of giant fish monsters. :wtf: :lol:
A very touching interaction with Spike and Captain Howard, Krank and Dr. Rush. I'm a sucker for such thoughtful considerations of other people's needs.

And that’s some extreme Prime Directive work. Retrieving camping gear from the stomachs of giant fish monsters.
I made the point in my own story that the purpose of the Prime Directive could actually suffer from too strick and unconditional application of the rule. It has to be applied with the thought and long range considerations the Directive was put in place to assure.

Lovely little moment between Skip and Spike. He may be an unconventional captain, but he’s clearly a great leader for his crew...And that’s some extreme Prime Directive work. Retrieving camping gear from the stomachs of giant fish monsters...
A very touching interaction with Spike and Captain Howard, Krank and Dr. Rush. I'm a sucker for such thoughtful considerations of other people's needs...

Thanks for the kind words! That is the Howard charm at work, a characteristic Skip picked up from his father and grandfather. And as a biologist, his empathy is hardly limited to people - even Lovecraftian sea monsters...

Thanks!! rbs

The Star Beagle Adventures

Episode 5: All Good People
Scene 12: Eventualities

Initial it with loving care...


“Did Arthur complete his Eventualities form?” Commodore Yui Song had a somber expression.

“He selected Option 1,” Captain Skip Howard replied. “We bury him here. How are Lieutenant Pora and Crewman Grubman?”

Captain Howard, along with most of the U.S.S. Beagle’s leadership, were gathered in the Beagle’s executive conference room. Commodore Yui Song and Captain Rhonda Carter of the U.S.S. Escort were also present. All three ships were currently in orbit of Serrat Prime.

“Both suffered broken bones and concussions, as well as some acid burns where the tongue-fish contacted them,” said Dr. Tentis Uto. “Lucian has cleared them to return to duty, but they’re under observation for any lingering toxic shock.”

“How about the tongue-fish you tried to rescue?” Yui asked.

Dr. Uto sighed heavily. “I was able to save one of them. It may recover in a year, if it survives. The best I could do for the other was to treat its pain as it was dying.”

Commodore Yui cleared her throat. “Next order of business: I have not countermanded Dean Holland’s order to cease all space-bound investigations in this system since the fingernail incident. I think it was a good instinct, but, Sakura, I’d like to know more about your reasoning that led to that order and whether, in your opinion, we should continue the investigation at this time, or at all.”

“The Fingernail Incident,” Dean Sakura Nakamura Holland made an amused noise. “That sounds like a mystery holo-novel.”

“A mystery we haven’t solved yet,” opined Trader Pel.

“At the time, I thought it might be an attempt by a very foreign, telepathically endowed intelligence to communicate with us,” Sakura continued. “Then Tentis thought it was the mushrooms we ate…”

“It wasn’t,” Dr. Tentis Uto interjected.

“Which means my initial instinct may have been correct. Which suggests that we are being observed by the people we are trying to observe,” Sakura concluded. “I figured it would be a good idea to back off and get our robots out of their cemeteries… mausoleums… We have been seeking them very aggressively. As to whether we should resume our investigations or leave, I don’t think we should do either.”

“So you suggest we do nothing?” Captain Rhonda Carter asked.

“We’re not doing nothing now,” Captain Howard responded. “We still have nearly 150 crew rotating down to the surface, partly for extended shore leave, but also to continue looking for evidence of silicone organics.”

“Yes,” Sakura agreed. “I think we can continue that investigation. It is far less aggressive. But we should also avoid any indication that we are intent on colonization. Whether or not the Fingernail Incident… I love that name… whether or not that was a telepathic first contact, it is very clear that all of the betazoids were contacted telepathically in the moments before the tongue-fish beached on Pichilemu.”

“I’m reasonably certain the Fingernail Incident was a first attempt to warn us that Lance Corporal Spitze and her fellow campers were in danger,” opined Captain Howard. “I didn’t notice it at the time and I should have… It was the eyeshadow…”

“What are you talking about, Skip?” Yui asked.

“British Racing Green. Everyone was wearing British Racing Green,” Howard said. “I never use that color. I use Bavarian Forest Green. It’s just a little darker and has some blue in it. And, as we all noted, I wasn’t wearing green at the time…”

Yui Song’s patience was being tested. “I’m waiting for the sequitur with baited breath, Skip…”

“Lance Corporal Petra Spitze. She and I use the same glossy black on our nails, but she always wears British Racing Green eyeshadow,” Howard replied. “Someone was trying to draw our attention to her. Ten reported a horrible headache - all the betazoids did following the second telepathic contact. I think our alien friends were trying to communicate with us and when we failed to figure out the fingernail thing, they cranked up the volume.”

“So what is your recommendation?” Yui asked.

Dean Sakura Nakamura Holland exchanged glances with Captain Howard. She took a breath. “I think we should idle our probes into stable orbits, collect information from them in passive mode only, land and idle our robots at surface level, maintain our current posture, calm down, take a breath, and let them come to us.”

“And give Dr. Rush a proper burial,” added Skip Howard.


The Star Beagle Adventures

Episode 5: All Good People
Scene 13: Dr. Arthur Rush

I've seen all good people turn their heads each day
So satisfied I'm on my way...

Dr. Arthur Rush

A holographic image of Dr. Arthur Rush stood looking out to sea. Nothing heroic. Just a normal, middle-aged man - maybe a little older than middle age. Graying hair with a bit of a bald spot. A bit on the pudgy side. Tweed jacket over a brown pullover. Hands in the pockets of neatly ironed gray slacks. Kind brown eyes. The image moved slightly - a seamless 5-minute loop that made it look like a living man was standing there. It was just an image - a very lifelike image - but you could put your hand through it. There was no substance.

There was no service, no eulogy, no gathering. Various crew walked along the beach. Different individuals would stand next to the hologram and speak to him for a little while. Or just stand and look out to sea with the hologram. It was a chance for people to say farewell.

“You were a man of peace. I never understood how honorable that title is. When I was young I would have thought it an insult. But it is the most honorable life a man can live. I envy you that.” - General Krank.

“I will tell your sons about your accomplishments, Arthur. I never imagined I would outlive you. Or that I would lose you this way.” - United Federation of Planets Diplomatic Corps Expeditionary Director Serafina Novikova.

“Your premature loss will affect us all. I regret that your katra could not be preserved to be returned to your family. We are reduced.” - Vulcan Science Academy Premiere Emeritus T’Eln.

“I’m so glad I got to share a meal with you and listen to you go on about chess. And your family. And your accomplishments... the things you had seen… the things you loved… the peace treaties you helped negotiate. Probably no one appreciates what an interesting and important man you were.” - Trader Pel.

“You’re going to stand here and look out on that ocean for about 200 years before the holo-generator shuts down. Eventually, it will be lost to time. After we leave this place, I hope some strange alien will come to this place and wonder what you are. Why you are standing here looking out to sea. And I hope they will stand here next to you for a moment, and look out to sea with you.” - Commodore Yui Song.

“I just... It just doesn’t seem real. I keep expecting you to start talking about some exciting new idea. We all knew the risk when we signed up. Entire ships are lost on assignments like this. Expeditions like ours almost never come back without losing someone. None of us ever think it’s going to be me… I never thought it was going to be you. I talked you into this adventure. I really hope you’re not, I don’t know, in some other dimension regretting that you came. I’ll tell Allison. I know you split up long ago, but she deserves to know… I’m going to miss you.” - Dean Sakura Nakamura Holland.

“I’m sorry. I wish I had known you. I wish I could have saved you. I tried. I really, really tried. I’m really sorry.” - Lance Corporal Petra Spitze.

"I heard your dying thoughts. I will never tell anyone. I promise." Dr. Tentis Uto.

“So long, buddy.” - Captain Ronald Howard XIV.

Last dieing thoughts. Probably less character revealing than most people would think. Moments of high stress, fear, pain, surprise, bring out the unexpected. They rarely bring out the conscious choices we would make because of who we truly are.

A warm and touching installment, RBS. Thanks.

Last dieing thoughts. Probably less character revealing than most people would think... A warm and touching installment, RBS. Thanks...

Thanks for the kind words! Who knows what a telepath might pick up in that last moment - a burning crush for another man's wife? Regret for not writing the kids for a few months? Intense annoyance about a hangnail? I don't know. Dr. Uto never told me.

Thanks!! rbs

The Star Beagle Adventures

Episode 5: All Good People
Scene 14: Coexistence

All we are saying
Is Give Peace a Chance.


“We have a small vessel decloaking 20 kilometers off the port bow,” reported Ensign Broras. The bolian was currently standing at the U.S.S. Mako’s tactical station.

The Beagle task force had been in orbit of Serrat Prime for nearly two weeks, its probes having established stable orbits around various planets and moons. Outside of 8 identified abandoned or inactive planetary or lunar bases and on the surface of the massive abandoned space station in orbit of the red dwarf at the edge of the Serrat system, next to each identified primary entrance, a single dogfish had been sitting at attention, looking very much like a dog that had been told to sit.

Over the past several days, every member of the task force had the opportunity to spend at least three days camping ground side. Currently, nearly half of the population of the task force was planet side. Alpha shift had begun 5 minutes before the single, small alien craft appeared.

“Status of the new vessel?” asked Commodore Yui Song.

“No evidence of weaponry or major shielding beyond navigational screens.” Broras reported.

“Hail them.”

“Um, Commodore, I... I think they’re hailing us.”

“On screen.”

The alien that appeared on the screen of the U.S.S. Mako had no face. It appeared to be an amorphous, silver blob suspended in a vibrant, purple atmosphere.

Commodore Yui stood up. “I am Commodore Yui, commanding officer for this task force from the United Federation of Planets.”

“We are aware of your designation and your unstable sense of individual identity. This is, by necessity, a one-way communication. We rarely communicate with carbons due to your fragility. This unit has been designated as a specialist, but cannot understand most of your vibrational communication. We have found when communicating with carbons that attempts at direct communication are usually fatal to carbons.”

The silver blob seemed to expand and contract, sometimes slightly changing shape, but there was no other indication that it was actively communicating.

“We suspended normal operations when you entered the system. You may recover the items you used to explore our abandoned facilities in this system. We have analyzed your tools and have selected one to upload information for you that you might find of interest.”

“If you wish to colonize the planet you are in orbit of, you may do so so long as you leave our colony on the planet unaffected by your presence. As long as you pose no threat to us, we will pose no threat to you. Our environmental requirements are radically different. Our intent is to coexist without interaction.”

“We have no interest in further communication with you. We will respond to any attempts on your part to interact with us if we believe such interaction is useful to us. Our intent is to minimize any such interaction for your safety. Communication ends.”

An arm of sorts extruded from the silver blob, then the strange creature and its roiling, purple atmosphere vanished from the screen, to be replaced with an external view of the small, spindly, dark gray spacecraft, which slowly moved away.

“Woah, uh, Commodore…” said Ensign Broras. “We’re picking up dozens of vessels decloaking. Some really large ones. Umm, no, make that hundreds…”

“Give us some visuals, Ensign,” Commodore Yui ordered.

In response, views of several different types of spacecraft were projected. Several different designs, colors, material compositions. “They’re starting to move,” Broras reported. “None of them seem to be moving toward us. It’s as if they had just stopped and have been stopped all this time.”

“Given their physiology, that is entirely possible,” Yui Song mused.

Very touching funeral scene, followed by some very Trek-like first contact...

Do not interact with use. It is for your own safety (Leave us alone or we will kill you. Nothing personal; you understand)... Love the alien design...

Thanks for the kind words!! I didn't pick up on the tie-in to Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey series - but that is totally spot on. And if you're going to plagiarize, you might as well plagiarize the best...

Thanks!! rbs

The Star Beagle Adventures

Episode 5: All Good People
Scene 15: 10,000 More Stars

Send an instant karma to me...

10,000 More Stars

The Beagle task force had spent another four days in the Serrat star system, entirely ignored by the hundreds of space ships coursing through the system. Now that they were no longer cloaked, hundreds of lunar bases and planetary bases were easily visible to the task force’s probes.

The dogfish robots were collected and each was found to have had enormous amounts of data uploaded, completely filling the available memory for each robot. The probes had been left alone, which was probably fortunate as these were far more sophisticated machines with far more delicate computer systems.

After recovering all of their assets and taking a large number of readings of the now visible current culture and technology of the native silicon-based lifeforms, whose population could not be guessed, but who had expanded their living space to at least several hundred environments throughout the system, the U.S.S. Beagle, U.S.S. Mako and U.S.S. Escort broke orbit and exited the system.

“We have added an information matrix to Dr. Rush’s monument. I doubt the, shall we call them the serrati?” asked Commodore Yui Song.

“That would warm the cockles of those cold, unimaginative hearts at the Xenoantropology Department,” Captain Skip Howard opined.

Captain Howard and the Beagle’s leadership were gathered in the executive conference room with the ship’s chief engineer and first officer, Commander Dutch Holland, participating from the Beagle’s bridge. Captain Rhonda Carter and Commodore Yui were participating from the bridges of, respectively, the U.S.S. Escort and the U.S.S. Mako.

“Well, for lack of a better term…” Yui Song made an amused noise. “I don’t think they have a word for themselves. I’m far from certain the concept of words makes much sense to them at all. At any rate, I doubt they will be very interested in Dr. Rush or the information available from his monument. But we might make things a little safer for the next carbon-based explorers who turn up in that system.”

“Safer is a well chosen term,” said Serafina Novikova, the UFP Diplomatic Corps Expeditionary Director. “Apparently they didn’t think peaceful coexistence would be possible with the last few carbon-based explorers who visited them over the past few hundred years. They drove some off and slaughtered others out of hand. They were watching us very closely. Note for future reference - taking something, other than readings and photographs, from their archeological sites would probably have been a disastrous mistake. However they didn’t seem to have an issue with us refreshing our food, water, atmosphere and hydrogen supplies.”

“Why do you think they went to the trouble to warn us about the tongue-fish?” asked Captain Carter. “They really didn’t impress me as caring much about us…”

“I would disagree with that impression,” argued Dr. Uto. “They limited their contact with us, according to their communication, because of the danger communication with them presented to us. The really seemed quite interested in us.”

“From what I could tell, they simply stopped everything they were doing and spent weeks just sitting in place and watching us,” Dutch Holland added.

“They were judging us,” Dean Sakura Nakamura Holland concluded. “They were willing to accept us as neighbors, in their home system. I’m far from certain UEG would feel the same way if they sent a task force and wanted to colonize a few of Jupiter’s moons. Skip, I think you’re the one that made up their minds.”

Skip Howard laughed. “Me? Why me?”

“You were the one who ordered Tentis to help the tongue-fish - even after they had killed one of our people.” Sakura took a deep breath. “I think our blobby silver friends… The serrati… I think they liked that.”

“There are some problems with the stellar information they provided us,” intoned the ancient former premiere of the Vulcan Science Academy, T’Eln. She touched a control, causing a large star-field to be projected above the conference table.

“This is the official U.F.P. star map of this part of the Alpha Quadrant we are currently exploring,” explained Yogi Massa, one of the stellar cartographers on T’Eln’s team.

T’Eln touched another control and two separate areas ballooned out, filling up with tens of thousands of more stars:

“And that is the stellar map they provided for this same region.” The ancient vulcan’s voice was cold and emotionless. But somehow, her statement sounded even more ominous as a result. “Tens of thousands of stars that we don’t appear to be able to see or detect at all…”

All Good People
This is the final scene in Episode 5

The adventure will continue in The Star Beagle Adventures Episode 6: Perpetual Change, to be posted in this thread.
“And that is the stellar map they provided for this same region.” ...somehow, her statement sounded even more ominous... “Tens of thousands of stars that we don’t appear to be able to see or detect at all…”
Oooo! Dark Matter stars. Very intriguing.

Considering what we know about Dark Matter, a scifi writer can give such stars any properties one wanted.

The Star Beagle Adventures Episode 6: Perpetual Change

Notes: Throughout this episode, snippets of lyrics are quoted. These are from the song, "Perpetual Change" by Jon Anderson and Chris Squire. The song first appeared as track 6 on "The Yes Album", 1971, Atlantic Records.


The Star Beagle Adventures
Episode 6: Perpetual Change
Scene 1: Whisky 4

When all you see
Is near disaster gazing down on you and me...

Whisky 4

The elderly former premiere of the Vulcan Science Academy had not roused from her morning meditation as usual. Within 20 minutes, T'Eln's assistant director, T’Kusytt, alerted Dean Sakura Nakamura Holland and also the entire Astrophysics and Stellar Cartography department. It was not unusual for T'Eln to extend her meditation if she had a particular issue to consider. But she almost never did this without first alerting T’Kusytt of her plans. This extension was unplanned.

T’Kusytt's response to the situation, was, however, not. There were many situations that might cause a vulcan to extend meditation without notice. Given T'Eln's extraordinary discipline, the only likely causes ranged from problematic to potentially disastrous. Of the members of the department, Falok, the team leader for the astrophysics group, was the closest to T'Eln, in part because he was a distant relative and in part because of his own extraordinary discipline.

By pre-arrangement, T'Eln was removed from her quarters to the Astrophysics and Stellar Cartography center, located adjacent to the probe lab. Falok settled on the floor facing her. He did not enter a meditative state, nor did he attempt a mind-meld, but he placed his hand on hers to facilitate any attempt on her part to communicate with him. Even deep inside her meditative state, T'Eln would be aware of this plan and of Falok's presence.

In the bizarre, multi-level, multi-gravitic engineering section, the masked luchador and 1st officer for the U.S.S. Beagle, Commander Dutch Holland, did not like the readings one of his devices was producing. He reached out to the bridge: "Skip, Sakura, the D.T. generator is reading some very strange fluctuations in local spacetime. It's like there is a massive black hole, but it's not registering as producing any gravitic changes even though all the space-folding characteristics are there."

"This is Lieutenant Commander Senek, in command. The captain was headed toward engineering to..."

"He just walked in, Senek," Dutch Holland interrupted as Captain Skip Howard strolled into Engineering. He turned toward his friend. "Why did you leave the bridge, Skip?"

"Not my shift to be in command," Howard replied. "This is Senek's watch. I'm doing that walk-around thing granddad keeps going on about at the academy. By your expression, I gather the thingamajig is not making you happy?"

"Skip, Dutch," came Sakura Nakamura Holland's voice from the bridge. "Please be advised that Premiere T'Eln has not roused from her meditation. It's unplanned."

"You are aware that the D.T. generator has a bad case of the D.T.’s, correct?” Howard asked. "Please tell me that 2 plus 2 does not equal 5..."

"Your arithmetic is inept," Lt. Cmdr. Senek responded. "But your metaphor might, unfortunately, be apt. The relationship between your Doppler Tunneling readings and T'Eln's extended meditation could be more than casual."

"All stop," Howard ordered. "Bring all probes to station keeping and advise the task force to do the same."

In the Probe Control Lab, just forward of Astrophysics and Stellar Cartography, Major Janet Carter had just arrived due to concerns raised by Sergeant Tommy Richards.

"Sergeant, we have an all stop order," Major Carter remarked. "Why is Probe Whisky 4 not responding to all stop?"

"Unknown, Major," Richards replied. "I have initiated full reverse, but the probe continues to move forward."

Major Carter hit the comm switch: "Captain Howard, Bridge, we have a problem with Probe Whisky 4. The probe is not responding to all stop and is moving forward despite our attempt to put it into full reverse..."

"This is Captain Howard. Emergency cutoff all external communications, incoming and outgoing..."

"Emergency cutoff, aye," Richards replied. Then: "We are still receiving telemetry from Whisky 4 despite the emergency cutoff. All other channels are shut down, but the Whisky 4 channel remains open."

"Emergency destruct Whisky 4," Captain Howard ordered.

"Sending emergen..."


(Perpetual Change by Lent on Deviant Art)


Star Beagle Adventures on Trek BBS:

Episode 1: The Eye of the Beholder
Episode 2: Astral Traveller
Episode 3: Yours is no Disgrace

Episode 4: Starship Trooper

Episode 5: All Good People
Episode 6: Perpetual Change (you are here)
Episode 7: The Roundabout
Episode 8: South Side of the Sky
Episode 9: Long Distance Runaround
Episode 10: Schindler's Fish
Episode 11: Heart of the Sunrise
Episode 12: Close to the Edge part I - The Solid Time of Change
Episode 13: Close to the Edge part II - Total Mass Retain
Episode 14: Close to the Edge part III - I Get Up, I Get Down
Episode 15: Close to the Edge part IV - Seasons of Man (now in drafting)

The Star Beagle Adventures

Episode 6: Perpetual Change
Scene 2: Bridge

When what you'll see
Deep inside base controlling you and me...


Lt. Cmdr. Senek had saved 2nd Lt. Piper Acrele's life with a vulcan neck pinch. She had tried to overload one of the hand phasers that was stored on the bridge. As a preventive move, he had removed the power packs from each of the phasers stored on the bridge and, because the power packs could not be destroyed, he had instead placed the now unpowered phasers in the replicator and destroyed them.

Still, nearly three years after that incident, Piper needed watching. Sakura was made of firmer stuff. Following the folding incident, the three had found themselves isolated on the bridge. They could access the reclamation chamber, which, fortunately, included a vibe shower, and the replicator had reliably provided food and other necessities. But there was one necessity it could not provide...

Senek had been profoundly annoyed at how much Piper and Sakura relied on his mental and emotional stability. As hours turned into days, he had locked the major command functions to enforce Captain Howard's last order - station keeping. No matter how much first Piper, then even Sakura questioned the validity of that order, Senek had felt his captain's thoughts and emotions. There was an unspoken component to that order - it was not to be countermanded by any party other than the captain himself.

As days had turned into weeks, Senek had ordered the image of the roiling starfield into which the U.S.S. Beagle had been projected, to be reduced from the size of the entire port-bow wall to a frame no larger than the typical viewscreen of an Intrepid class vessel - 2.5 meters by 5 meters.

Putting a visual frame around it had helped his human companions compartmentalize what the viewscreen and all their instruments were telling them: the stars had gone mad. Nothing stayed put. Every star was in motion that defied the normal stellar trajectories. Stars were always moving, but they were not supposed to move that fast. Nor were those movements to be so chaotic, defying every principle of gravitation and the conservation of motion.

Stars and groups of stars made inexplicable U-turns, stopped, started moving again, bounced about as if a basketball team was warming up by dribbling them and shooting them through invisible hoops. It could not be fairly referred to as Brownian motion. Brownian motion followed rules, was, once initial velocities and masses were known, predictable.

As weeks had turned into months, Senek had ordered the frame reduced to a half-meter squared and the brightness dimmed so that the perpetually changing starfield would have to be looked at deliberately to be viewed. As annoying as this chaos was to an orderly vulcan mind, Senek had found himself both surprised and exceptionally annoyed at how much human minds depended on order. In the absence of an apparent order, the humans in his care had a much harder time imposing order on their universe.

A universe that had been reduced to the U.S.S. Beagle's bridge. The captain's office was unavailable. The lift doors would not open.

And now, after three years without any contact with his bond-mate, the one barely flickering flame of reason left in this tiny society of three was guttering and threatening to go out... or not to go out, but to be engulfed by the fires of pon farr...