'Today Is Forever'....What if Edith Keeler had lived?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by TrickyDickie, Jun 22, 2018.

  1. TrickyDickie

    TrickyDickie Commodore Commodore

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    Even though 'City' is my favorite TOS episode, I have always been bothered by the ending. In the context of Trek, it just never seemed like Kirk would have let things go that way. This is the start I have made so far to change the story. See what you think....



    Star Trek: Today Is Forever

    1

    "Spock, we need to have a serious discussion."

    The Vulcan arched an eyebrow.

    "Are there any other kind, Captain?"

    Kirk reflected for a moment.

    "Well, there are humorous discussions when things are casual and relaxed, but your grasp of humor needs a bit of work yet and I think that McCoy has more....patience in that area when it comes to novices such as yourself."

    Spock paused to formulate a suitable reply.

    "I did not fail to pick up on your wordplay involving Dr. McCoy's....victims."

    Kirk grinned, in spite of the situation at hand.

    "There....that's humor. See? You are making progress."

    "I was merely responding to your request for a serious discussion. My use of the word 'victims' was not intended to be humorous. I believe that matters are best summed up by the words of one member of the crew who was heard to remark upon exiting sickbay that Dr.McCoy has 'the bedside manner of a curmudgeonly owl with an upset stomach'."

    Kirk could not help but laugh.

    "Spock, do you realize how funny that is?"

    Spock was nonplussed.

    "Evidently, I do not."

    "It's the image, Spock....of a giant owl grumbling around at everybody while rubbing his stomach. It could even be said that his problem is potentially one of mice and men."

    The expression on Spock's face was one of thorough puzzlement.

    "Mice, Captain?"

    "John Steinbeck, Spock. Haven't you ever read him?"

    "I have not."

    "Not even 'The Grapes of Wrath'?"

    "No."

    "Well, remind me later to introduce you to more of the classics of Earth literature."

    "Indeed."

    Thoughts of the history of literature brought Kirk's mind back to history in general and then their current mission reasserted its grip on him. Humor quickly faded and Spock observed the abrupt change in his demeanor.

    "You said that Edith has to die....that if she doesn't, millions of others will."

    "Those are the unfortunate alternatives."

    Kirk paced back and forth in the small room, deep in troubled thought. At last, something welled up in him that had been elusive ever since Spock had given him the grim facts....the unthinkable facts.

    "You have often said that 'There are always possibilities'."

    "Jim, I am very much aware of your feelings for Miss Keeler, and I understand more than you may think I do, but this is not another Kobayashi Maru test. You can't reprogram the Guardian of Forever. 'Often' is perhaps the word that I should have chosen rather than 'always'."

    Spock hoped that his words had not been too blunt.

    Kirk was too busy sprinting down the path of a rapidly expanding idea to worry about Spock's choice of words at that point.

    "When someone dies, they are no longer able to have an effect on history."

    "Not directly, of course. The only remaining influence would be their posthumous legacy, which varies greatly depending upon the individual and whether or not they have a body of followers of a size significant enough to further the person's influence."

    "And from what you've found out, history says that Edith Keeler is meant to die at a point in the near future before she ever has a chance to establish a following of any significance....because if she did, a strong enough pacifist movement could lead history down the same road even without her remaining alive to lead it, correct?"

    "That would be the most probable outcome and therefore her death must occur before the movement has a chance to gain momentum. Based upon the bits of information that I have been able to gather, I believe that her death is quite imminent. Your catching her on the stairs did not change anything because it did not involve a traffic accident. But anything that you were to do out on these surrounding streets would very likely bring about the same change that was caused by Dr. McCoy. It is in your instinct to preserve life, but in this instance the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one."

    Kirk locked eyes with Spock and his gaze was penetrating.

    "By what other method is someone....lost to history?"

    Spock was struggling to grasp Kirk's thread of reasoning.

    "Other than death? None, that I am aware of."

    Kirk pressed ahead with growing vigor.

    "I think the key word here is 'lost'....as in missing. Vanished without a trace. The effect on history is basically the same, whether someone dies or simply disappears completely and is never heard from again. History is full of cases of people who were assumed to have died because they dropped off the map and never reappeared."

    Both of Spock's eyebrows were now at full elevation.

    "Am I to infer that you are planning to boldly go where no man has gone before?"

    Kirk's look was defiantly adamant.

    "If you mean am I going to cheat history and death and take her with us, you're damned right. That's exactly what I mean. I don't like to lose."

    Spock considered Kirk's words for a moment.

    "The idea is actually....quite logical. The only reservations I have are whether or not the Guardian of Forever would allow for her to accompany us and what changes that her presence in our time might bring about. However, I must say that I am at a bit of a loss as to why the idea itself failed to occur to me whatsoever."

    Kirk dismissed Spock's moment of self-reproach.

    "We all have our moments of two-dimensional thinking, Spock. This is terra incognita and no one gave us an instruction manual. The Guardian of Forever wasn't exactly a wellspring of information. But we didn't have the luxury of a lengthy discussion. Let's put it this way: Time was not on our side."

    Kirk resumed his restless pacing. Words were important, but until now he had never felt quite so keenly the desperate need to spring into action.

    "Let's assume, for the moment, that the Guardian of Forever allowed us to take Edith with us....that it was within its 'grand design parameters' or whatever it could be called. How do we know that Edith is not in some way vital to our own time? You said yourself that her philosophy is correct. She's just ahead of her time. Doesn't that suggest that there is something larger at work here? I'm having a really hard time believing that our part in all of this is just simple coincidence. Coincidences tend to give me an upset stomach, because I've never really believed that's all they are. So often they feel like missing puzzle pieces that actively resist all attempts to locate them."

    Spock was about to reply, but Kirk held up a hand.

    "And don't tell me that my feelings for Edith are leading me on an emotional quest. I assure you that my judgment remains intact and any decisions that I make will be on the basis of what I believe is best for everyone. In this case, I'm well aware that involves a very large number of lives."

    "I have no doubt that your command capability remains completely uncompromised."

    Spock observed a slight relaxation in Kirk's body language and then continued.

    "There is an old Vulcan proverb which states, 'Life is questions; Death is answers'. The point is that thus far, neither science nor philosophy nor even religion is able to answer the question of why existence proceeds in the manner that it does. The 'deepest thinkers' in Vulcan society have been no more successful in their pursuit of ultimate answers than anyone in your own Human culture. Even advanced beings such as Trelane and his parents are quite obviously not significantly closer to the 'great truths' of life. Are there 'simple coincidences' that have no significance to them other than in the subjective perception of the individual? That remains a matter for debate."

    Kirk was grateful that Spock was essentially undecided on the subject of coincidence.

    "I intend to proceed from the standpoint that we are here because Edith is needed in our time. Who knows, she may be the unique person who will end up being the only one capable of establishing a lasting peace with the Klingons. There is a strength in her....a tenacity....a fire the likes of which I have never encountered before. She respects all life and is willing to fight for it. I can almost see her going toe-to-toe with the best of the Klingons and putting them back on their heels. And the fact that she is female...."

    Spock saw the sense in what Kirk was saying.

    "Extreme courage....especially in those whom they deem to be the weaker gender....is something that the Klingons do highly prize, even though their culture's code of honor prevents them from openly admitting it. The idea of a lone human female standing firm against their leaders would be completely unprecedented."

    Kirk slapped a hand on the table.

    "That's more than good enough for me, Spock. I plan to do everything in my power to see to it that Edith has a chance to live and fulfill a worthwhile destiny, whatever it may be, rather than let her die out in the street like one of these determined vagrants that she's trying so hard to rescue. Sometimes, a rescuer needs rescuing. Bones stepped in, but he didn't have the information that he needed about the big picture....especially in his obvious mental condition when he would have arrived. You and I are not hampered by the influence of cordrazine."

    Spock was ready to follow Kirk's lead.

    "What do you propose as our next move?"

    Kirk glanced around the room, taking in the scope of Spock's carefully constructed apparatus. He appreciated the time and effort that Spock had put into it, but now it was no longer necessary.

    "You can dismantle this equipment and dispose of it as you see fit. I'm not going to allow the timelines of history to play with Edith's life like a marionette on the end of some strings. I'm going to level with her and tell her who we really are and why we're here. It's time to cut those strings."

    With that, Kirk was out the door.

    Spock raised an eyebrow once again. This time, the ghost of a smile briefly flitted across his features. Kirk was in his element, taking action and fighting the big fight. All was right with the world.

    He started pulling apart the vacuum tubes and circuit boards.

    2

    Kirk found Edith in the kitchen of the mission, sweeping up the shards of a broken coffee mug.

    "Well, you're not crying but it would be so much more apropos if that were milk on the floor."

    Edith turned and gave Kirk a bright smile.

    "Why, Mister Kirk....you do have a way of pleasantly freshening up even a tired old cliche."

    Kirk returned the smile.

    "Jim....call me Jim."

    Edith's smile widened.

    "Okay....Jim. What brings you here at this hour? I would have thought that you would be helping Mister Spock with his hobby....that very strange radio, or whatever it may be. Is he attempting to receive broadcasts from China?"

    Kirk chuckled at her ironic mention of China, recalling the incident of several days earlier in which he had attempted to explain to a highly skeptical cop that Spock's looks were the result of an accident with a mechanical rice picker as a young child in his native China.

    "Not exactly....but I promise to fill you in completely as we go along. That's why I'm here. There's a lot that you need to know. Not just about Spock and about me, but also about yourself. Is there somewhere private where we can talk without anyone listening in?"

    Edith responded with playful curiosity.

    "This is all very mysterious....Jim. Are the two of you government agents of some kind? Are you plotting to turn my establishment into a spy mission?"

    Kirk laughed, in spite of the seriousness of the situation. Edith's sharp mind and quick wit definitely kept him off his guard.

    "No....it's nothing like that. But there is an element of....secrecy that must be preserved. And time is absolutely of the essence. So we need to be able to talk freely in a place where your....clientele can't hear."

    Edith raised an eyebrow of her own.

    "Well, in that case....follow me."

    She led Kirk to the small, quiet back room that she had set up for individual alcoholics who needed a few days to dry out free from the influences of their peers. She unlocked the door, switched on the light, and sat down on the cot. She smiled and patted the space to her right.

    Kirk closed the door and came to sit beside her. He looked deeply into her eyes and took her right hand in both of his. His expression was one of grim earnestness.

    "This is....very difficult. Please hear me completely out before you make any judgments. What I'm going to tell you may seem like the ravings of a completely deranged individual, but I assure you that I am completely sane. And we are not criminals. The clothing and the tools....you will understand in a few minutes how they figure in and see that they were absolutely necessary."

    The level of emotion in Kirk's tone and the conviction that was evident in his words had their own power, but it was his eyes that held her. There was something in them that she had never seen in anyone before. It was absolute honesty, but it was also.... she could hardly describe it, even to herself. It was as if she could sense that deep within him he somehow had the weight of the entire universe on his shoulders.

    And now he needed her help. He needed to be believed.

    She would not fail him.

    She straightened her posture, to reinforce the fact of her rigidly serious attention.

    "Okay, Jim. Please do continue."
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018
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  2. Steven P Bastien

    Steven P Bastien Commander Red Shirt

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    I was always bothered by Kirk not forcefully exploring every other possible option, although we could assume that those types of discussions were just not shown, but actually took place with no solution possible.

    I always wondered if Edith could be taken, and we never see how Kirk, Spock and Dr. McCoy are returned. But we have to assume that it was not possible for them to communicate with the Guardian and that they are only automatically returned once the history is altered back to normal.
     
  3. E-DUB

    E-DUB Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I always had the idea for a retelling that would have Kirk, Spock, and McCoy trapped in the past. Edith is saved, but dissuaded from pursuing her peacenik activities. It would end with an aging Kirk watching the Apollo landing in '69.
     
  4. TrickyDickie

    TrickyDickie Commodore Commodore

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    I felt that not showing the details of how they got back left some possibilities open and I intend to explore them as I continue on with my version of the story when I get time.
     
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  5. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    Yes, please do continue. I'm enjoying this so far. :)
     
  6. TrickyDickie

    TrickyDickie Commodore Commodore

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    Thank you, kindly, for the feedback. :) I hope to continue in a few days.

    And in case anyone is curious, I started off from the point that I did, rather than from the beginning, just as a sort of thought exercise of what it would have been like back in the day when they were working on the various drafts of the story.
     
  7. Roundabout

    Roundabout Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Don't keep Edith on the edge of her seat. Please continue.
     
  8. TrickyDickie

    TrickyDickie Commodore Commodore

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    Going to try to free up some time tomorrow to continue....
     
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  9. TrickyDickie

    TrickyDickie Commodore Commodore

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    I will be working on this late tonight....into the wee hours, if necessary....so I should have the next part ready to post tomorrow morning.

    I have worked out how I intend to handle the part where they come back through the Guardian and all I will say for now is that fans of Jeopardy! should be pleased. ;)
     
  10. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    "I'll take Time Machines for 400 credits, Alex." :p

    (I used to run a Star Trek Jeopardy! contest at our ST club's summer barbecue)

    Looking forward to the next part of your story! :techman:
     
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  11. TrickyDickie

    TrickyDickie Commodore Commodore

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    Here is chapter 3. Didn't get to the point yet where they jump back through the Guardian, so Jeopardy! fans will have to be patient. :D

    I am comfortable with the progress, though, and I think working on a chapter or so each night will be a good method. Didn't knock off 'til 4am, so that shows a bit of dedication. :hugegrin:

    3

    "Mister Spock and I are from the future. We needed the clothing because as soon as we arrived, our uniforms were drawing too much attention. We needed to blend in and keep as much of a low profile as possible. In particular, we needed to cover Spock's ears. They are pointed. He's not from Earth. He's from the planet Vulcan. His blood is green, because it's based on copper, not iron like ours. We can....prove that to you, if necessary."

    Edith took a moment to process this. Kirk felt her hand begin to tremble. But the look on her face strongly indicated that it was due to growing excitement, not fear.

    "Then....you're from tomorrow, rather than yesterday!"

    "That's one way to put it."

    Edith jumped up, spun in a circle, and grasped Kirk by the shoulders.

    "This is wonderful, Jim!"

    Kirk had known, just after meeting Edith, that she was a very uncommon, remarkable woman, but her reaction still came as a bit of a shock.

    "You....believe me?"

    "Why wouldn't I?"

    "Well....I would think that the idea of visitors from outer space would seem very outlandish."

    "It's hardly outside the bounds of the kinds of things that I've been thinking all my life. And besides....who but a truthful person would offer to virtually cut his friend open in order to establish the truth?"

    "I didn't say that...."

    Edith pulled away and impudently put her hands on her hips.

    "Is Mister Spock allergic to anything here? Does he get nose bleeds? Does he sneeze violently? I don't recall seeing any of the walls in his vicinity splashed and splattered and running green."

    Kirk chuckled at the thought of his first officer 'decorating' a room in such a manner.

    "No....he's just fine, at the moment."

    Edith came back, grasped his shoulders again, and gave him a gentle shake while planting a triumphant smile firmly on her lips.

    "Then how would you propose to prove the color of his blood without cutting him?"

    Kirk was momentarily taken aback.

    "I....figured I would somehow cross that bridge if and when I came to it."

    Edith tilted her head to the side and regarded him anew, as a thought occured to her.

    "You didn't think it would come to that. You....had confidence in me!"

    Kirk was beginning to feel as if he was losing control of the conversation.

    "I don't know that I could go so far as to say...."

    Edith pressed him.

    "You did! Admit it!"

    Kirk finally gave in.

    "Okay....I had confidence in you. It's what you said about the stars. And...."

    Edith dropped herself into his lap, put her arms around his neck, and passionately kissed him.

    Kirk reciprocated, with desperate need.

    Then he forced himself to pull back from the embrace.

    Edith's eyes were shining, as she looked at him with deep affection.

    "I love you, Mister Kirk....Jim. I've....never really said that to anyone before and meant it in the way I do now....with you."

    Kirk was stricken. Her words were everything that he needed and were everything that he was so afraid he couldn't have.

    He slowly rose to his feet and stood with his hands balled into fists at his side.

    Edith saw the sudden change in Kirk and it frightened her. She looked up at his face and it was almost like looking at a death mask.

    "Jim....?"

    He was a million light years away.

    She was near panic.

    "Jim! What's wrong?!?"

    His body felt as rigid and immobile as a statue and he struggled to answer.

    "I....I....feel afraid. For you...."

    It was plain to Edith that this kind of fear was not something that Kirk was accustomed to experiencing. And there was no question of its authenticity.

    She made a supreme effort to calm herself and begin to collect her thoughts.

    Slowly, she began to succeed.

    "Uniforms. The need to blend in, but....you couldn't"

    She stood up and searched his eyes with her own.

    "You came here on short notice. You weren't prepared. It was....some kind of an accident, wasn't it?"

    The word 'accident' poured fresh salt into Kirk's wounds, and he flinched. Still, he managed to lower himself back onto the cot. Edith followed suit. Then Kirk continued his narrative, with grim determination.

    "There's a world out there in the galaxy with a....thing on it. A gateway....a portal....a doorway into time. It might be a kind of living machine. I'm not sure. We didn't have the opportunity to learn much about it. Waves of time displacement emanate from it and travel out into space. Our starship was bombarded by those waves and during the worst of the buffeting, my chief medical officer accidentally injected himself with a large dose of a drug that caused almost instantaneous paranoid psychosis. In that state, he managed to transport down to the planet. Mister Spock and I and a small number of my crew pursued him. He escaped into the gateway before we could catch him. Into the past. He changed something in history. By doing so, it caused my ship to vanish from existence as though it had never been. I tried to make contact, but it was no longer in orbit. The gateway....speaks. It informed us, in a general way, of what happened. There seems to be some kind of a safety shield in the proximity of the gateway. That would explain why we didn't vanish when history was changed. Spock was able to calculate a rough estimate of the point of Dr McCoy's arrival in this time and we jumped through the gateway with the hope that we would arrive somewhat ahead of him and be able to prevent whatever change he made."

    Edith took a moment to carefully consider everything that Kirk had said.

    "Your....Dr McCoy. He's coming here?"

    Kirk was foundering.

    "Spock says that....this place is the focal point in time, yes."

    Edith's thoughts were in overdrive.

    "That....radio. Isn't, is it?"

    "No. Spock built that apparatus to augment one of our....scanning devices. We use them to....access information. In this case, Spock was able to obtain bits and pieces of history from two different timelines. The original, and the one that Dr McCoy caused by changing something."

    Kirk was absolutely dreading the need to continue.

    But Edith was a very quick study.

    She spared him the need of saying it himself.

    "It's not difficult for me to understand what history has in store for me. You're wearing the answer around you like a shroud."

    Kirk squeezed his eyes tightly shut as she spoke the words.

    "I'm meant to die."
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
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  12. TrickyDickie

    TrickyDickie Commodore Commodore

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    Have to get back to this when I can....other things are just keeping me too busy right now.
     
  13. numantia

    numantia Cadet Newbie

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    Intriguing fanfic, it bothered me too that with time travel they did nothing