Literary Challenge #19 : Perplexing Complexities
Hello and welcome to another edition of our writers' challenges! :cool:
Today we start the two-week run of the ninetieth Literary Challenge: Perplexing Complexities
Write a personal log entry about a time during your command when you and your crew were so confused about an event that had just occurred, that really nothing could explain it. Maybe this was a stellar phenomenon, an interaction with a new species or something completely different. What happened in the end? Does it make sense now?
This is the writer's thread -- only entries should be made here.
The Discussion Thread can be found HERE.
We also have an Index of previous challenges HERE.
The rules may change from one challenge to another, but I'd like to remind everyone what the base rules are. These may grow as we move on, so also feel free to give feedback!
Captain xXK1LL3RM0NK3YXx@p1card1701 buried his head into his desk. He sighed, took a deep breath, and reached for his PADD. At least here, in the comfort of his ready room, he could be himself.
The oddest things kept happening to him and his crew. The odd things began about two years ago, when quite suddenly, the strangest names started appearing in Starfleet's command ranks. Back then, when he was in the Academy, his classmates often poked great fun, at his expense, of his strange, double-barreled, symbol-ridden name. Soon, however, he wasn't the only one. In the latter years of his tenure at the Academy, his dormmates included Twilight_Sparkle@broniez4eva and, extremely oddly, Lyniz@Lyniz.
But this wasn't the odd part. The odd part was how strangely Starfleet Command had been acting. Recently, Command had this new obsession with these peculiar boxes. Perhaps it was the doings of these Vice Admirals who, merely a month prior, were Lieutenants manning Shi'Kahr class starships. Or perhaps it was the doing of some strange, omniscient, cryptic entity attempting to create a perfect world.
But at least here, in Earth Spacedock, he didn't have to worry about those things. He reached for his PADD and began to dictate. xXK1LL3RM0NK3YXx@p1card1701 felt the need to write this particular log entry out, as speaking it aloud would only add to his uneasiness.
"Captain's personal log, Stardate 1337900.1." he began, but paused. He stared in anxiousness at that Stardate. Surely something was incorrect about that. He shook his head, chalking it up to the strange, cryptic entity, and continued his dictation anyway.
"Far be it from me to question Starfleet Command's mandates, but this new system of boxes is most...peculiar. Starfleet recently implemented a new system by which all starship captains and flag officers - anyone who is in command of a ship, really - receive new equipment. While it is not my position to argue Starfleet Command's directives, it is at this point by which I choose to begin to raise serious questions.
The system involves creating these large, metallic boxes, and then setting them adrift into interstellar space. Various interested parties retrieve the boxes, which somehow survive the destruction of their vessels or the deaths of their holders. We are then to retrieve the boxes and give Starfleet Command a portion of our dilithium in order to retrieve a key, which we may use to open the box.
My crew and I are now completely swamped by these...lockboxes, as they're known. They make tribbles seem like an endangered species. I believe the other powers of the Alpha and Beta quadrants are beginning to grow weary of them as well. Just the other day I was engaged by a Romulan Warbird; rather than fire torpedoes, I believe the ship's captain fired one of the lockboxes at my vessel. It then cloaked and retreated. Shields dropped to 90% after that - apparently the things hit hard when fired out of a torpedo tube.
My fellow captains have shown increasingly peculiar behaviour with regards to the lockboxes. Some are calling it the "New Star Trek Lottery"...whatever that means. Others feel that it's a completely valid way for Starfleet to obtain dilithium. Some captains, however, seem to have gone overboard on the subject...their Chief Engineers are filing formal complaints against their captains for consuming the ship's entire dilithium reserves in an attempt to purchase a key. Their ships floated, dead in space, without warp drive for about thirty hours before they were rescued by friendly ships - ships that were powered by the very dilithium they sold."
xXK1LL3RM0NK3YXx@p1card1701 picked up one of the boxes, which seemed to vary in size from something you could stack ten high and carry effortlessly, to something the size of a large shuttlecraft. He examined the box carefully, noting where the rectangular key he just purchased fit to open it.
The door made its usual chime.
"Enter." xXK1LL3RM0NK3YXx@p1card1701 said.
One of his friends entered - pan_cake@gorn2Bwild.
"You'll never believe what I got from one of the boxes," pan_cake@gorn2Bwild said eagerly. "Take a look!"
He produced an object so massive that, as soon as it left his pocket, it immediately consumed xXK1LL3RM0NK3YXx@p1card1701's ready room with its size.
"A deflector dish." xXK1LL3RM0NK3YXx@p1card1701 said flatly. "I'm not even going to question how..."
"What do I look like, a Vulcan?" pan_cake@gorn2Bwild replied defensively. "My chief engineer says this thing will make the USS Enter_Prize nearly twenty percent cooler!"
"You don't say," xXK1LL3RM0NK3YXx@p1card1701 murmured to himself.
"Man, you suck." pan_cake@gorn2Bwild said dismissively. He somehow squeezed the giant deflector back into his pocket, leaving xXK1LL3RM0NK3YXx@p1card1701's ready room in shambles. "I'm gonna show this to naruto1311@desudesudesu."
And at that, he left.
xXK1LL3RM0NK3YXx@p1card1701 stared in shock at what just happened. He ultimately decided to worry about it later, and continued with his log entry.
"Just to amuse Starfleet Command, I gave them enough dilithium to obtain one key. This lockbox appears to be different from the others. It seems to be gold, but I somehow doubt that its exterior changes whatever is inside. As soon as we get underway again, however, I'm giving the order to blow all the lockboxes out the airlocks. We may have to restrict access to the shuttlebay first and then decompress it, but I'll do whatever it takes to never see one of these things again."
At that, he put down the padd and produced the golden, rectangular key. He carefully slipped the key into the lock, and turned it.
A huge explosion engulfed the interior of Earth Spacedock. One of Starfleet's finest ships had just been split in half in a spectacular explosion. In between the two halves stood an oddly-shaped, orange vessel that looked almost insectoid in appearance.
xXK1LL3RM0NK3YXx@p1card1701 has acquired a Ferengi D'Kora class Marauder!
Assimilated Is As Assimilated Does!!
On Stardate 89979.88 a tired grey caitian scowled his face while laying in bed. Often his mind wandered with wonder before he could wear his mind down enough for sleep. Tonight was no different. Infact he was contemplating thoughts often reoccuring to him for years. His tail thumped with agitation against the matress. Suddenly, he spoke:
"Personal Log, Captain Korat "Spike" Felin'Lithe of the Starship Enki" A signal chimed his prompt.
"I have wondered about a phenomenal event which when one looks at it, makes little sense. Not the event so much really but how it unfolded.
In the year 2373, the borg traveled to Earth. Originally I thought this was simply an attack as usual to take over the Federation. However the more I looked at it, sending one cube made no sense. Whether I am supposed to know or not, I learned that what I thought was a swift defreat with Starfleet's efforts was more. Apperantly they traveled through time. While may sound strange to many out there, this the official report.
The fleet had moved in and once the Enterprise showed up, it was all over for the borg. True the cube was destroyed but a sphereical vessel was ejected and Enterprise followed it into a temporal distortion which according to records caused them to arrive in the year 2063. The year of first contact for Earth. Infact it was the day before Cochrane would travel travel through warp space.
I understand what their purpose was. Kill Cochrane and destroy the famous capsule known as 'The Pheonix". Each time I go over this I am confused about two things. Why did they travel to Earth first THEN travel through time? Next one must ask one's self, WHY did they choose such small window of time to complete their mission in? As Lt Saasut might say, most illogical. It doesn't take a vulcan to agree either.
One borg cube travels all the way across the galaxy to face an entire fleet. True cube-ships are more than formidable and unless hit in the right spot, then you could spend all day chipping away at its hull before breaking through. Still, they must have known there would be more than one ship fighting it off.
Secondly, the day before First Contact, seriously? Why not a few days. A week or a few months. Hey, why not a year? There was nothing to threaten them during time period. Since they were breaking through linear time, why not?
I don't expect these cyborgs to be creative. Their overwhelm-the-enemy-in-numbers approach to winning makes them predictable, thank goodness. Still shouldn't a few key things have occured to their little collective mind before executing a plot? Certainly there has to be some temporal physicist that was assimilated into the collective.
"Captain's log supplimental:
I still can't sleep. Its too difficult to not ponder. Alot of things people do never make any sense. No matter what planet you are from. Vulcan's being the sole exception. I have drawn some conclusion to this conundrum bothering me tonight. Theoretical of coarse.
Earth was right there for the taking. Nothing could have stopped them. They could have traveled back long before Earth's first space age and began from there. They didn't. This leaves me to one conclusion that can only make sense. There were no proper instruments to calculate a specific time of day. So, with that in mind I can disregard that they made a foolish destination point.
However, what still makes no sense is why they chose to bring a fully funtional cube ship before the heart of the Federation. They had to know there would be an entire fleet waiting for them. Not excluding its flagship, a new and improved Enterprise. If they had traveled through time first, THEN made route to Earth of the past certainly their mission would have been a success.
There is one thing that remains possible. It wasn't the borg who created the temporal distortion but intstead a random natural occurance did. Doubtful though. Considering how everything that does make sense falls into place.
So there is only one way to resolve this for good. One possible explaination that sums up the whole time-traveling cyborg fiasco on their part. A word that I don't enjoy using to describe someone. Only one way for this to make any sense to me, no matter how endlessly facinating I find their plot to have been.
Borg are stupid."
Captain’s Log - Supplemental
Two members of my crew were injured today.
The first is Kugid, a civilian-employed Advisor from Orion. This diplomat was injured today when he competed in an unsanctioned combat arena in the Kaleb sector, He made a respectable showing and finished among the top tier of combatants. Kugid has got a few bumps and bruises and was checked out in sickbay and was released. He is one tough Orion. Glad he is on our side instead of the KDF.
Specialist Ernie Michael Hauser, three years out of Starfleet Academy was the other injured crewmember. Hauser is an Astrometrics Scientist who is responsible for the scientific maintenance of our transwarp drive. Today, however, he was nowhere near the station as he was disciplining an errant crewman in an office when he slipped in his chair, hit his chin on the desk, and knocked himself out. He was brought to sickbay and revived before released and a good laugh was had by all.
The doors to the captain’s quarters slid open as Captain Goshen An’nar stepped inside and tossed the padd he held in his hand against the far wall. It disintegrated into a dozen of pieces and marred the standard issue wall panel. A junior officer passed by the open door, paused, cautiously looked into the room, and asked, “Everything alright Captain?”
Goshen’s antennae turned toward the voice as Goshen looked over his shoulder, glared at the lieutenant, and stepped further inside, allowing the doors to close behind him. He hadn’t intended anyone to see his little outburst. His head and shoulders slumped and his antennae drooped in disappointment with himself.
He looked around the room, making sure that he truly was alone. The room was just as they had left it with the morning’s meals was still on the table, half eaten and long forgotten. His mates must still be on duty he assumed, as he walked over to the table to finally clear the table. He could see the alien craft just outside his window. “Computer, close the drapes,” he sighed as he stacked the three plates on top of each other. The computer chimed in response and the dark heavy curtains began to slide over the windows obscuring the unknown vessel from view. Goshen carried the stack of plates and silverware over to the replicator and punched up the recycle protocol. As the dishes dematerialized, he turned and scanned the room once again.
Discarded articles of clothing remained scattered all over the quarters that his familial unit shared. It was the result of having their normal morning routine disrupted by the sudden appearance of the foreign vessel. Goshen swooped up a night shirt, a pair of pants, three uniform tunics, and kicked a lonely boot towards the bedroom, where he hoped its companion resided. At the couch, he picked up an assortment of socks, under garments, and a couple more pairs of pants. He carried them over to the laundry and relieved himself of the load.
Their quarters were starting to come together. He approached the ruined remains of the padd, and began to collect various bits and pieces, when the door behind him opened up. As he glanced over his shoulder to see which of his mates had come home, a jagged piece of glass sunk its teeth into his thumb. He grunted as blue blood began to seep from the gash. He brought it to his mouth.
“It’s good to see you too, Goshen,” Chartreese replied as she stepped into the room and untucked her gold uniform tunic. “Did we really need to go to red alert so many times? You know that I was planning to run a diagnostic on one of the port warp coils today.”
Goshen removed his thumb from his mouth and stared at it. It was superficial. “It wasn’t my choice, Chartreese,” Goshen replied with a hint of irritation in his voice that made her stop unbuttoning her tunic.
“What’s wrong?” she replied as she approached him. She saw the destroyed padd in his hand. “I think I can fix it,” she said hoping to lift his mood.
A smile curled the corners of his mouth. He got the joke. Under normal conditions, she could fix anything, even his mood; but he knew that the padd was beyond repair. He watched her carry the pieces past her cluttered work bench to the disposal and put the whole mess out of its misery. “I do not understand these people.”
Chartreese strolled to the couch and folded her legs beneath her as she sat down. She patted the seat beside her. “Tell me about them.”
Goshen collapsed onto the couch beside her with a heavy sigh. He kicked his feet onto the coffee table and crossed them. With forefinger and thumb, he rubbed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “When’s Tyrsa coming home?” he asked, wanting to avoid having to repeat the story.
“She came by Engineering a few hours ago to tell me that her department will be working over time tonight. It’ll be a few more hours at least.
With his hopes dashed once again, his voice dropped an octave in disappointment and exhaustion when he said, “Great.” He titled his head back and rested it against the wall behind him.
“Well? Are you going to tell me or not?”
“From what I can tell, they’re deaf mutes.”
“How do they communicate, then?”
“Beats me,” Goshen replied. “I think they’re trying to communicate with us, but we don’t even know how to begin. We’ve tried sign language and several gestural languages. It only seemed to upset them, but that was nothing compared to when we had the Deltan and the Betazoids try to communicate with them telepathically.”
“Were those the red alerts?
“Yes, Chartreese,” he replied, “at least some of them.”
“Did you try to send them text messages?” she asked; her antennae focused on him.
“Of course,” Goshen replied. “It’s quite aggravating, because there’s nothing for the universal translator to lock on to in order to help us communicate with them. They don’t seem to be telepathic either. They just stand there making faces at us.”
“Making faces? What do you mean?”
“Well, it’s a lot of lip smacking, face contorting and twitching. It’s the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.”
“Do you think that is how they’re doing it?”
Goshen thought about it for a moment. All attempts to communicate with the aliens resulted in a visual reply of lip-smacking, nostril flaring, eye brow-raising, and face contorting. They became even more upset whenever he turned away from the view screen. The last had resulted in them raising shields and powering up their weapons. If it was communication, it was subtle. But, the more he thought about it, the more it made sense.
He brought his feet down from the coffee table, sat straight up, and jumped to his feet in a swift fluid motion. He turned on his heels and began making his way for the door. He stopped in mid-step, turned to towards Chartreese, and said, “You’re a genius, you know.” Goshen kissed her on the head before setting a course towards the door again.
Chartreese smiled as she said, “I know, but that’s why you love me.” She watched her mate tap his combadge and hail the bridge, before the door closed behind him.
Alone in their quarters, she sighed and as she said to the empty room, “I guess I’m having dinner alone tonight.”
She got up, removed her tunic, laid it across the arm of the couch and walked over to the replicator. “Cabbage Soup. Serving for one.”
The Viper is heading towards the Badlands, tasked to locate a True Way base they have been using as a base for pirate raiding. I hate raiders. Always have. They have no comp....
Captain Stunshock paused and looked up as the bridge of his Defiant class ship shifted, the lighting rigging turning dark blue. Frowning, he straightened up in his chair and turned to the tactical station.
"Talaina. Have we just cloaked?"
"I.... I don't know."
Talaina's white eyebrows furrowed as she frowned, running diagnostics.
"I'm not reading any power surges. Diagnostics check out."
Her antenna curled in frustration.
"The Cloak was not engaged here."
Stunshock turned to his science officer.
"Emony? Any space related items nearby that could cause this?"
"No sir." The trill responded. "Nothing is on sensors."
Stunshock wrinkled his nose as the lights shifted back to normal.
"Full stop. Bridge to Engineering."
"Gweevle? Where's Bosip?"
"Running diagnostics. He's a little busy at the moment, we've suffered malfunctions across the ship simultaniously."
The comm suddenly exploded with the sound of Roy Orbison's Ooby Dooby, causing Stunshock to wince. The ship cloaked again and gravity shifted to 0.5 earth normal. Gently getting to his feet, Stunshock looked to Talaina.
"You have the conn."
As Stunshock entered engineering, the ship cloaked again for the fourth time. Ooby Dooby still blared across the comm channels. Quickly glancing around, he spotted the wirey bald frame of Gweevle with his unusually long arms.
"Gweevle. Where's Bosip?"
The alien pointed towards a Jeffries tube.
"He's traced the problem to one of the primary ODN conduits."
Gweevle scurried off and started scanning the cloaking device as it powered down again. Stunshock moved to the hatch and crawled in. He hated crawling through these things, his limbs were too long. But he'd had enough practice during his time as an Engineer. He pulled himself along, feeling the ship cloak yet again before he turned a corner and saw the beefy form of his chief engineer.
"Bosip! Who broke my ship?"
He heard a thump and some cursing from the Andorian. Eventually he extracted himself from the ODN junction box, frowning.
"Whoever did it made a real mess. Cables have been half burned through. It's causing feedback loops and power surges throughout the ship."
"Possibly. This kind of thing doesn't happen naturally. I'll have Roderick start sweeping the ship. And when he finds the culprit, I'm gonna ring his neck for breaking my baby like this. It'll take hours to replace all these damaged systems."
"Shift aside a moment, let me look."
Stunshock manouvered himself into the space Bosip had just left. Sure enough, alot of the cables had been burnt through. But there was something familiar about it.
"Oh don't tell me."
He shifted on his side so he could be a bit more comfortable and tapped his comm badge.
"Emony. Scan the ship for Silicon based lifesigns."
"Yep. I think that's the trouble."
"Just a moment. You're right. In the next section."
Stunshock shook his head.
"Start repairing these systems as soon as you can Bosip."
Stunshock crawled through the Jeffries Tube. Reaching the door to the next section, he forced them open as the ship once again cloaked. Pulling himself through, he heard a familiar churgling sound. Sitting in a dissolved section of bulkhead sat the cause of the problems.
"JEFF! What have I told you about tunneling through the ship? Sometimes I wonder why I let you follow Emony and me out of that mine. Now come on. You've caused alot of problems."
As Stunshock turned and started making his way back to Engineering, the baby Horta burned the word "Sorry" into the deck and started following.
Sinclair's head pounded, his eyes burned, and his throat was dry. Worse yet, none of these symptoms were attributable to the (barely touched and now entirely thawed) Comet Cocktail at his elbow; they were all the result of trying to untangle the arcane text rendered in deceptively neat lettering, pale blue on black, on the PADD he'd brought to the ship's main lounge.
Two evenings past, he'd been roaming the corridors and common spaces of Discovery and come across a few Sciences blue-shirters, also off-duty, who were having a game of cards and/or a friendly argument about same. Two of them were going back and forth on some obscure point of the rules, while a third (holding a PADD identical to the one he was now consulting) offered a third interpretation. The others at the table simply watched with amusement or boredom, checked their own cards, and picked at the refreshments. His appearance further interrupted play, even with his admonition to be at ease; one idle question led to another, and soon he was initiated into the grand mystery of "fizzbin."
Over a century ago, it was said, the legendary Captain James T. Kirk had invented a card game (or at least the pretense of one) as part of a ruse to escape captivity. Generations of admirers, with clever minds that needed occupation and a love of trivia and twisted logic, had put flesh on that skeleton and come up with something that they claimed was actually playable. The proof - the collaboration of hundreds, through an initially ad-hoc but increasingly formal process - was before him now. The official rules, along with all of their conditions, exceptions, codicils, errata, and teraquads of opinions by "expert" players over the years, filled a good portion of the PADD's memory.
Sinclair had given it a glance yesterday before putting it aside with a shake of his head and a mental note to review it later. He'd just spent the last hour and a half grappling with the game, and was about ready to concede defeat. He was half convinced that the whole thing was an elaborate prank, to be played on unsuspecting captains and other easy marks; the rest of him had come to the conclusion that one would have to be a Vulcan, or an android, just to hold it all in memory and keep track of the variables. He'd had Academy finals that were easier than this.
He'd just set the PADD down to rub at his eyes when he heard a warm, familiar murmur: "Care for a little advice?" Despite his weariness, he smiled. He was not at all surprised, when he opened his eyes, to find the ship's head bartender standing close by, or that she'd replaced his drink with a fresh one.
"Please," Sinclair said, taking a grateful sip and enjoying both the initial chill and the lingering burn.
"With some games, the only winning move is not to play." Her dark eyes sparkled as she withdrew.
He took another sip, considering her words and the PADD lying on the table. Then he nodded firmly, blanked the file, and settled back to savor the rest of his cocktail.
Captain’s log, Stardate ____
Captain Rolf Wellington, USS Azuria
Were to begin? That had to be the most bizarre encounter of my career. We were en route to the Rolor Nebula for a routine patrol of the area with a mandate to catalog gaseous anomaly when we received a hail from a remote colony…
Captain Wellington leaned forward in his chair, intent on the Stellar Cartography overlay on the view screen. He turn to his first officer, a Benzite named Molok. A brief mist puffed out from Molok’s breather as he regarded the captain. “What do you make of it Comander?”
Molok puffed again before responding. “Most curious Captain, they ask for help but through a regular hail, not a distress call. There is certainly a problem but not an emergency. An attack seems unlikely, The True Was has been very quiet since Gul Madred was captured and there has been no sign of hostile Klingon activity in this sector.”
Wellington pondered a moment, Fingers drumming the arm panel of his chair. He swiveled about, looking to his communications officer, a Trill named Merci. “Lieutenant, has the colony sent any details about their problem?”
Merci pulled the old style comm headset from her ear and shook her head. “No sir, Only that they are facing a potential ecological disaster and require immediate assistance.”
Wellington stood and took a step toward the view screen, more out of habit than necessity. “Open a channel.” Merci keyed the console and the computer chimed. “This is Captain Rolf Wellington of the USS Azuria representing the United Federation of Planets. We are in route in response to your call for help but it would help us if we knew a bit more before our arrival. Please respond.”
For a long while there was no answer. Wellington stood still, doing his best to set an example for his crew, one of calm, level headedness. The response came abruptly, heralded by white noise. “This is administrator Delvin Monroe of the Transarcadia colony. Thank you for responding. I’m afraid the details cannot be sent over subspace but suffice to say we’ve had something of an epidemic sweep across our population.”
“An epidemic! What kind of epidemic?” He sent a quick message to sickbay, warning Doctor M’Rowl to ready her medical teams.
“Nothing threatening or fatal I assure you, we are all in good health with the exception of our…condition.”
“Administrator, while I am sympathetic I cannot promise aid until I have assurances…”
“Captain! Please, I swear you will have all the answers we can give you but the truth is we don’t know anything either. I’ll fill you in on the details when you arrive. Monroe out.” The transmission ended abruptly.
Wellington sat in his chair slowly, measuring the conversation in his mind. “Something isn’t right.” His contemplation was interrupted by a call from Sickbay. The purring, musical tone of his Catian Chief Medical Officer answered. “Captain, all medical teams are ready. Now if only what we knew what we were ready for?”
“You and me both, Doctor.”
Transarcadia was a thriving human colony, benefiting from the abundant trade in the sector as well as significant deuterium deposits in the upper crust. The planet was very rich in natural resources as recently has become something of a haven for intellectuals from across the quadrant. Already the colony had a bit of a reputation for keeping more than one ‘Mad Scientist.’ But none of that mattered right now. Wellington was at a loss for words. We was standing in the presence of Administrator Delvin. Records show Delvin is 34 years old, of an average build, brown hair, blue eyes, and stands about 5’9”. The Delvin he was looking at was about 26 with black brown hair, opal eyes, a slender shapely body, 34DDs, and stood 5’4”.
“I take it this is the epidemic you were speaking of?” Wellington said at last, his mind still coming to grips with what he was seeing.
“Yes Captain. It started about a month ago, a few people started to complain about muscle and joint pain, the Doctors thought little of it and prescribed some mild pain killers. Then the cases grew more frequent and people began…changing.”
“Dramaticly,” purred M’Rowl. Her gaze was fixes on the colonists, each and every one of them could have made an Orion slave girl jealous. “Have you any idea how this change came to be? Viral, rogue T-cell, one of your Mad Sci…resident intellectual’s experiment gone wrong?”
“We’ve found no viral agents in the atmosphere or in the bodies of any of the affected. Test results showed no sign of Barclay’s syndrome, and as for the Egg Heads…they also have been affected. Besides, they are the ones trying to find the cause as well a possible remedy.”
Wellington looked about, Beautiful, awe inspiring, worship worthy women as far as the eye could see. “What are the affects aside from the obvious?” He said after snapping his attention back to the Administrator. If he…she noticed, he…she did not take offense.
“It’s not as obvious as you might think. I can show you in the lab across the street.” She sauntered toward the sterile looking building, her hips swaying back and forth. M’Rowl giggles and snapped her fingers in front of his face. “Focus Captain.”
Wellington shook his head and pinched his arm, muttering to himself about needing a few cold showers. “Doctor, I want a full scan of the area, have your teams conduct a sweep of anything and everything that could possibly do something like this and if we are now at risk. I need you by my side for this.”
“Don’t trust yourself Captain? Need a chaperone?” She purred playfully.
Wellington sighed and followed the Administrator into the large cylindrical tower, the Ministry of Science. Several floors up they entered into a cavern of lights, holographic projections and every manner of scientific equipment. Little of what he saw made sense to him but M’Rowl purred in excitement. The facilities in this place looked like they could rival the AZURIA.
A group of highly attractive women draped in lab coats stood gathered together by a display of a double helix. They paused their discussion as they noted the trio approach. “Captain Wellington, Dr M’Rowl, may I introduce Dr Eugene Simmons, Dr Elisabeth Wong, Dr Samos Arron, and Dr Selena Nandahar, the Egg Heads” One after another the Doctors nodded as they were introduced.
“Doctor Nandahar?” M’Rowl interjected, “I know of your work in advanced genetics, I based my last study on survivability of selected mutations in Enimian moss on your last paper. Your theories are very well founded.”
“Why thank you Doctor. I am glad my insights were able to further your work as well.” Dr Nandahar smiled. She was a fairly tall woman with dark, olive skin, dark brown hair and deep blue eyes. Wether or not her now near perfect body was a result of the changes suddenly seemed the most important thing to Wellington’s mind.
“So Doctors, What have you found?" He blurted after the Catian nudged him. The First Doctor, Simmonds, responded.
“We have ruled out any kind of Viral infection. No viruses were detected in any victim. We have also ruled out Barclay’s Rogue T-Cell syndrome. This was not a forced de-evolution by any stretch of the imagination.”
The scientists continued on in their discussion, joined by M’Rowl, and droned on or what seemed like an eternity. Wellington sat back and leaned on a console growing ever more frustrated. The Scientists continued in circles, possibility, feasibility, probability, test, failure, possibility, again and again they droned. It was only after some time that something they said caught his attention. “What is most perplexing is that the characteristics gained do not negate the previous characteristics. In fact in some cases they are enhanced.” Said the ivory skinned, ebon haired, goddess…scientist.
“Wait, what do you mean, the previous characteristics?”
“As the transformation progresses the victim, in this case a male, develops characteristics of the opposite sex but retains the characteristic of the original sex. Just as for the female, only she would develop characteristics of the Male sex.”
“So you are telling me every single person on this colony is Transgendered!”
“That is correct Captain.”
I returned to the ship immediately, red faced and flabbergasted. That encounter was definitely not my diplomatic best. The Azuria will remain in orbit to render whatever aid is required of the Transarcadian colony.
Doctor M’Rowl returned to the ship a few hours after I did, bringing with her enough material to research the strange mutation and possibly create a cure. But the outlook is doubtful. The latest reports seem to indicate that the colonists seemed to mutate at the cellular level with no stimuli whatsoever. All data concerning this incident is being compiled for my report to Starfleet as well as Starfleet Medical.
Until that time our patrol is on hold. All visits to the surface will be strictly controlled by Dr M’Rowl and all personnel quarantined upon return. I only just completed my own. It is my hope that we will soon understand the nature of this strange spontaneous transformation.
Wellington keyed the console and the monitor went black. “Computer, package log and all data files of the investigation and transmit to Starfleet Command.”
“Acknowledged.” Chimed the computer voice. Wellington slumped in his ready room chair and placed his hands over his face. He would put on a very brave face for the remainder of all this, but once they left orbit he would need to see the ship’s counselor for sure. The door chime made him jump in his seat. He straightened and composed himself. “Enter.”
A tall Benzite woman burst into the ready room in a panic. “Captain, we have a serious problem.” She was breathing deeply, a heavy mist foaming from her breather.
Wellington stood, slowly, his joints seeming to give him trouble. “At ease Commander, Calm down and tell me what is going on. I don’t recognize you. What is your name?”
The Benzite’s eyes went wide with fear and anxiety. “Sir, it’s me, Molok, your First Officer!”
All Communication as lost with the Azuria after receipt of the log and data package. Starfleet Command has issued a quarantine order for the Transarcadia Colony and the USS Azuria
Captain's Log: Stardate 88390.22
It's been about a week and a half. We're late for our next assignment but the fact of the matter is that I still can't explain what happened. We'd been on assignment in the Badlands, our mission was a simple search and arrest for an Orion Pirate/slaver named Soki of the I.K.S. Borig, a stolen Klingon Bird of Prey. She'd been hitting local systems and causing a bit of a ruckus near Bajor these last few months, so much so that my resupply at DS-9 hadn't even been finished when the orders came through. It didn't take long before we'd picked up her trail. Three days in we managed to make contact and a small skirmish ensued. It's not the most advanced ship, but she gave us a good shaking by disabling our warp drive. Luckily we were able to take out their engines all together.
No casualties, and very little damage had been sustained by either ships. Once we'd had her locked in a tractor beam the Geist began disabling systems like shields, weapons, and transport systems. I didn't want to risk any further combat until we'd beamed aboard all hostages and stolen goods, and I wasn't willing to beam aboard any strike teams not knowing what kind of arms they had. It was during this process that a blip had come up on long range sensors. Being the Badlands it was initially passed off as a false readout due to the interference, but it wasn't until we were beaming the orions into the brig that we'd made visual confirmation. It was an older Bajoran ship and looked heavily damaged. Shields were down and it seemed to be leaking plasma from the front section. Even if this were a trap by the Orion Captain our Antiproton defenses would easily ignite the greenish plasma cloud destroying the ship.
Once with in the shortened communications range we were able to establish a face to face. The man on the other end was Captain Ramhout Vander of the Bajoran freighter Decken. His ship was ambushed by a klingon vessel though he said it wasn't the Borig. I decided to offer a team or two to help with repairs, at least enough to get his crew back to Federation space. I'd beamed aboard with the initial survey team to meet the man Himself. He was an older Gentleman, his face sullen and pale. This was a man who had seen too much. It was cold from the moment we'd arrived, the air was dead and stale, environmental systems were just one of the many systems that had been operating at minimal levels to conserve power. Ship Morale had been quite low and you could see it on the faces of every man and woman you passed.
It was the look of defeat. Each crew member was sickly looking and malnourished. A look any seasoned captain knows when your ship is dangerously low on supplies and you're rationing your rations. I'd asked how long they'd been out here and what happened since the Klingon ambush. Vander began slowly, like recalling a bad dream, one that fades quickly after you awaken. After the ambush they'd managed to escape with only minor damage, mostly to the nacelles. A majority of the ships current state was due to a plasma storm that had happened shortly after. It was a sudden maelstrom, the first energy burst hitting the deflector as if drawn by a magnate causing a huge feedback pulse to overload a majority of the computer systems. The only option they'd had was to shut down the warp core and wait it out. They couldn't run and any auxiliary and back up power would be required to keep the shields functioning.
For three full days they were stranded as one by one systems would flicker or fail. Tensions had become high and there were a few issues on board, one of which blew out the remaining plasma relays which knocked the remaining shields off line. I looked over just in time to see Vanders eyes gloss over as he stared off down the dim corridor. "It was at this point" he'd trailed off a moment "that we'd lost everything..." I'd nearly jumped when my com chirped. Chief Fine had finished her preliminary diagnostic and had made a full list of repairs that the Geist would be able to help with to get them back on their way. I'd made the comment about him being lucky that the storm didn't ignite the plasma leak and he seemed a bit confused. "Plasma leak?" The Captain and I returned to our conversation and he added that if it hadn't been for a shield modification and rerouting a few conduits and relays to disperse the additional feedback through the weapons array they'd have never made it this far.
It wasn't until the Geist had beamed us back aboard that I began thinking. Some thing about his story didn't sit right. I decided to ask Lij, our on board android, to check into it. My com chirped again, it was Devon Fine, the ship's chief engineer. Just as Lij brought up the data on his console Chief Fine told me that her team couldn't transport to the Decken, it simply wasn't there. According to records the Decken was lost almost 200 years earlier and his ship never found. It was assumed destroyed in the previous Klingon Federation war. That's when the ship was shaken by a massive explosion. The Borig had been hit by a heavy energy discharge straight to it's deflector dish. We were just able to get our shields to maximum when the Borig exploded. The Maelstrom had begun. I ordered the warp core to be shut down as well as several odd modifications to be made. The storm lasted almost four days.
After it was done we began repairs. I ordered every possible scan to be made, but there was no evidence to be found. No temporal anomalies, no detectable cloak activity, not even a trace of Q activity from local logs. Nothing. Even Mr. Sabin, my Vulcan science officer, was unable to comprehend what had happened. I couldn't help but be haunted by his words when it occurred to me that losing everything didn't mean ship systems, yet if it hadn't been for a bit of otherworldly advice my ship... my crew... might have suffered the same fate. I can't explain what happened, but if not for this "Flying Dutchman" than the U.S.S. Geist might be more than just a moniker.
Computer: End log.
Great stories this round! :) Some of them also made my ROTFL. :D
I am going to unsticky this as I prepare to post #20, but feel free to submit a story if you would still like to.
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