Literary Challenge #37 : Mirror, Mirror on the... Viewscreen?
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Survivor of Remus
Join Date: Dec 2012
01-23-2013, 10:29 AM
I present for your viewing displeasure another shameful adventure of the infamous Commander Khas Ke'r'at, inscrutable space bug of the future!
Today's adventure is entitled "Bridging the Tain" wherein Khas is compared unfavorably to his mirror counterpart.
Somewhere in the Alpha quadrant is an ancient and reeking world. For untold millions of years, it has remained climatologically and geologically stable. It's inhabitants have become so specialized that, should calamity ever befall it, the delicate web of life there could collapse in a few generations. It is a nightmare world of vast, fetid jungles and skittering, arachnoid predators. It is called Arkath and, as always, its precarious position weighs heavily on the chitin-covered mind of Starfleet's sole Arkathian.
Khas exhaled slowly and removed the nine kilo tome that lay carefully balanced on the top of his head. Delicately, he placed it on the desk in front of him and rubbed the surface gently. It was his personal copy of the
Akzat'rrrrr Vahosh Nk't YooK Yook Yook
(which translates roughly to
The Horrible Precarious Position of Arkath Among The Stars Coloring Book
) and his only memento of home. As such it elicited a certain amount of quiet, hateful sentimentality in the Arkathian Commander's three gas/nutrient fluid exchange pumps.
The intercom on Khas' desk chimed gently and Khas shook away his lonely thoughts of home. "Khas," he acknowledged, his voice a deep, rasping, flat monotone.
"Sir, scanners have turned up something unusual in the Azola system. Seems to be a ship. It's broadcasting, but the signal's too scattered at this point for us to make any sense of it." The the chipper, feminine voice belonged to Tarayl, his enthusiastically sociopathic Chief Science Officer.
"How far out is it?"
"Looks like, say, two hours at Warp 5."
"Very good. Set a course in, Warp 5. Page Lieutenant Commander Shanda and have her report to the bridge in an hour and a half." Shanda was Khas' Andorian first officer and the closest thing he had to a friend.
Tarayl's snerked quietly before responding. "Oh, aye, sir. She'll love that."
Khas scowled curiously. "Explain."
"She, uh...had a social engagement."
Khas took a moment to process the various implications that statement held. His scowl deepened. "Acknowledged," he grumbled before cutting the comm line. He shook his head and closed his eyes. "Gross," he muttered.
Khas strode jerkily onto the bridge and nodded in acknowledgement to Lieutenant Tarayl and Lieutenant Commander Shanda. "Report."
Shanda offered Khas one of those horrible twist-lipped expressions of non-disgust. "It's a ship, sir. The broadcast seems to be some sort of high-powered sensor sweep. The ship doesn't match anything on record. It's got roughly the same displacement as an Intrepid class. It's staying still. We're close enough for a visual, but they've made no attempt to hail us yet."
"Bring us to a full stop and put the ship on screen."
Khas leaned forward and gazed at the ship in on the primary view screen. It was black, vaguely wedge-shaped, and jagged. A trio of nacelle-like structures connected to the ship's center on sweeping pylons and purple-lit windows shone dimly on the surface. There was something strangely familiar about it. It looked a bit...like home.
"Oh, they've finally decided to hail us, Captain." Tarayl chimed. "Puttin' it on screen."
The face that loomed into view was, Khas thought, well-formed. Handsome. A broken cranial plate gave the face's owner a rather rakish flair. It was certainly Arkathian, which was a bit of a surprise. And, aside from the missing bit of chitin, was identical to his own. This was a somewhat larger surprise.
The bridge officers remained quietly professional, but Khas noticed the momentary flashes of surprise on their faces.
"I am Secondary Vessel Commander Khas of the Arkathian Defense Fleet vessel
. Despite the, frankly, astronomical odd against us meeting, you seem to be my counterpart." The face on the screen rumbled.
"I am Commander Khas of the Federation Starship
Bride of Quiet
. And, yes, the odds are ridiculous. I also note a lack of a cunning plan to lure me here specifically." Khas replied.
"Indeed, though incalculably unlikely, our meeting was coincidental. Still, this is fortuitous. We would like to speak to you." Khas noticed that his mirror counterpart looked worried. Arkathians don't really feel fear, but there was a nervous quickness to his manner that caused Khas some alarm.
"Before we do, I can assume you are from that...other universe? The one with the Terrans?"
"Yes. Though in this universe it seems the Arkathians were integrated peacefully into the Federation rather than invaded by the Terran Empire." The face scowled hopefully.
"That is correct. What brings you here? And do you come in peace?"
"Peace is what brings us. The Terran Empire invaded Arkath in force twenty years ago. They've been busy with greater wars so we've managed to drive out their small occupying force and construct a few small warships to guard our system. It won't be enough. The conflict has already damaged Arkath terribly and less than a third of the surface is suitable for habitation. Most of the Primary females are dead and those that survive are young. Our race will not survive another three generations. We need help. I have been sent to request asylum for our people."
Khas felt the worry and the sadness in that voice. It was a scenario from his own nightmares. Or would be if he slept. Still, the mirror universe was a treacherous place and it could have been a deception. Worse yet, accepting an influx of refugees from a mirror universe would have far reaching, but unknowable consequences for the future. This would be a profoundly important moment for the Federation. Khas, shrugged away the thoughts and clacked his forelimbs together, an Arkathian gesture that contained the qualities of recognized peer-ship, uncertainty, and immanent bureaucracy.
"Understood, Secondary Vessel Commander. I find your tale worrying. Even if help can be provided, it will not come quickly. I also lack the authority to make any binding promises in this regard. Still, if you are willing to accompany us to Bangor station and submit to a thorough examination of your vessel, I will put you in contact with both Starfleet Command and the Genarchs of Arkathia. Do you agree to this?"
The mirror Khas nodded slowly. "Yes. Time runs short. Pride is secondary to survival. We will shut off our beacon and follow you. Our vessel can only manage warp six."
"I'll have my comm officer relay you the coordinates and you'll keep in formation with us. We will speak at length later, but for now I have to attend my duties." The mirror Akrathian returned the gesture with a similar one that also contained the quality of resigned acceptance.
Khas cut the line and looked slowly around the bridge. "Thoughts?"
Tarayl rubbed her chin and scowled, a parody of Khas' own usual expression. "I think he's cuter than you are."
Khas scowled unhappily in return. "Gross."
Last edited by squatsauce; 01-23-2013 at