Literary Challenge #40 : Redux
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Join Date: Jun 2012
#1 Prized Possessions
03-14-2013, 02:32 AM
[Captain's log, stardate 2412 mark 06 mark 23. With the blessing of Starfleet Command, the Esclarent accompanied by the Aquarion and the Aegis have undertaken a scientific mission into deep space to investigate an outburst of psionic energy that several telepathically-inclined individuals from separate locations had reported up two days ago.]
Vice Admiral Kha Yuung spoke as he rose from his Ready Room seat. He picked up a small piece of folded paper, as it were his habit, and moved to gaze out the trails of stars flitting by at subtranswarp speed by the portside window. His pause grew longer as he struggled to simply find the words to place down on record. A year of endlessly flying between Alpha and Beta quadrants just dealing with one crisis to the next had led him to cut his logkeeping to retrospective hyper-trimmed snippets, sometimes shortened further to single-breath rants devoid of even punctuation.
A year ago, Kha was the ensign known for writing essays that scored average marks for easy (because they really bored him) and hard topics (which were entertaining at worst). Now, after he had achieved Rear Admiral in brisk pace like most of the survivors of the Vega Incident, Kha felt ashamed that for all his career progress, his literary prowess had all but withered away.
He was going to make this log count, even if his muse remained in hiding.
[It has been two years since I as Ship's Captain have taken a ship into deep space, but I am confident that we, as Starfleet officers, will not forget how to go where no one has gone before.]
Kha thought for a bit, twirling the origami hat in his hand.
"Pion, pause recording."
"Recording paused." The voice of the Photonic Officer presiding over the Esclarent's main computer replied.
Kha let go of a breath in slight dismay.
"'Forget how to go where no one has gone before?'"
he whispered. "That's just terrible, Yuung. Terrible."
"I think it was good!" Pion chimed in with a cheerful tone.
Yuung just glared up at the ceiling.
"E-eh...! I'm sorry! I'll close the link now..."
On that note, Kha saw the stars outside slow to a dot-matrix crawl, indicating that the Esclarent had dropped out of warp. He headed for the autodoors but to his surprise, the access comms sounded before he got there.
"Permission to speak with you, Admiral," a different female voice said.
His eyebrows rose at the departure of protocol for a split second. "Come."
The doors swished open, and a diminutive woman in tactical red stormed through, if a small, thinnish female of the Human race could feasibly storm through anything.
"We've arrived at Point Omega Four Delta, Sir."
Commander Minase Iori, as though a package with her Oriental name, was the shortest member of his senior staff and many have found her to be rather adorable at first impression. They all soon learn of her bark and bite, however. And like Yuung, she was also an ensign before Vega, just known as the Palmtop Mugato, terror of all male subspecies at San Francisco.
Which was now in his doorway, hands on her hips to make herself appear larger and glaring sternly his way.
"You could have mentioned that over the intercomm, Commander," Kha said as the doors swished shut behind Minase.
"Because, that's not why I'm here."
Yuung could detect a faint tinge of annoyance in her voice as the Commander crossed her arms.
"Just why are we here, 2 whole days at full subtranswarp into deep space?"
"You already read the mission brief, Commander."
With his way blocked, Kha changed course for the cushy recliner behind the desk he was in.
"I want the
The Admiral brushed it off by leaning back in his seat and absentmindedly twirled his piece of origami. He had noted Minase's, or should he say Iori's, use of his first name, but it was a given. Just last year, they had been ensigns graduating from the same class. An old habit wasn't going anywhere that soon. And Minase never quite let Kha live down the fact that he worked part time for Section 31.
But when Minase speaks of him as though Yuung was a despicable insect, that meant that she was really annoyed.
There was only one thing left to do in this situation...
Annoy her further.
"Like I'd buy
Minase plonked herself into the seat opposing Yuung's desk.
"I am responsible for the 400 men and women serving aboard the Esclarent, Admiral," Minase continued. "I've already betrayed them enough to let us go hurtling out here without as much as an explanation for the sudden change of course."
Kha fiddled with the folded hat, still in thought.
"What did Science say?"
Minase frowned a little at the question for a reply.
"Sensors found gamma radiation and traces of triolic particles, but nothing else significant. Not that it would help any, considering that we were after psionic phenomenon which cannot be detected by our equipment."
Kha nodded knowingly, still playing with the hat.
?How about the telepathic duty officers the Vulcan Science Institute loaned us??
?They haven?t sensed anything, Sir.?
Kha nodded again, silently chasing a train of thought.
?I assume you signaled the fleet to conduct a standard wide area search before knocking on my door.?
? Minase replied in an exasperated tone.
Kha nodded and looked her direction.
?That will be all, Commander.?
Iori?s scowl deepened for a moment and she then let it go with a sigh.
?So, this really is
about the psychic stuff??
?Yes, it really is
about the psychic stuff.?
Iori flopped back in her chair for a moment, admitting defeat to the situation she had been railroaded into. The woman then kicked off her heels, propped herself off the seat long enough to buckle her legs underneath into a slanted kneel and crossed her arms across her chest again. She was being deliberately informal, not just because they were childhood friends, but because had it been any other day, this would have been
comfy recliner. It irked her sometimes that he had the power to just waltz in and take over her ship at practically any time. For all her accolades in the Academy and till now, Minase ended up playing second fiddle to the Average Joe of Class 524.
?So, what do we do now?? Iori said after she had enough of the pregnant hum of the Esclarant?s ventilation system.
Kha leaned forward, elbow on desk, head in hand.
?Aye, Sir,? Minase affirmed.
?One last question before we end up sitting here gazing sickeningly at each other. Just what?s up with the hat today? You always had it in your breast pocket, but now you can?t seem to leave it alone.?
Kha glanced down to the hat.
?It?ll help us with our mission. At least I hope it would.?
?Just what would an aged and battered piece of solidified fibrous pulp compacted in accordance to ancient Japanese artwork to form a very poor approximation of fashionable headgear in size, shape and function have anything to add to the main sensor arrays of one Akira-class heavy escort??
Minase prattled it all out in a single breath without uncrossing her arms.
?Well, let me tell you something good.? Kha said while setting the chair back upright and turning to face Minase. He set down his paper hat flat on the table. He seldom knew of things Minase didn?t, and Kha liked to capitalize on moments like this almost theatrically, like an illusionist baiting a waiting audience.
?This is my totem.?
?I never knew you were into quasi-religious hubdrub, Admiral.?
?Not that kind of totem.? Kha continued. ?I could go into the psionics theory behind it, but Lieutenant Commander Ryzak would be able to do it better.
?My mother was human, but is very psionically gifted. She?d tell us about how her family held a secret recipe for developing psychics, but I once looked up the genealogy at the library... Let?s just say their talents weren?t appreciated during their time.
?The records did however agree that the method worked. And one of the methods better explained by the Schrodinger-T?von Principle was totems.?
?I?m still thinking of wooden heads on a pole, Admiral.?
?In a sense, maybe that was the case for witch doctors in Human history,? Kha said. ?Totems are specially created points in space and time, usually an item whose properties are completely known to the wielder, which is entangled to the item that exists within the wielder?s mind.?
Minase nodded. ?Like entangled fermion transwarp communications.?
?Yes,? Kha replied. ?In effect, this reduces the ST constant which then decreases the amount of energy needed per quantum of thought to project the effect into reality and in theory allows a potentially telekinetic person, case in point, me, to move a rock with my mind.?
?But you were assessed to be completely without psionic traits,? noted Minase.
?Like I said, in theory...?
Kha picked up the hat, balanced it on his finger, and willed it to float. And as expected, the hat did not even flinch.
?How do you make a totem?? Minase said next. ?It looks like a simple folding to me.?
?Exactly, a totem could be anything, as long as it can be entangled with a permanent image in one?s mind.?
The hat was passed to Yuung?s other hand, and back again, his gaze following it back and forth.
?My mother made this. She loved origami. And I really do mean it; our summer house at Tokyo Bay would have these decorations made into the shape of practically anything. That?s something unique, that I feel familiar and strongly about.?
Kha closed his eyes as though he was replacing his current world with another.
?That is what makes it important. You see, a totem works by existing in a memory palace, a special place I constructed in my mind to house the entangled memory. Everything inside the memory palace never changes. All I need to do is open the front door, and it?s there. ?
Kha said, first touching his temple then gesturing to items where the items would have been.
?The paper lilies in a clay vase by the left, the shoes tucked into the rack on the right, and the smell of fried eggs with buttered toast.?
He wafted the air towards himself.
Minase on the other hand was enjoying the Admiral making a fool of himself.
?And of course, the memory the totem exists in. There was I, dressed in a new yukata, about to join my friends at the Children?s Day festival, when my mother called out to me...
?What is it, Okaa-san??
?Okaa-san has a present for you.?
?Yes, here you go.?
She deposited a neatly folded piece of artwork into the boy?s open palm.
?Another paper hat,? Kha said, somewhat disappointed.
?Not just any paper hat,? the lady chirped with a wave of her finger before dabbing it on the origami piece. ?It?s a Wizard?s hat!?
?What?s a wizard, Okaa-san??
?A wizard is someone who is so talented that people call whatever he does magic.?
She stroked Kha?s head.
?You?re a big boy now, so I was thinking,? ?That you?re ready to learn Okaa-san?s power.?
?Really?!? Kha shrieked. ?Coooool!!?
?Now, now,? Mrs Yuung said while stopping her jumping child. ?This will be your totem. It is very important if you want to learn Okaa-san?s power. Guard it well. Promise??
?You won?t believe how much I had been pestering her to teach me telekinesis. Very handy for picking up card keys from across the room.? Kha said as the mental playback ended. ?For me, telekinesis represented being able to leap through the air slashing away with a photonic sword like space-faring knights of a pangalactic order.?
Minase uncrossed her arms.
?And how is a memory of your mom going to help us find the source of these psionic bursts in deep space??
?Well, of course, its a totem, it sharpens my sense of telepathy... whatever I have of it..."
Kha was grasping at straws for a bit.
"Never know when that extra Quark of signal might come in handy.?
Yuung?s commbadge chimed and saved him.
?This is Yuung.?
?Admiral, this is Pion,? the photonic officer chirped out loud. ?Just wanted to update you that the fleet has completed Phase 1 of standard search. No significant findings, Sir.?
?Acknowledged, Pion.? Kha said and moved to tap off the commlink when Pion spoke again.
?And er, one more thing, Admiral!?
?What is it??
?Remember when you asked if there was a way to equip your gear on demand?? Pion said. ?I?ve just finished building a system that could do that and I?m on my way to the bridge carrying the finished prototype. Do you have time to take a look??
?We have plenty of time,? Iori answered in Kha?s stead, reminding him again that this was her ship. ?We?ll meet you in the observatory in 2. You okay with that, Admiral??
Kha nodded in agreement and let the trouncing of protocol slide again. He was thankful to be out of Earth Spacedock rather than still canned in it.
?Great! Um, Pion out.?
Minase got up to leave on that note. ?Unless that unfloating totem of your?s gets us right to the source immediately, I?m going to see what Pion has come up with.?
Yuung just shrugged at Iori?s retreating out the autodoors. She was wrong about the totem having never floated. In fact, it did, once.
It had happened quite suddenly. Kha had been struggling for half a decade to even get the hat to fall in the direction he wanted, but the next moment, he had the hat zipping around the yard. He spent 2 seconds surprised, the next couple giggling with glee and finally a grand minute crashing the hat into his little sisters? totems like a B?rel with a crazed captain.
?Brother!! Stop that!!?
Victorious, Kha scrambled through the backdoor and tore down the corridor, yelling, ?Okaa-san! Okaa-san! I did it! I did it!!?
?Kha! Take your sisters and run!? came the telepathic reply.
The boy screeched to a halt.
?Okaa-san?? he called again.
?Be a good boy, go! Now!?
Sensing trouble, Kha ignored the order, gripped his totem tightly and sprinted towards the front yard where he last seen her. Like any 13 year old would. Nothing was out of the ordinary in the house as he sprinted through the quiet compound. Not even when he slid through a sharp bend, grabbed a dud phaser he left in his raincoat and burst into the fore gardens.
There was still nothing displaced. The rocks, the grass, and the loose stone pebbles that made their front walk. Everything was as he remembered.
But there was no reply.
Kha balanced his paper hat on his finger. His house was a flurry of activity that day. His father would have mobilized out his entire starship to find Mrs Yuung if Starfleet hadn?t already gotten boots on the ground. But every one came up empty-handed. Kha only had one clue to go by, filed by Science officers discovered some residual gamma radiation and traces of triolic particles in the rocks of the front yard.
He pocketed his totem and went after Minase. The next clue to his mother?s disappearance would have to out here, somewhere.
Originally Posted by
Lt. Comm. Pion
What should I wish upon the endless universe;
To be able to smile and forgive everything;
That's right, if we light up the dream in our hearts without averting our eyes;
We should be able to walk whatever tomorrow comes...
V. Adm. Kha Yuung
, and I approve of this message.
Last edited by khayuung; 03-23-2013 at