I've started writing a story about how one of my STO characters came to be commanding a starship for the Federation, and I'd appreciate hearing what you think of it so far. The part I have written, I feel, makes a good chapter one (length and introduction wise anyways).
The Empty Shell
Chapter One - Farewell, my friend.
Captain Rewman of the U.S.S. Farseer sat in his ready room, watching the stars fly by as his ship travelled on towards Trill, the homeworld of a race of beings who carried the same name. Normally, they would stick to speeds below warp 6 due to the age of the ship, but today, the stars were even more elongated than usual as they hurtled along closer to warp 9. They had a rather important assignment to do, and a rather important passenger to take care of. That is, if they could be taken care of.
Rewman sighed, hoping his passenger, several decks below in Sickbay, would survive long enough to be delivered home.
Terras floated, his consciousness a visitor in his own mind. He could feel life slipping away, only holding on due to the dual wills of his own mind, and that of Jinx, his symbiont. It was important they returned to Trill, and arrived soon. The pact between the Trill race and the symbionts demanded it. A lifetime of study and servitude, but it was worth it if you were one of the chosen few who were allowed to create a symbiotic bond with the race of water-dwelling slug-like creatures who lived in giant, nutrient-rich lakes and pools under the surface of Trill.
A simple insect bite, and the bond between his symbiont and his body was splintering and falling apart. Once it was gone completely, they would both die. Of course, for Terras, there was no question of survival now anyway. All he could do was his duty to Jinx and get back home in time for the symbiont to be removed from his body and placed into a new host. Terras hoped the new host would appreciate the honour that was being done to them.
“Be calm. We will make it.” He thought, feeling Jinx’s anxiety and worry that they would not get home before it was too late. Indeed the symbiont was moving around so much it was giving him a stomach ache.
“But time grows short.” Came the thought back into his mind.
“I know, my friend, but short or not, there is still time enough.”
Terras felt his words soothe Jinx, and the symbiont stopped thrashing around in his gut and fell silent. They rested for a while, each comfortable in the presence of the other, oblivious to the outside world.
Kaylan read the message again. Nope, it hadn’t changed. The Symbiosis Commission still wanted to see her. After all this time, all these years in training, could this finally be it? Was she really going to get a symbiont of her own? She didn’t dare hope. It was much more likely she was going to be ordered to assist in the testing of other Trills, or possibly the healing of injured symbionts. Worthy, to be sure, but not like having your own symbiont.
Checking her reflection in a nearby mirror, she ran her hands down her top, smoothing her tunic. She still looked respectable. A little under 6 feet in height, she had a slim figure that belied the strength her body had. As she walked over towards the Commission Headquarters, she pondered on her life and the 20 years that had led her to this moment. Much of it had been spent at the Academy, learning about the symbionts, how to care for them, and preparing to be Joined. Even so, with all of the other candidates, there was still a pretty low chance of ever being Joined, training or not.
Kaylan reached the Commission building. She looked around at the lush green landscapes, took a deep breath, and entered.
“Ah, Kaylan. So good to see you again.” Said a voice almost immediately. It came from a male who looked old enough to be her great-grandfather. Kaylan smiled.
“Good to see you too, Toran. How are you and Pezan?” she asked, referring to the Trill and his symbiont.
“We are fine, thank you.” He replied with a smile, “But you won’t be if you keep the Commission waiting.” The smile took away any venom his words may have carried.
With a quick wave, Kaylan headed over to the elevators, pressed a button, and stepped inside as the door opened.
“Commission Meeting Hall” she said, and the elevator closed its doors and started rising.
Turning away from the doors, she looked out of the glass wall of the elevator, admiring the view outside as the lift progressed up the side of the building. She saw a flash of light in the sky, and watched as a Starfleet shuttle flew into view, growing bigger with every metre. As the elevator reached the correct floor, the shuttle turned, and so Kaylan could read the name of its home ship before she turned and stepped out of the elevator – the U.S.S Farseer.
Putting the shuttle from her mind, Kaylan walked into the hallway towards a large set of double doors. She paused outside and pressed the button to attract the attention of the occupants. After a moment, a small screen by the doors flashed to life revealing a stern looking female face. She looked at Kaylan, nodded, and the doors swung open. Kaylan stepped inside and walked to the centre of the room. She stood straight, her hands clasped behind her back, and glanced around at the 3 elderly Trills sitting in the room.
“You wished to see me, Elders?”
“We did.” Said the centremost being. He was old. Older even than Toran. But then, the other two Elders were just as old too. That was the point, and the reason they ruled the Symbiosis Commission. They were old enough to have the knowledge, experience, and wisdom to rule the Commission well.
“There is less time than we would like to prepare you, but you are to be Joined to the symbiont Jinx.” These words came from the Elder Kaylan had seen on the screen just outside the door. “The Federation starship, Farseer, has recently arrived in orbit, and a shuttle has just delivered Terras Jinx home. You are to report to Medical Three as soon as we are finished here. Time is short.”
Kaylan was stunned. She had hoped, dreamed of this day, but never expected it. Forcing herself to hold back a jubilant grin, she looked at each of the Commission Elders.
“I thank you for this honour. I will be worthy of the name Jinx.”
“We are sure you will, else you would not have been chosen. You are dismissed Kaylan Howsen. When next we speak you shall be Kaylan Jinx.” The centremost Elder said, waving her towards the doors, which swung open.
Kaylan bowed, turned, and walked out. As soon as the doors closed behind her, she picked up speed, almost running to the elevator.
“Medical Three” she said as soon as she stepped inside. The elevator started moving, down this time, and Kaylan turned to stare out of the window again, her mind racing, and having to stop herself shouting and jumping for joy. She had done it. She had won. Or at least, that is how it felt. She was to be Joined. It was every one of her wildest dreams come true. A small, guilty part of her mind brought a somber note to her attention. If she was getting the Jinx symbiont, then what had happened to Tarres? He must be dying. The prospect of seeing someone die in front of her, well, beside her technically, dampened her spirits only a little.
As the lift doors opened, she wiped the grin off her face. She didn’t want to appear disrespectful after all. Waving at an orderly to get his attention, she gave her name and was directed to a waiting room. She was also asked to get changed into the garment waiting inside. It was an operating theatre gown, designed to give excellent access to the pouch besides the stomachs of the Trill race. This was where she would soon receive the Jinx symbiont. She changed her clothes, folding her own garments and placing them in a locker, then sat down to wait. Within ten minutes, she was being ushered through into an operating theatre with two beds, side by side. On one lay a man, older than her, but not by as many years as she had imagined. He smiled as she entered, and she smiled back. She heard him mutter something as she went and lay on the empty bed. She thought he had said ‘Told you we would make it’ but truly it could have been anything.
Terras smiled as the young lady entered the room and lay on the bed next to him. It seemed Jinx would have a very pretty host next.
“Told you we would make it.” He said quietly to Jinx, not realising he had spoken out loud. The girl looked a little confused for a moment, then smiled back.
“I’m Kaylan. I am sorry to take him from you, but I hope I will do Jinx honour.” She said with a quiet dignity. Terras smiled back at her.
“We made it home, and I am pleased that Jinx will live again. I am sure you will take good care of each other.”
Terras lay back and closed his eyes. He was so very tired, but exultant that he had survived long enough to see this through. He thought this Kaylan would do alright, and even if not, Jinx was more than capable of looking after her. As the doctors started work, his final thought was directed at Jinx.
“Thank you my friend. I love you.”
As life faded from Terras, he was warmed by the feeling of pleasure from Jinx.