Not so long ago, I warned that fan fiction was destroying America.
I’ve been silent on the subject since then because of the vitriol-filled emails I got from five different fanfic authors.
Five of them. That’s what, seventy or eighty percent of the people who write fanfic, right?
Clearly, I touched a nerve.
Their impassioned death threats and photos of the front of my house left me with both a lot to think about and an extreme reluctance to go outside, let alone touch on the subject again.
Their chief complaint, after the one about my continued existence in a living, non-tortured state, was that as someone who didn’t write fanfic, I wasn’t a special star and could therefore never know what I was talking about.
Au contraire! I have written fanfic. In fact, I can count on three fingers the number of fanfic works I’ve written:
Two Doctor Whos (one thirty years ago, one about ten years ago) and one Star Trek (about twenty-five years ago).
So I have not only fanfic writing experience, but the wisdom, when speaking of it, that comes with age.
I know, I know, you’re thinking, “Ian, you’ve written fanfic? Bullsh*t.”
I can sympathize with this assessment. If I didn’t know myself intimately (and believe me, I do), I would share that assessment.
Therefore, I offer proof.
The first Doctor Who fanfic is lost to history, so I cannot present it as evidence of my bona fides. And the second Doctor Who story was written for an audience of exactly two (myself and the Missus, who is the star of the tale), and is not meant to be shared.
Both stories are also so terrible that to read them threatens the very fabric of space-time, and as my hero, the Doctor, would never stand for that, they shall remain forever beyond your reach.
That leaves the Star Trek story. When I first hit upon the idea of using it as my rebuttal to the vile electronic hate-scrawls that filled my inbox after the first blog post, I despaired. For I believed it, too, to be lost forever.
I was dimly aware of a copy reproduced in my high school Science Fiction club newsletter, but remembering the name of and then tracking down the phone number and calling the president of the club seemed like far too much effort.
In addition, ever since the burning paper bags with copies of Star Trek: Voyager inside them started appearing on my porch, I’ve been less than enthused about the idea of interacting with the outside world.
You have no idea how difficult it is to remove melted plastic from concrete. Especially when you know what had been on that plastic.
Then I bought a used USB Zip drive (via mail order, of course), and started going through all the Zip disks I had stored in my garage.
It proved to be a treasure trove of old pictures, letters, school papers, and, yes, works of fiction by yours truly.
It is this recent development that now allows me to present to you, my discriminating readers, proof of two things:
1) That I have indeed partaken of the fan fiction fount, and can therefore trash talk it without consequence from the tiny but fanatic community that still perpetuates this literary crime against Humanity
2) Fanfic is, as I have always maintained, and as my story demonstrates beyond any doubt, a literary crime against Humanity
So I now present to you, mostly unedited (except for the Kirk/Spock/time-traveling Wesley Crusher threesome scene – propriety demanded I cut it), Star Trek: I Mourn For Adonis. I recommend donning Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses before reading any further.
I Mourn for Adonis
“Captain, we are approaching sector 12.”
“Very good. Helm, slow to impulse power. Mr. Spock, any more information on that distress signal?”
Spock swiveled his chair from the Science Station to face the command chair. “No Captain. We received only one brief squirt one minute and twelve seconds after entry into warp space. The U.S.S. Townsend reported complete systems failure and requested help. This is the location from which the signal emanated.”
“Thank you, Mr. Spock. Forward view, please.”
James T. Kirk turned away from Spock to the viewscreen. A small star system was ahead of them.
Spock turned away from the sensors again. “Sensors indicate a yellow Class G star with one planet.” His eyebrow went up. “Captain, this star system should not be here. This sector was reported clear of any star systems two years ago by exploratory vessel U.S.S. Montoya.”
Jim glanced up. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, Captain. Quite sure.”
Uhura broke in from the Comm station. “Captain! I’m receiving the distress signal again! It’s coming from the planet.”
Static erupted from the speakers, and then a faint voice. “…ptain al…elp…urface…coord….546.3452…strange new discovery, bring doctor and science off…ase hurry…repeat…his is captain Ra…”
The static resumed and Uhura deactivated the speakers. “I’m sorry, Captain, the signal is too weak.”
Spock finished his scan of the planet. “Captain, the planet has a very rocky crust, and contains many elements that would disrupt subspace signals. Even our scanners are being affected. However, they do read twelve lifeforms somewhere in the vicinity of 3500.3250. While I cannot be more specific, the transmission from the surface would put them at 3546.3452.
The planet itself is class M, with a 67.4% nitrogen, 27.3% oxygen and 4.9% helium atmosphere. The rest of the atmosphere is made up of several trace gases, too small to identify. The planet can support humanoid life, but the slightly higher oxygen and helium content could impair judgement of humans if exposed to for a long period of time, in the range of 50 to 60 standard hours.
“The climate is uniform all over the planet, the temperature averaging 38.6 degrees Celsius during the day and dropping to 5.3 degrees Celsius at nightfall. The year is approximately 62.8 days longer than one standard Earth year, and it has a 31 hour day and night cycle. The vegetation is thick due to humidity, and apparently very resilient in order to survive the sharp contrast between day and night. The survivors are on the day side of the planet, with approximately 14.5 hours of daylight left.”
Jim shivered in his seat, unconsciously pulling his gold uniform shirt tighter against his chest. The survivors of the Townsend, if the lifeforms on the surface were the crew, had spent two nights there before the Enterprise arrived.
“Spock, they said something about a new discovery?”
“Unknown, Captain. The sensors pick up nothing unusual, though surface elements are disrupting them. However, there is a complete lack of animal life on the planet, except for the twelve survivors. This is surprising, even though the climate is so harsh. I would recommend a small landing party to investigate, and then, if it is safe, a larger party may be sent to study the planet.”
Jim hit the intercom button. “Kirk to McCoy. Report to transporter room immediately. Bring a medikit.” Jim stood out of the command chair and headed for the turbolift. “Come on, Spock.”
Both Jim and Spock left the bridge. When they arrived at the transporter room, McCoy had already activated his field gear suit.
Jim and Spock activated theirs and were surrounded by the shimmering, almost invisible protective field. Then they strapped their phasers and communicators on.
McCoy looked worried, knowing they were going on a rescue mission. “Well Jim, what’s up?”
“We’re going down first to make sure it’s safe. We scanned twelve survivors. And Bones, it’s going to be hot.”
McCoy grinned ruefully. “Know anything about the injuries?”
“No. Lt. Renner, set co-ordinates at 3546.3425. Spock, I think it would be better if they didn’t see us coming, just in case.”
The three stepped onto the transporter pads and Jim muttered the customary “Energize!”
Lt. Renner, the transporter chief, activated the transporter column. The three men were caught in the white pillar of flame, and a gentle roaring filled the room. Then the transporter console alarms went off, and Renner screamed into the intercom for Mr. Scott.
* * *
Jim felt a sickly sensation overcome him, when he materialized in mid-air. His scream caught in his throat as he considered the possibility that he had materialized over a canyon or deep crevice. However, he hit the ground an instant later, falling only about half a meter. He maintained his balance and turned. Spock and McCoy were nowhere to be seen. All around him were grayish plants, thick and tall, somewhat like trees in the fall when all their leaves had fallen off. The ground was hard, but seemingly moist. A bright blue star hung high in the sky. The heat was unbearable, and he was already beginning to sweat. He reached for his communicator.
“Kirk to Enterprise!”
Scotty’s voice came on, the red alert Klaxon loud in the background. “Capt’n, we’re under attack! Three Klingons, an they are boun an determin ta kill us! Shields are up and holding!”
“Keep those shields up! Where are Dr. McCoy and Mr. Spock?”
“I donna ken! I no have had time ta talk wi’ the transporter technicians. The Klingons came outta nowhere the moment you beamed down! I canna talk anymore, Capt’n!”
The communicator went dead. Klingons. How many times had those ape-like aliens attacked him and his ship. How many times had he thwarted their efforts to conquer the Federation. They were persistant, refusing to stay down after a defeat. Jim could only hope the Enterprise would be able to defeat them again.
Jim activated his tricorder, a black rectangle which flipped open at the top to reveal a small screen and adjustment knobs. It read three life forms about a kilometer to the west. However, the minerals in the planet’s crust were interfering with the tricorder’s readings, making it impossible to determine if the life forms were human or Klingon. Jim drew his phaser and set it to heavy stun.
* * *
McCoy materialized in the middle of a small colonial city. It was a cool evening, with a bright red sun just beginning to set in a pink sky. The streets were empty, and the steel buildings were quiet. The smell of death was everywhere. He unstrapped his tricorder, and scanned the area. He read hundreds of human bodies throughout the city, and a few life forms to the north.
“Jim, will you look at these readings!”
He turned, only to find that Kirk and Spock weren’t there.
“McCoy to Enterprise!” No answer. He tried again with no success. Worried, he walked down the concrete road towards the life readings. He set his phaser on stun, and re-attached it to his belt. The tricorder indicated that the bodies had died of sickness. Wearing a field suit should protect him from any infection, but he still worried.
* * *
Spock materialized in the frigid air of a mechanical city. There were no life forms at all, according to his tricorder. He, like McCoy, was unable to contact the ship. Spock turned his attention to his surroundings, noting the many buildings. They were made of an unknown substance, and the tricorder was unable to penetrate the walls. The buildings had no windows, and the streets were just wide enough for two people to walk along side by side. The dark gray structures had a sinister quality about them, and they blended in with the gray sky. There was enough light to see by, but Spock could see no stars in the sky.
The tricorder did pick up a massive energy reading less than a kilometer away. Deliberately not shivering in the cold air, Spock made off towards the power readings.
* * *
Jim had switched off his tricorder long ago. The latest Star Fleet intelligence stated that the Klingons now had sensors implanted in their ears which could detect and pinpoint the source of tricorder scans. The implant was connected to the brain, and informed the user from which direction the reading had come from.
Jim was now just outside of a Klingon camp. There were three Klingons, all talking loudly in Klingonese. Jim understood little of it, but caught his name in their conversation. It was something involving himself and a reward. He could guess the meaning. He was sweating profusely, though the Klingons seemed oblivious to the heat.
The Klingons weren’t the only thing that bothered Jim. Spock had said the senors detected no forms of animal life other than the twelve survivors. Contrary to Spock’s report, Jim had seen many animals, large and small. Something was very wrong.
Suddenly, the Klingons broke up. Two went into the brush, while the third grumblingly stayed behind, presumably to watch camp. Jim waited a minute to give the two Klingons a head start, and then fired his phaser at the third. The phaser merely clicked, causing the Klingon to jump and look in Jim’s direction. Jim froze, and the Klingon eventually sat back down. Jim slipped away in the direction of the two other Klingons. As far as he could tell, the two had started at different points, but were traveling roughly parallel. Mind racing, he hoped to find a way to use that against them.
* * *
McCoy shivered violently. “And Jim said it was going to be hot!” He had traveled about two and a half kilometers, and was now very close to the life forms. As he walked along the deserted streets, he thought the place looked vaguely familiar. It haunted his memory, but he couldn’t place it. It was eerie and menacing.
McCoy finally came to the location of the life forms. It was a large building, about 30 or forty stories. A sign in front of the entrance read “Federation Research and Science.” A sudden motion caught his eye. A dark figure shot off past him into the building. The tricorder read seven life forms. McCoy checked his phaser, and called out.
Silence returned his greeting. Vainly trying to wipe his brow through the protective layer of his field suit, McCoy stepped into the building. The lighting was dim, and his eyes took a moment to adjust. After a few seconds, he could make out desks, tables, scientific equipment, and computer terminals. He stepped over to one of the tables. It had three incomplete experiments, all biochemical. McCoy next went over to a computer terminal, its Power and Ready lights flashing. There was dust everywhere, with several sets of footprint on the floor.
“Computer. Data please. Report on condition of this lab. Why is it deserted, and where is everyone?”
“Unable to comply with that request. All log files and memory storage units have been cleared. Invasion was imminent.”
The calm female voice of the computer irritated McCoy. He blew out his breath. Unnoticed, a dim figure crept up behind him.
* * *
Spock felt ill. He found it increasingly difficult to mask his sickness. The temperature, slightly under -4 degrees Celsius, was nearly unbearable. His Vulcan physique was more accustomed to the 25 degree temperature of the ship, and was built for the 45 degree temperature of Vulcan. The field suit kept out some of the cold, but not enough. Walking had helped keep him warm, and had brought him to within one hundred meters of the power source. A deep but feminine voice stopped him.
“It is useless. You will not find me.”
Spock masked his surprise. “Who are you?”
“I am. That is enough. Until recently, only I was. Now you are, and will keep me company. Your mind is very interesting. Like mine, it is very logical in its thought processes. Perhaps I have created you, in my mind. However, that does not matter. You are, and that is enough. I am bored. Entertain me.”
Suddenly, Spock was on the bridge of the Enterprise. Kirk was staring at him intently.
“Well, Spock? Have you solved the equations?”
Spock’s mind flooded with information, and suddenly he was completely apprised of the situation. The Mungals, a warfaring race that had been a constant thorn in the Federation’s side, had invaded the planet Taru, and when the Enterprise arrived to free the planet, the Mungal’s placed the Enterprise in another dimension, where Time moved in random leaps. The Enterprise could only exit this dimension at the point between leaps, and if it exited at the end of a thousand year leap, it would return to its dimension a thousand years later. The goal was to exit after a leap that would return the Enterprise to its present time period in its Universe.
The computer was unable to solve the equations – they were too complex for a machine to solve. Spock had to solve them in his head, which he started to do. He sat in his chair and slowly closed off his senses to the outside world, concentrating on the equations completely. He sunk deep into his mind, dimly aware that several hours had passed. When he eventually solved them, he resurfaced.
“Captain, we can leave by warping to co-ordinates 9836.71523 in three days. We will return approximately thirty eight point six two seconds after we left. This is the closest point of entry that is acceptable to our needs. The thirty eight point six two second period is acceptable. We will have to locate and destroy the Mungallen satellite that put us here in order to prevent this from happening again. However, the power required to move a ship of this size is great. The satellite should not be fully charged for approximately three minutes after we have reappeared. This should be adequate time to locate and destroy it.”
Jim’s voice began to congratulate him, but it started to change into the voice of his captor.
“Very good, Spock, very good. You are most entertaining.”
Spock became aware again of where he was, and gasped as he realized the time he had just spent on the bridge of the Enterprise had been a simulation – - not real.
* * *
Jim was sitting in a tall, dark gray tree. It was like a bunch of oversized ferns strapped together, the sharp ends pointed up. If he fell, Jim would be impaled by the rock-hard “fronds” that jutted out of the “trunk”.
A Klingon was crouching in front of a large shrub of gray thorns about ten meters in front of Jim, sniffing loudly. He was waiting, presumably, for Jim to pass in front of him. The Klingons had been using their tricorders, and had detected Jim’s presence. However, Klingon technology was not very accurate, and the ore in the planet’s crust that was affecting Jim’s tricorder was affecting the Klingon tricorders even more. The second Klingon, further from Jim than the first Klingon, was scanning with his tricorder, and squinting suspiciously in Jim’s general direction. Both seemed on edge, aware that Jim was near, but not sure exactly where.
Luckily for Jim, the points from the furthest Klingon to the Klingon crouching in the shrubbery by his tree was a straight line. Kirk set his tricorder to minimum width scan and aimed at the second Klingon. The scan beam passed right over the first Klingon, avoiding his ear implant, and hit the second Klingon. That Klingon’s implant did detect the beam, and he whipped around. The knife on his belt was out of his hand and sailing by the time he completed the turn. The triple-bladed dagger, on its way straight to Jim, was stopped by the first Klingon, who was also in its path.
The Klingon who had thrown the blade had wanted a body to show his commander. So instead of disintegrating Jim with his disruptor, he meant to kill him with the dagger. He had thrown the knife hard, to get it through the vegetation. The plants offered little resistance to the razor sharp projectile, but the other Klingon did. He bellowed out and, suspecting treachery, drew his disruptor. He fired blindly in the direction of the knifeless Klingon, knowing it to be the source of the blade. The second Klingon was hit and disappeared in a blast of heat and flame.
The remaining Klingon tried to removed the dagger, but the three blades had spread apart after entering his body, acting like a fishhook. All attempts to remove it only did more damage to the Klingon’s body. As soon as he had collapsed and stopped wriggling, Jim hopped down and approached the body. The tricorder indicated death. Jim took the Klingon disruptor and fired it. A beam sizzled out, frying a nearby tree. As Jim turned back to the Klingon camp, intent on finishing off the last Klingon, several large mosquitoes landed on the Klingon’s body.
* * *
McCoy turned around and stared into the desperate eyes of the young man behind him. He was black and about twenty. His eyes were full of pain. McCoy lowered his phaser and caught the man as he fell. The man was shivering violently and had a high temperature. McCoy gave him a mild pain killer. The tricorder scan indicated that the man was dying. His pulse was low, the oxygen level in his blood stream was low. His entire immune system was being attacked.
McCoy set the man down against a wall in a sitting position. “Relax man! You’re going to be fine. What’s your name?”
“My name is Roland. I’m a technician for the lab.” He gasped for breath. “We..were trying to find a cure. Couldn’t stop it though. The disease killed the doctors before…we could stop it.”
“It’s alright. I’m a doctor. I’ll help you.”
“You don’t understand. It’s biochemical.” He gasped again. “Aliens infected us. Contaminated the whole planet. They want to kill us before they make planetfall. Nothing cured it, and even field suits couldn’t prevent it.”
McCoy frowned. This was bad. Very bad.
* * *
Spock struggled to close the flood of information off. It was swamping his brain, forcing him to focus on nothing else. The first sense to return was sight. He was lying down, his arms and legs useless. As sensation returned to his arms, he pushed himself into a sitting position. He was still in the city, and it was colder. He hadn’t noticed while “entertaining” his captor. His mind had almost been separated from his body.
Some feeling began to return to his legs and body. He had to stop his captor before his mind was indeed separated from his body. He was unable to stand up, so he dragged himself towards the source of the power readings. The surface of the ground was metal and extremely cold. His skin was starting to crack at the joints as he clutched clumsily at his phaser. His captor’s voice kept coaxing him back to the mind games, imploring him. His head started pounding.
* * *
The remaining Klingon was sleeping lightly near a campfire with a smoky cloud engulfing him. It appeared to Jim to be some sort of mosquito repellant, though he hadn’t had any problems with mosquitoes bothering him. Night was beginning to fall, and Jim shivered with coldness. The Enterprise hadn’t called back, and this added to his discomfort.
“This is going to be too easy, killing a Klingon in his sleep,” thought Jim. He aimed the disruptor and pressed the trigger. A sharp, static click was all that the weapon produced. The Klingon jumped to his feet. Nothing else happened on Jim’s end. The disruptor had failed. However, the Klingon was now running towards him, howling like a mad dog, his disruptor in hand. Jim turned tail and ran. He threw the disruptor down and headed back towards the dead Klingon. An energy beam vaporized the tree next to him, and singed the hair on the right side of his head.
The dead Klingon was some ways off. To make matters worse, between the body and himself was a thick jungle of unyielding vegetation. It seemed to Jim, who covered the distance rapidly through necessity, that the way from the body to the camp had been much easier than the way back. Fortunately, the Klingon behind him was an awful shot. Jim suspected that was why he was guarding the camp.
When Jim reached the site, the body was still there, though Jim had half expected it to get up and walk away. The pursuing Klingon was howling close behind, but was being held up by three inch mosquitoes that liked the taste of Klingon blood. Jim stopped in front of the body, gasping. He tried pulling the dagger out of the chest, but it just made a squishy noise and refused to budge. Ready to give up, Jim noticed the dagger on the Klingon’s utility belt. He pulled it off and climbed the nearest tree. He squeezed the handle hard and its single blade split into three. The blades were a rusty red, indicating that they had absorbed the life blood of a few opponents.
The final Klingon burst upon the scene and saw his comrade’s body. He knelt beside it, howled, and then started laughing gleefully.
“Thank you, human! After I kill you, I will not only be rewarded well, but I will fill this one’s rank! I know you are here! I can smell you.”
The Klingon spoke in no particular direction, as if he knew the human was near, but didn’t know exactly where. As far as Jim could see, he was genuinely pleased that his superior officer was dead. He started walking around the area. Being much heavier than a human, he wouldn’t have been able to climb any of the trees to hide in without causing them to fall over and snap. Besides, it was un-Klingon to hide. As a result, it never occurred to him that Jim was hiding in one of the trees. He learned his fatal mistake as he walked under the tree Jim was hiding in, sniffing loudly. Jim let out a loud war whoop as he dropped out of the tree onto the Klingon. The dagger sunk into the back of the Klingon’s neck, just above his shoulder.
Blood splurting out, the Klingon tried to roar. But his windpipe was ripped out, and he couldn’t make a sound. He grabbed Jim and started squeezing him. His death grip first started to crush Jim, and then weakened. The Klingon slowly lost his strength as his lungs failed to fill with air, filling with blood instead. He made a terrible slurping sound as he loosed his grip on Jim and fell writhing on the ground. Suddenly, there was a swarm of giant mosquitoes everywhere. Jim swung his arms ahead of him as he stumbled away. The mosquitoes didn’t follow, but fought with each other over the Klingon body.
Jim wiped the purplish-red blood off of his face and opened his communicator. “Kirk to Enterprise.”
“Enterprise here. Commander Kang of the Klingon Imperial Forces commanding. Hello, Kirk. It seems you have lost your precious ship. Prepare to be beamed aboard! Ha ha ha!”
Jim was surrounded by the transporter beam before he could react. As he dematerialized, he was overwhelmed with a sickening feeling.
* * *
McCoy was busy staring at the tricorder results. He had since joined the other people in the building. They were all dying. The method of infection confounded him, as well as finding a cure. All he knew was that two of the seven people in the group were wearing field suits like his, and they were infected. He gave everyone a sedative and vitamin supplement and let them sleep. None of them could talk anyway.
He walked over to the lab sink. Water was slowly dripping, its plop-plop giving him a headache and reminding him that he hadn’t had a thing to eat or drink for the half day he’d spent on this confounded planet. He hadn’t even learned which planet he was on. He went into the other room where the synthesizer was and ordered a ham sandwich and a cup of coffee. The food materialized on a small platform and he picked it up. He was about to disable his field suit when a thought struck him. He scanned the food with his tricorder. Sure enough, it was seeping with the lethal disease. Scanning the synthesizer, he found that the protein block used to construct the food was fifty percent poison.
Suddenly, he was caught in the transporter beam.
* * *
Spock crawled into a small structure where it was considerably warmer. According to his tricorder, the power source was directly underneath him. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he could discern a small, old-Earth computer with thick gray cables running down to the floor. It was in a sleek black metal casing. Its eighteen inch monitor spoke of the frivolous time period that created it. Spock recognized it as a mainframe from the middle twenty-first century that supported a primitive form of voice recognition. Eyeing it suspiciously, he spoke.
“Are you my captor?”
“You have found me. I have allowed it.”
“I must insist you release me. My fellow crew members will find this environment harsh and may be in need of assistance. Release me or I will be forced to destroy you.”
The computer laughed. “Destroy me? I am. Without me, there is nothing. This other you speak of…fellow crew members…he is not. Do you deceive me with false others?
“As to my destruction. If you destroy this computer, and escape, how will you be sure you have truly escaped? As far as you know, this is only another simulation, like the first one on the bridge. Perhaps your body is still lying out on the street, separate from your mind. Can you tell the difference between realities? Is this the correct one for you?”
“This is the correct reality,” answered Spock. “I have no proof except my intuition. It is illogical to depend on, but has proven correct in the past.”
“Are you sure, Spock? Is this first reality, or another? Can you be absolutely sure? Even if you are ninety nine percent sure, there is still a one percent chance that you are wrong. A one percent chance that the Enterprise you return to is not of the first reality, but of mine.”
Spock was inwardly in agony. His exterior, however, was expressionless. “This is reality!” He said it firmly, as if assuring himself.
“You are not sure. I can sense it in your mind. You are not so logically minded after all. I sense your mind slipping, Spock. It is insanity.”
Spock brought his phaser up and pointed it at the computer.
The trigger merely clicked. He threw it across the room in anger and fear, momentarily forgetting his control.
The computer laughed. His anger unleashed, Spock went up to the computer and started pounding on it with his Vulcan fists. The laughs stopped as the chassis started to buckle under the force. The casing split open, revealing the green boards within, their precious chips exposed to Spock’s fury. He smashed them in one blow, and the computer was silent.
After he finished crushing the computer, Spock examined his hands. There were deep, long cuts on them, with his thick green blood welling out of them. As he started to apply pressure to stop the bleeding, he felt the tingling of the transporter intermingle with the tingling of his still slightly numb body.
* * *
Jim slowly materialized on the platform. The first person to return to his field of vision was the transporter technician, Lt. Renner. She was standing next to Scotty, looking at him. Scotty was bent over the transporter controls.
“Mr. Scott, we got them!”
Scotty looked up at Renner’s words. “Capt’n! You’re safe an soun! Aye, that’s a relief!”
Jim looked at himself. He looked okay, and all the blood stains were gone. Looking to his left and right, he saw McCoy and Spock standing beside him.
“Scotty, what happened. What about the Klingons?”
“Klingons? There are no Klingons here! ‘Twas a transporter malfunction. We almost lost ye. The signal was scrambled and weak – something seemed to be pulling it away. I’m surprised ye made it a’ all!”
“Scotty, I materialized on the planet, minus Spock and Bones.”
Spock broke in. “Captain, I had the same experience. Both yourself and the Doctor failed to follow me down. I landed in a machine-controlled city and assumed you had been pulled back to the ship at the last minute. I was unable to contact the Enterprise from the surface.”
“And Jim, I landed in a plague city…my God, I might be a carrier!”
“Gentlemen, ye didna go anywhere! Ye were gone a wee bit in the transporter signal – a second or so, but no more. Ye couldna made planetfall!”
Jim turned to Spock. “Analysis, Mr. Spock.”
“Captain, if what Mr. Scott says is correct, I would suspect some alien entity has interfered with the transporter, and all the events we think we experienced were merely illusions.”
Almost in answer to Spock’s suggestion, the red alert Klaxon went on. Sulu’s voice called over the intercom for the captain to report to the bridge.
Jim, Spock, McCoy and Scotty rushed to the bridge. Sulu vacated the command chair and returned to the helm as soon as they arrived. On the viewscreen was an empty starfield.
“Mr. Sulu, report! Why have we left orbit?”
“That’s just it, Captain. We haven’t left orbit. The entire star system just vanished.”
Spock broke in, “Captain, I don’t believe the planet was ever there. I think it was a trap to get us to use the transporter.”
“It is my belief that an alien power has the ability to control us when we use the transporter. For some reason, it wanted to use us. Whether Mr. Scott rescued us or it released us, I do not know. However, I was only returned after I succeeded in overcoming a challenge. Was it the same for you and Dr. McCoy?”
McCoy spoke first. “I landed in a plague city. I didn’t actually find a cure, but I did discover the cause, the colonists’ food supply, before eating it and infecting myself. Whether it was transmitted another way or not, I don’t know.”
“I had to deal with some Klingons. It was certainly a challenge, and I definitely found a cure.”
“Very well. Then it seems we were released. If this alien exists…”
“My God, Jim! Do you see what he means!”
“Yes, Bones. If an alien can control us while in transit via the transporter, it’s a threat to every Federation world and every other world with transporter technology.”
“Precisely, Captain. If it is not peaceful, and willing to leave us alone, we must either discontinue transporter usage or destroy the alien.”
A man’s face appeared on the viewscreen. He had a round, light brown face with chubby cheeks. The mouth was small and his head was bald. His forehead had four straight, well-defined wrinkles, giving Jim the impression of wisdom. His eyes were a deep brown, and his voice was deep and smooth, like that of a baritone opera singer.
“Very clever, Mr. Spock. You are almost correct. Yes, I can control your transporters and any who use them. And everything else your ship has, including weaponry and defense equipment. You cannot destroy me.”
Kirk stared at the viewscreen. “Why? Why do you bother with us? Why do you use your ability to control the transporter?”
“Why not, James T. Kirk? You see, being omnipotent can be boring. What good is all this power if you can’t use it? That’s why I created your planet, your Universe, and all the other Universes. So I’d have toys to play with.”
Spock shook his head. “Captain, he is quite mad. He is definitely a threat to us.”
“I agree. But what can we do?”
The face on the viewscreen laughed. “What can you do? Nothing! To destroy me is impossible!”
A deep silence suddenly fell over the bridge as most of the ship’s power was absorbed. Darkness descended on the bridge, only partially fought back by the Enterprise’s red emergency lights. The viewscreen was the only other source of light, all the consoles and computers black.
“I have shut down all your ship’s systems except for your transporters and methods of internal transportation. You have no food, no life support, no power to leave. You have only one alternative to destruction. Surrender. Beam out all your crew. I will absorb them and store them. A few of you will be put in simulations, one at a time, such as the ones you experienced. When I get tired of the simulation, I will erase the subject’s memory, alter the scenario slightly, and re-run it. When I get tired of that, I’ll switch to some other members of your crew. By the time I go through your entire crew to the point of boredom, thousands of years will have passed. Therefore, it is your duty to yield to me. You would be saving the galaxy from my “threat” for thousands of years. Wouldn’t that be worth it? The crew will never know what happened. I can put them on simulated Enterprises and erase their memories of this incident, or make them believe I was defeated. They would think nothing had happened.
“I will give you fifteen minutes to begin transferring your crew members. They merely have to step on the platforms. I will take it from there. If you haven’t started the transfers after that time, I will destroy your ship. Decide, gentlemen.
The screen darkened. Jim turned to the others. “Suggestions?”
There was a troubled silence. Then a rueful grin spread over Scotty’s face.
“Aye Capt’n. I ‘ave an idea. But I no better speak it aloud fer fear the alien will hear. Jus’ meet me in the transporter room.”
They entered the turbolift, and, to their relief, it worked.
They got off at Deck 7 and walked to the transporter room. As they walked by Engineering, Scotty disappeared inside for a moment, returning with a large cylinder under his arm. It was as long as Scotty’s forearm, dull gray, and with small instrument panels on the top and bottom. The center was translucent all around, as if made from smoky plastic, and a bright glow emanated from underneath it. Spock’s eyebrow rose when he saw the cylinder, but he said nothing. They arrived in the transporter room to see the transporter pads glowing with a bright silver light.
Spock commented. “Ingenious, Mr. Scott. It just might work.”
Jim examined the cylinder when Scotty held it up for his inspection. It was a magnetic bottle of anti-matter, one of the ship’s stores of energy.
“Scotty, do you mean to place it in the transporter?”
“Aye, that I do. There’s only one problem. I will ‘ave ta deactivate the magnetic support field. If the alien doesna take it, we’ll have a mess when the…”
“Yes, Scotty, I know what you mean.”
It was an ingenious idea.
If Scotty released the magnetic field supporting the anti-matter, it would crash into the wall of the bottle, which was matter. There would be a colossal explosion, and hopefully the alien would be destroyed. But if the alien rejected the anti-matter, instead of absorbing it through the transporter, the Enterprise would become a small star. There would be no assurance that the alien would be destroyed. Even it he took it, the alien might prove to be too powerful to be destroyed by the explosion.
“Mr. Scott, we’ll risk it. Send it over.”
“Aye aye, Capt’n. Now, one a ye otta werk the transporter console, jus’ in case the alien doesna take it right away.”
Spock moved over to the console and checked the equipment. “Inoperative, Mr. Scott. We must hope for the best.”
Scotty wiped his brow. “Right. When I press this button, the magnetic field will collapse. I’ll have about a second before contact with the side of the bottle. When that happens…well, you know.”
Scotty walked up to the first platform, pressed the button on the cylinder, and dropped it into the silver fire of the transporter. The bottle was gone before it hit the surface of the transporter pad. There was a slight glow with its departure, and a sudden flash as it faded from view. The four men stood silently, waiting in the dim emergency lights. Suddenly, there was a blast of light and heat all around them, and a loud scream. Jim felt the ship dissolve under his feet. The scream rose to a deafening roar.
As suddenly as it came, it was gone.
The lights returned to normal, and Jim found himself lying on the floor with the others, except for Spock, who somehow managed to stay up by leaning against the bulkhead. Jim got up and went over to the intercom.
“Kirk to bridge. Status report!”
There was a moment of silence, and then Sulu’s very confused voice answered. “Sulu here, sir. All systems are back on-line. We are in clear space for a parsec in all directions. Shields are up.”
“Very good. Have Lt. Uhura send out a report to Star Fleet Headquarters, in case we failed to destroy the alien. I’ll be up in a minute to give her the details.”
“Yes, sir. Sulu out.”
Jim turned to Spock, who was straightening out his uniform, which had become ruffled. “Well, Spock? Analysis?”
“Captain, I believe we were dealing with an insane alien entity who was powerful enough to think he was omnipotent. He was much like Apollo, the alien we encountered whose species visited Earth in the distant past and formed the basis for the Greek gods. Perhaps this alien was of the same species, or a similar one. He mentioned creating the Universe. Though I suspect insanity, we cannot rule out the possibility that he really did create this Universe. We have had encounters as strange as this one before.”
“Do you think we destroyed him?”
“Unknown. However, the next logical step for him, if he still existed or could harm us, would be to destroy us. That has not happened.”
Jim nodded, and helped Dr. McCoy up, who had been sitting against the wall, rubbing his right knee.
“Damnit, Jim! I think I fractured my knee!”
Jim smiled gently. “Bones, report to Sickbay immediately, and that’s an order! I’ll help you.”
Spock, Jim, and McCoy exited the transporter room, McCoy leaning on Jim and Spock for support. Scotty just shook his head and tenderly examined his damaged equipment.
[For the curious, it was at this point that Wesley, along with a booming disco soundbed, suddenly appeared and, shoving McCoy aside due to his injured knee, got it on with Kirk and Spock. This was the only part of the story that was at all good and it pains me deeply that I had to cut it.]