Star Trek: Phoenix-X – STO Unofficial Literary Challenge #13 – The Arrival

Summary:  In the early 25th century, Captain Menrow of the U.S.S. Crucial accidentally double-books his date-night, inadvertently causing his own no-win, Kobayashi Maru scenario.

Author’s notes: This was written in July 2015, as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Unofficial Literary Challenge #13.

Unofficial Literary Challenge #13: Prompt #1: They are finally here. For decades, the Iconians have been quietly manipulating events in the Alpha Quadrant from their seclusion, subverting and weakening the galaxy. It was by their machinations that the Undine launched their war against solid-space, through which they pitted the Federation against the Klingons in a mutually destructive conflict. It was their servants who triggered the Hobus Detonation that saw the virtual collapse of the Romulan Star Empire, and the subsequent abduction of Romulan colonies. And it was their recent influence that saw the resurgence of the Vaadwaur Supremacy in a conflict that set the Delta Quadrant ablaze.

And now, they believe the time is ripe for their invasion. Hidden gateways now tear open, and massive, ancient warships and warrior-constructs enter our galaxy as the Heralds of the Iconians make their presence known. Against them, the Federation, Klingons, Romulans and their allies stand united.

Write about where your captain is, and what he/she is doing when the Herald invasion begins.

Unofficial Literary Challenge #13
The Arrival

The Intrepid-class U.S.S. Crucial trekked blissfully through space as Captain Menrow was sitting with Commander Lara in his Ready Room.

“Thanks for letting me onboard to study the Rolor Nebula, Captain,” Lara continued, as they both sifted through PADDs. “Ever since last year’s Borg frenzy, it’s been unavailable on my ship’s galactic map.”

Menrow nodded. “Since all of us on the Crucial are a time-displaced crew, we’ve been way behind and are still on the old maps, not to mention all the Level IV gear.”

“I’m not sure how that works, but after we crunch this data, would you like to have dinner, tonight?” Lara asked.

The Captain was caught off guard. “Huh? Oh. Lara, I had no idea. Well, yes, sure. I’d like that.”

“Great!” Lara responded, satisfied. “I’ve been meaning to ask you for some time now, and now that I have, I’m fulfilled with an elated sense of accomplishment.”

Despite her jutted honesty, the two of them high-fived.

Later, on the Bridge, Menrow, while sitting in his Captain’s chair, was suddenly confronted by his first officer, Hatcha.

“Sorry, Captain, but Elise and I have to cancel our double date, later. She’s got a Ceti eel situation that needs immediate attention,” Hatcha reported.

Menrow looked at her quizzically. “Tonight? That was tonight?”

“Yeah, you wanted us to wing-woman your date with Lieutenant Commander Jenny, from Astrometrics, remember?”

Menrow slapped his palm against his chair. “Damn! I double-booked like some kind of horrible Ferengi arms dealer. I’m going to have to cancel on one woman, immediately.”

“Sir, comm systems are down for the next two hours due to those old, sectioned-off maps compromising our systems,” Grunley alerted.

Menrow looked at him. “Dammit, Grunley. You had one job!”

Walking briskly through the corridors, Menrow was suddenly interrupted by Ensign Leanna.

“Captain, I wanted to talk to you about the other night? Despite it being amazing, I think we should—”

“—Keep things professional,” Menrow finished her sentence. “Yes, I was about to suggest the same thing. Frankly, I’m surprised there aren’t any Starfleet rules against fraternizing with crewmembers.”

Leanna shrugged. “Well, we did check for all but 2 seconds. Anyway, I also just wanted to let you know the prisoner is ready for release to guest quarters. You said you were going to do that this afternoon?”

“Dammit-again. I was just on my way to straighten my schedule out. Fine, I’ll have to make this quick,” Menrow cringed. “Being a two-steps-behind crew better not lead to anything. By the way, thank you,” he said, placing an affectionate hand on her shoulder.

Entering the Brig, Menrow was met with an Orion female prisoner, a remnant of DiaMon Cide’s collaborations at Vandor IV.

“Captain, you’re not going to keep me prisoner here forever, are you? A woman needs to feel free,” Chatelaine pleaded, alluringly. She wore classic Orion slave girl rip-torn fabric.

Menrow tapped at a console. “Freedom has been haunting me since birth. But, you’re right. We’ve got mostly all the information we need from you about your people’s operations with that Ferengi and, besides agreeing to testify, you’ve been great with us.”

“Oh, Captain, you have no idea how many Federation-Italians there are in the Syndicate right now. Please, allow me to repay you for your hospitality,” she asked as he let down the force field.

Menrow shook his head. “No time. I’m escorting you to guest quarters and then I have to rain-check a date tonight—”

But he was suddenly hit with a waft of the Orion’s scent. She immediately put her arms around his neck.

“Anything you say, Captain,” she smiled, closely at him. “But I repay all my debts, and your business is about to get a boost.”

That night, not thinking clearly, Menrow was met with Commander Lara in his quarters. The two took a seat on his bed to talk.

“Another great accomplishment for me, today,” Lara bragged. “I’m two for two. Computer, make note of that.”

Menrow squinted as the computer acknowledged it. “Now that you mention the day as a whole, I feel like I was supposed to— Oh, crap, Jenny from Astrometrics! Damn those Orion pheromones?? I’ve seen beetle-snuff less damaging??”

“Less talk, please. It’s not one of your strong points.” Lara immediately moved in for the kiss, not hearing a word he just said.

After a few seconds, the door chimed and he pulled away. “I’ll get that,” he cut-out, quickly and nervously. Menrow got up and left his room.

At his door, as expected, Lieutenant Commander Jenny stood, dressed in a low cut, one armed, diagonally-ridged, futuristic, odd-looking dress. “Captain, I’m a bit early, despite it taking me an hour to get this on.” She let herself in. “I wanted to engage with you before the double date.”

“Actually, I’m sorry, Jenny, but there’s something you need to know about our more-than-destined, ill-fated plans—”

She turned to him and then moved in. “You feel the connection between us too? Oh, I knew jumping to conclusions regularly would make me happy.”

Jenny kissed him, but then the door chimed again.

“Oh no,” she panicked. “Hatcha and Elise will have a Krudge if they find me here. You’ve got to get rid of them.” She quickly ran into the bathroom to hide.

The doors spread, revealing Ensign Leanna, in uniform.

“Captain, I know we said to keep things professional, but that hand on my shoulder, earlier, was more than I could handle. It’s more than any Ensign could handle.”

Menrow tilted his head at her, unsure how to take that. “Seems like that’s a you thing?”

But instead of continuing, she attacked him with an embrace and deep kiss. Pulling away, Menrow was knocked out of it by an odd sound coming from his room.

“Damn, caracals. It’s like they’re Vulcans without katras,” he gritted. “Just one second, please.”

Entering his room, Menrow found Lara, sitting up, eyes closed, getting a shoulder massage from the Orion slave girl, Chatelaine. “I told you I repay my debts, Captain. Instead of choosing just one girl, I enabled a situation in which you get both.” Then, truthfully, “Is polygamy a Starfleet thing? I actually forget.”

“What? I thought you were Menrow??” Lara turned to the Orion, behind her, in shock. “Clearly, I’ve had too much green drink.”

Menrow sputtered, suddenly aware of the whole situation. “Bloody Cold Station 12 chambers! I’ve finally entered into the fabled no-exit, no-win, Kobayashi Maru scenario, of which no Captain has ever been able to escape?”

“I thought,” Lara questioned, “that there were no no-exit, no-win scenarios?”

He shook his head. “Every Captain stumbles into one during his illustrious career, in which such is proved either true or false. It appears that I’ve reached those crossroads today.”

Trying to think of a way out, Menrow tried helping Lara off the bed. “Let’s get you transported—” But her off-balance and grip pulled her and him back onto the bed. He fell, clumsily, over both occupants.

At that, the three turned their heads to see Ensign Leanna enter the bedroom, the end evidenced as more nigh than naught.

“—Oh, sir, I had no idea you were into… this?” Leanna said, in surprise. “But, I am a young, impressionable Ensign, so I suppose I should perceive everything seemingly odd as normal in the interests of personal growth.”

Menrow’s jaw dropped at her. “Again, that’s a Leanna issue??”

As Leanna approached the bed, she awkwardly attempted several pre-joining motions, unsure at how to tackle things. She then elected to start with a hand on his shoulder.

“–Captain,” Jenny suddenly entered the room, preoccupied with trying to fix an unaligned ridge in her dress, “I may be an expert in the stars, but I’m no wiz at these flashy clothes—” Then she found all the other women in there with him in some odd position. “Oh, hello? Is this a convention of some sort?”

Menrow glanced up. “Jenny??”

And then, Hatcha and her partner Elise entered the room. “Turns out the Ceti eel and Elise are happy together, so we’re just going to go with it, and—” Then, noticing the bed full and another woman undressing: “Whoa! Is this a Cadet’s lights-out fantasy or what?”

“Hatcha, Elise??”

Everyone turned their gaze to Menrow for both an explanation and an end-game reaction. His annihilation was almost complete.

“Oh, this? Heh, heh. Well, you see, the thing is—” he started, nervously, unsure as to how to finish that sentence, but willing to attempt to disbelieve in a no-win scenario. “You see, sometimes a Captain needs to sleep arou—”

But he didn’t like where that sentence was going.

“You know, a Captain’s libido is one of legen—”

No, that was a bad direction too.

“Space: It’s not the only frontier one means to expl—”

And, so, he just decided to stop talking all together.

“Bridge to Captain Menrow.” Then, a call blurted through the comms. “We’re picking up a priority alert from Starfleet. It’s the Iconians.”

There was a moment of differed-shock as Menrow took a second to process it.

“The Iconians?”

And now, relieved, he turned to all six women in his quarters: the exit, now clear.

“The Iconians! Ha!”

No longer having to deal with the situation, Menrow got up, off the bed.

“Sorry, but it’s the Iconians! Ha! Hahaha!”

Running out his quarters and into the hallway, he high-fived a passing Cadet. The remaining women stared on, blankly, in his direction as he left.

Later, the Intrepid-class U.S.S. Crucial shook violently from an intense and over-the-top Herald and Iconian attack. The ship was enveloped in viral software.

“Sir!” Barley yelled out, over the unrelenting noise and sparks. “We’re losing systems all over the ship! Weapons, shields, propulsion!”

Menrow relaxed, now having regained that feeling of control and a satisfaction of passing the ultimate test. He breathed with a heavy air of relief and nodded. “And I wouldn’t have it any other way, Mr. Barley. Take us right into that swarm. Take us right in.”


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