Star Trek: Genesis of Command, Book I: The Mighty, Mighty Marek

(Chapter I, installment 1)

 

Continuous beams of blue light traced a valley into the skin of the station.  The last operational Enterprise Class starship hammered hard, proving she would not retire just yet.  The station fired back, but its disruptors could not over power the ship’s shields.

It was an oddity, this station.  One of the rarest things in the known galaxy.  It was a genuine Klingon science station.  The Starfleet knew why taking this particular station was important, even if that information were not shared with the crew.  It was the science that scared the Starfleet, and a conspiracy that was far more dangerous than the science.

The monsters the Admiralty heard of would be realized in a young marine.

The last Starfleet Marine.

 

 

Star Trek: Genesis of Command

Book I

The Mighty, Mighty Marek

 

Ch 1

In The Beginning

 

Something just did not feel right.

He never thought he would amount to much.  Enlisting seemed to be the right choice, at the time.  If everything remained constant in his universe, that meant he had made a bad choice.  Nothing ever seemed to go right for him.

Like how he screwed up his relationship with Lisa, then Angie.

Eh …,

He really did not care what happened to him.  It was classic, among those those who have bad relationships.  The depression, the empty feeling, … the loneliness.  All the while the ever-present question of individual worth.  The answer is always the same: They everything; you mean nothing.

And this had happened more than once.  More than twice.  Nine times, actually.  He never wanted to know that pain again.

He had given up.

He knew he was dead.  He died a long time ago.  The fact his body kept moving meant little, if anything.  He had died as surely as any pile of dust from centuries gone by.

He faced a klingon.  A large thing, though he did not care.  This was just another simulation.  Punch this way, counterpunch that way.  Now you get hit.  Ignore the pain.

It got boring after so many times.

But …?

No.  It had to be another simulation.  The idea that this was real was silly.  A klingon does not drop from the sky and start beating on you.

The pain inflictor seemed a little … stronger than normal.  The klingon in this simulation seemed different, too; faster at times, slower at others.  It was so … different.  He never heard of any simulations using grenades, either.  Klingons thought grenades dishonorable, so practicing for that eventuality was pointless.  Which made this feel even less right.  Maybe he was just confused by his feelings at the time.

And a floodgate of reality opened.  For an instant he was aware of himself, and his surroundings.  He knew where he was, what he had to do.  He grabbed someone and -.

The sensation was gone.  It was the same as it was, the feelings never change.  A sudden burst, then he dulls.

Nothing.

Maybe he did not know where he was.  Maybe he was in that dream, the one Al was talking about.  Maybe he was going to be in some sort of experiment.  That idea was worse than death.

The truth washed over him.  His confusion ebbed.  Slow, at first, but steady.

He tried to open his eyes, expecting (hoping) to see the simulation.  Even if he was tired, extremely tired, it should be easier to open his eyes than this.  Maybe the power had simply been cut.  That would be new for the simulator, too.

The pain was different, too.  His face had never been burned, not like this.  Pain inflictors usually affected things like the ribs, stomach, legs, hands …, they never went to the face.  It was too dangerous.  That was one of the first things they taught in training.

Reality was persistent.  The tide was rising again.

His eyes were still closed, he could tell.  The sensation of cold was lessoned, but still there.  Just out of reach, but there.  His face no longer hurt, but he could feel something in his skin.  Small, sharp objects.

‘Oh, no.’  The realization of his situation set in.  ‘I think I could be in serious trouble.’

He realized he could not move his body.  He remembered that cold feeling, now.  It was a type of cryogenics.  Only an instant, but you feel a blast of cold.  Then you just stop.  You do not remember anything until you thaw out.

Then how could he think?  You do not think in cryogenic sleep.

The program.  Al said this was an experiment.  Where was the program?  There was always a computer involved in experiments, right?  He figured something had gone wrong, like the grenade damaged something important.  That must be it.  That had to be it.

Time had no meaning, so he had no idea how long this was taking, or taken.  It was common knowledge the mind could not establish a link with a computer, but Al said he had some special power (probably from his mother).  He had no idea what kind of power, much less how to use it.

He was a vulcanoid hybrid.  Whoever his father was, he was at least part human, because he had round ears.  Everything else seemed Vulcan, thank goodness.  The details were never clarified, to include whether or not there was a marriage.  He only knew two things about his father for certain: He was a scientist and he was dead.  His mother was like most vulcans, never sharing her feelings …, often.  She was no exception, keeping her mate a secret, even from a curious child.  Vulcans have different priorities, and this was not one of them.

He thought of Spock, the living legend.  He was a hybrid, too, if not like himself.  Now, Spock could do some of those Vulcan-Mind-Thingies, then why not him?  Of course, Spock was a trained thinker.  He was trained, too.  Unfortunately, killing something seemed rather impractical while frozen in a cryo chamber.

But his father was a thinker.  That had to be worth something.  His mother was no great thinker, though.  Ironic his humanoidal father was a thinker, while his mother was the unspectacular half of his gene pool.  And since he looked-, and acted-, more human, it followed perhaps his father’s genes might be dominant.  Then, maybe, just maybe, he could tap into that part of his of himself.

Time meant nothing here.  He could have spent a minute, or a year.  Or ten years.  He stretched out his mind, as best he could.  (As if he knew the difference.)  It did not matter how long he tried, as he felt no boredom.

He felt nothing.  Very calming, in a sick sort of way.  Nothingness suited him.  The feeling of complete solitude, free from everything, did not even bring satisfaction.

He discovered a new form of pain.  This was beyond description; he knew no words to express it.  But, like all his other pain, he got used to it.

But not for quite some time.

Time.

‘Goddamit.’

 

*

 

The klingon warships had gone, years ago.  The station drifted in empty space, cold, dead, and forgotten.  Nothing was on.  The power had been cut.

The klingons did not care what happened to the station, but power might attract the wrong individuals.  The Federation, if they found the station, would find nothing of use.  The computer core had been removed, along with the reactor.  Yet some races might be able to use something the klingons left behind.  And their thinking was those who could actually find the station would not care, and those who could not could not advance too quickly for their own good.  Or the Empire’s.

Klingons do have some sense of responsibility, so they took anything they thought important.

And the long, mushroom shaped station drifted in free space, with no markers of living bodies or even dust trails to attract attention.  In orbit around a rock, in orbit around a dying star.  The station was a shadow against the star field.

Then the dome of the mushroom began to glow, faintly.  The glow grew stronger, becoming light, growing to become a tiny star, until it was brighter than the dead star it orbited.

 

*

 

He knew something happened, just outside his new world.  What was still a mystery.  So he tried to make something else happen.

‘What is your name?’

He had not thought that.  But it was just like a thought.  He wondered what it was.

‘What is your name?’

This time he was able to determine it was a computer voice, if that were the right way to put it.  He wondered how to respond to the thing.  He wondered if he should give it the name he used to enlist, or his Vulcan name, or one of the names his mother used, or …,

‘The source is not relevant.  What is your name?’

So the computer could read his thoughts, but not read his mind.  ‘Marek.’

‘Welcome, Marek.  This is the orientation to your enhancement training.  You will undergo a series of exercises to greatly enhance your natural abilities.’

And on it droned.  Marek would have rolled his eyes, had he the ability.  It seemed, even here, he could not escape those who were determined to bore him to death.

‘Give me a bloodthirsty klingon, any day.’

‘I am sorry.  Your training will not include combat with a klingon.  This is a joint effort between the Federation Marine Corps and Klingon Empire.’

‘Great.’  Marek wondered just what he had started, and if it was too late to turn it off.  Then wondered if staying alone would drive if crazy faster than this stupid computer.

 

*

 

“Incoming message.”  It was a female computer voice, a little on the husky side.

“Captain April,  USS Morass.”  He liked this voice.

“Encoded message,” the previous voice bothered him, “Priority: urgent.”

Bothered him, but not like this.

(Morass was the name of a non-human explorer.  April wondered if he were the only one to see the irony.)

He sighed deeply, shifting in the uncomfortable ready room desk chair.  “I’ll take it in here.”  He was a tall, balding man.  What hair he still had was in that stage between grey and white.  By the expression he wore, which was more common these days, he was getting bored with being a captain.  Starfleet had gotten boring.  Nothing happened, especially out here.  This was once klingon space, but they lost it in some treaty or other, and now it was being patrolled by him.  He was stuck here for the better part of the last year of his career.  The last encoded message was for an experiment.  Wow, how exciting.

April touched a part of the black glass of his desk and watched as a monitor lifted out of the far side.  He hesitated, staring at the reflection of the old man in the grim mirror.  But he could not escape yet.  “Authorization one, one, one , (sigh) April one.”

The face that appeared surprised him.  It was Andorian.  “Greetings, Captain April.  I am Niffumagar, Minister of defense. In case you were wondering.  At the time this message was sent, we have known, for eighty-six hours, of the existence of a previously unknown space station adrift in your sector.  The reason you did not detect it was we received a tight band distress signal, which was aimed directly at Sol.”

April was thinking this was a little better than another experiment.

“You were not contacted earlier because the signal was similar to the sub-space signals used last century, and we had to translate it.”  An obvious lie, which sent a chill up April’s spine.

When his orders came, the blood had drained form his face.  Boring experiments seemed far more appealing now.

 

*

(Chapter I, installment 2, follows)

 

He had no idea why his grandfather had called him.  This was his first mission of his new assignment.  Why did grandpa want to tag along?  Retired Admirals could be a nuisance, especially when they are relatives.  Especially when they seemed to be going a bit … off the deep end.

He never had much of a career.  His dad had always seemed disappointed at his lack of progress.  Now that he had made enough rank, Commander, at the age of forty-five, he had become the first officer of a large starship.  An old ship, but still large.

Gramps was not like his father, as if grandfather and grandchild had a common enemy.

“John?”

The commander lifted his balding head.  “Grandpa …, I am an active member of Starfleet; you’re retired.  I think I deserve ….”

“Johnny!”  The admiral bellowed.  As old and decrepit as he was, there was still an inner flame burning inside.  “I am going to tell you a story.  You WILL listen.”

The commander held his peace.  He thought his grandfather deserved a quiet audience.  He would, at the very least, give an old man his say.

“I am sorry.  Please, tell me yours story.  I will …, resist my instinct to interrupt.”

The admiral looked grave.  He turned very dark, then looked at his middle-aged descendant ….

 

*

 

“Push me to the statue, in the center of the room!”

John was not happy.  He was a musician, not a butler.  He resented his grandfather, and his military background.  Yet, with a look from his dad, he did as he was bidden.

His own son, a young boy, watched in non-expression, meandering in and out of barrier markers.  John Junior did not know the difference between right and wrong yet.  The bronze statues were little more than heaps of metal.

“Son,” the old man in the invalid chair said, “bring your boy close ….”

John Junior was left out; he was too young.  He could not even hear what was being said.  The little boy walked close to the statue being examined.  A guard stopped him.

It was not until many years later ….

 

*

 

“That marine was a hero.  He only got a small, man-sized statue.  But he was still a hero.  And he saved my father.”

The commander was losing patients.  “I remember that day.  It was just an old musi-“

“I’m trying to tell you somethin’!”  The old admiral was livid.  “Now you listen to me!  I was told some things you didn’t hear!  Your daddy wasn’t too understanding.  I was!”

A moment passed.  The admiral waited until his grandson was about to speak …, again, then spoke first.

“What your great-grandpa said, between your daddy’s interruptions, was …,” he waited for an interruption, “… this was the only man who could save us.  My daddy said he heard a voice, just before he was thrown clear of that damned room.  He said he heard something.”  The admiral leaned closer, speaking grimly.  “I heard a voice when we got close to this space station.”  He paused a moment.  “Keep this in mind, boy,” and he leaned even closer.

“What?  Go ahead and finish it.”  The commander had become intrigued.

The old man stared deep.  His eyes were clouded and no longer seemed focused.  “No one told me we were coming close to a station.  Ask yourself, how did I know?

“Now get going, boy.”

The commander waited a moment, then left his grandfather’s room.  He walked down the hall, more than a bit confused.

He was summoned to the bridge as he reached the turboshaft.  On his way, he listened helplessly as a medical team rushed to his grandfather’s quarters.  By the time the turbolift reached the bridge, the admiral was pronounced dead.

Duty called.

 

*

 

The away team consisted of four humans and a klingon.  They focused attention on the dome of the aged klingon station.  The Asian female pointed to a burned door panel, and one member tapped on a tricorder.

The blast doors parted, rust and corrosion slowing them some.  The light spilling out blinded the away team.  They covered their eyes, waiting to acclimate from dusk to high noon.

The klingon walked in first, looking back for permission.  The Asian nodded, so he proceeded.  A quick look around told him the most likely place to search first.  He leveled a phaser rifle at the only illuminated glass-doored booth.  Taking his left hand off the rifle, he touched the door controls.  The door jerked upward, haltingly, scraping against mineral deposits, with fog spilling out the bottom.  A body began to take form within.

A medium sized humanoid stood inside, head slightly tilted down and left, with arms crossed defensively in front.  He was dressed in the maroon uniform blouse of more than a century before.  The markings on the blouse were not Starfleet, but recognizable; the defunct Marine Corps.

Pieces of metal began to fall as the frozen air inside vaporized.  The man’s arms began to lower as well, exposing the ghostly white skin.  A light brown beard, two or three inches thick, covered his face, and the “high and tight” haircut was … low and loose.  The klingon lowered his rifle when he saw shrapnel embedded in the man’s face, most noticeably around the left eye.  Green drops began to form, then flow out the wounds.

The klingon turned to the away team.  “He is injured.”  The low rumble of the klingon voice filled the chamber.

Eyes popped open, under pain stricken eyebrows.  Green blood traced the edge of the left eye, falling like a tear.

The Starfleet trooper turned back, not soon enough to see an ancient arm swing up.  A vice seemed to clamp around his throat.  Dropping the rifle, he grabbed the hand at his neck with both of his.  But he could not budge the marine.  A gasp eked out of the alien before the rifle even hit the floor.

The marine seemed calm as could be.  The hate and pain left his face.  He lifted the klingon off the floor, straight-armed.  He was simply going to kill the klingon in the strange uniform.

A flash of blue light.  A female barked an order.  Black.

Nothing.

‘Who cares.’

 

*

 

His entire family was dead.  His last living relative had died, less than an hour ago.  He did not have time to grieve.  He was an officer in Starfleet.

“McDonald did not have time to order Franklin to lower his weapon.  Carlburg prevented him from firing a second shot, but she injured herself.  Stronge helped break the captive’s hold on Kor.  The captive was taken to a holding cell.  Kor should be back on duty within the hour.”

Captain April listened to several more minutes of the briefing.  He seemed uneasy.  The commander did not like seeing his superiors look so uncertain.

 

*

 

It was a grey haze.  His head hurt.  There were lines going into his body.  He could not move on his first try.

There was a flash of light.

He sat up.  A hole in his left arm was closing.  He looked away, then back.  He heard a piece of metal drop to the ground.  He thought it odd that a needle would still be used after all these years.

It was not a needle, though.  A flat piece of metal, shaped like an elbow, was on the floor.

He looked at his arm.  The outline of a strap was there.  The dark green imprint soon faded.  The hair under the mark was burned away, but not the hair on either side.

His head cleared.

 

*

 

“Medical emergency on Security Deck.”

The klaxon sounded an instant later.  The computer voice repeated the message three times.  The klaxon then stopped, but not the flashing red lights.

Security entered Sickbay, weapons drawn.  The high security area was empty of patients.  The doctor and nurses had little to say, and less to offer.

 

*

 

Marek was crawling through unfamiliar spaces.  He had no idea where he was.  He had no idea where he was going.

He crawled by a junction box and stopped.  Why?  Was it a feeling? Or did someone …, or something, tell him to stop?  He hesitated, looked around, then pushed himself back to the junction box.

He placed a hand on the box.  It glowed.  His hand glowed.  He was only mildly surprised.  He watched for some time, thinking something was odd about the light.  He waved his other hand behind the glowing box.  Then it struck him.  ‘No shadow.’  Only he could see the glow.

He lost track of time, but that did not concern him.  Somehow he was learning.  Things like where he was, how the ship was designed, how many people, then personnel files, and message logs.  All he caught were flashes and images, but that was enough for now.

A switch, or control.  Something happened he had not caused.  He searched for what it was, but was too unfamiliar with this … ability?

White light filled his vision; five rings circled his body.  The hum of a transporter beam.

‘Damn it.”

 

*

 

“So, what’s happening, Doctor Hooks?”

“I believe he experienced an unusual electromagnetic synthesis.  As a result, he is not subject to conventional methods of testing.”

?  “What the Hell does that mean?”

“Well, it means that he does not register on our equipment.  And, the readings we do get … are … unusual., at best.”

“Doctor!  I don’t care!  I want to know why this man could escape from the brig, then burn out a section of our computer.  And I want to know why he could evade detection for more than an hour.  I don’t think an ordinary man could do that.

“So, again, I ask you:  What is going on?  With this man?”

Pause.

“I’m waiting.”

Pause.

“That’s more than a question; it’s an order.”

“Ah …,” gulp, “I … don’t know.  The best I can say is … he’s human.  And part vulcan, most likely.  But something is stopping us from getting a full diagnostic.  Every time we start running a test our computers shut down.”

“You mean burn out?”

“No.”  The doctor’s voice was soft and matter of fact.  “The systems just … shut down.  We have to reintegrate the programming.  But when we try again, the same thing happens; it just … shuts down.”

Hmm.  “Do you have any idea why this is happening?”

‘What do I say?  I don’t want to look stupid.  But I don’t have any answers.’  “Let me do some more tests on the patient and I’ll get back to you.”

 

*

 

His head hurt.  There was … something.  But he was too groggy.  He could not focus.  The lines … kept ….

Pain.  His arm.  His mind?

Straps.  His legs would not work.  Run.  Escape.

“Help me.”

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