Star Trek TOS: The Tended Garden

Author’s Note – Fascinated by the strange goings on in the BBC’s CBeebies TV programme In The Night Garden (having a young son means one watches such kids’ programmes!),  I suddenly was struck by inspiration and penned the following story as a crossover between Kirk-era Trek and In The Night Garden – I believe this is the first of its kind anywhere.  I guess one can’t analyse a toddler programme too deeply but I have attempted to and my story also contains messages – as the best of Trek the original series did.  I also inserted typical story elements and characterisations of both programmes – for humorous purposes and I feel I am spot on in my characterisations of the original series crew – unlike many of the novels.  I hope you enjoy it…

Star Trek:  The Tended Garden

Captain’s Log, Stardate 6370.2:  Whilst doing routine mapping of the Jacobi star system, we have encountered a strange vessel orbiting a small planetoid.  The vessel gives off ambiguous readings, as does the area of space we are passing through…

 

‘Captain, sensors indicate the vessel ahead is made… of wood’ Spock said and his arched eyebrows reaching toward his hairline was the only indication of his surprise.

Wood?  How can a spacefaring vessel be made of… Uhura, hail them please’ Kirk ordered.

‘Aye, sir’ the communications officer said and then continued ‘no reply, sir’.

‘There is no communication device aboard the vessel, Captain’ Spock replied, glancing up from his scanner.

‘We’re close enough for a visual, sir’ Sulu reported.

‘On screen’.

‘What in the world!’ McCoy, at Kirk’s side exclaimed.

‘It’s a sailing boat!’ Chekov’s jaw dropped.

 

* * *

            ‘Scanning for lifeforms’ Spock said.  ‘There is one being aboard, sir’ and Sulu increased the magnification on the viewscreen.  The boat was piloted by a strange blue being and, as they watched, the red sail was taken down and it and the being vanished.

‘Was that a transporter, Spock?’ asked Kirk.

‘Negative, no transporter signature detected – the lifeform just vanished’ the Vulcan replied, then continued ‘and it has reappeared on the surface of the planetoid’.

‘Well, whatever it is, it hasn’t done anything wrong, maybe we should just leave it alone’ McCoy suggested.

‘But how can a wooden boat…!’ Scotty blustered.

‘You know what curiosity did, Mr. Scott’ Kirk chided.

‘I know this saying…’ Chekov said.

‘Don’t tell us, it was -’

‘Inwented inRussia’ the navigator finished for the Captain, with a smirk.

‘Well, ladies and gentleman, the Starfleet charter is ‘to explore strange new worlds’ – shall we do so?’ Kirk asked flippantly, a smile playing at the corner of his lips.

 

* * *

 

TheEnterpriselanding party beamed down to the planetoid and materialised amongst a group of trees in a lush, green copse, with the sunlight dappling the ground.

‘Class M… oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere similar to that of Earth… gravity point eight of Earth’s’ Spock reported, whilst looking at the tricorder’s readout.

‘Spock, sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses’ McCoy gently ribbed the first officer.

‘Negative Doctor, there are no flowers of that genus in evidence, although some of the flora is remarkably like that of your Earth’ the Vulcan replied.

‘It’s a saying, Spock, you green blooded, pointy-eared -’

‘Bones, cut it out’ Kirk ordered.

‘Sir’ McCoy said, appearing chastened but with a mischievous glint in his blue eyes.

‘Sair, look!’ reported Chekov, as he spied the furry pastel blue alien from the sailing boat.  It had a tuft of red spiky hair perched on the top of its head and was clutching a red blanket, skipping through the woods.

‘It – uh, he’s – a child, Jim’ said McCoy, waving his tricorder in the direction of the fast departing alien.

‘Mr. Spock and Lieutenant Jensen, search for any evidence of other lifeforms.  McCoy, take Lieutenant Startoris with you.  Ensign Chekov, with me’ Kirk ordered, as he followed the strange blue child.

 

* * *

 

Kirk and Chekov found the child in a clearing, dancing and emitting a squeaking sound.

‘Vhat is he doing, Keptin?’ asked the ensign.

‘Looks like he’s dancing’ Kirk answered.  ‘I assume the squeaking is his language but why doesn’t the universal translator interpret that?’

‘Maybe it’s so alien that it cannot be interpreted by the universal translator’s logic circuits’ Chekov suggested.

‘I think we need Uhura down here’ Kirk flipped open his communicator.  ‘Kirk to Enterprise’.

‘Enterprise’.

‘Lieutenant Uhura, we have a communications issue that requires your presence planetside.  Please beam down immediately’ Kirk ordered.

‘Of course, sir’ and no more than four standard minutes later, the communications officer materialised.  Kirk briefly explained the problem.

‘Ahhh, he’s adorable!’ Uhura said of the blue child, as she pointed her tricorder at him, tying it into the universal translator.

‘Squeak!’ said the alien as he continued to dance.

‘Bzzzzt’ went the universal translator in Uhura’s hand and she made a further adjustment.

‘Squeak!’ went the alien.

‘Bzzzzt’ went the translator.

‘I don’t think the squeaking is his language sir, it’s just – a noise’ Uhura reported.  ‘I think… his movements during his dance are the way he communicates’.

‘Like the way the alien empath Gem used her movements as communication…’ Kirk pondered.  Uhura hadn’t been in the landing party that time and was disappointed she hadn’t been there to learn Gem’s unique form of balletic communication.

‘Iggle Piggle’ emerged from the universal translator.

‘Sir, I think I’ve got it.  The squeaking is a rudimentary form of communication but it’s definitely the movements that convey meaning.  His name’s Iggle Piggle’.

‘Iggle… Piggle?’ Chekov snorted.  Iggle Piggle scampered further into the woods, just as Kirk’s communicator beeped with an incoming call.  He flipped it open.

‘Spock here, Captain.  We have discovered an edifice – Lieutenant Jensen calls it a ‘gazebo’ – and nearby, a small cave containing more life.  It is a tiny creature but nevertheless intelligent.  It can say a few words only and I suspect it is also a child, as per the blue lifeform’.

‘Iggle Piggle’ Kirk said.

‘I beg your pardon, Captain?’ Spock’s voice emanated from the communicator.

‘That’s the blue one’s name.  Have you communicated with who you found?’

‘Sir, he can say certain short phrases.  I believe his name is Makka Pakka’ Spock replied.

‘Bwah hahahah!’ laughed Chekov, at the funny name.

‘Ensign!  Please restrain yourself or return to the ship!’ Kirk ordered.

‘Sorry, Keptin’ said a chastised Chekov.  Just then, they heard over the communicator, Spock spluttering, as if being drowned.

‘Spock!  Come in!’ Kirk shouted into the communicator but no sound came back.

 

* * *

 

At Spock’s location, a tiny creature appeared to be washing Spock’s pointed ears with a multicoloured sponge.

‘Makka… splutter… Pakka… splutter… I do not need a wash’ the Vulcan explained, as Makka Pakka rubbed more soap onto the sponge and went to work on the stoic countenance.

‘Agga pang… mikka makka moo!’ chimed Makka Pakka.  Spock had sent Lieutenant Jensen off to investigate a strange bush-like structure nearby and he now returned, with three small aliens clothed in various polka dotted outfits.

‘Tombliboo!’ the three chimed up as they saw Spock sitting on the ground, with Makka Pakka drying him with what he had called an ‘uff-uff’.  Makka Pakka then tooted a little trumpet and that’s when Kirk, Chekov and Uhura ran up to the scene.

‘Chekov, Uhura – phasers on stun!  That little lifeform is attacking Mr. Spock!’ Kirk exclaimed.

‘No Captain, I am quite alright’ Spock replied, getting to his feet, ‘Makka Pakka was just washing my face’.

‘I… see, Spock’ Kirk smirked.  ‘Lieutenant Jensen, who do you have here?’

‘I think they’re called Tombliboos, sir.  At least that’s what they keep saying over and over’ and as he said that, the three started dancing in a formation.

‘Uhura, do you think they also communicate through a mixture of limited vocalisations and body movement?’ asked Kirk.

‘Possible, Captain but then it appears they can understand what we say.  Maybe Spock could attempt a mind meld’ Uhura replied.

‘They are children – I would not wish to frighten them, Captain’ Spock said.  Just then, Iggle Piggle wandered into view with another lifeform – this one obviously female – and they were holding hands and skipping along.

‘Upsy Daisy!’ exclaimed the new arrival.

‘Greetings, my name is Captain James T. Kir -’ but before he could finish, Upsy Daisy started dancing.  Uhura watched her movements closely, for signs of communication.

‘Look at her hair – it appears to be somewhat prehensile’ Spock commented.

‘I don’t see any snakes’ Uhura said.

‘Ah yes – you refer to Medusa, from ancient Greek mythology, whose mere gaze could turn men into stone, unless they looked at her in a reflection’ Spock replied.

‘Aah Daisy doo!’ the female said when she’d finished her dance and blew Kirk a kiss.  Iggle Piggle gave a little laugh and his shoulders shook.

‘Spock, have you studied the – ah, edifice over there?’ Kirk asked.

‘Negative Captain.  I did commence readings with my tricorder, when we heard a sound from this cave.  It was Makka Pakka sounding his instrument – which belongs to the aerophone family – and he calls it a ‘hum dum’.

‘Well, if you’re washed enough now, Spock, let’s look at this structure – maybe it’s a transporter?’ Kirk offered and they set off for what Lieutenant Jensen had called a gazebo.

 

* * *

            ‘Is it a transporter, Mistair Spock?’ asked Chekov.

‘Scanning… indications negative’ Spock replied, deep in concentration.

‘I’m reminded of Apollo’s temple, where he drew his power from’ Kirk said.

‘That’s right, Keptin’ Chekov’s eyes lit up at the memory of that particular encounter, in which they’d discovered that aliens visiting earth had become the gods of Greek mythology.

‘Negative, gentlemen – there is only a slight residual power in evidence, which appears to be generated by… fascinating’ Spock raised an eyebrow.

‘You were saying, Spock?’ Kirk prompted.

‘This structure is powered wholly by clockwork, Captain’ the Vulcan finished.

‘Clockwork?  You mean like an old-style chronometer?’ Jensen asked.

‘I believe the term was ‘wristwatch’, Lieutenant’ the Vulcan replied.  It was then that Kirk’s communicator beeped.

‘Kirk here’.

‘Jim, it’s McCoy.  Startoris and I discovered two groups of tiny aliens – like Tom Thumb I guess’.  At this, Spock raised an eyebrow – which Makka Pakka dried with his uff-uff.  ‘They live in a house that looks a lot like those on Earth two to three hundred years ago, by my reckoning.  Startoris, watch out!’ and the landing party gathered by the clockwork gazebo heard a crash and the connection went dead.

 

* * *

 

‘He’s dead, Jim’ said McCoy, shaking his head as the landing party arrived at McCoy’s location.

‘What happened?’

‘Well, that vehicle over there’ the doctor gestured behind him, ‘came bowling out of the woods and knocked over Startoris’.

‘Ah, Doctor McCoy’ said Spock, who was using his tricorder on the vehicle McCoy had pointed out, ‘how could a child’s toy run over the Lieutenant?’

‘What are you talking about, Spock –it’s a large wheeled ground veh…’ McCoy stopped as he whipped his head round.  ‘Well I’ll be a purple-headed Horta’ the doctor exclaimed.  The vehicle was sitting there on the ground at their feet.

‘Captain, as with the entire planetoid, this – ahem – vehicle – is giving off some strange readings.  I -’ and Spock’s report was interrupted by theEnterprise signalling Kirk.

‘Kirk here’ the Captain replied as he flipped open his communicator.

‘Cap’n Kirk, Scott here.  Sir, ship’s sensors are detectin’ some strange fluctuations o’ the planetoid, I’d advise caution’ the Scotsman reported.

‘Scotty, please transmit findings to Mr. Spock’s tricorder’.

‘Aye, sir’ came the reply.

‘Receiving transmission… it appears that there is a fluctuation in the area of space we are in… the laws of physics do not apply here.  It would explain why the vehicle that struck Lieutenant Startoris has shrunk.’ Spock said.

‘But Mr. Spock, ye cannae change the laws of physics!’ exclaimed Scotty over Kirk’s communicator.

‘Mr. Scott, in order for the laws of physics not to apply, we must have crossed through into a different universe – or are in a ‘bubble’’ reasoned Spock.

‘Mr. Scott, is there a danger to the landing party if we don’t all beam aboard?’ Kirk asked.

‘I wouldnae like tae say Cap’n.  It’s your call’ the Scotsman answered.

‘Scotty, I’m afraid we’ve had one casualty down here, Lieutenant Startoris.’  McCoy chimed in.  ‘Please have an anti grav stretcher standing by to take him to stasis.’

‘Enterprise, beam us up’ Kirk ordered, as the landing party gathered around him, the child-like aliens looking mystified.  Nothing happened.  ‘Enterprise, is there a problem?’

‘The transporter cannae detect your patterns sir, permission to leave the bridge and go tae the transporter room tohelpLieutenant Kyle’ Scotty replied.

‘Go, Scotty – Sulu has the conn in your absence.  Let us know what you find.  Kirk out’.

‘Well Jim, looks like we could be down here a while – let’s show Startoris some dignity.  Give me a hand here, Jensen’ McCoy said and they carried him to within the shade of a tree and looked around for something to cover him with.  The only thing they spied was Iggle Piggle’s blanket.  McCoy asked the blue alien if he could borrow the blanket and Iggle Piggle complied.  Then the collected aliens gathered in a circle round Startoris’ prone form and danced around it.

‘They think it’s a game!’ Uhura said.

‘They really are children…’ Kirk replied.

‘Ah, Captain…’ Spock sought the attention of his commanding officer.

‘Yes, Spock’.

‘The vehicle is increasing in size’ the Vulcan said, as he continued holding his tricorder towards it.  ‘Only imperceptibly but it is – ‘growing’ – for want of a better word’.

‘Wery strange’ muttered Chekov.

‘Fascinating’ Spock answered as the speed of enlargement increased and suddenly it was big enough for the landing party themselves.  They watched as the doors on each section lowered and all the aliens except Makka Pakka entered different sections of the vehicle.

‘Ninky Nonk’ squeaked Makka Pakka.

‘Sir, that is the name of the vehicle’ said Uhura, glancing at her tricorder linked to the translator.

‘Each different lifeform plays together,’ Spock said ‘but this appears to be segregation of the different species’ he continued.

‘You mean like racial segregation on old Earth?’ Uhura asked, thinking of her ancestors.

‘Nothing so sinister, Lieutenant.  Whilst they play with abandon, there does seem to be some structure to their existence’ Spock replied.  The Ninky Nonk sat there, its lights blinking, as if waiting for something.

‘I t’ink it’s waiting for us to board, Keptin’ Chekov said.

‘Could be a trap, Jim’ McCoy cautioned.

‘No, I don’t think so’ Kirk mulled it over.  ‘Uhura, Chekov, with me.  The rest of you continue to explore here’ and with that, he walked up the steps, ducking his head and squeezing through the door of the round carriage of the Ninky Nonk, followed by Uhura and Chekov.

 

* * *

 

‘Captain, we’re going to hit that tree!’ exclaimed Uhura during what had become a bouncy ride in the Ninky Nonk.

‘Hang on, everybody!’ Kirk yelled.  But the collision never came, as suddenly, the vehicle started going up the tree trunk.  The tombliboos, seated with them in the same carriage, were having a fun time.

‘But that tree wasn’t big enough for us to -’ said Uhura.

‘Sorry to appear ninky nonchalant about it Keptin’ Chekov punned, ‘but I t’ink that the vehicle has decreased in size, taking us with it’.

‘Hang on!’ Uhura shouted as they started going upside down, held in by their seatbelts, which the Tombliboos had shown them.  They weren’t used to seatbelts but the way they often got thrown around the bridge during a Romulan or Klingon attack, they should have them – maybe Scotty could fit some or maybe an integrated chair repressor field, Kirk thought idly, just as the Tombliboo’s trousers all flew off and spun around the compartment, which they found highly amusing, especially when the trousers landed on Chekov, Uhura and Kirk’s heads.  Finally, the Ninky Nonk returned to terra firma.

‘We’re back on the ground’ Uhura said.

‘You’re stating the obvious, Uhura’ Chekov said with a wry smile.

‘That’s my job, Ensign’ Uhura said coolly.

‘Heads up, people, we’re coming to a stop’ Kirk said.

‘I wonder where we’ve come to?’ Uhura said.

‘Ve’re back vhere ve started?!’ Chekov exclaimed.

 

* * *

 

‘Spock, you said there weren’t any flowers of the rose genus here – but look at this one, it sure looks pretty – ‘a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’ McCoy quoted and put his nose to the flower, to inhale its scent.  Out flew a multicoloured bee, not too dissimilar to a Terran bee and stung him on his nose; unlike Terran bees, it did not leave its sting behind, like wasps.

‘Owww!  For the love of Pete!’ he exclaimed.

‘Doctor, I do not believe we have a crewmember called ‘Pete’ – to whom do you refer?’ Spock asked.

‘It’s – owww – a saying, Spock’ explained McCoy as he fumbled in his medikit.

‘The logical thing to do would have been to scan the flower with your tricorder before placing your nose near the flower’s opening’ the Vulcan reasoned.

‘I’m a doctor, not a gardener!’ McCoy muttered, as he sprayed something from his medikit onto the end of his nose, where the bee had stung him.

‘Sirs, it’s almost like this garden has been cultivated’ Lieutenant Jensen commented.

‘You mean terraformed, Lieutenant’ Spock replied.

‘No sir, someone must tend to the garden – look over there, those upended  flowerpots by that tree and the little flowers planted around all the tree trunks – there must be a gardener somewhere…’.

‘Spock!  Bones!’ a tinny voice said, as the Ninky Nonk ground to a halt behind them.  They turned around, looked down at the toylike vehicle and saw a tiny Captain Kirk waving at them through the window.  As they continued to watch, the Ninky Nonk grew rapidly, along with the passengers and the doors opened for everyone to exit.

‘What a bouncy ride!’ Uhura said, as they watched the Tombliboos put their trousers back on.

‘Uh, Tombliboos – you have the wrong trousers on’ Kirk said and the three looked down in shock, took them off again, exchanged trousers and then put them on again.

‘Did you find out anything of interest, Captain?’ Spock asked.

‘Uh, well it was more for – uh – fun, I think’ Kirk fumbled.

‘Hm.  Fun’ Spock said disapprovingly.

‘Captain, look behind the gazebo!’ Chekov said and pointed to the strange, colourful beings that had suddenly appeared.

‘Iggle Piggle’ Kirk asked, ‘what are those called’ he asked, pointing to the bouncing things behind the gazebo.

‘Ha Hoos’ the translator echoed, as Iggle Piggle moved his arms in a circle.

‘What do they do here?’.

‘They are the Ha Hoos’ Iggle Piggle wriggled.

‘Everything here looks like it was made for or by children’ McCoy said.

‘And this garden planetoid is like the Garden of Eden’ Uhura mused.

‘Sha Ka Ree’ Spock pronounced in his native Vulcan tongue.

‘What’s that, Mr. Spock?’ she asked.

‘Vulcan too has a Garden of Eden in its prehistory, Lieutenant – we call it ‘Sha Ka Ree’’.

‘Do Vulcans still believe in a supreme being as well?’ asked Kirk.

‘Of course Captain’ the first officer replied, ‘to deny the existence of God is not logical’.

Their conversation was interrupted by a strange whomp sound and the Ha Hoos suddenly soared collectively into the sky.  The landing party’s eyes followed their rapid journey and they collectively gasped – even Spock – as they saw theEnterprise, its leading edge of the primary hull glowing white hot from entering the atmosphere.

 

* * *

 

A short while beforehand, on theEnterprise, Scott sat surveying the operations on the bridge.  He’d returned there after checking the transporter and could see nothing amiss with its circuits and left things in the more than capable hands of transporter chief Kyle.  Scott was scrolling through a couple of engineering reports when Lieutenant Davenport, the relief science officer, called from Spock’s science station.

‘Sir!  Detecting the biggest fluctuation so far, just off starboard’Davenportreported, just as theEnterpriseshuddered in response.  An alarm sounded and theEnterprise’s orbit suddenly shifted.

‘Mr. Scott, helm is not responding!’ Sulu reported.

‘We’re caught in a gravity well!’ shoutedDavenport.

‘Red alert!  Sulu, try to establish new geostationary orbit trajectory, above our last one’ Scott ordered, as Sulu wrestled with the controls and the leading edge of the primary hull hit atmosphere and started to heat up.

‘Intruder alert… intruder alert’ stated the ship’s computer suddenly, as two of the Ha Hoos appeared on the bridge.

‘What in… security to the bridge!’ shouted Scott.

‘What is it?’ asked Lieutenant Alden on communications, just as the turbolift doors parted and a security team led by Lieutenant Wood marched onto the bridge.

‘Lieutenant Wood, don’t fire until they make a hostile move’ Scott ordered.  Then the Ha Hoos started expanding.  ‘Just like old Earth balloons’ Scott continued.

‘Uh, maybe we should not fire… if they explode…’ Wood said.

‘Sir, look!’ exclaimed Sulu, pointing at the viewscreen.  On it, more expanded Ha Hoos were pressing themselves against the primary and secondary hulls of theEnterprise– they didn’t seem affected by the ship’s deflectors – and started lifting the ship out of the atmosphere.

‘We’re out!’ Sulu grinned from his panel, as he’d continued to wrestle the ship into a higher orbit with thehelpof the Ha Hoos.  With that, the Ha Hoos on the bridge suddenly vanished, followed by those outside the ship.

‘Well done, Sulu’ Scott congratulated, just as Kirk signalled the ship.

‘Scotty!  What’s happening?’ Kirk’s voice came over the bridge speakers.

‘Cap’n, the ship got sucked into a gravity well and for a short while we were forced into the atmosphere.  But then some strange inflatable – uh, thingamajigs – appeared andhelped us’ the Scotsman replied.

‘Ha Hoos’ Kirk’s voice replied.

‘Beg pardon, sir?’

‘Those ‘thingamajigs’ – which I take is an official Starfleet Corps Of Engineers technical term – are called ‘Ha Hoos, Scotty’ Kirk laughed.

‘Thank you Cap’n.  Everything is okay here now, Lieutenant Davenport and I think if we increase the sensitivity of the sensor array, that will give us more warning of any other gravity wells.  Hold, sir’ Scott was interrupted by a call from the transporter room.  ‘And you’ll be pleased to know, that has also enabled us to get the transporters up and running again’ Scott finished.

‘Good work Mr. Scott, Kirk out’.

 

* * *

 

Back on the surface, the landing party witnessed the arrival of another vehicle, though this one was airborne.  It was as colourful as the Ninky Nonk and had strange flapping parts over the hull and a slowly rotating propeller at the front.

‘Pinky Ponk’ Makka Pakka announced.

‘Highly illogical – there must be an anti gravity gyroscope mechanism inside it, as the propeller isn’t turning fast enough to lift the dirigible’ reasoned Spock.

‘Is anything as it should be, according to our physical laws, Mr. Spock?’ Uhura commented.

‘You are correct, Lieutenant, one must not assume that everything here obeys our own laws of physics’ Spock replied.  By this time, the vehicle had landed and the doors opened and from within emerged the red-clothed tiny aliens McCoy had discovered, whilst the blue-clothed aliens came running through the grass.  Both the tiny groups held old Earth-style telephone receivers and Iggle Piggle danced ‘troublephone’ and handed a larger telephone receiver to Spock, who placed it to his ear.

‘Spock, what are they saying?’ Kirk asked.

‘My mind to your mind… my thought to your thoughts… our minds are getting closer… closer… we are one…’ Spock intoned in the tradition of the Vulcan mind meld.

‘Well that’s a novel way to read someone’s thoughts’ McCoy piped up.

‘Mi-mi-mi-mi’ said Spock, connected through the troublephone to both the groups of tiny beings.  This went on for a few minutes, with Iggle Piggle shrugging his shoulders at the conversation between the tall Vulcan and the tiny beings.  Then Spock was suddenly free.

‘Well, Spock?’ Kirk asked.

‘Captain, the Pontipines – in red – and the Wottingers – in blue – are the dominant lifeforms on the planetoid, which is called the ‘NightGarden’.  During my mind meld with the Pontipine and Wottinger elders, I learned that each of the two families are gestalts – hive minds’.

‘Like bees on Earth’ McCoy interrupted, rubbing his nose.

‘Or the Kantarian bat – their venom is deadly to all humanoids’ Chekov said.

‘Well done, Ensign’ Spock said and then continued from where he had left off.  ‘The elders also said that none of the inhabitants of this planetoid know how they came to be here nor how long they have been here’.

‘Could it have been the Preservers?’ Kirk asked, thinking about the evidence uncovered on several planets, that the mysterious race had transplanted humanoid species throughout the universe.

‘It’s a possibility Captain’ Spock replied.

‘Another social experiment, like with Miri and the Onlies – the adults all died, whilst the children’s aging was slowed down?’ suggested Kirk.

‘But there are adults here – the Wottinger and Pontipine parents’ McCoy reminded him.

‘I believe, from our observations and tricorder readings, that the inhabitants of the garden have a symbiotic relationship with their surroundings’ Spock reported.

‘That they’re all tied into the ecology in some way’ McCoy said, ‘when the planetoid was threatened by theEnterprise’s descent into the atmosphere, the Ha Hoos went into action’.

‘Indeed – the Ha Hoos are the guardians of this place’ Spock reported, when a repetitive noise sounded from the gazebo and the Ha Hoos appeared behind it.  The collected inhabitants of the garden then ran and skipped to the gazebo and some tonal music started playing from an unseen speaker.  They all started dancing and in the centre, dancing along with them, was the recently-deceased Lieutenant Startoris!

 

* * *

 

‘Startoris!  What – how…!’ Kirk gasped.

‘Hello, Captain, isn’t this fun?’ the security man grinned, as McCoy waved his tricorder at him.

‘Readingsall normal… I don’t understand it’ the chief medical officer frowned, as the music ended and then birdsong could be heard, coming from a tree a few yards away.

‘The Titifers’ danced Iggle Piggle, interpreted by the universal translator, by way of explanation and Startoris handed Iggle Piggle’s red blanket back to him, just as all the dancing beings scampered off into the grassy landscape.

‘Where are they all going?’ McCoy asked.

‘They’re returning to their homes – I think it’s their bedtime’ Uhura said, as Makka Pakka gestured to the landing party members to follow him.

 

* * *

            The landing party followed Makka Pakka over a small bridge that played musical tones as they walked across it and then arrived at the cave.  Once there, the little being handed each of the landing party a stone from a pile just outside the entrance as a gift.  He then went into his cave.

‘I think Makka Pakka wants you to tell him a bedtime story, Mr. Spock’ McCoy piped up, as the little being popped his head back out of the cave entrance.

‘Vulcans do not tell or listen to ‘bedtime stories’, they study various historical and scientific texts before meditation and then sleep’ Spock said, affronted.

‘Lighten up, Spock’ Kirk prodded.

‘Hmmph’ theVulcan made a noise whilst he thought, then had it.  ‘Once upon a time, in theNightGarden, a starship came to visit.  Whilst the landing party was exploring, the starship hit a gravity well and started to endanger the garden.  The Ha Hoos went to its rescue and lifted the ship back into a stable geostationary orbit’.  The landing party applauded Spock’s storytelling and then Kirk decided to return to the gazebo just beyond Makka Pakka’s cave, for transport back to theEnterprise.

 

* * *

 

As they approached the gazebo, both the Ninky Nonk and Pinky Ponk, again miniaturised, stopped by the stone path leading to it.  Then they heard the tinkling bell sound of Iggle Piggle, as he ran past them towards the structure.

‘Wait a minute… somebody’s not in bed’ Kirk said mock-sternly and Iggle Piggle stopped in his tracks and fell over backwards.

‘Don’t worry, Iggle Piggle – it’s time to go’ McCoy said and the blue child stood up again.

‘Enterprise, seven to beam up’ Kirk ordered over his communicator and Iggle Piggle waved at their fading transporter patterns.

 

* * *

After the Enterprise landing party dematerialises and all the denizens of the garden are asleep in their beds, Iggle Piggle waves at the gardener who arrives, then returns to his boat above the plantetoid.  The gardener walks through His creation and stops by an apple tree.  He looks up at the branch where there is one missing fruit.  He sighs, then settles down beneath the tree, His back to the trunk and closes His eyes.

 

* * *

 

Back on theEnterprise, Kirk settled in the command chair and stretched his legs out in front of him.  Despite the occasional fraught moment, for the most part the mission had seemed more like shore leave.  He felt relaxed.

‘Well Jim, that was a nice place to visit… don’t you think Spock’s ears are nice and clean since Makka Pakka washed them?  They’re almost brighter than our home sun’ McCoy joked.

‘Now, now Bones’ Kirk chided, looking over at his science officer, who was frowning at yet another strange reading from the Night Garden.  For just a moment, Spock thought he saw indications of another lifeform appear suddenly, then it was quickly absorbed by the background radiation.  He made a log on the system for detailed analysis by the science department later.

‘I wonder if he got enough scientific data for his liking?’ McCoy continued.  The Vulcan’s ears had of course picked up McCoy’s voice from across the bridge.

‘Yes thank you, Doctor but sometimes one has to… ‘stop and smell the roses’ and he raised his eyebrow and gave what was the Vulcan equivalent of a smile, a slight elevation of one side of his mouth.  McCoy scowled and Kirk laughed.

‘Mr. Sulu, impulse power until we’re clear of the system and reverse on the viewscreen’ Kirk ordered.

‘Aye, sir’ Sulu replied and the viewscreen showed the garden planetoid shrinking away, until it became just another part of another constellation.

‘Mr. Sulu, ahead warp factor one’ and the vessel leaped forward, the stars becoming a blur.

 

The End

 

 Story Copyright 2011 D G Wickenden

Characters copyright 2011 CBS Studios and Ragdoll Productions

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