Twilight

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Story Notes:

This blends the old series episode, with the Next Generation Movie, “First Contact.”

Author’s Chapter Notes:

There are no chapters

TWILIGHT BY SCOTT R. MORALES Ambassador Spock entered the Vulcan-hot environment of his quarters and allowed himself the luxury of sitting in the overstuffed chair near the window overlooking the San Francisco bay. The latest round of negotiations with the Suliban had not gone as well as he would have hoped, which made the view of the old bridge and the quiet waters most inductive for meditation. He had just closed his eyes to enter a meditative state, when he heard the low beep from his computer, notifying him that a message had been received. He rose and crossed the room and touched the screen to retrieve the transmission. The message was brief and puzzling enough, that Spock consulted the code to verify its’ point of origin. One he verified the code; he noted that the carrier was from a communications frequency which had never been transmitted before. Confident that the message and the author were authentic, he sat back in his chair and considered the ramifications of the message. The simplicity and depth of emotion which accompanied the message was not lost on the half-human side of the Vulcan. ‘Take me home.” He read it once more and knew that he had to act. Matters of diplomacy put aside, Spock began to formulate a plan to accomplish the mission. With the last of the Romulans beaming off his ship, Captain John Harriman finally felt the muscles in his back relax. They had responded to a distress call from the warship and found them with the warp core on the verge of breaching. After he determined that the nearest Romulan ship to provided aid was further away than they had time before the breach, Harriman offered to beam the crew aboard the Enterprise, until the rescue ship would arrive. The Centurion was grateful, if not chagrined, to ask the Federation starship for help, but he showed himself as a man of honor, putting the good of his crew above his personal and political views of and accepting Harriman’s offer. Harriman had time to give the Centurion an abbreviated tour of the ship, before the Romulan fleet arrived. He had planned the tour, so that they would be on the bridge when the other ships arrived. The Centurion even stepped up to the viewscreen and praised Harriman and his crew for the rescue and their subsequent hospitality. The Romulan Commander on the other ship was quick to inform Harriman that the crew of the War bird was to be sent over without delay. Harriman made sure that the transport when off without a hitch and it was only after he saw the exhaust ports of the Romulans receding from his viewscreen, did he finally relax. “Mr. Sulu, set a course for the Alterron System. Warp three.” Harriman said. He rose from the command seat and made his way to the turbo lift doors. ‘I’ll be in my quarters, compiling my report.” “Captain,” the communications officer said, halting him, “There is an incoming transmission from the Federation Diplomatic Corps. It’s tagged as ‘Eyes only’, code two.” Harriman paused, and rubbed his jaw. “Send it to my quarters.” He said and stepped into the lift. He arrived a few moments later and touched his computer screen, bringing up the incoming message. “Ambassador Spock.” Harriman said the shock evident in his voice. “What do I owe the honor?” “Well, make it a double honor, ‘because I came along for the ride.” Another voice spoke up. Harriman saw that it was Leonard McCoy. “Captain Harriman, I understand that you’re ship is in the proximity of the Romulan side of the Neutral Zone.” “That is correct.” “We are leaving Starbase Fifty-Seven and hoped to rendezvous with you.” “I’m sure that can be arranged, sir. May I inquire the natural of your visit?” Harriman asked. Harriman thought that Spock looked slightly uncomfortable about the question, but his mask slid right back in place. “It is something that I am…unwilling to divulge on an open frequency. I would rather discuss the matter with you face to face.” The Vulcan answered. “I am sending you my coordinates.” Harriman examined them and looked at the chronometer. He did some calculating in his head and arrived at an answer. “If we alter course and increase speed, we can meet you at the halfway point in six hours.” Harriman said. “That would be agreeable.” Spock said. “We shall see you then.” Harriman closed the channel and contacted the bridge. “Change of plans, Mr. Sulu. Bring us about to the coordinates I’m transmitting. Increase to warp six.” “Shuttlecraft within visual range, sir.” First Officer Tracy Dane said from the science partition behind the command chair. “Put it on the screen.” Harriman answered. ‘Slow to impulse.” The smaller ship carrying the identification insignia of “The United Federation of Planets Diplomatic Corps” across its’ nose. “Clear the Shuttle bay. Tractor beam lock on and guide her in.” Harriman said. He watched the faint bluish glow of the tractor lance out and surround the ship, before rising from his seat. “I’ll be on the shuttle deck. Commander Dane, you’re with me. Mr. Sulu, you have the conn.” After the short turbo lift ride, Harriman and Dane found themselves outside of the bay, just as it finished depressurizing. Harriman typed in the lock code and the hatch slide open. Spock strode through, wearing a two piece dark blue suit, which accentuated the stark blackness of his hair and his piercing blue eyes. Behind him, Leonard McCoy walked out, carrying a small satchel and wearing a tailored brown suit. Harriman raised his hand and presented the Vulcan salute. “Peace and long live, Ambassador Spock.” “Live long and prosper, Captain Harriman.” Spock said in return. Harriman then reached out and shook McCoy’s hand. “It is good to see you both again. I wouldn’t be back out here on the frontier if you hadn’t assisted me in the Energy Ribbon investigation.” “Perhaps…” McCoy began, giving Spock a knowing eye, “You can return the favor and help us.” “Anything I can do.” He said. With that, Spock presented him with a message tape. Harriman took it and turned it over in his fingers. “What’s this?” he asked. “It is orders, from Starfleet Command, turning command of the Enterprise over to me, for the duration of this mission.” Spock said. “By order of Admiral Morrow, I am to assume that command.” Harriman seemed dumbfounded. “I don’t understand. Relieved? ‘That is correct. The orders are all on the tape.” Spock continued. ‘Please escort me to the bridge. There is much to be done and time is of the essence.” “Commander Dane, please show the Ambassador and the doctor to the bridge and stand by, until you are advised to do otherwise.” Harriman said. “If you will excuse me, gentlemen, I am going to take the time to verify these orders.” Harriman stomped off, making his way to a private alcove, while Dane escorted the pair to the bridge. He plugged in the tape and keyed in his command override code, which opened the packet. Harriman felt that the tape provided few answers. Admiral Morrow simply stated that Spock had been reinstated as a senior captain with control of this specific mission and Harriman was to follow his orders. The mission was the utmost of secrecy and information was on a “Need to know” basis only. Morrow concluded that even the acknowledgement of these orders were to be done by a private frequency set up for just this case. Harriman clicked off the tape and removed it. It took the nearest lift and when he arrived, he found Ensign Sulu standing by the helm, while Spock occupied the seat. He was typing in a series of coordinates, which were locked in with a command code. The ship immediately jumped to high warp. Harriman stood with his arms crossed and glared at the Vulcan. “Where are we going, Ambassador?” he said quietly. “I am unable to divulge that information, at this time, Captain. But, please, be assured, that no harm will come to the ship or crew on this mission.” Spock said, rising from the seat. Sulu slid in and with a glance from Harriman, attempted to bring up the information which had been entered. “The coordinates are encrypted by a code of my own creation. The only way to circumvent them would be to fire a phaser, set on level ten, at the memory core of the main computer. Of course, doing this would do irreparable damage to the core, as well as destroy key functions in this ship.” Spock said, off handedly. “In other words, Captain…enjoy the ride.” McCoy added. “Ambassador…I would like to speak with you and the doctor in my briefing room, please.” Harriman said. He led the men to a small office set off on the side of the bridge, a new design on an old idea. When the door closed, Harriman turned to Spock and McCoy. “I want to know what the hell is going on!” Harriman demanded. “If you needed a ride to a top secret location, all you had to do was ask. I take it as a personal affront, that you would backdoor me like this.” McCoy stepped forward, placing his hand on Harriman’s shoulder. “John, we would really like to bring you in on this…and when the time is right, we will, but right now, we have to keep this totally off the radar.” “I want to know why?” Harriman pressed. “We are keeping a promise that we made more than a quarter of a century ago.” Spock said. “We are honoring a great man’s wish. Other than that, you must trust us.” Harriman looked at Spock and was amazed at the passion in his words. He saw the same sort of passion in the eyes of McCoy. “All right. I’ll follow your orders. But, I’m holding you to your promise.” He said. “No harm will come to my crew and my ship.” “Agreed.” Spock and McCoy said in tandem. “Well, since Demora doesn’t have anything to do for the next…” “Four point seven hours…” Spock interjected. “…I’ll have her show you to your quarters.” Harriman said. He touched a button on the desk and called for Sulu to step inside. She walked and McCoy took her by the hand. “You are the prettiest course that Hikaru every navigated, little lady.” Harriman gave her instructions and she left with the two men in tow. After they left, Harriman turned the tape around in his hands. He slid it back inside his tunic and stepped out onto the bridge. Harriman poured himself drink and pointed the neck of the ale bottle at Dane, who, along with Doctor Metcalfe, had joined him for a nightcap. “There is nothing worse than being a captain with his hands tied. These sealed coordinates…the secured tape message…the ‘Need to Know’ orders…none of this sits well with me.” Harriman said. He decided that he would just have the one, to keep himself from raving like a paranoid lunatic. “Is it me, or does this whole thing just stinks?” “You know, he requested another set of quarters be prepared…Earth normal environment.” Metcalfe said. “So, apparently, whoever we are going to see is human.” “You know what it reminds me of?” Dane said, downing the contents of her glass. “Talos IV.” Harriman thought about it and gave her a quizzical look. “Remember. Spock defied General Order Seven and transported Captain Pike to Talos IV.” She said. “I remember the incident. What about it?” Harriman asked. “Do you know how he did it?” She posed. Harriman shook his head. “He faked orders, giving him command of the Enterprise. Hell, he even stranded Captain Kirk back on the starbase. The only reason he even made it back to the ship, was that the shuttlecraft passed the point of no return, fuel-wise, and Spock felt obligated to rescue him.” Dane said. She saw the looks on both Harriman and Metcalfe’s faces. “Hey, I’ve read every star date and personal log entries on every voyage of the Enterprise. It’s a hobby of mine. You know what they say…’those that do not learn from their history…” “…are destined to repeat it.” Harriman finished. He slipped the tape from his jacket and looked at it. “Do you think he could be trying the same thing again?” “I guess you won’t know unless you contact Admiral Morrow yourself.” Metcalfe said. ‘Or, that’s how I see it.” Metcalfe finished his drink, while Dane begged off heading to the bridge for her tour of duty. Harriman sat quietly in his quarters, when he had an idea. He brought up the tape and reviewed it once more, before contacting Spock and McCoy in their quarters. “Yes, Captain. How may I assist you?” “You can cut the deception, Ambassador. I know that you doctored the tape and these orders are forged. Now, I demand that you tell me what is going on, or I’ll clap both of you in irons and lock you in the brig myself!” Harriman said. Spock tucked his hands into his meditation robe and gave McCoy a sideways glance. McCoy put his hands up in surrender and sat down heavily in the chair. “Alright, Captain. You win” he said. Harriman struggled to keep the surprise from his face at the admission. He looked at Spock, who opened his hands offered him a seat. “I am curious, Captain. How did you discover the truth?” the Vulcan asked. “My documentation was flawless.” Harriman sat down and crossed his arms. “I was reminded of your mission to Talos IV and put two and two together.” He said. He then let a smile escape his lips. “And, to be honest with you…I was bluffing.” “You son of a bitch!” McCoy said with a smile. “Dammit Spock, he played us like Jim did Blalock.” Spock raised an eyebrow and shook his head slowly. “Highly illogical.” Two hours later, Harriman left their quarters and made his way to the bridge. When he emerged, he saw Dane sitting in the command chair. Walking to her, she saw him smiling. “What?” she said teasingly. “Oh, nothing. Just remind me next time we go to Pacifica for R and R, I owe you the most expensive dinner I can afford.” He said. With that, he left the bridge and headed to his bed. Four days later, Spock took the command chair. “Slow to impulse, Helmsman.” He said. Dane scanned the star charts and glanced up at Harriman, who was standing at her shoulder. “We are entering the Gamma Canaris system.” She said. “There are several planetary bodies with life signs; a couple are class ‘M’.” Harriman nodded and walked up to Spock. “We will follow this course for another two point four hours. That will put us within transporter range of the planetoid we seek.” Harriman nodded his approval. He remembered the conversation with the elder officers. They would not give specifics, other than to tell him that they had encountered an individual in their first tour of duty. He had been lost in space, but had found a desire to stay on the planet. He asked that they keep his secret and not let the universe know that he was there. Then, a few days before Spock contacted Harriman, he had received a message from the individual asking that he be returned home. Spock answered his request and the only caveat, was that the ship that would transport him, be named Enterprise. Spock refused to identify the man, other than to say that he had a profound effect of human and Vulcan history. Harriman accepted his explanation and once he realized that Spock was withholding the person’s identity purposely, to tweak Harriman’s interest, he decided to not press the matter any further. Now, in just over three hours, his answer would be there. He could wait. The ship pulled into orbit around a rather unremarkable planetoid, sitting in the barren sea of space. Spock and McCoy had dressed in their standard Starfleet uniforms and when the ship established its’ orbit, Spock rose from the command seat and walked toward the turbo lift, with McCoy and Harriman at his heels. They arrived at the transporter room and within seconds, the trio found themselves standing on the earth of the planet. McCoy pulled out a tricorder and scanned the area. “I am detecting life signs fifty-eight degrees north northeast.” He said. They walked a short time, then rounded a craggy mountain face and entered a small valley. Sitting in the center was a large, but rather modest house. Spock raised his eyebrow. “It appears that he has added to the original structure.” “Looks like Jim’s idea to leave behind tools, materials and a subspace radio panned out. I remember how ticked off Scotty was when we told him to beam all of it down, without explanation.” McCoy said. “And, it would take that computer bank that you call a brain to remember the exact frequency that he would use.” “I was as surprised as you were when I received the transmission on my terminal.” Spock began. They walked up to the front door and Spock knocked on the door. When they received no answer, McCoy walked around the house, looking into the windows. He had disappeared from their sight, when they heard him call out. “Spock! Harriman! Come back here!” Harriman drew his concealed phaser and ran to the rear, joined by Spock. When the rounded the structure, they saw McCoy standing next to a freshly filled grave. There was a stone in place, but no name upon it. “This explains much, I think.” Spock said. “Yes it does, Mister Spock.” A voice said from behind them. Harriman spun around leveling the phaser at the voice. “I don’t think you’ll need that, young man.” the man said. He stood, braced by a cane and slightly stooped. His hair was streaked with gray and he had a few more wrinkles, but overall, he hadn’t changed that much since they last saw him twenty nine years before. “Doctor McCoy, it’s good to see you. I had hoped that Captain Kirk would have made the journey.” The man said. “The captain…is no longer with us.” Spock said. He looked at Harriman, who appeared to be searching his memory to remember where he had seen this man before. “Captain John Harriman…allow me to introduce Zephram Cochran.” It took a few seconds for the realization to set in. “That’s impossible. This man can’t be any more than sixty-five, seventy years old. If this is Zephram Cochran, then he would be…” “Two hundred and sixty-six years old, captain.” Cochran said. “But, thank you for the compliment.” McCoy motioned to the grave. “Nancy?” he asked. “Yes…she passed about a month ago.” Cochran said. The sadness was heavy in his voice. “The children are still having a hard time dealing with her death.” “Of course,” McCoy said, “That explains the other life signs.” “Kids…we have visitors!” he yelled. A few minutes later, four handsome young adults appeared with them. “Gentlemen, these are our children” Cochran said. “Deanna is the oldest, and then Lillie, Sloan, and Will is our youngest. Kids, this is Mister Spock and Doctor McCoy.” “Dad has told us about you gentlemen.” Deanna said. She turned to Harriman, extending her hand and taking his in hers. “Are you James Kirk, captain of the Enterprise?” “Uh…no. I’m John Harriman, current captain of the Enterprise.” “Lillie, won’t you go and make us some lemonade.” Cochran said. “I’m sure that these gentlemen have a thousand questions and it is much cooler in the dayroom.” Lillie ran on ahead, while Harriman noticed that Deanna kept sneaking glances in his direction and smiling shyly. McCoy was amazed at how large the house was inside, which he realized was out of necessity. Cochran explained to Harriman how he came to space to die, only to he rescued by the entity, which he called “The Companion.” He spent the next one hundred and fifty years in solitude. Sensing that he was lonely, the Companion sought out and shanghaied the shuttlecraft Galileo and brought the Enterprises’ command crew, along with Commissioner Nancy Hedford, who was being brought back to the ship to be treated for an illness. While on the planet, her condition worsened. Cochran realized that he had fallen in love with her, when at the point of her death, the Companion joined with her, giving up her immortal life force, to keep Hedford alive. Offered with the choice of staying on the planet with Hedford or leaving her alone, Cochran chose to stay and grow old with her. He asked Kirk not to tell anyone about him. Kirk kept his promise, even to the point of his death. Thirsty from speaking, Cochran was relieved when Deanna and Lillie brought in a sweating pitcher of iced lemonade and freshly made cookies. Sloan stood by, beaming. “The lemons are from our own orchard, which I tend myself.” She said proudly. The kids spent the next hour peppering the Starfleet officers with questions about life in the galaxy. Spock was especially patient as he answered them, until Cochran shooed them away. Deanna was the last to leave, casting a smile to Harriman before she left. “You have some great kids there, Zephram. You both must be very proud.” McCoy said. “Deanna wants to be a doctor or a psychiatrist, Leonard. Her namesake was a counselor of sorts.” Cochran said. He laughed lightly. “She couldn’t hold her tequila, though.” “Will has great aptitude for higher mathematics. It took him only two years to duplicate my original warp theory.” He said. Then his face got somber. “Being the youngest, he has had the toughest time dealing with his mother’s death. He just wonders off into the woods for days afterwards.” He stood and walked over to a bar and pulled out a dusty bottle of Kentucky whiskey. He wiped the bottle off and unscrewed the top. “You don’t want to know how old this is.” He said, pouring them all drinks. He swallowed his in one gulp and savored the smooth flavor. “It was Sakuro’s that took her, Doctor. Remember? The disease she had when she was brought here?” McCoy sipped his drink and peered over the glass at Cochran. “I thought that she was cured of it when the Companion joined with her?” he said. “It did. But over time, the companion became weaker and weaker. The disease came back with a vengeance. He stepped over to the window and looked out at the grave.” We had a good twenty-nine years together. But the last few months…the Companion drew every last erg of energy from the planet to fight the disease, but it just wasn’t enough.” He turned away from the window, his eyes damp from tears. “We discussed leaving here shortly before she died. She said that she wanted the children to see the galaxy the way she had…the way I had.” He said. “When she died, I knew that there was nothing else holding us here. That’s when I decided to call you, Mister Spock.” “So, you want us to take you back to the galactic community then?” “I was thinking of Earth or Alpha Centauri, actually, since that was the last place that I lived. I figured that the kids would be accepted there without any problems and they could grow up normal, viable individuals.” Cochran said. “When I left the galaxy, I wanted to die. Living with the Nancy has taught me to live and that my kids come first. I want them to have the best of everything I can give them. Here, they are restricted. Out there…they can accomplish anything.” “What about Mom?” Will said, storming into the room. “You just want to get the hell out here. This is our home, dad. This is mom’s home!” “Will.” Zephram began, “I loved this place because of your mother. But, now that she’s gone, you and your sisters should have the opportunity to see the universe like I have. Lord knows, it’s changed in the hundred and seventy-odd years I’ve left it, but that just makes it more exciting.” “Mom gave up everything for you, Dad. She let the Companion join with her, and her life emanates from this place. She may be dead, but she’s not gone.” “Son, we have to accept the fact…” “I’m not leaving Mom here, Dad. I’m not leaving her.” Will said. He stormed out of the room, slamming the door so loud it attracted his sisters. “He’ll calm down, Dad. He just needs a little time.” Deanna said. “Anyway, should I make sleeping arrangements for our guests?” “None for me.” Harriman said, standing. “I must be returning to my ship. Ambassador? Doctor?” “I believe we will stay, if it is not inconvenient to you.” Spock said. Deanna showed some disappointment that Harriman wasn’t staying. She still gave him a smile and left, to prepare the others their rooms. “Then, I will bid you good evening, gentlemen.” Harriman said. He extended his hand to Cochran. “Sir, it would be a pleasure to take you and your family anywhere in the galaxy.” ‘Thank you, Captain. I appreciate your kindness.” Harriman called for a beam up and when he found himself whole on the transporter pad, he saw Commander Dane waiting for him. “Commander…do I have a tale to tell you.” Harriman was asleep, when he felt himself pushed out of his bunk. When he untangled himself for then blankets, the ‘Red Alert’ klaxon was sounding. He made his way to the intercom. “Harriman here. What’s happened?” “Captain, “Sulu answered. “We have been pushed away from the planet at warp five. The inertial dampers took the brunt of it, but we still sustained some structural damage to the secondary hull.” “Set a return course, warp eight. I’m on my way to the transporter room.” Harriman said. As soon as the ship was within transporter range, he mounted the pad. “I’m reading a massive electrical disturbance on the surface. Transport could be tricky.” The transporter chief said. “Put me down close enough for me to see it.” Harriman said. He drew his phaser and the chief beamed him down. When he materialized, he found himself in the edge of the storm. He scanned the disturbance and saw Cochran standing in the middle of it. He advanced toward him, when a tendril reached out and batted him away. “No more, do you hear! No one else is getting hurt!” Cochran yelled over the storm. Harriman brushed himself off and made his way toward him. He could see his daughter standing in the doorway of the house. “What is it, Cochran. I thought this Companion was gone when your wife died?” He screamed. “DON’T YOU TALK ABOUT MY MOTHER!!” A voice from the midst of the storm bellowed.” The edges of the storm drew inward, and Harriman saw that it had Spock and McCoy wrapped in its’ clutches. Cochran yelled once again. “You will not hurt my friends, Will. Put them down.” “I’M NOT LEAVING HER HERE!” “Then,” Harriman said, stepping once again towards the storm, “We will take her with us. She can be buried where you chose.” Cochran looked to Harriman and nodded. “We’ll take her with us, son. We’ll take her with us.” The storm grew in intensity, and then began to subside. It set Spock and McCoy down outside of the house. As it died down, he saw it began to form into a shape. When it was gone, only Will Cochran remained. Zephram walked toward his son and hugged him. Will collapsed in his father’s arms and cried. “I’m sorry, Dad. I just miss her so much.” He said. “I know, son. I know.” Cochran said. He held his son tightly, and then felt the strength of other arms, as the rest of his children joined around him, holding them both. . “He began manifesting his powers when he turned sixteen.” Cochran said. He and his family had settled in their quarters aboard the Enterprise, for the return trip back. “Nancy tried to help him control it, but what can a parent tell a teenager? He had it pretty much under control, but I guess the stress of his mother’s death brought it back out. Eventually, his powers will fade.” “Are you going back to Alpha Centauri?” McCoy asked. “No. I asked Captain Harriman to take us back to Earth. Lillie’s buried in Montana. And, I want my children to see where it all began for me.” “Nancy is secure in stasis in the Cargo deck.” Harriman said. “She will be fine until we can properly bury her at the location of your choosing.” “To the Great Zephram Cochran.” McCoy said, raising his glass in a toast. “The galaxy will stand on its collective ear.” “’Don’t be a great man, just be a man and let history make its own decision’” Cochran said, draining his glass. “I’ve heard that quote before.” Harriman said. “Who said that?” “I did,” Cochran said. “About a thousand years ago.” “Things have certainly changed in your absence, sir.” Harriman said. “True. But, some things haven’t.” Cochran said. He accepted another glass from McCoy. “Take this ship, for example. I’m glad to see that they kept the basic design of Archer’s Enterprise.” “It’s a good design. Where did you ever come up with it?” Cochran swirled his drink around in his glass and peered through it, as he once peered through his telescope at the night sky over Montana and saw for the first time the starship from the future. “That, sir, is a fascinating story.” He said. “We live in fascinating time.” Harriman said, settling in as the older man regaled him with the tale. THE END

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