Union of Treks

Union of Treks

Captain’s Personal Log, Stardate 48192.3:
We are approaching Harmonis – yet another red planet.   Time and time again, I have asked for another colored planet, but they keep giving me these red ones.   Damn Starfleet.   We are here to receive a Starfleet dignitary who is to brief us on an imperative situation which has arisen.
Ah, here comes that imbecile Riker.   I suspect he is after my job.
*
“Captain, we’re approaching the planet Harmonis,” Data reported.
“Thank you, Mister Data,” Picard said.   He turned to Riker.   “Excuse me while I approach the viewer and frown some,” he told his first officer.
“By all means, sir,” Riker said.
Picard rose, approaching the viewer in his casual, yet speculative style.   “Lieutenant Worf,” he said finally.
“Yes, sir?” the Klingon asked.
“Advise me.”
“We should attack,” Worf said eagerly.
“Hmmm,” Picard mused thoughtfully, resting his chin on one hand.   “No, I don’t think so,” he said finally.   “We haven’t established a firm storyline yet.   Open a frequency instead.”
“Aye, sir.   Frequency open, sir.”
Picard nodded his acknowledgement.   “This is Jean-Luc Picard, Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise.”
“Hello, Captain,” the response came back, as the viewer flickered to the image of an elderly gentlemen.   “Good to see you.”
“Thank you,” Picard nodded once more.   “Starfleet’s advised that you’ve a dignitary for us.”
The old man nodded.   “We’ll beam him across,” he said.
Then the viewer flickered off.
“What a strange exchange.   Counselor, did you receive anything from him?”
“Only minute perceptions, but nothing focused.”
“Do you ever receive any focused sensory input?”
“No, of course not.   Things would be too easy then.”
“Of course.”
“Sir,” Riker broke in, “I would advise going down to meet this dignitary in the transporter room.”
“Yes, of course.   Data, Worf, come with us.” The two of them rose, leaving some moronic and speechless unknowns to fill their positions as Picard led them out.
*
“I wonder who it could be,” Riker mused, once they were in the transporter room.
“Well Starfleet’s been extremely abstract about this whole affair,” Picard said.   “Some unspecified item stolen from a Starbase, an unknown dignitary coming aboard the ship.   You know, Starfleet can be annoying at times with all these precautions they take.”
“You think something important is going on?” Riker asked.
“No doubt.”
“Sir,” Transporter Chief O’Brien interjected, “Harmonis is signaling readiness to beam over the dignitary.”
“Excellent,” Picard said.   “Confirm.”
“Can I have another line?”
“No,” Picard refused.
Swearing under his breath, O’Brien engaged the transporter.    The beam suffused the pads in its gentle blue light, brightening until a humanoid form took shape there.   Then gradually, it faded to reveal none other than…
“Mister Spock!” Picard exclaimed, somewhere between bewilderment and genuine delight.
“Spock!” Riker said, just as emotional.
“Mister Spock!” Data said, with as much feeling as the android could muster.
“Romulan!” Worf cried out in warning, reaching for his phaser.
“No, Worf,” Picard said quickly, reaching out with a hand to stop him.   “It’s Mister Spock;   you remember him, don’t you?”
Worf’s eyes narrowed speculatively.   “Oh yes,” he said.   “Sorry.”
“Fascinating,” Spock iterated, studying Worf.   “I must attempt to mindmeld with it.”
“Perhaps later,” Picard suggested.   “Perhaps you would care to explain the situation to us first?”
“Yes, of course,” Spock nodded.   “Lead the way.”
Picard nodded and led them out.
“I wish I’d had another line,” O’Brien said after they were gone.
*
In chambers, all the officers had gathered to listen to Spock.    “We’ll be proceeding to Starbase #618 to pick up a technical device important to the accomplishment of our mission,” he said.
“What is it?” Riker asked
“Allow me to remain mysterious awhile,” Spock said.   “That way, you can talk about the validity of what I say behind my back later.”
“Oh, of course,” Riker said.
“Instead, let me advise you of the situation,” Spock said.    “An item of irreplaceable value has been stolen from Starbase #3 by the Ferengi.   Currently, the U.S.S. Detroit, captained by one Jesse Brown, is in pursuit.   We have been ordered to intercept and lend assistance once we reach Starbase #618.”
“Jesse Brown,” Picard spoke up.   “We went to the Academy together.   Why I haven’t seen him in years.”
“Yes, of course,” Spock said.   “Now logic would suggest that Captain Brown’s death will shortly be forthcoming.”
“What?” Picard scoffed.   “I don’t understand.”
“He is referring to the simple but poignant fact that not one of your old friends has ever survived in this series,” Data pointed out.   “They all die shortly after your initial reunion.    To put it simply, you are a jinx, Captain, a bad omen, a-”
“Enough, Mister Data,” Picard said.
“Aye, sir.”
“So what do we do?” Picard asked.
“Conveniently, our arrival at the Starbase #618 will put us in range for subspace communications with the U.S.S. Detroit,” Spock explained.   “After Captain Brown and the Detroit are destroyed, we’re to take up the chase.”
“And this device;” Riker said, “are you sure you can’t tell us what it is?”
“I’m afraid that must remain a secret,” Spock persisted.
“A secret?” Riker didn’t look happy.   “We’re not a taxi-service, Mister Spock!
“Number One,” Picard calmed him down.   “What have the Ferengi stolen, Mister Spock?”
“I’m afraid that must also remain confidential,” Spock said.
“What can you tell us then?” Picard asked.
“That I am to give this vessel a thorough once-over,” Spock said.    “Too many anomalies have been popping up of late.   Starfleet’s concerned.”
“What systems do you plan to investigate, honky?” LaForge asked.
“All of them,” Spock said.   “Now, if you could please make all the arrangements, Captain.”
“Of course,” Picard nodded solemnly.
*
“This, of course, is the holodeck,” Riker said.
“Of course,” Spock said.   “Show me a sample program.”
Riker nodded.   “Computer,” he said, “please choose and initiate a program at random.”
“Program initiated, sir,” the computer responded.
The doors to the holodeck opened slowly.   From within came the sound of moaning.   When the doors had opened to their fullest, a waft of hot steam rushed out, and through it, they could see a number of beautiful naked woman awaiting them in a sauna.
“Whoa, Commander!” Wesley exclaimed.   “Your aerobic’s program!”
Riker blushed a little.   “Computer,” he said, “choose another program.” Then, “Wesley, how did you know what that was?”
Wesley looked uncomfortable.   “A lucky guess?” he put forward abashedly.
“Fascinating,” Spock said.
“Program initiated,” the computer said.
Now, the holodeck was furnished in a luxurious red, a table as big as a tennis-court against the furthest side.   Behind it, frozen in stasis, were two old men, one seated, another standing and waiting patiently with his hands behind his back.
“What is this?” Spock asked.
“Computer,” Riker said, “identify program.”
“Captain Picard’s James Bond scenario,” the computer responded.   “He was getting a little tired of Dixon Hill.”
Spock arched a solitary eyebrow.
“Well he’s got the accent for it,” Riker said.   “Do you want to interact with the program, Mister Spock?”
“Not yet, thank you,” Spock said.   “Statistics would tell us that the holodeck only has a five per cent successful functioning rate.   Were I to enter, and interact with the program, it would undoubtedly short-circuit and trap me in there while a vital moment expended itself on the bridge – a moment, no doubt, perhaps only I could handle.”
“So what’re you saying, sir?” Wesley asked.
“Perhaps later,” Spock said.
“Oh, of course,” Riker said.
“Commander Riker,” Picard’s voice sounded through his communicator.
“Yes, sir?”
“Is Mister Spock with you?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Excellent.   Mister Spock, we’re arriving at the Starbase #618.   Would you join us on the bridge, please?”
“Of course, sir.   Commander, if you would lead the way.”
“Certainly, sir,” Riker agreed.
Minutes later, they were on the bridge, the face of an old and fragile man on the viewer.   He was sweating and trembling profusely.   “Oh,” he was saying, “about time.   Take this device away from me – please!   It’s driving me mad with temptation.”
“Of course,” Picard nodded, turning and indicating to Worf to mute the frequency.
“What’s happening, sir?” Riker asked.
“It would seem that Lt. Belkis there,” Picard indicated the man on the viewer, “is proving somewhat over-eager in shipping off this device.   Counselor, can you sense anything?   Are you getting anything from him?”
“The Lieutenant is feeling extremely nervous, Captain,” Troi answered.
“Well anybody can tell that by the way he’s sweating,” Picard pointed out.
“And he’s also agitated.”
“That’s also obvious by the way he’s trembling,” Riker added.
Picard turned to Spock.   “What is this device?” he asked.    “What is it, that could evoke such agitation?”
“If you will, Captain, beam it over, and I will show you,” Spock answered.
Picard nodded.   “Lt. Worf, please make the preparations,” he said.
“Aye, sir.”
*
They were in Cargo Bay #1.   The device beamed over looked something like a huge egg, as tall as Spock himself, and glossed over in a dull blue sheen.   On one side was a console.
“What is this, Mister Spock?” Riker asked.
“A time-teleportation device,” Spock answered.
“What?”
“This device allows us to beam any one figure out of the past,” Spock went on.   “In effect, it is almost a time-machine.”
“Intriguing,” Data said.
“But won’t that affect the time-space continuum?” Dr.    Pulavski asked.
“Not if we were to beam the figure just moments before his death.”
“And just who do we plan to bring back?” Picard asked.
“Admiral James T. Kirk,” Spock smiled.
*
“Computer,” Picard called, “abridged recall of Admiral Kirk’s history and death?”
“Admiral James T. Kirk,” the computer began, “hero of the Federation, responsible for the instigation of the first steps toward the Federation-Klingon alliance, savior of Earth on several occasions – in particular, against V-GA, and when he brought humpback whales out of the past – died by electrocution when he attempted to remove a piece of bread from his toaster with a fork.”
“Intriguing,” Data said.
Riker was grinning.   “That’s the way I want to go,” he said proudly.
Meanwhile, Spock’s fingers were dancing across the console of the device.
“I can now understand Lt. Belkis’ trepidation,” Picard said.
“You’re not going to get all moralistic and sermonizing on us, are you, Captain?” Riker complained.
“Yes.   Just imagine the possibilities,” Picard went on.   “You could bring back lost loves, beam away key figures who were responsible for shaping history.   The possibilities are endless.   Mister Spock, who created this?”
“We don’t know,” Spock answered.   “Conveniently, we found it to suit this storyline.   Ah, there, the programming is complete.” He pushed a button and said, “Initiate.”
The egg-shaped device flared with brilliant white light, forcing them all to turn away for fear of being blinded.   When they looked back, a seam had appeared straight down the center of its glossy exterior.   Slowly, it parted to reveal Admiral James T. Kirk with a fork in hand.
“Spock!” he exclaimed.   “What’s happened?   Who’s this bald guy?   Doesn’t he understand the magic of a hairpiece?”
Kirk, although obviously in his late fifties, or early sixties, still retained a note of vigor about his appearances.    He was dressed in the old Starfleet uniform.
“Jim, welcome to the 24th century,” Spock said.
Picard’s communicator beeped.   “Yes?” he said, opening a connection.
“Captain,” Worf’s voice rumbled, “we are now in range to communicate with the Detroit.”
“Very good, Mr. Worf.   We’ll be on the bridge shortly.” Picard closed the connection and turned to the others.   “Gentlemen, if you will.”
They followed him into a Turbolift and up onto the Bridge.    On the way, Spock apprised Kirk of the situation, telling him as much as he had told the others.
As they entered the Bridge, Worf said, “We have the Detroit on visual.”
The viewer flickered to reveal a man of about Picard’s age.    He was black, although his hair was graying, and had an affable, immediately likeable face.   “Jean-Luc,” he said, as if in shock, “don’t-!”
“Hello, Jesse,” Picard greeted him with genuine warmth.
“Shit, that’s torn it!” Captain Jesse Brown swore.
“Captain, unidentified vessel approaching from astern,” they could hear somebody on the Detroit shout out.   “She’s arming photons!”
“Shie-” Jesse Brown began.
Then there was a flare, and the Detroit was gone.
Data was looking at his sensors.   “It would appear the Detroit has been destroyed,” he said.
Picard sank mystified into his chair.   “My old friend,” he said.   “Dead?”
“Yes,” Spock said coldly.   “Your greeting was enough to condemn him instantly.”
“The enemy vessel has disappeared on an unknown heading at Warp speed, Captain,” Data reported.
“It is of no consequence.   We must now take up the Detroit’s pursuit of the Ferengi vessel,” Spock advised.
Picard nodded.   “Set a course to intercept the Ferengi, Mr. Data,” he said numbly.
“Aye, sir.”
“If you will excuse me now, Captain Picard,” Spock said, “but I must talk at length with Admiral Kirk.”
Picard nodded, and Spock led Kirk out.
*
“Were you receiving anything from those two, Counselor?” Riker asked Troi.
“As a Vulcan, Spock’s mind is closed to me,” Troi said.    “And Admiral Kirk hasn’t seemed to have adapted to the present situation, so his mind was almost completely confused.”
“Almost?” Picard asked.
“He did have certain lurid thoughts about me,” Troi admitted.
“Oh,” Picard said.   “This whole thing is rather mysterious.    What could have been stolen that would warrant such extremes as to have Admiral Kirk brought back from the past to assist us?    Whatever it is, it must be vital to our existence.” He coughed.
“Something wrong, Captain?” Riker asked.
“Just a moment of dizziness,” Picard said.
“Perhaps you should see Doctor Pulavski,” Troi suggested.
Picard nodded.   “Perhaps later,” he said.
*
“You can’t be serious, Spock!” Kirk exclaimed, after he’d been told everything.   “They couldn’t have stolen that!”
“They have, Jim.   Now you see how imperative our mission is, and why I endeavored to bring you out of the past.”
“You did the right thing, Spock.”
“Thank you, Jim.   I try to.”
“But what can I do?   Surely that bald guy’s competent enough to handle this?”
“He is, Jim, but I am afraid my presence here will endanger his judgement.   And I am sure other circumstances will arise which will compel his attention.   In such a case, I think only you could take his place.”
Kirk nodded.   “I’ll try to, Spock,” he said.   “I’ll try to.   But I’m not going to shave my head.”
*
“It seems you have some sort of virus, Captain,” Pulavski said.
“What sort, Doctor?   Be specific.”
“I can’t be sure, Jean-Luc.   It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before, but I’m sure – as far as viruses aboard the Enterprise go – that it’s incredibly contagious.   We’re going to have examine the whole crew.”
“Is it fatal?”
“We can’t be sure, yet.”
“Well do what you have to do, Doctor.   I’ll be on the Bridge.”
Picard left her, and out in the corridor, he felt a momentary urge toward excessive violence.   He fought it down, regained his composure, and continued on his way.
*
“Ferengi vessel in range,” Worf reported.
“On viewer,” Picard said.
The Ferengi ship appeared on the screen, moving away from them at Impulse Speed.
“Open a frequency, Mister Worf.”
“Aye, sir, frequency open.”
“Ferengi vessel, this is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise,” Picard introduced himself.   “I instruct you to come to a complete stop and return the Federation property you have stolen.”
The Ferengi Damon appeared on the viewer.   “Never, Captain,” he said.   “We would rather die first.”
The viewer flickered off.
“Mr. Worf, arm a single photon and target their engines.”
“Aye, sir.”
“Fire!” Kirk shouted impulsively.
Worf fired, the photon striking the Ferengi vessel just under the hull.   There was a tremendous explosion.
“They are slowing, Captain,” Data said.
“Excellent.   Raise shields and prepare a tractor beam.”
“Shields and tractor beam inoperative, sir,” Data said.
“Captain, I’ve lost thruster control,” Wesley said.
“What’s happening?”
The Enterprise grounded to a halt, coming to a dead stop.   In front of them, the Ferengi vessel did the same.    The two ships loomed in space, capable of incredible destruction at any one time, and yet presently impotent.
“All offensive ship systems are down, Captain,” Data said.
Then a deep, booming voice sounded in the Bridge.   “Listen,” it began peevishly, “I’m sick of your violence, okay?    I’m just sick of it!   Are you listening?”
“Who are you?” Picard said, rightly identifying that the voice wasn’t Ferengi.
“I am Orthur, and you’ve entered my territory.   I will not abide violence in my territory, so I plan to destroy you.”
Picard bit back another cough.   “You can’t abide violence, yet you intend to destroy us?” he asked unbelievingly.   “Isn’t that something of a contradiction in terms?”
“Yes, you’re right.   Quite right.   I’ll get somebody else to do it.   Federation vessel, Ferengi vessel, prepare to die.”
“It would appear we’re in the grip of some higher life form,” Spock surmised.
“Data, can you scan the source of that voice?”
“Sensors are inoperative,” Data said.   “Tactical and Engines are inoperative.”
“This sounds familiar,” Kirk said gleefully.
“I can tell you, however, that the voice did not require the ship’s speakers to heard.”
“Counselor, did you sense anything?”
“Only unremitting disdain toward us and the Ferengi,” Troi answered.   “This Orthur is a being of immense power;   it considers are close to, if not, nothing.”
“Damn,” Picard said, then coughed again.
*
They were in chambers.
“The virus has spread,” Doctor Pulavski said.   “95% of the Enterprise’s compliment has it.   It appears, Mister Spock, that you were carrying the virus.”
Spock arched an eyebrow.
“As a Vulcan, you are immune to the virus’s effects.”
“What about everybody else?” Picard asked.   “Who else is immune?”
“Admiral Kirk, myself, Commander Riker, Wesley, Worf, and of course Mr. Data.”
“Why not Data?” Kirk asked.
“Mr. Data is a toaster,” Dr.    Pulavski said.
“I am not,” Data said indignantly.   “I am an android.”
“What’s the virus’s effects?” Riker asked.
“It affects our adrenaline, increasing it until we feel incredible hostility and anger.”
“Can you cure it?” Picard asked.
“I’m looking for the cure now,” Pulavski said.
“It’s obvious that I must take command,” Kirk said.
“You?” Riker asked.
“Yes, me.   I was brought out of the past to help deal with this.”
“I think it would be better if we pool our resources,” Spock said.   “Commander Riker is an exemplary officer, and I’m sure his assistance would be invaluable to you, Jim.”
“Oh, very well, if you want to be a spoilsport about it.”
“What are your plans?” Picard asked.
“First, quarantine everybody affected by the virus.   Secondly, I want all women of impressive measurements brought to my quarters.   Mr. LaForge – is that it, LaForge?”
“Sure thing, honky,” Geordi said.
“I want you to try and restore ship’s power.   Mr. Spock, you assist Dr.    Pulavski in finding a cure for this virus.” Kirk paused contemplatively.   “On second thought, belay those orders.   I have a better idea.”
He rose from his chair.   “Orthur,” he called out.   “Orthur!   Can you hear me?”
“I can hear you, pitiful human thing with an impressive waist-line,” the deep voice answered.
“Why do you seek to destroy us?”
“I have a deep abhorrence of all humans, and all their like.”
“Why?” Picard asked, then coughed.
“Because you are pitiful.   You are no comparison for my never-ending intellect, for my genius, for the capacity of all my knowledge.   So there;   nyahh.   I have summoned others to destroy you.”
“Were you responsible for the destruction of the Detroit?”
“No.   Other pitiful things like you did that.   Now, you have barely a day to live.   Goodbye.”
“No, Orthur, you can’t go!” Kirk shouted.
“Yes, I can.   I’m going to play my Super-Duper Nintendo.    Goodbye!”
Kirk shook his head.
“I think we should quarantine everybody who is sick,” Riker said.
“Yes, quite right,” Picard agreed unselfishly.   “As of now, I turn the command of the Enterprise over to Admiral James Tubby Kirk and Commander William Riker.   Computer, make a note of that.”
“Aye, sir.”
“Now,” Picard said.   “Do as you will.”
*
The sick were confined to their quarters, which the computer then sealed.   Meanwhile, Spock assisted Pulavski in her analysis of the virus, while Kirk and Riker toured the ship, looking for some possibility.
“I just want you to know, Admiral,” Riker was saying, “it’s a great honor to be working with you.”
“Thank you, Commander.   Actually, it’s a pleasure to be pressed back into service.”
“I imagine it would be.   What’s retirement like, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Boring.”
“Didn’t you do anything to alleviate that?”
“Oh yes, I had many hobbies.   – Mountain-climbing, collecting antiques, whale-hunting.”
“Commander!” Data’s voice sounded over Riker’s communicator.    “We have an unidentified vessel approaching.”
“We’re coming, Data.   Hold on.”
*
Spock was tired.   He was sure he had the answer to the virus right on the tip of his tongue, but he couldn’t quite get a grasp on it.   To relax himself, he visited the Holodeck, initiating Commander Riker’s aerobics program just to see whether he had the complete grip over his emotions he always thought he had.
That was when the Enterprise rocked violently, and the Holodeck short-circuited, trapping him inside.
*
The ship on the viewer was huge, bigger than the Enterprise herself, and shaped like a triangle.   They had struck once, their photon crashing into the hull of the Enterprise.
“Damage, Data?” Riker asked.
“Minimal short-circuiting to ship systems,” Data answered.
“Incoming!” Worf warned.
“Call 911!” Kirk shouted.
The other ship struck again, her phasers cutting across the saucer-section of the Enterprise.   She rocked violently;   then, inexplicably, the attack halted.
“Enterprise,” the voice of Orthur said, “this is not the vessel I summoned to destroy you.   This is indeed the vessel that destroyed your fellow ship, the Detroit.   I am displeased with this vessel.    I will incapacitate it, also.   The other vessel is en route, however.   Prepare to be destroyed.”
Riker and Kirk exchanged a look.   “Lt. Worf, open a frequency to that vessel,” the former said.
“Aye, sir.”
The viewer flickered to the sight of a middle-aged man.    He looked at Riker, then at Kirk.   When his glare fell on Kirk, his eyes burned balefully.   “Yes, we have found you!” he exclaimed.   “At last, we have found you!”
“Me?” Kirk said.
“Yes.   Don’t you recognize us?”
“No.”
“We are your children, Kirk.   All of us.   We are the children born from your flings with women from all over the galaxy.   Do you realize all the child-support payments you’ve missed?”
“You’re my children?” Kirk repeated in astonishment.
“Stop repeating the obvious.   We’ve searched for you for years, for decades.”
“Why?”
“Like Luke Skywalker, we’ve come to destroy you, father.”
*
Picard was feeling excessively violent;   feeling this way, he regretted having not auditioned for Romper Stomper, but his agent had warned him away from the role on the basis he lacked even enough hair for that.
But it made him feel really pissed.
He banged his head against the walls for a few minutes, trying to work out the frustration.   But it was no help.   Suddenly, he was overcome with a madness, a wild desire to search, to destroy, to kill maim and shave.   Yes, he wanted it all.
Taking an errant hairpin from his set of drawers, he slid it into the computer console of the door, short-circuiting it.    The door slid open.
Picard laughed maniacally.
He was free.
Now he would make the galaxy pay.
*
“My own children want to destroy me,” Kirk said, sinking despondently into the center-seat.   “They want to kill me, me – their father, the man who loved their mothers, who cared for them, and treated them…God, this chair is uncomfortable.   Klingon?”
“Yes, Admiral?” Worf responded promptly.
“What is our status?”
“Nothing is working, sir.”
“Where’s Spock?” Kirk asked.   “He’ll get things working.”
“Admiral Spock has been trapped inside the holodeck!” Wesley cried out.
“Admiral,” Data said, “Captain Picard has escaped quarantine.    If Doctor Pulavski’s estimates are correct, he will be in a seriously aggrieved and hostile state.   What do you suggest?”
“We’ll avoid him,” Kirk answered.   “Mr. Crusher, go down to the Holodecks and try and get Spock out.”
“Me, sir?”
“Yes, you.”
“Aye, sir.” Wesley left the bridge.
“Isn’t that a bit dangerous, sir?” Riker asked.   “If Captain Picard has escaped and is dangerous, Wesley could be hurt.”
“Point taken, Commander.   Klingon, send some unknowns to accompany him.”
“Aye, sir,” Worf obliged.
“The secret to good command,” Kirk told Riker.   “Always surround yourself with unknown faces – they’re always the first to die.”
“Admiral, monitoring the approach of an unidentified vessel,” Data said.   “It is the Borg.”
“The Borg?” Kirk asked.   “What are they?”
“An extremely dangerous entity, Admiral.   They’re something like Cyborgs – part man, part machine.”
“Like the Six Million Dollar Man?”
“Worse.   They’ve been trying to assimilate us into their culture.”
“Admiral, Captain Picard is being hailed personally,” Worf said.   “As he is not available, will you receive the message?”
“Aye, Klingon, on-screen.”
The interior of the Borg ship appeared on the viewer.
“Enterprise, Captain Picard, prepare for assimilation.”
“Borg, this is Admiral James T. Kirk;   the Enterprise is under my command.   Will you speak with me?”
“Yes.   James Tiberius Kirk, Captain of Federation vessels Enterprise 1701 and 1701-A.”
“How do you know this?”
“Your name has been noted in files and systems probed aboard U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-D.   Admiral Kirk, prepare your people for assimilation.”
“No, I refuse.”
“Oh, don’t be like that.   Refusal is irrelevant, resistance is irrelevant, relevance is irrelevant.   All but you will be assimilated into our culture, Admiral Kirk.”
“Oh, and why not me?” Kirk grinned with seething arrogance and pride.   “Afraid I’d resist your assimilation techniques and destroy you, huh?”
“No.   We have no prosthesis to fit your stomach, chubby.    Prepare for assimilation.”
The viewer clicked off.
“What do we do, Admiral?” Riker asked.
“Where’s Spock?” Kirk asked.   “I want Spock.”
*
Wesley was attempting to bypass all the complex circuitry and shutdown systems for entry into the Holodeck using the same method Picard had – a hairpin.   Behind him stood two security officers.
“Wesley?”
Wesley froze.   It had the sound of a Borg voice, but the tone…he recognized that tone!
He turned.   Standing before him and the security officers was Captain Picard, but he was decked out in his Locutus outfit – the garb he’d been made to wear when he had been assimilated into the Borg.
“Captain?” Wesley asked.   “Why are you wearing that?”
“It lends me presence, Wesley,” Picard told him peacefully.    “Come with me.”
“Where?”
“To join the Borg.   They have re-established their contact with me, Wesley.   Come with me.”
“No.”
The security officers made a leap for Picard, but quite casually, he backhanded one into unconsciousness, and caught the charge of the other, and rammed his head into the wall.   Then he dropped the inert body to the floor.
“Come with me, Wesley.” Picard held out his hand.
“No.”
Wesley started to run.
*
“We have new assimilation techniques,” the Borg were saying, having reopened a connection with the Enterprise.   “We have new prosthesis, although unfortunately not in the Extra Large size, Admiral Kirk.
“Our special this week,” a specific Borg appeared on the viewer, “is this.” In one hand, he carried the prosthesis for the extension of a hand.   “It has connections to any energy input, computer system interpreters, programming apparatus, a knife, a fork, a spoon, a can-opener, and comes in a choice of seven scintillating colors.   We call it the Swiss Army Prosthesis.”
“Oh bother,” the booming voice of Orthur sounded on the bridge, “I had summoned these people to destroy you, but it appears they don’t intend to.” He sighed.   “Very well, I’ll restore all power to all ships, and you can destroy each other.    And just to show you what a good sport I am, I’ll let the victor go free.”
“Admiral, all systems coming back on-line,” Data said.
“Shields,” Kirk ordered, “and arm all weapons.   We have a battle to win.”
*
The Borged Picard chased Wesley into one of the other Holodecks.    A program had already been initiated.   Wesley found himself in a bleakly futuristic landscape.   He was standing on a narrow walkway, suspended thousands of feet in the air.   Where the door of the holodeck should have been was a shattered window.    Picard approached him slowly.
“There is no escape, Wesley,” Picard said.   “It is useless to resist.   Do not let yourself be destroyed as your father did.”
“No!”
Picard slapped him across the face, sending him sprawling.    The Captain was taking deep, measured breaths now.   It made him sound menacing.   He took a step forward;   Wesley backed away on palms and soles.
“There is no escape;   don’t make me destroy you,” Picard said.
“No.” Wesley continued to back away in terror.
“Wesley, your mother never told you what happened to your father…?”
“She told me enough;   she told me he was killed with you on a mission.”
“No, Wesley…I am your father.”
Wesley’s eyes went wide.   “No,” he refused to believe it, “that’s not true.   That’s impossible!”
“Search your hairline, for you know it be true.”
“No,” Wesley whined.
“Wesley, we can cure this travesty.   I have foreseen it.    Together, we can stop the premature balding which is ravaging the galaxy.   We-”
Somebody appeared behind Picard and put a hand on his shoulder.   Picard slumped unconscious, falling to the ground to reveal…
“Mr. Spock!” Wesley cried out in relief.
“Fascinating,” Spock said.   “An amended reproduction of what was said in the final scenes of The Empire Strikes Back.”
“It’s not true, is it, Mr. Spock?”
“No, I think not.   Your Captain is hallucinating, and presently, the Borg have regained their control of him.   These delusions are not to be unexpected.”
Wesley realized something.   “How did you get out of the Holodeck?”
“Power has been restored to the ship, and I have discovered the cure for this virus.”
“You’re amazing, Mr. Spock.”
“Yes,” Spock nodded his head, “I am.”
*
“What’s our status, toaster?” Kirk asked.
“Everything that was not working…now is working, but damaged,” Data said.
“Can’t you make it any simpler than that?”
“We are screwed, Admiral, to use a popular human colloquialism.”
Spock arrived on the bridge with the Borged Picard slumped over one shoulder.   Wesley came soon after.
“What happened to him?” Riker asked.
“I neck-pinched him,” Spock told them as he gently eased Picard down.   “And it appears that the Borg have regained their control over him.”
“What are our options?”
“If I could mindmeld with him, I could perhaps make contact with the Borg and initiate a command into their group conscious.”
“I like it, Spock.   But what about these other guys?”
“Which other guys?”
Kirk told him what had happened during his imprisonment in the Holodeck.
“To each his own, Admiral.   Commander Riker is familiar with the Ferengi, so I suggest you let him handle them.   As for your children, Jim, they are your children.   I think it only right that you treat them as such.”
“Nice and simple, but how do I get a fistfight out of it?”
“Sorry, Jim.”
Kirk sighed.   “What about Captain Picard?   What suggestion do you plan to implant in his head?”
“Last time, we tried sleep,” Riker told them.
“What?”
“Sleep,” Riker repeated.
“Is it that time already?”
“No, Admiral.   The Borg regenerate damages through a shutting down of the group conscious – or what we know as sleep.   Apparently, if there’s no damages to regenerate, then there’s some malfunction in the conscious – an overload or something.   Wesley could explain it.”
“No, thanks, I don’t have time for meaningless technobabble.   What about this virus?”
“I have come up with the solution for that, also,” Spock said.   “It would seem, Admiral, that you have been suffering from a lesser form of it for a lifetime.   Analyzing your DNA and metabolism, I have discovered an antibody to negate it.”
“That’s great, Spock.”
“Did he ever do anything himself?” Riker asked, pointing at Kirk.
“In the series, some times, in the movies, no, not really.    I came up with all the solutions.”
“Let’s hop to it, gentlemen,” Kirk said.
*
Wading through Picard’s conscious, past the fantasies of taking the Enterprise back into the 1990s to visit a hair clinic, of performing – Spock was sure – certain inhuman positional trysts with Doctor Crusher, the Vulcan reached the Borg group conscious.
Sleep, he told them.
Are you talking to us? they asked back.   Are you talking to us?   You must be talking to us because there’s no one else around;   just us ten thousand Borg.
Yes, I am talking to you, Spock thought firmly.   Go to sleep.
Spock expected an argument, a debate, a tussle of wills where all his Vulcan training and discipline would come to the fore, would battle with the group will of the Borg conscious.    Instead, he got:
Okay.
Spock broke the meld.   “It is done,” he said.   “I will take Captain Picard and my solution for the virus to Doctor Pulavski.”
“Very well, Spock,” Kirk said.   “Klingon, open a frequency to my children’s ship.”
“Aye, sir.”
“Father,” they appeared at once, the spokesman of them looking miffed, “you’ve neglected us.”
“I’m sorry, but I’ve been busy saving civilization as we know it,” Kirk told them.
“We must destroy you.”
“No.”
“We must.”
“I refuse to let you,” Kirk told them.   “Where do you come from, anyway?”
“We exist on a planet on the edge of the galaxy.”
“How many of you live there?” Riker asked.
“7346.”
“Admiral, the Borg ship just exploded,” Worf said.
“Fine, Klingon.” Then, “I have that many children?”
“No.   Only a quarter of us are children.   The rest are grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and as of last week, you have a great-great-grandchild.”
Kirk recalled his encounter with V-GER, and Spock’s recommendation that he treat it as a child.   This seemed similar enough.   He rose to his full height, which wasn’t very impressive standing next to Riker.
“You cannot destroy me,” Kirk told his offspring.   “I will not permit it.   You have acted in a disturbing and unruly manner.”
“Father-”
“Don’t father me.   Now I’ve had enough of this tantrum.   If you don’t start acting your age, then I’ll be forced to take action.”
“Father, we didn’t know you cared,” the spokesman said tearfully.
“Well, I do.   Now go home.   You’re grounded for a week.”
“Aye, father.   But we’re stuck here, just like you.”
“Then hang on a minute, while we sort this out.   Klingon, patch us through to those Ferengi.”
“Aye, Admiral.”
“It’s your show,” Kirk told Riker.
“Thank you, Admiral,” Riker said as the Ferengi appeared on the screen.   “Ferengi, this is Commander William T.    Riker of the U.S.S. Enterprise;   I demand that you lower your shields, surrender, and return the property that you’ve stolen from the Federation.   Or I give you a second alternative;   you can surrender, then lower your shields, and then return our property.”
“No, William T.    Riker of Enterprise,” the Ferengi said, “thiss is ourss.   We stole it.   It is ours now and forever.    Iff you want itt returned, you will pay a big ransom.”
“Don’t be so wishy-washy, Commander,” Kirk whispered.   “You remind me of Commander Decker.   He was wishy-washy.   Be firm.”
“I have a plan,” Riker said, “if you can evoke the assistance of your children.”
“Certainly.”
“Damon-?”
“Damon Sock,” the Ferengi introduced himself.
“Damon Sock, you are alone.   The vessel which awaits on your port side is in allegiance with us.   Surrender now, and be spared.”
Spock and Picard returned to the bridge.
“I do not believe you,” Damon Sock said.   “The otherr vesssel shot at you before.”
“That was a misunderstanding.   Now they are allied with us.   I warn you this last time.”
“Do asss you will, Commander.”
Riker nodded, Kirk transmitted, and the vessel Kirk’s children held fired on the Ferengi.   The Ferengi ship rocked into a spin.   Smoke surrounded Damon Sock.
“We surrender, Enterprise,” he cried out quickly.
“And you will return the property you have stolen?”
“Yess, yess.   We will transport to you.”
“They have lowered shields and are energizing, Commander,” Data informed him.
“Lower ours.”
“Aye, sir, shields lowered.”
“Bridge,” Transporter Chief O’Brien’s voice sounded via intercom, “I’ve just received a package down here.”
“Bring it up,” Riker said.
“Aye, sir.”
“Very good, Number One,” Picard appraised his First Officer.
“But we are still being held in the grip of this being Orthur,” Spock said.
“Yes.   My turn.” Picard approached the viewer, which showed the stars again.   He straightened out the creases in his uniform.   “Orthur, are you listening to me?”
“Yes,” the deep, booming voice sounded.
“We have vanquished your challenged;   we have emerged victorious.”
“But the two other ships still remain.   Destroy them.”
“No.   You do not understand the human spirit, Orthur.   We do not act out of barbarism, or out of a whim on matters of such importance, as it seems you do.   We act out of necessity.   We’ve faced your challenge and shown that violence is not a hereditary part of our nature.”
Kirk blushed.
Picard swept on.   “We are quite capable of reason when required,” he said, “and we have reasoned in this case, as you have witnessed.   Now, the choice is yours.   Free us, or destroy us;   prove the validity of your words.”
“Aw, shucks.   Okay, you can go.”
On the viewer, the Ferengi vessel turned and sped off into Warp speed.   The ship with Kirk’s children did the same in a different direction.
O’Brien appeared on the bridge with the package – a three foot long, one foot thick package wrapped in brown paper.
“This is what the Ferengi stole?” Picard asked.   “What is it?”
“I am sorry, Captain,” Spock said, taking the package and stuffing it inside his jerkin, “but it is of great secrecy.   I must not reveal its nature to you.”
“Very well,” Picard said, but the disappointment was obvious.
*
They were in Ten Forward.   A huge crowd had gathered, because Captain Picard was preparing to make a speech.
“Friends, crew of the Enterprise past and present, thank you for attending,” Picard said.   “I am not one to mince words, so I will come straight out and say this.   After years of service to Starfleet, after years of watching you all grow, I have decided to announce my retirement as Captain.”
A sigh ran through the crowd.
“Starfleet has bestowed upon me the luxury of choosing my successor, and is there any less obvious a choice?”
Riker began to go around the crowd, evoking congratulations from each of his crewmates.
“A man of daring, of vision and foresight, of experience and growing wisdom, I have watched him grow, I have watched him scale the echelons of Starfleet ranks.”
Riker was halfway through the crowd.
“He is a man that will carry the tradition of the Enterprise on and beyond and into the 25th century.”
Riker was up near the bar area now.
“Everybody, please make a big welcome to your new Captain – Captain Wesley Crusher!”
Riker stopped dead in his tracks, even as he was about to grab’s Picard’s hand and shake it.
Everybody cheered.
Wesley appeared behind Riker with Doctor Pulavski.   “I’m sorry about this, Commander,” Wesley said.
“Wesley, don’t apologize,” Pulavski advised him.   “He’s just a lowly Commander.   You’re the Captain.   You don’t have to explain yourself to him.”
“Oh, of course,” Wesley said, but whatever he wanted to say after that was drowned out by the growing cheer of the crowd.
*
They were on the bridge when Q appeared.
“Why, Kirk,” he said, as if resuming a conversation just left-off, “what an ego you have there, what an ego!”
“He is an exception, Q,” Picard said.   “Do not judge or disdain the entire human race on the character of one man.”
“What are you talking about, Picard?   Of course he’s an exception!” Q seemed overly excited.   “We’ve tried measuring your ego, Kirk.   My Continuum has spent years studying it.   But it can’t be measured.   No scale can encompass it.   It’s fantastic.   Really, it epitomizes everything that is wrong with the human race.   Just to be safe, my Continuum believed we should kill you.”
“I will not allow the murder of any man on my ship, Q,” Captain Crusher said.
“Don’t be an idiot, numbskull.    Didn’t I say believed?    No!   I’ve come here to offer you a job, Kirk!”
“A job?” Kirk was surprised.
“Yes.   Anybody with an ego larger than our own we need in our Continuum.   In fact, we’ve nominated you to be head of our Continuum.   You’ll run unopposed.   What do you say?”
“Sure,” Kirk said.
“And just to show you what a nice guy I am, Picard, I’ll even offer you a position.”
“There are some things more important than power and domination, Q-”
“Think of all the fantasies you could make come true,” Q reminded him.
“No, Q, you’ve misjudged me.”
“You’re such a spoilsport.   Kirk, are you ready to go?”
“Sure thing.   Spock, I’ll visit.”
Then he and Q disappeared.
“Mr. Spock, would you care to join me for a drink?” Picard asked.
“Certainly, Cap- Jean-Luc.”
They two disappeared into a Turbolift.
“Commander Data, set course for Vulcan,” Wesley ordered.
“Course set for Vulcan, Captain.”
“Warp Eight, Ensign.”
“Warp Eight.”
“Engage, Ensign.”
“Warp Eight,” Riker said with murder in his voice and eyes, “engaged.”
*
They were mellowed now.
“Mr. Spock, are you certain you cannot discuss with me what the Ferengi stole from the Federation?” Picard asked.
Spock took a quick, conspiratorial look around.   “Let me just say, Jean-Luc,” he began, “that it is of paramount importance to space exploration as we know it.   Without this,” he patted the package where it lay beneath his jerkin, “there would be no boldly going where no one has before.”
“But what is it?”
Spock looked thoughtful.   Finally, he nodded, took the package out and tore off the rapping.   Inside were several hundred sheets of paper.   He laid it on the desk for Picard to see the title.
It read:   STAR TREK VII.

October 1st, 1992.
Silk.

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