AOH :: TREK-077.TXT|
"Imperial Domination" Episode 1: "Blank Slate" (TNG/Star Wars}
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ruth Lim)
Date: Sat, 11 Apr 1992 03:36:51 GMT
Subject: (LONG) Imperial Domination: Episode One
Organization: HP Scientific Instruments Division - Palo Alto, CA
Recent discussions about who would win if the _Enterprise_ ever ran
into an Imperial Star Destroyer from "Star Wars" has inspired me
to write a three part story.
Only, I guess that because it turns out that I am more interested in
storytelling than in staging fights, my version of "Star Wars meets Star
Trek" doesn't immediately get into a head on ship to ship battle. I'm
sorry if that disappoints anyone. I plan on having a battle (I think)
in the third part, so you'll just have to wait.
Anyway, here's the first episode.
Nice comments on style, pacing, characters, etc, would be appreciated,
but mean ones will probably stop me from posting more stories. (Of
course if that's what you really want.)
This first part is a bit LONG, so you may want to print it out.
Star Trek and Star Trek characters are copyrighted by Paramont and whomever.
Star Wars and Star Wars characters are copyrighted by Lucasfilm and whomever.
This posting is a non-profit, unofficial fan-fiction posting done purely
for fun and for private enjoyment. No violation of copyrights is intentional
Resemblance of any character or story to
anyone living, dead, fictional or otherwise is purely coincidental.
As for the plot of my story, I guess I'll reserve whatever meager rights I
have to it, since no one else will want it.
Usual disclaimers disavowing any intentional wrongdoing. And no, HP
doesn't necessarily share the opinions posted therein.
Episode 1: Blank Slate
The Imperial Star Destroyer _Manifest_Destiny_ appeared to hang motionlessly
against an endless backdrop of stars. But its apparent stillness was only
an illusion caused by its massive size and by the fact that it had dropped
out of hyperspace far from any star system.
"We have come out of hyperspace, Captain Biehn," the bridge officer said to
the angular man standing just behind him. Captain Biehn nodded silently.
A cold pensiveness seeped from his gray eyes as he pressed his thin lips
together. The bridge officer watched him expectantly.
After several long moments, Captain Biehn returned from his private thoughts.
"What do the sensors report?" he asked the bridge officer.
"The instruments have not detected any artificial signals as of yet, but
the computers are still sifting through the reports from the survey drones."
"It does appear to be a very quiet patch of space, doesn't it?" said Biehn
amicably. "Although, appearances can be deceiving."
"Sir?" The bridge officer's voice echoed his confusion.
"The ship that popped out of the Devix worm hole had detailed maps of this
area, an area which lies far outside known space. In addition, the Devix
worm hole ship lacked any maps of Imperial space, all of which adds up to
the conclusion that that ship came from an interstellar civilization outside
the realm of the Empire," said Captain Biehn.
"But, that's impossible," stammered the bridge officer. "The galaxy has
been charted and colonized since the earliest days of the Old Republic. Our
Imperial forces routinely patrol from one end of the galaxy to the other.
How could a new region in space suddenly appear out of nowhere?"
Captain Biehn's eyes had that faraway look again. "However improbable that
conclusion might seem, it is a possibility that we must explore and exploit,
if possible." He shrugged. "Galaxies do cross occassionally, and when they
do, strange things happen to the fabric of space and time. Whatever has
caused this new region of space to open up is of concern to the Imperial
scientists and not to us. We are here only to gather as much intelligence
as possible while the worm hole exists. Hopefully, we may find a few more
ships and artifacts of alien technology for engineers back home. It would be
quite a boon to the Empire if we brought home the secrets of long range
matter-energy transportation from this little safari."
A buzz of activity broke out at one of the sensor stations, and the officer
in charge strode up to Captain Biehn. "We're picking up an alien ship on
our scanners. It is closing in on us very quickly."
"Let's have a look," said Captain Biehn as he followed the surveillence
officer to an appropriate station.
"The ship is approaching at an acute vector but appears to be slowing," said
the second officer.
"Coming to investigate the new worm hole, no doubt," commented Biehn. He
gestured for the officer to continue.
The woman glanced up at Captain Biehn and said, "Sensors indicate
that the ship apparently travels at supralight speeds by distorting the
immediate space around it. It doesn't appear to have any hyperdrive
"Just like the Devix ship," said Biehn, "I can see why a worm hole would be
exciting for them. If they have to actually traverse normal space rather than
cut through hyperspace, they must be quite limited in how far they can go.
That warp field makes them ridiculously easy to track in normal space."
"But they can't seriously be considering traveling through the worm hole?
Without a hyperdrive, how would they ever get back if it collapsed while
they were on the other side?"
Captain Biehn's expression was calmly logical. "Judging from what the Devix
ship did, I imagine that traveling down the worm hole is exactly what our new
friends have in mind. And their lack of hyperdrive means that we have an
advantage; if they prove to be too hostile for us, we can always collapse
the worm hole and go home knowing that they won't be able to follow us, as
long as they don't steal any of our technology while we are trying to steal
"Captain, the alien ship is now within two standard orbits of our outer
perimeter. Shall we try to cripple it?"
Captain Biehn considered his possible strategies for a moment and then said,
"Perhaps we should test the strength of our opponent first. Launch a flight
of TIE-fighters and have them scout out the alien ship."
- - -
"Suit up, guys." Roland sounded annoyingly cheerful as he interrupted his
two wingmen in their game of holographic chess.
Graham gave his flight leader a dirty look but continued to play, making
a carefully deliberated move. His partner Kyle studied the move with the
utmost concentration, totally ignoring the call to duty.
"Hey," said Roland, leaning over the gaming table, "Time to go. Our wing
is due out in fifteen. Scramble." He reached over and touched a control.
The chess pieces flickered and then disappeared.
Roland's two wingmen groaned and muttered their complaints. "For all the
fiery gas of Benarg," Graham cursed, "I was winning."
"Let's go," said Roland, rapping his knuckles aginst the table.
Kyle, the younger of the two players, rose from the table and headed out of
the rec room after his wing leader. Graham grumbled under his breath at
his bad luck. As they picked up speed walking through the stark halls of the
Imperial Star Destroyer, Graham caught Kyle by the sleeve and said, "You
"But we didn't finish the game," protested Kyle. "All bets are off."
"But I was winning," Graham insisted.
"So sue me," Kyle dodged into the pilots' locker room.
"Cut it out and get suited up," snapped Roland irritated.
When Roland had turned his back, Graham whispered conspiratorily at Kyle,
"When we get back, you owe me another game."
"Yeah, sure," said Kyle distractedly, and the three pilots rapidly dressed
and hurried out towards their TIE-fighters.
"Deanna," said Dr. Beverly Crusher, "I'm worried about April. I don't think
that she's gotten over her husband's death. It's been almost a year, and
she's still showing signs of grieving."
"Many people feel a deep sense of loss many years after the death of a loved
one," replied Deanna Troi, ship's counselor on board the Federation starship
"But she spends half her time on the holodeck and the other half of her
time nose deep in work. Did you know that she's been trying to get the
holodeck computer to think like her husband?"
Deanna's eyebrows arched in surprise, "Really? May be I should ask her about
it in our next session. Although, more than a few people that we know have
tried to recreate important relationships using the holodeck computers."
"You don't quite understand," said Dr. Crusher, "I mean that she's trying to
feed in the thought patterns and memories of her late husband into the
Deanna shook her head uncomprehendingly, "Memories? What do you mean?"
"April Sullivan is a brilliant energy-matter physiologist. Her specialty
is in transporter technology, and her latest work involves the long term
storage of matter-matrix patterns."
"Well, I know that," Deanna said, "Which makes having loss Dave in a
transporter accident very traumatic for her. We've discussed that often,
but she seems to be handling it very well these days."
"What concerns me is the reason for why I think she appears to be handling
her loss so well, because I don't think she is. One of the med techs in her
lab told me that Dr. Sullivan has extracted her husband's neural patterns
from some of her sample data. Evidently, her husband played guinea pig for
some of her work."
"But I thought that there weren't any stored matter-patterns of her husband.
Otherwise, it would have been possible to avoid the accident, or at least to
recover from it."
Dr. Crusher fidgetted as she said, "The problem is that there weren't any
complete matrix records of her husband, but April has somehow found enough
data to duplicate Dave's brain."
"His brain?" Deanna sound incredulous, "Just his brain? What is she going
to do with a disembodied brain?"
"That's what I've been trying to tell you. I think that she's trying to
use that data to program the holodeck computer to create a surrogate husband.
I'm not sure that it's healthly to try to bring someone back from the dead by
putting his brain into a computer generated image. I think you should talk
to her," Dr. Crusher rubbed her arms nervously, "Before she creates her
own Frankstein monster."
"I think you're right," Deanna agreed. "I'd better have a talk with her."
The _Enterprise_ is currently investigating the disappearance of several
civillian craft, including a small research vessel contracted out by the
Star Fleet Academy. A total of fifteen craft have disappeared from the
Lassiter sector during the last two weeks, and Star Fleet has ordered us
to investigate. So far, we have not discovered the cause of the
disappearances, nor have we even determined whether or not they are all
related to one another somehow. My team has come up with several working
theories, all of which are equally likely and equally unsupported. Both
Riker and Lieutenant Worf feel that pirates may be operating in the area,
but Lieutenant Commander Data has offered an interesting theory based on the
sporadic appearance of an enormous worm hole in this sector. Data theorizes
that the ships may have somehow wandered or been pulled down the worm hole
only to have it collapse after them. If this is so, they could be thousands
of years away from us even at warp speeds.
While Data's theory is rather off the wall, I think that it is worth checking
out. I have instructed that a probe be launched through the wormhole the
next time it appears, so we can determine if any of the missing ships are
perhaps trapped on the other side, although this may be a wasted effort if
the other end of the wormhole is changing locations each time it opens. If
it is and the missing ships have had the misfortune to travel down the
wormhole, we will be able to do little for them except mourn their passing.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard had gathered his command staff in his ready room for
a briefing on their upcoming mission. "We have received reports of a new
worm hole in the Transient Sector, and Star Fleet has asked us to investigate
William Riker shifted in his seat. "I take it that we aren't the only ones
who are interested in this hole."
"You're absolutely right, Number One," said Picard, "But hopefully we'll be
one of the first ones there. Preliminary reports indicate that this is no
ordinary worm hole. In fact, it may be connecting us to another galaxy."
"An intergalactic worm hole?" echoed Geordi La Forge. "That's incredible."
Riker nodded and said, "I imagine that the Ferengi will be crawling all over
the area, trying to wring out as much profit as they can."
"Yes," said Picard, "That is to be expected. And we, too, need to make the
most of this rare opportunity. The conjunction of two galaxies is a rare
enough occurance, but coupled with the unexpected benefit of a worm hole,
we have a chance to peer into a galaxy other than our own Milky Way. But I
must urge caution. Star Fleet Intelligence has informed us that several
ships have already disappeared in this sector."
"Disappeared? Into the worm hole?" asked Riker.
"That would be a logical conclusion," Data piped in.
A pained expression crossed Picard's face. "Actually," he said slowly, "We
just don't have any more information. Several smaller vessels, including a
Ferengi trader, have disappeared from the area. And the Ferengi are accusing
the Federation of piracy. Star Fleet has instructed us to use the utmost
caution in investigating this worm hole. Someone on the other side may very
well trying to investigate us."
"Fascinating," said Data.
Worf wrinkled his face in alarm. "Perhaps the forces on the other side of
the worm hole are preparing an invasion. We must be prepared to defend
ourselves," he said forcefully.
"Perhaps," said Deanna Troi thoughtfully, "Perhaps they are as curious about
us as we are about them. We could be quite alien to them."
"Well, right now, this is all speculation. We don't even know if there is
a 'Them' for us to be concerned about. Nevertheless, I want the crew to
be held on the alert, just in case."
- - -
The Imperial Star Destroyer cruised silently across the vast emptiness beween
the outer planets of an alien star system. As it passed a huge gaseous
planet, the massive destroyer spawned a cloud of tiny, one man, twin ion
engine fighters. The ships began racing towards the star system's inner
planets in groups of three.
"Angel leader to Angel Two, close it up Kyle," Roland said over the
"Wilco, Angel leader. I'm picking up the target now, at oh six point two.
It appears to be headed towards a small space station of some kind," said
"Roger, Angel One. We'll close and intercept before it has a chance to dock.
Remember, we want the ship intact. Shoot only to disable. The captain wants
artifacts and live specimens," Roland instructed his two wingmen.
Kyle chuckled, "Specimens? Is that what that old pirate is calling the ships
we've been hauling on board? Specimens? He makes it sound like we're on
some sort of scientific expedition instead of trying to steal whatever we can
from the ships in this part of space."
Roland smiled beneath his breathing mask. "We aren't stealing, exactly. At
least not in the Corellian sense. We're just 'borrowing' a few of these
alien ships to see how they work, that's all. They may not have much of a
range, but if these ships are anything like what fell out of the Devix
wormhole, then the Imperial lab boys will be able to piece together how
those teleportation devices work. Can you imagine just how quickly we could
end this rebellion if we could teleport an entire battallion of stormtroopers
anywhere we wanted? And if we can end the Rebellion, then we can all go
"Well," said Graham, "I've heard that the xenobiologists have been doing a
little piecing together of their own. Or I should say breaking into pieces.
I've heard that they've been vivisecting the crews from the alien ships."
"Rumors," said Roland, "Those are just rumors. I can't believe you thought
those were true. Nobody in the fleet would be that barbaric."
Graham persisted. "Oh, yeah? Then what have they been doing with all of those
aliens they've been finding? And how come they won't tell us anything about
"I've heard that some of them are human," said Kyle.
"Don't be ridiculous," said Roland, "The chances of human lifeforms developing
in another galaxy are astronomically small."
"Cut the chatter," broke in a fourth voice, the attack commander. "Angel
flight, prepare to engage the target."
Lieutenant Grimly did a double-take at his scanner console. Instead of
seeing the single scheduled shuttle in his scopes, he saw about a dozen of
tiny, fast moving objects approaching. A quick check confirmed that the
blips on his scanners were artificial and self-propelled, unmistakably
spacecraft of some type or another, although the computer failed to identify
Suddenly, a garbled signal from the supply shuttle burst through. "...under
attack! ... assist...." Grimly read his scanners, which echoed what the
broken transmission tried to report. The dozen or so objects began swarming
all over the Federation shuttlecraft. The scanners picked up the telltale
signs of energy residues from high energy particle beams and explosive solids
surrounded the shuttle. Helpless in the science station, Grimly could do
nothing except trigger the station's own defences and send out a distress
call. Grimly just hoped that whoever was attacking the shuttle didn't also
decide to attack the station.
"We are receiving an urgent distress call from Science Station Hawking,"
reported Lieutenant Worf, with a slight edge in his voice. "Pirates are
attacking the station's scheduled supply shuttle, and the station is
requesting immediate assistance."
So this is it, thought Picard to himself. "Commander Data, plot us an
intercept course for Science Station Hawking, warp nine."
Commander Data worked inhumanly fast and soon said, "Course laid in."
"Engage," said Picard.
The _Enterprise_ leaped forward.
The Star Destroyer _Manifest_Destiny_ locked a powerful tractor beam on the
alien ship and reeled in its newest victim with an irresistible force. The
crippled shuttle could do nothing to stop it inexorable journey towards the
enormous battle ship.
Their immediate task accomplished, Angel flight circled casually about, as if
reluctant to return to the confines of their mothership. Roland frowned as he
scanned the subspace bands for any intership communications. The space
station towards which the shuttle had been heading was broadcasting a tight
message deep into space.
"Angel leader to Heaven's Gate," Roland said, contacting the _Manifest_Destiny_,
"I'm picking up some directed transmissions from a space station orbiting
an inner planet. The transmissions seem to be directed out of the system."
After a pause, the logistics coordinator on the Star Destroyer responded,
"Roger, Angel leader. Have your team investigate the station, and report
back on whether or not the station looks like it can be taken."
"What?" said Kyle in disbelief over the flight's private channel. "Has the
captain gone mad? He can't be serious about wanting to take that space
station. It's not like picking off a freighter."
Graham smirked, "It's his Corellian blood. It's adled his brains. On the
other hand, that station probably hasn't got much in the way of defenses, or
else they would have started shooting at us the moment we grabbed their
Acknowledging his team's new orders, Roland sighed. "You heard the woman,
let's go in. But keep your forward deflector shields at full power. Guns
or no, those aliens still have teleportation devices we don't even undestand,
so keep your heads and your distance. We're just supposed to do a quick
The three TIE-fighters turned in formation with precision as they arced
towards Science Station Hawking.
"Captain, we've just entered the Hawking system now," announced Data.
"I'm picking up a large ship just off of the starboard bow," added Worf. "I
also detect numerous smaller ships, possible shuttlecraft or single person
"Hail the ship," ordered Picard.
"The ship is retreating, heading out of the system," said Worf, "Shall I
give them a warning shot across the bow?"
"We don't even know they are," said Picard. "Data, can you identify them?"
"Negative, captain. The ship is of an unknown design."
Picard looked unhappy. "What can you tell me about them?"
Turning to face the captain, Data said, "The ship appears to be powered
by sublight speed engines, with limited armaments and layered shielding.
It also appears to be carrying approximately forty-six thousand seven hundred
eighty five beings on board, most of whom are possibly human."
Data's last remark surprised Picard, "Human? Could they be pirates?"
"Possibly," said Data, "Although it seems unlikely that a pirate ship would
carry so large a crew. A crew of that magnitude would suggest a more formal
organization, perhaps a military one."
"Human," mused Picard, "But where are they from? Who are they?"
"No response to our hails," said Worf.
"Keep trying," said Picard.
"Captain, the ship appears to be withdrawing," Worf said.
"Yes, Lieutenant Worf, I am aware of that," said Picard.
"Sir, if they are pirates or some other unknown hostiles, shouldn't we be
trying to stop them?" insisted the Klingon.
Picard scowled at his unpleasant prospect. "You are right, Lieutenant. Put
a shot across their bows, and tell them to prepare to be boarded."
The _Enterprise_ powered up her phasers and sent a blast of energy hurtling
across the flat forward section of the Imperial Star Destroyer.
Captain Dieter Biehn, ever a cautious sort when it came to his own survival,
didn't like the look of the aggressive frigate that had come racing into
the system. The powerful bolt of energy that had flashed across his forward
bow and that caused a spike in the power sensors only justified his
"Recall the fighters," he ordered, "And prepare for the jump into hyperspace."
"We're retreating?" asked a bridge officer in disbelief.
The normally flamboyant and charismatic Corellian captain frowned, "Call it
a strategic withdrawal. I just don't want to tangle with a ship of unknown
strength. I've got a few tens of thousands of lives to worry about, and if
we get into trouble, there ain't nobody on this side of the hole that's
going to stop and give us a helping hand."
The bridge officer nodded. Bluntly stated, the captain's decision seemed to
make perfect sense.
"We're being recalled," said Roland, just as the three TIE-fighters swept
by the space station. "The ship's going to make a jump as soon as it clears
the outer planet, so we'll need to run on afterburners if we don't want to
miss the boat."
The lead TIE-fighter pulled up sharply away from the station and sprinted for
deep space. His two wingmen followed closely.
"I'm picking up a frigate or destroyer or something between us and the
_Manifest_Destiny_," said Kyle, "May be we should give it a wide berth."
"Negative," said Roland, "Unless you guys want to miss the bus, we fly a
direct course and just pray that that ship doesn't see us."
"Enemy ship accelerating away," said Worf.
Picard hid his irritation at the Klingon's immediate assumption that the
fleeing ship was hostile. But Worfs the ship's weapons officer, and
thinking in those terms was hib. "Set in an intercept course,
"Sir," interrupted Worf, "I'm picking up three small enemy craft headed
straight for us. Do I have permission to fire?"
"Shoot only if fired upon, Lieutenant."
Commander Riker turned to face Picard and said, "Captain, perhaps we should
try capture one of those ships using the tractor beam. If they won't
voluntarily tell us who they are or what they want, may be we can ask one of
them, face to face."
The suggestion rather disgusted Picard at first, and yet, it was at once
a practical and sensible thing to do. "Make it so," Picard ordered.
Data spoke up quickly. "I do not think that would be a wise thing to do,
captain," the android said. "My analysis of the alien craft suggests that
the angle at which we would be applying force on the ships and the speed at
which they are moving would cause enough shearing force to disintegrate
"Belay that order," said Picard hastily. "Worf, can you coordinate with
the transporter room to beam one of the pilots on board as soon as the tractor
beam is applied?"
"Captain," Geordi La Forge interrupted, "According to my readings, we should
be able to beam the pilot in directly, without using the tractor beam."
"Those ships are unshielded?" asked Picard.
"They do have minimal shielding, but not enough to block a transporter beam,"
"Then make it so. Worf, have Officer O'Brian select one of the three ships
and bring its pilot on board. Also, send a security team to the transporter
room to meet him."
The three TIE-fighters faced the last obstacle between them and safety, the
fast moving frigate. The tiny ships raced hopefully past the alien craft,
which boast huge yet strangely beautiful engine nacelles.
Kyle trailed his companions slightly, distracted by the sight of such a weird
looking ship. As he skimmed over the top of the alien craft and away from it,
however, he thought he heard a low, mind-numbing hum. His enemy now behind
him, Kyle instinctively readjusted the power on his shielding to give
maximum power to the rear deflector shields. Even as he did so, however,
everything seemed to blur and dissolve around him.
"We are ready for the jump, sir," reported a bridge officer on board the
_Manifest_Destiny_. "But one of the fighter wings is reporting a missing
An energy burst from the alien ship streaked across the destroyer's bows.
Captian Biehn frowned and ordered, "Commence jump."
"Enemy ship, accelerating to light speed," said Worf, his voice rising
"Follow them," order Picard.
The _Enterprise_ closed in on the huge ship, which seemed to crawl away from
them. Suddenly, like a pigeon that had been waddling slowly away from
danger, the alien ship lerched and disappeared.
"Where did they go?" yelped Riker. "Did they cloak?"
"I've lost them, Captain," said Worf. "Scanning for cloaked ships."
Data looked up from his scanners, "Captain," he said, hesistating.
"What is it, Data?" asked Picard.
"If I might voice my opinion, Captain, I believe that the alien ship is no
longer in this area of space."
"How could that be, Data? They couldn't have just vanished into thin air,"
"As incredible as it may sound, sir, the instrument readings suggest that
the alien vessel generated something similiar to an artificial worm hole
connecting it with some undetermined location. The ship could have then
traveled through the worm hole and left our present location while the
hole collapsed after it."
"Create a local worm hole?" exclaimed Geordi, "That's impossible."
"It is impossible given our level of technology; however, it is not beyond
the realm of physical possibility. In the language of twentieth century
futurists, this idea is called 'traveling in hyperspace.' The basic premise
of hyperspace is the idea of shortcutting distances in normal space by
cutting through a fold in the space fabric and traveling in another
Geordi smiled, "Oh, I get it. Just like traveling down a worm hole. This
extra dimension somehow connects two points in space separated by a given
distance in normal space and allows the ship to shortcut through, just like
tunneling through the earth instead of traveling around the surface."
"Exactly," said Data.
"The sensors indicate that the space around us is clear," said Worf. "No
sign of the enemy ships."
"Well," said Picard with visible relief, "That's that. Commander Data, please
work with Commander La Forge to analyze the sensor recording of that ship.
I want to know as much as possible. Also, check all signals emitted from
that vessel. They may be using an alien form of communication. If they are,
I want to know of any ideas that you might have about what they are using. If
we run into that ship again, I want to be able to talk it."
"Aye, aye, Captain," said Data at the same time as Geordi's "Yes, Sir."
Picard turned to Riker and said, "Shall we go and greet our guest?"
"Medical emergency in transporter room two!" Chief Petty Officer O'Brian
yelled into his communicator.
The armored, almost Borg-like creature he had beamed aboard the _Enterprise_
has collapsed on the transporter pad and now lay in screaming agony. With
an experienced eye, O'Brian instantly realized that something had distorted
the signal just as he was bringing the alien pilot on board. The error rate
had been low enough for the creature to survive materialization, but O'Brian
could tell from the way the alien lay groaning that the errors were terribly
Dr. Crusher rushed into the transporter room with her medical team. After
running her medical tricorder over the black armor, she gasped, "My word,
he's human! Get him to sick bay immediately."
The medical team worked furiously to get the writhing pilot to sick bay.
The room was silent expect for the soft murmurs of the doctors, the patient's
unconscious moaning, and the steady electronic boink-boink of the monitors.
"How is our patient?" asked Captain Picard as he entered Sick Bay.
Dr. Beverly Crusher stood up from her patient's bedside and walked over to
escort the captain in to where the Imperial pilot lay unconscious.
"We've been able to stablize his condition and to remove all of the armor
fragments from his body," Beverly said, shuddering at the memory of having
to carefully beam out the pieces of metal composite and plastic that had
become scrambled into her patient's flesh by the transporter. "But he's still
in critical condition. He has a lot of cellular damage and internal bleeding.
I'm waiting for his vital signs to improve before trying to reverse the
Captain Picard turned a compassionate eye on his prisoner. The pilot's
breathing was labored and erratic. A thin layer of sweat gave his pale skin
a sickly sheen. "What do you have in mind?"
Frowning unhappily and hugging her arms about her, Dr. Crusher said, "I've
asked Dr. April Sullivan to assist me in attempting to perform cellular
reconstruction on our patient. Because the data image of his matter matrix
was distorted in transit, we'll have to use information from his genomes to
approximate what his body was like."
"You're planning to recreate his body using his genetic code?"
"In essence, yes." Dr. Crusher could sense the captain's apprehension, and
it only fed her own doubts. "I would normally have ethical misgivings about
this, but it's his only hope. He's dying now, and his only chance of
survival is our ability to piece together his body using our general knowledge
of human physiology. I'm just afraid that the process could erase
his memory. He won't be a vegetable, and his mental capacity should be there
in general, but I just can't be sure of how his neural pathways should be
connected except in the most general of ways."
"I appreciate the delicacy of the procedure you wish to perform, Doctor, but
is there any way we can question him to find out more about him and his
people, about where he came from, first? If you do your work based only on
his genetic make-up, he will lose all of his memories, his entire past. You
are planning on turning him into a blank slate. May be we should question
him before you begin."
Dr. Crusher waited patiently for Picard to finish before replying, "I know
perfectly well what I am suggesting we do. But his life is at stake. As
his physician I can't risk subjecting him to extensive questioning. His
condition is too unstable. In my mind, saving this man's life is my highest
priority right now. Unless we can reverse the cellular damage, we might as
well just kill him outright. It would be more merciful then letting him die
Picard's face revealed a troubled expression. "According to the Hawking
Station reports, his people were either unwilling or unable to respond to
standard Federation communications. We need to discover out how best to
contact these people, because quite frankly, we haven't made a very good
first impression. Abducting one of their pilots and shooting at them is not
a sign of friendship."
"I think that the impressions made by both sides leaves much to be desired,"
said Dr. Crusher. "Several Federation merchant vessels and at least one
Ferengi trader are missing on our side as well."
"It's a bit soon to blame our new visitors for all of those disappearances,"
said Picard. "We only have evidence connecting this new civilization with
a single missing ship, although it does look pretty damning. But for all we
know, the other craft could have crossed over into the other galaxy. What
the Federation needs now is more information, information that your patient
has locked in his brain."
Dr. Crusher placed her hand on Captain Picard's arm and said, "You're not
listening, Jean-Luc. The distortion was marginal but enough to affect every
fiber of the man's body. His memories are already scrambled from being
transported through that field. If you insist on questioning him now, you'll
be risking his life for only the unlikely possibility of getting better
information. It's not worth it."
"Not worth it?" said Picard, "Our galaxy is at stake here. We must ensure
that his people receive our message of peace before they react to this
"Jean-Luc, he's human, just a boy," said Dr. Crusher softly, "He's not much
older than Wesley." She regarded her sleeping patient with a maternal
"He's just one man. And he could die anyway. Thousands or even millions
will die if his people declare war with the Federation."
"And he's just an outsider, so his life doesn't matter?" said Dr. Crusher,
her voice rising slightly in anger.
"I didn't say that."
"But that's how you feel, isn't it?" Dr. Crusher insisted.
Picard screwed his face as he tried to suppress his indignation. Finally he
burst out, "Doctor, I think you are letting your emotions get in the way
of your better judgment. I think it best if we can get a Vulcan, may be
Dr. Selar, to attempt to mindmeld with your patient before you try to
"Dr. Crusher, that is an order, and I think that in this case Star Fleet
will back me up."
- - -
Lights. There were a lot of bright lights above him. Kyle blinked his
eyes slowly. The lights smelled of apples and strawberries, or may be it
was the sounds of distant voices that felt like an icy wind. He could
almost see the words floating about the room, only they were in an alien
script and quite unintelligible. At least the nausea had gone. Kyle
breathed weakly. He felt as if in the middle of a drug-induced hallucination.
Only, where was he, and how had he come to be this way?
Someone came to stand over him. An exotic yet stern looking woman gazed down
at him. He tried to speak, to say something. Hello, may be. He was feeling
better, stronger. Honest. The soft mewling that escaped his lips surprised
him. The stranger silenced him with her hand.
Her fingers felt warm and paper-dry as she placed her hand over his face. He
could hear her speaking from a distance, faint echoes in his mind.
"Breathe deeply. Relax," she instructed, "I mean you no harm. Our minds
are becoming one. Your thought are my thoughts; my thoughts are your
thoughts. Your pains are ...."
"What's going on here?" Kyle asked. He felt lightheaded, as if his mind
were floating freely inside his body.
"You are among friends," soothed the Vulcan mind.
Kyle's mind began a series of free associations, and thoughts and images
flashed faster than words through his mind. Mind control. Jedi knights
and Lords of the Sith. Rebels and the assassination of the Emperor. Chaos,
bloodshed, the embattled Senate, the Fleet, the Academy, his home world, his
mother. Only his thoughts seemed seemed wrong somehow. He pictured things
he couldn't name and remembered things which seemed to have no meaning or
significance. His memories spun wildly out of control. His senses reeled.
He could smell the blood flowing through his body, and he knew that wasn't
Dr. Selar tried her best to make sense of the mental chaos that confronted
her. While she had become accustomed to the general disorganization of a
human mind, the random connections forming in her subject's mind became
increasingly painful for her. She could tell that his pain was increasing
as well as the anesthetics and analgesics began to wear off. The Vulcan
doctor broke contact and shook her head.
"It's no use," she said sadly. "He's dying."
"Then let us work," snapped Dr. April Sullivan, anxiously nudging Dr. Selar
aside. The Vulcan glanced at Captain Picard, who nodded his head. The Vulcan
stepped back and began assisting in the preparations.
April felt a sense of fearful excitement as she rapidly entered the final
commands into the computer. She sneaked one last look at her patient and
damped down her urge to burst out crying. The Imperial pilot looked very
similar to her dead husband. The resemblance was uncanny; only the pilot
was about ten years younger. April forced herself to be objective and to
ignore the eerie feelings of being haunted by a ghost.
"The program should automatically correct any genetic anomalies," said
Dr. Sullivan, "But, I still feel nervous about this whole procedure. I
feel like I am working in the dark."
"You're doing fine, April," encouraged Dr. Crusher.
Doctor Selar paused in her work and said, "We are working in the dark,
metaphorically speaking. The uncertainty which you are feeling comes from
the fact that we are at best crudely approximating the correct physiology
of particular human based on our general knowledge of the human body. Not
to mention, there is a distinct possibility that this being only appears to
be human but may not be human at all."
"Don't even mention that!" exclaimed Dr. Crusher. "If he's not human, I
don't want to know what we'll have done."
"If he's not human now," said April drily, "He will be when we are done
Their work done, the three doctors took one last look at their sedated
patient. Then Dr. Sullivan said, "Energize."
The hum of the transporter filled the room and Kyle's body vanished into
"Let's hope this works," said April. "Computer, run matrix correction
program six zero six and energize when done."
"Acknowledged. Running matrix correction program six zero six," said the
"I hope this works," said Dr. Crusher.
April smiled calmly at her and said, "Matrix manipulation is a proven
technique, although regulations generally forbid what we are doing now."
"Still," said Dr. Crusher, "I feel like we're tinkering in something that we
shouldn't be. I feel like I'm a sculptor trying to reshape the face of
a statue or a painter trying to restore a work by an Old Master."
The vulcan raised one eyebrow, "Or perhaps like a mother waiting to give
Dr. Crusher laughed self-consciously. "Am I so transparent? Actually,
I feel a little like Doctor Frankenstein."
"And that," said Dr. Selar, "Would make me Igor. A fascinating image."
"Re-energizing," announced the computer, followed by the hum of the
Their patient reappeared on the table. Dr. Sullivan hesistated, giving
both Beverly and Selar a significant look, before rushing to her patient's
Kyle's eyes fluttered open, but they were distant and empty.
Dr. Crusher frowned, "We aren't getting much neural activity. We aren't
getting any readings above the most basic brain activity."
"May be he is still under the effects of the medication," Dr. Selar suggested.
April fidgetted. "No, that can't be it. I eliminated the drug residues when
I re-matrixed him."
Dr. Crusher ran her tricorder over him. "You're right. His body reading are
perfectly normal. His brain seems to be functioning correctly."
"Only, there is no pattern to his neural activity," said Dr. Selar.
"His mind's a blank slate," whispered Dr. Crusher.
The Vulcan doctor raised an eyebrow and said, "Most aptly put, Doctor."
"What now?" asked April. "We saved his body, but his mind is gone."
"But his brain is healthy," Beverly insisted. "He should be capable of
"He has the capability to think," said Selar, "But he has to relearn how to
think. He must relearn everything he knew. Just about the only things he
doesn't have to relearn are the automatic responses like breathing."
"To do that will take years," said Dr. Crusher. "What are we supposed to
do with him? We have a body, but how to we return him his life?"
"We cannot give him back his life, or more precisely, the memories of his
life because we do not have them," said Dr. Selar. "In fact, we cannot
even return him to his own people."
"But we could give him a new life here," suggested April.
Dr. Crusher gave April a strange look. "What do you mean?"
"We could give him a new mind. Give him a set of new memories that would
help him adjust to normal life in our world. I have isolated an image of
David's brain pattern. We could use that as a base on which to rebuild
his neural pathways."
Up until now, the captain had remained a silent spectator, but the new
developments stirred him into a more active role. "Dr. Sullivan,"
protested Captain Picard, "You aren't suggesting that we put your husband's
brain into this man's body?"
"It doesn't have to be Dave's brain," April said quickly. "And we wouldn't be
physically transplanting a new brain in his head. We just need a pattern
after which to model his neural pathways. We could use just about anyone's
"Using the memories of a living person would pose certain problems," said
Dr. Selar, "Problems of identity which could be better avoided using the
memories of someone who is no longer in existance. If we were to undertake
this operation, using Lieutenant David Sullivan's neural pattern would be
a logical choice."
"April," said Dr. Crusher, "It won't bring Dave back. Nothing can bring
Dave back. He's dead."
"Would you stop talking about Dave?" April shrieked. She regained control of
herself, ashamed at her outburst. She continued in a tight voice, "I'm
suggesting a way to help this man live a decent life rather than live as
a half-dead vegetable in an institution. We don't have programs to retrain
people with the memories of a newborn. He's just going to end up
institutionalized for the rest of his life if we don't do this."
Dr. Crusher fought within herself. "I just don't know. It just sounds so
unethical to put someone's memories into someone else's body. But, if it
would save a man's life...."
"Doctors," said Picard, "You all have already saved this man's life. What
you are suggesting, Dr. Sullivan, is highly irregular."
"It's just like a transplant," argued April. "It would give this man a
chance at living a normal life. Besides," she paused and added softly, "Dave
would have wanted it this way, for someone to benefit from his death."
"I have to agree with Dr. Sullivan, Captain," said Dr. Crusher relutantly.
"As he is, this patient is no different from anyone else in the Federation
suffering from a complete loss of memory. What he has is worse than acute
amnesia. We've effectively erased his mind, and I feel partially responsible.
I'm supposed to help my patients, not turn them into vegetables."
"In that case," said Captain Picard, "I suppose that we could try some sort
of reprogramming. But is there anyway you can retrain his neural pathways
without duplicating Lieutenant Sullivan's memories exactly?"
April snorted incredulously, "Captain, if we could do that, the Federation
would never have to send anyone through school or the Academy. Programming
a human mind is not quite as straightforward as programming a computer, even
one as complex as Commander Data."
Captain Picard shrugged in a very French way and said to Dr. Crusher, "I'll
leave the final decision up to you, as senior medical officer. Do whatever
you think is necessary to help your patient. I can see that he is of no use
to us as a source of information as he is now."
"Thank you, Captain," said Beverly. Her mind made up, Dr. Crusher signalled
Dr. Sullivan. "He's all yours, April. I just hope you're right."
The operation over, the medical team hovered around their patient's bed
expectantly. The patient coughed and opened his eyes. Drs. Crusher, Selar,
and Sullivan stood together in a loose group. Ship's Counselor Troi had
replaced Captain Picard as the observer.
The man. "What am I doing here?"
Dr. Crusher walked over to his side, "Do you know where you are?"
"Yeah," he said, rubbing one temple and squinting his eyes against the light.
"I'm in Sick Bay."
"It worked," breathed Dr. Sullivan.
Dr. Sullivan's voice caught the man's attention, and he searched for her face.
"April?" he asked.
April trembled. The voice was David's, only it was different, deeper, richer.
She took two quick steps towards the familiar stranger and then caught
herself. She could barely walk the remaining few feet to her patient's bed.
"Boy," said the man, "I feel awful. Everything feels wrong. I even sound
wrong. What happened? Was there a transporter accident?"
Tears began streaming down April's face. Dr. Crusher sat down beside the
man and said gently, "I have something very difficult to tell you, and you
may find what I have to say hard to accept. But, you aren't David Sullivan."
"What?" the man looked from face to face to see if this were some practical
joke. "Not David Sullivan? What are you talking about?"
Counselor Troi joined Dr. Crusher and said, "May be I'd better do this."
Dr. Crusher nodded and gave way to the Betazoid.
"Now, um, David, may I call you David?" she asked, unsure of how to proceed
now that she had taken center stage.
"Counselor, you've always called me David. What's going on here?" the man
looked frantically around and then drew his own awful conclusions. "There
was an accident, wasn't there? Was it that last experiment? April? Where's
April?" He tried to get out of bed to find April, but Deanna pushed him
back down. He swallowed his fears and asked shakily, "Have I been scrambled
into someone else? Is that what you're trying to say?" April stepped up
along side the bed, and the man who thought he was David Sullivan gazed
askingly into her eyes.
April was serious and calm. Almost too calm, thought Beverly. A glance at
the ship's counselor told Dr. Crusher that Deanna thought so, too. April,
however, was acting as professionally as anyone could have asked her to
under those circumstances, and they let her speak. "What we are trying to
tell you is that, yes, you were in a transporter accident, and that accident
distorted the areas of high intelligence in your brain, essentially destroying
all of your memories."
A look of confusion hung over the man's eyes. "But I can remember things. I
can still think."
Deanna cut in gently, patting their patient reassuringly on the arm. "What
you are remembering are neural patterns borrowed from another person. In
order to treat your medical condition, we used the memories and experiences
of someone named David Sullivan to rebuild your mind."
The man stared positively horrified at the women "This David person is dead,
isn't he? You've put the brain of a dead man into my body!"
Deanna looked helplessly at the three doctors. Beverly nodded, hugging her
arms again. Dr. Sullivan simply stood back, her face pale and drawn. Only
Dr. Selar had a relaxed if somewhat bemused expression on her face. Deanna
considered what to say next. Finally she said, "Not exactly. Your brain
is still yours. The tissue and neural chemistry is all uniquely yours as
dictated by your genetic make-up. Only the neural patterns have been
changed to give you a concrete basis on which to rebuild your life."
"But what of my memories? I mean my real memories, the real me? Who am I?
What am I like? What's my name? I don't even know my own name. If I'm
not who I remember being, then who am I?"
All three women regarded the man in uncomfortable silence.
"Quite frankly, sir, we don't know who you are," said Dr. Selar. "All that
we know about you is that you piloted a small attack craft, and that you
were brought on board the _Enterprise_ in an attempt to detain you for
questioning. Unfortunately, the transporter signal became distorted while
you were being energized, possibly due to an unforeseen interaction between
the transporters and your ship."
The man laughed incredulously. "Well, was I at least human?"
Dr. Crusher said in all seriousness, "From what we could make out, yes."
"You aren't even sure if I was human?"
"It was touch and go there, and when you arrived on board, your body was
already, uh...," said Deanna, hesitating at the last words.
"Mutated?" their patient finished.
"You are quite human now," said Dr. Selar, "And in good health."
The man closed his eyes and said carefully, "And just how am I supposed to
feel about this? You mutate my body, nearly killing me in the process, and
then save me by turning me into someone else? Am I supposed to feel grateful?
Is this some kind of new criminal punishment?"
"We are trying to help you," said Beverly defensively.
"I'm sorry," the man said quickly, looking earnestly at Dr. Crusher. "I
didn't mean it like that. Of course I'm grateful." He paused a moment and
then added in a sarcastic, rather depressed voice, "Very grateful."
"We didn't mean you any harm," said Deanna. "And right now, at least, you
aren't in any trouble."
"So what is my status, exactly? Am I under arrest?"
The two human women looked at each other and at Dr. Selar, who shrugged.
"I guess that's something Captain Picard will have to decide," said
A soft chiming noise announced that someone was waiting outside of his Ready
Room, and Picard answered with, "Enter."
Dr. Crusher stalked in determinedly.
"Hello, Doctor," said Picard, "What can I do for you?"
"It's about that man we brought on board from that starfighter. Why has
Lieutenant Worf taken him to the Brig? He's of no harm to anyone, and
putting him in prison is hardly helping him adjust to his new situation."
"Lieutenant Worf was acting under my orders, Doctor. Your patient's new
status, I'm afraid, is that of a Federation prisoner," said Picard.
"That's not fair!" Beverly protested, "That man hardly deserves to be
treated like a criminal any more than David Sullivan does."
"Your patient is not David Sullivan," said Picard reasonably. "He was caught
red-handed in an act of piracy against a Federation vessel. You knew that
before you started all of this."
"But he is no longer the same man who committed those crimes. He literally
has all of David's experiences and feelings. That man only knows what it's
like to be a loyal Star Fleet officer. Only now, we're treating him like
a criminal. Can you imagine what that is like? Here we are telling him that
he is guilty of doing things he would adamantly oppose doing and can't even
"The law," said Picard firmly, "Is clear on this. Whether or not he can
remember committing the crime is irrevelant in light of the fact that we
caught him doing it. However," the captain relented, "He current condition
will be taken into consideration during sentencing. Things would have been
much easier, I think, if you had just left things well enough alone."
"As if condemning a human being to living as a vegetable is a viable
alternative?" Beverly said bitterly.
"Well," exclaimed Picard angrily, "What would you have me do with him? Give
him Lieutenant Sullivan's position and adopt him into our crew?"
Dr. Crusher looked lost, "No, of course not. I'm sorry, Jean-Luc. You're
right, of course. It's just that I feel like I've saved a man's life only
to have him handed over to a firing squad."
Captain Picard regretted his outburst and said gently, "I didn't mean to be
so harsh, Beverly. I know how you must feel. But it's not as if he'll be
executed. In fact, he'll probably just be put in an institution somewhere."
"Why did you let me transplant Lieutenant Sullivan's memories in him
if you knew that we'd just lock him up anyway?"
The captain was silent for a long while before answering. "I guess that I
was feeling guilty about having ordered him brought on board before thoroughly
checking out the consequences. May be I was hoping that somehow some of his
original identity would survive that transplant and that having something for
his mind to latch on to would give some part of that identity a chance to
surface. It's hard for me, too, to see someone who is otherwise healthy be
nothing more than an empty shell of a person."
"A blank slate," said Beverly.
Picard nodded, "A blank slate. Any fate would be better than that. At least
this way, he is someone, albeit a prisoner for now."
The man decided to call himself David for the lack of anything better to
call himself. Afterall, it was the only name he was now used to going by.
David sat forlornly on the bunk in his cell and flicked drops of water into
the force field sealing him in his prison.
April approached his cell shyly. David looked up and smiled, setting down
his cup of water. April could feel her heart pounding at a hundred miles a
minute as she stepped up to the force field. She hadn't felt this way about
seeing anyone since her last dinner date with her dead husband.
"Hello, April," the man said. April's felt her stomach flutter. How could
anyone who looked so different from David, so much younger, sound just like
"Hello," April stammered.
The man stared at his hands, avoiding her eyes. "It's ok if you call me
David. I don't seem answer to anything else."
April felt a lump forming in her throat. She could barely breath out
the words, "Hello, David."
David cleared his throat and said, "Thank you for coming to see me. I know
I'm not really David Sullivan, and so I know that I don't mean anything to
you. But I really do appreciate you coming to see me."
April nodded, speechless. Coming here was a mistake, yet she had felt
irristably drawn here. She had to come, if only to lay her ghosts to rest.
David also felt the awkwardness of the whole situation but finally said, "He
loved you very much." What he really wanted to say was, I love you very much.
April looked up and found herself staring deep into a pair of loving and
sincere grey-blue eyes. David could tell she had heard his unspoken words.
"He was a very lucky man," David said huskily. He cleared his throat again.
"And I'm sure he would tell you that, uh, you did the right thing, and that,
uh, he misses you very much, but that life goes on. You've got to go on
with your life. He would have wanted that."
"Oh, David," April began weeping. "I miss you so much."
The man tried to comfort her despite the force field that separated them.
"Now I've made you cry. Oh, honey, don't cry. You'll get puff eyes."
"Puff eyes," April echoed, smiling briefly through her tears at their private
joke, but then the tears flowed again as she said, "I can't bear to lose you
David felt as if his soul was dying as he said with forced brusqueness,
"Listen, lady, David Sullivan is dead. Your husband is dead. I'm just some
no good pirate whose life you've saved. I'm grateful for your efforts, but
you are nothing more than my doctor. You don't mean anything to me. You
can't let me mean anything to you. You've got to pick up the pieces of your
life and keep on going. Get a life." He turned to face away from her so she
wouldn't see the tears welling up in his eyes. "I'm not your husband." He
choked on the last words.
Cursing her own foolish sentimentality, April balled her fist, angry with
herself. She turned and fled the brig. David let his chin drop against his
chest as he heard her footsteps run out of the room. Then he took a deep
breath and tried to compose himself. Only he felt so inconsolably sad that
he wished he could trade places with the dead David Sullivan. David walked
up to a solid wall of his cell and pounded at it with his fist as he let out
a scream of anguish. Then he threw himself on to his bunk and curled up
into a tired ball.
"I love you so much, April," he whispered. "I love you so much."
Captain's log, supplemental
Our first encounter with a civilization possibly from a galaxy other than our
own has ended sourly. We know little more than what meagre information we
have been able to glean from the analysis of the encounter. In addition,
our meeting has left us with the awkward problem of what to do with the
pilot we have brought on board. Although he was a true alien before he
set foot on the _Enterprise_, we have since then literally remade him into one
of us. Although as a Star Fleet captain, I have the authority to make
whatever decisions I deem best under novel situations such as this, I cannot
help but wonder if I did the right thing. On the other hand, I do believe
that if I hadn't have allowed Drs. Crusher and Sullivan to do all that they
could, I would have felt worse.
Still, our main mission remains unaccomplished. We still do not know the
nature of the alien ship or the whereabouts of the missing civilian vessels.
The only thing I feel certain of is the fact that we have not seen the last
of our alien visitors.
To be continued....
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