AOH :: TREK-078.TXT|
"Imperial Domination" Episode 2: "Specimens"
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ruth Lim)
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 1992 15:58:00 GMT
Subject: Imperial Domination: Episode 2
Organization: HP Scientific Instruments Division - Palo Alto, CA
Episode Two: Specimens
On board the _Manifest_Destiny_, Roland and Graham drowned their sorrows in
a few mugs of their favorite intoxicant. Yet surprisingly, both men looked
"I can't believe the kid's gone," said Graham. "One minute, everything's
fine, and the next, poof, he's gone."
Roland pouted grimly and said, "We all know the risks; we all face death
every time we go out."
"But his ship wasn't even damaged!" exclaimed Graham. "Whoever these guys
are, I'm gonna get them. I just can't believe that anyone could have weapons
that... that awful." Graham shuddered.
This time Roland frowned for another reason. "Cut it out, Graham. Don't
think so hard about it."
Ignoring Roland's warning, Graham continued, "And we're collecting
information to help bring these weapons into the Empire. I can't believe
that we're doing this. After over a thousand generations of peace, our
generation is trying to develop weapons that can wipe out lives as if they
were nothing. Things were so much more civilized when light sabers were the
main weapon of choice. At least it took real effort to kill someone. You
know, I have a real bad feeling about this."
"Don't talk like that," Roland said sharply, "Someone might hear you. And
besides, it's just your drink talking. You're a good pilot. You have a
gift for it, like the old Jedi, but the days of galactic peace are gone.
We've got a duty to do. We've got to maintain law and order within the
Empire, or else thousands of years of civilization will come tumbling down
before our eyes."
Graham poured himself another drink and said, "I just don't think I'm going
to come back from this one."
Reaching for the bottle, Roland poured a drink for himself as well. "I don't
think I'm going to make it either."
Captain Biehn paced back and forth along the central aisle of the Bridge. His
grey eyes stared blankly out of an impassive face, the normal good humor
nearly extinguished. He stopped by his Intelligence officer and asked, "Any
"The computers are still analyzing the data. But they have concluded that
the alien ship may have teleported the missing TIE-fighter pilot on to their
own vessel," came the reply.
"So," said Biehn, "We have lost the advantage of stealth and surprise. No
doubt, the military forces belonging to this 'Federation' will be looking
for us. Still, I'd hate to cut our mission short. I'm not going back to
the Sith Counsel and the Senate empty handed. If we could only capture a
Star Fleet ship."
"We have been limiting ourselves to ships weaker than ourselves," said Biehn.
"Purposely. I'm very reluctant to go head to head against a ship like the
one we just encountered so far from our own support lines. But according to
the information the interrogators have obtained, the technology available on
ships like the one we just ran into is significantly better than the ships
we've been picking up. And it makes sense. Military ships are almost always
better built than your run of the mill, tramp freighter. I've been limiting our efforts
strictly to civilian craft, which means that we're just picking up the
Federation's technological scraps. If I want to cut our mission short, we'll
have to get hold of something really good."
"But, sir. We can hardly wage a private war on this side of the hole just
to obtain a few technology secrets for the weapons labs back home. How can
we go up against a ship that can go faster than light in normal space and
that can throw that much energy around? I'm not even sure that our
ray and particle beam weapons can pierce that ship's shielding, much less
our solid ordinance. And what chance have we got against an enemy that can
teleport the entire Bridge crew into deep space or at least into our own
The Corellian smiled, "That's true, but who said we had to wage war against
them? Those Ferengi creatures remind me of a few other lowlife types back
home, like Mitnins or Rawgs. Those types will sell their mothers if the
price is right."
"Are you suggesting that we buy the technology we want?" asked the officer.
"And why not?" Captain Biehn said, smuggly surprised at his own genius. "We
could trade them a few of our droids for a warp engine and a transporter or
may be a few phasers. Droids don't seem to be very common out here, and
those Ferengi creatures were drooling over even our old astromech droids like
a bunch of greedy Jawas. I think that we can do a little business here,
provided we find the right people."
Biehn's subordinate looked unconvinced, "But that will take time. How are
we going to find the 'right people?'"
"Our best bet," said Biehn, "Is a place called the Neutral Zone."
The tramp freighter and part-time smuggling ship _Luck's_Mistress_ cruised
leisurely along the Romulan Neutral Zone as her crew waited for a chance to
sneak across the border between Federation space and the disputed territories.
Her unkempt and unsavory crew felt smuggly confident that they were alone
for light years in any direction, and so when the proximity alarms sounded,
it caused a furor of activity.
"Ship coming in port aft, vector one two eight!" cried the helmsman.
"Where'd she come from?" cursed the pirate captain."
"Federation side," said the distressed helmsman, "She must have been running
The captain cursed again, "Cloaked? Then it's not Star Fleet. Is it a Rom
"No, negative.... Captain, that ship is huge, at least sixteen hundred
"That can't be right," said the captain with frightened anger. He rushed
over to look the readings over himself.
"They're launching missiles at us!" shrieked the unnerved helmsman.
"Accelerate to warp!" yelled the captain. He punched in the appropriate
commands. The ship's engines began whining, but something jerked the ship
backwards. The captain let fly a stream of colorful epithets. "They've got
us in a tractor beam."
"The missiles are getting closer!"
"Those aren't missiles, you bozo," snapped the captain. "Those are manned
"Angel Leader to Angel One, cover me, Graham," Roland said.
"Wilco." Graham flew close behind his wingman as the two TIE-fighters
approached the alien ship.
"Looks like we have her in the bottle," said Roland with satisfaction, "She
doesn't show signs of bolting."
Graham grunted unenthusiastically. Flying about in his TIE-fighter only
drove home the fact that Kyle was no longer with them. Graham fatalistically
felt that his turn was next.
"Heaven's Gate, " Roland spoke into his mike, "This is Angel Leader. It looks
like the specimen is in the bag. Reel her in."
"Roger," came the response, after a brief pause. "Intelligence has picked up
an alien vessel approaching mark twenty oh five. Request that you
Graham swore softly as he listened in. "Why us?" he muttered to himself.
If the request upset Roland, he hid it well. "Roger, Heaven. Angel Leader
"You heard her," Roland said to his unhappy wingman, "Pick it up."
"Why do we always get stuck with the unpleasant jobs?" complained Graham.
"Because," explained Roland patiently, "We're flying the long-range snubs.
Let's go check this blip out."
An alarming trend has developed in the hunt for our mysterious visitors.
An increasing number of ships have been reported missing close to the
Romulan Neutral zone. This development has caused much concern because of
the delicate nature of the Romulan peace treaties. So far, all of the
disappearances have been of Federation vessels, and the Romulans have yet
to log any formal complaints. Thus, we are assuming that our visitors
have been limiting themselves to taking Federation ships, mostly tramp
freighters and, ironically, pirate ships.
I am beginning to suspect a method to this madness. Our alien captain has
taken great pains to avoid any confrontations and seems to show a fondness
for attacking only those vessels weaker than himself. He seems to be
searching for something, and perhaps he is collecting ships to study and
dissect them, like bugs or exotic specimens. A fact that seems to support
my hunch is that the when a vessel of a particular type is the first of
its kind to disappear, it vanishes without a trace. But, as soon as a similar
make of ship is taken, wreakage from the ship in worse repair appears in
the area in which the second ship disappeared.
Furthermore, we have made the grisly discovery of some of the bodies belonging
to a random sample of the missing crewmembers, floating among the discarded
ships. Many bear scars of torture and for the non-human ones, dissection.
Our visitors are definitely hostile but not confrontational. They are like
jackals prowling at the edge of the herd, waiting to prey on the weak.
I have taken it upon myself to find these invaderss, and to at least capture
my own specimen to find out who our visitors are and how to stop them.
The _Enterprise_ prowled at the edge of the Neutral Zone while carefully
keeping a safe distance from the actual border so as to not attract any
unwanted attention from the Romulans.
Simultaneously monitoring several sensors, Commander Data sat quietly in the
command chair. A heavy silence hung over the Bridge, which seemed quieter
during the third shift than during the other two. A proximity alarm began
beeping for attention, sounding loud in the stillness.
"Fourteen small craft of the intergalactic type approaching at full Impulse,"
reported the officer manning the weapons console, "Shall I raise shields?"
Data cocked his head to one side as he quickly reviewed his options. One
thing was clear in his mind: he wanted to capture at least one of the pilots
from the approaching ships. "Raise shields and activate the tractor beam,"
he finally ordered. "Also, activate forward phasers and begin tracking the
incoming targets, but hold your fire. Broadcast the standard hailing
"They'll just ignore the message," said the weapons officer.
"The decision to hail the incoming ships is not based on whether they will
answer, Lieutenant, but on Federation protocol."
"Yes, sir. Hailing ships now."
Data watched as the tiny ships drew nearer. The computer continually adjusted
for the closing distance, so the image of the craft seem to always remain at
the same distance; only the resolution of the image steadily improved.
"The formation is starting to split up. Independent weapons tracking system
"As soon as one of the ships comes in range, lock on to it," Data ordered.
"But select an alternate target as soon as your chosen target shows any
signs of disintegration."
"Aye, aye, sir. But we may end up going through a number of them."
"Acknowledged, Lieutenant. Helm, please extrapolate the origin of these
craft, and scan for any large, alien vessels."
Things well under control, Data decided to inform Captain Picard of the
An annoying chirp echoed in the darkness, waking Captain Picard from some
much needed sleep. But with the alertness of a trained Star Fleet officer,
he woke fully alert. He picked up his communicator and activated it.
"Captain Picard here, go ahead Bridge."
"Sorry to disturb you, Captain," came Data's voice, "But several of the small,
alien craft are approaching us. I have instructed the crew to attempt to
capture a ship using the tractor beam."
Captain Picard bolted upright and threw off the bedclothes. "Good work, Data.
I'm on my way. Contact Riker, Geordi, and Worf."
"Yes, sir. Bridge out."
Riker sleepily rubbed his eyes as he stepped out of the turbolift and on to
the Bridge. The room buzzed with activity. He headed towards his station.
"The ships are retreating!" yelled Worf excitedly from behind his station.
"They are splitting up and heading away from us."
"Select a single target and chase after it," ordered Picard. "Don't let it
The Imperial TIE-fighters had scattered as soon as the _Enterprise_ had
revealed her nature and her intent. After watching the Federation starship
grab on to three different fighters only to rip each of the tiny ships apart
under the strain, the rest of the fighters wisely decided to bug out. The
snub fighters scattered before the _Enterprise_, like a herd of gazelle
racing away from a lionness.
But determined not to be robbed of her prey, the _Enterprise_ began bearing
down on two of the small craft, which struggled to stay just out of the
effective range of the _Enterprise's_ tractor beams.
"She's on our tail!" yelped Graham.
"I see her, I see her," Roland replied. "Keep going."
"My main stabilizer's starting to give," Graham announced in a panicked voice,
"I can't keep this speed up."
"Keep calm, Angel One, keep calm. You'll make it."
Data listened to the conversation with great interest. Only his inability to
feel excitement prevented him from crowing over the breakthrough he had just
"Captain," Data said, "I believe that I am intercepting the ship to ship
communications of the two small craft which we are pursuing. The Universal
Translator has just finished analyzing the language and should be able to
give a rough, real-time translation."
Pleased with what was going on, Picard said, "Put the communications on, Data.
If they won't talk to us, we can at least listen to what they are saying to
"Aye, aye, Captain," Data said, and two terrified, human voices burst in over
"Prepare to make the jump to light speed," said one voice, probably the
leader of the two.
"I can't! The strain is starting to cascade through the main control systems.
I can't stay ahead of that beam."
"You've got to, Graham. Come on, you can make it, you can make it. I can't
do anything to help you. We've just got to keep going."
Captain Picard nibbled on one finger thoughtfully and said, "Worf, do you
detect any change in the ships?"
The Klingon answered, "The one nearest to us does appear to be suffering from
some difficulty. However, we do not seem to be closing in on the ships."
As if to defend his efforts, Geordi said, "The targets keep changing
direction, and if we go any faster than we are, we're likely to overshoot
them and lose them for sure."
"Hold her steady, Commander La Forge," said Picard. "Lieutenant Worf, do
you think that you can safely bring the starfighter into control and keep it
from disintergrating if it does slip into our tractor beam?"
Worf scowled. He would prefer destroying rather than capturing the two craft,
and if it were him flying those fighters, he would self-destruct his ship
rather than face capture. But he answered the captain's question anyway, "If
we can keep our position constant relative to the target and thus minimize
the shearing forces or if the target slows down enough once in the beam, then
it should be no problem."
"Can you do it, Geordi?" Picard asked.
"I'll sure try." Geordi straightened with anticipation.
The desparate voices called out urgently to eachother across the darkness.
"She's going to fail, she's going to fail. Get out of here, Roland. Leave
"Damn it, Graham, I'm not leaving you."
"Will you get out of here? I'm dead already."
Silence, and then. "Sorry, Graham."
The lead TIE-fighter suddenly shrank into a pinpoint of nothingness as it
leaped into hyperspace. And Graham Wayfarer found himself very much alone.
With his engines shrieking unhealthily, Grahan suddenly realized what he had
to do. His hand shook badly as he purposely slowed his ship.
"Enemy ship slowing and entering tractor beam," announced Worf.
"Stay with her," Picard instructed Geordi, "Don't let her slip away or damage
Geordi pressed his lips together. The captain was asking a lot out of the
_Enterprise_. Only Geordi's consumate skill maintained the delicate bond
which link the two ships.
"The enemy craft is slowing," said Worf with relief. A slower moving target
would make his job easier.
"Watch for any signs of her turning to attack, Worf," warned Picard.
"Aye, aye, Sir." Worf, of course, had already thought of that and had the
phaser targetting computers steadily tracking the tiny craft.
Graham stared numbly out into space. Turning to attack was the furthest thing
from his mind. He no longer even cared what happened to him. He closed his
eyes as he felt his ship shudder under the invisible force that drew his
fighter closer and closer to the behemoth behind him. Then, he began rigging
up the self-destruct sequence.
"Sir," said Worf, "I'm detecting a power build up in the enemy craft."
"He's going to self-destruct!" yelled Picard, "Beam the pilot aboard now!"
"We shouldn't drop shields if the ship is going to explode," protested Worf.
Geordi had an inspiration, "I'm going to shear off and destroy the ship before
she blows. Prepare to drop shields and beam the pilot aboard on my signal.
Worf's warrior reflexes served him and the Imperial pilot well, as events
blurred together. Geordi changed the tractor beam vector ever so slightly,
causing the alien starfighter to disintegrate. Worf then pulsed the shields
and beamed the pilot into the transporter buffers while the shields were
momentarily down. The wreakage from the small ship then splattered harmlessly
against the reactivated shields.
The Klingon announced with satisfaction, "Enemy pilot in transit." And he
had every right to be happy. He had actually locked on to the pilot a
fraction of a second too late, and Worf had fully expected to be bringing
on board a corpse. So when the transporter computer reported a live human
in transit, the Klingon felt doubly lucky.
"Excellant, Geordi, Worf," said Picard. "Any readings on the mother ship?"
"Negative, Captain," said Data. "The all ships appear to have made the
transition into hyperspace."
"Very well then," said Picard, rising. "We'll just have to be satisfied with
what we do have. Commander Riker, Lieutenant Worf, come with me. May be
this time we'll be able to learn something about our visitors."
"So," David asked Dr. Crusher, "How did I do?"
Dr. Crusher smiled across her desk at her patient. If not for the two armed
security guards behind him, this might have been a normal doctor to patient
consultation. "Your scores fall well within a ninety-eight percent match
with the last psych test on record for David Sullivan," she said.
He gave her a lopsided grin and said, "And you're surprised?"
"Well, yes. I mean, your brain chemistry is quite a bit different than
that of the original David Sullivan. I would have expected a greater
deviation in your test results."
"I'm like a scientific experiment to you, aren't I?" David commented with more
humor than Beverly would have felt if their situations had been reversed. The
better acquainted she became with this charming, young man, the more she liked
him. May be it was because he was only four or five years older than her own
"You are a unique case," Dr. Crusher explained. "I don't know of any other
cases in which a psych test has been adminstered to someone with the exact
same experiences and memories of someone else but who has a totally different
David leaned back comfortably. As long as he was with Dr. Crusher, he felt
accepted and valued. "So, am I shaped more by my environment or by genetics?"
"I don't know," said Dr. Crusher. "What do you think?"
Shrugging, David said, "Well, coffee sure doesn't taste as good as I remember
it to, but chocolate and Romulan ale, which I used to hate, are now topping
my cravings list. Also, I'm sometimes surprised by little things, like the
colors or certain things, or the sounds of certain things. Things are somehow
different from how I remember them. I guess I really am looking at things
through new eyes. Was the original David color blind?"
Beverly mentally noted the point. "Yes," she said, "He was. He had the red
green form of color blindness."
"I thought so. I think I've just discovered the color red. I've also noticed
I have less concentration now than I used to, but I can handle spatial tasks
"Ah," said Dr. Crusher nodding, "So you've spotted the two percent difference,
"Will the difference grow with time?"
"May be. May be not. I just don't know."
"You know," David said, "I really wouldn't mind all of this, if it weren't
for Dr. Sullivan."
The young man fidgetted. He clearly found it hard to confide to her about
his deepest feelings, but he had already said all there was to be said.
Dr. Crusher voiced his feelings for him. "You're afraid that if you change
that you'll grow apart from her, and that she won't love you anymore. Is
"Yeah," he said, the boyish smile returning. "Isn't it stupid? I mean,
she's never loved me as me before in her life. He's the man she loved, and
yet I remember with absolute clarity how they felt for one another. I don't
want that love to stop. I don't want to be me. I want to be him. It's
like I am him but not him. I get all of the heartbreak of losing the most
important person to me in my present life and no possibility of getting her
back. And she's right there, just out of reach." He paused and then added,
"I want April back. I still love that woman."
The sound of Dr. Crusher's communicator broke the silence that followed.
Beverly tapped at the pin in well-controlled nnoyance and said, "Dr. Crusher,
here. Go ahead, Bridge."
"Ah, Beverly," said Picard, "Your services are required in transporter room
"I'll be right there. Crusher out." She returned her attention to her patient.
"Well, David, I guess I'll have to cut our conversation short."
"Can we talk again?" David asked hopefully.
"Yes, of course. The guards will see you back to your cell."
As David rose to his feet, he said, "Thank you for your time, even if I am
just a laboratory specimen."
Beverly paused. "You're my patient. And you should thank Captain Picard for
allowing me to meet with you like this."
"May be you can thank him for me," said David.
"Yes, I'll do that."
The newest prisoner on board the _Enterprise_ materialized without too much
fuss on the transporter pad. Worf and his security team quickly restrained
the man in the black uniform and partial armor, not that he fought much.
Rather he stood by meekly, somewhat dazed. One of the security guards soon
had removed the man's breathing gear and set the helmet and pack on the floor.
Dr. Crusher hurried in shortly after. She glanced over the prisoner to check
for signs of shock. His apathetic behavior spoke volumes. She waved her
medical tricorder over him, but she could have guessed the results. "He's
in shock. He needs to be in Sick Bay."
"Worf," Picard signalled the Klingon. The captain didn't bother finishing
his order. His chief security officer was already guiding their prisoner
out of the transporter room and into the hallway. Commander Riker trailed
after the group, and Captain Picard turned to leave.
"If I might have a word with you alone, Captain?" said Dr. Crusher.
The transporter room door slid shut, leaving the captain alone with the
doctor. "What is it, Dr. Crusher?"
"I did another psych test on my other patient, David," she began.
"There are some small differences, mainly in areas of physical responses.
But the fundamental personalities are nearly identical. Even his basic
temperments is the same as before." Dr. Crusher let her words sink in. "It's
almost freaky. The two men must have had similar personalities to begin with,
and now that Lieutenant Sullivan's past has been overlaid on top of our
John Doe's mind, Sullivan's identity dominates so strongly that for all
practical purposes that man is literal another David Sullivan."
"But won't more of his own personality surface with time? Genetics does
play a role in determining personality," said Picard. The idea that one
individual could replace another bothered him. Picard wanted the two men to
"I think that what we have is an extraordinary coincidence. Aside from the
matter of age, the two men are very similar in the physiological aspects of
their personalities. David Sullivan's past and personality just happens to
be a good match. In a way, I'm glad that we don't have to worry about him
rejecting his transplanted identity. What I'm guessing is that we'll continue
to see small changes and adjustments in David's personal preferences, but
in the end, things will settle down within the next few months. And when they
do our current David will act and react claose enough to the real David
Sullivan to be his clone."
"They are that similar?"
Dr. Crusher nodded. "Like I said, it's eerie. You know, there's always that
old wives' tale about how everyone has a double somewhere in the world. Well,
this may be a living example."
"So you think that I should advise Star Fleet of the fact that we have
managed to bring Lieutenant Sullivan's ghost back to life?" Picard said,
half jokingly, half serious.
"It has been done before," Dr. Crusher replied.
Captain Picard disliked prisoner interrogations, but he felt it was he duty
under the circumstances to make the first attempts at contact. He said,
"You are on board the Federation Starship _Enterprise_, and I am the captain,
The prisoner stared determinedly past Picard and anwered in near monotone,
"My name is Graham Wayfarer, rank Lieutenant in the Imperial fleet. My serial
number is PP3-1498-0293."
Despite the fact that their prisoner seemed well-versed in what unnervingly
appeared to be the modified Geneva Convention, Picard persisted in his
questioning. "Where do you come from? And what were you doing in Federation
space? Are you from another galaxy?"
"My name is Graham Wayfarer, rank Lieutenant in the Imperial fleet. My serial
number is PP3-1498-0293."
Picard sighed. He was getting nowhere. Captain Picard caught Worf watching
him and their recalcitrant prisoner impassively. "Well, Lieutenant Worf,
"I suggest we try truth drugs, sir," said the Klingon.
Wrinkling his face in disgust, Picard said, "You might be right, but I would
prefer it if our guest voluntarily talked to us."
Graham glared at his captors sullenly, unimpressed by their good cop/bad cop
"The Federation is a peaceful organization," said Picard, "We mean you no
The prisoner snorted derisively at the captain's words. Graham had seen with
his own eyes the destructive capability of these people, and it scared him
even though he had thought he was a battled-hardened killer. If their
vessels could deal so much deadly force during peacetime, the 'Federation'
must certainly be a ruthless and bloodthirsty bunch. Anyone who could harness
the powers of mass destruction before even bothering to make it to the other
side of the galaxy surely could not understand the meaning of the word peace.
Back where Graham had grown up, real peace had existed within living memory
in the space governed by the Old Republic now Empire for thousands of human
generations. Up until the Clone Wars and the military emergency that had
ensued, the light saber upheld justice and law. His own people were still
frantically learning how to kill each other in deadly earnest, while the
denizens of this galaxy could do it without even trying to. Peace indeed.
His captors didn't even begin to understand the meaning of the word. He had
been captured by barbarians.
Worf narrowed his eyes at the prisoner's obvious disrepect for the captain,
but Picard brushed off the man's hostility. "I can understand your resentment
towards us right now. But you must try and see things from our perspective.
You, obviously, come from a civilization alien to our own, and your forces
have attacked and abducted several of our ships. We would prefer open
"Blezt Hober min il Hiffe," said the prisoner, switching languages. The
Universal Translator could make little sense of what the man was saying.
Picard looked around, disconcerted. Graham repeated his statement in the
language Picard had been using with him, "You understand nothing of peace."
The fact that their prisoner had spoken in a Federation language without the
help of a translator startled Picard, and the captain barely registered
anything more than the fact that the prisoner could speak Federation standard.
"Can you understand our language?" asked Picard, with guarded excitement.
Graham hesistated the split second that it took the Universal Translator to
repeat the question in Galactic Standard. Smiling for the first time since
he had been brought aboard, Graham answered honestly, "No."
At that, Picard sat back. Had it been his imagination? He looked at Worf.
The Klingon shrugged and said, "I heard him speak in Federation Standard as
"Are you lying to us?" Picard asked with an edge in his voice. A dangerous
expression formed in his eyes.
"No," Graham stammered nervously, "Not exactly." Now I've done it, Graham
berated himself. By letting slip the fact that he, like most people in the
Empire, had learned to pick up alien languages relatively easily, Graham had
inadvertantly slipped into a dialogue with the enemy, a definite no-no.
Picard glared suspiciously at the younger man, who shrank visibly away from
the captain's rising anger. Now that he had recovered from the shock of
being alive, Graham suddenly found himself wanting to stay that way. And the
prospect of dying at the hands of these barbarians unnerved him.
Graham continued appeasingly, "I pick up phrases quickly. That's all."
"You mean you've been learning our language just by listening to us talk?"
The TIE-fighter grinned sheepishly and said, "Wouldn't you?"
"Fascinating," said Picard. "I'm going to ask someone better trained in
observing human behavior to talk with you." The captain tapped his
communicator and said, "Bridge, have Commander Data and Counselor Troi report
to the Detention Debriefing room. I would like them to meet with our guest."
Back in his now all too familiar cell, David paced idly back and forth in
front of his cell door. Although light from the force field made the hallway
beyond seem darker than his cell and thus it was hard to see what was going
on outside his cell, David found what little activity he could catch a
glimpse of immeasurably more interesting than his own bleak cell.
The sounds of footsteps and voices caught David's attention, and he stopped
to stare out through the force field. He recognized the less than welcome
outline of the Klingon head of security striding closer, but the prisoner
walking dejectedly along side of the Klingon attracted David's close
The man, dressed in a severe and plain uniform, glanced up. He caught sight
of David watching him from a starkly light cell. The prisoner's eyes widened
"Kyle!" Graham cried out, breaking away from his guards just enough to
stagger towards David's cell. Alarmed at the man's reaction, David leaped
backwards. The confused expression on Kyle's face scared Graham. "Kyle?"
he repeated, this time in more of a question.
Lieutenant Worf reached out and grabbed his handcuffed prisoner by the arm
and hauled him bodily backwards. Graham resisted half-heartedly but never
took his eyes off of his old friend. "Kyle?" Graham kept repeating, "Don't
you recognize me? What have they done to you? Kyle?"
David stared mesmerized at the prisoner who struggled frantically with the
security personnel. Worf practically threw the man into an empty cell
diagonal to David's own. The new prisoner picked himself up off of the floor
of his cell and threw himself against the now activated force field. David
winced as the man bounced painfully off of it.
The man blurted out something in an alien tongue which could only have been
a heartfelt curse. Unimpressed, Worf merely gave the fuming prisoner a calm
warning, "I have activated a force field across the door to your cell, and
you will only hurt yourself it you attempt to throw yourself against it. You
The man spat out another insult but avoid touching the deceptively transparent
cell door. Worf and the guards filed out of the detention block, leaving the
two prisoners alone. As Worf walked past David's cell, the two Lieutenants
made eye contact. The Klingon lifted his chin slightly in a subtle greeting,
which David returned politely. The main brig doors slid shut with a soft
"Kyle?" Graham called out tentatively in a tense voice. "What's wrong with
you? That is you, isn't it?"
David stepped up to the doorway and peered out curiously at the new arrival.
The man knew who he, David, had been in his former life. David had once been
someone named Kyle, and this man sounded like he knew Kyle well. A sense of
nervous excitement flooded David's senses. He felt an almost morbid need to
know his own past even though he was sure that it would appall him to find
out what atrocities he had committed in his past life. "Uh, hello," David
"You don't remember me at all," said Graham anxiously.
"No," David replied regretfully, "No, I don't sorry."
Graham reeled at the realization that the other man was in fact his lost
wingman and friend and that Kyle honestly did not remember him. He sat down
heavily on his bunk.
"Excuse me," David called out to his fellow prisoner, "But you seem to know
who I was. Would you mind answering a few questions?"
Shaken badily, Graham whispered in a hollow voice, "No. Go ahead and ask."
David resolved himself and asked, "Who am I?" The question sounded bizarre
to him, but he had to ask it.
The Imperial pilot looked up from his bunk and said, "You really don't
remember anything, do you?"
"No," said David, "I don't."
A look of suspicion entered Graham's eyes. "Wait a minute. How do I know
you aren't some sort of trick to get me to talk?"
"No, wait, please," pleaded David, "Please, just tell me who I am. You don't
have to tell me anything you don't want to, but I've got to know who I really
"Who do you think you are now?" Graham asked.
"I don't know," admitted David. Then he quickly added, "I have the memories
of someone named David Sullivan, but everyone tells me he's dead. They just
used his neural patterns to replace mine after my mind was wiped out."
"They flushed your memory?!" Graham gasped in disbelief. He stared at Kyle
in panic, "They flushed your memory?!" Graham's voice started to shriek.
"It was an accident. It was an accident," David yelled over Graham's
hysteria. The Imperial pilot ignored him. "Oops," David mumbled under his
Graham was terrified out of his mind, and he began pounding his fists against
the walls. Finally, exhausted, he collapsed in a corner of his cell out of
David's line of sight.
"Uh, hello," David called out hopefully in the silence. "Hello? Are you all
right? Hey, you there. Hello?"
I'm not going to let them mindwipe me like some droid, thought Graham. He
suddenly wanted to die, to escape being robbed of his identity and enslaved
by these horrible aliens. He stared at the force field and wondered if
throwing himself against enough times would eventually kill him. He gathered
his grit and then launched himself at the open void.
The sound of the prisoner's body slamming into the force field and bouncing
off brought David running back to the door of his cell from the edge of his
"Stop that!" David yelled. The man didn't listen, but rather only picked
his dazed body up off of the floor and ran into the force field again and
again like a panic-striken animal. "Computer," David yelled, "Emergency
in the Brig. Alert the guards and have a medical team brought down here
Almost immediately, the guards came running in. Graham grew even more frantic
at the sight of the guards, and he began throwing his body against the far
walls of his cell. Sweat, drool, and blood poured down the prisoner's face.
Graham's eyes were wide and mindless with terror.
"Lower the force field," commanded Worf as he ran into the Brig a few moments
later and immediately seized up the situation. "Set phasers for stun."
The prisoner began screaming and cursing.
"Fire!" ordered Worf.
Dr. Crusher and Captain Picard dashed through the detetion area doors just
as the Imperial pilot crumpled to the floor. The instant the prisoner had
fallen insensible to the ground, Dr. Crusher leaped forward to his side.
She anxiously ran her tricoder over him. SHe began to mutter under her
breath at the results. "Damn," she said, "I'm losing him." She began to
rapidly apply all of her resusitation techniques on him. David watched
helplessly as the drama unfolded before his eyes.
"What's wrong with him?" asked Picard, worried that he might lose his only
possible source of information.
"He's going into full cardiac arrest," the doctor said grimly. She grabbed
a hypodermic and jammed a full dose into his arm. She sat back and waited
for a response. "He's not responding. Come on, come on. Breathe, dammit.
But Graham wanted to die so badly, he could taste it. He let his mind slip
closer and closer towards death.
"Don't die on me," Dr. Crusher pleaded threateningly. She grabbed another
hypodermic and injected her patient again. Graham coughed unwillingly and
moaned. Then he began vomitting and choking up blood. "Transporter room,"
Dr. Crusher yelled, "Transport two to Sick Bay." Both the doctor and her
patient faded from view.
A stuffy stillness hung over the Brig like a dense fog. "Clean this mess
up," ordered Picard, stalking out of the brig.
Worf walked towards David's cell and demanded, "What happened?"
David furrowed his brows and said, "He knew me. He knows who I am and what
you've done to me. It scared him." David paused and looked into the
Klingon's eyes. "It scares me."
Worf studied David thoughtfully and then tapped his communicator. "Counselor
Troi, you are needed in the Brig."
"I don't need anyone to hold my hand," David snapped angrily at Worf. "Just
leave me alone. All of you. I just want to be left alone."
"April," said Deanna, peering around the corner of the doorway into
Dr. Sullivan's lab, "I need you to come with me to the Brig."
April jerked her head up quickly and asked, "David?"
Deanna nodded. April practically ran out into the hall. The two women
walked quickly towards the turbolift.
"Has something happened to David?" April asked, her voice filled with concern.
"He's very upset, and I think that he'd respond best if you tried to him."
"Oh, Deanna," April said, slowing. "I don't know if I can."
The two women stopped in front of the doors to the lift. "He needs you,"
said Deanna. "He's just had a terrible shock."
April searched Deanna's eyes and then gazed at the floor. "All right," she
said, "Let's go."
Deanna followed Dr. Sullivan into the turbolift and said to the computer,
"Brig." The lift began to move. All too soon, the lift slowed, and the
doors opened. April hesitated, and Deanna led the way past the guard station
towards the cell area.
April's attention immediately focused on David the instant she stepped into
the room. As if some sixth sense had told him who was coming, he strode
towards the door to his cell and watch mesmerized as April came closer.
Deanna signalled a security guard, who deactivated the force field to David's
cell. The instant the lights faded, April ran towards David, who caught her
in his arms. She hugged him tightly and then stood back. "Are you all
right," she asked.
He mustered a wan smile for her and lied, "Sure. Never better."
"You look awful," April chided him comfortingly.
"I think we should leave them alone," Deanna said to the guards. They
understood her statement to be the order it was and followed the counselor
out of the cell area.
Although she had gotten her patient to Sick Bay, Dr. Crusher was not out of
the woods yet. The moment after the two materialized, Dr. Crusher had yet
another emergency to deal with as her patient began drowning in his own
vomit. It had taking a good deal of effort on her part to clear his breathing
passages, and still, he had ended up filling his lungs with fluid. As
a precaution, Dr. Crusher began applying the suitable antibiotics and only
hoped that her patient wouldn't react badly her foreign medicines.
Graham's face was a pale, sickly shade of white with enormous grey circles
under his eyes. His gasping breath sounded painfully tenuous in Beverly's
ears. The past few days had stressed her to the limit.
Exhausted Beverly looked up at the voice.
Dr. Selar walked into the room, "Do you need any assistance?"
"Oh, Selar," she replied, "It's you. I guess I can manage here. I'm just
a tad worn out."
"Captain Picard has asked me to attempt a mindmeld with the prisoner," Selar
said, almost apologetically.
Beverly folded her arms, irritated. "I've just give him a sedative. May
be you should try back later, when he's up to it."
Although Vulcans were not in the habit of paying attention to emotions, Selar
had learned long ago to respect the emotional state of the humans around her,
not matter how illogical or irrelevant they seemed to her. "I had similar
misgivings about the captain's request, but he was most insistant."
Dr. Crusher was too tired to fight any more. "I understand," she said
simply. "Go ahead, but be careful."
The Vulcan doctor made her first contact gently. She brushed away a damp
lock of hair from Graham's forehead before placing her finger tips against
his feverish skin. He coughed and moaned. With great care and compassion,
Selar began exploring the depths of Graham's mind.
Dr. Crusher shifted her weight from foot to foot as she stood uncomfortably
in front of Picard's desk. Sensing her uneasiness, Picard invited
Dr. Crusher to take a seat, but she politely declined.
"I am sorry to hear that you patient didn't make it," Picard said.
"I'm sorry, too," Beverly said. "These newcomers to our galaxy are too
much like us. I'm having a hard time staying objective. What do they want,
and why have they come here?"
"Dr. Selar tells me that they are just as curious about us as we are about
them. This ship that is taking Federation vessels is some type of battleship
assigned to find out as much about us as possible without making any direct
contact," said Picard. "Their rather underhanded approach seems to stem from
the fact that their home civilization is currently in the middle of a civil
war of some sort, and their main reason for coming into our galaxy through
the worm hole is that they hope to steal our weapons technology."
"So how do we deal with them? Start a war? Blow them up every time we
run into them? How do we stop the disappearances?"
"That," said Picard, "Is something that we will just have to figure out as
"Dr. Crusher," asked Picard abruptly, "Is somethine bothering you?"
"As a matter of fact, yes. What has Star Fleet decided about David?"
"Well," stalled Picard. Now it was his turn to feel uncomfortable. "I have
sent all of the records and test results to Starbase Alphus Major, and they
have been forwarded to Star Fleet Headquarters."
"Star Fleet Command is asking for my recommendation on the matter," Picard
"And just what is your recommendation?"
The captain reweighed his current decision carefully before answering. The
act of putting his inclination into words and telling someone would make it
harder to change his mind. "I am currently considering the recommendation
that your patient David be granted citizenship into the Federation and given
a suspended sentence for his involvement in the piracy of the Hawking
shuttlecraft. If Star Fleet agrees, we'll drop him off on the nearest
Starbase, and he can choose what he wants to do from then on."
The decision seemed fair, but Dr. Crusher knew things were never as simple as
they seemed. "Captain," she said hesitating.
"Oh, do sit down, Beverly," said Picard restlessly, indicating the empty chair
across from his desk. "You're making me nervous." This time Dr. Crusher
accepted his offer and sat down gingerly on the edge of the proffered chair.
"Are you aware of Dr. Sullivan's current state of mind?" the doctor asked.
Picard fiddled with a stylus. "Counselor Troi has been keeping me informed.
Yes. Why do you ask?"
"I think April has fallen in love. She's transfered her love for her late
husband on to this man. In her mind, our pilot friend is her husband."
"Given the circumstances, it's quite understandable," said Picard. "What I
really should do is take disciplinary action."
Picard slammed the stylus down on the table and rubbed his chin. "But I was
the one who allowed this to happen in the first place. This fiasco is my
"We had no choice," said Dr. Crusher. Then she added after a moment's
silence, "I'll talk to her."
"David," said April softly.
April placed her hand on top of the man's in front of her. "What are you
David snapped out his reverie and took April's hands in his. "I was just
thinking about that guy they brought on board?"
"The foreign pilot?"
"Yeah, the one who died." David patted April's hand and kissed her fingers
absently. Then he continued, "I was just wondering what they're going to do
with his body."
April squirmed and tried to pull her hands away from his, but David caught
her by the wrist and held her firmly but tightly. "You know," he said, "Don't
you? What will the medical team do with the body."
She stopped resisting and let her arms go limp. "They'll do any autopsy, I
David snorted. "Dr. Crusher knows what killed him. He suffocated in his
own vomit. But we won't bury his body, will we? We'll just send it along
to be studied like another xenomorphic specimen. His body will be poked and
examined, and in the end, we'll do the modern day equivalent of stuffing
him and sticking him in a museuem."
"David, why are you doing this?"
"Because," David said earnestly, "Because I'm one of his kind, or my body is,
at least. My brain is all Federation, but the blood that runs through these
veins was born in another galaxy, another time. Am I just another specimen,
too? A freak exeriment?"
"David, don't," April pleaded, sounding much younger than her thirty some odd
Realizing what he was doing to her, David stopped. "I'm sorry," he mumbled.
April wrapped her arms around him and pulled him close. She at once wanted
to comfort him and be comforted herself. "I love you," she whispered, "I
love you for who you are now. I love you now more than I did before, inspite
of, no because of the differences. You are and will always be a part of me...
as long as you want me." April sat back, searching David for any signs of his
love for her.
The Imperial pilot smiled and said, "It'll be rough."
Dr. Sullivan laughed back the tears, "Yeah, I know. When is it ever easy?"
Captain's log, supplemental
We are still patrolling the Romulan Neutral Zone in hopes of catching up with
our piratical friends. Personally, I am finding this current assignment
unpleasant and difficult. Our first two contacts with our visitors have
resulted in tragedy, one with a young man lost in a strange world now his own
and the other with the gruesome death of yet another young soul.
These visitors from a distant galaxy are so much like us. Not only are they
humanoid, they are human. We cut them, and they bleed. We cause them grief,
and they weep. We share our experiences with them, and they become us,
indistinguishable from our own sons and daughters. And yet we have failed
in every attempt to open a dialogue with them. The deaths continue. I feel
as if I am failing all of humanity by my failure to learn who these people
really are, our fellow travellers in this lonely universe we call home.
And as if to mock my efforts, time is now conspiring against me. Commander
Data informs me that our galaxies are moving apart, and that soon the worm
hole linking our galaxy to theirs will close forever, creating a gap of
both time and space. While this will end the reign of terror that our
visitors have had over the ship traffic in this area, it is not entirely a
happy event. We could learn so much from each other.
What we have learned so far from the Imperial pilot who died so needlessly
despite our best efforts to save him hints at a culture far older and richer
than our own. Theirs is a unified galaxy of millions of races and peoples
in a single civilization with a single heritage. They have conquered their
galaxy while we have not yet even begun to explore ours. They have lived
in peace and harmony far longer than we have even been able to reach the
stars. And now, our brothers are in trouble. They have come searching for
answers, and yet all that they are learning from us is how to destroy their
own people more efficiently.
Time is short. Not only do we need to extend the hand of peace between our
world and theirs for the short time we can, but it is imperative that we
relight the hope for peace and freedom in their hearts.
If we do not, if the only thing that they learn from us is how to kill, maim,
and destroy, then we will have truly failed.
To be continued.....
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