Star Traks: Boldly Gone... was created by Alan Decker and Anthony Butler. It's based on Star Traks, which in turn is based on Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry. Star Trek is owned by CBS, Paramount and Viacom. If you're offended by mildly disturbing language, situations, and the utter disregard of some of Star Trek's greatest premises, not to mention a huge jump 120 years into Star Trek's future, better hit the 'Back' button on your browser right now. If not, welcome aboard!

Author: Alan Decker, Anthony Butler
Copyright: 2002

STAR TRAKS: BOLDLY GONE…

“Diplomatic Immunity”

By Alan Decker & Anthony Butler



Captain Barnum Dax sat in his command chair, staring, perplexed, at the massive view wall at the front of the USS Enterprise-J’s operations center. A half dozen officers worked at scattered stations in front of Dax, like an old-style mission control room. From this place, all 123 decks of the E-J were monitored and controlled. It was a thing of beauty that, on a normal day, made the oft-sentimental Dax swell with pride. Not this day.

“You can’t be serious, Governor Jarv,” he said to the planetary leader on the viewscreen.

“I’m quite serious. We think the Vulcans make some pretty good points.”

“But…but…but you’ve been with the Federation for centuries. Almost as long as the Vulcans have.”

“There’s nothing you can do to stop us. The Bolians are seceding. We’d rather be part of the Vulcan alliance.”

Dax ran a hand across his face. “I wasn’t aware the Vulcans even HAD an alliance.”

“Well, they didn’t until we suggested it to them. They thought it was logical to pool resources and assist each other.”

“But that’s what the FEDERATION does!” Dax said, digging fingermarks in the arms of his chair. In all the centuries he had been dealing with diplomacy, from Curzon to Ezri, all the way up to Vinar, Dax was still surprised at the total abject idiocy of some people.

“Well, we simply think the Vulcans can do it better. And they couldn’t help but agree.”

“You can’t just leave.”

“Well, we are,” snapped the blue-faced man on the viewscreen. “Any other questions can be relayed to the Vulcan Office for External Affairs. Good day, Captain.”

“Orders, Captain?” asked Lieutenant Commander Jeffery Thomson, also known as XO-3. The operations of the Enterprise were so complex, it required the services of four first officers working in concert. An administrative nightmare that only a being with 14 lifetimes of experience could truly handle.

“Send down our diplomatic team to negotiate their secession. And tell them to make sure we get our Pfaltzgraff china back!” Some traditions truly died hard. Thomson turned to execute those orders, but Dax turned to face him, adding, “And contact Starfleet Command. Tell them they need to do something to stop this secession nonsense before it snowballs out of control!”


“They want ME?” Captain Reginald Bain said, staring at Admiral Kristen Larkin’s image on the viewscreen on the Anomaly’s bridge.

“Well, they don’t have much choice,” Larkin replied. “You’re the only ship anywhere near Brialis Seven.”

“But since when was getting another filly into the Federation fold so bloody important to Command?” snapped Bain.

“Since the Bolians seceded.”

“NO!” Bain said, truly shocked. He looked back to Tovar, as if for acknowledgment. The Yynsian tac-ops officer nodded. Bain looked back at Larkin. “When?”

“This morning. Captain Dax was on a routine diplomatic courtesy call when they dropped the proverbial quad-cobalt device.” Larkin looked at a viewer off-screen. “Since then, three more races joined the Vulcan ‘Alliance.’ The Leeramar, the Elfarans and the Debrune.”

“The Elfarans make splendid desserts,” Bain said thoughtfully. “This simply must not be allowed to continue.”

“Our thoughts exactly, Captain.”

“Helm,” Bain said, turning to face Arroyo. “Best possible speed to Brialis Seven!”

“And how are THEIR desserts?” Arroyo asked as he punched in the coordinates.

“We’ll find out,” Bain announced, then gave his most confident glance to Larkin. “Don’t you worry, Admiral. We’ll get the job done.”

“Keep me posted, Reg.”


“You wanted to see me, Captain?” Commander Prosak asked, stepping into the “Captain’s Lounge,” as Bain eased back in his high-back chair and put down his hardcover Sherlock Holmes novel.

“Are you aware of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Commander?”

“Is he Starfleet, sir? I am not familiar with that rank.”

“He’s British!” Bain replied. “He was an author. Many hundreds of years ago. Wrote detective novels.”

“In that case, I am not aware of him.”

“A pernicious bastard, that Sherlock Holmes, with a quick wit to match his tenacity.”

“He must have been a formidable warrior.”

“He wasn’t a warrior at all. He was a detective.”

“I see.” Prosak nodded as if she understood where all this was going. “Is that what you called me in here to ask, Captain? If I knew this Doyle person?”

“No, not at all,” Bain said. “Just making small-talk.” He pointed to the couch next to his chair. “Have a seat.”

“I am in the middle of monthly personnel reviews. Mister Ralston has been quite insistent that I finish them.”

“They can wait!” Bain said as Prosak tentatively sat. He stared at her, smiling.

“Sir…?”

“Yes, Prosak.”

“Did you have a question for me.”

Bain blinked. “Oh, yes. We’re going to this planet, Brialis Seven, to try to coax it into the Federation.”

“Instead of joining the Vulcans?”

“I see you are up on current events.”

“I do read the Federation Observer, Captain.”

“Good, good. Well, what I need from you is some insider’s information.”

Prosak nodded. “Such as?”

“How do I defeat the Vulcans?”

Prosak mulled that. “I am not sure I can help you with that.”

“You’re an, er, Vulocrom, right?”

“RommaVulc.”

“Right, then.” Bain sat there several more moments. “So?”

“So, what?”

“Sew buttons. Damn it, Prosak, can you give me anything I can use as an edge to lure the Brialians into the Federation? Gads, I’m not even sure ‘Brialians’ is the right way to say it.” Bain gasped and stared out the window of his lounge. “I’m sorry, Prosak. I’m not usually like this. I’ve been on edge a bit of late.”

“May I ask why?”

“I’m not even sure.” He stood, paced before the grand picture window that looked out on streaking space. “Maybe because I’ve been on the sidelines lately. Haven’t had a good scrum in some time.”

“‘Scrum’?”

“Fisticuffs. A row! A skirmish!”

“You have not been in battle.”

“Exactly. Sure, there was the Borg operation, but that was a minor difficulty.”

Prosak nodded. “What about when we faced the fleet of Breen ships heading for Earth?”

“That was a year ago!”

“I am beginning to see your problem. You have been a warrior most of your Starfleet career.”

“Yep. Used to be a time they’d send old Bainie in to deliver the deathblow.”

“And now…”

“Now I’m negotiating, talking nice, blasting trash, delivering doctors to disease ridden planets…is it so bad to want to blow up something important now and again?”

“I cannot say whether it is ‘bad’ or not. But I would say such a desire is illogical.”

Bain offered Prosak a small grin. “Humans are seldom logical, Commander.”

“Of that I am certain. I will say, however, that in all likelihood this mission will do nothing to sate your appetite for destruction.”

“You could be right.”

“Perhaps I should accompany you to the negotiations table.”


It then occurred to Prosak that in the year and a half she had been aboard the Anomaly, she and Bain hadn’t really worked closely together on anything. They’d pretty much kept to their own affairs.

“I think that’s a smashing idea,” Bain said, and extended a hand for Prosak to shake.

“So do I,” Prosak said, even if she wasn’t sure that it was.


Captain’s Log,

Stardate 176445.4. We have arrived in orbit of Brialis Seven a few hours ahead of the Vulcans, thanks to a handy little thing called “Anti-Sing.” Now, Commander Prosak and I are in the midst of preparing for what promises to be a trying, and engaging, diplomatic mission. It’s safe to say we will each be preparing differently.


“Pull!” Bain cried, and Tovar punched a control on the shuttlebay console.

Three small, blinking yellow disks shot out from somewhere beneath the lip of the open shuttle bay doors and arced into the starry space behind the Anomaly.

Bain squeezed off three shots with his convection phaser rifle and easily obliterated the disks.

He glanced over at Tovar. “Try four this time.”

Tovar nodded. “As you wish, Captain.”

“PULL!”

Four disks sailed into the stars, and with four blasts they were obliterated. Bain liked the convection phaser rifle, even though it was somewhat obsolete. It was a bit bulky, weighing just over a kilogram, and measuring nearly point-five meters in length. The convection phaser rifle had the firepower of an old Galaxy class warship, with none of the recoil. Bain liked the feeling of shooting it. There was something feral, carnal about the weapon. Something that lacked in wrist phasers or the retractable “arm-gun” which was actually mounted on the elbow and could swivel like a tank turret. It seemed to be popular with some security officers, though Tovar stuck religiously with his wrist phasers.

“Impressive job, Captain,” Tovar said as Bain set his rifle down on the console.

“Thank you, Tovar. That was a much needed exercise.”

“Are you concerned about the Brialis mission?” Tovar asked.

“A bit, perhaps,” Bain admitted, carrying his rifle over to the case, which was sitting on the warp nacelle of the raceabout Frinoqua. “They say diplomacy is not my strong suit.”

“Who says that?”

Bain stared out at space thoughtfully. “Just about everybody, I think.”

“You are a brilliant man, Captain.”

“That’s nice of you to say, Tovar, but you and I both know I’m more warrior than diplomat.”

“I would not have it any other way.”

Bain smiled. “That’s comforting.”


“Structure. Function. Logic. Control. I am in control,” Prosak chanted, staring at the dayglo velvet portrait of Ambassador Spock that was in her quarters. Most Vulcans didn’t meditate on paintings of other Vulcans but the RommaVulc guidelines for meditations were a bit more lenient. Prosak enjoyed looking at Spock’s strong cheekbones and piercing brown eyes.

“All things have a Structure. No Structure exists without a Function. Logic is the foundation of Function. Control is the impetus of Logic.”

BEEEEEEEEEP, droned the door chime. Prosak turned around. “Come.” Her doors opened to reveal Captain Bain.

“Ready, Prosak?”

Prosak nodded. “I am in control.”

“That’s certainly good to hear. Let’s get down there and win us a planet, eh?”

“Indeed.”

As Bain and Prosak crossed the bridge toward the aft turbolift, Bain nodded at Tovar, who stood by the command chair. “The ship’s all yours, my boy.”

“Are you sure you do not want to take me with you?”

“I think Prosak is all the help I need. Besides, you’ve been wanting to stretch your command muscles a little bit. Stretch them!”

Tovar nodded. “Indeed.” He looked at the command chair askance. “I am not quite sure how to go about doing that but I will certainly try.”

“That’s the spirit, my boy!” Bain said as he disappeared into the turbolift.


As soon as he and Prosak materialized on the surface of Brialis Seven, Bain noticed a certain sense of panic among the people in the Great Hall. Specifically, lines of them were running out the front door. As if for an evacuation.

“Captain Bain, great to see you!” a brightly-robed Brialan with a strained expression on his face said, rushing up to meet Bain and Prosak.

“It is our pleasure,” Prosak said, bowing at the short, dumpy man with the plume of brilliant orange hair.

“I am Premot Rondrok, your ambassadorial aide. Why don’t we just jog down to the meeting room and see what we can do about a little alliance type thing? Sounds good? Great.”

“It appears there is a little crowd problem in your capital city, Premot,” Bain said, struggling to keep up behind the fast- paced Rondrok.

“Oh, it’s just a routine…umm…cleaning out of the town,” Rondrok called over his shoulder. “Let’s get to that meeting now. The Vulcans are already here, so…”

“Blast!” Bain cried out. “I thought we’d beaten them.”

“They apparently diverted a ship that was passing through this sector. Fascinating stuff. Let’s sit down and meet already, okay?”

Bain nodded. “Er, gladly.”


“Commander Tovar, picking up multiple signals coming this way,” Lt. Gworos said from tac-ops.

Tovar turned to face him in the command chair. “What type of ships?”

“Brialan, sir. They’re approaching our position now.”

Tovar pivoted back toward the viewscreen. “On screen.”

Gworos punched a control and Tovar’s eyes widened in shock.

“Over one hundred ships in all, packed with over seven hundred thousand occupants.”

“Where are they heading?”

“Away from Brialis, it seems. They just engaged their warp engines. They have left the system at high warp.”

Tovar nodded thoughtfully. “Divert all our sensors to tracking them. Try to figure out where they’re going in such a hurry.”

“All our sensors, Commander?”

“Sure, why not. It’s not like we’re in dangerous territory. Just do it, Gworos.” Tovar was already feeling like a better leader. He could get used to this commanding thing.


“…which is why the Vulcans present the more logical case for recruiting your people, Leton Duran.”

The chubby Brialan female, who sported a plume of brilliant green hair, nodded intently. “You make excellent points Ambassador Sperik.” She quickly swivelled in her chair to face Bain and Prosak. “And what is the Federation’s counteroffer?”

“We don’t like to think of it as a counteroffer, Leton,” Bain said, shifting in his chair. He looked at Prosak. “We see it more as the wisest offer.”

“Logic is the foundation of wisdom, Captain,” Sperik said solemnly, folding his hands in front of him.

“We weren’t talking to you,” Prosak snapped, and under the conference table she was holding up two middle fingers, angled like a Vulcan salute, her RommaVulc kiss-off gesture.

“The Federation is the most populous alliance of worlds in this quadrant. You will see by our records,” Bain said, shoving a padd across the table to Duran, “that the Federation is far better equipped to provide your people with the services they need.”

“What kind of services?” asked Duran.

“Well, I suppose any number of services.”

“Like evacuation?”

“If you needed it.”

“Protection?”

“From what?”

“Oh, hypothetical things. You know, things that are capable of swallowing whole planets.”

“The Federation does indeed have a larger fleet,” Ambassador Sperik said, leaning across the table, steepling his fingers. “But what they lack is brain power.”

“I resent that completely ironic remark!” Bain said.

“Pardon me,” said Sperik. “A poor choice of words. What I mean to say is this, Leton. We Vulcans are possessed of some of the best problem solving skills in the galaxy. We do not exhibit emotions, so we are not daunted nor intimidated by even the largest of problems.”

“That’s comforting,” Duran said quietly.

“Now see here,” Bain said. “The Federation is the organization responsible for ending the war with the Dominion, and the wars with the Gorn, and the Breen. Not only that, but we have been responsible for saving planets from disasters since well before the whale probe of 2286.”

“Whale…probe?” asked Duran.

“It’s a long story,” Bain sighed.

“Indeed,” mumbled Sperik.

“So…do you want to join the Federation or not?” Prosak was growing increasingly annoyed with the Brialans and it was taking all of her Vulcan concentration to prevent her from telling the whole lot of them to go jump in a black hole.

“Actually, I think we’ll go with the Vulcans,” Duran said quickly, and spun in her chair dizzyingly fast to face Sperik. She shoved a padd into his hands and pointed at it. “Sign there. NOW!”

Sperik looked at the padd. “I think you will find you have made the most logical choice. You can look forward to a superior level of commitment, as well as organizational and ministerial aid from the Vulcan peoples. You will find us a–”

“Fascinating!” Duran cried, lifting Sperik bodily out of his chair and shoving him toward a side door in the conference room. “Now let’s just go into the Disaster Situation Room and discuss this further, shall we?”

“Disaster…Situation…Room?” asked Sperik as Duran shoved him toward the door.

“So much for that,” Bain muttered. He glanced at Prosak. “Thanks for trying to help.”

“I fear I was not much good to you today.”

“Let’s go back to the ship and grab a pint. There are other planets to be had, Commander. At any rate,” Bain said, looking around. He heard shouts and commotion outside. He shrugged. “I don’t think this planet’s all it’s cracked up to be.”


“And you come here often?” Commander Prosak asked, looking around the wood-walled pub with a skeptically-arched eyebrow.

“Nearly every day, after shift,” Bain said. “I find it relaxing.”

“Indeed,” Prosak said. “No other crewmembers object to the Holo-Lounge running this particular program?”

“On the contrary, I think they rather enjoy it,” Bain said, sipping from his “pint.” It was a frothy glass of rather disgusting looking fluid that Prosak wanted no part of. For her part, she was drinking a Bloody Sarek.

“I will have to make a note to come here more often,” Prosak said half-heartedly as she sipped her drink.

“What’s wrong, Prosak? Still bothered about that bit about losing the planet to the Vulcans?”

“It only happened twenty minutes ago.”

“Bygones,” Bain said, and took a long sip of beer. “You have to learn to move on. Bigger, better things.”

“They seemed rushed,” Prosak said, half to herself.

“If they lack decent planning skills, we want no part of them.”

“Perhaps it was more than that.”

Bain glanced at Prosak. “What are you getting at, Prosak?”

She hated being called that. “Well, I just feel like we didn’t get the whole truth from the Brialans. It seemed like they were hiding something.”

“Like what?”

“I’m not sure.”

Suddenly a red-alert klaxon boomed around Bain and Prosak.

“Tovar to Bain. Report to the bridge immediately. Tell Prosak she can come along if she wants.”

“I’m sure this has nothing to do with our conversation,” Bain said, scooting out of his chair.


“You were saying?” Prosak asked, as the bridge buzzed with officers confirming and re-checking sensor readings, calling for power to be diverted to weapons and shields, and generally panicking.

“I’ve been wrong before,” Bain mumbled, staring at the incomprehensible image on the viewscreen. “How did that get there?”

“It,” in this case, was a gigantic pinkish sphere three times the size of Brialis Seven, hovering on the viewscreen like a harbinger of doom, and, if the mumblings of the two ensigns hovering around the science station were any clue, it was heading right toward Brialis Seven.

“It just creeped into the system,” Tovar said, moving back to tac-ops, where Gworos stood glowering. “Then it ate Brialis Six,” he added, almost as an after-thought. “Just swallowed it whole.”

“We were busy investigating the massive Brialan egress,” he explained.

“Well I think you have a half-decent reason for that now,” Bain replied. “For God’s sake, please tell me Brialis Six was uninhabited!”

“We believe the planet was home to several forms of crustacean life, but…”

“Good enough,” Bain said, just as the aft turbolift doors opened and Dr. Natalia Kasyov spilled out.

“I heard we were being attacked by a…” Kasyov said, and then stopped in her tracks, staring at the massive blob on the viewscreen. “One of those things.”

“Any idea what it is, Kas?” Bain asked, leaning against a bridge railing, staring at the ominous object.

Kasyov shooed the ensigns away and swung around the L- shaped science console. She started waving her hands over the appropriate sensor reads. “It’s organic, that’s for sure. Single- celled organism.”

“THAT is just one cell?” Arroyo asked from the helm. He turned around to look at Bain. “Imagine the size of a creature made up of those cells!”

“I’d rather not,” said Bain. “Let’s get down to business and find out how to destroy this monstrosity before it wipes out Brialis Seven.”

“Which should be in just under 24 hours,” Kasyov said, after doing the quick calculation.

“May I make a suggestion?” Prosak asked quietly, standing next to Bain.

“Always.”

“Brialis just signed on with the Vulcan Alliance. Shouldn’t the Vulcans take the lead in any rescue efforts?”

Bain thought about that. “You want us to just…turn around and flee? I don’t think so.”

“At the very least, we should let the Vulcans know we stand ready to assist them.”

“Now that’s not a bad idea,” Bain said. He didn’t like taking a back seat to the Vulcans, but at least it would put a good face on Starfleet. “Hail the Vulcans, Tovar, and…”

“I can’t do that captain.”

“Why not?”

“The Vulcans left.”

Bain’s eyes widened. “What?”

Tovar glanced at his panel. “We’re being hailed by Brialis.”

“Wonder what they want?” Prosak asked playfully.

“Put them on,” Bain muttered.

It was Leton Duran. “Captain Bain, sir,” she said, glancing nervously at a readout beside her. “We have reconsidered your request for us to join the Federation, and after careful reconsideration, we have, um, reconsidered our decision to join the Vulcans. We respectfully ask to join your, um….” she glanced at the off-screen readout again. “Federation of Planets.”

“You do, do you?”

“Indeed!”

“This wouldn’t have anything to do with the giant planet eater heading your way would it?”

“Um….” Leton’s mouth moved but no words came out. “What would give you that idea?”

“Drop the act, Leton! We realize that the Brialans just wanted to join one of our alliances just so we’d deal with that giant planet-killer of yours. The Federation doesn’t play that way. Why would you lie to us?”

“Because we figured you wouldn’t want us if you knew our planet was about to be devoured.”

“She has a point,” Prosak whispered to Bain.

“No she doesn’t,” Bain replied to Prosak, then turned back to Duran. “Leton, the Federation seeks out new life and new civilizations. That includes new civilizations who are being attacked by new life.”

“…I don’t follow.”

“We’ll be glad to take care of your cell problem..”

Duran smiled. “Oh, Captain Bain. We are incredibly thankful. Say, would you mind picking up, oh, 800 or so people from our government office complex while you’re at it?”

Bain grumbled something into his palm, pretending like he was stifling a cough, and then smiled back at the viewscreen. “Certainly.”


Twenty minutes later, everyone was crammed into the seldom-used Anomaly conference room.

“Well, gents, let’s get a report on the situation, shall we?” Bain asked, leaning forward on the conference table as the big pink blob loomed outside the windows. They’d pulled the Anomaly within safe tracking range of the planet eater.

“This ship is chock full of people,” Tovar said, looking over a holopadd of information. “When the Brialans said 800, they actually meant closer to 950. It is elbow-to-elbow on the badminton court, the arboretum bay is being trampled over by over 200 displaced Brialans, and the holo-lounges are mass hysteria.”


Bain stared at Tovar. “I was referring to that giant blob out there that’s about to destroy a civilization, old chum.”

“Of course you were,” Tovar said, and punched a button on his holopadd. “The ‘blob,’ as you refer to it is just over two hundred thousand kilometers in diameter. Its outer ‘skin’ is four kilometers thick and made of an incredibly dense ectoplasmic substance.”

“Space amoeba,” Kasyov said,

Bain snapped his fingers. “I knew there was a word for it.”

“So how do you kill a space amoeba?” asked Marsden from the other end of the table.

“I’ve been searching through Starfleet records,” Kasyov said, slipping a nanolinear chip into its slot in the conference table. She punched a control and a hologram sprang to life in the center of the table. A rotating, ugly-looking pink sphere. “Look familiar?”

“That’s our space amoeba!” Prosak exalted.

“Not OUR space aomeba, exactly, but a very similar one,” Kasyov replied. “This is one that Captain James Kirk faced some 250 years ago.”

“Not the bloke who tried to take over the Anomaly and kill us all last year!” Bain cried out.

“Again, I’m sorry about that,” Prosak said, slumping in her chair.

“No, not the hologram. The ACTUAL James Kirk,” Kasyov sighed.

“Ahh, well, now that makes sense. I take it he successfully destroyed the creature?”

Kasyov nodded, and punched another control. It showed a shuttle flying into the amoeba. “Kirk’s Science Officer, a Commander Spock, was sent into the amoeba in a shuttlecraft. He destroyed the creature from within by attacking its nucleus.”

“Spock…” Prosak said softly.

“More bloody Vulcans,” Bain muttered. “Since that Spock bloke took care of the last one, you’d think the Vulcans would know how to destroy one of these things, then, instead of simply running away.”

“Spock was an amazing man,” Prosak said, raising her eyebrow. “I have his portrait in my quarters.”

“He’s a Klingon blood-wrestler?” Marsden asked.

“No, that is Drar the Fearsome, Intergalactic Wrestling Champion from 2457 to 2459. The portrait on the other wall is of Spock.”

“Handsome fellow,” Bain said to himself. “So he was able to destroy the amoeba?”

“Our records show that he detonated a powerful explosion within the amoeba’s nucleus,” Kasyov said, causing Bain’s face to light up. “But there’s a problem.” Bain’s face fell.

“What’s that?”

“This amoeba has adapted.”

“BLOODY HELL!”


“Well, let’s show that bloody amoeba that we’ve adapted too,” Bain said, marching out onto the bridge after an extremely brief round of questions from his officers. Bain cut them all off by saying he wanted to go ahead and face the enemy, in this case the amoeba, and then worry about strategies. All that talking just meant the amoeba was that much closer to eating Brialis.

When Bain walked out onto the bridge he nearly ran right into Leton Duran, or rather her wall of flourescent green hair.

“Leton,” Bain said, nodding. “What are you doing here?”

“I was trying to decide whether or not to kill her,” Gworos said as he yielded the tac-ops panel to Tovar.

“Thanks for sparing her life,” Bain said, then looked to Duran.

“I wanted to see if you were having any luck saving our planet.”

“You only asked us to save it twenty minutes ago. These things take time, Leton.”

“Meanwhile our planet is about to be wiped out!”

Bain put two sturdy hands on Duran’s low shoulders. “I promise you this, Leton, we will destroy that amoeba if my name isn’t Reginald Horatio Bain.”

“I didn’t even realize your name was Reginald Horatio Bain,” Prosak said softly.

“Well it is,” Bain snapped back at Prosak. “Now, madam, if you please, get off my bridge so my crew and I can go to work.”

“I knew we’d made the right choice,” Duran said giddily as she jogged back to the turbolift.

“You chose the Vulcans!” Tovar said as she passed his station.

She turned and backed into the turbolift. “Sorry about that.”

“Just what DID they tell you when they left so abruptly?” Prosak asked Duran.

Duran shifted from foot to foot. “They, um, said, the most logical course of action would be for them to leave.”

“Fascinating,” Prosak muttered.

“Crew decks!” Duran called out, and the turbolift doors mercifully shut.

“Mister Tovar, put that monstrosity on screen,” Bain called out, returning to his command chair.

“Right away, sir,” Tovar said, and Bain put the frightening and imposing image of the amoeba on the Anomaly’s viewscreen, causing the bridge crew to collectively gasp once more.

“Now, enough of that gasping nonsense,” Bain snapped. “We’re here to do a job, and by God we’re going to do it. Tovar, lock all neutron ports and full psionic phasers on that bugger and fire at will.”

“Gladly,” Tovar said, and his hands danced across the weapons console. “Showing multiple hits on the creature’s surface.”

Bain nodded, grinning at Prosak. “And that’s how you give a space amoeba what-for, Commander.” He looked back at Tovar. “Effects?”

Tovar shook his head. “None.”

“Blast!”

“I told you so,” Kasyov snapped. “We’re going to have to come at this another way. That thing is just too big to score direct hits on with our weapons. Anyway, I think Starfleet would probably prefer we keep it alive so we can study it…”

“Bah!” Bain said. “It eats planets for breakfast, Kassie. It’s a menace. It’s got to be destroyed.”

“I agree with Doctor Kasyov,” Prosak said. “We have shown a distinct inability to breach the creature’s skin with our weapons. Perhaps we need to think outside of the box, or in this case, the cell wall?”

“Cell wall! That’s it, Kassie,” Bain said. “It lets planets into that cell wall, so we’ll blanket Brialis Seven in explosives. When the blighter swallows the planet, we detonate and obliterate the bastard once and for all!”

“That would also destroy Brialis Seven,” Tovar said flatly.

“Damn. You’ve got a point there, my lad. I don’t suppose they’ve got a handy moon laying about.”

“No.”

“Bloody inconsiderate of them.”

Kasyov looked up from her console, an amused grin on her face. “Why don’t we just reduce the size of our problem?”

“Come again?” Bain asked, his brows knit in perplexion.

“Perhaps we can shrink the amoeba.”

“And then destroy it?”

“No, Captain. I’m talking about sparing its life for science. Learning more about the creature would only be…”

“Don’t you dare say logical.”

Prosak frowned. “Fitting.”

“She has a point, Captain,” Kasyov said, punching controls on her panel. “And I think I might just have a way to get it done.”

“Get what done? Shrinking that thing down?”

Kasyov nodded. “It goes back to some very old Starfleet studies of subspace distortion. If we can create a big enough tear in the fabric of subspace, then pull it through a smaller orifice on the other side, the compressive effects would reduce it in size considerably.”

Bain swivelled to face Prosak. “Do you have any idea what she’s talking about?”

“I get the general idea, sir. And I think it’s worth trying.”

Bain nodded. “Far be it from me to disagree. Fine, then, we’ll try it your way. Make it happen, Doctor Kasyov.”

“Just one problem.” Bain swivelled back towards her.

“What?”

“We can’t generate a subspace disturbance big enough with just our warp engines. The tear would have to be massive.”

Bain rubbed his chin. “So we’ll have to get help.”

“The Brialans will actually be helping us eradicate their own menace. What a novel idea,” Prosak observed.”


Captain’s Log, Supplemental. We have enlisted the help of Leton Duran in bringing back the ships that were evacuating this system to help us rip open subspace and shrink an amoeba. In my long Starfleet career, while this is not the hardest task I’ve ever faced, it’s definitely the, er, biggest.


“No, I’m sorry, could you repeat yourself? I didn’t quite get that. You want your warp core installed where?” Leton Duran paced the Astrometrics lab running a through her high shock of hair, looking confused and tired.

“Problems?” Captain Bain asked, walking into the crowded room as Anomaly crew and Brialans alike ran around trying to coordinate the fleet of Brialan escape ships.

“Getting this many ship captains to work together is no small task, Captain,” Duran said, frantically tapping on a console. “And the fact that time is running out on us doesn’t help manners.”

“No, I don’t suppose it would,” Bain said thoughtfully. “I’ve spared you Lieutenant Marsden to help your crews get their warp cores optimized. She’s confident that things will–”

“Marsden to Bain.”

Bain nodded. “Go ahead.”

“Just thought I’d let you know, Natalia and I have been talking, and we still don’t think the Anomaly and all the Brialan ships will be able to generate a big enough tear in subspace.”

“Where else do you propose we find ships? We’re the only Starfleet vessel for parsecs.”

“Well, Commander Prosak had a suggestion…” Marsden’s voice said, in such a way that Bain felt the hairs rise on the back of his neck.


“The Vulcans? No way, Prosak. No damn way.” Bain stared out the observation window of the Captain’s lounge, hands clasped behind his back.

“It is the only option available to us, sir, with such a short amount of time left. The Brialans’ whole civilization is at stake.”

“That may well be, but I am not going to spoon feed those gigantic Vulcan egos.”

“Sir, respectfully, I suggest that you may be letting emotion cloud your judgment.”

“Damn right it’s clouding my judgment, Prosak. Just like it has for all good Starfleet captains through the years.”

“All but for Spock. And the other Vulcan captains.”

“Well, that’s different.”

“Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.”

Bain stared at Prosak, then broke out in a laugh.

“I fail to see what is amusing, Captain.”

“It’s just…I only now realized we have a similar phrase on Earth.”

“Really? Do tell.”

“Different strokes for different folks.”

“I fail to understand the context.”

“The same idea. Everyone marches to a different drummer.”

“Is that another vernacular phrase?”

“Yes, it is,” Bain said. “And I guess what all those phrases tell me is that we need the Vulcans. And the Vulcans need us.”

“I doubt that has never been in question.”

“The Vulcans have questioned it. And I’d like to know why.”

“I would too,” Prosak said.

“Well, time for that later. It’s time to feed some egos. That may be the only way to save the Brialans.”

“Indeed, sir.”


“Please allow me to understand you fully. You wish to enlist our aid to help a planet that has decided to sign with the Federation instead of with the Vulcan Alliance.”

Bain nodded. “That’s right. Call it a humanitarian act.”

“We are not human,” Ambassador Sperik replied, glancing at Captain T’Fal, the rigid-featured old Vulcan woman who commanded the Vulcan Alliance Starship Saavik. “Nor are the Brialans.”

“Typical,” Bain muttered under his breath, then said, “Ambassador, I think you are mincing words here. We have a civilization in dire need of saving and you can help save it.”

“And how would the Vulcan Alliance benefit?”

“The knowledge of a good job well done?” Bain suggested.

“I never did understand the Terran sense of humor,” T’Fal grunted. “Captain Bain, we simply cannot divert our ship from its mission, which is to work toward the interests of the Vulcan Alliance, to simply save a crumbling civilization which is being destroyed by a natural predator. It goes against all our noninterference precepts.”

Sperik nodded. “The Brialans have agreed to become Federation members. That means, in human terms, that they are your problem.”

“That’s very short-sighted of you, Ambassador,” Bain spoke up.

“What do you mean?”

“Simply that you have no idea what the intentions of the Brialans might be in the future. Say they break off from the Federation a few years from now. Your good deed today may put them in league with you in the future.”

“You’re suggesting they would simply break ties with the Federation…just like that?” snapped T’Fal.

“You did, didn’t you?” Prosak broke in.

Bain chuckled, smiling at Prosak. “Well done,” he whispered.

T’Fal and Sperik exchanged glances, then looked back at Bain and Prosak. “We cannot find flaw with that logic. We will alter our course to intercept you and the amoeba immediately.”

“Good job,” Bain said, clapping Prosak on the shoulder. She nearly fell over.

“Yes,” Tovar said. “I have never seen a non-Vulcan win a debate with a Vulcan. It was masterful.”

“Glad you approve,” Prosak smiled.


Several hours later, as the amoeba beared down on Brialis Seven, a sea of escape vessels, headed up by the Anomaly and the Vulcan starship Savvik, waited in the ever-closing gap of space between planet and planet-killer.

“Get ready to activate warp engines,” Kasyov called out, tapping at her science controls. Lieutenant Shelly Marsden leaned over her shoulder, checking readings.

“All clear, Captain,” Marsden said. “If we’re going to do this, though, we need to do it now.”

“Can I get reasonable assurances that this will work?” Bain asked Marsden.

“Nope.”

“Can I at least get assurances the whole fleet, including us, won’t get eaten if we fail?”

“I’m afraid not, Captain.”

Bain rubbed his hands together. “Jolly good show. Nothing like a vicious planet-killing amoeba to get the old blood pumping. Execute the plan at your command, Marsden.”

Marsden nodded, exchanging a quick, affirming glance at Kasyov. “Marsden to all ships, bring your warp cores online and redirect your warpfield energy through your navigational deflectors as you were instructed.”

A large viewscreen next to Kasyov showed the crew an array of over one hundred blips, all lighting up gold one by one as they activated their warp cores. Then, just as a fierce blue light washed over the bridge from the viewscreen, the blips cast out golden lines, all aimed at the X-shaped icon on the screen that represented the amoeba.

Bain watched on the viewscreen as space seemed to be splayed right open before his eyes.

“Gads, it’s breathtaking.”

“Subspace barrier is splitting. Aperture is at two thousand kilometers and growing rapidly,” Kasyov reported.

“Maintain warp field emissions,” Marsden called to all the ships. “Keep your intermix levels steady. Drop off immediately if you see a spike!”

“Anomaly, this is the Saavik,” came the acerbic voice of T’Fal.

“What can I do for you, T’Fal?” Bain said.

“I see no result as yet.”

“We need to give the amoeba time to pass through. Cool your heels, Captain.”

“Cool my…?”

“Channel closed,” Bain snapped.

Prosak looked at Bain. “Charming woman, isn’t she?”

“No offense, Commander, but I’m starting to really hate the Vulcans.”

“Your reaction is understandable, however I fear that Surak’s precepts are not to blame. Rather, I think the Vulcans are straying from his ways. If I could pinpoint…”

“The amoeba is passing through the subspace aperture!” Tovar called out from his station.

Bain pounded the arm of his command chair. “Splendid. Results?”

Kasyov studied her readouts. “Information is coming through quickly. It appears the subspace breach is having the expected result.”

“Which is to say…” Bain began.

“The amoeba is shrinking,” Marsden translated. “And fast.”

Bain clapped his hands together. “Good show!”

Then the Anomaly pitched wildly, and sparks poured out of an engineering panel behind Bain.

He turned around. “What the devil?”

“An overload in our primary warp flux capacitor,” Marsden said, running across the bridge too the engineering station. “I was worried about that. Our hybrid Romulan systems didn’t take too well to the channeling of warp energy through the deflector.”

“Blast! We’ve got to do something about that, Marsie. You know damn well that channeling different energies through the deflector dish is a Federation tradition. Countless number of problems have been solved by solutions pumped through that dish at the last bloody second. Back on the Maladventure alone, we…”

“What does the deflector dish problem mean?” asked Prosak impatiently, interrupting Bain’s story.

“We’re about three minutes from a warp core breach,” Marsden quickly replied.

“Cabral to bridge,” came the concerned voice of the Anomaly’s resident disembodied brain. “Can someone tell me why all our systems just went haywire?”

Kasyov quickly explained it to him.

“Well, that is a problem. Are you going to need to jettison the warp core?”

“I’m not sure,” Marsden said, slamming her hands against her engineering panel. “The intercoolers just froze.” She looked at Bain. “We can’t keep this up much longer, Captain!”

“How much smaller do we need the damned thing to be?” He looked at Kasyov. “Nat?”

“We need a sustained field for at least two more minutes.”

Bain looked back at Marsden. “Well?”

“That’s fine, as long as you don’t mind a sustained explosion for about thirty seconds after that.”

“We’ll have to settle on a slightly larger amoeba than expected,” Bain said. “Cut off our contribution to the warp field now!”

“We were holding the whole thing together,” Kasyov said. “Naturally, it’s collapsing now.”

“Naturally,” Bain muttered. He watched the bright blue light die down on the viewscreen. “So what do we have to work with?” Before he could see the cell come out on the other side of the disturbance, the Anomaly rocked and the bridge went black.

“We have an imminent breach to work with!” Marsden called out in the dark, pounding her panels. “Ejection sequencers are down. Cabral!”

“I’m all over it, as it were,” Cabral said hurriedly. “Just a moment, folks!”

The next moments were agonizing to Bain, and then, suddenly he felt rattle of explosions shake the Anomaly deck plating and send him out of his chair, careening into a bulkhead, and, ultimately, blacking out.


When Captain Bain came to, he was leaning back in his command chair, with the google eyes of Doctor Fred Nooney looking down at him.

“And how are we today?” Nooney asked cheerily.

“We have a godawful headache, chum.”

“No permanent brain damage, though,” Nooney chirped. “Ain’t that a hoot?”

“Yes. A hoot.” Bain looked around. “How’s my ship?”

Prosak was lugging a fallen beam over to a pile of scrap metal in one corner of the bridge. “Brittle fashion, sir!”

“Bristol fashion, Prosak. Bristol.”

“What’s a bristol?”

Bain thought about that. “I’ve no idea.” He walked over to the science console, where Kasyov and Tovar were frowning over readings. “Well?”

Kasyov punched a control. “See for yourself.”

And there was the cell, still pinkish and scary-looking, but not nearly as scary-looking as before, because it was now about as big as the VAS Saavik, which was towing it with a tractor beam.

“We spearheaded this thing,” Kasyov mumbled. “We should be the ones to study it.”

“Do not complain,” Tovar said. “It was the Vulcans who saved us, after all.”

“What?” Bain demanded.

Prosak walked over to join the others. “He’s right, Captain. We were dead in the water. Not even the polaron engines were working. Our sensors show that the Saavik dove in and pulled us away with a tractor beam right after Cabral jettisoned our warp core. Otherwise, we’d have been blown up in the explosion.”

“I’ll be damned,” Bain said, just as Leton Duran jogged out of a turbolift.

“My goodness,” she said, surveying the bridge. “That certainly was a close call.”

“Yes, we nearly sacrificed the Anomaly to save your planet, but suffice it to say the crisis was averted,” Bain said, reaching out a hand to shake Duran’s. “The first in a long line of cooperative ventures between Brialis and the Federation, no doubt.”

Duran stared at Bain’s outstretched hand and laughed nervously. “About that…”

Bain’s eye twitched slightly. “Yes?”

“Umm. We talked to the Vulcans, and they convinced us that, since they have the amoeba captured for scientific study, it would be more appropriate for us to ally ourselves with them, so that we can actively exchange information with them in case one of…those things…should return.”

“Bah!” Bain responded. “And what are the odds of that!”

“Good enough that we think this is the best way to go. I’m sorry. It’s not you, really. It’s us.”

Bain felt himself growing increasingly angry. “Get off my bridge, Leton.”

“You’re welcomed to come visit…we’ll even get you passes to the Royal Assembly Hall. Maybe you’d like a free night at our mountainside resort on the Pecca continent, or complementary tickets to the next game of–”

“OUT!” Bain shouted, and stormed into his ready room.

Everyone on the bridge, including Duran, stood there for a few moments in silence.

Then Bain stormed back out of the ready room. “THAT is not my lounge. It’s Prosak’s quarters!” He headed out the opposite door, which lead down the corridor toward his Captain’s Lounge. “Mister Tovar, escort the esteemed Brialan leader out of here.”

“Gladly,” Tovar grumbled.


Prosak stepped into the Lounge, watching Bain look thoughtfully out the windows. “Captain…”

“Not now, if you please, Prosak. I’ll join you for happy hour, perhaps, but for now I need to cool down.”

“Of course,” Prosak said. “But I thought you might like to know that, before we left the system, the Vulcans sent us a message. Apparently it came from High Chancellor Sh’rak himself.”

“Really.”

“‘Please do not affect an emotional response to our actions today, Captain Bain,’” Prosak quoted. “‘Saving you and your vessel was the most logical use of our resources. Next time, you may not be so lucky.’”

“How thoroughly un-Vulcan sounding,” Bain mumbled, not looking away from his viewport. “Makes you think there’s more to this Vulcan snafu than meets the eye.”

“I was thinking the same thing, Captain.”

Bain looked back at Prosak, eyebrow arched. “Indeed.”



Tags: boldly