Here I post articles from my Star Trek Fanzine: Sehlat's Roar. I hope to place all of the work online for fan's enjoyment. This Fanzine was first published in the late 1970's by a band of most unlikely friends located in Flat Rock, in the southeastern quadrant of Michigan. The material is clearly born of the time, and some of it is quite dated; yet, for those who enjoy this sort of thing, I trust, at the least, interesting.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

"Return From Talos", By Ms. JC

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
In beginning the process of making a fanzine, my colleagues and I advertised our intentions in other fanzines in the hopes of soliciting contributions. This most excellent story by Ms. JC was probably the best thing in the entire debut issue. It seeks to make sense of loose ends from a pivotal episode in the original series (The only one that existed at the time!) and tackles a very controversial issue of the day: "Suicide" issue we still struggle with today, some 30 years hence.


"Return From Talos", Part 1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
“Reporting as ordered, sir.” Spock seemed even stiffer than usual, and Kirk moved forward to study him.

“Are you all right, Mr. Spock. You look rather dazed.”

“Yes, thank you, sir. I established a meld with the -- with Captain Pike before beaming him down, and I am still slightly disoriented.” Spock paused for a few minutes and Kirk left him alone to pull himself together until he spoke again. “Captain, may I ask the precise meaning of the term 'son of a bitch?' I understand the words, of course, but the expression seems to have an idiomatic resonance beyond the root meaning.”

“It does indeed, Mr. Spock. Did Chris call you that?”

“Yes, sir. His transmission of the term was quite clear. But I received no impression of anger.”

“No, I don't think he was angry, Mr. Spock. Come over here. There's something I want you to see.” Kirk indicated the view screen, and replayed the last message from Talos. This time he watched Spock and the Vulcan watched the young, sound Christopher Pike follow the graceful girl into the underground lift. Suddenly a gush of emotion nearly overwhelmed Kirk, and he literally shut his teeth on the cry that rose: “Would you do that for me?” Shaken and ashamed of himself, he turned away from the impassive Vulcan and moved to a chair on the far side of the room. He chided himself. Spock had served Pike for fourteen years. No wonder he had been prepared to jeopardize the career of his new captain. And probably he'd known Kirk would be glad to help. The captain studied the pattern of the wall texture intently until he was sure he could control himself. When he turned, Spock was standing patiently a little distance away. “Thank you, Captain,” he said.

Hours later, Kirk was to realize that he had inadvertently done exactly the right thing. At a moment which might be expected to extract an emotional display from the Vulcan, he had moved away, allowing Spock the space to recover himself in private. Now, however, Spock's thanks conveyed nothing. Perhaps fortunately, the door opened before he could respond.


“Come in, Bones. What is it?”

“The Talosians need a supply of medications for Captain Pike. Will you authorize me to beam it down?”

“Yes, Bones. Go ahead.”

“Right. The lab's already working on synthesizing it. We'll be ready shortly. I've just finished giving the Talosians a complete explanation of Captain Pike's condition. They have his records, but they needed them interpreted. I don't know whether they understand it all, but they certainly mean to follow the regimen to the letter. He'll be well cared for, Mr. Spock.”

“Yes, Doctor, unquestionably.”

McCoy reached for the nearest intercom and instructed the lab to beam down the drugs when they were ready. Intercom off, he hesitated. The constraint in the room bothered him.

“Er, congratulations, Mr. Spock.”

“Thank you, Doctor.”

“Yes, listen,” Kirk rallied. “This calls for a small celebration. Will you gentlemen join me in my quarters? Mr. Spock?”

“Thank you, Captain. But I believe that as the defendant it is my place to offer the invitation. Will you gentlemen join me in my quarters?”

McCoy and Kirk exchanged glances. Hot tea was hardly their idea of a celebration. But it seemed important not to rebuff this overture from the usually aloof first officer. In unison, they nodded acceptance, and Spock waved them to elevator.

Part 2

In his quarters, Spock apologized in advance. “Events began to move so fast that I had no time to clear my work or prepare for your visit. Please forgive the deficiencies of my hospitality.”

While Kirk and McCoy were still politely disclaiming, Spock crouched before a small cabinet. From it he unearthed bottle after bottle. The humans looked at each other in astonishment, then rose to help him carry the collection to the table. McCoy spotted a familiar shape. “Isn't that the sake Sulu gave you last Christmas?”

“Yes, Doctor. Most of these are gifts. I have had little use for them. But I hope you will find something to your liking.” Spock got three Vulcan cups from a higher cupboard, and poured out their choices. Then, impelled by their expectant looks, he poured a small measure into his own cup and sipped cautiously.

“Well,” McCoy sighed. “So ends the god-damnedest charade I ever saw. Spock, how the hell did you get into all that?”

“It is a rather long story.”

“We have the evening before us.”

“I must admit I'm curious too, Mr. Spock. But you don't have to tell us if you don't want to.”

“I do not object, sir, if the matter interests you.” Spock paused a moment, then began. “I heard about Captain Pike's injury shortly after it happened, but as we were then patrolling Sector IV, I could do nothing beyond sending him message tapes until you sent me to the Jon Conference. From there I took a day off and went to see him. He was in an extremely agitated frame of mind, as I discovered by melding with him. He found life under the restrictions caused by his injuries unendurable, and he begged me to find a way to kill him.”

Kirk and McCoy stirred, but Spock went on unheeding.

“This was, of course, a logical request under the circumstances. However, I had spoken with his doctor, who told me that there was some chance that the Giulini treatments, then being tested, would repair some of the damage. I communicated that possibility to Captain Pike and made him promise to give the treatments time to work. In return, I promised to come back the next time we were in the area. If he still wished it, I would take him to Vulcan.

“On Vulcan, as you may know, suicide is legal under certain conditions. If a person can prove a logical case for suicide, such as incurable, painful illness, or disability like Captain Pike's, the State will help the petitioner execute his purpose.

“When I visited Captain Pike again, I found that the Giulini treatments had proved entirely useless, and he was in despair. He reminded me of my promise. But most unfortunately, the situation in regard to Vulcan had by then changed completely.”

The Gam case,” McCoy muttered.

“Precisely, Doctor. It seemed highly unlikely that I would be allowed to take Captain Pike to Vulcan, or that any Vulcan court would hear his petition if we did present one. It seemed I could not help him. But neither could I leave him in that condition. At this juncture, I received the first message from Talos.”


“Apparently, sir, the Talosians never relinquished their contact with Captain Pike's mind. When I melded with him, I gave them access to my mind as well. Their message was an invitation to bring the captain back to Talos. Upon reflection, I decided that this was the best possible solution. The rest, you know.”

Silence fell. McCoy got up, drink in hand, and began to wander idly around Spock's workroom. He thought over the story Spock had told, and it struck him as incomplete. “But why the charade?”

“The charade, Doctor?”

“Yes. The Court-martial. All that.”

“That was necessitated by Captain Kirk's pursuit. If everything had gone according to the original plan, none of this would ever have come out. Captain Pike would have disappeared, taken to an unknown destination by secret orders fed directly into the Enterprise computer and then erased. No one would ever have known where the ship had gone. And, Captain Kirk, I assure you no blame would have been attached to you. Your record would have been unblemished.


“That I prefer not to discuss. However, I give you my word it is so.”

Kirk nodded curtly and began to question Spock about some of the details of his strategy. It was obvious that Starbase security was wholly ineffective against a knowledgeable senior officer, and he wanted to explore some of the loopholes Spock had discovered for future consideration. McCoy continued to prowl. The events of the past hours had shaken him severely, and the mild activity was soothing. Idly, he punched the recall on the desk reader. He read a few lines, mildly amused. Did Spock spend his free time studying the details of human psychopathology? He read a list of symptoms, and suddenly everything fell into place.

“Of course.” His voice grated a little.

“What is it, Bones?”

“That's how you were going to save Jim's reputation, isn't it, Spock?”

Part 2, continued

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Spock rose and glanced at the reader; his hand shot out and punched the cancel. “Will you have another drink, Doctor?” His voice was low and slightly menacing. But McCoy was not to be deflected.

“Of course. It's so obvious -- so damn LOGICAL -- I don't know why I didn't think of it.”

“What IS it, Bones?”

“Tell him, Spock. Tell Jim how you can be so sure his career wouldn't have been hurt.”

“Doctor, I fail to understand your interest in an aborted plan.”

“Because, Spock, I still think this is the damnedest show I ever saw outside of a traveling company. I think you ought to be HORSEWHIPPED! But I don't think you deserve to loose Jim's trust. And he's only human, Spock. He can't help wondering. I think he needs to know exactly how you planned to save his skin.”

Spock was silent. Kirk rose. “What do you mean, Doctor?”

“It would've been simple, wouldn't it, Spock? A first officer kidnaps his former captain and takes him to an unknown destination. Then -- when, Spock? On the way back? Irrational behaviors appear. Severe paranoia was a good choice. It's easy to fake. And then what? Rehabilitation? Or, no. You'd be thorough, wouldn't you, Spock? Tragic. 'Suicide while of unsound mind,' and everyone sympathetic, and anxious to hush it up. No one could blame the captain whose ship was stolen by a deranged first. All very regrettable, but no action to be taken --” McCoy broke off at the expression of horror on Kirk's face.

Kirk jerked his head, and then McCoy made a tactical error.

“May I use your facilities?”

“Of course, Doctor.” Spock was wooden, but he politely indicated the inner door. McCoy stepped through and activated it behind him. The captain needed to interview his first in privacy now. Maybe he should have left entirely, but he hadn't wanted to seem too blatant.

Damn and blast! the 'facilities' were Vulcan, of course. Well, at least he was out of the way.

“Have you served any other captains?” Kirk's voice was low and tight, but it carried clearly to the inner room.

“No sir. Only Captain Pike and you.”

“Well, thank the Lord for small favors! Now you listen, you ---!”

Kirk's voice rose to a roar. This would never do. Abruptly, McCoy rose, went into the shower, stripped, and turned on the jets.

Part 3

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Ten minutes later, he decided it was safe to emerge. He listened as he dressed. Silence. Entering the workroom, he glanced around. The captain was gone. Spock was sitting at the table, looking slightly spaced.

“Was the captain very angry?”

“I do not think so, Doctor. The burden of his message, if I understood him correctly, was that pointed ears are not to be equated with expendability.”

McCoy grinned, translating back. He began to regret missing the Captain's diatribe. It must have been a classic.

“Oh, Doctor.”

“Yes, Mr. Spock.”

“May I ask the meaning of the term 'son of a bitch'. . . ?”

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Originally uploaded by Randuwa.

How you do haunt me, Spirit of
things left unsaid:

There never was a sword so keen ---
as the blade now through me struck

And I am hounded to my bed by
disease for which there is no cure.

Oh, that it could bare its voice
This love which now within me burns.

And yet, this -- so great a love,
May best be kept unsaid.

Lest the empty laughter which from
your bowels would tread
should I tell you,

Would leave me still and dead!

~ Ms. JH

"The 'Les Mesdemoiselles Federation' Affair": Installment one

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Some things have come to mind as I have re-typed and prepared this story for posting. And most of them are not complimentary to it. And so I offer them to you now for your consideration and grace.

1) Written in the mid-seventies, this story reeks with many things that any open-minded, evolving, and progressive person these 30 years hence would find repugnant. The chauvinism (misogyny?) alone is cause for alarm. But hey, wait, it predates so much enlightenment. It’s, in fact, written by a woman, an important reminder of just how far we've all come.

2) I found myself wishing that the whole thing had been written as a parody! Because there's enough high camp to fill a hundred gay & lesbian film festivals in this baby. And while I am Gay, I have NO idea whether my collaborators are, as I lost track of both of them in the early 80's. The author of this story is one member of our trinity, Ms. H. Happily married at the time.

3) The drawings are scans of the originals, which were done directly on the thinly waxed screens for the mimeographs using a special stylus that scraped away the wax to allow the ink to bleed through and print. The whole production was done via mimeograph and this first issue was produced on the mimeograph of the First Congregational Church in my hometown. (None of us were members. The connection was a classmate who was also the minister's daughter and his wife who was my 3rd grade teacher, the Reverend and Mrs. B.) Produced in this way, the illustrations are a little sketchy -- but I like that as it offers historic authenticity to the work.

"The 'Les Mesdemoiselles Federation' Affair": Chapter ONE, part one

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Ensign Shirley Dayton stood on a chair in the center of the recreation area that took up a fourth of deck 8 aboard the starship Lexington and surveyed her handiwork. The large room, normally decorated in a haphazard mélange of styles from the prosaic to the whimsical, had been transformed into a large cocktail lounge in deep orange and rich red especially for the guests of honor, the thirteen members of the Vulcan delegation to the 'Les Mesdemoiselles Federation' Pageant being held on Babel. Cmdr. Branfield, the Lexington's first officer, who served as both chief navigator and chief of security (at least temporarily), had suggested the color scheme and the greeting now emblazoned across the banner fastened to the curve of the inner hull. Immediately below it was a buffet table groaning under the vast selection of Vulcan delicacies, also programmed by the commander, who had apparently spent some time on Vulcan. Nearby were tables laden with foods from Tellar, Andoria, Schillia, Earth, and Cait, home of the Mrraneti.

Deciding everything was as ready as it was ever going to be, Dayton took a deep breath and hopped down, returning the chair to its place along a bulkhead. What a monstrous task it was trying to keep the contestants out of each other's hair -- or fur, as the case might be. Twenty-four hostesses, the maximum number allowed by the voluminous order sheaf, just wasn't enough to handle any rough stuff. Fortunately there hadn't been much -- yet.

“Gather 'round everybody,” she called. The other girls, of all colors, sizes and shapes, all wearing the red dress uniforms of ship's services, hurried over to form a huddle around the senior ensign. “Okay, we all know how much Bran's depending on us to keep things quiet and calm. Are there any questions on our orders?”

“Well, it's not exactly about our orders,” spoke up Ens. D'kura, a dark skinned girl with a medium Afro and large gold earrings, “but why isn't he going to be here?”

“I don't know Cassu. But he sounded awfully tired. Could be he's hoping to get in a little extra shut-eye. Any other questions?” asked Dayton. “Okay, let's not disappoint him.”

Chapter ONE, part two

The first group to arrive was the Tellarite delegation, not so much interested in punctuality as in the prospect of a free meal -- or so it seemed to Dayton. Certainly their first stop was the table bearing Tellarite foods, which she had discovered were so spicy they burnt her mouth. Maybe the Tellarites liked their food highly seasoned because otherwise they'd never even taste it as they bolted it down -- or maybe they bolted it because it was so unbelievably hot.

She had just got to the reflection that perhaps the notorious Tellarite bad temper was caused by chronic indigestion and heartburn when she noticed the Vulcan girl standing in the entranceway, looking around. Had she been human, Dayton would've thought she seemed rather shy and uncertain. But she was Vulcan. The ensign hesitated, then shrugged slightly and walked over.

“Hello, I'm Shirley Dayton. Won't you come on in?”

The Vulcan blinked once, then tilted her head leftward. “I'm T'Alyen. Peace and long life, Ms. Dayton.”

She had lifted a hand in the strange bifurcated salute Vulcans used. Thinking fast, the ensign raised her hand as well. “Uh, live long and prosper, T'Alyen. . . Would you like something to eat or drink?”

“Very well,” was the Vulcan's only immediate reply as she allowed Dayton to escort her over to the table beneath the banner. She studied this, with its IDIC symbol and Anglicized welcome, for a moment, then inquired curiously, “Do you know the meaning of the words and the symbol?”

“Uh,” started Dayton, “well, Cmdr. Branfield says the words are glossed as 'Live long and prosper,' and the symbol refers to your concept of Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combination. . . Kind of appropriate for -- tonight.”

“It is,” agreed T'Alyen, examining the selection and picking up a strange-looking piece of cake. “Prookle. . . Have you any Vulcan crewmembers?”

“No,” replied Dayton, also picking up a piece of the cake. “Why?”

“There is one here who knows the Vulcan taste,” commented the Vulcan after a reflective bite.

“Must be the commander, then. He's the one who programmed all this. . . Say, this is delicious. What did you call it?

“Prookle. . . This is a particularly intriguing and creative combination of colors and flavors,” replied T'Alyen thoughtfully. “There WAS a human at Dakainya for a time three Terran years ago. His name was Jeremy Branfield.”

“That's Bran,” nodded Dayton, taking another bite.

“Bran?” inquired the Vulcan, dipping a glass of thick red juice from one of the punch bowls.

“Yes,” answered Dayton, following suit. “It's a nickname we use -- in referring to him in his absence. 'Cmdr. Branfield' takes too long to say, so we call him Bran, like we call the commodore 'Wes' and the chief engineer 'Henny'.”

T'Alyen's only response to that was a non-committal, “I see.”

Chapter ONE, part three

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
As a good hostess must, Dayton spent the evening moving around, deftly inserting stray newcomers into various discussion groups, seeing to it that these remained fairly well mixed and frequently aired. Now, however, she was taking a breather, enjoying some of the thick red juice she'd tried earlier, as well as another piece of that delicious prookle. It was rather like a cross between peanut brittle and brownies, and tasted vaguely like butterscotch intertwined with vanilla. As she ate, she observed the chattering groups. So far, everything was going just beautifully. Even the Tellarites seemed to be on their best behavior. No complaints about the food being too flat for a change. Perhaps she dared hope they would get through the evening unscathed.

T'Alyen made her appearance then, the silver trim of her pink tunic and pants suit sparkling in the half-light. Dayton couldn't help admiring the way she could move with such poise through the intricacies of conversation with members of five other species on a wide range of subjects, from astrophysics to the fine points of the dance. This really was the Vulcan concept of IDIC in action, she decided.

“If you like prookle, perhaps you would also find yunyon to your liking. It is a fruit most esteemed among my people,” suggested the Vulcan in her low, well-modulated voice as she indicated a bowl of half-peeled fruit and a dip.

“I'm willing to try anything at least once,” returned Dayton, setting down her glass. “I just need a guide.”

T'Alyen showed her how to peel the fruit and section it, setting the seeds neatly in the bowl awaiting them, then dipped a section in the sauce. Dayton followed her example and discovered the fruit was almost unbearably sweet and the sauce almost unbearably tart. The combination was heavenly.

“Shirley, I am curious. May I ask what you meant by saying that you need a guide?” asked T'Alyen after several minutes.

“Well,” said the ensign after a moment of thought. “All this is kind of like an unexplored country. I don't know the names of any of these dishes -- except the prookle and this -- yunyon. I don't know what any of them tastes like, or what they're made of, or -- or anything. So I need a guide to show me the country ---”

But T'Alyen apparently wasn't listening anymore. Dayton broke off, curious to know what was causing the slight frown on the other girl's dark face. She seemed to be listening to something else. Trouble, maybe? Alerted, the ensign pricked her own ears.

Somewhere behind her, at the table for human dishes, she heard the hissing giggle of a Mrraneti girl as she listened to a human's description of some incident having to do with a Tellarite. She could only catch a word here and there, but she recognized the fake southern drawl of Trina Anderson, one of the human contestants. She sighed and picked up her glass of juice, dipping up more as an excuse for watching.

T'Alyen wasn't the only one listening. It looked like of Yteskar, an Andorian with what Dayton considered a nasty mind, was also intrigued by the conversation. To the ensign's trained mind, that spelled trouble in the making, but there wasn't a darned thing she could do about it. . . Well, nothing official, anyway.

“T'Alyen, I don't believe you've met Ms. Anderson or Ms. Mrrim,” said she in as conversational a tone as she could manage.

The Vulcan blinked and turned her dark eyes searchingly on the ensign before saying quietly, “I applaud your suggestion. I have met Ms. Anderson, but not Ms. Mrrim.”

“Come on, then.” Dayton couldn't quite keep her voice steady as she led the way. “Uh, Mrrim? This is T'Alyen of Vulcan. She is a dancer, too.”

“I am honored to make your acquaintance, T'Alyen,” purred the lynx-faced Mrranet in her stilted English. “What iss the dance that you perrforrm?”

T'Alyen proceeded to explain.

“Trina,” murmured Dayton softly, “what are you trying to do, start a fight? I didn't hear exactly what you said about the Tellarites -- and I don't want to -- but Yteskar did. If she repeats it to the wrong persons ---”

“Look heah, deahry, Ah'll say what Ah want to say to whoever Ah want -- an' y'all cain't stop me,” hissed the platinum blonde, nastily.

“Maybe not, Trina, but if somebody smashes a pie into your pretty face, you can't say you weren't warned.”

“Ah thank y'all ever so much for the warnin', little girl.” drawled the woman in the purple gown, turning away in contemptuous dismissal.

Clenching her fists briefly, Dayton half-wished someone WOULD smash a pie in her face. How Anderson got away with that kind of snottiness was beyond her.

“You Mrrim?!” barked a hoarse Tellarite voice beside her.

She jumped, just as the Tellarite woman snatched up a pie and hit the Mrranet in the face with it, rubbing it in before Mrrim could even open her mouth to protest.

“Hey --” started Dayton, making as if to interfere.

The Tellarite shoved her aside with one strong, hairy arm. She caught herself just too late to prevent the enraged woman from dumping a whole bowlful of orange punch over Trina's head.

“What the hell do you think you're doing!” squawked the human, whirling angrily, all pretenses at an accent gone. “I'll have ---”

“You PEEG, Anderson,” growled the Tellarite as Dayton tried to get between them.

“Come one, you guys ---” she started urgently, but the maddened Tellarite merely shoved her away again. She caught her hip on the corner of the Sandorians' table hard, and her leg gave way with a faint popping sound. She collapsed into a heap on the deck, the abrupt, intense pain startling a yelp from her.

“You called me carrion, I treat you like dirt, PEEG!” rumbled the Tellarite, ignoring T'Alyen's attempts to intervene and shoving Anderson back against the table.

“You BEAST!” shrilled the red-faced woman, picking up a German chocolate cake and hurling it at the snout-nosed Tellarite. She ducked. The missile smacked into the back of an Andorian's head, right between the antennae. She whirled like lightning, her blue-skinned fingers exploring the mess adhering to her cottony white hair.

“Who did thiss!” she hissed sharply, her red-rimmed eyes flashing fire.

“That one,” returned the Tellarite in a growl of aggrieved injury, pointing at Anderson with one hairy paw. “See how humans insult intelligence ---”

“WHAT intelligence, Greva dahlin'?” snarled Anderson, crouching at the ready like a cornered animal.

“O, please, stop it, you guys!” cried Dayton from where she sat. She was hard put to contain her tears of pain. But none of the would-be combatants paid her the least attention. All she could so was watch helplessly as the Andorian and her three sisters joined the Tellarite in advancing on Anderson. The human slid behind a table and picked up another pie, waited, threw it at the Andorian. The latter ducked and returned fire with a dish full of sticky fudge. The human couldn't quite avoid the barrage, as a piece squished itself into her damp hair.

“Damn you clods, anyhow!” she screamed, dodging a casserole and running the short distance to the Tellarite table. Here she picked up a bowl of some hot chili-like food and threw it at Greva, yelling, “Have some of your own crap in the eye!”

By this time, almost everyone had stopped talking and turned to observe in surprise. Through her tears of pain, Dayton saw Ensign D'kura not far away, watching in frustrated helplessness, forbidden to lay a hand on any of the contestants.

“Cassu!” called Dayton with an effort. “Cassu, c'm'ere!”

The other ensign turned, then hurried over to kneel beside her. “What happened, Shirley?”

“I think I dislocated my hip,” she gasped. “Listen, get Bran down here right away with a security detail. Hurry!”

“Right on!” replied D'kura crisply, rising and walking quickly away.

By now, the battle forces had grown to include nearly all of the Andorian contestants, several more Tellarites, two Mrraneti who had been hit with punch or cookies by accident, and most of the human contestants. The later were outnumbered, but were putting up stiff resistance.

The telepathic Schillians had withdrawn to the farthest part of the large room, and the Vulcans stood observing in what looked to Dayton like helpless confusion. She couldn't really blame them. What little she'd read about them seemed to indicate that they very well might not know how to deal with raw, uncontrolled emotion in members of other species -- not to mention the fact that they must find it distressingly painful.

Nearby, the Mrraneti watching the fight seemed to be applauding the good moves of each side indiscriminately, and booing the bad ones, while the Andorian judges conferred together in low whispers. The Tellarites watched and made bets while the rest of the hostesses either fidgeted or tried to be helpful to those watching.

“You are injured,” came T'Alyen's voice, conveying to the ensign's ears the faintest hint of -- of chagrin and anger.

Dayton looked up, puzzled by what her ears told her, then nodded absently, wishing the marines would hurry up.

“One has done violence and must be punished ---”

The ensign caught the Vulcan's hand urgently. That WAS anger. “No, T'Alyen,” she urged firmly. “It wasn't intentional. Please, let Bran handle it. He'll be here any second.”

The girl looked down into Dayton's pain-twisted face for a moment, her own face quite impassive, then relaxed a little and said formally, “Thee are wise for one so young ---”

Just then the lights came up to full, announcing the arrival of the marines, a group of chunky young men in red with business-like expressions on their faces as they went about the task of separating the battling contestants by species. Their leader, a tall young man wearing the green of command, flipped his mop of wavy black hair out of his sleepy eyes and snapped, “All right, knock it OFF! . . That means you, Anderson.”

The girl who had just thrown a plate full of Jell-O at one the security men, whipped around, all traces of beauty wiped out by the animal snarl contorting her face. Snatching up a lemon meringue pie which had miraculously escaped being thrown earlier, she stepped behind the Vulcan table and flung it at the commander. He caught it with a deftness bespeaking of superb control and barked, “Anderson, c'm'ere!”

“Wha should Ah, you creep!?” she sneered. “Y'all think you're so great, come an' get me, ol' ha an' mighty Jeremy Branfield.”

The commander's lips tightened, and for a moment, Dayton really thought he was going to smash the pie into Anderson's ugly face. He didn't, however, but set it very gently on the Mrraneti table immediately behind him and said, his voice low and tight, “Kerrigan, please restrain this -- woman -- and bring her over here.”

“Yessir,” replied the red-haired Security Officer, obeying with alacrity.

When he had her in the center of the room, her hands firmly pinioned in his, Kerrigan looked over at the commander. Branfield swept his dark grey eyes over the heavily breathing combatants, all of whom were badly stained, before asking abruptly, “Do I get the impression this -- person is responsible?”

“She called me carrion!” barked Greva, nursing a cut on one cheek.

“Did she now.”

“She threw a cake at me,” added the first Andorian.

“It was an accident,” grumbled Anderson. “Greva ducked.”

“Oh. That makes it less a crime?” inquired the commander with a sardonic chuckle. “. . .look, ladies, a contest like this is no place for vindictive childishness. If you can't behave yourselves, you've no business being here. These gentlemen will escort you back to your quarters to clean up.” He looked around at the badly littered deck, then said, “In view of the circumstances, I think everyone should call it a night.”

Friday, June 16, 2006

Chapter ONE, part four

When all of the guests had departed, leaving only T’Alyen, Dayton, Branfield, and the hostesses, Doc Medici, the Chief medical officer, walked in, glanced over his shoulder after the soiled combatants. “Jesus, Jer, what on Earth’s been going on down here?”

“What the Hell does it look like?” growled the first officer in disgust. “The grandaddy of all pie fights, of course. And I’ll bet you anything you like that blasted Anderson had a lot to do with it.”

“No bets,” grinned the CMO as he knelt beside Dayton and began to probe and manipulate her hip. “I’d loose for sure. . . You know, I think that woman hates your guts -- oh, excuse me, Ms. ---?”

“T’Alyen,” replied the Vulcan as she held Dayton’s shoulders firmly.

Medici, left with no opening, concentrated on his task, with the result that before long, the dislocated joint snapped back into place, bringing forth a yelp from the ensign. Said the CMO, “You’ll be spending the night in sickbay, child, and then three days off your feet.”

“Aw, Doc!” groaned Dayton. “I’ll miss everything!”

“Consider yourself fortunate,” commented Branfield, more calmly now. “No doubt you’ll have more visitors than you’ll know what to do with.”

“I kind of doubt that,” grumbled the girl as she was helped onto the newly arrived stretcher. “Will you come visit me, T’Alyen; tell me what’s going on?”

The Vulcan considered briefly, then said, “I shall see what can be arranged, Shirley.”

Chapter ONE, part five

A few minutes later found Branfield and T'Alyen walking in the night-shrouded garden that took a third of the same deck. For a long time there was silence before the commander said softly, “It's been awhile, T'Alyen.”

“It has, Jeremy,” agreed the woman non-committally.

Branfield glanced at her with shrouded eyes, then, his shoulders executing the faintest hint of a shrug, he asked, “Tell me, briefly, what DID happen in there?” He indicated the rec center with a nod of his unruly mop.

“Essentially, Ms. Mrrim remarked that the Tellarites smelled like carrion. However, when I inquired of her the reason for such a remark, she indicated that it was intended as a compliment. Apparently Ms. Anderson misinterpreted this and proceeded to enlighten Mrrim as to her own beliefs that Tellarites, because they resemble Terran swine, were only good for food. At this point, Shirley attempted to avoid further unfortunate remarks by introducing me to Mrrim and warning Ms. Anderson. She was rebuffed. In any case, it was too late, as Ms. Greva arrived at that moment and -- shoved a pie into Mrrim's face, then poured the contents of a punchbowl over Ms. Anderson. Shirley was injured in her attempt to intervene. . . Jeremy, I do not comprehend what motivates these people. Do they truly enjoy such violent emotion?” asked the Vulcan, pausing in her walk to look up into the human's shadowed face.

The commander didn't reply immediately, but only rubbed his bushy moustache for a moment. “I don't know for sure, T'Alyen. . . I don't think they enjoy it, if by that you mean being in Joy, but there does seem to be a certain -- uhm -- exhilaration inherent in the violent release of emotional tension.”

“This is insanity,” stated the Vulcan flatly.

“I couldn't agree more,” replied Branfield. “But they probably don't know any other way. They weren't raised under Vulcan discipline, so it's to be expected their control would -- leave something to be desired.”

T'Alyen considered this in silence for several long minutes before murmuring, “There is sense in what you say. . . I would return to my quarters.”

Branfield acquiesced with a nod and escorted her out.

"The 'Les Mesdemoiselles Federation' Affair": Chapter TWO, part one

Lt. Ling Yi, the assistant science officer, sat at the computer console on the bridge and tried to look occupied. Unfortunately, there wasn't much for him to look occupied about. Milk runs! It was stupid to tie up a valuable starship just to ferry a bunch of females to -- of all things -- a beauty contest, even if it was intended to promote interspecies harmony.

The reason there wasn't much for him to do was because all traffic in the sector had been rerouted to pass the Lexington well beyond sensor range. The surrounding space-scape to the limits of detectability was, therefore, totally devoid of anything interesting, yet it had to be watched. For what? The Lieutenant sighed and rose to run another sensor sweep.

To his surprise, the long-range DeBroglie sensors were now picking up something at extreme range almost directly astern. Instantly alert, he checked it out on all frequencies. Nothing except on the DeBroglies. How peculiar. Could it be a glitch, or was he maybe seeing things? He checked it three more times. Still there, but only on the motion sensors. He glanced around the bridge, manned only be the night crew, of which he was nominally in charge.

“Hey, Sandy, c'm'ere,” he whispered to the on-duty comm officer, Sandra Leblanc. She looked up, then came over. “Check this our, will you? Full sensor sweep.”

Clearly puzzled, the young woman did so, looking into the scope and pressing the proper switches. After a moment, she looked up again. “Well, there's something at extreme range on the DeBroglies, but nothing anywhere else.”

“Then I'm not seeing things,” muttered Ling thoughtfully. “Could be a glitch, though; these things are the devil to keep accurate.”

“That's always possible. I'll check out all frequencies just in case it isn't, though,” replied the dark haired girl, returning to her place.

“Do that, Sandy,” returned Ling absently as he ran the computer through a self-check. “Because if there's something there...”

“Yes. We'll have to call Wes.”

Chapter TWO, part two

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
Elsewhere aboard the large vessel, the deep silence of sleep or its equivalent was broken only by the distant but all-pervading vibration of the driving warp engines. In his quarters on deck five, Commodore Robert Wesley, in command of the Lexington, Lay curled on one side like a cat, sound asleep. Across the gallery in his quarters, Branfield lay sprawled on his back across his bed, one boot still on, the other on the deck. Five days and nights of alarms and skirmishes were taking their toll, the added burden of being Chief of Security on top of all of his other responsibilities. If LeAnn Talbot, the former CS, hadn't perished on their last mission, things might've been different. But they weren't, so Branfield slept the drugged sleep of approaching exhausting.

Not far away, however, a sleeper awoke and opened his eyes. The room, a single, was dark and still. He sat up, then put his feet over the side of the bed, unconsciously wiggling his toes in the thick pile of the throw rug. Giving no thought to the incongruity of this luxury aboard what was essentially a ship of war, he rose and padded over to the revolving closet/bureau, flicking on the lights in passing. Sliding the closet door aside, he removed from the bottom of the space a slim attaché case. Sliding the door shut behind him, he padded into the work area and took a seat at the desk, setting the case on the surface before him. Thumbing the locks, he let it flip open. His movements calm and measured, he removed a book entitled “The Aegis of Despair.” Quite a heavy tome, it appeared to be well handled; this in an age when it was simpler to read books in tape form. Yet hardbound books were still common enough not to arouse undue notice. The man open the book to page 97, revealing that the interior pages had had their centers removed, leaving only a centimeter wide boarder all the way around. In the cavity thus created sat a rectangular solid of some clear substance measuring approximately five centimeters thick, by ten wide, by fifteen long. It fit the cavity quite snuggly, and was warm and vaguely gelatinous to the touch.

Setting the book, with its odd contents, to one side, the man took from a small styli pouch in the case a particular stylus in the shape of an old-fashioned fountain pen. Taking the cap off, he set this aside and began to unscrew the point from the barrel. Setting the latter aside also, he held up the ink receptacle and began to unwind the fine gold wire wrapped around it with delicate fingers. Soon he held a nearly invisible strand of wire some 35 centimeters in length. Carefully he began to impress this on the yielding surface of the clear substance in an apparently predetermined pattern. When this task was complete, he put the stylus back together and returned it to its place. Next, he removed a small stapler (tapes hadn't completely done away with forms in triplicate) and opened it out, then proceeded to staple the wire at equal intervals with tiny gold staples. Soon only the two ends of the wire rose above the surface a millimeter apart. The man put the stapler away.

Taking out his travel alarm, he set it for 1800 hours two days hence, or the night of their scheduled arrival at Babel, site of the finals and pageant that would see Les Mesdemoiselles Federation, one for each species, crowned. This done, he removed the service panel from the bottom of the prism-shaped clock and, with the tweezers from the manicure set, lifted out both the tiny isotopic energy cell and the even smaller integrated circuitry chip that ran the clock. This latter was hardly a millimeter square and ridiculously simple. Screwing a jeweler's loupe into his eye, the man transferred the assembly to the block, where he slipped the chip's infinitesimally small contact rings carefully over the wire ends, then bent these delicately back to make the connection firm. Very gently, he pressed the shielded energy source down into the block until it was flush with the surface. This done, he closed the book carefully and replaced it and his tools, as well as the cannibalized clock in the case, then snapped it shut and returned it to the closet exactly as he had found it. Closing the door and switching off the lights, he returned to bed. Seconds later, he was asleep. In the morning, he would remember none of this.

Chapter TWO, part three

“You getting something, Sandy?” asked Ling after awhile as the girl listened intently, carefully fine-tuning the signal, if it was a signal. She only nodded once, a curt shake of her bouncy curls as she held the earpiece tightly. The lieutenant turned back to his scanner, checking to make sure the computer was recording all the readings. If it was a ship. . .

“It's gone now,” said Leblanc, looking up with a shake of her head. “It's like a sine-modulated carrier wave; no apparent code, just the wave.”

“Um,” grunted the science officer, looking into his scope. “The blip's faded out. . . You pin-point the source of the signal?”

“It seemed to emanate from the general vicinity of your blip. . . You know I think it is?”

“What?” asked Ling, looking up.

“A ship, tailing us, trying to cause trouble, though how such a simply modulated signal is going to cause trouble, I don't know.”

“Could be. But you know how Wes is. He'll accept it as an hypothesis, but he won't take it seriously without a heck of a lot more support. We've got be absolutely certain it wasn't a glitch or he'll bring up that old “Toreador” story again,” sighed the Lieutenant, grimacing at the memory.

“Yes,” smiled Leblanc, dimpling. “I wonder how he never tires of telling us all how he spent five weeks chasing his own shadow. You'd think he'd find it too embarrassing.”

“Well, call it an object lesson in checking ALL your facts,” replied Ling, returning the smile. “In the meantime, I'll check all the circuitry again.”

Chapter TWO, part four

Next morning, when Commodore Wesley and Cmdr. Branfield walked onto the bridge, Ling and Leblanc glanced at each other, then the assistant science officer rose and handed his scan log over to the captain without comment. Wesley, a distinguished looking man in his middle fifties, scanned the report then looked again, a frown touching his face, before he turned back to ling.

“I want to see the tapes,” he said, passing the pad to Branfield and stepping over to the computer station. The lieutenant obediently called up the requested information as the senior officer looked into the scope. “You've checked your circuitry thoroughly?”

“Yessir,” never mind that it was mentioned in the report.

“You know how easy it is for the computer to mistake it's own signals for some external stimulus--”

“Yessir,” Ling repressed a sigh with difficulty. Here it came.

Branfield, who had been reading the report, looked up and said, “Bob, please, I think we've heard that story often enough.”

Wesley turned in surprise, but Branfield was again examining the pad, his moustache twitching suspiciously. “Besides, he's run a self-check on the computer three times already. . . Also, it's common knowledge that the Romulans at least have cloaking devices.”

“But we're right in the heart of the Federation--” started the commodore, then stopped as Branfield looked up, one eyebrow cocked sardonically, as if to ask what difference that made.

Wesley ran a hand over his greying hair, then rubbed his chin. If the Romulans, or worse, the Klingons, wanted some objective badly enough, he doubted even the Organian Treaty could restrain them. Oh, they'd no longer use frontal attack to gain their ends, but that left more than enough room for undercover trouble making -- and this pageant would make a lovely target for sabotage. . . That was the problem with the Peace Treaty: In forbidding outright, face to face, war, the Organians had unwittingly given the advantage to the Klingons and Romulans, because they had no scruples against taking advantage of the Federation's weak points -- not to mention the fact that it was much easier for them to infiltrate than visa versa. It was much harder to fight an enemy you couldn't see.

“You think it is a ship, Jer?” he asked after a moment.

“The possibility can't be discounted, sir,” answered Branfield quietly.

“Very well,” shrugged Wesley, taking the pad back. Again he scanned it, shook his head slightly, then signed it and said, “You're excused, Lieutenant. Thank you.”

“Yessir,” said Ling crisply, bracing and heading for the lift, glad he'd gotten out of it alive.

“Ling,” called the commodore after him.

“Yessir?” he asked, turning back.

“Why didn't you call me?”

For a moment there was silence as the two senior officers waited for his answer. Finally, taking a deep breath, the young man said, “In my judgment, sir, there was not enough evidence to warrant it.”

The Lieutenant noticed how Branfield's moustache twitched briefly in an expression that was not a smile, but more than a sigh, almost of resignation. He wondered why as the commodore growled, “Oh, very well. Dismissed.”

Half-expecting to be called back yet again, Ling stepped into the lift and disappeared.


(Author's note: This is the first installment of what is projected as a full-length, two part novel. Keep your eyes open for the rest of the story in future issues of SR. Ms. H.)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

SR #1 (62-63)

“T'was The Night Before.....”

T'was the night before inspection
And all through the ship
Not a sensor was registering,
Not even a blip.

The corridors and galleries
Were immaculate and bare
In anticipation, for Commodore
Ranier would soon be there.

The ensigns were nestled
All snug in their beds
With visions of promotions
Dancing in their heads.

Spock at his station
And I in my chair
Had just settled back,
On our way to Altair.

Then what to our wondrous
View screen should appear?
But eight other captains
And Commodore Ranier.

Said he is a voice
Both grupling and rup
“We're ready, Kirk.
Now beam us up!”

They buzzed and phizzled
And they shimmered as they came,
And Commodore Ranier
Called them by name.

“Here's Bradley, here's Wesley,
Here's Denley and Olson.
Come, Hoffman, come, Miller
Come, Stanley, and Coleson.”

Down through the corridors
Like Blitzkrieg they went.
Inspecting, white-gloving,
The hours they spent!

Deck one, deck two, three,
Four, five, six, and seven;
Decks eight and nine,
And ten and eleven.

Down through the ship
They busted,
Making sure that every
Thing had been dusted.

“Well, Captain Kirk
I must confess
I had expected to find
A bit of a mess.

“But instead I found clean,
Not a speck of dust,
And that's good enough for me.”
“That's good enough for us!”

And then he exclaimed,
As he beamed out of sight,
“A clean ship's a happy ship,
I always say.”

By Mr. RWA

It is my intention to post articles by issue from last to first, this silly poem was published in the first issue on pages 62 & 63. No illustration accompanied it. Authors are kept anonymous, but should you wish to inquire, post a comment.