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.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Death, Where Is Thy Sting?, part 1

Originally uploaded by Randuwa.
The tiny shuttlecraft drifted now, its nose and undercarriage crumpled and dented, an infinitely small bit of jetsam in the immensity of velvety black space; a speck of dust on a jewel-encrusted curtain. It was only three days out from Starbase 10, but was now falling inexorably into a trajectory that would, if uninterrupted, bring it some years from now in the vicinity of the double component of the triple star system of which the starbase and its parent planet were a part. Bu that time, of course, its two occupants would be long dead, their forms inert and frozen in the vacuum of space.

Indeed, as they lay sprawled in the pilot’s and co-pilot’s chairs, one with his head hanging to one side, the other bent over her half of the control console, they seemed lifeless already in the gloom, relieved only by the starlight shining in through the three forward ports.

Then the woman who lay over the controls stirred, hardly more than a trembling of the finely shaped fingers of her gangling left hand. The tremor soon ceased, stilled into motionlessness. A moment later, with one smooth effort, she lifted her head from the console, brushed tumbled black hair from her bruised and cut face, tucked it nearly behind elegantly pointed ears. A single sweep of dart eyes under upswept brows told her the status of the tiny vessel. Efficiently she touched controls, but there was no response.

She turned then to the young man, who lay in ungainly confusion in his chair, head drooping over its back, his arms hanging. She touched his exposed neck to one side of his prominent Adam’s apple. His pulse was, for a human, rather weak and fast, and she showed no signs of imminent arousal. For the present, however, he was alive. How long he would remain alive was problematical.

As there was nothing she could do for him immediately, she returned her attention to the vessel, rising slowly from her chair, acutely aware of her own serious internal damage. If life was to continue for either of them, she must at least attempt to devise a means of signaling the starbase as to their whereabouts. Supporting herself with a hand on the back of the chairs, she made her slow way aft. There was some power still, for the gravitational field was being maintained at one-sixth it’s normal strength. Perhaps it would be possible. . . .

In the aft compartment, containing access to the life-support system and the engines, she examined the read-out panels, a blaze of glowing oranges and three lonely yellows. There were no cool, comforting greens. She flipped circuit breakers, cutting power to all systems save life-support and gravity to conserve the remaining battery reserves. No logic in feeding power to non-functional systems. The orange lights winked out, leaving only the yellows. Taking up the first-aid kit, the woman made her difficult way back to the dark control console, aware that once she sat down, she would not be able to rise again. Already her condition had deteriorated to the point where she could no longer control the fine tremor of her hands, or the worsening fluctuation of her vision. She sank into the chair.

Blinking, she removed the diagnostic scanner from the kit and ran if over the unconscious human. The reading was grim; fractured ribs, punctured spleen and liver, causing massive internal bleeding. In addition, his back had been broken in at least one place. She reset the scanner for herself, and was not surprised to find her own readings just as serious. The only confirmed her own internal awareness.

Now a low moan escaped the half-open lips of the human beside her. She watched as his eyelids fluttered and he swallowed convulsively. Lifting a shaky hand to his ribs, he probed gently, winced; let it slide back to its original position as he rest from the exertion. Finally he opened his intensely blue eyes and looked slowly, dizzily, around. Again his Adam’s apply bobbed before he managed to ask, his voice a husky whisper, “What happened?”

“I do not know precisely, Daniel,” replied the woman quietly, “I would hypothesize that we have been struck by a meteoroid of sufficient size as to overwhelm our deflector screens. . . We are airtight; however, our battery reserves are minimal and our communications capability had been completely destroyed.

The human took all this very calmly, which seemed to contradict all the woman might have expected, given the inherent emotional instability of humans.

“Oh. . .” he sighed softly. Then his eyes came back to hers. “What about you?”

“I have sustained severe internal damage which will lead to death within five hours, maximum, without assistance,” she replied with quiet resignation.

The man made no immediate response, but closed his eyes as if very tired. Eventually he opened them again and looked at her. “I don’t think I’ve got even that long. . . . You’ve checked out communications thoroughly? I mean, even if they can’t get a ship out here in time for me, they might at least get here in time for you.”

“There is no power to the board, Daniel, and in any case, I lack the strength and necessary knowledge to attempt such repairs as my be required.”

Again there was a long pause, during which there was only the sound of the human’s labored breathing to be heard. Finally, he murmured, “Well, then, it does seem our only hope was that Traffic Control was monitoring us. . . Unfortunately, don’t even know we’re coming because we’re two days early.”

He sighed, a sound that ended in a grunt of pain. After a moment to recover, he asked softly, “T’Krrel, what’s our fuel situation?”

“The fuel indicators read empty. I must assume this means damage to the storage areas has allowed for leakage.”

“Well, there goes that idea – unless maybe it froze and left a trail of glitter – no, I guess I must be getting delirious,” he chuckled, then winced again.

“Are you in pain?” asked the woman with a hint of concern.

The shook his head slightly and murmured, “No, only when I breathe too deep. . . You?”

“Negative. I retain this much control.”

For a long time then, there was silence as the human closed his eyes and seemed to doze. T’Krrel leaned back in her chair and relaxed, gazing absently up at the stars shining in through the ports. They were bright and hard, of all colors of the spectrum, all at unimaginable distances, beyond even the exact calculation by eye of which she was capable. She could deal with such distances only in the abstract. On the concrete level, they had no meaning.

She turned her attention almost reluctantly inward. She could slow, and possibly even suspend the deterioration of her condition for a time, but to what end? The probability of their being found before the battery reserves were exhausted was so close to zero as to make any such attempt essentially an exercise in futility, an exercise without value. She could do nothing for her companion.

Were it not for her and her assignment, he would be safe aboard his mother-ship, not out here, dying alone and without friends or family. She wondered briefly what rituals humans used to ease the pain of leaving life. There were none for her, although perhaps there might have been, once. She knew a moment of excruciating loneliness in the face of those distant stars hung in the lifeless, uncaring void.


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