A Work Of Star Trek Fan Fiction By Richard Paolinelli
© 2020 RICHARD PAOLINELLI . ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO COPYING OR ANY OTHER REPRODUCTION OF THIS STORY IS PERMITTED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION. This is a work of fan fiction based in the universe of Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry. It is not intended to be sold, to be used to aid in any sale and is not to be copied or used in any other way by any other party.
“Welcome to Etalya Spaceport, Enterprise. Proceed on course to Dock Nove. We’ll tractor you in to link-up. Prince Bari and his party will meet you there.”
“Acknowledged,” Captain Archer replied. “And thank you. Travis, take us the rest of the way in until they are ready with the tractor.”
Archer watched as the planet grew larger on the viewscreen. It was a beautiful blue-green world that looked remarkably Earth-like. It had three major oceans, four land masses and a collection of island chains.
“It is an M-Class planet with an atmosphere that is nearly identical to Terra,” T’Pol reported. “Its orbit around its parent star is within .4894 days of that of Terra’s. In fact, the conditions surrounding this planet so closely match Terra’s that the odds of this happening without outside interference approach absolutely impossible.”
“Are you saying that this was manufactured? By whom?”
“I do not know, Captain. I know of no species capable of doing so.”
“Are we sure we are dealing with humans?”
“According to sensors, there are nearly two billion life forms on the surface and they all read as human. Earth human, not just humanoid.”
“I see. Until we’re sure of what is going on here, I want to limit our contact. Malcolm, you have the Con. Hoshi, you’ll accompany us in case we have any linguistic issues. Commander, they seem to have had some contact with Vulcans before. You’ll come along. Please have Commander Tucker and Dr. Phlox meet us at the docking port.”
“You’re not beaming over?” Ensign Mayweather asked as he guided the ship toward the looming spaceport.
“They may not be aware of the technology,” Archer replied. “They might think it rude of us just to materialize on their spaceport.”
* * *
Once Enterprise had completed docking and the skyway had extended from the spaceport and securely sealed to the ship’s docking port, Archer opened the hatchway and led his four officers down the one hundred meter passage. As they exited into the concourse an honor guard, four on each side, snapped to attention. Forelni and three of his officers were gathered a few yards away.
“Welcome, Captain,” Forelni greeted after the Enterprise’s officers had cleared the honor guard.
“Thank you, Capitano,” Archer replied before introducing his officers.
“A pleasure,” Forelni said before indicating his officers. “My Executive Officer, Paulo Mansi. My Communications Officer, Carlita Lucchese. My Chief Engineer, Bartolo Rinaldi.”
“Capitano, forgive me but before we docked they referred to you as Prince Bari…”
“Ah yes,” a small smile formed on Forelni’s face. “On board my ship I am addressed as Capitano. Everywhere else on Etalya I am Crown Prince Bari Forelni, the firstborn son of their Highnesses, King Gioacondo Forelni and Queen Ersilla Ragone Forelni.
“Don’t tell anyone,” Forelni continued, lowering his voice as he leaned closer to Archer. “But I very much prefer Capitano Forelni.”
The two men shared a chuckle born from a mutual understanding only ship commanders could understand.
“Surely this is not all of your crew, Captain?”
“No it isn’t,” Archer admitted. “We didn’t want to presume.”
“And you wanted to make sure all was as it seems here before exposing your entire crew,” Forelni finished keeping an accusatory tone out of his voice. “A wise precaution, if an unnecessary one. I assure you, Captain, you are among friends here. Come, let me show you and set your minds at ease.”
“Capitano,” Tucker spoke up. “You seemed to imply that your ship could do better than Warp 5.”
“Indeed, Commander. We can easily cruise at Warp 7 and in an emergency attain Warp 8, but not for an extended period of time. Would you like to see how?”
“Bartolo, would you be so kind?”
“Of course, Capitano,” the big man replied smiling. “Come along my friend. I will show you my ship and perhaps you will give me a tour of yours?”
“I think that would be just fine,” Archer replied with a nod to Tucker. The two Engineers quickly headed off toward the docking port where Sicilia was berthed.
“Tell me Captain,” Forelni asked as they watched to two men. “Have you ever noticed that we just command the ships while our Chief Engineers own them?”
“It does seem to be a universal trait,” Archer agreed.
“Well, while your Engineer is touring my ship allow me to give you a tour of my home world. We have a transport standing by to take us down. In fifteen minutes you’ll be breathing fresh Etalyian air.”
As traversed the concourse to the waiting transport they passed a transporter pad just as a load of cargo was beamed away.
“You have transporters?’ Archer asked. “Why don’t we just transport down?”
“When we developed the technology,” Forelni explained. “It was decided that no sentient beings would ever be transported. It was decided that the act of transporting a living being was an act of murder, even if an exact duplicate of the original was created at the other end of the transport. My grandfather made it a royal decree.”
“We had that discussion when we started using transporters,” Archer said. “We determined that it was still the original person.”
“I would tend to agree with you, Captain. When I ascend to the throne, I’ll have to look into reversing my grandfather’s decision. Although, it has been around for nearly two centuries. It might not be an easy thing to accomplish.”
They reached the access hatch for the transport, a small cylindrical vessel that could easily accommodate the seven of them. Archer shot a puzzled look at their host.
“The math isn’t adding up again is it?” Forelni said smiling. “How could my grandfather be making decrees two hundred years ago?
“Tell me, Doctor,” Forelni addressed Phlox. “How old would you say I am?”
Phlox looked Forelni over for a minute then made his judgment.
“I would say you are no older than thirty.”
“I just celebrated my fifty-fifth birthday, Doctor, and an Etalyian year is almost exactly the same as it was on Earth when my great-grandfather left over a century ago.”
“Capitano,” T’Pol spoke up. “Your claims are not logical. You say your great-grandfather left Earth a century ago, yet you say your people have been here for nearly four centuries.”
“As I said, Commander,” Forelni agreed as they settled into their seats on the transport. “The math doesn’t add up. Yet, what I have said is all true. When Genoa Forelni led his refugees away from Earth, they were using a new engine based on an unproven theory. It worked just as they had expected, creating a wormhole that was supposed to lead them to a specific star system.
“But when they emerged from the wormhole they discovered they were nowhere near that system,” Forelni continued as the transport ship pulled away from the dock. “Instead, they found themselves here. A yellow star very much like Sol with six planets, with one habitable, Etalya, and some moons that could support life. Since they had come across a perfect world to colonize, they put it down to a happy accident and settled in. Eventually they discovered where in the galaxy they’d ended up and how far from Earth they’d traveled. Shortly after that they discovered they also traveled backward in time during their time inside the wormhole.”
Forelni paused as the ship was jostled slightly as it penetrated the heavier air of the planet’s atmosphere.
“It took some time, but they finally determined that while that had departed in 2048 Earth time, they were now somewhere in the 1770s as far as Earth was concerned. We were too far away to see Earth. It wasn’t until we started receiving broadcast signals that we were able to determine exactly how far back the colony ship had traveled. We officially placed the year of our arrival at 1772.”
Forelni paused to let that sink in.
“But that doesn’t explain the aging,” Phlox said.
“I don’t know that we’ve been able to fully explain it ourselves, Doctor. Our best theory is that a combination of traveling through the wormhole, coupled with the conditions on the planet somehow rewrote the DNA of the original colonists and has carried down to their descendants. The average lifespan of an Etalyian is somewhere between two hundred and eighty to three hundred and forty years.”
“That’s nearly double that of humans on Earth today,” Archer remarked.
“If we could study the phenomenon,” Phlox said. “Think of what it would mean…”
“You are most welcome to meet with our scientists and discuss this, Doctor. Though I fear we can never recreate the circumstances that led to this in the first place.”
“Why do you say that, Capitano?”
“Because we have one other theory regarding our ancestors trip here,” Forelni said. “We don’t think this was all an accident of fate. We have come to believe that someone, or something, not only diverted the colony ship here, but also altered those inside.”
“But why?” Archer asked.
“That, Captain,” Forelni replied as the transport ship touched down. “Is perhaps the greatest mystery of Etalya and we’ve not come an inch closer to solving it in four centuries.”