THE CALLING: Part 2, Chapter 1
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.
“Damnit, Jim,” McCoy groused as he fiddled with the collar of his dress uniform. “I’m a doctor not a contortionist!”
“Look at it this way, Bones,” Kirk replied to the familiar complaint. “You won’t have to be in it for too long this time.”
McCoy tugged at his tunic as he, Kirk and Spock made their way toward the transporter room. Try as he might, his uniform looked rumpled. Neither Kirk nor Spock suffered as much as a thread out of place on their uniforms.
“It is unusual to welcome a new officer aboard ship in full dress, Captain,” Spock noted.
“I’ve never heard of it either,” Kirk admitted as the doors to the transporter room swooshed open. “But Admiral Cartwright insisted on it. I admit, if such an exception is to be made, this would be the officer to do it for.”
“Bari Forelni. There’s a name that has become synonymous the Federation and Starfleet.”
“Indeed, Doctor. His contributions to the founding of both organizations are most impressive.”
“His record as a Captain is even more so,” Kirk added. “When Starfleet announced they were building a new ship with an all-Etalyian crew he resigned as Etalya’s Ambassador to the Federation and enrolled in the Academy. He’s one of six candidates to be that ship’s first Captain.
“All six have graduated from the Academy and have experience as commanders in the field and all will be serving on starships as part of their final testing before Starfleet picks the new Captain. Admiral Cartwright said Commander Forelni requested to serve his tour on the Enterprise.”
“Yes it is, Spock, and a little intimidating,” Kirk admitted.
A beep from the transporter console interrupted their conversation.
“Ready for transport, Cap’n,” Scotty, also in full dress complete with a proper Scottish kilt, reported.
“Bring him aboard, Scotty.”
Scotty’s deft hands moved the levers and a human form coalesced on the pad. When the process ended a tall, olive-skinned man who appeared roughly the same age as Kirk stood on the pad. He wore a regular duty uniform and his tunic was red, not command gold. His dark eyes quickly swept the room and lingered on the dress uniforms for a moment. A slight smile tugged at the corners of those eyes.
“Commander Bari Forelni reporting for duty, sir. Permission to come aboard?”
“Permission granted,” Kirk stepped forward and extended his hand. “And welcome aboard Commander.”
Forelni stepped down with more grace than someone who’d lived over a century and a half had a right to possess and clasped his new Captain’s hand.
“A pleasure to be aboard, sir. I was quite pleased to hear that you had accepted my posting here.”
“Admiral Cartwright didn’t seem to be giving me an option to refuse, Commander,” Kirk replied.
“Yes, so I noticed. My apologies gentlemen for having to wear those torture chambers on my account. I had asked the Admiral not to go to any extra-ordinary lengths on my behalf. I hope to be just another member of the crew while I am here.”
“That might be somewhat hard to accomplish, Commander, given your record.”
“Hmmm, I knew I should have tarnished my record more in my misspent youth,” Forelni quipped. “Now I have suffer the terrible consequences of being a living legend. Alas.”
Kirk smiled, feeling much less intimidated now that he’d met the man behind the legend in person.
“Allow me to introduce our First Officer, Mister Spock.”
“Live long and prosper, Commander,” Forelni intoned in Vulcan, smoothly fashioning the Vulcan salute and drawing a slightly uplifted eyebrow in response.
“Prosperity and long life,” Spock answered in kind. “My compliments, Commander, your Vulcan is flawless.”
“Thank you,” Forelni replied, switching back to standard. “It has been some time since I’ve been able to use it. I believe I was speaking with your father at that time. How is Ambassador Sarek and the Lady Amanda?”
“Both well at last communication, thank you for asking.”
“I must say, Commander, you are somewhat taller since our last meeting.”
“I do not recall having met you before, Commander.”
“Well, to be fair, you were roughly two feet long and wrapped in a blanket in your mother’s arms at the time, I would be surprised if even a Vulcan could remember that far back with clarity.”
“Indeed,” Spock allowed.
“And out Chief Medical Officer, Leonard McCoy,” Kirk moved along in the introductions.
“Doctor, a pleasure,” Forelni replied. “I assume I’ll be visiting you soon for a medical exam?”
“The sooner the better, Commander.”
“Let me get unpacked and I’ll drop in tomorrow.”
“And this is our Chief Engineer, Montgomery Scott.”
“Mr. Scott. A most smooth transport. My compliments.”
“Thank ye, sir.”
“Yeoman Brand will show you to your quarters. We’re having a mixer at 1900 where you can meet the rest of the command crew and officers,” Kirk said. “Commander, before you go…”
“I am puzzled as to why you requested to be posted on the Enterprise and as Chief of Security?”
“As for the first part, I appreciate the rapport between a ship’s Captain and his First Officer. I will only be posted here for six months. I had no desire to be a disruption to that rapport.
“As for the second,” Forelni continued. “In studying your reports to Starfleet Command, I got the impression that you were becoming sorely tempted to launch my predecessor out a photon torpedo tube. I have something of an aptitude for Security. I’d like to see what I can do to bring that department back up to a more acceptable standard while I’m here.”
“Commander,” Kirk said after a moment. “If you can pull that off, and Starfleet Command doesn’t give you command of that new ship, I’ll retire and you can have the Enterprise.”
“Well, let’s not let it get to that point, sir,” Forelni replied allowing the smile to reach his mouth this time. “Enterprise without James T. Kirk, wouldn’t be the Enterprise.”
Kirk stepped out of the turboshaft hoping to get in a quiet hour of work on the mat. McCoy had been after him about his weight again and the last thing he wanted to deal with was another dietary shift to salads. It was late in the evening and the deck was usually empty at this time.
But not this time.
Nearly half the crew must be down here, he mused as he took a quick head count, I didn’t see any notice posted for a special event.
Making his way through the crowd he spotted McCoy near the front and adjusted his course accordingly. The object of everyone’s attention in the room was his Security Chief. Dressed only in black workout briefs, Forelni was keeping both a heavy medicine ball that Kirk knew weighed nearly sixty pounds and a tall purple feather in the air without either ever touching the ground. While engaged in that, he also simultaneously executed a series of fighting moves that seemed to be a blend of several disciplines; Human, Vulcan, Klingon and many others.
It was an impressive display of power, control and elegance that explained why his new Chief looked like he’d been chiseled from granite. It also explained why the majority of the gathered crowd was comprised of the Enterprise’s female crew. Knowing how much older Forelni was gave the Captain a twinge of guilt for not keeping himself in a little better shape.
“I wish I could look a tenth that good when I’m approaching my one hundreds,” McCoy remarked. “And it looks like he’s had cause to stay in shape over the decades.”
Kirk noticed the scars that had caught McCoy’s attention and wondered. Those scars, no matter how old, could easily be removed. Yet, he kept them anyway. They told a story of the battles he’d fought. Was that why he did not remove them? Was it pride in having earned them in the first place? He made a mental note to inquire about them later and watched the rest of the workout in silence.
After a few more minutes Forelni lobbed the ball high, waved his other hand gently under the feather to lift it a few inches higher and then executed a series of spinning kicks that culminated in a fighting crouch. His left arm fully extended, his hand in a fist save the index finger which was fully extended. His right arm extended straight out and up, hand clawed with the tips of the fingers forming a cup. A second later the ball landed in the cupped right hand and the tip of the feather settled on the extended finger of the left hand. Both actions occurred simultaneously and neither object or his hands seemed to bounce or react to the impact in any way.
Forelni held the pose, keeping both ball and feather in place without either moving a millimeter, for a full ten seconds before allowing a slight grin to form on his face. Deftly rolling his hand around the ball to gently settle it down on the mat while clasping the feather between two finger, he stood up and bowed slightly as the crowd applauded. With a flourish he bowed once more as he presented the feather to Uhura.
“My compliments, Lieutenant.”
“Thank you, Commander,” she took the offered plume as he gathered up a towel and wrapped it around his neck.
“That was quite impressive, Commander,” Kirk said as he and McCoy walked up. “You do this every night?”
“Back when I first learned it I practiced every day, Sir,” Forelni replied. “But after a few decades I only do this a couple of times a month, just to stay in practice. Or if I’m feeling a little out of balance with the universe I might throw in an extra session. That is the real purpose behind the exercise, keeping both body and mind in balance.”
“That sounds almost Vulcan to me,” McCoy observed.
“I suppose it is,” Forelni agreed. “Then again I think every species has a lot more in common with each other than they are comfortable admitting to. I’d be happy to teach some of it to you both. I promise it’ll much easier than what I was doing here tonight.”
“No thanks,” McCoy waved his hands. “I’d be in traction for a month.”
“I could use a sparring partner, Commander, maybe you could slip in one or two things as we go along?”
“It would be my pleasure Captain…”
An alarm went off startling everyone in the room except Forelni.
“…but I have a prior engagement, perhaps another evening?” Forelni concluded before addressing the room. “There is no need to be alarmed. This is a security drill and the alarm is only sounding in here to let me know it is underway. My apologies. Please carry on.”
“Seems an odd time to spring a drill.” McCoy remarked.
“Can you think of a better time than when the Chief is supposedly otherwise occupied?” Forelni slipped on a black tunic. “They’ve got just about another ten seconds…”
The alarm suddenly shut off.
“Security to Chief Forelni,” blared from a nearby wall speaker. Forelni padded over to hit the switch.
“Forelni here. Go Michaelson.”
“Intruder discovered on Deck Fourteen, sir. In custody.”
“And four seconds earlier than I thought, well done. How is Mr. Riley?”
“Disappointed, sir,” the laughter in Michaelson’s voice carried through.
“I’m sure he is,” Forelni chuckled in reply. “Tell him I’ll expect my bottle of Irish Whiskey to be delivered to my cabin shortly after our next port of call.”
“That’s why it took us a little longer, Chief. He tried to fool us into thinking he wasn’t the intruder until after the deadline you set so he could collect a bottle of Etalyian wine from you.”
“Did he now? Put him on.”
“Riley here, Sir.”
“Mr. Riley, did you lie to my security team and try to fool them into thinking you weren’t the intruder they were looking for instead of giving up as soon as you were contacted?”
“Well done, young man,” Forelni replied, shocking everyone within earshot of both ends of the conversation. “Cancel that bottle of whiskey and report to my quarters in one hour to collect your bottle of wine. Michaelson, I’ll expect a full action report on this drill in ninety minutes. Forelni out.”
Forelni turned from the wall to face the incongruous looks on Kirk’s and McCoy’s faces.
“I better keep an eye on that boy,” he said. “At this rate he’ll either become an Admiral or a master criminal. Good evening, Captain, Doctor.”
Kirk chuckled as Forelni departed.
“That wasn’t the reaction I was expecting from you, Jim.”
“Bones, in the two weeks since he’s been here, he has whipped Security into shape like none of his predecessors have before. And yes, I like his style too.”
“Enough to bet on it?”
“And what are we wagering on, Bones?”
“The Galactic Grandmaster Chess Tournament.”
“I’m not sure I follow.”
“Jim, you really need to pay more attention,” McCoy replied. “It’s the talk of the ship. Both Spock and Forelni are in the tournament and both have reached the quarterfinals. As they are in opposite brackets, the only way they can meet would be in the finals. They’re saying it would be held on the ship if they both make it.”
“I knew Spock was in, I didn’t realize Forelni was too,” Kirk admitted.
“Well, the betting pool is getting hot and heavy on both of them or either of them making it that far. There’s no telling how crazy it will get if they both make it in.”
“My money’s on Spock,” Kirk said with only the slightest tint of doubt.
“I’ll take that bet, Captain,” McCoy pounced. “A bottle of Saurian Brandy says they meet in the finals and our Prince Forelni walks away with the crown.”
“Very well, Bones, I’ll take your brandy off your hands.”
McCoy snorted as he walked away just as the wall speaker whistled for attention.
“Bridge to Captain Kirk,” Spock’s voice carried across the room.
“Speak of the Devil,” McCoy called out just before disappearing through the deck’s doors.
“Kirk here, what is it Spock?”
“We have received a priority message from Starfleet Command. A Federation Ambassador and his party have been taken hostage on Kallita Five near the Romulan neutral zone. We have been ordered to Starbase 11 to pick up Ambassador Kleine and take him to Kallita to begin negotiation for the release of the hostages.”
So much for my workout, Kirk thought.
“Very well, Spock, set course for Starbase 11 and takes up to Warp 6. Assemble the command staff in the briefing room in one hour. Kirk out.”
Riley will have to wait for his bottle of wine, Kirk mused as he headed out of Recreation. He couldn’t help but wonder if he was about to see exactly what his new Security Chief could do in a real-life scenario. As he entered the turboshaft and the doors snapped shut behind him he suddenly felt sorry for the hostage-takers.