THE CALLING: Part 2, Chapter 14
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.
“Will she be okay, Doctor?” Forelni asked as he laid the unconscious woman on the biobed in Sickbay.
“I think so,” McCoy replied as he scanned the overhead readouts. “She had two pretty good shocks to her system. But she seems humanoid, she could almost pass for an Earth woman. In fact, she could…”
McCoy’s assessment was cut off suddenly as Avion’s eyes opened. One hand shot up to grab McCoy by the collar while the other reached for the now-empty sheath at her belt. Forelni quickly placed a hand on each of hers.
“It looks like her recuperative powers are as quick as her reflexes,” McCoy remarked dryly.
“My lady,” Forelni said gently. “You are in no danger here. This man is, Leonard McCoy. He is a doctor, a healer.”
“Then why was my blade taken from me?”
“It was not taken,” Forelni released his hold on the hand grasping McCoy’s tunic and waived Butler into the room. Butler handed the blade to Forelni, who in turn handed it to her. “You dropped it when you collapsed on the cargo deck. You have my word, you have no need for it here.”
McCoy mumbled a “thank you” as she turned loose of his tunic and reclaimed her blade. He was about to ask if giving her back a weapon was a good idea when he noticed she wasn’t doing anything at all with her reclaimed knife. She wasn’t waving it in a threatening manner nor was she making any move to return it to its sheath. He noted with interest that Forelni’s hand was still on top of her other hand and neither of them seemed in any hurry to change that status. McCoy didn’t need to look at the overhead to know there was something going on between them. The way they silently held one another’s gaze told him that.
“Your name is Bari…?”
“Bari Forelni, Crown Prince of Etalya, my lady.”
McCoy pulled a very good imitation of a Spockian raised eyebrow. Forelni should have introduced himself by his Starfleet rank.
“And you are in command of this vessel?”
“Not yet,” Kirk said, having entered just in time to hear the question. “But I suspect that one day, if I’m not careful, he’s going to end up running it.”
“My lady,” Forelni smoothly moved to introductions. “May I present the commanding officer of the Enterprise, Captain James T. Kirk. Captain, Her Majesty, Queen Avion of Chandera.”
“An honor, your majesty,” Kirk managed a bow and his legendary smile. “Welcome aboard my ship.”
“Thank you, Captain,” she replied coolly, turning her attention back to Forelni. “Strange, a Prince serving under the command of someone other than his King or Queen.”
“I have found in all of my travels, my lady, that there are some men in this universe that a Prince would consider it an honor and privilege to serve under. This is such a man.”
She turned back to Kirk, a little more warmth in her tone than before.
“My apologies, Captain.”
“Quite understandable,” Kirk said smoothly. “You’ve had quite a day.”
“Yes I have,” she looked back to Forelni. “You said I arrived here accidentally. How did it happen?”
Forelni shot a questioning glance at Kirk, he nodded for him to proceed.
“We’re still trying to figure out how,” he began. “We were transporting…an item aboard our ship. But, instead of it, we got you instead.”
“From Chandera? Without my permission?”
“Yes, on both accounts.”
“So you are thieves then?”
Forelni spared another glance at Kirk.
“I don’t think the Prime Directive applies in a case like this, Commander.”
“No, I suppose it doesn’t,” he agreed. “No, we are not thieves. There was no one to ask permission when we found a portrait of you, one I suspect you were sitting for shortly before you appeared here, correct?”
“That is true. I was in the gardens of my palace and then I was here.”
“That was where we discovered your portrait. We brought it up with several other artifacts to be studied and preserved, not to be sold for profit.”
“And no one tried to stop you?”
“There was no one there to do so. There has been no one on Chandera to do anything for a very long time. The accident that brought you aboard our ship also brought you forward in time.”
“How long?” she whispered, fear of the answer in her eyes but not her voice.
“Nearly five thousand years.”
McCoy was ready to step in with a hypo as she absorbed this latest shock, but she rallied quickly.
“That is why I did not recognize my world…”
“Sometime during your reign, your sun will burn out and nothing on Chandera survives. We only recently discovered your world and a team of scientists have begun digging out the site where your palace was. They hoped to find out more about your world from the artifacts they uncovered and sent them up to our ship for safekeeping.
“One of those items,” he continued. “Was the portrait you were sitting for. We were bringing it up when something happened and during that event you were brought forward in time in place of your portrait.”
“That seems impossible.”
“Before today, I would have thought the same. And yet, here you are.”
“Can you send me back?”
“Until we understand how you came to be here, I cannot make that promise to you.”
“But in the meantime,” Kirk stepped in. “You are our guest and we will make you as comfortable as we can. Mr. Forelni will see that quarters are assigned to you. If you need anything, I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to see to it. Perhaps a tour of the ship when you feel up to it? And when we have a better idea of what happened, we can discuss what your options are.”
“Thank you, Captain.”
“If Dr. McCoy has no objections?” Forelni asked.
“She seems fine, under the circumstances,” McCoy agreed. “No shipwide tours just yet. Give her a day first and if you feel anything that seems off I want you to call me right away.”
“Of course. Thank you, Doctor.”
Forelni helped her stand up from the biobed to escort her out of Sickbay when the doors parted and Spock walked in.
“A demon,” she exclaimed, drawing close to Forelni as if to use him as a shield. Forelni heard McCoy mutter something about a mechanical rice picker, only to be shushed by the Captain.
“No, my lady,” Forelni forced down a chuckle as Spock’s eyebrow arched high. He continued with a conspiratorial wink and a grin. “This is Commander Spock, First Officer of the Enterprise. He is from the planet, Vulcan. A desert world. His people developed ears to aid in hearing in their world’s thinner atmosphere…and, I’ve begun to recently suspect, to intercept their opponent’s chess strategies and ruin exquisitely planned traps.”
“Indeed?” Spock’s other eyebrow joined its partner.
“Commander Spock, her majesty, Queen Avion of Chandera.”
“Your Majesty,” Spock nodded in her direction.
“Commander,” she replied, keeping Forelni between them.
“I was just showing our guest to the VIP quarters, Commander. If you will excuse us,” Forelni explained as they continued out the doors.
“Well, Mr. Spock,” Kirk said after the doors closed. “What news do you have?”
“We are still examining the data, Captain. Curiously, the radiation signature from Auriga during the surge closely resembled some of the patterns recorded around Forever World.”
“You’re not saying there’s another Guardian of Forever down there are you?”
“No, Doctor, I am not. I suspect that when power from the warp engines was used to hold the portrait’s pattern intact outside of the raised shields that radiation was augmented. It opened a temporal tunnel, connecting the portrait in the present to the portrait in the past. The Queen was likely standing close by and was gathered up by the effect and brought forward.”
“Spock, that sounds highly…improbable.”
“Agreed, Captain. I calculate the odds to be twelve billion…”
“Can we just leave it as highly improbable but it happened anyway?” McCoy groused. “The woman is here, appears to be exactly who see says to be and is just as humanoid as the rest of us.”
“As you wish, Doctor.”
“Two items of importance, Spock. If it happened once, can it happen again? Until we know for sure all transport in either direction is to be by shuttlecraft only.”
“A wise precaution, Captain. We will need to take more readings of the star, the planet and the space between to determine the exact cause and ensure the safety of all personnel.”
“Until we have some answers we’re remaining in orbit, in case we need to evacuate the site below.”
“And the second item?”
“Can we send her back to her own time or not,” Kirk answered. “She’s handling her situation well so far. But that could change if her exile becomes permanent.”
“Of course,” Spock nodded as he turned to leave. “I will endeavor to have answers for you at the earliest possible moment.”
“What do you make of those two, Bones?” Kirk asked, staring at the closed doors.
“Aside from the Captain not getting the girl this time, Jim?” McCoy teased.
“You do know Starfleet has a new duty-swapping program,” Kirk replied with a sideways glance at McCoy. “Feel up to a one-week tour in Sanitation, Doctor?”
“Sure thing,” McCoy answered cheerfully. “Right after your annual checkup, Captain, sir.”
“Insubordinate…,” Kirk chuckled as he shook his head. “That wasn’t what I meant.”
“I know, Jim. It’s nice to see love at first sight is still alive and well though. I’d say they were both taken by each other.”
“But is it wise, Bones? Under the circumstances?”
“Who knows? But look at it this way, Jim. Despite his otherwise youthful-looking appearances, that man is older than the two of us combined.”
“You’re saying he’s been around the galaxy and knows what he’s getting into?”
“Exactly. So stop worrying.”
“Can’t. Comes with the extra gold braid.”
“Then wish them the best, for however long it lasts.”
“That I do, Bones. That I already do.”