THE CALLING: Part 2, Chapter 15
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.
“Every new corner of this ship you show me is filled with wonders greater than the one before.”
Forelni was showing Avion around Hydroponics after her latest interview with Dr. Whitme. Having a chance to speak to a living person from the far past was too good of a chance to let slip away. Over the last two days she had spent four hours each day telling the archaeologist about her world.
When the sessions ended, Forelni would show her new areas of the ship and answered as many of her questions as he could. She had a sharp mind and quickly grasped many of the concepts that explained how Enterprise could sail the void between planets.
“So much open water,” she cupped some gardenias and inhaled their scent. “All of this life growing so easily.”
“It isn’t like that on Chandera?”
“There is no open water on Chandera,” she replied sadly. “It lies within caverns below the surface. We grow…we grew our food in specific areas, careful not to waste a single drop.
“Standing here,” she continued, looking around. “This seems like paradise to me.”
“You should come with me to Etalya,” Forelni replied. “Our entire world is lush and green, full of life and beauty. And until this very moment I never thought I would find another place to be its equal.”
He gently took her in his arms and kissed her.
* * *
Spock walked onto the bridge and approached the Captain.
“Mr. Spock, welcome back to the bridge,” Kirk greeted with a warm smile. “We haven’t seen much of you these last two days.”
“Captain, we have completed our analysis of the transporter accident,” Spock began, then hesitated.
“So you know why it happened?”
“Yes, Sir, but we have also discovered something else in our scans of the area. Our findings are quite…disturbing.”
* * *
“Are you absolutely certain, Mr. Spock,” Forelni asked after Spock concluded his explanation in the main briefing room.”
“There is no doubt, Commander,” Spock replied. “The surge of radiation that struck the ship during transport of the Queen’s portrait contained temporal elements Enterprise has encountered before. This temporal radiation was amplified when Mr. Kyle engaged warp power to preserve the pattern until the wave passed.
“This action,” he continued, “opened a temporal rift in space, connect the portrait of the present to the portrait in the past and the Queen was caught up in the effect and brought forward. The portrait taking her place in her time. That connection between the Queen and her portrait remained open in subspace, causing a rift that is growing in size exponentially every hour.”
Spock paused to let that information sink in once again to those gathered in the room. Kirk regarded his Security Officer and the Queen sadly, knowing what Spock’s discovery would mean for them. McCoy could only look stunned as he considered what would happen if the rift kept growing unchecked.
“Are you sure it will keep growing, Spock?” McCoy asked.
“Positive, Doctor, and eventually it will shatter the very fabric of space.”
“How long, Spock?” Kirk asked softly.
“Given our respective lifespans, Captain, I believe Mr. Forelni and I would live to see the destruction of this galaxy.”
“And there is only one way to stop this cataclysm?” Avion had grown pale, but her voice was still strong.
“Yes. We must time your transport back down to the precise location where your portrait was beamed up, and during another surge matching the characteristics of the one that brought you here. In this we are fortunate that these surges are cyclical and we can predict when the correct surge is approaching.”
“So we beam her down, but hold her pattern outside the shield just as before during the surge, then complete the transport to the surface?’
“Exactly, Commander. This should cause the Queen and the portrait to return to their correct times. Once they are back in their proper temporal positions, the breach should seal itself and the threat will be over.”
“Will she survive the attempt?”
“Just as she did with the original incident, Commander, yes, she should. But there is, of course, a chance the return trip to her time could be fatal. However, if we do not make the attempt the loss of life in the future will be uncountable.”
“How soon, Spock?”
“The sooner we make the attempt, the more likely our chances of success, Captain. I estimate we will be ready to make the attempt in twenty-two hours.”
“Very well,” Kirk said, standing up. “Get started on your calculations and be ready to transport in one day.
“My apologies, your majesty,” Kirk continued. “But it seems we must cut short your visit here.”
“I understand, Captain. I wish I could stay longer,” she looked over at Forelni as she laid her hands upon his. “But I would not trade my time here while it lasted for anything on Chandera.”
Kirk, Spock and McCoy silently withdrew, giving the couple their privacy.
“One day,” Forelni said softly when they were alone. “There was so much I wanted to show you…”
“What you have shown me already, my love, is enough to fill an entire lifetime.”
“Then let us fill this last day with yet another lifetime to remember,” he replied.
* * *
Spock entered in the last set of adjustments on the cargo deck transporter while Scotty ran a final check to make sure all was in order. There was no guarantee they’d get a second chance at this. Kirk, McCoy and Dr. Whitme stood nearby, waiting for Forelni and the Queen to arrive. Only a few minutes remained until the next corresponding surge was scheduled to arrive.
“Squeezing out every second that they can,” McCoy remarked.
“Can you blame them?” Kirk replied as the couple entered the cargo deck.
“Captain Kirk,” Avion was dressed once again in her gown and robe from the portrait. “Thank you for your hospitality.”
“It has been our pleasure to have you aboard, Your Majesty.”
“Doctor McCoy, I thank you for your kindness. Dr. Whitme, do not forget my world or my people.”
“I suspect that forgetting either will be quite impossible, Your Majesty,” Whitme replied. “Thank you for sharing your knowledge of Chandera with us.”
Forelni escorted her to the pad, then turned and walked to the transporter console.
“Commander Scott.” He said formally. “I relieve you, Sir.”
Scott looked at Forelni with sad understanding.
“Aye, lad, I stand relieved.” Scotty stepped aside, ready to return if his help was needed.
“Thirty seconds to transport, Commander,” Spock reported.
Forelni locked gazes with Avion, flipping off the translator as he said something to her in her native language. She smiled softly, a tear streaking down her cheek as she replied.
Forelni manipulated the controls and Avion dissolved in the sparkle of the transporter.
“Raising shields, tying in warp power,” Spock called out. “You may complete the transport cycle…now, Commander.”
Forelni moved the controls the rest of the way down.
“Transport complete. Shields down. Warp power disengaged. The surge has passed, Commander.”
Without a word, Forelni reversed the process, beaming up from the exact location whatever was there on the surface. The effect coalesced into the original portrait they had attempted to beam up days before.
“It worked,” McCoy exclaimed.
“Spock?” Kirk asked as Forelni slowly walked toward the portrait on the pad.
“Confirmed, Captain. The breach has been sealed. The danger has passed.”
Forelni stared at the portrait, slowly raising a hand to gently touch the painting.
“I’m sure she made it back, Commander,” Kirk said as he took a few steps toward the pad.
“She made it, Captain,” Forelni said, his voice a little unsteady as he turned to look at Kirk. His eyes were bright. Kirk looked to painting and saw where Forelni was touching it.
There, where it had not been before the first attempt to beam the painting aboard, on the left breast of the Queen’s robe was painted the Starfleet Delta. A five thousand-year-old message to the future that she had made it back home alive.
Forelni grasped the portrait, which had taken more than one person to move around down below, and lifted it up. He carried it over to Dr. Whitme.
“I believe we’ve finally got the last of your cargo up, Doctor. I’ll see to it that it is stored with the rest.”
“Commander,” Whitme replied. “We’ve located three other portraits of the Queen during our excavations. I think our collection has more than enough. I think you should keep this one.”
Forelni swallowed hard, deeply touched by the gesture and struggled to regain his composure.
“Thank you,” he finally managed to get out and then carried the portrait off the deck without another word.
* * *
Forelni had leaned the portrait against a wall in his quarters. He’d have someone come in to rig up a mounting for it on the wall later. He’d set an unopened bottle of Etalyan wine and an empty glass on the table and then sat down and just stared at the painting, lost in thought.
The chime announcing he had a visitor sounded once, then a second time when no answer was given to the first. Forelni decided it was time to rejoin the world of the living, at least long enough to find out who was on the other side of the door.
“Come,” he said and the doors parted.
“Captain,” he got to his feet, suddenly realizing how much time had passed. “My apologies, Sir, I must be late for duty…”
“Stand at ease, Commander,” Kirk waved him back down. “Your duty shift isn’t for another hour yet. Besides, Mr. Arex has volunteered to take your watch and I am ordering you to take the night off.”
“Thank you, sir, but…”
“But nothing, Commander,” Kirk interrupted. “Take the time. The bridge will still be there tomorrow. Besides, you have a lot to process.”
“Thank you, sir,” Forelni repeated. “Please, sit, may I offer you something?”
“In a moment, Commander,” Kirk replied as he claimed a seat. “But first, I have something to offer you.”
Kirk held out a data chip. Forelni took it with a questioning look.
“Orders,” Kirk explained. “The Enterprise has been ordered to return to Earth at best possible speed. We are to deliver Lt. Commander Bari Forelni to Spacedock where he will take command of the new Dreadnought, NCC-1964, currently docked there. I believe your orders also include a request for you to submit the name of the ship so they can have it painted on her hull before you arrive.”
Forelni stared at the chip as it were a living thing without a word.
“Over the years I’ve met many women, Captain, fallen in and out of love with them, never met one that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
“A week ago this,” he held up the chip as he continued, “was the most important thing in my life. Now, I’ve finally found the one woman I would give everything up for in a heartbeat, even this, and I’ve lost her forever.”
Kirk nodded in understanding. Reaching over to procure a glass for himself, he placed it on the table and lifted up the bottle of wine. He opened it and filled each glass halfway.
“First, we are going to toast to your ship and your Captaincy,” Kirk instructed as he hand Forelni his glass.
“And then I am going to tell you about a woman named Edith Keeler.”