“Beginnings, part II”
No Stardate Given
Written by Chris Adamek
As he watched the hideous beast lurch across the floor of the engine room, Tompkins instinctively clutched the grasps of his phaser and pointed it at the beast. But he did not fire. He waited to let the beast make the first move. As the beast emitted yet another strident noise, Tompkins knew his wait would not be very long in duration.
His finger hovered over the trigger in anticipation of an attack. For a moment, the beast paused, caught in a small gnarl of tendrils that had yet to be severed. Tompkins took that moment to dart his eyes about. He saw the other members of his team armed with their phasers and a look of trepidation on their faces. He was sure he looked the same.
Finally freed of its own entrapments, the beast pressed foreword once more, using its many branch-like limbs to propel it across the engine room floor.
The wait was beginning to gnaw away at Tompkins’ nerves. It was becoming obvious the beast did not plan on a distanced strike, but an all out, physical assault on the team. Tompkins decided he might not have the luxury of allowing the beast the first move—especially if it meant certain injury to himself and the others. They would have to move—quickly.
Waving its limbs frantically through the thick engine room air, the beast was almost in range. Soon, it would be within striking distance. Realizing they had run out of time, Tompkins took aim with his phaser and opened fire.
His single phaser beam struck the beast squarely in its thoracic region, followed closely by several other pulsing orange beams. Their impact upon the beast’s crusty skin elicited a bright, orange light, and a loud shriek from the beast as it stumbled back toward the warp core.
When he stopped firing, Tompkins noticed a large cavity had formed in the beast’s chest. But aside from forcing the beast a few meters back, it appeared to have no effect. The beast shook off the assault and started moving again.
This time, Tompkins did not hesitate to fire. He mercilessly increased is phaser setting to level sixteen, maximum level, and took aim upon the beast’s head. It was risky to fire such a high-powered phaser beam so close to the warp core, but Tompkins figured the beast would probably destroy them if the warp core didn’t. So he fired.
The beast shrieked. A thick black cloud spewed from the wound to its head and lurked ominously around the room and the beast crashed to the floor.
The deck rumbled slightly upon impact, forcing Tompkins to take hold to a nearby railing. When it finally calmed down, he turned to the nearest officer and motioned for her to follow.
“Is it dead?” she asked as they slowly approached the fallen beast’s position.
Tompkins scanned it with his tricorder. “I don’t know,” he said upon seeing some puzzling readings. “It doesn’t appear to be alive…but dead… I’m not sure.”
She frowned quizzically. “That explains a lot.”
Suddenly, Tompkins felt something crawling up his leg. He peered down to see a tendril working its way up toward his kneecap. Quickly, he snapped back, forcing the tendril to release its grasp, only to fall upon the leg of his companion.
She screamed as the tendril wrapped itself around her leg and tightened its grip. Like Tompkins, she jerked back, but the tendril did not let go. Instead, several other branch-like appendages quickly crawled up her legs, pulling her to the ground.
Tompkins quickly fired his phaser at the nefarious tendrils, but they were unfazed by the blast. And before he could take any further action, they had managed to make their way up around her neck. Her head was snapped back at an awkward angle as the tendrils crawled around her face.
“Get out of here!” Tompkins called out to the others as he saw the feelers extending their grasp toward him once more. He leapt from the small platform he was on back to the main about two feet below before bolting out the doors with the rest of his team.
Once they were in the safety of the corridors once more, he closed the doors and sealed them shut. Only this time, he didn’t want to see them open…
Erin Keller and Neelar Drayge stood almost at attention as two beams of blue light swirled about before them, slowly materializing their savior, Alan Christopher, and his companion.
Upon laying her eyes on them in person, Keller could help but feel she had seen the two of them somewhere before. They weren’t Starfleet officers—or at least not in uniform. Both wore a fairly mute civilian ensemble. But Christopher’s warm turquoise eyes relayed the warmest sense of familiarity, and his companion’s quiet smile only added to that sense. But then again, Keller was certain she had never met either of them before today. She dismissed the very notion of familiarity. “Welcome to hell,” she said simply, extending her hand as a gesture of good will.
Christopher accepted as he gazed about the bridge in awe. “That is a worthy analysis,” he agreed. “Who attacked you?”
“We’ve never seen their kind before,” said Drayge. “They came from the interspatial flexure, calling themselves Elorg.”
Christopher turned to his companion. “We knew this day was coming,” he muttered to her.
Keller charged at Christopher and grabbed his arm. “You know of them?”
He nodded negatively. “No,” he admitted. “But we did know about this flexure, and what was on the other side.”
“For how long?” Keller demanded.
Christopher scratched his head curiously before dismissing the question. “Where should we get started? Beaming over some power cells would seem to be a good start,” he suggested.
Though she was only mystified by Christopher’s evasion of her question, Keller wasn’t about to turn her back on needed supplies. “Power cells sound good,” she agreed. “We’re also going to need several neural gel-paks, a new EPS manifold for Ops, and any medical equipment you can spare.”
Christopher turned to his companion. “Are you up to the task, Rachael?” he inquired.
She smiled reluctantly. “It’s been awhile, but I think I know the difference between a hypospray and a thrombic modulator.”
“Good,” said Keller. “We don’t have any time to waste. Let’s move.”
Christopher smiled warmly before touching a small device on his belt. “Energize,” he said simply.
Moments later, both Christopher and his companion, Rachael, were gone, leaving Drayge and Keller alone once more.
Again, that haunting sense of familiarity returned to Keller, but this time, another feeling came with it: suspicion. Something wasn’t right here… Two civilians don’t normally gallivant about the galaxy in an advanced destroyer-class shuttle.
Keller licked her lips. “So, Neelar, what are they hiding from us?”