“Past is Prologue”
Part of the Star Trek Season Four project by Rob Caswell, Drell-7, Ptrope, Wmwconnors, and Celticarchie.
Captain's Log, Stardate 5292.33: The Enterprise is en route to the Gorn colony world of Raughk….. Raanuggkkkl…excuse me, it’s best I not even to wrestle with the native pronunciation. “Cold Gray Nesting” seems the closest translation. We are shuttling the first face-to-face diplomatic contingent to meet with the Gorn. Among them is a dear old friend from my Academy days – their pilot, Commander Conner Chistophe. He could have easily had a command of his own by now, but the man just loves to pilot small craft and few can match his skills in that realm. Talking with Conner has been great and have swept away my personal hours in a welcome wave of nostalgia.
We have detected a previously undiscovered rogue planet and per standard procedure we diverting for a rendezvous to properly catalog the object for Starfleet’s navigation charts.
The Enterprise arrives in orbit around the cold rogue world, about the size of Mars, drifting through interstellar space. It seems devoid of life and its atmosphere has condensed into an icy surface, but the planet is peppered with curious, regularly spaced cylindrical pits all over its surface. This appears an artifice of intelligence so a shuttle is dispatched to investigate one of the pits. Commander Christophe volunteers to pilot the expedition and Kirk happily indulges his request.
The shuttle with a survey team and piloted by Christophe decent into one of the pits. The pit are about 2km deep and the walls are entirely covered with a curious substance. The lower depths of the pits have a slight atmosphere, though no human-breathable, and the walls at this depth are covered with what appears to be a colorful crystalline ivy. The survey puts on anti-grav environment belts and goes EVA to examine more closely and take a sample from the pit wall.
One team member’s grav belt fails and she starts to drop, but Christophe’s quick reflexes and outstanding skill allow his to shove the shuttle beneath her for a rescue. Clinging to the hull she falls in through the main hatch as Christophe punches it open. As she flies into shuttlecraft her pit sample spills on Christophe’s neck, but goes unnoticed until everyone is back on board and deactivating their life belts. The substance burns a bit, but seem to clean up without minor skin irritation.
As the team makes their way back to the ship, Christophe’s piloting becomes more an more unsteady. Ultimately a crashes the shuttlecraft on landing. There are no casualties, but Christophe is barely lucid and his skins is become pale and blotchy. They rush him to the sickbay, but by the time they have him on the bed, he appears to have fallen into a coma. A half hour later McCoy call Kirk to report his friend’s death.
When Kirk arrives in sickbay, McCoy shows him the state of Christophe’s body – a gelatinous skeleton, strange budding torso protrusions, odd skin, and more. He appears barely human. When the lab results from the pit wall sample arrive they indicate the material to be some manner of nanotech retrovirus – a substance that could reshape a life form. Realizing the implications, Kirk runs back to sick bay where he finds a stunned medical staff standing around Christophe’s bed. Something sits upright there, but it’s clearly no longer human. It’s alive but seem unresponsive to its environment. The staff gently eases it back to a reclined position while Kirk and Spock meet to discuss the turn of events.
Two hours later an alarmed Dr. McCoy calls the captain reporting that “Christophe” has disappeared. Minutes later an unauthorized shuttlecraft launch leaves the hanger deck – clearly it’s “Christophe” and he seems to be heading back down to the pit. The Enterprise launches another shuttle in pursuit.
As the second shuttlecraft cautiously makes its way into the pit, they find “Christophe” near the bottom among the crystalline ivy structures, his shuttle parked in hover mode. His physical transformation is dramatic and clearly wholly alien. He stands atop the shuttlecraft, picking and eating the crystalline leaves with gusto. The pursuit team cautiously approaches in anti-grav life support belts and “Christophe” seems fully aware of the world around him, welcoming team and motioning them to come nearer. He speaks in English, though barely coming as a whisper in the thin atmosphere.
“Christophe” explains that he has been “awakened” to tell the story of the race that once inhabited this world. He explains that what was Christophe is still within him – a part of him - but he is much more now and has assumed the form of this ancient race. He felt an unquenchable thirst to return to the pit and eat these leaves, which turn out to be some kind of edible, stored racial memory. He is now filled with both the memories of Conner Christophe and with an amalgam of culture, history, and technology from the rogue planet’s extinct race. He says that he has become a living memorial for jis race and wishes to share their history and details with all who will listen.
The shuttlecrafts return to the ship and Enterprise resumes its mission to the Gorn colony world. The decision is to drop off Christophe at the next Starbase so that he may share his story with Federation officials. Meanwhile Kirk and McCoy meet after hours in the Captain’s quarters where he wrestles with the question of whether the man he knew is dead… or just “reassigned” with a brand new body, augmented mind, and redirected mission? McCoy has no real answer.
A DAZ Studio 3 render w/ Photoshop postwork. Shuttle model by Raul Mamoru (www.trekmeshes.ch), Poser Conversion by Mattymanx. Background sky by Frostbo. Star Trek uniform textures by JamesJAB. Enterprise by Graywolf-Starkiller based on the updated design by DEG.
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