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January 9, 2013
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Past is Prologue by Rob-Caswell Past is Prologue by Rob-Caswell
“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.

TEASER:
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.

MAIN ACTS
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.

EPILOGUE
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.

For more of the season four project, look here:

I Am Become Death by AbaKon
Beyond The Darkest Night by AbaKon
Son of Mudd by Arcas-Art
Star Trek Season 4 - Asylum by celticarchie
Malice Through the Looking Glass by Ptrope
Shadow of the Empire by AbaKon
Add a Comment:
 
:iconwe-r-nomad:
we-r-nomad Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013
Ah, using the animation budget saving force field projecting life-support belts of the animated series to afford us a nice upskirt shot. Very clever. ;)
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
Actually, budgetary considerations aside, I really like the life belts. They feel like the kind of advanced tech that would accompany tech as advanced as Trek's. And other notable SF authors have used very similar things as the EVA standard in their universe. So for me the choice is as much a preference as a convenience.
Reply
:iconlmant:
LmAnt Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Student Digital Artist
the picture alone is already damn cool!
I think from all your Trek-stuff this one has one of the most impressive compositions and povs!
And the story itself is a classic again and if Kirk would ask me I'd say "Christophe" isn't dead at all
:)
Great job, dear!
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thanks, dear friend! It's nice to hear you speak about the art and composition. I rather like it too and I was wishing there'd be more chatter about its details. But hey - the age old problem of comment expectations/hope, hm? ;) Seriously, it makes me happy to hear that this one rates so highly for you among my Trek works. I attribute the charm to the "little people" :D
Reply
:iconlmant:
LmAnt Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Student Digital Artist
yeah...the little-people effect! :)
Now imagine how amazed I had been if they had been behind little windows! :D
However, you know how well I understand your aim for "details-talking". Though even I am not always able to catch it or to fulfil that desire. And I think you know that from yourself too.
I think with the time and if I followed someone's work closely I tend to concentrate on new things or things that are really spectacular (or both). Of course it wouldn't have hurt if I had mentioned how lovely the light effects here did work again and how cool that ivy-artwork at the pipe's wall is looking (and how amazingly little the little people are :D ).
But it felt like a repetition of things said already a hundred times,..ore more. So I was focussing on the new and spectacular.
This may be right,...or wrong. Don't know. I'll think about it.
:)
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yeah.... my fingers do tend to "talk up a storm" once they start. It's hard for them to be succinct ;p
Reply
:iconcolourbrand:
Colourbrand Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Another classic piece of trekdom - "doomed" acadamy buddy, risky operation, and the simple journey turning into something else!

Excellent sir - a great read!
Reply
:iconrob-caswell:
Rob-Caswell Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Professional General Artist
Glad ya enjoyed the tale. See - there are so many Trek stories to tell that don't involve "REVEEEENNNNGE"!!!!!
Reply
:iconcolourbrand:
Colourbrand Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
AYE!!!!
Reply
:iconnicelabs:
NICELabs Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is really fantastic! So much stuff going on and so richly presented. A great story too. The transformation reminds me of Niven's Pak Protectors and the transformation via the Tree of Life. Love the POV and the shuttle lights... the environment belts... stuff we don't always get to see. Wonderful :D
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