The final frontier...
Who came up with that one? Must’ve been a really drunk pilot.
Neil entered the West Building of Starfleet Academy, San Francisco, Earth, the year 2379, Stardate 56999.7. It was just after lunch and the fourth period was underway.
I was skipping... O’Brien goes on and on in that boring Engineering 101 class.
He nodded to the Secretary and made his way to the lower levels. Master Chivaul had called him for a meeting of some sort. Shivaul was a Vulcan Martial Arts Teacher at Starfleet Academy. The best. He’d been lately working with a small team of Engineer’s, Holo-Specialists, and Operators to build his own specially customized Battle Arena... under the West Building.
“Ah, Neil, welcome!” Master Chivaul, wearing his trademark cloak, walked over and patted Neil on the back as Neil slowly entered the Battle Arena.
It was a well-sized circular room, just as big as the Bridge of a Starship. The wall all around was covered with patches of the standard Federation holographic emitter fence, control panels, and a few Earth, Vulcan and Klingon blades hanging for decoration. In the centre of the Arena was a large circle platform, where the fights took place.
Great! I figure I’d be practicing here from now on. The Holodeck’s were receiving way too much of my sweat.
“Neil, I want you to be the first to test out my new Battle Arena.” The Vulcan Master seemed happy for a moment.
“I’d be honoured, sir.” Neil looked around the Battle Arena. Two Engineers just finished working, closing a panel on the far end, and leaving Neil and the Master alone. “But who am I going to fight? There’s no one else here.”
Just then, Keth walked in and looked straight over at Neil.
Oh great. Keth Swanson. He’s the top fighter in Chivaul’s third year Martial Arts Class... that’s one year too ahead of me. Keth and I weren’t exactly best friends. We have the same Shuttle Flight Class and he’s always on my back for not activating the Type 12 Shuttle’s thrusters in proper sequence... not exactly my best Class for both reasons.
“It is an honour, Master Chivaul, to be one of the first to fight in your Arena.” He held up his hand, parting his fingers for the respectful Vulcan greeting.
I felt an emotional conflict because I saw him under a mind meld with the Master a half an hour ago outside. That was probably more of an honour than anything possible. I didn’t really like Keth, but he must be a good guy underneath if the Master allowed a meld with him.
Neil glanced over from the Master to Keth in confusion.
“And it will be a pleasure, kicking your ass...” He stepped over to Neil, staring him down and smiling.
The Master liked a little competition. “I’ll be up in the Observation Lounge. I can start the match from there. You two get in the center of the Arena and prepare.” There was a large window indicating an upper level room at the side of the Arena. This is where an audience, or the rest of the class could probably sit to watch the match.
The Vulcan Master seemed to have a hint of emotions.
Yeah, why is that?
He was a brilliant Bio-Scientist, Philosopher and Theorist, decorated many times over by Starfleet Academy and the Vulcan Institute of Science. Lately, his old age had been catching up with him, encouraging him to make a few life accomplishments, including four Evolution Science experiments, two papers on Telekinetic Theory, and a recent trip to Boreth for its chaotic meditative atmosphere.
Neil and Keth took their places at the center of the Arena. The Master could be seen in the upper window in the Observation Lounge. He activated a blue marker laser, which circled around the two of them.
Telekinetic Theory seemed a little far-fetched for the Vulcan Institute of Science and the Master’s colleagues, but they respected him nonetheless. He was the Master of Theory.
Keth took his fighting pose as the computer beeped. He jabbed forward at Neil’s head. Neil leaned back as the fist came a millimeter away from his face.
Neil waved Keth’s arm to the side and jabbed his own fist towards Keth. Keth forced his palm into Neil’s fist, stopping the jab. Keth kicked his leg into Neil’s stomach and pushed him back.
Neil stopped himself before touching the blue laser.
That was a close one.
Neil ran, and jumped up, kicking his right leg around in full circle. Keth was hit in the side in pain, as Neil stopped before him and swung his left leg around the opposite direction full circle. Keth caught that leg in mid air and elbowed Neil in the head.
He let go and Neil dropped his foot to the floor. Neil held his head in pain. “Ugh!”
I don’t stand a chance against this guy.
“What’s the matter, Neil? I thought you were the top of your class?” Keth barbed.
Keth’s rants weren’t helping. Neil jumped center up kicking one foot after the other into Keth’s chest. Keth was pushed back as Neil landed on his feet.
Keth charged forward, launching one arm after the other, jabbing faster than possible, hitting Neil’s forehead, cheekbone, and shoulder. Keth then jumped up swinging his foot around, forcing a downward kick into Neil’s chest.
Neil hit the ground, but while on his back, craned his toes into different angles around Keth’s shins as Keth landed on his feet. Neil spun Keth around, foot twisting his shins, in a full circle and kicked him in the thighs.
Keth lost balance, but regained his footing before he could touch the blue laser on the other side. “Argh!!”
That was a close one for him.
“You’re going down, Neil...” He turned and pointed as Neil jumped to his feet.
“And you’re going... umm...” Neil couldn’t think of any comeback, “...to the World’s Fair.”
Keth was momentarily confused but attacked anyway, launching his right foot into Neil’s left shoulder. Neil then spun around, into Keth, charging his elbow down against Keth’s shoulder girdle.
“Augh!!” Keth screamed in pain, but punched Neil across the face.
Neil was arched back and to his left side, but used the momentum and angle to jump off his left supporting foot and spin diagonally in the air so that his right and left feet would swing around and kick double across Keth’s stomach.
Keth was double hit in the chest. He knew he was going back so he quickly kicked into Neil’s chin as Neil was spinning diagonally, sending Neil back as well. Keth was momentum-ed past the blue laser at the exact time Neil was launched through it on the other side.
The match was over. Keth and Neil hit the ground in pain. “ “Ggrggh!!” “
They both got up, adrenaline pumping, and ready to go again.
The Master was nowhere to be seen at the window of the Observation Lounge.
I wondered if he had enjoyed planet Boreth.
“Go again?” Keth knew Neil wanted to keep going too.
Neil nodded, enthusiastically as he was trying to catch his breath. They both took a few steps back to the center of the Arena, but Keth quickly clenched his hand over his heart. “Argh!!”
“Are you okay?” Neil didn’t know how to feel.
“I’m fine--“ Keth let go and took a few breaths. They both just wanted to keep fighting.
The blue laser was gone. Keth jumped kicked through the air, but Neil spun to the side as Keth was passing. He grabed Keth’s leg as Keth was flying through the air, pulling Keth’s direction to the side. Neil flung Keth into the sidewall. Keth hit the wall and landed on the floor in pain. “Auggh!!”
Neil noticed a strange purple tentacle hugging around his right arm. “Ugh! What the--?”
Keth’s eyes began to glow with energy. He quickly turned his face to the side, trying to hold in some kind of physical transformation. “I can’t---“
Neil flung the tentacle away as Keth leaped up and landed before Neil. Keth swung his arm around but Neil blocked it. Keth kept swinging his punches around as Neil blocked each one after the other. Just then a tentacle flew out Keth’s back, flew around, and punched into Neil’s chest. Neil was pushed flying across the room.
“Aahh!!” Neil hit the wall in pain, with the extended tentacle still suctioned on his chest.
Neil tore it out. But Keth walked over as his upper body muscles were starting to build, and energy started flowing along his arms. He punched down at Neil, but Neil dodged to the side, allowing the punch to into the titanium wall. “Seti-Alpha-- Omega 3--- times variable over X6-- Spacial Vector 99-- 3--0.”
Keth began reciting mathematical equations.
What was going on with him?
It was like he was getting smarter and stronger at the same time. None of this made any sense...
“Speed times weight-- 4-- 77--- light--- space---0--1“
I got up and took a few steps back hoping he wasn’t going to give me last Monday’s Warp Calculus Lesson.
Neil tapped his commbadge. “Cadet Neil to---“ But three tentacles flew out at Neil, which Neil had to dodge. He jumped out of the way and got up. He stood before Keth... or what Keth had become.
Neil had to take him down.
He went over to the side, pulling a Bat’leth off the wall and started swinging it around. He then approached Keth and hacked it into Keth’s shoulder. The Bat’leth stuck there as Keth transformed, bigger. Blood dripped out, but Keth’s desire to fight neutralized the stinging piercing in his shoulder.
Neil leaped up into the air, forcing a kick into Keth’s head of which veins throughout were glowing. Keth was hit in pain as Neil jumped off his head and flipped in mid air above him. “Aaauuhhh!!!!” Neil came down and kicked both feet repeatedly into Keth’s face and shoulders.
I was getting him mad... Yup, that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do.
Keth spun himself around grabbing Neil out of mid air and throwing him into the floor. Keth leaped back into the distance and suctioned himself to the ceiling and wall. He shot out two bursts of energy across the Arena at Neil, which Neil dodged.
How could Keth be able to do all this? It was like he was morphing into some advanced creature... If he was infected by an organism, where did it come from? Neil tapped his commbadge. “Neil to Secur---“
The Keth Creature blasted five more energy pulses across the room at Neil. Neil jumped past each one, running straight towards Keth. Neil leaped up and clung himself into Keth on the ceiling. If he was going to take this Creature down, he might as well do it now and with everything he’s got.
Clinging at the corner of the ceiling and the wall, Neil forced his knee into Keth over and over again. He elbowed Keth across the face multiple times, and then dislodged the Bat’leth from his shoulder and stabbed it into his chest.
Neil jumped back to get away, flipping downwards through mid-air. But Keth flung out multiple tentacles snatching Neil out the air and forking him across the room through the glass of the Observation Lounge on the other side of the Arena. “AAagggghh!!!!” SMASH!
Neil was in so much pain, crippled on the Observation Lounge floor with glass all around. He was bleeding.
“Uhh...” There lied Master Chivaul, trying to regain consciousness.
He wasn’t gone. He was just lying here where we couldn’t see him. “Master!”
“Neil...?” Chivaul had the same vein thing happening to his head, just like Keth.
“Keth’s xeno-morphed into this creepy alien!! But I know for a fact he’s never left Earth!” Neil panicked, as he could see Keth through the glass in the distance slowly moving across the ceiling towards them. Keth was dripping guts. As if his previous organs weren’t good enough.
Chivaul slowly sat up in pain. It looked like he was struggling under his own problems. Chairs began levitating around him, under Chivaul’s own stressing power...
Oh my God! He achieved telekinesis!
Neil’s attention was redirected. He grabbed Chivaul’s collar in surprise... “You did this!!”
It almost made sense. He had the same vien thing going on as Keth did.
He pushed Neil away. “Yes--! But not on purpose! ...I mind-melded with Keth earlier for a mild-meld theory. What if one could control his own body growth and intelligence growth through the mind?”
I read his paper. I knew exactly what he was talking about.
“You were giving him telekinetic control over his evolution. But what about the tentacles--??”
Chivaul couldn’t hold his breath-- “I... My trip to Boreth, I think I encountered an alien on the way back... I thought it was just my imagination...”
The chairs hit the floor in multiple -thuds-. Chivaul couldn’t hold his own heart rate anymore. Whatever mental consciousness he had, he gave to Keth earlier and couldn’t hold his own body’s transformation. Chivaul’s upper body fell back to the floor. Neil checked his pulse. He was dead. “Master!!”
Vulcan’s don’t die so easily.
Neil stood up to face the approaching Keth. It was time to take him out.
Uhh, are you sure about this?
Keth was breathing heavily. Neil leaped out the Observation Lounge window, through the air, and kicked his foot into Keth. They both fell to the floor. Keth was now a collection of large organs and tentacles morphed around his body.
Keth launched his energy flowing arm out, but Neil karate-chop redirected the arm to the side. Neil’s uniform was torn from all the fighting. “...Keth?”
Keth was in so much pain. The pierced Bat’leth was throwing the natural transformation off and organs were forced to form in the wrong areas. “You...” he breathed in, “...were pretty good.”
“Neil to Security! I need a Medical Team and any Commander out here in the Battle Arena, now!” He finally called for help. “Hold on Keth. It’s not over.”
Keth breathed deeply. Security ran into the Observation Lounge first, finding Chivaul on the floor. Officers then made their way down to the Arena where the xeno-morphed Keth and Neil were. “What the hell happened here??” Someone cried. Medical teams came in, scanning Keth.
Neil glanced back over at the fallen alien. “You’re not dead, yet.”
Keth shook his head with his enormous neck. “I... I can feel the walls and the energy particles in the room...” Someone placed an anesthetic, to keep him alive. He was dying.
Neil just watched as his foe suffered the worst fate possible. He regretted hating him before.
The Head of Starfleet Medical, Doctor Beverly Crusher, was in the building and walked in to find out what all the chaos was about. The sight was frightening. “Oh dear God...”
“Do me one favour, Neil.” Keth reached out.
“Activate the initiators before the plasma regulators in the Shuttle start up sequence.” His sincerity killed the feud between them. And with that he fell unconscious within his own mistransformed slimy organs. Neil wasn’t sure if he was dead or not.
“Sure thing.” The blood in his mouth tasted like a sting of reality. Neil clenched his fist, and looked to the side.
Space... The final frontier...
Vulcan Master Chivaul knew what that meant more than anybody.