22.6.14

Literary 4

Literary Challenge #65: Myths & Lore: Challenge #1

Captain Seifer and three of his crew rematerialized onto the transporter pad aboard the Prometheus-class U.S.S. Phoenix-X. The transporter operator, Belm, quickly put his Ktarian headset away.

"So, how was your trip into the Mirror Universe?" he asked. "Wrought with horror, I imagine?"

Seifer stepped off the pad, "Actually, great. We beamed into the mirror Rura Penthe, a tropical resort planet that is brimming with smokers-- but they were bio-neural gel cigarettes, so it was okay."

"Should I even ask about that?" Belm pointed to Seifer's goatee.

The Trill Captain hesitantly brought his hand up to his chin and confirmed his worst fears, "Ah!" He looked over to his other male crewmember, Doctor Lox, who also had a goatee; the two women, were hair-free. "Dammit," Seifer replied as he walked over to a nearby reflective panel, "I forgot about the Mirror Universe's innate, unexplained ability to make goatee's grow on men."

"It's strange how selective the growing is," Lox said, feeling his own.

Suddenly, Tactical officer Lieutenant Commander Armond entered the transporter room, stopping in his tracks at the sight of Seifer and the others. "Oh, I didn't know you were back yet-- I was, uh, just going to check on the Heisenburg compensators," he commented, caught off-guard. "They're like the subatomic version of those puzzles you find on the Orient Express."

"What the guramba?" Seifer knew exactly what was going on, "Are you taking missions while I'm on vacation??"

Unable to lie under pressure, Armond rubbed the back of his neck and avoided eye-contact, "Well, anyway, I have Kimtones tickets I meant to replicate a lighter for, so I'd better get going---"

"Stop," Seifer ordered as Armond was in mid-turn, "Where the hell are we? And don't say Risa, because it's the Lohlunat Festival right now, and you know how creeped out I get every time I'm hit on at that Dancing Stage."

Armond cleared his throat, "No, sir; we're at Facility 4028," he explained, "There was a mysterious break-in in its storage area and Commander Achebe sent us to investigate."

"Ugh. That place is so confusing. First, you follow the blue lines, then the red, then you're attacked by Beta Jem'Hadar. If they were the Jem'Hadar from the Wormhole, shouldn't they be called mid-War Gamma Jem'Hadar?" Lieutenant Kayl asked.

Seifer shook his head, "That name is just too long and unnecessary. Belm, beam us down to Facility 4028 where they sometimes contain members of Species 8472."

---

Minutes later, Seifer, Armond, Kayl and Lox beamed down to the secret prison. They met the holographic Warden at a maximum security storage area where the entrance had been blown open.

"Hm. Perhaps we should take this opportunity to clean out the unnecessaries in here; we still have ten crates of Quark's confiscated yamak sauce," the Warden spoke to one of his holographic officers just before he noticed Seifer and his crew-- "Oh! Wait. You people? I requested the Enterprise-F! Your ship just doesn't make any sense?" He turned to them, "How can you be on the -X prefix already? That shouldn't happen until the 29th century!"

Seifer pondered for a moment, "Would you believe our ships kept exploding?"

"Warden," the holographic guard started, "That was a miscommunication by our computer systems. It seems the Primary ISIS core and Secondary ISIS core are arguing with each other again."

The Warden put his holographic finger to his holographic forehead, "Those cores will be the decompilation of me."

"Captain, according to my biospectral analysis of the blood smear against this torn door-edge, these intruders had highly advanced platelet blood cells," Lox closed his medical tricorder.

Kayl's jaw dropped, "Do you know what this means? We can cure death!"

"Let's........ let's just leave that for some other crazy timeline," Seifer replied, "But I think this more importantly means we're dealing with Augments. We should speak to Amar Singh immediately."

Suddenly, another holographic guard approached with an escaped prisoner, "I'm right here," the apprehended prisoner, Amar Singh interrupted, impatiently.

"Our break-and-enter 'friends' were kind enough to leave this one behind," explained the holographic guard holding him.

Seifer looked at the guard disapprovingly, "You didn't just pull out the 'friend' card, did you? That is the laziest holoprogramming ever."

"After they broke me out we had a difference of opinion on what fiscal direction to take the Children of Khan in," Singh started, "They wanted to invest in Mudd Industries, and I wanted to stick to our original Son'a face stretching boutiques---"

Seifer interrupted, "Just tell us where they went-- and you better not say one of the Cold Stations! Those facilities never contain their diseases and I already have the nehret."

"I refuse to help you because you Federation fools will never support Augment life, thinking that you're morally superior to us with your natural hippie-Darwin genes," Singh shook his fist at them.

Kayl raised her hand, "Oh! They're at the Klingon Research Facility in the Briar Patch!"

"What?? You have a Human that is also a telepath??" Singh pointed at Kayl in shock-confusion.

Kayl shrugged, "I was genetically altered by Srivani a while back."

"Hypocrites!!! Here you are touting your ethically perfect lifestyle when you are in fact Augments yourselves!" Singh yelled as the guard started pulling him away. "I wish I had a Gorn and a Klingon right now. You know what I can do with them!"

Seifer crossed his arms as Singh was on his way passed earshot, "Yeah, well, at least our grandparents don't randomly know who Chekov is."

---

Later, the Phoenix-X dropped warp at the Briar Patch and struggled its way through its orangey-haze to the donut-shaped asteroid. An away team of Seifer, Armond and Kayl beamed into the thought-abandoned secret research base.

"Ugggh. That was far too annoying to fly through," complained Seifer. "No wonder Riker used the forbidden joy stick."

Before them, in the large metallic room, was a group of three augmented Humans, trying to assemble pieces of what looked like a Soong-type android.

"Okay, so are we sure there's not a spinning bed that we can just put him in? I thought that was how they did it on Exo III?" Ruko, one of the Augments rotated an arm, trying to study the connecting point.

But, Tavar, another one of the Augments pointed at Seifer and his away team, "The Federation!"

"By the ridgeless foreheads of skinny Klingons! I thought you were going to take care of the proximity sensors??" Ruko snapped at the other Augment.

Tavar shrugged, "As usual, antagonistic behaviour produces dysfunctional work flow. If you think about it, it's kind of a pre-destination trope."

"What in the name of awkward Kirk-movements is going on here?" Seifer blurted, stunned, "You have the android Data??"

Armond shook his head, "No. Data's working at Oxford University as a professor now. It was his next move after a horrific trip into Fluidic space."

"Seems like he'd be more of a Cambridge kind of guy," Kayl mused.

Suddenly, a familiar voice broke through the confusion, "Wrong on both accounts," the savvy Soong-type android spoke.

"Lore?? But you already came back to life in one of our unique starship's many previous adventures," Seifer explained, "We re-captured you when your leg got stuck in a Malon tanker pipe?"

The android, missing one arm and one leg, hobbled his-sitting-self around to face the Captain, "Your past episodes don't matter and should be comprehensively dismissed!"

"Yeah..... but... you were...... and things...." Seifer drifted, confused.

Lore picked up his other arm and threw it at Captain Seifer, "Shut up! You see, my father's ancestor, Arik Soong, was a devote 22nd century geneticist and bred himself a passionate torn-clothed, rock and roll following. This group endured and now they want a similar Soong-type-genius to help in their ambitions of societal amalgamation in much the same way a Galaxy-class saucer section may attempt to attach itself to a Constitution-class-refit body," he paused to shudder at the thought of it, "Ugghh."

"My first idea was politics. Like, maybe we could run for a counsel somewhere? Perhaps the Nyberrite Alliance? I know a guy with a replicator who is good with branding," Ruko offered, "It's just one idea, though. I have more; much more."

Seifer dropped his phaser aim, "Damn that Facility 4028 and its inventory-reporting glitches," he then turned to the Augments, "Also, your plan may be sound. In fact, I could see you conquering the entire Galaxy through the dreary just-elect-anyone-so-I-can-go-home mentality of politics, except for one thing: this android. --Lore, tell them what your ultimate goal is!"

"Kill all organics," he admitted fluently, unsure at how it could possibly relate to the situation at hand.

Tavar dropped Lore's unattached leg, "What the year-of-hell?? Augments are organics! You mean to kill us as well!?" He paused, feeling as though he needed to explain himself, "If you're wondering about my powers of logic, I once dated a Vulcan."

"Not at all," Lore replied, "I plan to Borgify you in the way one does with tubules and bendable piping. I admit it's not the most effective form of cybernetics, but it's kind of become my signature. It'd be a disservice to myself not to."

Tavar picked up the leg and swung it around in horror, knocking Lore's head off his body and into the far wall. It took a second for him to calm himself down, "Sorry, I'm prone to bouts of enhanced rage. It's quite endearing from a genetically dispositional point of view."

"Ruko to the ship," the other Augment picked up a hand-held communicator, "It appears we've inanely come to an unremarkable avenue for our remarkable kind. Three to beam out! No time for the beaming sound-effect!"

The disembodied head of Lore watched as the Augments dematerialized in a rush.

"Phoenix-X to Captain Seifer," Ensign Dan's voice operated over the comms, "It looks like the Augments transported onto a cloaked vessel somewhere."

"You're relieved!"

Ensign Dan sputtered for a moment, "Well, that was an over-reaction."

Seifer then gave up and followed Armond and Kayl to Lore's decapitated body.

"Are the Augments going to become one of those over-used enemies that lose their teeth with every encounter and that we eventually get tired of?" Armond asked.

The Captain nodded, "Yeah."

"They were the ultimate bronze and they almost had the ultimate brains; I wonder if perhaps I could utilize my own abilities more effectively?" Kayl postulated.

Seifer crossed his arms in thought, "Perhaps we all could. To survive is not enough. To simply exist is not enough," he quoted, "Roga Danar, Angosia III."

"Sir, formally request we go to Risa," Armond turned, inspired and changing the subject, "We almost have enough Lohlunat Favors for a powerboard or floater."

The Captain turned as well, "You do realize I'm the only one that ever beams down?"

"Yes, but we're all watching on screen, in much the same way Kirk's crew did during his Gorn adventures," Armond replied.

Seifer sighed, "Fine. But if I'm talking to a girl, I want that screen off, pronto. I'll contact you when I'm done."

His crew nodded in agreement, and they collected the Soong-parts and left.