Unofficial Literary Challenge #5: Prompt #2: Lazarus
Last time, on the Intrepid-class U.S.S. Crucial: The ship sat out in orbit of Kobali Prime. Captain Menrow entered the Bridge to find his crew hard at work.
"Perfect. Everything is going as planned," he commented.
Hatcha looked up from her operations panel, "Except that we're supposed to be on the surface, fighting the Vaadwaur half-invasion!"
"Are you kidding me? We need all the breaks we can get! The Vaadwaur are insanely over-powered and there is only so much polaron beam-firing one can do before one sterilizes their ability to procreate," Menrow explained. "By the way, we're all sterilized."
Barley slammed his fist into his console, "Dammit! You know as Captain, you're supposed to impregnate as many aliens as you can."
"Another life, I suppose. Ever since we were brought back into our bodies by that Traveler, Wayfar, with our memories offset in time, it almost feels like lives come and go at ease."
Grunley replied, "Sir, you can't be that naive?"
"It's just a thought, Lieutenant Commander. Now, let's return to the surface and fight for skill points--- I mean, for the needs of others. I'll take Hatcha and Grunley."
Barley out-stretched his arm. "Wait! Don't you want more people?"
"For some weak old Delta Quadrant mission? Pfft. Two's more than enough. Besides, what's the worst that could happen?"
Down on the surface, the team of three found themselves locked down behind a rock, under heavy fire from Vaadwaur soldiers; the rapid fire loud enough to force Hatcha to try to yell over it.
"Well, are you happy, now, sir?" Hatcha asked, ducking flying rock debris.
Menrow knocked an incoming rock aside. "I don't follow?"
"You said-- 'what's the worst that could happen', and now that very thing --is happening!" She reached around and fired at the Vaadwaur group.
Menrow followed suit and then addressed her, "Are you saying.... that you were deliberately silent this whole time, from the walk to the transporter room to the trek out to these God forsaken Level 53 Trenches, just so you could fluidly connect something I said on the Crucial to something that's happening on Kobali Prime??"
"We need to have dialogue that flows," Hatcha argued. "It's just better for us, mentally."
Meanwhile, Grunley, firing the Mirror Zefram Cochrane Shotgun like a mad man, trying to make each burst of shells count, was suddenly approached by a Vaadwaur and shot at at point-blank range. "Auugghh! This weapon is uselessssssss!"
As he hit the ground, Menrow and Hatcha fired liberally into the Vaadwaur assailant, until he was knocked down as well.
"What the hell??" Menrow cursed. "Who just runs up to their enemy while their enemy is firing at them?? And they do it so nonchalantly??"
Hatcha agreed, "It's well-earned overconfidence, sir."
And now, the conclusion: Later, aboard the Crucial, several of the senior staff and Grunley's father, Jarken, an Earth engineer, was in attendance of his wake. Grunley was lying, dead in an open torpedo casing.
"In accordance with our laws, we are to fire this man into an enemy, or a planetary atmosphere. It's nice that the option is there," Menrow spoke at random.
Jarken looked at his son. "He wasn't a particularly good engineer. In fact, he was incredibly horrible, from what I ever saw, and from your reports as well, Captain."
"Don't you have anything good to say about him?" Menrow asked.
Jarken glanced over. "That was the good thing."
Suddenly, they were approached by a visiting Kobali elder: "Please excuse the interruption, but we would like to offer our services in reviving Grunley as one of our own-- the most sacred of our traditions, next to returning expired cheese back into Kobali pizza ingredients."
Menrow pointed, "Sold!"
"Wait. I'm the last of Grunley's family. Don't I get a say in things?" Jarken cut in as way of accusation.
The Captain shook his head, "Uh, my ship, my rules. Besides, my entire senior staff has a record in returning back to life, and I'm not about to let Grunley break that. There's a Ferengi at Spacedock keeping track."
"Captain, this is wrong," Hatcha interrupted. "Our return was wrought with horror. Our bodies returned years ago, but our minds didn't return until just recently-- over-writing the minds of those bodies, who just happen to also be us."
Jarken jerked his head slightly. "Space magic?"
"Traveler," Hatcha conceded.
Jarken nodded, "Space magic."
"Damn it, Hatcha, you're right-- I'm getting calls from a woman that claims I'm my own grandpa. What the hell can of worms is that to deal with on a Monday?? Though it is nice to know my previous consciousness was involved with time travel-- a staple in seven year missions." He then tapped his chin. "At least now I get to fire Grunley at the Vaadwaur, which, from a tactical point of view, is what we should have been doing all along."
The father held up his palm. "No! It is you who are right, Captain. My son, though inept, was still good at heart. That good is also a representation of your crew, even after his life." Jarken then turned to the Kobali elder. "Please; it would be my family's honor to indulge in your society-- a sense of cross-civilizational transcendence that makes up for Grunley's obsession with snacks and sugar-infused pop drinks."
"I'm having second thoughts about this," the Kobali elder paused.
Jarken pointed, "Too late! He's yours now! Ha! Now, how do I get back to the Alpha Quadrant? Transwarp, right? Ah, yes, transwarp is the answer to everything."
Down in one of the non-attacked cities of Kobali Prime, Grunley, now known as Klik'Yeunyi, worked tirelessly on fixing his new family's food preservation machine.
"Just finished my work, mother," the new purple member of the group called out after his masterpiece.
When she stepped out into the kitchen, she was horrified to find the machine suddenly spewing out chunks of expired cheese at everyone, "Aahh!! You are the worst son we've ever revived!"
"What about Per'Opeana? He keeps trying to score with our sisters-- hot as they are," Klik'Yeunyi said-- but as he said that, his skin coloration began to fade, and his Kobali head-ridges began to recede. "Oh, no! I'm turning into a Caatati or something??"
His mother then examined him, "Uh, no, you're reverting to your previous species. This works out great--- err, I mean, oh noooo, who will fix my head shiner now?"
"I can do it, mother!" Per'Opeana entered, holding a split-beam laser tool.
His mother then scowled, "You stay away from the female side of the house!"
Later, Grunley was returned to the Crucial and joined the senior staff at dinner in the Messhall with their Traveler friend, Wayfar.
"Wow. The interior of this ship was really well done-- except, why can't I get to the upper level of Engineering, and why would Borg alcoves be in the same Cargo Bay of every present-day Intrepid-class starship? Wouldn't that interfere with daily cargo activities?" Grunley asked, logically.
Menrow raised a glass, "That's not for us to decide and never will be. Salut!"
As everyone cheered and clinked glasses, Wayfar stopped before drinking his, "This is all my fault, Captain. The space-time modifications I made to each of your cells in bringing you forward and back in time prevented the Kobali genetic traits from maintaining themselves in your Chief Engineer."
Menrow put his drink down, "Wait. When did you get here? This party was to celebrate Grunley's return? Something I maintain as a half-success, despite the Kobali fail-GIFs going around of his de-transformation."
"Well, now you tell me. I've already preset my future travels to have me appear at all of your parties?? Damn it!"
Hatcha turned, "Can't you just reverse those presets?"
"You know very well I'm bad at my job. If I try anything, guaranteed I'll end up at one of past-Voyager's awkward, forced-gatherings. Well, in terms of job performance, Grunley knows what I mean," Wayfar said assuringly.
Grunley paused, confused. "What?" And then: "Aaahhh, I get it. Haaaaa!"
"Haaaaa!" Wayfar high-fived him. "You guys want to create warp bubbles around Galaxy-class Doctors some time?"
Menrow shook his head, "That's not a thing we can approve of. But keep us up to date on your findings. As for me, well, Grunley, I'm sorry I tried to sell you off to the Vaadwaur in an attempt to repeat Wayfar's re-lifenings."
"That's okay. An Orion tried something similar on me back in my Academy days. He said he was just going to lift me up. I should've asked why. I see that now."
Wayfar then raised his glass. "To Orion slavery: the final frontier of illegal practices!"
To that, everyone hesitantly and unassuredly tapped glasses with each other. Together: "Yaaayyyy.........?"