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The next 7 entries consist of a complete piece of Star Trek fan fiction It's a re-envisioning of "Whom Gods Destroy?" as it should have been. It stars Steve Ihnat as Garth of Izar, and the usual suspects as the crew of the USS Enterprise.
FYI.... "Who Goes There?" is the title of a John Campbell short story, on which The Thing From Another World was based. In the short story, the men were confronting a shapeshifter, as opposed to the movie in which they were merely chased by a homicidal carrot.
The story is dedicated to Steve Ihnat, and fans of Ihnat may notice a few homages and in-jokes.
Dr. Donald Cory, governor of the colony and mental institution located on the inhospitable planet of Elba II, walked down hallways toward the command center. His boots made no sound on the tile floor…there were no clicking echoes from the walls. He moved in complete silence, like a cat.
There was no one to hear those echoes, even if there had been any. Elba was run by a skeleton staff of ten individuals, with Cory at their head. New staff were rotated into and out of the colony every year…lest they succumb to the various ills that working in such a remote location could engender. Donald Cory was not one of those who needed such coddling, however. He was dedicated to his profession, and enjoyed the solitude. He left the colony only at rare intervals.
A new staff had arrived just a month ago…and even now they were busy reviewing patient histories, or conducting their own medical experiments, or having a social hour in the dining room or lounge.
Except for one staff member, who had been suitably impressed to meet one particular inmate of the mental institution…its newest one…. She had her instructions and would be following them.
Cory’s right cheek puckered, briefly, in the very slightest of grins, then all expression was wiped from his face.
He entered the command center and the door slid shut behind him. He gazed around the room thoughtfully. Black panels with flickering lights lined the walls. In one corner was a large desk with a computer screen in front of it. There was one large window, and on the other side of six inches of plate glass the poisonous green atmosphere of Elba II seethed and pressed.
Cory stopped and looked into one of those black panels, and saw a face reflected there. A lined, sixty-ish looking face, yellow skinned, dark almond eyes. His face? No…for a few seconds grey eyes gazed back at him….cold as ice…that was his face…don’t forget!
Cory glanced at the chronometer on the wall…if Evangeline was correct, and of course she would be…the starship was due within the hour.
Cory sat down at the desk, and punched a few buttons on the keyboard. He knew all the passwords – Evangeline had told him.
Ah…here were the records. The starship was the U.S.S. Enterprise, commanded by Captain James T. Kirk. The Enterprise…. Cory mused. He had heard of it. Kirk was one of the most renowned of the new generation of Star Fleet Officers, and he had a First Officer…a Vulcan… the first Vulcan to ever serve with a human crew. At one point….Cory blinked a couple of times as the wheels of his minds meshed for a second…at one point, he had wanted to meet this Kirk….who had often been talked about as inheriting the mantle….his mantle…..Cory blinked again and the thought skittered away back into the recesses of his mind.
He flicked over to the regulations governing contact between a starship and a penal or mental colony, and read quickly. His gaze stopped on one line. “Special procedures when dealing with such colonies include the use of a sign/countersign before beaming up, to ensure that no unauthorized personnel can leave the colony.”
Cory’s lips twitched again, very briefly. He had suspected as much.
He would be prepared.
The U.S.S. Enterprise entered orbit around Elba II.
“Captain’s log, stardate 5718.3. The Enterprise is orbiting Elba II, a planet with a poisonous atmosphere where the Federation maintains an asylum for the few remaining incorrigible criminally insane in the galaxy. We are bringing a revolutionary new medicine to them. A medicine with which the Federation hopes to eliminate mental illness for all time. I am transporting down with Mr. Spock, and we are delivering the medicine to Dr. Donald Cory, the governor of the colony.”
Kirk punched the button to turn off his log, then glanced at Lt. Uhura. “Open hailing frequencies.”
“Hailing frequencies open, Captain.”
“Elba II, this is James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise. We have just entered orbit.”
The face of Dr. Donald Cory appeared on screen. He was smiling.
Kirk grinned. “Donald. It’s great to see you. We’re ready to beam down.”
Cory didn’t miss a beat. “Jim. Excellent. I’ll lower the force field.”
“Looking forward to seeing you, Donald. Kirk out.”
It was one of the yearly duties of the Enterprise to deliver stores to Elba II, as well as medicines, and Kirk and Cory had become friends. On this occasion, only medicine was being delivered.
Kirk and Spock entered Sickbay. Doctor McCoy looked up tiredly from his desk.
“Bones. How are things?” asked Kirk.
An epidemic of Variaega Flu had broken out on planet Debulon V, and doctors in starships and planet-side throughout the systems had been working on devising medicine for it. Doctor McCoy had been spending the last week doing so.
“I sent off my formula by subspace radio just an hour ago,” said McCoy. “They’ll be able to synthesize it on Debulon and start inoculations within the next six hours. I’m still waiting to hear that it works.”
“Of course it will work, Bones,” said Kirk, bracingly.
McCoy smiled tiredly. “Nevertheless, I want to remain here until I hear. Give my regrets to Dr. Cory, will you?”
“Oh, we won’t be leaving here for a couple of days, Bones. You and Cory will have plenty of time to discuss these new procedures.”
“It could be a great day in medical history,” Bones mused. “Medication found that will cure Variaega Flu…and medication found that can relieve criminal insanity, each tested on the same day.”
Spock’s eyebrow rose and he seemed about to speak. But he decided to leave his comments on the possibility of curing criminal insanity unsaid. Now was not the moment.
Kirk picked up the vials that Bones had waiting for him, and then he and Spock continued toward the transporter room. Ensign O’Dell was at the controls.
Kirk punched a button.
“Scott here, sir.”
“We’re beaming down now, Scotty. Recognition code Chess Problem.”
“Chess Problem, aye.”
Kirk and Spock assumed their positions on the transporter pads, and Kirk nodded at O’Dell. O’Dell worked the controls expertly.
The two shimmering columns of light solidified into Kirk and Spock, in Cory’s command center. Kirk blinked as it took, as usual, a couple of seconds for everything to snap back into place. Then he reached out and shook hands with Donald Cory.
“Jim. Mr. Spock. I’m glad to see you. I’ve a new staff since the last time you were here. I’d like to introduce Dr. Evangeline, one of my aides.”
Kirk turned and extended his hand to the rather lovely, middle-aged woman who stood there, clad in a light-blue medical uniform.
Cory handed her the case. “Evangeline, my dear, please take this to the laboratory.”
Evangeline inclined her head, took the case, and left the room.
Cory turned back to Kirk and Spock. He punched a couple of buttons.
“The force field is back in place now.” He said cheerfully. “That means you two are trapped here. And I’m not accepting any excuses for you not dining with me.”
“We’d be delighted.” replied Kirk with a smile.
“You indicated one additional inmate since our last visit,” interpolated Spock, “making a total of 15. Is that correct?”
“It is. The rehabilitation program isn’t progressing too well. And I have my doubts about the effectiveness of this medicine too.”
“Why, Donald,” said Kirk. “Are you becoming a pessimist?”
Cory grinned. “I’m afraid I have.”
“Who is the new inmate?” asked Spock.
“Garth,” said Cory. “Garth of Izar, a former Starship fleet captain.”
Kirk froze for a moment. He had known that the famous Garth of Izar had now become criminally insane, but for some reason it hadn’t occurred to him he was so far gone that he’d been transferred to Elba.
Very softly he said, “When I was a cadet at the Academy, his exploits were required reading. He was one of my heroes.”
Cory stared at Kirk with narrowed eyes. He then punched a couple of buttons, and the photo of an aged, bald, pot-bellied man appeared on the screen. Kirk and Spock looked at the photo blankly.
“I have seen photos of Captain Garth,” commented Spock, “and…”
“And you don’t see the resemblance?” Cory said with a grin. “You must remember that after the accident which Garth suffered, he had to undergo several operations. His face was completely changed. And when those medical procedures were failing, he was brought to Antos IV, with the results you know. That is what he looks like now.”
Kirk was gazing at the photo, but his thoughts were on the Garth of Izar that he’d admired as a cadet. “I’d like to see him, Donald.”
“Of course,” said Cory, making a movement toward the door. Then, he stopped, and glanced up at the chronometer.
“No, Jim. Not now. Why see him now? If you will wait 24 hours, when we will be ready to utilize the medicine you have brought us… you will be able to see him as he once was. As he really is.”
Jim Kirk nodded. “You’re right, Donald, of course. I…. I’d rather see him then.”
Cory smiled. “I’m glad.”
Cory tapped his fingers on the command console. “I wonder…if I may be permitted to change my mind…I was thinking…rather than you dining with me, may I not dine with you? Aboard the Enterprise?”
Kirk grinned. “Don’t tell me you actually want to leave this place, Donald?”
Cory grinned. “Only briefly, Jim. Only briefly. What do you say?”
“Certainly. But…” Kirk looked around the command center.
“Of course,” said Cory. He punched a button. “Evangeline?”
“Yes, Governor Cory?”
“Will you return to the command center, please. I am going up to the Enterprise with our guests, and you will take over in the command center until I return.”
“Of course, Governor.”
Cory then gestured for Kirk, who went over to the command console and made contact with Scotty. “Slight change in plan, Scotty. We’re going to beam up with Governor Cory for a few hours.”
“Very good, sir. Queen to queen’s level three.”
“Queen to king's level one,” replied Kirk.
Cory bent his head, and brushed his finger against his nose a couple of times, as his lips quirked.
“Standing by to beam up,” said Scotty.
At this point Dr. Evangeline entered.
“Evangeline,” said Cory. “I leave you in charge. You know what to do.”
“Yes, Dr. Cory.”
Cory went to stand beside Kirk and Spock.
“Three to beam up, Scotty,” Kirk called.
The three figures dissolved into glittering columns of energy.
Ensign O’Dell slowly brought the levers up to the off position, and watched as the three columns of energy solidified into three human beings.
There was Captain Kirk, there was Mr. Spock, and there was a third man, wearing a simple dark blue tunic. Tall, muscular, with graying hair parted in the middle so that it looked like angel’s wings on either side of his head, grey eyes… and below that…a horribly, horribly scarred …god, thought o’Dell.
O’Dell couldn’t help it. He fell to his knees and began to vomit.
Kirk and Spock stared at what should have been Dr. Cory in shock. They knew enough about the transporter beam to know that it hadn’t somehow destroyed Cory’s face… this wasn’t Cory.
Alerted by their expressions, Garth of Izar wasted no time. Even as it occurred to him that the transporter must have reassembled his molecules as himself, rather than as Cory, his hand was snaking down to the phaser with which he had equipped himself, hidden under his tunic. Garth was fast, as fast as a gunslinger from Earth’s wild west, but he was only a second or so faster than Kirk and Spock. Had they been ten feet away, it would have been no problem. But they were only a foot away from him. Spock managed to knock the phaser from his hand just as Kirk lunged for him.
Garth, fast as a cat, grabbed Kirk’s arm and spun him into Spock with all the strength of which an Izarian was capable. Both men went down. But the phaser had skittered away toward the oaf manning the transporter. He appeared absorbed in losing his lunch, but who knew how long that weakness would last? And strong as he was, he could not fight off both Kirk and Spock.
All this went through Garth’s mind in a split second, then he was racing for the door. Once in the corridor he started sprinting, and if insanity gave a man superhuman strength, it also gave him superhuman speed. By the time Kirk and Spock had made it into the corridor, Garth had disappeared into the Enterprise.