Sometime after Star Trek: Nemesis, Data and Zad Riker, son of the Rikers, search for the antidote to a disease infecting the crew of the Enterprise. (Guest-written by my sister.)
“I am detecting a micro-organism on my scanner. It appears to be the micro-bacteria needed to cure the disease.”
Zad walked over.
Heart pounding in his ears, Zad bent over the tricorder in Data’s hands. Little images of the bacteria flicked across the screen quickly as Data absorbed the information with incredible speed.
The tricorder suddenly beeped.
It beeped again.
It beeped faster.
A red line appeared on the screen. It began to darken. A hazard symbol flung itself onto the screen and began blinking rapidly.
All in a blur of motion, Data snatched Zad and flung him across the dusty plain. In a dizzying warble of images, Zad’s small body bounced off the ground just as the tricorder exploded.
He lay on the floor, unwilling to get up. Everything hurt. His back, his neck, his head, and joints felt jostled so that every movement felt like bolts of lightning shooting down his bones. As Data lifted Zad into his arms, Zad winced.
“We must get out of here now. I managed to salvage some parts of the tricorder so I can repair it once we are back on the Enterprise. But right now, we must find a new tricorder.”
Data set the shuttlecraft on autopilot. Zad sat in his usual corner, rubbing his neck with his knuckles, trying to massage out the kinks.
“Who knew the tricorder could overload like that? Gosh, Data, we seriously need some new technology. Did that thing have a photon torpedo in it?”
Data shook his head. “I agree with you, Imzad. But although a tricorder does not carry explosives, we do need some new technology. On a seperate note, you have dual hyperextension-hyperflexion of the neck and back due to being thrown about as such. I suggest a heat pack to loosen your muscles.”
Data walked over to the first aid kit and pulled out an instant heat pack and handed it to Zad. Zad gratefully took the pack and set it over his shoulders.
“The next planet on the list that we are going to visit is called Xorten Omega, known for its lush greenery. They are known to be hospitable, so we should not have problems. We have five hours before arriving at our next destination, so I suggest you get some rest.”
Zad turned and placed his hand gently on the glass, watching the stars whiz by, unaware of the urgency of the Pythagoras. Zad sighed.
“I sure hope they’re hospitable.”
“Get up! You have twenty minutes to brush your teeth, change and eat your breakfast. And, Imzad, wear something decent. They are a people of formality.” Data dug through Zad’s small luggage, and successfully found a red Starfleet uniform, matching Zad’s size.
Zad’s eyes widened. “You mean I get to wear that?”
The android nodded. It almost looked like Data was smiling.
With glee, Zad raced to the head and pulled on his crisp, sharp, uniform that was sure to impress. Zad combed his brown hair with gel until every strand of hair was in place. He winked at himself at the mirror. He waved. He stood with his hand resting thoughtfully on his chin. He practiced all sorts of cute smiles. Fully satisfied, he pinned his combadge on his shirt, and stalked out.
Data, for once, was quiet. He was staring into a little, clear, octagonal shaped box bearing the image of the woman his sister was named after: Natasha Yar. Data was slouching, both hands in front of him, carefully turning the box over in his hands. Data shut the hologram off.
“It’s time to go.” Reverently, he stood up and carefully put the empty hologram into his box.
“Welcome to Xorten Omega. I am Governor Martin Martinique, and this is my wife, Yalissa, my son, Kendall, and my daughter, Gwendolyn.” Behind the white brick house, rolling hills of green stretched out far and wide behind them. A lake, as blue as a saphire, glittered magnificently in the morning sunshine. Although the sun shone, there was a crisp, nippy breeze. The smell of flowers and plants and life floated along the wind.
Zad felt like he was floating. The girl had bright ginger hair, very much like her father, cascading down her shoulders and blue eyes that could make one stare and stare and stare. In Zad’s opinion, at least.
Gwendolyn looked up at him and smiled. Directly at him. At that, Zad’s day was complete. He tried to manage a smile but only succeeded in a shy, half smile. Zad stood taller than he had ever before.
He cleared his head once. Twice. Three times. He heard Data saying something about needing to find an antidote or something like that, and declining a dinner invitation. At this point, Gwendolyn began looking about slightly. Zad began to wonder why until, ears reddening, he realized he had been staring at her.
Oh no, no no no. She must think I’m a creep.
Something fuzzed into focus. Kendall. Kendall, now, was staring at Zad, who was staring at his sister, who was smiling back at Zad. Kendall had his hand on his phaser, studying Zad intently. Zad turned toward Kendall and smiled, and to his surprise, he smiled back and nodded. Zad overheard some of their conversation.
“Gwendolyn is studding to become a science officer in Starfleet. Would it be alright if she could come along and participate?”
“Most certainly.” Before he knew exactly what he was doing, Zad was actually talking with the girl; about her past, the planet, her studies, and many other things he wasn’t exactly sure. It felt . . . well, it didn’t feel like anything. It’s just my nerves, I guess.
“Set phasers to stun. These plants have nerves, so you two can stun while I dig the root.” Data was driving the Pythagoras’ buggy, called the Griffon while Zad and Gwendolyn sat in the back. Try as he might, Zad wasn’t really paying attention. He noticed Gwendolyn tapping on her datapad, logging information. He stole a glance at her.
Zad could tell—in fact nothing escaped Zad’s watchful eye during those few moments. She quickly looked at him, short enough to be discreet, but long enough to know that it meant something. Zad tried to just look forward and block her out. But that, he quickly found, was impossible.
“Be prepared. Be sure your phaser is on stun. This operation must go fast, before the plant wakes up again. We have approximately ninety seconds. Is that clear? What is your job?” Silence. Zad tried to remember.
“Um . . . uh . . . use your tric—”
“No, listen next time. Set phasers to stun. Do you hear me? Set phasers to stun. What do you do?”
“Set phasers to stun.” The two voices chorused together. Zad turned to Gwendolyn and couldn’t help smiling. To his great amazement, she smiled back. Swimming in happiness, he powered up his phaser.
The Griffon slowed to a halt. Data pulled out his electric digger while Gwendolyn and Zad prepared their phasers. Gingerly, the trio picked their way along the rocky terrain, careful not to step on any roots.
As Data motioned for them to stop, Gwendolyn and Zad raised their phasers. Data raised his electric shovel. In one swift motion, the children began phasing while Data dug with the shovel. The children held their phasers as tight as they could, willing it to give more power, but the phaser drained within a few minutes. These phasers were meant to stun humanoids, not plants.
Panicking, Zad and Gwendolyn looked at each other. The plant moved ever so slightly, then suddenly, thick lengths of roots ripped themselves free from the ground as the monster turned its head. As it opened its jaws, it roared ominously.
“Got it! Run! Imzad, start up the Griffon!”
With all the power their bones could muster, they sprinted down valley and tumbled into the Griffon.
With deft precision, Zad tapped at the controls and took off.
It was quiet inside the Griffon. Zad could hear them both panting and gasping for air, the sloshing of their water canteens, and the calming whir of the engines. Presently, they spotted Data, running for his life from the ginormous Venus-fly-trap-like plant, ready to eat anything or anyone, android or human.
Gwendolyn moved to the back of the Griffon and opened the hatch while Zad continued driving. Finally, the hatch closed, and Data, streaked in dust, mud, and grime, switched seats with Zad.
Zad picked up the root, examining all the muddy grooves. He closed his eyes for a few seconds, but when he opened them he found himself in the shuttlecraft, surrounded by stars and sky.
. . . to be continued . . .
—part five next week—
Author’s note (emzelf’s sister): I myself have never really gotten into any scrapes such as this one, but I can imagine myself picking up a phaser and trying to stun but completely failing and letting the plant eat me. So much for heroism.
(emzelf: This took a long time to edit but it was worth it. My sister, my mom, and I were in a car accident a year ago so we know what hyperextension/hyperflexion feels like! Not fun. Hot packs bring back memories…)
Thanks for reading to the end! This is for all the Trekkers out there in preparation for the holidays https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZt6eU5REN8. Enjoy!
(I do not own that video; I’m just sharing it for entertainment purposes, and I don’t earn any money from it. Or this blog, in fact.)