Strange New Worlds 2016 (Star Trek)

Book Cover: Strange New Worlds 2016 (Star Trek)

"A Christmas Qarol" by Gary Piserchio and Frank Tagader
[Short Story]

From the ordinary to the extraordinary, here are ten all-new fan-created stories embraced by the vision of Star Trek®! When Gene Roddenberry first created this landmark television series fifty years ago, he also tapped a wellspring of human imagination. Viewers were immediately transformed, and over the decades turned the very definition of "fan" on its ear. However, when what was on the screen was simply not enough, fans started writing their own stories…

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, here are the electrifying results of the 2016 Strange New Worlds writing contest—the best fan-created stories by new writers such as: Derek Tyler Attico, Neil Bryant, Chris Chaplin, John Coffren, Nancy Debretsion, Kelli Fitzpatrick, Roger McCoy, Kristen McQuinn, Gary Piserchio & Frank Tagader, and Michael Turner.

Excerpt:

A Christmas Qarol

 

Gary Piserchio & Frank Tagader

 

Stave One

Q looked inside the ancient but painstakingly restored Millennium Dome in London, watching Captain Jean-Luc Picard stand before nearly three thousand inferior races from across the Federation. Q had little interest in them, but Jean-Luc always managed to pique his curiosity. The starship captain spoke on a topic to which the human was uncomfortably close. Q felt the tension in Jean-Luc’s body.

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“To date, there is no known antidote,” he said, looking out at the somber gathering. His right eye twitched. Q was amazed that the man still felt the prosthetic, now a phantom long past, adhered to the right side of his face. Picard tensed and started to lift a hand to his face, but the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise was stronger than that, and he resisted the urge. Q nodded, feeling something akin to human respect for the man. But, no, that was far too strong a word. Q wondered what the word was for when a human feels that his pet has performed admirably. Ah, well, that wasn’t important at the moment.

Picard smiled and moved toward a fairly young human child sitting in a propulsion chair. Deanna Troi, ship’s counselor for the U.S.S. Enterprise, stood behind the chair and rested her hands lightly on Timothy’s shoulders. The child was debilitated, which was odd in this age. But Q knew why the child was stricken. Just as he knew the next words the starship captain was going to speak.

“There is no antidote,” repeated Picard, “but sometimes there is a cure.” The child smiled up at him. “The crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise rescued Timothy from the Borg nearly six months ago. He’d been part of the Collective for over three years. Doctor Beverly Crusher managed to remove the Borg nanites and began the process of mending his body, replacing the heinous prosthetics of the Borg”—the captain’s eye twitched again—“with prosthetics that Timothy can control and enjoy in his day-to-day life.

“Of course, it’s not his body that concerns us most, but rather his mind and spirit.” Jean-Luc began to reach for the boy, intending to put his hand on Timothy’s shoulder, but he stopped. The child leaned slightly toward the starship captain. No one else noticed, except for the Vulcan contingent, but Q saw Jean-Luc move a few millimeters away when the boy leaned. Captain Jean-Luc Picard, commander of the flagship of the Federation, a human who had faced countless perils, many of them life-threatening. In fact, because of his knowledge of the Borg, he had led the away team that rescued the young boy. The man threw himself into the face of danger for the greater good time and time again—blah blah yawn. Yet he was uncomfortable around children.

Q smiled, an idea springing to his prodigious mind. He looked up from the Millennium Dome at the snow swirling through the city and coating the rooftops and trees along the avenues. It reminded Q of an ancient Earth toy composed of a heavy lead-glass sphere filled with water, a ceramic Earth scene of banal inconsequence, and bits of porcelain that roiled in the water when shaken. A snow globule or some such nonsense. And according to the ancient calendar called Gregorian, it was December on Earth. It was almost too perfect.

Picard continued, “It’s up to us to mend him wholly. Completely. In a few moments, when we’ve finished here, we’ll take Timothy to the U.S.S. Pasteur, where the finest medical staff, aside from the Enterprise’s, of course” —there was polite laughter from the attendees, except from the Vulcan contingent— “will take personal responsibility for this young man’s reintroduction to humanity.”

“Will you be there too?” said Timothy, his voice anxious.

Jean-Luc Picard’s had been the first human face the boy had seen when coming out of the medically induced coma after his first operations on the Enterprise. Q could feel Picard squirm on the inside while he remained as composed as ever on the outside. “Well, you see, Timothy. As a starship captain I have certain responsibilities that—”

Troi knelt next to the boy on the other side of the chair from Picard. “Timothy,” she said in soft tones, “Captain Picard would very much like to be with you for your rehabilitation, but he has important work to do for the Federation. I’m sure he’ll visit you as often as he can.”

“Yes! Yes, of course I’ll visit. Often!” Timothy looked hurt, but he didn’t say anything. Picard looked back to the audience and cleared his throat before saying, “As we take this bold step toward Timothy’s future—”

Q stood up in the front row and clapped slowly. Picard looked in his direction and anger flashed in his eyes. It would be no fun at all if he didn’t get that rise out of the human.

“Q, what are you doing here?”

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