|The God Machine
Author: Admiral PM
Christopher Pike and the USS Enterprise embark on a five year mission to explore the galaxy.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Chapters: 10 - Words: 45,310 - Reviews: 14 - Favs: 9 - Published: 01-24-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2767934
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
DISCLAIMER: Star Trek and all related characters are the property of Paramount Pictures, Inc. No copyright infringement is intended. This work of fiction is for entertainment purposes only and no money has changed hands. The original characters and events are the sole property of the author and may not be used without permission.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: For the record, the following story reflects how I think Star Trek stories should be told, and not so much how they're told now, so in light of that I offer this warning: while I'm generally tolerant of nitpicks, any that begin with or include any variation of the phrase "That's not how it's supposed to work in Star Trek" will be laughed-out-loud at and summarily ignored, as, more often than not, that would be the point.
Consider this story the pilot episode of a series. Whether or not any more stories are added will depend on two things: Me improving my rather spotty writing discipline and audience reaction. My living up to my side of the bargain can be positively influenced by positive feedback, so review early and often.
THE GOD MACHINE
By Darrin Colbourne
"You should be working."
It was about the tenth time that she'd whispered that to herself, but Dr. Usma Narain found herself unable to concentrate on the minutia of her job. Instead, she found herself going back to the files of the prospective team leaders for the "Common Man" Project. She'd finally managed to narrow the number of possibles down to eighteen, and that only after four solid months of reviewing and weeding out lesser candidates. She'd been surprised at how many qualified candidates she and her staff had started out with. The Space Probe Agency was barely a year old, and she'd started it out with a small staff culled mainly from the ranks of her old stomping grounds, the Daedalus International Center for Scientific Research and Science Policy, yet the SPA had grown rapidly since then. More people than she'd expected followed her from the Daedalus Center, and the ranks of the new agency swelled with scientists and researchers from all over the planet. The draw was the Project, one of the most ambitious studies ever undertaken by Man. Everyone hoped to be part of it, but, naturally, only a relative few would actually take part in the field research, and fewer still would actually direct it. Eighteen had been chosen, but depending on the news from San Francisco she might have to reduce that number even further. Maybe that was why she couldn't tear herself from the personnel files. She was anticipating the need to resume the selection process.
A chime from her deskcomputer alerted her to an incoming comm call. Narain braced herself when the data crawl at the bottom of the display told her who it was. It was the call she'd been waiting for. She took one last look at the file on the screen, took a sip of coffee, then hit the contact for the communicator. The personnel file was replaced with the image of a gray-haired man in a dark suit, who looked to be sitting in an office. She could see part of a bookcase behind him, as well as a model of a centuries-old sea-going ship.
"Good Morning, Edward." She said after a quick glance at the time. It was still morning in California. "You must have just gotten in."
"About ten minutes ago." He said. "and I just checked my messages and found one you'll want to know about."
This was it. Edward Jellico, Admiral, United Earth Starfleet (Reserve) was the Agency's liaison with Starfleet Command in San Francisco. It had been up to him to arrange for the Fleet's support for the Project. "Is it good news?" She asked.
"Very good." Jellico said. "Starfleet is willing to commit twelve ships to the project."
"Twelve?" Narain was stunned. She'd hoped at best to get half that number, but didn't expect more than three. So she still had to reduce the number of research team leaders, but not as far as she thought, and the project would be well supported. "Well, how soon can we have them?"
"Several of them are currently deployed, so we'll have to wait until they get relief, then we need to get them all back to Earth. Starfleet says it should take about two weeks."
"So you know which ones they are?"
"Yes, I do. They're giving us the twelve ships of the Constitution class."
Narain's heart sank. Now she understood why Starfleet was being so generous. "Edward, didn't you tell me the Constitution ships were originally built before the Reunification War?"
"Yes, I did. Why?"
"That makes the design more than twenty years old!"
Jellico sighed. "Usma, we've been through this. It was hard enough to get the Fleet to part with any frontline ships, even in the current state of interstellar peace. They're certainly not going to turn over ships that, by comparison, are just coming off the ways…unless you want nothing but supply ships and tugs made available. And don't let their age fool you. The entire class was completely overhauled a few years after the end of the war. The resulting ships are fast, versatile, exceedingly self-sufficient and well-armed, exactly the kind of ships we want to have out there."
Narain resigned herself. "I suppose I'll have to trust your judgment."
"Do that. Trust me when I say that we're getting a good deal. Have you made your choices?"
"I have six more than we need, actually."
"When you've made your final selections you should keep the extras in reserve. Just in case."
"Just in case. Of course." She smiled. Jellico smiled back.
"I bet I know who's at the top of your list." He said.
"Well, can you blame me? The girl is brilliant! She was my best researcher at the Daedalus Center and she has a gift for solving mysteries. And she has just the type of spacefaring experience you said they'd need. She has more than any of the others…"
"Relax, Usma!" Jellico chuckled. "You don't have to sell me! I read her file, too! Look, if you're set on keeping your favorite, when we hand out the assignments, you can send her aboard mine." With that, he touched a few contacts on his own deskcomputer. His image on her screen was replaced with video footage and specs of one of the Constitution-class ships. "She was my command during the war." His voice said. "Fought in every major fleet action and made it through, bruised and scorched, but otherwise intact. She got two Fleet Unit Citations for service 'above and beyond'. And right now she's under the command of one of Starfleet's bright young stars. She ought to be a good fit for your protégé."
Narain looked closely at the screen. She regretted that with all the talk about the ships they might get or the ones they'd like to have gotten this was as close as she'd ever been to any of them. She was careful to take in as much as possible, the blue-white hull, the knife-blade like Space Warp engines, the oddly-curved saucer. The ship's registry number - NCC-1701 - was displayed prominently in white on one of the engines. When she'd seen enough, she looked at the top of the spec data and read the name:
"United Space Ship Enterprise."
"We ready to do this?" Jellico said.
Narain turned off the ship image and went back to Jellico. "We're ready. Let me know when the ships arrive."