Disclaimer: I do not own Kim Possible or any of the related characters or property. They are owned by Disney and Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley. Star Trek and related characters or property was created by Gene Roddenberry and now owned by Paramount. The treatment of these descendants of Kim Possible and Company, and any new characters, property, or technology shown or mentioned belong to me and can not be used without permission. Okay?
System of Command
Chapter Two – Lucky Starr
About five months ago…
Heinz Demenz stormed his way past the objecting Caitian aide and into Saavik's office, who looked up at him with the serenity only a Vulcan – or a canary-fed cat – could project. She took in his livid Deltan features and calmly nodded a dismissal to M'murr. She put down her stylus, leaned back, and steepled her hands in a gesture reminiscent of Spock of Vulcan.
"Professor, I anticipated your arrival."
For his part, Demenz took a moment to collect his composure. The current Academy commandant, Commodore Saavik was someone to tread carefully about. Considered a Triple Threat, she had been trained by three of Starfleet's most legendary officers. Were she a sword it could be said she had been shaped by then-Captain Spock, sharpened by Admiral Kirk, and finally honed and tempered during her years with Captain Sulu. Plus if the rumors of her being half-Romulan were true then her core material was even harder than most Vulcans.
Still, though retired from active duty, Demenz was himself a Rear Admiral and therefore able to look a Flag-level Officer in the eye stare-for-stare. He waved the PADD in his hand at her, "Anticipated me, eh? Zhen I zuppose you already know vhat I vant to talkink about!"
"You have encountered Cadet First Year Tara Starr."
"Vrong! I just met…," he blinked several times. "I mean, ja, I've jest had her ein mein class. You are avare zhen zhat her beink here has to beink zee meeztake! Have you zeen her curriculum? It'z an abzolute joke! Bachzeat Piloting? Vilderness Zurvival Skiencare? Zome-vone mast have hacked zee mainframe… ."
Saavik cut him off with a hand gesture for him to take a seat. As he did so she responded, "I am indeed aware of Ms Starr's¹… eccentricity. I assure you she is not here by mistake."
"Zhat's abzurd! Zhe spent most of mein dissertation staring off into space und blowing zee bubblegum whislt twirling her hair vith a finger. Zhe never vonce looked at her note-PADD much less took any annotations!"
A serene nod of head. "Did you ask her any questions?"
"Jest vone. I asked her: 'how vould you handle varp engines vhat become dangerous'."
"Her response?" Her gaze revealed nothing.
"Zhe zaid: 'vith varp cowbouys, D'uh'; und actually volled her eyes az iffen zee enswer vas obvious!" While some of the heat in his face had begun to drain away, that memory returned some of the flushness. If he had been expecting the commodore to leap upon the illogic of the answer, he was mistaken.
She was not at all taken aback. "Cowboys. Versus 'engines', being homonymous with 'Injuns', the Terran slang for Southwest American Indians?"
He pointed a finger at her and accused, "You know about her!"
"Indeed. I take it you didn't bother to access the results of her Entrance Aptitude Exam."
Frowning, the diminutive Deltan thumbed a series of quick commands into his PADD. He studied the resultant screen for long moments. Zhi… zhis cahn't be vight! zhese figures ein Zheoretical Varp und Qvantum Mechaneeks are aztranomical! No vone has eiver scored zhis high, eiver. To have scores liek zhese zhe'd have to be a genius. Nein, a… a… ."
"I believe the word you are looking for is 'savant', Professor. More precisely, an 'idiot savant'."
"Zhe gurl has less common zense zhen a Deltan fruitfly!"
"What is the truism about one sense being deprived another is improved?"
Demenz was beginning to suspect Saavik was not only enjoying his discomfort in the demeanor peculiar to Vulcans, but was stringing him along in the joke, "Now hold on, zhat doesn't apply to Common Zense, it'z not liek beink blind zo your hearing gets zharper… ."
"Why not? We may not count 'common' as one of the typical humanoid senses, but lack of it in a primitive individual lowers a species' chances of survival and therefore any contribution to the collective genepool generally gets weeded out." Her eyes were lowered, and Demenz had the distinct impression that she was laughing on the inside.
"Butte a zharpened avareness of varp zheory? Zhat has no value ein advancink the development of a spec… ," he slowed as he considered the interstellar super-society in which the United Federation of Planets not only existed, but thrived through expansion. Either his face revealed his train of thought, or it was not a new one, for Saavik was nodding sagely.
"T'Skylr of Vulcan, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawkings, Zefran Cochrane, Richard Daystrom…," she stopped when she ran out of the fingers she had been ticking off the one hand. "More functional than an autistic, she nonetheless has a quantifiable innate percipience of Universal Uncertainty," she sat up, spun her chair around and keyed something into the file-replicator. A notebook took form on its modest shelf. The commandant picked it up and, with a measure of reverence, proffered it to the engineer.
Taking it, Demenz observed that it was old, ratty, and overused. Loved was the term that flashed to mind. Even as he opened it he asked, "Und zhis iz?"
"One of several of Ms Starr's daybooks as she calls them, 'journal' being too generous for it, as would 'sketchbook'. 'Scribble pad' would be more like it. She filled this one when she was seven."
Flipping the pages, Demenz saw countless doodles normal for a child that age. Cloud-like swirls of low-laser-burned 'ink' abounded with flowers and puppies and all the other things that Little Girls Were Made Of. Shaking his head, "Nothink vemarkable about zhis, ein fact zee vone time Ztarr picked up her ztylus it appeared zhe vas doodling as vell."
"Take a closer look," Saavik gestured with her chin, a light in her eyes, "I'll give you this hint. Subtract the cute animals and flowers."
After throwing a skeptical glance her way, Professor Demenz opened the book to the largest scribble, a two-pager that centered upon unicorns and cupids. Slowly he let go of his preconceptions and one by one mentally erased the fantasy elements as instructed. What was left was a huge mass of swirls, whirls, and spirals. For long moments he allowed the hand-stylused etchings to sink into his mind. He turned the notebook around, looking at it from all sides. Nothing.
Then just as he was about to give up, it happened. Something clicked into place and like an optical illusion that suddenly made sense, so did the drawing:
"A varp field interpretation…," he whispered so low even Vulcan ears barely heard it. He flipped the page to the next 'doodle', "…Heizenberg's Matrix… ." He flipped faster and faster, each page leaping out at him now that his visual perception had acclimated, until he stopped cold and held it up for her to see. "Iz zhis vhat it looks liek?"
Saavik nodded, "A nested warpfield."
"Knot jest a veprezentation of vone varpfield inzide an-udder, zhis iz a cohmplete construct! A zingle contiguous varp matrix! If zhis could being actualized ve could break zhe Varp Ten Barrier; revolutionize zhe Varp Scale‼"
"Zo," he sat back, rubbing his chin-strap bearded jaw. As pure-blooded adult Deltans lose all hair at puberty, even that small amount marked him as having some human blood in him. "I'll vill eventually be havink her azsigned to mein new StarCORE?"
The Vulcan slowly shook her head, "I'm afraid not. Despite her untapped potentials, the Starfleet Corps Of Revolutionary Engineers is probably the last place she needs to be placed."
"Und vhy iz zhat?" Funny, the thought of not getting access to this natural prodigy was now angering him nearly as much as had the thought of her in Starfleet in the first place.
From somewhere under her desk, Saavik pulled out a small palm-sized device and slid it across to him. "I'm sure that you recognize this item."
Demenz nodded without even picking it up, "Ja, a 'meinPAD', zee ceevilian version of PADDs marketed usually to zhe under-tween crowd. Even zhough zhey have edvance computational capacity zhey generally geit uzed for muzik ztorage und playback."
"Indeed. What is SOP regarding possession of these type of devices on Academy grounds?"
"No ceevilian devices are ellowed because of zee zensitive nature of everything here, butte zhanks to zee Perzonal Property Protection Act ve can only confizcate power modules. Ve can no longer take entire devices," he answered with a sneer.
She gestured for him to pick it up, "This is a replication of Ms Starr's myPAD. As you mentioned, the Three-P Act only allows us at best to replicate personal property unless there is proof of treasonous activity. We borrowed the original from her shortly after her home period instructor confiscated the p-mod. It was working again."
Intrigued, he picked it up and could tell by heft alone that the module was missing. When it failed to turn on he turned it over. The power module was missing but there was something in its space. Giving it a closer look he saw it was a series of metallic threads stretching about and between the contacts in a peculiar web-like pattern. "Vhat's zhis?"
She stared back at him evenly, "Exactly what we asked. She said, and I quote: 'I had nothing to power it with', end quote." She fell silent as the engineer absorbed it.
Slowly the front of his brain felt as if he had tried to swallow a huge mouthful of iced smilké² and a chill ran down his back. "N-nothink to power it vith… nothink… to… power… Zeero-Point Energy!??"
"That is the consensus."
"I assure you, Professor."
"Zhen vhy izn't it vorking now? Zhis iz cohmpletely dead!" He shook the myPAD at her as if proving his point.
The commandant at least had the good graces to drop her eyes, lean forward, and cover her eyes with her hand. Had she been human Demenz would have said headache. "For some reason whatever she does does not survive the replication process. We can not duplicate it."
"Are you telling me zhat vith a couple inches of thread zhat… zhat… dim-watted slut-in-training vhipped up a ZedPeeEm collection array, und you can't duplicate it??"
"Please Professor. While we can not duplicate it, she usually can."
"You know the Siberian research facility?"
"Zhe vone completely destroyed by zee violent explosion lest ye…," his voice dropped again. "Nein, not… her?"
Without lifting her head she nodded, "Fortuitously we listened to more pessimistic voices and relocated her there to weave a ZPE web to power a standard holodisc player, the building evacuated save the lead scientist. This image is from the moments immediately following the incident…," she activated the desk's holo-imager with her other hand.
Leaning forward Demenz saw the blast area where the doomed facility had stood. It was as he had seen on all the newsfeed coverages. The entire fifty thousand square-foot building built to Starfleet's specifications, meaning it should have survived anything short of a warpcore breach, had vaporized in the blink of an eye. The surrounding desert had fused into glass, scorched pressure lines pointing to the center like a bizarre bullseye. Only this picture never made the newsies.
Everything was as on the feeds except for a two meter circle of flooring and its understructure, which apparently was incomplete as the circle of floor teetered precariously. Atop it was a small work table on which sat a civilian-grade holodisc deck, both blackened. Next to it stood Tara, her arms still outstretched toward the player, and another scientist with a tricorder in his hands recording everything. Heavy smudges stained their uniforms and skin from their brush with death, her eyes almost impossibly wide and blinking rapidly in surprise. Her mouth moved once.
"Zhey're still alive! How?"
"Zero-Point Energy. They were at the zero-point… ."
"It looked liek zhe spoke. Vhat did zhe zay?"
"'Oopsie'," Saavik's voice cracked. "She later said she was nervous."
Demenz spontaneously forgave Saavik that brief display of emotion. "Et least zee tricorder zurvived. You mast have gotten zome great scans from zee log."
"No. The tric was erased at the component level by the resultant subspace-EMP. Best we have is what the orbital drydock managed to get. A brief temporal pulsation at the moment of occurrence."
Something had been nagging the back of his mind, but with the word 'temporal' the chill that had earlier run down his back was now chased by dread, "Ziberia. Explosion. Temporal component… ."
"We may finally have an explanation as to the cause of the mysterious explosion of 1908," She looked up, her composure back under firm control, "So you see, it has been deemed safer to follow her as she goes about her life letting her do things without trying to prompt anything specific. So no, StarCORE cannot have her."
Nodding, Demenz stood up and headed out slowly. He stopped in the open doors and turned back, "Vone further zhing… ."
"Zhe's listed az on zee Engineering Track, yet zhe vears Science Blues."
Only a Vulcan could deliver the answer with a straight face while mimicking Tara's Galley Girl speech: "Blue makes her eyes, like totally, stand out. D'uh."
¹ Ms – While 'Mr' is used to address Starfleet Officers regardless of gender, 'Ms' remains a standard female honorific in most other uses
² Smilké – A type of synthetic milk tolerable by 99% of all lactose intolerant individuals and races; often flavored, frothed, chilled, and served like a milkshake or ice cream. Born of a typo by the late Angel Swan many, many, many stardates ago in the AOL member chat room Ten Forward Lounge. Many a great products and terms were the result of TFL-typos. Look for more in these pages to come…
Notes: A brief peek at the history of Tara Starr.
This is a little short because it came about as a challenge on the KP Slash Haven as "Write a KP story in thirty minutes". The only way I could rise to the challenge was to slip back into my Star Trek roots – which ironically enough was the cause of my recent crippling shot to my Inner Muse'ical Creative Flow – and yet allowed my creativity to again flow. So I revisited the backstory for Tara and her engineering potentials. I guess this means if not the next installments are about the individual members of Quad Possible, each will get their spotlights between the major action chapters.
Yeah, I know Deltans have not been depicted as having German accents, but Rear Admiral Professor Demenz is not full-blooded Deltan either, as his signature beard indicates.
For the record, this version features minor edits and corrections in punctuation and spelling performed after the challenge's 30 minute submission deadline.
Oh. Also For The Record: This is NOT the Rebooted Star Trek Universe.