Just a Writing Exercise


George Pollock, Jr.

Premise: Elements of two fan scenarios of mine.

Survivors of the original "Gall Force" anime trilogy – including android Catty Shoumen – are frozen in their ship for millennia until they're found by the starship USS Enterprise-D from "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Catty – after despairing about her fate to the point of near-suicide – joins Starfleet, becomes a lieutenant and eventually marries android Commander Data. Through nanotechnology, they have a daughter (DataCat, or "D.C.") and then a son, AnotherChild (called "A.C."). He's so named because he was born during a shipboard crisis and his parents didn't have time to think of a name. So they kept saying, "We had another child." Hence …

Jenny "XJ-9" Wakeman from "My Life as a Teenage Robot" is knocked offline during a space mission, and the momentum casts her adrift in space. She outlives her mother and friends by centuries. She, too, is also found by the Enterprise-D years after the "Gall Force" survivors are found. She meets Catty, but upon learning that she'll never see her loved ones again, she gets lonely, depressed – and angry. After lashing out at others, she gets so despondent, she attempts suicide involving the Enterprise's warp-engine plasma injectors. She's stopped and put in an energy-dampening cell in the brig, mostly to protect her from herself. Upon learning Jenny's full story, Catty comes to visit her.

Catty saw Jenny lying on her side on the cell's bunk, her face toward the wall.

"Hey," the android said, approaching the bright trim of lights that indicated the cell's force field.

The robot girl inside didn't move. Her back said nothing.

"I've come to tell you a story," Catty said. "It's about a robot girl I know."

"Oh, God …," Jenny's back answered sarcastically.

"Once upon a time …"

The white-and aqua robot rolled over quickly on the bunk and faced Catty. She frowned deeply. "I can't believe you just said that …"

Catty ignored her. "… there was this robot girl. She was lost in time for centuries. And she was the vastness of space from everyone and everything she knew."

"Did she have a name?"

"Yes," the android said, "but no one recognized it. So she felt like nothing. And it made her lonely and sad. And angry. And she took it out on anyone who tried to help her. She slapped them away."

Jenny rolled her eyes and sighed facetiously. "Wow," she deadpanned. "What a bitch."

"She got into a lot of trouble, and after she did something stupid that nearly got her killed, she saw that people really did care about her. Whether she lived or died. And when she figured that out, things changed."

"Hooray for her."

"She saw she could have a new life in a new time and place. She could let others into her life. And there could even be love, if she let that happen."

"Awww …," Jenny answered in sweet disdain. "Gag me."

"And if there could be love, there could be a special someone. Maybe he wouldn't be the most exciting person, but he could be kind."

The robot girl in the cell sneered. "Prince Charming. Yay."

"And one thing could lead to another. Marriage, maybe. Kids. That could be nice."

"Did they live happily ever after? That's usually how these things end."

Catty shrugged. "I have no idea how it ends. That hasn't happened yet."

Jenny propped herself up by an elbow. "Not much of a story, is it?"

"It's one story."

"Well, if it's supposed to be about me, it's the lamest damned fairy tale I've ever heard."

Catty shook her head slowly. "Wasn't talking about you," she said quietly, then leaned closer to the lights. "I was talking about myself ..."

Jenny said nothing. But her eyes slowly opened with realization. Realized the story, realized the message.

"Every word is me," the android said intently. "You're not the only one who's ever felt terrible pain, Jennifer Wakeman." After a silence, she glanced at the ceiling. "Computer, what is the time?"

"The time is 1855 hours," a female voice replied from nowhere.

"Well …," Catty sighed, "if you'll excuse me, I have a dinner date at 1900." She turned away, took a few steps, then stopped. And she faced Jenny one more time.

"Commander Data and our son and daughter are waiting for me," she explained. "He's a good husband, but the kids'll walk all over him if I'm not there."

With a final turn, she left the brig.

Jenny watched her leave. Finally, she lay on her back and crossed her arms over her chest. She stared at the blank ceiling and soon, very soon – for the first time since she came aboard the Enterprise – she found herself falling slowly into deep thought.

"Gall Force," "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "My Life as a Teenage Robot"; their characters; and situations are copyright of their respective owners. Story copyright 2010 by George Pollock, Jr.