The Case of the Kryptonite Tribble
The USS Enterprise discover a new planet, and find an old story.
Very vaguely Superman cross
The Star Trek Universe is the product of Paramounts imagination. The planet Krypton and Superman are the property of Marvel Comics. The stories are the products of the writer. No resemblance is intended to any person alive or dead.
Constructive criticism and comments are welcome on e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story is rated PG13
©R Gower 2001
"Captains Log. We are following a reported sighting from the USS Tuttenbeck of a blue and red clad figure maintaining high warp through their sector. For once there is agreement between Mr Spock and Doctor McCoy- Nobody in their right mind wears scarlet boots. Tuttenbeck's sighting also seems unlikely."
"The report has, however, led us to a previously undiscovered planet."
"The planet is 'M' class, shielded by an energy field, Captain," Spock reported dutifully, peering through the cover to his sensor hood. "The inhabitants appear human, but peaceful," he added for Doctor McCoy's benefit.
"Sounds dull. Okay, usual Away Team," Captain James T Kirk announced. "Spock, Bones, you're with me. Scotty, the ship is yours."
They materialised in a well metalled square, four broad boulevards lead to and from the sides, whilst forming the corners stood four gleaming towers. Kirk guessed they were well over 300 Metres tall, it gave him a crick in the neck looking for the top, yet they were so slightly built that he was amazed they could stand.
"Greetings, Captain Kirk. My name in your language is Clark Kent. We have been expecting you. Welcome to the planet Krypton." An elderly man in a flowing caftan and white hair greeted them amiably as he bowed before them.
"You know who we are and that we were coming. How?" Captain Kirk demanded in surprise.
"Of course I know who you are, your name has been printed on the tag inside your vest. A wise precaution if I may say so, the laundry can be so careless," Clark explained easily. "I know your planet well. I worked there for many years as a photographer on one of your newspapers in San Francisco."
"Humans are the most inquisitive species in the galaxy. Abel thought he had been spotted when coming home. It stood to reason that you would arrive sooner or later. Well, we are no danger to you or your Federation," he continued dismissively.
"I think we would like to learn more about you?" Kirk suggested not believing a word he had heard. "People flying past Starships at Warp six is not believable."
"Our bodies absorb energy from stars," Clark explained. "It gives us powers not available to your species, like the ability to fly."
A deep gong sounded from the needle shaped tower that dominated the near-ground skyline and Clark smiled. "If you wish to find out more about us then perhaps you should follow me to the gathering in the Citizens Tower?" He offered. "Then Doctor McCoy and the Vulcan will be able to gain more readings?"
He indicated at Spock and McCoy. "I trust your readings are interesting, gentlemen?"
"Fascinating," Spock responded with a characteristic lifting of the eye-brow. "There are particulates in your bone structure that permit the absorption of gamma radiation. I would be fascinated to learn how this combination can be used."
"All in good time," Clark agreed. "Now please, follow me." He walked gracefully in the direction of the tower.
There were over two hundred of the tall, elegant Kryptonians in the central plaza that made up the ground floor of the tower. The Enterprise looked at them with considerably more incredulation than their hosts were observing them. Not that the plaza was in anyway full, a number of works of art were also on display, some with their artists still at work, and the residents wandered around inspecting them.
"What is it?" Kirk asked of one such artist as he chipped delicately at a twisted black and white marble sculpture.
"It is an expression of my mind, Captain. You like?"
"Oh. Yeah! Really futuristic, dark and twisted," Kirk appeased backing away.
"We are an artistic race," Clark offered apologetically.
"What is the purpose of the gathering?" McCoy asked mildly, the subdued hum of the crowd had reduced as they turned collectively towards the platform in the centre, as if expecting something to happen.
"Oh many things," Clark expounded. "The Citizens Tower is our centre of culture. It is the centre of history, learning and governance for our people. It is where we can express ourselves and discuss matters affecting us and our world. Today will be a little special. After the intermission one of our youngest, Maria, will choose her husband to be."
The young woman that stepped onto the stage was, by Kirks expert opinion, the most beautiful creature he had ever set eyes upon. He moved forwards to get a better view of her. Tall and slender, dressed in a diaphanous gown of white, with hair of purest gold, she stood nervously, her hands out in a theatrical guesture, as if expecting somebody to join her. He caught her eye and she smiled at him.
She was joined by two males, both tall, well muscled, dark and also impossibly handsome. Unlike her, they were dressed in blue skin tight latex, a scarlet cloak draped from their shoulders.
"Maria has a difficult choice," Clark commented to McCoy. "Kane and Able are brothers and exceptional candidates. She has chosen to select them by trial. They each had to collect an item she could covet."
"Dearest Maria," the first of the young Kryptonians said, bowing to one knee. "I have searched the galaxy far and wide, for something to match your elegance and grace. I have found these," He withdrew his hand from behind his back and produced a luminous crystal and the crowd gasped. "The crystal is the 'Tear of Moran, it will make your radiance shine like a beacon." He held it up to her and indeed the young woman did glow in reflected light."
"I thank you dearest Able, for this exotic gift," Maria declared taking the rock to inspect. "It is beautiful. It was not obtained falsely?"
"It was given to me by the Sultan of Moran for services rendered," Able rejoined.
Maria turned to her second suitor. "You have some competition, dear Kane. What can you offer?"
"Maria, my sweet," Kane responded automatically. "I too have searched the Galaxy. My quest was to find something to match your sweet gentleness. I have brought this!" He also reached into his cloak. The crowd moved forward in anticipation of something miraculous and collectively sighed in disappointment as he withdrew what looked like a ball of fur that chirped contentedly.
"The Rodentus Triblata," he declared. "They are valued on seventy planets for their softness and restful chirping."
"And seventy others as a plague to be exterminated," McCoy muttered under his breath to Spock, as he recognised the small ball of fur. "At least we know how this will end. Sorry for Kane. But he should have found something a little less disastrous. A plague of locusts, perhaps?"
"Able, would be the logical choice," Spock responded quietly. "However I have observed that the females of many races do not follow logic."
This observation appeared accurate, as Maria scooped up the bundle with a squeal of delight. "It is beautiful!" She cried, cuddling it firmly to her breast. "So soft! I wish everybody could have one."
"They'll soon all have several hundred of the things," McCoy grumbled.
For its part the tribble in her arms increased the frequency of its chirping to a musical rumble.
"I am left with the most difficult of choices," Maria declared solemnly. "Able has offered a gift of utmost value and beauty to grace my form. Kane has offered something to love and enjoy. I value them both deeply as I do the twins. I wish to consider my choice further."
Her two suitors bowed low before her, in accordance to the theatrical nature of the event. Neither looked happy at the decision.
Maria stepped gracefully from the stage and faced Kirk, her porcelain hand outstretched. "You are a visitor?" She queried in the sing-song voice that had captured her two Kryptonian suitors. "We get so few," she sighed wistfully.
Mesmerised and speechless, Kirk took the proffered hand and clasped it firmly in his own rather less delicate hand. He winced as she gripped it rather more firmly than he would have thought possible given her slight frame, then flushed as she kissed him.
"Father always liked humans," Maria offered chattily. "But I've never met any until now. I think I might like them too, 'cos I think I like you. I'd like to see your ship and learn about you, Captain?"
Kirk finally found his voice. "Won't your boyfriends get jealous and object?" He asked warily.
"We are a free society. I have not accepted anything. I may socialise with whom I wish," Maria flounced with a toss of her golden hair. "It might make them think harder about what they bring."
She handed both the gifts she had received to a passing Kryptonian and smiled sweetly. "See I'm free and ready to see the galaxy, or at least the little bit that is your ship?"
Captain Kirk laughed. "In that case, I'll be delighted."
Unnoticed the two brothers slipped away quietly.
The floors nineteen to thirty of the three hundred floor Citizens Tower housed a gallery of Kryptons finest treasures. It was always busy with visitors and itinerant artists looking for inspiration. The five floors above were dedicated to workshops for those same itinerant artists. Above this, on the thirty-sixth floor, lay a much smaller and darker museum dedicated to Kryptons less enlightened history. It was rarely visited, even by the guardians responsible for its upkeep.
It was upon this floor a dark shadow flitted through the shadows towards one particular display. From it the figure picked a thin dagger, holding it carefully by the handle and keeping the exaggerated guard between him and a blade that was more deadly than most. The same hands also picked up the blades leaden sheath and safely stored the blade away.
"I wish I could explore the Galaxy in a ship like this!" Maria declared after her tour of the Enterprise. She collapsed into an easy chair and accepted the glass of Andorran wine Kirk handed her. Then crossed her long and graceful legs. Kirk watched in fascinated bemusement.
He had enjoyed being with this strange girl as much and the admiring glances they were both receiving from the crew as he had proudly demonstrated her ship to her. Now they had finished and he had invited her to his private quarters to relax until she decided she wanted to return home. McCoy had invited himself for reasons of the Captains safety. She, for her part, had seemed to be enjoying his company and the tour at least as much. Giggling freely when he had cracked his feeble jokes about Scotty, Bones and Spock.
"You don't need a Starship," Kirk fumbled.
"Oh! But we do!" Maria sang. "Yes, we can travel between stars without one. Hot heads like Kane and Able do it all the time. But it is dull. You travel with friends, you can live while you travel!"
"Is that why you sent them on a quest?" McCoy asked.
"Perhaps," Maria agreed. "You saw the gifts they brought? Souvenirs of far off worlds? A lump of rock and a furry animal. All they see is something for the home. Something that only wants to be pretty! I want to see some of the Galaxy! But I don't want to be alone when I do it!"
"What do you see, Captain?" She turned and challenged Captain Kirk.
"I see a young, beautiful and witty woman," Kirk admitted, then added quickly, "One with a healthy scientific interest."
Maria grinned. "You lied with the last part, but I'll forgive you. People have been telling me I was pretty since I was a girl of fifty! Now they tell me I'm the most beautiful thing in the Universe. It is a terrible curse. All I want to do is explore, but I don't want to do it alone!"
Yeoman Machow watched the inner door of the airlock suspiciously as it started to cycle through the motions of pressurisation. There had been no external work planned, he was sure of that. Nervously he waited as the door opened, then gaped open mouthed in surprise as a six foot something human male stepped out in his blue suit and red cape.
For a moment both people gazed at each other in comic silence.
Guessing that this was not an approved arrival Machow made a despairing dive for the ships intercom, simultaneously grabbing for his phasor. Neither was going to work for him as the Kryptonian exhaled hard towards him, freezing him instantly within the icy blast.
"You really didn't want to do that," Kane chastised the now frozen crewman. From out of his cloak he pulled the box he was carrying. From the box he pulled two tribbles. "Now where can I put you to cause these Earth people enough damage they will go home?" He mused to them as they trilled back.
Uncertain of his bearings he chose a direction and set off.
Shortly afterwards the second blue clad figure of Able boarded using the same means. He noticed the frozen crewman and pondered the meaning for a second before setting off on his own course. Following the stealthy sounds of the first.
He caught up with Kane as he silently shut an access hatch in the transporter room. Two steps was all it took as the green Kryptonite dagger rose and fell, taking his rival high between the shoulder blades. Kane slumped forward with a scream of pain as the blade burnt through his flesh. For a moment Able watched his brother writhe in agony, then turned dropped the dagger and fled as the enormity of his actions struck him. Nobody on Krypton had taken the life of another in living memory, until now.
Machow, aware of all that had befallen him despite the frozen state, fell heavily against the communicator as soon as he had thawed enough to gain some motion. "Intruder Alert!" Was all he managed to stammer between his chattering teeth, before slipping heavily to the floor.
"What is going on?" Kirk roared at his desktop comms module as the yellow alert klaxons sounded through his quarters.
"We found a green knife in the Transporter Room, Captain," Lieutenant Sulu reported rapidly. "Security Yeoman Machow was found almost frozen to death outside airlock fourteen. We think there is an intruder."
"A green knife?" Maria repeated in sudden dread. "I must see it, Captain!"
Kirk stared back in confusion. "Why? I'm not letting you roam around my ship if there is something dangerous on it!"
"I'm in less danger than you," Maria argued. "I'm stronger and your weapons will barely hurt me. Please. I must see it!"
Slowly Kirk nodded. "Not before I have a security detail here," he demanded activating the communicator again.
"Mr Spock, bring a security team to my quarters. Immediate," he demanded quickly.
Fifteen minutes later, supported by a six man security detail, totting phasor rifles, Kirk, Spock and the Kryptonian woman arrived in the Transporter Room to examine the abandoned weapon.
It took Maria only one glimpse to recognise it. "It's the ceremonial dagger of Peolise," she gasped. "It's about the only thing that can kill us!"
"What do you mean?" Scot demanded picking it up to examine. "It just looks like an ornament. There is no edge."
"The blade. It's made of kryptonite," Maria gasped backing away from the engineer as he rejoined the party. "It does not need an edge. It is poisonous to us and burns where it touches."
Spock rejoined them and took the weapon from Scott's hand to examine with his tricorder. "Fascinating," he commented. "There are mild indications of Gamma and Zeta radiation, but there appears to be nothing dangerous. There are however some indications of blood where the weapon was discovered. It is not human."
"You should have chosen, Maria. There was no reason to involve the humans," a voice sounded from behind them, making them spin in alarm to find a pale faced Able. "I could have accepted Kane, possibly."
Three security guards fired at him instinctively and he staggered for a moment as the beams struck him. Then he took a step towards them.
"Adjust to maximum," Kirk snapped, adjusting and firing his own phasor. It had the same effect, though the Krptonian did grimace as he continued to step forward.
His first blow contacted with a security guard, lifting him clear of the ground and sending him clear to the opposite side of the room to contact the wall with a bone splintering crash. The second followed, before he was interrupted by a similar voice. "Kane, there is no need for this! This is our argument!"
Again all turned to find Able, his hand to his shoulder staunching the blood as it oozed green between his fingers. "We were always so competitive," he sighed facing his more evil twin. "Well we will sort our differences now little brother."
Two searing beams shot immediately from Kane's eyes, striking Able firmly in the chest. He staggered back a couple of steps, before he could bring his own heat vision to bare. They locked in an impasse as they moved closer to grip each other in bear hugs, gripping each other firmly around the lower spine.
The act was also an impasse, one that was broken as Able struck his brother firmly in the kidneys, breaking them apart. He followed with a simple uppercut, that had his brother flying across the room crashing into the transporter control console, dislodging it from its normally anchored position.
Kane picked himself up and hurled himself at Able, reining in a flurry of blows until he sank to his knees, until he could push him away again.
"Stop This AT Once!" Maria screamed in fury leaping between the two protagonists. "I won't marry either of you! I'm leaving. And if I ever see you again it will be too soon!"
She continued onto a transporter pad. "Please, Captain. Send me home now!" She demanded.
"Get them all off my Ship!" Kirk shouted.
Cautiously Scott stepped to and energised the displaced console.
"No!" Able screamed in anguish. "Not with that!" With a despairing lunge he threw Kane towards the transporter and dived towards the console. Too late. Kane propelled by his brothers shove, barged into Maria, throwing her from the pad upon which she stood and he was caught by the transport beam.
"No!" Able screamed again.
There was silence broken only by Ables laboured breathing as he sank to the ground, hiding his face in his hands. "It wasn't supposed to end like this!" He pleaded wretchedly. "I only wanted to persuade you to go home. Then Maria would have to make her choice, between Kane and me!"
"What wasn't?" Kirk demanded in confusion, the situation having quite left him behind.
"I took a part from the transporter mechanism," Able admitted sobbing quietly and producing a circuit board from his cloak. "I thought if you could no longer beam down to us, you would go. Then Maria would forget you and exploring ways."
"Scotty check the transporter," Kirk demanded.
"Aye, I don't need to do that, Captain," Scott responded immediately. "The circuit the blue lug pulled, was the one for the Heisenberg Compensators. Kane will have been deposited in more places than is right to think about."
"You sabotaged the Earth ship just to get me to stay and be your dutiful wife?" Maria screamed. "What about Able? He tried to kill you. Would you have done that to him as well? I was going to make my choice. But was just so difficult. I loved you both! Now.." She tailed off and marched out of the room, leaving all there looking sheepishly at each other.
Five minutes later there was a call from the Bridge. "Captain," Sulu's voice rang out. "A Kryptonian has just left the ship. I think it was a female, blue leotard, red skirt, cape and boots. Should we follow?"
For a moment Kirk thought. "Negative, Mr Sulu." Then turned towards the Kryptonian as he was being treated by Doctor McCoy.
"We'll treat you," he said quietly. "Then I think you had better go after her. All she wants is to be equal and have company."