A short (6000 word) Tamerlane Story by G.S.Davis

“Do you want me to go with you?”

“Naw,” Angelica Bennett said as she slung her duffel over her shoulder, “It’s just a psych exam.  It’s not like they are going to probe me or something… and come to think of it, if they are going to probe me, I don’t know if I’d like you there, either.”

Julienne Cochrane settled her small frame in the chair at the desk, looking up at her friend.  “This is a little more than a psych exam… They took a new deposition from me two days ago.”

Bennett’s eyebrows rose slightly, “Really?” She smiled with a bemused look, “That must have been something.”

Cochrane raised a hand defensively, “Hey, I was just an observer.”

Bennett’s smile faded.  She looked at the smaller woman, her eyes warm, “No, Julie, you weren’t just an observer. Never think you were simply an observer.”

“Captain’s Log, Stardate 0542.2.  We are completing the scans of Normex 101911. Class D.  `Looks like it’s composed primarily of nickel, iron and a few trace elements.  Pretty much indicative of a typical Population II inner planet.  We’ll complete the mapping and move to Normex 101912 in the morning.”

Lieutenant Commander Victor Hanson tapped the recording stud gently and smiled at the viewscreen. The dusty gray rock spun lazily below his ship as her scanners and cameras diligently snapped pictures and took readings of the small moon-like planet.

This felt so very right to the older man. He had worked hard to get this billet.  It was like Zen meditation to him, the methodical and regular pursuit of knowledge.  Here he was, performing true science.

A yeoman walked onto the bridge bearing a platter with a cup of coffee, he nodded in thanks to the yeoman and took the coffee from the platter. He stood and stepped down to the forward helm podium.

“Something is coming at us… at Warp one.”

Ensign Angelica Bennett, a short woman with stunning green eyes and mousy-brown hair, manned the forward science station. Sensing the captain behind her, she stifled a yawn.

            “I know you too well to think you’re bored,” Captain Hanson said as he handed her a cup of coffee, “You okay?”

            Bennett took the warm cup with a grateful smile, “I’m fine, sir. I just had trouble sleeping last night.”

            “Ah, you were working late, were you?” Hanson patted her on the back.

            “I wish! No, sir, just your normal, run of the mill insomnia.  Tossed and turned all night.”

            Hanson grimaced sympathetically, “I have insomnia whenever we’re in port.” He patted the junior officer affectionately on the shoulder, “So, anything new to talk about out there?”  He looked at the shrinking gray sliver on the screen, the orbit of the ship taking them into the inky black dark-side.

            She took a sip of the coffee and gathered her thoughts for a second, “It’s a wonderful class D world. I see some exquisite cratering patterns.  It’s clear to me that this world has had a molten core in its recent past, maybe even a good solid whack from a large planetary body like another moon or asteroid.”

            Hanson’s brow furrowed.  “That’s strange. So, the core’s cool now?”

            Bennett shrugged, “I guess so. I’m not seeing any activity from the…”

            The alert light in the center of the helm began to beep suddenly, stunning Bennett into silence. Lieutenant Garrison at the helm looked at the light as if it had just suddenly materialized on the console.

            Hanson turned his attention to the Lieutenant, “Jim?”

Garrison snapped out of it and quickly recovered his equilibrium, “I, um, sorry sir.”  He pushed buttons on the console, pulling up the report, “Something is coming at us… at Warp one.”

            Bennett’s brow furrowed, “Warp one? Nothing natural travels at…”

Harrison returned to the center seat, “Red alert, people.”  He sat down and crossed his legs. “Raise our deflector screens. Sally, Try to hail them.”

Behind Harrison, Sally Smith, a tall, lanky blond woman with a no-nonsense demeanor, turned to her controls. Nimble fingers tapped out commands, “This is the Federation Science Vessel Diana to incoming ship.  We are non-hostile.  Can you read us?”

The red alert klaxon began its driving, climbing wail, a very alien sound on the normally placid bridge of the Diana.

Things were happening so fast.  Bennett turned to her computer, looking over the reports coming in from the enhanced sensors at the small Scout’s disposal. Nothing made sense: It was clearly moving at more than twice c. The sensors showed the object heavily blue shifted and she could clearly see the weird halo effect from when an object breaks Einstein’s laws of physics. But she couldn’t see any power signatures, nor a defined warp field.  Even the spectrograph showed only a single, heavy element… like it was an ordinary asteroid… except that it was moving at warp one.

What was that thing?

“It’s not on a collision course with us, sir,” Garrison reported, looking closely into his scanner, “But it’s going to be close, within 10,000 Kilometers of us.”

Harrison’s brow furrowed, “Ensign?”

Bennett looked over her data again.  “I can’t exactly tell you what it is, but I can tell you what it isn’t: It’s not a ship of any kind. I can’t see any warp propulsion, Ion or Impulse.  There are no energy readings, and it seems to be composed entirely of a heavy element, Thorium 232.”

Hanson’s head snapped to Bennett, “Fissile?”

Realization dawned on Bennett, Thorium, like Uranium and Plutonium was fissile, meaning it could create nuclear fission.

Hanson took action. “Sally, send out a distress signal, Garrison, get us out the hell out of here.”

When an object running at a high-speed strikes another, larger object, all of the kinetic energy put into that object to make it go fast is transferred to the larger object as energy, usually heat.  The faster the object, the hotter it becomes.

When an object is travelling at warp speeds, however, the laws of physics -already being bent- are broken altogether.  All of these thoughts crossed Bennett’s mind as she watched the superluminal asteroid strike the small gray world.

The first few seconds were unnaturally still. Then an unbelievably bright light, like the dawning of a new day, sprang from the limb of the world as the unnatural amount of kinetic energy was suddenly released.

That was when the fabric of reality around the planet began to break down. It takes all the energy in the universe to reach the speed of light, but Warp technology took an end run around that limitation. But when the subatomic world interacts directly with the Laws of Thermodynamics, distortions are bound to occur.  Bennett distantly heard Garrison say, “Our warp field just collapsed!”

It was only a few seconds later when the cold core of Normex 101911 woke again for a short rebirth, suddenly invigorated by the energy of a million galaxies. It’s life, however, was brief, and the crust of the little world shattered like a crystal globe.

The last word Bennett heard on the bridge was Hanson ordering more power to the shields.

“Captain’s Log, Stardate 0542.2.  We are closing in on the Normex system, to relieve and escort the Diana who has been on station in the system for 10 days. Tensions are running higher in this part of town and we’ve been asked to…”

“Skipper! I’m getting a distress call!”

Captain John Parker spun around in his chair to look at his communications officer.  The other officer listened for a second longer in his earpiece, his mouth becoming grimmer, “It’s the Diana.”

Parker shook his head.  “Set condition red throughout the ship and sound General Quarters.”  He tapped the communications stud, “Engineering, engage military power.”

The tinny voice in the small grille on the arm of the chair replied, “Aye sir, Military Power engaged. Engines are at 150% and at your disposal.”

Parker settled back in his chair as a pair of MACO’s entered the bridge, taking their positions by the turbolift doors. “Helm: Warp 8, please. Tactical: Estimated time to arrival?”

The tall brunette turned from her scanner at the tactical station, “We’ll be at the signal contact in 48 seconds, Skipper.”

“Load torpedo tubes one and two and charge all phaser banks. Mister Carter, open a channel to the Diana.”

“I have the signal carrier on my board, skipper, but no response from my hail.” Carter said with a shrug.

Captain Parker stood up and faced the forward viewscreen, “We’ll take what we can get, I guess.  Patch me through.” He waited until he heard the click of an open channel. “This is Captain John Parker of the USS Mars.  We have received your distress call and we are on an intercept course now.  If you can hear me, please respond.”

“Transporter rooms and shuttle bays, prepare to take on survivors. Medical, prepare for wounded.”

All of the crew watched the streaking stars on the viewscreen intently. Parker never really noticed how loud the noise of the bridge was until it invaded the horrible silence that stretched on.


“Mister Jenkins?” Parker turned to the woman at Tactical.

“I’m getting updated sensor readings from the Normax system now, sir:  a number of targets surround the Diana.  I’m reading something in the order of 4 times 10 to the 14th targets.”

Parker’s eyes widened inadvertently, “Debris?”

The brunette nodded, “Massive debris… like a planet.”

“The Diana?”

“I have the contact beacon, but no telemetry.  I can’t tell what her condition is at this point. That said, she’s travelling with the debris, not against it, and she’s moving pretty fast.”

“But no way of knowing if she’s dead-stick or not?”

“Not yet, sir.”

Parker turned back to face the screen, his face grim. At length he pushed the stud on his chair, “Transporter rooms and shuttle bays, prepare to take on survivors. Medical, prepare for wounded.”

Lieutenant Julienne Cochrane placed her coffee cup on the table behind the transporter console. With a certain fluidity, she toggled on the power to the console.  The colorful telltales lit up and began blinking as they ran through their own self-diagnostics.  Another routine day for Mars’ transporter room 1.

The young lieutenant had been in the mess hall when she was called to her battlestation, she had no real idea what was going on. Probably, she mused, just another drill.  Well, she wasn’t about to be caught flat-footed, so she made sure her console was in tip-top shape.


The creaking and moaning of the bridge alarmed Bennett.  She had felt her stomach lurch a number of times as the grav-plates faltered and then reasserted themselves.  Diana was slowly dying.  She had been alone on the bridge ever since Ensign Hadley bolted out a few minutes ago.  Bennett guessed he had run to the escape pods and, along with a few others, chose to attempt to abandon ship.

Bennett turned and glanced at the body of Captain Hanson, crushed under a bridge beam.  Without him, many people chose to abandon the ship, even though she suspected the escape pods stood even less of a chance of survival in the sand storm going on outside the ship.

Bennett couldn’t blame them, really.  They were scientists, and the Diana herself really didn’t have much left in her.  Every minute a rock or stone or a mountain moving at a phenomenal speed would strike her failing shields and deflectors.  The primary shields failed ten minutes ago, and the deflectors were barely working now.  She could see a certain drive toward getting out of here.

She watched her dimming science scanner as it gave her what little data it could about the massive chunks of world that surrounded the ship.  She drew what little power was left in the batteries and activated the tractor beam one more time, pushing against a massive mountain of molten rock and buying the Diana one more minute.

Diana moaned again. The bridge had been struck early on.  It was the blow that killed the captain. The roof of the bridge was bent in a way that was completely unnatural. She knew that emergency force fields were all that was holding most of the ship -like the bridge- together. Those fields were in place all over the ship.

Those fields were drawing off of the failing batteries, too. She knew it was only a matter of time.

She had pondered what it would be like -here- at the end of her life.  She kinda thought she would be more scared.  But she wasn’t.  She just kept trying to read her scanner and use the weak tractor beam to push things away from the ship. In a way it was better this way.  She was in control of her own destiny.  She thought about Hadley, putting his trust in a two meter can, tossed into a maelstrom of molten rock and debris. She could imagine his last moments in that pod, being tossed around violently like a rag doll and then…

Well, she wasn’t going to make it, either, but at least she was at the wheel when things went down.  Maybe that was what was important about death; are you in charge when it happens or not?

There was a snapping sound, like branches underfoot.  Bennetts ears popped: The pressure changed.  So, this was it.  This was really it.  It wasn’t going to be painless, but maybe it would be quick.

She wrapped her arms around the helm console, locking her fingers under the console and hugging the panel as tightly as she could.  Maybe if she was lucky, she wouldn’t get impaled on ragged debris.

A tearing sound, like paper being ripped tore through the bridge.  The sound then became tinny and distant, almost like the torn paper flew away suddenly. Bennett squeezed her eyes shut and opened her mouth.  Her lungs collapsed as the air was taken from her in a split second. Her grip gave way and she felt herself falling free.  Within seconds a pain like she had never experienced before lanced though her arms and legs.  Her blood was boiling away.  She couldn’t scream, but she wanted to so badly.  It was taking forever for her to die… and she wanted it to end, now.

Maybe Ensign Hadley had the right idea.

Transporter room one, MAE WEST! 209 mark 4!” Came the call through the intercom.

Mae West? Thought Cochrane, A person adrift in space?  She moved quickly to set the targeting scanners to the coordinates sent by the bridge.  A Mae West was a really hard procedure: grabbing a two-meter object drifting in space within a 25 second window.  It was pretty much the hardest thing a transporter tech could ever have to do.  If this was a drill, they had it in for her.

The targeting scanners resolved the picture and Cochrane’s heart sank.  It was a saucer of a Federation ship. She could clearly see the battered hull and wreckage.

 Somewhere in there were people, being ejected into space.

This wasn’t a drill.  This was real.

Sweat beaded on her forehead as she swept the scanners across the battered hull, disregarding anything that was the right size but wrong composition.  Quickly she identified a target, set the pattern buffers and pulled the sliders to energize the coils.

The shower of golden glitter resolved on the pad, consolidating into a humanoid form. But it was clear that the figure forming on the pad was no longer with us, her eyes were gone, sunken into her skull and her dark, mottled skin was like parchment.  The head was arched back in rigor, mouth open in an eternal scream and the hands were splayed. As the beam let go, the body toppled, dead-weight, off of the pad.

Cochrane moved fast, resetting the buffers and coils. She swept the hull again.  The containment fields of the ship were completely down, the clock was already ticking, and the complete cycle of the transporter could only be scraped down to 19 seconds at best.  

She locked into one more target, she slammed the controls to lock the scanners, and yanked down as hard as she could on the coil sliders. The familiar trill of the coils charging responded and the pad once again lit up with a column of golden light.

Like before, the woman on the pad looked like she was already gone.  Her head was thrown back in a scream and her arms and legs were shriveled.  But the beam let her go and she took a ragged breath.

Then the woman on the pad screamed and began to curl up into a ball.

“Medical emergency, Transporter one!”

She couldn’t activate the transporter while the woman was on the pads, so she ran around the console and went to the woman’s side.  She cradled the woman’s head, looking at her.  She was in horrible shape, her arms and legs looked like sticks, completely desiccated, blood pooled from her left eye and ran down onto Cochrane’s leg.

It was only seconds before the door to Transporter One hissed open and a tall, lanky doctor and two medical techs entered the room leading a stretcher. They lifted the crumpled woman out of Cochrane’s lap and placed her gently on the stretcher. She no longer screamed, but now simply whimpered.

Cochrane watched in shock as the stretcher was pulled away from the pads.

“Prep her for surgery!” The Doctor called to the techs.  He turned to Cochrane as the stretcher disappeared around the corner.  “Lieutenant, we’re sorry we couldn’t here earlier.  It’s a mess out there.”  He smiled at her and nodded to the corpse on the floor.  “We’ll come back for the other one in a few minutes.”

He paused for a moment, misreading the look on her face, he added, “Hey, don’t worry.  You actually got one!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone actually get a “Mae West” before.” He patted her on the shoulder. “You are a genuine hero!”

Cochrane looked at the doctor once again, almost as if she hadn’t understood what he said. “Will she be okay?”

The smile on the doctor’s face faded, he looked intently at Cochrane, “Lieutenant, you’re in shock.”

“Now hear this!” The intercom broke in, “All hands stand by for warp speed!”

The doctor nodded to Cochrane. “You’ve seen enough for one day. You’re off duty for 24 hours- try to get some rest.”  He waited for Cochrane to nod that she understood and then he bolted through the door.

Cochrane went over to the console, shut down the transporter and secured the system for warp speed.  Her hands moved by themselves.  Later, she wouldn’t even remember if she shut the system down or not.

The Mars was deft and agile.  The distortions in space and time had healed themselves enough that the destroyer gained ground and projected a normal warp field.  She cleared the newly born asteroid field and left the system in quick order. 

Deep in the middle of the saucer of the ship, in her quarters, Cochrane lay on her bed. She had showered and cleaned off the blood, but the woman on the transporter pad still stayed with her.

Sickbay on a destroyer is small and cramped. Part of Shuttlebay 1 had been converted into a triage area.  Cochrane wove her way around the Mars’ medical personnel and some MACO medical technicians.  She found a nurse looking over a PADD.

“Excuse me, could you tell me where the “Mae West” is?”

The Nurses eyebrows rose slightly, “Mae W… OH! You mean the one we got from hard vacuum! She’s pretty popular.” She nodded in the direction of a group of curtains.  “In section alpha, #24, over there.  You were the tech that got her, weren’t you?”

Cochrane nodded.

“You’re pretty hot stuff!” She grinned at Cochrane, “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone being captured from hard vacuum before.”

“I… Um… Thank you.” Cochrane didn’t know what else to say.  She excused herself politely and went to the far corner of the shuttlebay where small sterilizing force-fields clipped and hummed around old-fashioned curtains to make little medical cubicles.  Outside #24 stood a MACO, armed. Cochrane looked at him and her brow furrowed.

“Private?” She asked the MACO, “Is she a prisoner?”

The MACO looked puzzled for a moment then smiled, “No, sir. She was the only bridge officer left alive, that makes her acting captain.  Protocol requires a guard outside the captains’ quarters, sir.”

“Can… can I go visit her?” Cochrane asked.

“Oh! Yes, sir! But I’m not sure she’s awake.”

“I guess I just want to check in on her.”

“Makes sense, sir. I would certainly want to in your shoes.” He grinned again, stepping aside so she could make her way through the curtain.

Almost half of a person’s mass is in their extremities, the arms and legs. When Cochrane looked at the tiny figure in the medical bed, she almost cried out in spite of herself.  The small brown-haired woman had regained her color, and her left eye was bandaged, but her arms and legs were completely missing. Of her brown hair, she could only see tufts sticking out from the bandages.  Cochrane couldn’t help but notice just how small she was, so amazingly small.

“That bad, eh?” a small voice said from the bed, snapping Cochrane out of her reverie.

“I’m… I’m sorry.” She said as she walked to the bed. “You have one thing going for you: You look a whole lot better than when you were on my transporter pad.”

The woman smiled weakly, “Good… I guess. I’m Ensign Angelica Bennett.”

“Lieutenant Julie Cochrane.”

“I’m not sure… do I call you sir or ma’am?” Bennett asked weakly.

“On a destroyer it’s “sir”… but aren’t you called “Captain”?” Julie tilted her head, “I’m not sure what the protocol is in that matter. Maybe we should just call each other “Birdie” and see what strange looks we get.”

Bennett laughed.  It was weak, but it was heartfelt. Cochrane smiled at her.

“You are the first person I’ve met so far that hasn’t treated me either like I was going to die or that I had risen from death.”

“I have a hard time doing what all the other cool people do.”

Cochrane returned to shuttlebay 1 every day for the next week.  It was clear that Bennett’s body was getting better, but it was also becoming even more clear that her mind was not.  Not only was the young woman understandably depressed, but she seemed to have trouble remembering things from time to time.

” She has suffered extensive damage to her frontal lobe and her prefrontal cortex.” Doctor Williams said late one evening as Cochrane was leaving the makeshift ICU.   “We are doing what we can to stave off the necrosis, but I don’t know how much we will lose before we get back to Starbase 29 and can get her into a proper medical center.”

“Does this mean she is going to die?” Cochrane asked quietly.

“I think we can safely keep her alive until we reach the Starbase, but there may be changes:  She will start to lose memories.” His mouth turned into a thin line as he went through the side effects in his brain.  “There could even be personality changes. We just can’t know at this point.  The good news is that the Jupiter institute has approved a set of mechanical replacement limbs for her which will be waiting for her when we get to the Starbase.”

Cochrane looked at the deck plating for a moment. “What will you need me to do?” She asked, looking the doctor in the eye.

Williams shrugged.   “Do your best to keep her smiling and happy. It’s the best any of us can do at this time.”

Cochrane returned to her quarters.  For 15 minutes she stood in the shower, letting the doctor’s words run over her head like the water from the tap.  What would it be like to have gone through what Bennett had gone through?  Was there anything Cochrane could have done differently?  Could she had cycled the transporter faster?  What of she had locked on to Bennett first and not the corpse?  Despite the logical part of her brain telling her over and over that it wasn’t her fault, her heart grew heavier with guilt as she watched the other woman slip further away.

Everyone has an agenda with her

Lying on the bed, Cochrane continued to beat herself up over Bennett’s condition. She kept replaying the scene in her head. Thankfully, Cochrane’s self-reproach was cut short as the PA system came to life.  “Now hear this: Lieutenant Cochrane, to the captain’s office.”

Slowly Cochrane lifted herself from her bed and got dressed.

Captain Parker squinted at Cochrane as she stood before his desk.  “Julie, you look like hell.”

“Thank you, sir. I have always wanted to start a trend, this seemed like a good one.”

“Well, at least you sound normal,” He picked up a padd and looked it over. “First of all, brace yourself, lieutenant, they’re going to give you an award for your outstanding performance last week. Yeah, roll your eyes, that won’t make it go away. Second: about Captain Bennett, Doctor Williams tells me that she’s losing her memory quickly.  I really need to find out what happened back there – the Diana is… Well, she’s too far gone to get a clear picture.”

Cochrane grimaced. “Everyone has an agenda with her.”

Parker looked at Cochrane for a moment, then he nodded in understanding.   His voice was gentle.  “Julie, she is a Starfleet officer.  She knows her duty.  This is nothing more than I’d ask of you… Or have you ask of me.”

“Its…” Cochrane started, then faltered.

“Go ahead, lieutenant. You’ve never held back before.”

“I can’t seem to vocalize it.   It’s almost like we don’t see her as a human.”

Parker nodded again, a smile developing across his face.  “Okay, here’s what I want you to do.   Take care of her, treat the human. Let’s take you off normal duty for the next seven days.  Consider my request for information secondary, but a strong secondary, please.”

Cochrane nodded but she still looked troubled.

“There really isn’t any kind of pep talk that I can give you to help you work you way through this, lieutenant. I can tell you that it will get better.”  He made a shooing gesture. ” Okay, off you go.”

Cochrane gave him a brief smile and left his office.

            “Your Captain Parker has been down here a couple of times today.  Nice guy.  Is he married? I mean, I’m a captain now too, right?” Bennett shrugged a little, one of the few things she could actually do.

Cochrane smiled at her. “ I actually don’t know, I think so… but I don’t hear him talking a lot about women… maybe he doesn’t like women?”

Bennett nodded.  “Yeah, that would pretty much wipe out my chances.”

They both sat in bemused silence for a while, then Bennett whispered, “I can still feel them.  My arms and legs.  I still feel them, but it’s like they won’t move, they won’t respond.”  Tears formed in her eye, her voice became quicker, rising in volume, “Sometimes I wake up and I’ve forgotten that I lost them.  I panic because I think someone is holding me down.  I am losing my mind, I have forgotten so many things! I can’t even remember what my mother looked like!  I keep having horrible nightmares: I dream that I’m in a box and I can’t move… I… I freak out… I wake up and… and… and I’ve wet myself…”

Bennett began to sob, the horrible sounds of a woman who has finally broken.  Cochrane leaned over and wrapped her arms around Bennett. For many minutes they stayed like that, Bennett crying the last of her grief out on Cochrane’s shoulder.  Finally Bennett stopped crying and began to regain her composure.

“Okay,” Bennett whispered hoarsely, “Okay… You have to write everything down for me, because in a few days I won’t remember who I am.  You have to be my memory before that is taken from me as well.”

Cochrane let the other woman go gently and laid her back on the bed. She nodded and reached for a Padd that was lying on the table by her bed.

“I’m Angelica Bennett.  I was born on Earth in Paris, near Le Palais des Congrès de Paris…”

The hours passed quickly as Julie Cochrane listened to Bennett tell her life’s story.  She detailed every memory, everything that drove her into science and then into Starfleet.  She detailed her loves, her losses.

At some point Cochrane began to realize that she was hearing the testimony of a human life as it left forever.

Days passed, and Bennett’s testimony became more scattered, more disjointed. As the neurons in her brain slowly degenerated, she began to forget things.  Cochrane helped her piece together what she could, but it was clear she was losing her mind.


The approach to Starbase 29 was clear and uneventful, the Mars pulled into a smart orbit around the planet and then lined up with the large station. Bennett was among the most critical and as soon as the Mars was in transporter range, Bennett was wheeled into Cochrane’s transporter room.

Julie powered up her console and then walked over to the gurney. Bennett looked at her and smiled.

“I remember you, Julie.” She said simply.

“And don’t forget me, either! I’ll be checking up on you from time to time.  You have to keep me up to date with how your new arms and legs workout!”

A puzzled look played across Bennett’s face.  “I get to have arms and legs again?”

Cochrane brushed back a shock of quickly graying hair on Bennett’s forehead. “Yes. Yes you will.”

The doctor placed a gentle arm on Cochrane’s shoulder, indicating that it was time to go.  Cochrane took her place behind the console and reset the buffers for transport.  Once the gurney was on the pads and Doctor Williams had retreated, she connected the transporter carrier signal to Starbase 29 and pulled the sliders that energized the transporter coils.

Bennett was replaced slowly by golden sparkles of light, dancing over her small body like fireflies. The sparkles consumed the woman and the gurney and then retreated, leaving an empty chamber.

Doctor Williams stood next to Cochrane, “You have a busy day ahead of you.  Are you okay?”

Cochrane smiled, looking at the chamber, “No. But I’ll be okay. Today… well, today I’ll survive.”

Williams patted the small woman on the shoulder again and walked out the door.

It’s a cracked reflection

Commander Julienne Cochrane walked into the Tamerlane’s transporter room just as the golden sparkles resolved into the familiar figure of her first officer.

            “Well, it took you long enough.” Cochrane teased as Bennett walked down from the platform.”

            “I had to stop at the gift shop and buy you candy,” Bennett said earnestly.


            “I also had to stop at a coffee shop and eat the candy I bought you. I had to make sure it wasn’t poisoned,” Bennett added calmly as she hefted her overnight bag over her shoulder.

            “Ah, well thank you.” Cochrane said as the two women walked out of the transporter room and headed for Bennett’s quarters.

            “It’s what we first officers have to do, you see. Testing for poisons was one of our first classes at the academy.”  She furrowed her eyebrows. “Great class, lots of candy…”

Cochrane laughed in spite of herself.

            The door to Bennett’s quarters hissed open as she approached and they both went inside.  Bennett placed her bag on the bed and dropped into the chair beside her bed.

            “Okay, you’ve been unusually quiet this entire time, what’s going on?” she said to her captain.

            “I was doing a little housecleaning and I found that diary we wrote together right after the accident on the Diana.”

            “Aha! See? I knew you had something on your mind.  I’m getting so much better at this “Read the captain like a book” thing.”

            “Angie, do you want to ever read it?” Cochrane sat down on the foot of the bed.

            “Does it help you figure out who destroyed that moon?”

            “No, not really. You said a little about what happened, but…”

            “Does that Angie even sound like me?”

            Cochrane laughed.

            “So, why would I need to see it? It’s a cracked reflection, a warped representation of who I am now.”

            “Are you saying that Angie Bennett is dead?”

            “No, not at all, I’m saying that Angie Bennett has changed. Grown up, or something like that.  I’m not dead, I’m different.”

            “What should I do with your diary?”

            “Julie, you are thinking that diary is mine.  It’s not.” She stood up and placed a hand on Cochrane’s shoulder.  “It’s yours.”

            “Okay, sometimes you don’t make sense… but this time? You are just…”

            Bennett knelt down next to Cochrane and looked up at her, “Julie, you were in a sucky place. Really bad. You regretted not saving my legs and arms, not getting to me earlier.  You wanted so bad to save me.”

Do you want to Remember?

Cochrane’s eyes widened, “So… you… “

            Bennett shook her head, “Julie, I remember floating in space, the Diana drifting away from me.  I remember the boiling of my own blood in my veins, I remember the immense pain as little bubbles popped under my skin. I was going to die slowly and very painfully. To me, you saved me the moment that transporter beam locked on.  In that medical ward, I wanted to die again.  I was plotting my own death and you popped in and told me stupid jokes and made me laugh.  So you saved me twice.

“But typical Julie Cochrane, you don’t believe it unless you can hold it in your hands…”

            “So… wait… you saved me?” Julie whispered.

            Bennett stood up.  “Oh I wouldn’t go that far.  We are nowhere near even yet, Skipper-sir.”

            Julie found a tear rolling down her cheek, she wiped it away absentmindedly, “So what do I do with it now?”

            “Oh, I’d keep it if I were you.” Bennett started to unpack her bag. “It’s certainly something worth remembering.”

            “Do you want to remember?”

            “Naw. For captains and such, the past is a vital key to the future. For us security-types, we just need to know where you want us pointing the kill-y-things.”


Admiral Jenkins and Admiral Smith-Harper sat across from each other at the long, wooden table in the Gardner room of Starfleet Command.  Outside the large ovoid windows, the city of San Francisco bustled on with its everyday tasks, blissfully unaware of what was going on inside.

            “That’s the last deposition, sir. Commander Bennett was the only person who survived that actually saw the projectile itself.” Smith-Harper was a tall, thin woman with dark skin, short-cropped brown hair and piercing black eyes.

            “Does it match the profile?” Jenkins was her diametric opposite, rotund and sporting a gray beard and matching white hair, lines etched his face.

            Smith-Harper’s face fell and she nodded. “The damage to GR-10112 is consistent with the damage on Normex 101911.”

Jenkins looked back at the reports, the gravity of the situation settling in on his shoulders. So it wasn’t an accident or a fluke.  It was intentional.

            After a moment, Smith-Harper stood up, “I’ll start stepping up the alert status.”

            Jenkins nodded.

            Smith-Harper nodded and left the room, leaving Jenkins alone with his thoughts.

            We’ve faced this before, and we will face it again.