DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc. The story contents are the creation and property of Cheree Cargill and is copyright (c) 2001 by Cheree Cargill. This story is Rated PG.
THE SQUIRE OF GOTHOS: CONTINUUM
Stardate: 2125.0. First Officer Spock recording.
We have been on patrol for nine months now and the crew has settled in comfortably with each other. We have just passed the human "holiday season", which was reason for a good many of the crew to celebrate. I had the dubious privilege of observing the many religious and secular occasions held as sacred or traditional at this time of year.
In no particular order, there were observances of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Samhain, New Year's Day, Epiphany, Life Day, and a dozen others from various cultures represented in our crew. It was a fascinating look at Human sociology, but as a Vulcan I found most of them quite illogical. To a Vulcan, the turn of the year is simply the turn of a year. I suspect Humans use the occasions simply as an excuse to have a party and eat too much.
There was one curious tradition in which I almost found myself involved. It involved a sprig of parasitic weed dangling from a light panel and I soon discovered that the Captain and Dr. McCoy were doing their best to maneuver me under it. Lt. Uhura seemed to be involved in the proceedings, for she stood by watching me closely and with a decidedly wicked glint in her eyes. Suspecting foul play, I avoided the weed and made my exit soon thereafter, much to the obvious disappointment of all concerned.
I bring these parties up here in my personal log because of our most recent encounter with an alien life form. Before we began our journey across the star desert, we took on board Dr. Alton Fiorenzi, a Federation scientist on his way to a remote outpost in the Bonaci star group. He seemed to be at all the parties and partaking of every festivity, no matter the culture of its origin. At first, I dismissed him as a typical human who drank too much and spoke in too loud a voice. However, he sought me out and introduced himself and I soon learned that he is a fellow physicist with interests in common with mine. I was surprised to find that I enjoyed his company immensely. He is well traveled and we have spent a good deal of time discussing various topics of mutual interest.
All of the crew is well aware of the curious incident we have just endured regarding the very strange being who called himself Trelane. After a frustrating time of playing the prey in his game of cat and mouse, we are relieved to finally be on our way once more. I puzzled for quite a while on how to enter him into my official log and finally consulted the Captain.
His advice was to consider Trelane a "rather naughty small boy." Well, perhaps he was, for according to the Captain, it was only the intervention of Trelane's "parents" that freed us from his clutches. It seemed an unsatisfactory designation for such a powerful being, but apt in its own right.
Dr. Fiorenzi, however, related to me a second hand story that I find quite similar to our encounter with Trelane. We were speaking after dinner in the officer's mess, the discussion involving some of the strange worlds and peoples he had encountered during his travels in this sector. Over coffee and hot taraqil, he looked speculative and said, "You know, now that I think about it, I believe I've heard of beings that sound a whole lot like your Trelane."
"Indeed?" I replied, sipping my taraqil.
"About six months ago," he mused. "I was out on the border of Federation space near ... well, never mind what it was near. Can't say, in any case. Still classified, I think. Anyway, I ran into a caravan of Isokar merchants. Nice folks, the Isokar, if you can get used to their looks. Sort of arachnid in appearance. Very sharp traders but a lot of people don't like to deal with them. It unnerves some people to do business with six foot spiders. Doesn't bother me, though. I always liked spiders. Why, as a boy, I used to keep a pet tarantula in a terrarium--"
"Doctor, you were saying about the Isokar..." I interrupted him gently, steering him back to the subject. Dr. Fiorenzi was a brilliant scientist, but his largely solitary lifestyle tended to make him loquacious when he had a listening audience.
"Yes, yes." He stroked his beard thoughtfully. "Anyway, I asked them what they were doing in that sector and they told me they were looking for new business. It seems their chief client in that sector had recently had a downturn in fortune. They'd apparently offended their god and been punished by having all their crops blighted."
I raised an eyebrow. "A natural agricultural disaster is often interpreted by primitive people as a punishment from God."
"That was my first response, but this was different," Fiorenzi insisted. "This god wasn't a religious myth, according to the Isokar. It's a real being, extremely powerful and made of pure energy, who had taken control of the planet and its peoples."
"Indeed," I replied. "Interesting. However, it would not be the first time, I suppose, that a superior being has taken advantage of a less developed race by presenting itself as a deity."
Fiorenzi grunted. "No. It just struck me as very odd that this ship here should run into a being like that so soon after I'd heard about the other one. Did you happen to get the name of Trelane's race or species or place or origin?"
"Unfortunately, no. Only that he called the planet he'd commandeered 'Gothos'. Probably a fictitious name. Did the Isokar inform you of the name of this so-called 'god'?"
Fiorenzi pondered then answered, "Something short. It was hard to understand their word for it. 'Cue' or 'ko' or something like that. That might have just been their designation for it. Do you suppose it might be the same race as this Trelane?"
"Possible, though unlikely," I answered. "Trelane, after all, was not that powerful in the end, and he depended on a complex machine to maintain many of his powers."
"But you said he was just a juvenile," Fiorenzi pointed out. "I'd assume this other being was an adult ... with correspondingly higher power."
"Logical," I admitted. "I doubt that we shall ever know. Our course will take us nowhere near ... where you encountered the Isokar." As a high ranking officer, I was privy to some confidential information and I had an idea that Fiorenzi's mission had involved the Klingons. It fit the time frame, in any case.
We rose from our supper and carried our dishes to the recycler before exiting the mess hall. "Game of chess tomorrow night?" he asked as we prepared to part company.
"Yes, thank you, Doctor," I replied. "That would be most pleasant. After the glut of frivolous celebrations and needless social occasions of the past weeks, I am more than ready to return to a more sedate life style. I find being required to appear at human parties quite tiresome and completely illogical."
Fiorenzi laughed heartily and slapped me on the back, a gesture that I did not find at all pleasing, but which I knew from my years among humans was meant to represent camaraderie and good will.
We parted and I went to my cabin to meditate and then retire for the night.
First Officer's Personal Log; Supplemental
I add this note to my log even though I am not certain what I experienced was not a dream. I hesitate to report it officially because it was so fleeting and occurred under such questionable circumstances.
I had been asleep for a number of hours. My internal chronometer told me that it was 0427 when I was startled awake from a deep, heavy dream state, my subconscious sensing a presence beside me. My mind was still unresponsive in that instant of wakefulness and still surrounded by the dream world it had inhabited a scant second before.
Trelane was standing beside my bed, his whole body glowing as he stared down at me, his imperious expression as haughty as before. "I'm not through with your kind," he said to me. "I'll get you for what you did to me."
I struggled to get my tongue to work. "Trelane..." I began muzzily.
"My name is Q!" he snapped. "And I am a god! See that you remember it!"
I blinked and the room was immediately as dark and empty as it always was. No evidence of any presence or intruder remained. I lay back in my bed and rubbed a hand over my eyes. I was still groggy from being yanked from deep sleep and I dismissed the vision as simply a hypnogogic hallucination. A dream.
I do not think I will report this to the Captain. It is undoubtedly a remnant of taraquil interacting with something I ate for supper and the conversation I had with Dr. Fiorenzi just before bedtime.
I compose myself once more and close my eyes. It is still an hour and a half before I am schedule to rise. I try to sleep once more.