Part two of a special story I’ve written to celebrate Star Trek’s fiftieth anniversary.
Jen Air: Frontier of Forever, Part Two
At age eleven, Tenley Tych encountered the ELF Queen, Titania.
The girl was changed, and her natural want to avenge her mother’s murder exploited by the Queen in order to gain access to the Crystal Eggs that would have enabled her to breed an army capable of conquering the entire Earth.
The Queen’s plans were thwarted by punk guitarist Kaya Cade, scientist and tinkerer Jennifer Airhart and, having grown to see Titania for what she was, Tenley Tych.
Today, she was watching Star Trek.
Peering at the TV screen, the bridge of her nose wrinkled as she asked, “why do the Klingons have a cloaking device?”
Tenley was being swallowed by the arm chair as Kaya, whose hair was a bright red and black today, lay across the sofa stuffing popcorn into her face and shrugging, “I don’t know. I think originally they traded with the Romulans for it, in exchange for ships.”
“But they’re supposed to be warriors. It’s not very honourable, is it? A sneak attack.”
“In war, nothing is more honourable than victory,” Kay explained, throwing some corn and watching it bounce off Ten’s head. “Anyway, why do you care about the Klingon’s fighting dirty? I thought this was, I quote, ‘a bunch of dumb space hippies fly around doing dumb stuff and then a lot of dumb talking about trying to fix the dumb stuff they screwed up earlier because they’re dumb.’”
“I was wrong,” Tenley sighed. “There’s a lot more dumb talking than I thought there would be.”
“Don’t you have schoolwork to do or something? Why are you annoying me? I’m just trying to relax here.”
“Right,” Tenley snorted. “Obviously you need a break from all the nothing that you do all the time.”
“Look who’s talking.”
“I’m a kid.”
“Touche,” Kaya conceded. “But isn’t Jen supposed to be teaching you stuff?”
“She’s outside, fiddling with some giant balls.”
“Oh,” Kaya nodded, unsure whether Tenley knew how that sounded. “But she’s missing Data stroke his cat. That’s not like her. We should probably see what she’s up to. You know, in case she’s making a bomb or something.”
“Probably,” Ten agreed, peering at the TV set and making no effort to move.
“Yeah,” Kaya stuffed some more popcorn into her mouth. “After the next episode we’ll go and take a look.”
About an hour later they stepped outside into the courtyard below the lighthouse. There were indeed metal balls strewn about among all sorts of other equipment, cables and boxes. Jennifer herself was stood up on top of a van adjusting the volume on the huge headphones covering her ears while holding up a pole attached to an antenna.
“Jen,” Kaya called up, but the little blonde woman seemed to not hear. “Jennifer,” she tried again more loudly, but with the same result. So one last time she yelled, “Jen Air!”
Jen looked around, suddenly startled until her eyes happened upon the two females standing below her. “Oh, um, g-good,” she awkwardly wrapped her elbow around the pole so she could glance at her watch. “Good morning, still. Yes.”
“Jen,” Kaya asked her friend as she clambered, “why have you turned the yard into a scrap heap? Didn’t you agree to do all your science projects indoors?”
“Exotic particles,” Jennifer said as if that somehow explained everything. “H-high energy pulses. I started detecting them last night and thought maybe I was picking up radiation from a black hole on the other side of the galaxy. But now it seems like they might be a lot closer. Can you please hold this?” She said as an aside to Tenley, handing her the pole which, although the girl was a little confused, she held aloft like someone bearing a banner.
“Well, that all sounds a bit worrying. How close?” Kaya asked.
“A few miles,” Jen answered, adjusting her headphones again.
Definitely a bit worrying. “But, uh… black holes, right? I mean I’m no expert, but from what I’ve seen on TV shows those are… those are pretty bad…”
“If this is coming from any black holes then I expect they’re microscopic, evaporating almost the instant after they form. But something must be creating them, for some reason… can you turn it a bit? Thank you.”
“But we’re in no danger? We’re not going to be all spaghettified and torn, like people’s brains after watching a Transformers movie?”
“Your brain will be no more spaghetti than usual,” Jen assured her as she knelt down to unfold a map across the gravelled ground, using some stones to hold the corners in place.
“So it won’t interfere anymore in our plans for today, right?”
“Plans?” Jen squinted up at Kay. “W-we have plans?”
“Well, sure we do. Don’t tell you forgot?”
“Today’s a very special day, Jen. We’ve been talking about it for weeks. Come on, you must remember!”
“Uhh… is it…” Jen squinted hard, trying to recall. “The first day of Ragnarok?”
“No, Jen,” Kaya exhaled, folding her arms over her chest. “It’s not the first day of Ragnarok. I don’t think so, anyway. I’m sure I’d have marked it in the diary if I knew that was coming. No, it’s the Science Fiction convention in town. Remember? You were hoping to get some of your old books signed.”
Jennifer looked down, sudden turning more pale. “There’ll… there’ll probably be a lot of people there…”
“Hundreds at least, I would say.”
“So, I doubt anyone would have time to sign anything for me, anyway, so…”
Kaya threw her hands up in frustration. “Awww, c’mon, Jen! Don’t wuss out now. And I’ll be there, and Sayuri, and Ten, and plenty of other people you know. It’ll be fine. Plus, you know a lot of those guys are going to be dead soon. You’ll probably never get another chance to meet them.”
“I guess,” Jen conceded reluctantly.
“So you’re coming?”
“I-I…” before Jen could formulate an answer, a cricket like chirping came from Kaya’s phone.
“Hang on,” the punk said, turning away and flipping it open. “Hey, Say! Yeah… we’ll be on our way soon. Jen’s just getting some jitters…” she said as she walked away a bit.
Tenley, still holding up the pole and slowly turning it, huffed. “I don’t see what all the fuss is about. It’s just a bunch of people who pretend to do stuff. Anyone can do that. I once spent an entire week pretending to be a princess.”
Jen, adjusting dials on her headphones and other nearby equipment, smiled slightly. “Did you have a prince?”
“Yeah,” The girl sighed. “I had him executed because he kept singing. It was annoying.”
“Well, anyway… I-I think there’s probably a little more to acting than just playing pretend.”
The girl tilted, her dark eyes squinting as she asked, “like what?”
“I-I… well, I don’t know, but,” fortunately Jen didn’t have to think of anything as she suddenly leant into her headphones. “Hold it there!” She told the girl. Checking the direction of the antenna, she then turned to the map and started nodding her head as she counted, beginning to trace a line from where they now were.
Meanwhile, Kaya had finished her phone call and wandered back. “Now Jen, let’s not have a big argument about this. You said you would come and I’m not gonna let you go back on your word.”
As was often the case, it wasn’t clear if the blonde was actually listening. She was staring at the map, her eyelids peeling back slightly. “Where is the convention being held?” She asked quietly.
“That new place,” Kaya said. “The Kosinski Centre, or something like that…”
“Where the ice rink used to be?”
“Yeah, that’s right. So anyway, I’m not going to have to drag you there, am I? Because you know I will…”
“Alright!” Jennifer suddenly sprang to her feet, tearing away the headphones. “Let’s go!”
Kaya was a little surprised and startled. “What, n-now?”
“What other time is there? And Sayuri’s waiting for us, right? So we’ll take the van. Let’s go!”
She rushed off, already opening the van door as Kay shook her head. “I don’t understand her sometimes.”
Tenley shrugged. “Maybe it’s not important to understand,” she said, dropping the pole. “Maybe what’s important is getting this whole thing over with so I can watch some TV that doesn’t suck.”