Jen Air: Frontier of Forever, Part Eleven

Continuum-ing a special Star Trek inspired story to celebrate the show’s fiftieth anniversary.  Fandom Wars!

Part OnePart TwoPart Three Part FourPart FivePart SixPart Seven Part EightPart NinePart Ten

Jen Air: Frontier of Forever, Part Eleven

In the hall there was a great deal of murmuring.  News of the raptor attack had spread fast and many wondered loudly just what the hell they were going to do now.  Still others insisted that they were all the victims of either some kind of elaborate prank, government experiment, or hallucinogens had contaminated the food or air.  Kaya had no doubt that one of these would become the cover story if… when they returned.  They just had to all hold together until then.

“I’m sure there are people doing all they can to fix all this,” one Star Fleet officer was urging people.  “We just have to stay calm and wait.”

But a nearby Jedi scoffed.  “Why?  Is that what Picard would do?  I expect you want to go out there and debate the dinosaur to death.”

“And what do you want to do?  Whack it with your plastic light-saber?” The officer scoffed back.  “Grow up.”

“It’s got to be better than sitting around here.  It’s obvious they’re keeping us here to experiment on us.  I say we force them to open the doors and let us out!”

Little arguments like that were starting to happen everywhere.  Kaya feared it would only be a matter of time before someone took it too far, so she spoke quietly into her radio.  “Will?  Are you back in the power room?”

He answered, “aye.”

“I need power to the amps in the hall.  Just for a minute.”

As she headed for the stage, another argument was taking place.  A Harley was hunched over a plastic bag when a Black Widow approached and saw what she was doing.  The agent’s hand whipped out, clamping around the clown’s wrist.  “What the hell are you doing?” She demanded as Harley glared angrily back at her.  “Are those snacks?  We’re supposed to hand over all the food and drink so that it can be rationed!”

“Hey!” The clown jumped up and pushed.  “Back off Red, these are mine!  I paid for them and I ain’t sharing!”

“You dumb bi…” a brief, hair pulling catfight broke out between them.  It was cut short, no doubt to many people’s disappointment, by a great electronic roar.  Everyone in the hall covered their ears in an effort to stop their brains from escaping.

Kaya had just decided to turn everything up to eleven, and now she was sure she had everyone’s attention she let the guitar hang and addressed them.  “You all want to know what’s happening?  Fine.  Here’s the deal – some crazy science guy built a machine that vibrated us into another dimension.  Now, people are working to solve the problem but until they do we just have to kick back and relax here.  If you try to go outside, you’ll die, and probably take everyone else with you.”

“What about the dinosaur?” Someone asked.

“That’s… a little harder to explain.  But so long as we all stick together, it’ll be okay.”

“This is crazy,” a pineapple headed alien declared.  “Why are we listening to this punk?  She isn’t one of us!”

Kaya had no idea what was meant by that, but whatever… she decided to run with it.  “That’s right,” she gasped, hopping down from the stage.  “I’m not.  In fact, I was a bully in school.  I beat up dorks like you.  Took their pocket money, humiliated them… oh, I was an expert in making lives hell,” she explained, a wide circle forming around her as everyone fearfully backed away.  “I like to think I’ve grown into a more reasonable person hough.  But, if any of you dweebs pisses me off by acting dumb now, I will twist your nipples so hard your eyes and brains and everything will burst out.”

“T-that’s,” a Vulcan stammered nervously, “not physically possible…”

“You wanna find out, space elf?” Kaya asked, gently clipping his head.  “Well do you?”

He whimpered, “n-no…”

“All right then.  Now, if anyone has a problem, complaint, or question, you can take it either to me or Doctor Sarkis.  Understood?” Most of them nodded.  “Now, find something to do.  Play games, write fan fiction… whatever.”

“Ohh!” Sayuri jumped into the circle.  “Maybe, we can have a competition.  Anyone can write a short story or poem and we’ll read them out and vote for what ones we like best.”

There was one voice who grumbled.  “Why’s it got to be a competition?  Can’t we all just celebrate each…” he trailed off, catching a cold stare from Kaya.  “I mean… sure.  Fine.  Whatever.”

*****

“It’s getting bad,” Kaya said over the radio as Jennifer listened.  “Sayuri’s trying to keep everyone occupied, but there’s still a lot of tension down here.  The season one Buffy fans are refusing to even talk to the other seasons anymore.”

“You’re… joking, right?” Jennifer had to check.  It sounded ridiculous, but she’d seen even more ridiculous arguments on the internet resulting in insults and personal attacks.  It couldn’t happen here though.  Could it?

She heard the by now too familiar mocking laugh of Sturgeon.  “Your friend may be engaged in hyperbole, but I expect she’s not far from the truth.  In desperate times humanity’s true nature is exposed, after all.”

Jen peered over, and asked, “what do you mean?”

“You’ve led a very sheltered life haven’t you, Miss Airhart?” He said.  Jennifer’s eyes dilated as she was unsure if she’d told him her full name, or how could know that much about her.  “Yes, I know who you are.  Your father was practically a celebrity within our corporation, and I read all the reports about the incident with Stag Corp.  Also I saw how you reacted when you heard about the verbal abuse toward Doctor Sarkis.  Pale, sick… but you see I doubt she or anyone else was that surprised or appalled.  When it comes down to it, we’re a fearful, tribal species.”

“These people have reason to be afraid,” Jen sighed.  “If we can’t reverse what you’ve done, then we’ll all die here.”

“Yes, but how will they die?  Monsters?  Starvation?  Or will they all kill each other?  It’s just so ingrained into the human psyche.  The desire to hate anything different from themselves.  There’s no future where humanity travels to stars, united… the only way that could come about is through the subjugation of all individuality and free will.  You can teach people that it’s wrong to hate because of skin, or gender, or sexuality… it doesn’t matter.  They’ll just go out find more petty divisions and stupid things to fight about.”

“That’s a rather cynical attitude,” Jennifer pointed out.

“Oh, is it?” Sturgeon mocked sarcastically.  “Oh, well then I’m sorry.  I take it all back.”

Jennifer calmly sat in a chair and turned it to face him.  “You… don’t hate imagination,” she said as if thinking out loud.  “How could you?  You’re a scientist… or rather were.  To conceive of and build a device like yours not only required tremendous intelligence and knowledge, but great imagination.”

“Flattery will get you nowhere, dear, but I like it.  Go on.”

“You can’t have always been this way.  There must have been a time when you hoped your skills could improve the world.  But then something happened that left you so hollow and empty inside that the only way you could think to fill that void was to drag other people into it with you.”

Again that disdainful snort that told her she was probably close to some kind of truth.  “What would you know about such, little girl?”

“I lost all my family and friends once.  But I didn’t blame the whole of humanity for it.”

“No,” Sturgeon returned with his grin.  “As I understand it, you hid.  Safe and secure in your own little world on top of a hill where nothing could bother you.  But I… I brought us here.  A realm where anything really can happen.  Where we can be gods!  All it takes is a little imagination…”

“So the boy… you were hoping to be able to control him.  But it didn’t go exactly according to plan.  He got away, somehow, in all the confusion…”

Naomi had been listening, her elbow resting on the console.  “I don’t get it,” she said.  “Why not just take us somewhere where he could create everything?”

“It doesn’t matter,” sighed Harry.  “As soon as we get the boy back we’ll hook him up to that machine and use it to get back.  We can do that, right?”

“We’ll see,” Jennifer nodded, even though she saw Sturgeon turn his nose up again.  He was obviously confident it wouldn’t be that easy.

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