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by Lord Thanatos


31/12/10 06/05/11







1. Clump

2. Nine tailors make a man

3. Looks like a jump ball

4. Follow the sitting duck

5. Gravity of the chair

6. These boots were made for…

7. Walson and Statman

8. Do the whining shovel shuffle

9. Cave paintings

10. Shiver me moon timbers

11. Food fight

12. Fruition






SCENE 1: Clump


The door opens and Captain LT walks in.


Spalding: “Please, sit down…”


With a face that reveals reluctance LT sits down on the couch in Spalding’s office…


LT: “What can I do for you, Spalding?”


Spalding: “Well, I was hoping I could do something for you.”


LT’s face now reveals annoyance as he sighs…


LT: “Oh no, not this again…”


Spalding: “Yes, this again… Come on captain, you can’t tell me that killing 6 people doesn’t evoke any emotion in you…”


The captain now leans forward and rests his elbows on his knees.


LT: “Oh you’re quite right, Spalding. Sure I feel emotions regarding what happened that day…”


Spalding: “Go on…”


LT: “Since there seems no way around having to talk to you about this, I’ll tell you what emotions I felt at the time…”


With an encouraging tone, Spalding approves.


Spalding: “Good…”


LT: “Let’s see, ehm… I felt angry most of all…”


Spalding: “I see, anger… And fear?”


The captain answers without hesitation or room for misinterpretation.


LT: “No.”


Spalding: “No?”


LT: “No. But I did feel very determined. I really wanted that situation to end as quickly as possible.”


Spalding: “I see…”


Before the counselor can make a full reply, the captain continues.


LT: “Which brings me to my main emotion at the time; pride. Something which I still feel right now…”


Spalding: “Pride? You killed 6 men… Tell me, how you can be proud of that?”


LT: “Oh, it’s not so much killing those guys which makes me proud. If I had the opportunity to free the woman and escape with her without killing them, I just might have… But I saw no other way without taking a huge risk. If only 1 of them would have seen me, I’d have had 6 armed men to deal with at the same time. Now I dealt with them 1 by 1. It’s a nice story to tell the grandkids one day… About how gramps escaped captivity and saved the damsel in distress from the evil men and blabla, and I will do so with pride, counselor. I did the right thing, I feel no remorse, I did not and will not lose any sleep over it and I’m perfectly alright in any possible sense of the word.”


Spalding: “Ah, and…”


LT stands up and doesn’t allow the counselor to finish his sentence again as he puts his hand on Spalding’s shoulder…


LT: “I hope you feel better after this little talk, because it really seemed to be on your mind lately. But if you’ll excuse me, I have some more death to deal with…”


Moments later the captain approaches his second in command on the bridge.


LT: “What have we got? You said something about a graveyard?”


The man diverts his attention to the screen which just flicks on. It shows a large number of planets and moons in close proximity to each other… A bunch of them are even touching.


Eisinga: “A planet graveyard to be exact… Or so we speculated…”


The captain looks at the screen in amazement…


LT: “Wow… This is weird stuff… How could this have happened?”


Eisinga: “Good question. There are some relatively minor fragments that chipped off some of the planets, but you’d expect a lot more damage…”


Serrag joins the 2 men standing near the captain’s chair.


Serrag: “Two meeting planets would normally get smashed into an infinite number of fragments. There must have been some form of intervention…”


LT: “And assuming it would be possible that 2 rogue planets got caught in each others gravity and they stayed in 1 piece, it wouldn’t happen multiple times in the very same location…”


Serrag: “Also, they’re not moving at all… They’re 100% dead in space. In total there are 23 bodies; 7 planets, 14 moons and 2 large asteroids. Most of them clumped together, but with minor impact damage…”


Eisinga: “We’ve performed a few quick scans already… At least 3 planets and 1 moon show signs of previous occupation…”


The captain is getting excited.


LT: “Really?... That’s awesome… And that is deserving of a quick archeological survey at least… Assemble a team of people which have some knowledge on archeology, lieutenant commander. You will lead the team and see what you find out there…”


Serrag: “With pleasure sir.”


Then the captain tempers his own enthusiasm and puts on a more serious face.


LT: “Unfortunately, I can’t be joining the away team at this time… Admiral Grant will be contacting me in about an hour and I have to finish that damn report first…”


Eisinga: “Nasty…”


LT: “Yes, quite… Oh well, I’d love to hear what the initial survey reveals. Keep me updated, Serrag. I’ll be joining you after my little chat with the admiral.”


Serrag: “Yes sir.”


The lieutenant commander heads towards the turbo lift.


LT: “I’ll be in my ready room.”


Eisinga: “One more thing captain. I’d like your permission to lead a second away team to the surface.”


LT: “I didn’t know we shared an interest in archeology, Eldert…”


Eisinga: “Oh, I won’t be digging in the dirt sir… It’s for taking some nice snapshots and such…”


A smile appears on his Eisinga’s face.


Eisinga: “You have to admit that this interesting phenomenon needs to be properly displayed in Academy textbooks next semester.”


LT shortly snickers and then gives his permission.


LT: “Permission granted. Take a team of the finest photographers and make yourselves famous.”


The men smile.



SCENE 2: Nine tailors make a man


Two shuttle craft fly towards the clump of astronomical objects. The first is occupied by a team led by Serrag consisting of Lieutenant Faulkner and 2 unnamed guys with a red shirt.


Faulkner: “With all due respect, sir, what am I doing here?”


Serrag: “Respect is overrated, lieutenant. But to answer your question, you are currently operating the helm of this shuttle craft in order to get us safely down to one of the planets, thus requiring your full attention.”


With an annoyed tone the demoted officer answers.


Faulkner: “Yes, yes, but you know what I mean… Besides it’s kind of hard to focus my attention on anything since I have been up all night working the night shift.”


Serrag: “Your name was on top of the duty roster, lieutenant. With any luck the mission won’t last the entire shift and you can retire to your quarters early.”


Faulkner: “If I would return to my quarters right now it couldn’t even be described as early anymore…”


Serrag: “Hmm, that reminds me of an Earth proverb, lieutenant…”


Faulkner looks annoyed with a hint of curiosity and replies accordingly.


Faulkner: “Proverb? What proverb?”


Serrag: “Little strokes fell great oaks.”


Faulkner: “What does that have to do with anything?”


Serrag: “Absolutely nothing. But it’s a conversation stopper if I’ve ever heard one.”


The lieutenant looks confused, but Serrag’s words seem to come true; Faulkner doesn’t reply…



SCENE 3: Looks like a jump ball


Sometime later onboard the second shuttle, Commander Eisinga is joined by Ensign Amini, engineering ensigns Bynes and Longworth, the latter fiddling with a holo imager, Lieutenant Holcraft at the helm for a change and another random ensign precariously clothed in red.


Holcraft: “Where do you want to go next, sir?”


Eisinga: “Well, we’ve got enough shots of the whole cluster. Let’s go in-between that red planet over there and the grey one on top of it…”


Longworth looks up.


Longworth: “’In-between’?”


Eisinga: “Yes.”


Longworth: “Are you sure you want a photographer on this part of the mission? I bet there’s nothing of interest to photograph in that dark place…”


Eisinga: “Trust me.”


Longworth jokes while he resumes fiddling with the holo imager.


Longworth: “It’s not like I have a choice…”


Amini: “Well, I for one am excited to be on this away mission… This is such a special place. A bit of a spooky atmosphere though…”


Bynes looks out of a window.


Bynes: “Spooky, but beautiful...”


Holcraft: “I’m not complaining either; I finally get to pilot a ship… Approaching the planets, sir.”


Eisinga: “Alright, slow down and get us as close as you can get to where they touch…”


Holcraft: “Aye aye, sir…”


The shuttle flies towards where the planets join.



SCENE 4: Follow the sitting duck


Serrag, Faulkner and one of the red shirts leave their shuttle in a space suit. The lieutenant commander studies his tricorder’s readouts and points in a certain direction.


Serrag: “We’ll move in that direction; there are some ruins over there.”


The red shirt walks ahead, also with his tricorder in hand.


Serrag: “They should be well preserved because of the lack of atmosphere…”


Faulkner: “…depends on how they actually lost their atmosphere…”


Serrag: “Perhaps. Let’s hope we will at least find something to give us an indication of their level of technology.”


The 2 men follow the red shirt at a distance.


Faulkner: “Didn’t look like much from the scans onboard the Greate Pier.”


Serrag: “Those scans were made from thousands of kilometers away… You can’t tell from those if you’re going to find a beautiful, golden ring half a meter under the surface…”


Faulkner: “Don’t count on it either…”


Serrag: “You studied archeology, lieutenant; that’s why I wanted you on this team.”


Faulkner: “I thought you said I was on top of the duty roster… You lied? I could be in bed right now!”


Serrag: “Calm yourself before I assist you in that, lieutenant. And I might not act much like a Vulcan, but I don’t lie… So tell me… During your studies, did they teach you to be pessimistic?”


Faulkner: “Not pessimistic; realistic. I’m not going to expect anything from this little expedition so I won’t set myself up for disappointment. Though most of this day does turn out to be just that.”


Serrag: “I’m pretty sure that’s pessimism…”


To keep the conversation going, Serrag shows an interest in Faulkner’s archeological education.


Serrag: “Anyway, where did you study archeology lieutenant?”


Faulkner isn’t interested in a discussion and returns to giving short answers.


Faulkner: “Earth.”


Faulkner walks off while pretending to look at his tricorder. The lieutenant commander quietly replies to himself.


Serrag: “Yes… I kind of figured that…”


He shrugs and continues his work.



SCENE 5: Gravity of the chair


On the bridge Ensign Pattison is in command, being the senior officer by experience rather than rank alone as there are a whole bunch of ensigns present on the bridge. She walks up to the science officers and asks them for the results of the more extensive scans of the cluster of planets and moons.


Pattison: “Anything interesting so far gentlemen?”


Stuckman: “Well, in a nutshell, 17 of the 23 objects are in the cluster and the remaining 6 are just a few hundred kilometers away…”


Pattison: “A few hundred kilometers… Then why don’t they get drawn in any closer? The gravitational pull of the cluster must be tremendous.”


Stilson: “Unknown… They aren’t moving relative to the cluster.”


Pattison: “Find out why.”


Stuckman: “We’re trying to already, but so far we have not found any explanation. Also no clues as to why they are here in the first place…”


Pattison: “Keep at it, gentlemen… I know the captain likes his mysteries, but I’m sure he’d like those answers.”


Stuckman smiles and cheekily replies.


Stuckman: “And I bet you’d like to give him those answers on your first bridge command.”


Pattison starts smiling as well…


Pattison: “You bet, ensign. So work harder, ok?”


She walks back to the big chair and sits back down. Her face gives away the fact it is rather comfortable.



SCENE 6: These boots were made for…


Eisinga’s shuttle is flying between the 2 touching planets at a very low speed. The ‘floor’ and ‘ceiling’ are relatively close to the ship with just a few meters to spare in either direction.


Holcraft: “This looks more like a cave than 2 giant spheres touching…”


Eisinga: “Indeed… A very deep cave…”


Amini: “Isn’t it a little dark here to take pictures?”


Eisinga: “We’ll take some more pictures when we leave this ‘cave’. But we have to do this first.”


Longworth: “Do what first?”


Holcraft: “This is as far as we can go, commander… It’s getting too narrow to fly any further without risking hitting either planet.”


Eisinga: “Alright, set her down, lieutenant.”


Longworth: “With 2 planets touching, which way is down anyway?”


Amini: “That’s a new one for the books, haha…”


Holcraft lands on the planet of his choice.


Eisinga: “We’ll have to walk from here…”


Amini: “’Walk’?”


Eisinga: “Yes, the act of traveling by foot… I hope you mastered that skill; you’re coming with me. Longworth, Holcraft, you too. Suit up.”


The team gets up and follows the commander to the back where they find their suits.



SCENE 7: Walson and Statman


Pattison is still holding the reigns on the bridge when Doctor Shelley tries to draw her attention. She approaches the ensign who is observing a colleague at work at the astrometrics station…


Shelley: “Ensign, are you in charge here?”


Pattison: “Aren’t women supposed to be in charge?”


Both women smile.


Shelley: “In that case, sir, I have something to report which may interest you…”


Pattison: “Ok, what is it?”


Shelley hands Pattison a PADD.


Shelley: “I’ve been getting some strange readings from one of the moons…”


Pattison studies the PADD but is unsure what exactly to make of it…


Pattison: “Ehm, there’s a lot of doctory words here, doctor… What are they telling me?”


Shelley: “Well basically, these readings are indicative of a lifeform.”


Pattison: “A lifeform? Like what? I mean, none of the moons here have atmospheres…”


Shelley: “No, you misunderstand… It’s not coming from the surface of the moon… It comes from the moon itself…”


Pattison: “What are you saying? The moon is a lifeform?...”


Shelley: “I will have to get more precise readings with the help from a science station, but yes, that’s basically what I’m suspecting. A silicon-based lifeform.”


Pattison: “Wow…”


Shelley: “Wow indeed…”


LT rushes out of his ready room and heads straight for the turbo lift while he addresses the lady in charge.


LT: “I’m off to the surface, Pattison. Hold the fort for a bit longer, will you?”


Pattison: “I think you should take a look at this first, sir…”


LT halts in his tracks...


LT: “What is it?”


He walks over to the ladies and takes the PADD which is handed to him… After a few short seconds he looks up from the PADD and alternates his eyes between those of the 2 ladies…


LT: “Is this a joke?... A living moon?...”


Shelley: “As real as it gets… These are just preliminary, superficial scans, so I have very little details for you as of yet, but we’re working on it…”


LT looks annoyed…


LT: “Damn!”


Shelley: “Sir?”


LT: “Oh, it means the archeological mission will have to be at least postponed until we can determine exactly what we’re dealing with here…”


The captain now looks at Pattison.


LT: “It looks like I’m retaking the fort already, Pattison…”


Pattison: “No problem sir, the bridge is yours.”


Stilson: “Hey, at least you got to tell the captain the most interesting news of the day…”


Pattison smiles while the captain, only half aware of the conversation, returns to his big chair.


Stuckman: “Since you kept his seat nice and warm too he’ll probably promote you…”


The science guys start laughing out loud, the captain looks in their direction, not knowing what the fun is all about. Pattison puts her arms in her sides and throws a faked annoyed look at comic duo. Nerissa then steps down towards her conn position.


Pattison: “You having fun up there, gentlemen?”


No reply, if further laughter doesn’t count.



SCENE 8: Do the whining shovel shuffle


The 3 men on the archeological team are digging and taking samples.


Serrag: “I suspect the object to be at about 60 centimeters beneath the surface...”


Faulkner: “There are over 20 large bodies here; how reliable are those readings with all this confusing gravity stuff going on?”


Faulkner puts his shovel in the dirt and scoops a fair amount up, half of which floats off into the dark sky…


Serrag: “We’ll soon know, won’t we?”


Faulkner: “’We’? I’m digging here!”


Serrag: “And you’re doing a fine-ish job…”


Faulkner: “Well, don’t expect me to exert myself…”


Serrag: “Ah yes, you’re halfway your second consecutive shift… You’re right, I forgot… I’m sorry. Poor kid.”


Faulkner: “I’m not a kid!… Sir.”


Serrag: “You might want to change your behavior accordingly to avoid confusion.”


Looking grumpier than ever imagined possible, Faulkner aggressively jabs the shovel back into the soil. The attention of the Vulcan is now directed to an incoming transmission from the ship.


LT: “Captain LT to Serrag…”


Serrag: “Serrag here…”


LT: “Abort the mission and return to the ship immediately.”


Serrag: “Understood. Serrag out.”


Serrag turns to Faulkner again.


Serrag: “Time to pack up, Faulkner…”


Faulkner springs up…


Faulkner: “What?! I’m almost at 60 centimeters! First you let me dig in this damned, dusty soil and now I’m almost done and can reap the reward of my troubles I have to stop?!”


In the same tone as his previous sentence, Serrag replies to Faulkner’s whining.


Serrag: “Time to shut up, Faulkner…”


Faulkner throws the shovel over his shoulder and spreads his arms out in a desperate “whatever” expression…



SCENE 9: Cave paintings


Longworth: “Smile, Amini…”


Amini gets her photo taken standing on 1 planet and her hands touching the next planet overhead…


Amini: “Hurry up, Rodney… Can’t keep this planet up much longer…”


Longworth: “Alright, that was the last one… Don’t forget to send your own picture home to your friends and family… How many people can say they were on 2 planets at the same time?”


Eisinga: “…told you guys this was a good idea…”


Holcraft: “Very good idea, but my feet are killing me…”


Eisinga: “Yes, we’d better head back… We have a long hike ahead of us before we reach the shuttle…”


Amini: “Sir, what’s that over there?”


Eisinga: “What? Where?...”


Amini: “Over there…”


She points at a distant object which can hardly be seen to begin with…


Eisinga: “What, that little thing there? I don’t know, a rock or something… Probably nothing…”


Holcraft: “Well, according to my tricorder it’s made of some metal… Unsure what the exact composition is at this point…”


Longworth: “Was this one of the previously occupied planets?”


Eisinga: “No, neither of these 2 planets were… Come on team; let’s see what it is…”


They walk ever closer to the metal object… Holcraft keeps scanning and updating his ship mates.


Longworth: “It’s about 26 meters in length. Looks like a large shuttle, sir…”


Amini: “What’s a shuttle doing out here?”


Eisinga: “They may have crashed here…”


Holcraft: “Or maybe they’re hiding? It’s a good hiding place…”


Eisinga: “Any lifesigns?”


Holcraft: “None that I can detect… No heat emanating from the shuttle; it seems abandoned. And I’m reading severe hull damage. It must have been in a fight or something…”


Eisinga: “Could explain why they were hiding… By the looks of it, they may not have survived the ordeal…”


Holcraft suddenly stops while staring at his tricorder. A soft yet perfectly audible word exits his mouth…


Holcraft: “Shit…”


Eisinga and the rest of the team halt as well.


Eisinga: “What is it?”


Holcraft looks up from his tricorder and directs his gaze at the damaged shuttle.


Holcraft: “The Inj…”


Eisinga: “Shit indeed…”


Amini: “Time to get out of here then…”


Eisinga: “No, not yet… There are no lifesigns on the ship, so we can probably investigate safely… And we must.”


Amini: “’probably’?...”


The team starts walking towards the Inj vessel at which moment Eisinga receives a hail from the ship.


LT: “Captain LT to Eisinga…”


Eisinga: “Ah, I was about to contact you sir… Go ahead…”


The quality of the link leaves a lot to be desired. A lot of static plagues the communication.


LT: “Abort the mission and return to the ship right away, Eldert.”


Eisinga: “What did you say, sir? Abort the mission?”


LT: “Yes, abort and return to the ship. We found an unknown lifeform.”


Eisinga: “I’ll send everyone except myself and Longworth back to the shuttle, but we’ll stay here and investigate a more familiar lifeform.”


LT: “Communication is breaking up… Commander?”


In a louder voice, the commander tries to get the message across again.


Eisinga: “We have something important to investigate so we…”


The rest of the sentence was completely inaudible…


LT: “If it’s really that important, make it a quick investigation, commander… And don’t take any unnecessary risks…”


Connection then fails. Eisinga looks at the Inj shuttle and mutters some words to himself.


Eisinga: “Let’s hope this ship is indeed abandoned then…”



SCENE 10: Shiver me moon timbers


Shelley: “What drew my attention was the apparent seismic activity on the moon… During a medical scan of one of the crew members, the medical tricorder picked it up. Normally, with nearby seismic activity, it disregards it, as it has nothing to do with biology.”


The captain, Spalding, Reinard, Margon and Stuckman are listening to Shelley explaining her findings in the conference room.


Shelley: “This time, however, it gave me a readout of it. This led me to the conclusion it was not normal seismic activity, but more like a shiver or maybe even an itch…”


Reinard: “And despite the complex gravity situation in that cluster of objects, there is no reason for seismic events to happen… All planets and moons in the cluster must be frozen to the core with the absence of a nearby star. They’ve been here a long, long time… And no other large objects nearby to cause seismic occurrences.”


Shelley: “Well, the moon in question isn’t frozen to the core anyway…”


Stuckman: “Indeed… It didn’t show up on preliminary scans as the heat is quite minimal, but there is some heat near the center of the moon…”


Shelley: “From the organs… The surface, however, is like any other, random moon out there… Rocky, cold, no atmosphere, nothing unusual…”


Margon: “I bet this creature has something to do with these planets being here together…”


LT: “Or it was just drawn here out of curiosity, like us… Fact is, we can’t even tell back from front at the moment and we have to proceed with caution. I’ll instruct Maresca to attempt communication with this being. Who knows what level of intelligence it possesses…Doctor, continue scanning the entity. Be sure to be gentle, we don’t want the moon to come down on us.”


Shelley nods.


LT: “Let’s reconvene here in 1 hour to discuss the findings… Dismissed.”



SCENE 11: Food fight


Commander Eisinga and Ensign Longworth approach the Inj shuttle with drawn phasers...


Eisinga: “Is your phaser set to whooping Inj?”


Longworth: “Yes sir…”


Eisinga reaches a buckled door which has a gap he can put his hands in. He puts his left foot on the damaged hull as he tries to open the door… Longworth decides to check out the hull rather than help.


Longworth: “Looks like the hull was subjected to extreme temperatures, sir…”


Eisinga: “Yes, very nice. Just be ready with your phaser when this midget door pops open…”


Longworth redirects his attention, his flashlight and the business end of his phaser at the door. After some manual labor, the door is forced open by the human intruders. Longworth shines a light into the small corridor that is now exposed in front of them. No sight of little aliens.


Eisinga: “Let’s go…”


Eisinga crawls inside, always with his right arm stretched forward so the flashlight on his wrist shines ahead and allowing him to fire his phaser if necessary.


Longworth: “Creepy place…”


Eisinga: “Indeed, so keep your eyes open and cover the rear…”


Longworth: “Well, I’m not that cold, sir, and besides, I didn’t bring my blanky.”


They inch on through the Inj vessel until they reach the corridor leading to the bridge.


Eisinga: “The bridge is up ahead, on the left. The door looks to be closed.”


Longworth: “I’m glad we can at least sort of stand here… Those other corridors were not up to occupational health standards…”


Eisinga walks down the corridor with his head slanted to one side in order not to hit the ceiling which is just 1.80m high.


Eisinga: “I’m not sure this corridor is either…”


Longworth: “That’s odd… Even the walls, floors and ceilings seem to have suffered the same thermal damage as the hull did… There’s a lot of damage everywhere…”


Eisinga: “Yeah, I wonder what happened exactly…”


Longworth looks down to his tricorder.


Longworth: “The bridge reads no lifesigns.”


Eisinga: “Get your phaser ready anyway, Rodney, I’m opening the door…”


Longworth: “Ready…”


Eisinga: “Here goes…”


The commander pulls on the opening mechanism, but it won’t budge…


Longworth: “Maybe it’s frozen stuck…”


Eisinga lets go of the door handle and looks at Rodney.


Eisinga: “Very well possible. Maybe we can try…”


The sentence is cut short by the door falling away from the wall towards the men. The falling door knocks the phaser from Eisinga’s hand and the heavy piece of metal lands on Longworth’s legs. An Inj stands in the door opening, apparently leaning against a railing, and without a second’s hesitation Eisinga swings at his face and knocks the little alien backwards. As it slams into the floor several deep frozen limbs break off… Then the commander turns his attention to his colleague who is struggling to try and get from underneath the heavy door.


Eisinga: “Rodney, are you ok?”


Eisinga helps to lift the door up.


Longworth: “Yeah, I’m fine… I think the suit is undamaged… Why do those little mongrels need such big and heavy doors?”


Eisinga helps Rodney up whom then sees the damage his shipmate has done.


Longworth: “Did he put up much of a fight?”


Eisinga: “No, I iced him pretty quick.”


Eisinga proceeds onto the bridge while Longworth remains with the shattered body.


Longworth: “He was severely burnt somehow… May have something to do with the thermal damage we see everywhere… Like the ship was cooked along with every Inj inside… And on top of that he’s kind of broken up about it now.”


Eisinga: “There’s a whole lot of them everywhere. Also completely burnt… Just the way I like ‘em, really…”


Longworth: “I thought you were a vegetarian…”


Eisinga: “That’s right. Still, I like my Inj well done.”


Eisinga looks up from one of the dead aliens.


Eisinga: “Let’s see if anything still works up here. We need to know what happened…”


The 2 men continue to explore the bridge, trying to avoid overhead obstacles.



SCENE 12: Fruition


Captain LT, Spalding, Reinard, Margon, his direct superior Serrag and Stuckman are already present in the conference room as the final attendee, Shelley, walks in.


Shelley: “Sorry I’m a little late, but we were still finishing up some scans…”


LT: “Quite alright, doctor. Please sit down and share your teams’ findings with us.”


Shelley parks herself in her usual chair and starts talking.


Shelley: “This ‘moon’ creature, or whatever it prefers to be called, is… pregnant. And we believe she may have been born that way.”


Spalding: “Born pregnant?”


With an engrossed look on his face, Margon responds to that.


Margon: “Ugh… Just like Tribbles…”


Shelley: “Exactly. But hopefully less fruitful… A galaxy full of these creatures would soon clog up the place.”


Stuckman: “So they don’t need males for reproduction? That’s weird…”


Shelley: “Weird maybe, but a race without males sounds delightful to me.”


Smiles all around, except for Shelley herself, trying to look serious.


Shelley: “Anyway…”


Before Shelley can continue, Commander Eisinga walks into the conference room.


Eisinga: “Sorry to disturb you, lady and gentlemen.”


LT: “Commander, welcome. Doctor Shelley just started telling us about the results of the scans of the moon we encountered.”


Eisinga: “What moon would that be?”


Shelley: “The living moon in the cluster…”


Eisinga: “’Living moon’? That sounds fascinating, but first I think the captain should be informed about something that might pose more of a threat.”


LT: “Oh? What would that be?”


Eisinga: “We encountered an Inj shuttle down on one of the planets… All 33 occupants were found dead. The ship most likely tried to hide there after they took critical damage. Logs also show the Inj Behemoth this shuttle came from fled the scene just seconds after the attack, so they could not return there.”


LT: “So the Inj were here… Some of them left for dead. Charming. Anyway, finally something to please the admiral with. Maybe he’ll back off a little… LT to ops.”


Holcraft: “Holcraft here, sir.”


LT: “Giles, scan for Inj vessels.”


Holcraft: “No ships of any kind detected in this sector, captain.”


LT: “Thank you. LT out. Doctor, please continue.”


Shelley: “So, we suspect they are born pregnant. Next to that we think they only eat once as what we perceive as the mouth and esophagus have long since been closed up by rock and debris.”


Margon: “Once? It eats once? I can’t say eating just once is a good thing, but at least it’s better than those scrounging Tribbles…”


Spalding: “And what do huge things like this eat?!”


Eisinga: “I’m not sure, but I might have an answer to that question.”


He stands up, produces an image of an alien being on a screen and proceeds to describe it.


Eisinga: “From the logs Longworth and I retrieved from the shuttle’s computer we can conclude the ship was damaged and the Inj were killed by a space-dwelling organism. One or several of them may have survived the ordeal initially so they could hide the ship. The organism is about 2.5 meters wide, 14 meters long, greenish in color and seems to consist of interlinked spheres of about 2 inches in diameter each. This organism is apparently capable of defending itself with rather high doses of electric shock. The Inj decided to attack this creature for whatever reason and they met their doom when the space creature defended itself. It discharged a huge electric current and fried the ship and those on it to the point that the hull and internal structures of the ship show severe thermal damage. Anyway, perhaps these moon creatures eat those space creatures…”


Shelley: “Can I see the scans of the organism, commander?”


Eisinga hands the doctor a PADD with the data retrieved from the Inj vessel.


Shelley: “Thank you.”


Shelley studies the data and quickly comes to a conclusion.


Shelley: “You’re right commander. I found organic matter of the same origin in scans of the moon creature…”


Stuckman: “That’s nice, but… how does it travel? I mean, it must be able to travel somehow…”


Shelley: “Unknown… The outer shell is thick, rocky and featureless, like any moon. No apparent means of propulsion, no structures of any kind, nothing… It’s hard to determine at this point…”


LT: “How does it move? How old do they get? Where do they originate from? Why is it here in this odd cluster of planets and moons? Why is this cluster here? There are so many unanswered questions and I’m afraid we don’t have enough time to answer all of them before we have to move on again… The Inj issue, unfortunately, has precedence over exploration, archeology and making first contact, especially since we now know we’re on the right track to find them… But since this is only the 7th silicon based lifeform to be discovered, I guess we should at least take the time to name this moon alien…”


After a short moment, the junior most officer breaks the silence.


Stuckman: “How about we call her species Shell Moon?”


Spalding: “It has a thick shell and she was discovered by Doctor Shelley… Sounds like a good name.”


Shelley herself doesn’t like the idea very much.


Shelley: “Really, I don’t think I need a moon creature named after me or anything…”


Commander Eisinga grins at Shelley.


Eisinga: “No, I think it’s a splendid idea, haha…”


LT: “All those opposed?”


Only Shelley raises her hand while Eisinga’s grin turns into a very broad and naughty smile…


LT: “Good, that’s settled then.”


Shelley throws a sort of angry look at Eisinga and continues to look straight at him during her thank you.


Shelley: “Thank you so much everyone.”


Shelley’s expression changes to a rather happy look all of a sudden.


Shelley: “But I think we also need to name the space-dwelling species the moon feeds upon…”


The doctor’s angry look returns while she looks at the commander again.


Shelley: “I’d like to suggest we call them Eldertberries…”


The commander suddenly stops smiling. The captain on the other hand utters a short exclamation of amusement before bringing the proposal to a vote with a big smile on his face.


LT: “HA! All those opposed?”


Only Eldert Eisinga raises his hand while Shelley’s angry look turns into a grin, still directed at the commander.


LT: “Also settled then. Splendid!”


Suddenly a voice is heard over the comm system.


Holcraft: “Captain, we have a lifeform coming our way at about 3 quarter impulse.”


LT: “Company dismissed. Doctor, Eldertberry, please accompany me to the bridge.”


The three colleagues enter the bridge accompanied by Stuckman whom assumes his regular station.


Eisinga: “On screen, Holcraft.”


An image of a specimen of Eldertberries pops up on the screen.


Eisinga: “Oh great. A wobbly, green patch of space goo baring my name...”


LT: “Now now, cheer up Eldert… Yours truly doesn’t even have a species named after him… Yellow alert.”


Eisinga: “Sir, I suggest if we do go to yellow alert that we keep shields down as a gesture of good faith. I’m not sure these are intelligent creatures, but I am pretty sure they only attacked the Inj because the Inj fired first, and with success unfortunately.”


LT: “Alright, no shields.”


Eisinga: “At least it cost the Inj a shuttle and 3 dozen soldiers… I don’t think we want to give these food items any suggestion we might be aggressive. I’d hate to see what those slime berries could do to the Greate Pier…”


Shelley: “My guess is these Eldertberries are attracted to the gravitational mess of the planet graveyard… And I’d further like to imagine the Shell Moon might be responsible for creating this planet graveyard to lure the food in for the baby to feed on once it’s born.”


LT: “Fascinating…”


Holcraft: “The lifeform will reach us in 15 seconds, captain.”


LT: “Let it come; we will not show any aggression.”


Holcraft: “Maybe it doesn’t like us being here, sir…”


No response from the captain whom keeps looking at the alien on the main screen.


Holcraft: “Sir, 5 seconds…”


LT: “Ok.”


Holcraft: “No shields?”


LT: “No shields.”


Stuckman: “The Eldertberries are passing the ship now at about 20 meters distance from the port side hull and are heading for the planet cluster.”


Holcraft almost looks surprised.


Holcraft: “It ignored us completely…”


LT: “Alright, time to find that Inj Behemoth. Oh, and commander, please send your photographs to Starfleet with all the scans and data you have collected.”


Eisinga: “Yes, sir.”


LT: “And as you wanted to become famous, Eldert… Be sure to add the names of the Shell Moon and the Eldertberries to the transmission. We can’t have those missing from Academy textbooks next semester…”


Eisinga puts on an annoyed face, doesn’t respond to the captain’s words and gives orders to Pattison.


Eisinga: “Helm, resume previous heading, warp 6.”


Pattison: “Course laid in, sir.”


Eisinga: “Let’s get away from this fruit basket. Engage.”



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