An Unexpected change of coursePersonal log June 17, 2195. After a successful cargo run to the colony on Alpha Centauri, I am returning to Earth for some well-earned rest and relaxation.
The small cargo ship dropped out of warp as it entered Earth’s solar system. Its single human occupant, David Peters entered the co-ordinates for Earth and set auto navigation and speed at full impulse. He looked at the navigational computer and it told him the ETA was 6 hours. He stretched and decided to get something to eat. He walked out of the small bridge and down the corridor into his quarters. When the door swished open, his pet otter Mike immediately ran over to him.
“Hey Mike, how about we get something to eat?” David asked as he picked up and petted the medium sized mustelid. Mike responded by nodding his head, almost as if he could understand him.
Holding Mike, David walked down the corridor and into the small mess hall. Walking over to the protein re-sequencer, he pressed the button to activate it.
“I’ll have a chicken salad sandwich and a plate of salmon for my friend” he said. The device beeped and he heard it working before its hatch opened up, revealing the two meals.
“Looks good” he said. He picked up the two dishes and carried them over to the table where Mike was standing. Mike responded by chittering wildly at the smell of the salmon, practically jumping on the plate when David handed it to him. Mike grabbed the salmon with one paw and started eating it as David picked up the sandwich and started to eat it.
On the bridge an alarm went off indicating something dangerous in the ship's path. The ship's auto navigation attempted to steer clear of the danger but it was too late. In the mess hall, David was thrown onto the ground as the ship shuddered. Alarms started going off in the mess hall. Mike chittered wildly as if to ask about what was happening.
“I don’t know, wait here while I check!” David said. David ran towards the bridge as another shudder slammed him against the wall. Picking himself up, he cursed under his breath. When he arrived on the bridge, alarms were going off all over the place. He asked the computer for a status report, but it didn’t respond. He didn’t really need the computer to tell him what was wrong though. A massive energetic cloud had surrounded the ship. He pressed a sequence of buttons to analyse the cloud. The analysis told him it was an ion storm that contained particles it couldn’t identify. The ship suddenly rocked severely and a small conduit burst, spewing smoke across the bridge. He tried to call for help, but to his dismay, the communications system was offline. He grabbed the controls for the helm and disengaged the autopilot in an attempt to steer his way clear of the storm as the ship was again rocked. Another alarm went off, indicating an urgent problem.
“Oh no!” he exclaimed as he read the readout. It said that the particles in the storm were causing imbalances in the warp core that were going to cause a breach. With great effort, he managed to steer the ship out of the storm, but the damage had been done. He frantically attempted to stabilise the core, but nothing helped. It wasn’t long before the abandon ship alarm sounded. He ran out of the bridge and down the corridor to the mess hall. He had to force open the mess hall doors, as they wouldn’t respond. The mess hall was in shambles! Fires burned everywhere in it!
“Mike!” he yelled, desperate for a response. He started to cough desperately from the smoke and had almost lost hope when he heard Mike chittering. He ran to the source of the sound and saw Mike, terrified but apparently unhurt on the floor calling for help.
“Come on, he have to get out of here” he said as he picked the otter up. With Mike in hand, David ran down the corridor and towards the escape pods as the ship started to shake so severely that it was difficult for him to keep his footing.
“Don’t worry we're gonna make it!” he said, clutching the otter as he reached the escape pod.
Outside of the ship, the pod launched and sailed away from the doomed ship as far as it's thrusters could carry it. Holding the controls of the pod with Mike on his lap, David desperately tried to get away from the ship before it exploded.
“Common! You can do it!” he said to the tiny pod. Suddenly feeling a wave of dizziness, everything seemed to go blurry for a second. As his sight returned to normal and he regained his balance he noticed his arms felt itchy and his face felt strange. Mike seemed to be in distress and David could have sworn that he was getting bigger.
“What the hell is going on?” he said as a frantic alarm beeped.
“We're out of time,” David solemnly said. 2 seconds later, the ship exploded in a horrific fireball sending out a massive shockwave. Feeling the effects of the approaching wave, David held onto Mike as best as he could.
“Hold on buddy!” he said as the wave hit. The massive and bright wave impacted against the escape pod, shaking it like a kernel of popcorn in a popcorn machine. David and Mike were thrown all over the place, they held onto each other as best as they could until the shaking stopped. Even with the shockwave having passed, they were not out of danger. Power fluctuated and alarms began to sound.
“You okay?” he asked. Mike seemed to nod his head to say yes. David finally got a look at his arms to see what the itching was.
“My god!” he yelled as he saw fur, which was not unlike Mike’s growing on both of his arms.
“Those unknown particles, could they have caused this?” David asked. The feeling was starting to spread down his chest, but he had more urgent problems. Mike, who was getting bigger by the minute, looked at him as if to ask him what was wrong.
“That impact did a lot of damage, were losing oxygen! We have to find somewhere to land!” David said. Checking the navigational computer, he saw that they were in range of Jupiter. He remembered that several of Jupiter’s moons were undergoing or had undergone terrafoming in the past half century.
“If we can land on of them we can get help” he said. He pressed a few more buttons to locate the closest one to them. The computer readout indicated that the closest moon was an almost Earth sized moon that was 10 minutes away.
“I just hope this thing can stay together for that long,” David said. Mike chittered as if to agree. Since he had 10 minutes to spare, he looked up the info on the moon.
“Recently completed terrafoming, the terrafoming station has been abandoned. Colonisation plans are underway, but as of now the planet is not populated. At least we’ll be able to breath” David said.
10 minutes later, the pod approached the moon. By now the itching had spread to his entire body and he was getting very warm. His face felt very different somehow but he didn’t have time to examine it and space was getting tight as Mike had steadily been getting bigger and was now half his size.
“Here we go buddy, preparing to enter the moons atmosphere!” he said. As the pod entered the moon atmosphere it began to glow red from the heat and started to shake violently. Alarms sounded all over the place. David struggled to hold the controls as best as he could to keep control of the pod.
“Hold together baby! Common! Just a few more minutes!” he yelled, somehow hoping the pod would hear him. He looked out the window of the pod and could see the surface below. The computer told them that they were 2000 meters above the surface.
“Good” David said.
“Warning angle of descent to great!” the computer said.
“Not so good” David yelled as he pulled up on the controls as best as he could. Steam began to fill the inside of the pod as it started shaking itself apart.
“Just a few more seconds! Common hold together!” David yelled. He managed to stabilise the pods decent and could see the terrafoming station in the distance. He had hoped that they would be able to take shelter in it. The surface was getting closer and closer and 15 seconds later, it made contact with the ground, he held onto Mike as best as he could as the pod kicked up massive amounts of dirt and dust, digging a long trench in the dirt before screeching to a halt. Seeing that they had made it, David hugged Mike and breathed a sign of relief. Mike was even bigger at this point, nearly as big as David. They were both suddenly overcome with a wave of dizziness and passed out.
David opened his eyes. He definitely wasn’t in the escape pod anymore. He appeared to be in a room and he wasn’t alone. He slowly sat up and surveyed the room. The room was dark and damp and there wasn’t much in it except for some dusty furniture and cobwebs. He instinctively smelled the air and could tell that humans had recently been there and that he wasn’t alone. There was another like him in the room, another whose scent was familiar. He turned around to see a humanoid otter that he could only guess was Mike standing beside him.
“Mike?” David asked.
“Yes, David it’s me” Mike responded.
“But how?” David asked, suddenly realising that he, like Mike had no clothes on.
“What happened to you, to us?” he asked as he surveyed his own body. He saw that while he had been unconscious, what was happening to him had been busy. His entire body was covered in dark brown fur on his arms, back and sides and cream coloured fur on his chest. He felt his face and it felt like what Mike’s looked. He had a muzzle complete with whiskers and his ears were like an otters ears, small, round and at the top of his head. He felt the cream coloured fur on his chest. The fur was soft and thick like a pelt. Mike walked behind him and touched David’s tail. David turned his head in shock.
“I have a tail? But how and why?” he asked. His tail like Mikes, was long furry and strong.
“I don’t know” Mike said.
“And you can speak? But how?” David asked.
“I’m not sure, when I woke up I was like this and somehow I knew how to speak, I can’t explain it” Mike said.
“Why did they take my clothes away?” David asked.
“I would guess so neither of us can conceal anything” Mike guessed.
“Any idea who our captors are?” David asked.
“No, when I woke up I couldn’t hear anyone and we were alone in this room” Mike said. David suddenly heard someone coming and for the first time was fully aware of his new senses.
“I can smell things in this room much stronger then normal, I thought it was just my imagination” David said. They two of them heard the footsteps getting closer and closer until the door to the room opened and 2 men holding particle rifles and wearing uniforms flanking a woman wearing the same uniform but with an apparently higher rank walked in.
“Who are you?” David asked. The woman walked up to David and ran a finger down the fur on his chest before standing back and eyeing them both.
“Perhaps the better question is; who are you? And what are you?” she asked. David looked at Mike then down at himself.
“I’m not sure I can explain this. We ran into an ion storm, it had unidentifiable particles that did this to us.” he said.
“How did you find us?” the woman asked.
“We didn’t, we had to abandon ship, our escape pod was damaged and we had to land here,” David said.
“You are not Starfleet?” she asked.
“No, were just civilians. We were delivering cargo to Alpha Centari and were on our way home,” David said.
“I see. I’m afraid you’re going to have to stay here for a while” she said and started to walk out of the room.
“Wait!” David said.
“Yes?” the woman, asked.
“Who are you? I thought this moon had yet to be inhabited,” David asked.
“I’m afraid I can’t tell you that” the woman answered as she walked out of the room with the 2 guards who proceeded to close the door and lock it. Mike and David listened to their footsteps get further and further away until they were far enough that they felt they could safely speak again.
“Something about this isn’t right. Those uniforms, those weapons they seem familiar somehow” David said.
“We have to escape somehow,” Mike said.
“But how?” David asked. Mike looked around the room, looking for a ventilation duck or loose panel or anything that they could use to escape from. Finding nothing, he sat on a table and sighed.
“Maybe the next time they come down here we could jump the guards or maybe we can break that door down,” David said.
“Then what?” Mike asked.
“I don’t know. That woman seemed to like me, judging by the way she was looking at me. Maybe I could use that to my advantage somehow” David said.
In a darkened room, the woman walked down the centre of it towards a large desk that was at the back of it. Several guards, each armed with particle rifles lined the route towards the desk. The woman approached the figure that was sitting at the desk in the dark. The figure turned around and addressed her.
“I take it our test was a success?” he asked.
“Yes, because the particles were not programmed they sought out the closest DNA for both of them and used it on them both.” she responded.
“We need to confirm that their forms are stable. We can’t have them reverting, I want one of them taken to the lab and tests performed” the figure said.
“But sir, I’m not sure we want to risk harming them. They could be useful, maybe we can convince them to join our cause,” she said. The figure folded his hands.
“At the very least we need to separate them, as long as there together they might try to escape. If we find out that their news forms are stable, we can continue on with our research.” the figure said.
“Yes sir” she said.
Mike and David could hear the same footsteps walking down the corridor and David sniffed the air.
“It’s the same people as before,” He said. Mike sniffed the air and confirmed his claim and suggested that this was their chance to escape.
“You wait on the left side and I’ll wait on the right, as soon as they come in, jump them!” David said. Mike nodded his head and the two of them got into position. The door to the room opened and the 2 guards and the woman walked in. David jumped the first guard while Mike jumped the second one. David punched the guard in the face but the guard fought back, kicking him away from him. David ran at the guard and kicked him in the stomach sending him flying into the wall and dropping his rifle. As he picked it up he saw Mike struggling with the other guard. Mike had a hold of the other guard’s rifle but was struggling. The guard pushed Mike, causing him to fall to the ground and was about the shoot him, when David reacted with instinct and shot the guard, knocking him out. David then pointed the rifle at the woman.
“Now I think it’s time you told us who you are and why were being held against our will” he demanded. The woman smiled as if she saw something she liked and walked up to him and began to pet his shoulder fur.
“You certainly are a very handsome person aren’t you” she said. Before he could react, David felt a prick on his shoulder and everything went blurry and he lost consciousness. Mike tried to react but the woman pulled a particle pistol out of her coat and fired at him, knocking him out. The guard David had struggled with picked him self up and the woman handed David to him.
“Take him to examination bay 2. I’m going to take this one to my office and talk to him personally.” She said, referring to Mike.
“Yes Mam” the guard said. Looking at the unconscious guard she pressed the communications panel just outside of the room to summon a medic.
Mike awoke with a headache. He seemed to be sitting in a chair facing a desk, which was in front of a large window overlooking a valley. It was then that he saw the woman. Cradling his head, he looked at her with a frown on his face.
“Don’t worry, the pain will cease in a few minutes. But now I think it’s time you answered a few questions” she said. Mike looked back and saw two guards standing by the door, both armed.
“I don’t think trying to escape would be wise. I suggest you co-operate,” she said. Mike looked back at her.
“What have you done with David? Your not going to hurt him are you?” he asked.
“All we are doing is taking some blood and fur samples. He will not be harmed,” she said.
“So what is your name, so I know what to refer to you as” Mike asked.
“I suppose it’s only fair. I know your name so I suppose you have a right to know mine. My name is” she delayed for a few seconds before folding her hands and leaning forwards as if about to announce something ominous
“Patricia Torrance” she said.
“The Patricia Torrance?” Mike asked.
“That’s right.” Patricia responded.
“You’re wanted in 12 systems. They say you’re a terrorist. But how did you get here?” he asked.
“I think I’ve answered enough of your questions. Now why don’t you answer some of mine? What is your relationship to your companion and why are you really here?” Patricia asked. Mike sighed, but felt that if he told her the truth she’d let them go.
“I was David’s pet, until this happened to us that is. We hit that storm while we were eating and the next thing I knew the ship was shaking and there were fires and explosions and he was running towards me telling me we had to abandon ship.” He said.
“Go on” Patricia said.
“I felt strange and he smelled different somehow. He carried me to an escape pod and we got away from the ship but we weren’t far enough away when it exploded and our pod was damaged. This moon was the closest planetary body to us that we could breathe on. We couldn’t call for help because our communications system was down. David was growing fur and his face looked weird and I was getting bigger. Somehow I felt more knowledge entering my mind. We were forced land on this moon and we both passed out. Then we woke up in that room,” Mike said. Patricia stood up and walked over to besides Mike’s chair. Putting a hand on his shoulder, she smiled.
“Perhaps you really are simply innocent people who came here by accident. Once our lab tests confirm that you and your friend are alright and we figure out why this happened to you, you’ll be free to go,” she said.
“Thank you” Mike said.
“In the meantime, I’m afraid you’re going to have to stay here under guard.” Patricia said.
“Very well” Mike said.
In the lab, David was strapped to a cold examining table. The medic had taken samples of his blood and fur and had scanned him several times. The medic held a vial of David blood up and scanned it. The scanner beeped and the medic let out a
“hmmmmmmmm”. He turned towards David and smiled.
“Excellent, most excellent” The medic said.
“I told you who I was. Now why don’t you tell me why this happened to us and let us go” David said.
“I’m afraid I can’t do that. Ms. Torrance told me to bring you back to her once I’m done” he said.
“And then what?” David asked.
“Then she’ll will deal with you,” The medic said as he walked over to the 2 guard’s station by the door.
“His form is stable, the test was a success. You may take him back to Ms. Torrance office where his friend is,” he said. The medic walked back over to David and looked him in the eye as the two guards stood behind him.
“I’m going to release your restraints now. I suggest you don’t resist, they have been instructed to shoot you if you do” he said. David seemed to have little choice so he did nothing as his restraints were removed and the guards told them to come with them with one guard in front and one behind him. They walked down a series of corridors, eventually reaching a room. David could smell a familiar scent. It was Mike. He was relieved that he was there, although he was still getting used to the idea of knowing someone by their scent. The guards led David in and exited, locking the door while leaving 2 other guards there to guard David and Mike. David walked over to Mike and Mike hugged him.
“You okay?” Mike asked.
“Yea, they took a couple of blood samples from me and some fur samples but that was it. I could hear the doctor mention something about my form being stable. I’m getting the feeling they somehow caused this. Did they tell you anything?” David responded.
“Ms. Torrance left a few minutes ago to talk to her boss, presumably to tell him what she found. I told her the truth, nothing more” Mike said.
“Did she say what they’re going to do with us?” David asked.
“She said they should let us go” Mike responded.
“Then I guess all we can is sit here and wait” David responded.
Patricia spoke with her ‘boss’ about what she had found.
“They have no idea that we caused this to happen to them, for all they know our test was a natural ion storm” she said. Holding a pad with the information from the scans done on David’s blood and fur, she handed it to him.
“These tests results confirm that their forms are stable and that the test was a complete success,” she said. The man looked at the information and studied it for a few minutes.
“Very well, we have learned enough. Proceed with the executions,” he said.
“But sir, they don’t know the truth, they may know about this base but we’ll be long gone by the time they can tell starfleet. I see no reason to kill then.” Patricia said. The man slammed his hand on the desk.
“We cannot risk the chance that they know or have figured out the truth,” he said. Patricia sighed and said,