Star Trek: War of the Planets (1966)
Captain's Log, Stardate 7079.4, Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise. Currently late in Year Three of our Five Year Mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no man has gone before, things are again looking bad. Due to a massive engineering casualty we have been forced to return to Starbase Gamma behind a rented commercial tug.
He's charging us 3,500 Credits per kilometer, ugh.
So it's going to take a few solar weeks to get a replacement part for the engines shipped in, so we are back to killing time. Since we shook things up a little while ago on this starbase (and the planet), we are well-known now, if not well-respected. There's a markedly increased Starfleet presence here now, as some of the old personnel I outed as criminals the last time I was in the mix. It's actually rare that the Enterprise returns to a location we have previously visited, we usually just cut and run before the locals get tired of us.
Starbase Gamma is still a shithole.
To add insult to injury, Starfleet has flip-flopped on our uniform standards, bringing back the ugly blue-and-white Duty Uniforms that we had just worked so hard to get rid of. We are redoubling our efforts and sending mass email complaint threads like barrages of photon torpedoes, but so far no luck. The Klingons must be laughing at Starfleet's wishywashy ways.
I hate to break it to you guys, but go get changed. Again.
One tiny bit of good news on that is that all crewmen, even officers, are now allowed to wear the new solid blue Away Team Uniforms while on duty, even if we remain on the ship. This is a-ok with us as they fit better and don't ride up in the crotch like the poorly-designed Blue-and-Whites. Less fine with me is that the female crewmen are no longer allowed to wear their miniskirts while on duty. I can't help but feel like I was the cause of this.
Do they make my eyes look brighter?
After some issues lately, my on-again-wish-she'd-die-in-a-transporter-accident side-chick/quasi-girlfriend Connie and I are back together, sorta. And by “issues” I mean that her husband was suddenly transferred to the Kzinti Frontlines with barely two hour's notice. I had nothing to do with that, promise, but she's basically been pissed at me 90% of the time and is making my life a living hell. And I suspect she's been talking behind my back in the crew lounge, because now Yeoman Rand has been giving me the stinkeye all week. Sometimes I wish I could just date Spock.
I only put up with it for the nookie. It's good nookie.
I was hoping that things were going to be calm and peaceful during our return visit to Starbase Gamma, but it looks like not. While Gamma is the biggest base in orbit around this misbegotten backwater planet, there are a number of smaller orbital stations as well. Three of them, Alpha 1, and Deltas 1 and 2 have been attacked and taken offline. A recon team from the planet's Defense Forces goes to investigate, and they livestream this back to the HQ so I see it as it happens.
The locals do the dirty work usually reserved for my bridge crew.
They find the station crews frozen in a sort of zombie paralysis, alive but essentially mindless drones. The recon team is then attacked by gaseous noncorporeal aliens (the hell!) who freeze them as well. I'm really trying to keep out of it, but there were some Starfleet personnel on Delta 2, detached from the garrison on Starbase Gamma, and now I have to get involved, mostly because none of these fools have half a brain. A lot of the incompetent or corrupt members of the DF were culled in the aftermath of the Adam Levine disaster, but this planet's leadership is still generally stupid and stuck a 100 years ago. That makes me, lamentably, The Man with the Ideas.
Why are they coming to me for answers? I don't care.
Plus, I have some experience with noncorporeal aliens, both good and bad. That evil electric cloud monster we encountered on Beta XII-A a couple years ago was a real bitch, and I don't like to remember it, but when I was just an Ensign on the Farragut a noncorporeal entity killed damn near our entire crew. That still gives me nightmares, probably why I drink so much. I wonder sometimes if other Starfleet cruiser captains face so much peril and danger on a weekly basis, or am I just ferociously unlucky.
I'm surprised I don't have more gray hair.
The next day the blurry, twinkling aliens mount a direct attack on Starbase Gamma while I'm still aboard. Lieutenant Commander Scott and Ensign Sulu are here with me, along with a Red Shirt detachment, and we help fight off the attack. During the attack I figure out that the aliens are susceptible to heavy does of radiation, though maybe not to my surprise, there proves to be no further opportunity to use this newfound knowledge before this mess is resolved.
Red Shirt does his job.
Unfortunately, we lose Scotty in the battle when he rushes out to hand-to-hand the gas aliens like the mad, drunken Scotsman he is. We also lose my girlfriend Connie and bunch of other people. They are all zombies now, stabilized in the base hospital but pretty much just lifeless sacks of meat. I'm really sad that Scotty is down, but I have to say that I'm not really missing Connie that much, she was kinda getting on my last nerve lately. Just before the alien attack she and I were having a serious talk about feelings and love and blah blah blah, it's been such a long week, I just want this to end so I can go back to my cabin and drink.
Yeoman Rand has bigger boobs anyway.
And then walks a zombified Starfleet officer named Dubois, who has been “chosen” by the gas aliens as their mind-controlled ambassador. From him we learn that they are from the Andromeda Galaxy, and they only want peace. Ugh, every single time an alien species says they “want peace” I end up having to Phaser them to death, usually right after I sleep with their queen and insult their culture. I wonder if the gas aliens have a queen? Is she hot?
Dubois is the center of attention and I don't like it.
Dubois looks vaguely familiar to me, and Sulu has to tell me on the side that he's a junior Lieutenant in the Enterprise's Astrobiology Department. It appears that Dubois happened to be down on the planet when the aliens abducted him, there seems to be nothing special about him other than he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Honestly, I can't be expected to personally know all 350 people on my ship, right? Especially since the turnover in the lower decks is so high, nearly every week someone is getting killed by some Space Monster or whatever. Plus, Dubois is a man, if he was a female (well, a pretty female) then I'm 100% sure I would have remembered him.
In my defense, I've been through a lot the last couple of years.
Dubois tells us that the Andromedans have set up shop in an automated uranium mine on this planet's moon, oddly the same moon that Adam Levine built his genetic lab on. This is where all the zombified people have been taken. Dubois says that his bosses want a select few of us leaders to meet with them at the moonbase and talk turkey. Sigh, I guess that means me. So Sulu and I tap a few Red Shirts and we get on a rocketship with Dubois. The local military Commander comes along, which doesn't excite me much, this is the same useless tool that was of no value at all during the Adam Levine mess a while back. But Dubois wants the leadership on this trip so I'm stuck with him.
Dubois takes us down into the mines where all the zombies have assembled. There are a lot more than I realized, maybe a hundred altogether, including Connie and Scotty. Dubois starts to dole out the exposition now, and we learn that the collective hive-mind Andromedans are using humans as “physical hosts” for their “noncorporeal life energies”. And, just as I suspected, they want to take over the galaxy. Ugh, I tried to tell them not to trust the aliens, but they wouldn't listen and now I'm stuck down here with all these zombies and I hate my life.
This is going to get sticky, I just feel it.
One of our Red Shirts volunteers to be an alien host, his life is pretty shit anyway so he might as well. He and some of the zombies are lined up and the aliens swirl around them, I guess they are picking their host bodies? None of this is explained very well, I am guessing a lot, but I have to stand here and act like I know what's going on because I'm the Captain. A couple of the candidates, including the hapless Red Shirt, are deemed failures and Dubois' men murder them right in front of us! Oh crap.
The candidates line up, nothing good can come from this.
Zombie Scotty is brought in and he's up for a “hosting” next. The gas aliens come in and he starts screaming in pain, it's hard to watch, but not much I can do. Scotty also fails his hosting test and they want to kill him like the others, but for some inexplicable reason Dubois suddenly orders that we take Scotty back to our holding room. Perhaps there's a little part of Dubois still in there that's fighting back against the alien mind control? Meh, he's still a villain in my book.
Scotty takes his turn.
Once back in our cell I plan a way out. We've smuggled in four pistols and we find some mining tools laying around, we have the means and the skills. But first I have to rescue Connie and as many of the others as I can. After some running around and yelling dramatically for no good reason, we manage to free Connie and one other local woman from their zombie condition. This involves a lot more slapping than I was anticipating, but I do have a lot of anger issues to resolve.
Why don't I just leave you behind? Oh, right, the nookie.
But before we can help anyone else, Dubois and his zombie guards barge in and we have a fight to the death. Since it's mostly fists and feet, we win because we're awesome like that. And yes, I get in a few of my patented Flying Leg Kicks and I even get to blind some dudes with a fire extinguisher, which is pretty cool. I've had like ten dozen of these types of close-combat fights since we started our Five Year Mission and I'm always shocked that more of them aren't gunfights, we do have disintegrating Phasers, after all.
The local CO helps out, thanks, man, you've been quite useless.
Dubois dies but it's clear we have to get out of here immediately if we're to survive, which means leaving everyone else behind. We escape through a broken window on to the surface of the moon, dragging everyone along that we can. The atmosphere is super toxic and it looks like we're going to die (even me!), but we make it back to our rocketship just in time. I'm really getting too old for this shit, I really should be delegating more of these types of hands-on missions to my junior officers.
Dubois expires, yet another officer I've lost on this trip.
We got to hurry, a squadron of local warships, along with a couple of the Enterprise's shuttles, is coming to attack the alien base now. If the Enterprise herself wasn't broken I would just have Spock zip over here and beam us out, but we're going to have to do this the hard way. Seriously, we can't take off yet? Not enough engine pressure, we need a half hour? Damn, this rocketship is such a dinosaur, they don't have impulse engines, they don't have transporters, they're relics of an older age.
The cavalry arrives.
We see the Andromedans getting ready to leave on their captured ships so they have to attack now or risk them escaping. I am really ready to sacrifice myself for the good of the galaxy, because there will be no peace with the Andromeda aliens still around, but it still sucks that this is the way it has to be. They drop Photon Bombs and the alien base is wiped out, my life flashes before my eyes (it has been an awesome life). What's this? The explosions kick us into space as we fire our half-powered rocket engine and we are saved? What? Wow, that was crazy, I'm sure we violated some laws of physics there. Sometimes I wonder if there's a Higher Purpose watching over me, I do seem to survive a lot of these surely-dead situations at the last second. Maybe I should go to Space Church more.
Unfortunately, as I look around the cabin I see that we are so few left compared to those that we had to leave behind, just myself, Scotty, Sulu, Connie, a Red Shirt, the local Commander, and that other woman have made it off the moon alive. All the crews of the orbital stations, citizens from the planet, all the Starfleet personnel, even quite a few members of my own ship's crew, dozens in all, maybe a hundred total, have all been killed. There's going to be a lot of paperwork.
I really need a personal assistant for all this.
The Enterprise's warp core is still not working, so it's going to be a bit longer I've been told. After all that stressful action, it feels good to just take a few days off and hang out on planet, relaxing and hammering back Romulan ales in an ex-pat casino. Oh, and I got a commendation for bravery from Starfleet, but also got suspended for 30 days and confined to quarters for getting 10% of my crew killed. But that's ok, I can bring girls in. I might even let Connie visit.
She better be naked a lot.
Or maybe, I'll reassign Connie to the Sanitation Tube Maintenance Team for a few weeks as punishment for getting her lunk ass captured and then I'll slide Yeoman Rand up in the batting order a few spots. See if she still fits into that “custom uniform” I had made for her during our last shore leave on Omicron Delta. Yeah, she knows the one I like. Being the Captain is awesome some days.
Hey! Who let that filthy, mangy cat aboard my starship?!?
Written in January 2017 by Nathan Decker.
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that's between you and the vengeful wrath of your personal god...