by TS Caladan
"What do you mean, you're leaving? You can't go." Captain Mercer was stunned. He didn't believe the words that abruptly came out of his newly transmogrified Head of Security's lovely mouth. Everything was going perfectly. The crew was happy. She was happy. What changed? "Alara. Why? After all that's happened. You have everybody's attention now. We, they love you. The Union did an about-turn on you; they know you are 100% loyal; they want you..."
She was over her tears. Maybe the Xelayan was cried-out. Maybe Lieutenant Kitan had grown up and was over her self-sympathy. Alara told Captain Ed: "My people don't, Captain..."
Kitan said, "I was just sent word from Xelaya's High Council, that's our top governing agency, sir..."
"I...I am not welcome there...anymore, sir. I'm a weak embarrassment and a joke on home world. I can't go home," she said with sadness, but full acceptance of the facts.
"Why the hell not?" Ed was upset.
"Apparently. After my..." she said with some emotions behind the words.
Mercer tried to comfort her. "Hey. It's all right, Alara. You know you can tell me anything."
"I know very little about my parents, sir. I've only now found out they were considered traitors and banished from home world. I was allowed to live a 'normal' life as a child on Xelaya and not told what really happened to them. Apparently, part of the deal. I was told they were dead, but they're probably alive somewhere. This explains why I always felt like an outsider on home planet, not welcomed all my life and even shunned among my own people. It explains a lot. And why I..."
"I'm so sorry to hear about this, Alara." Ed reached over the table and held her little hand that was once so powerful. [She gave up her super-strength to fit in with the crew and now she was leaving].
She smiled, shook his hand and broke the bond, as if to say: I'll make it fine on my own. "I'll miss all of you very much...my friends."
"Oh, hell. There goes the pot on who's going to..."
"What?" she innocently asked, without a clue.
"Wait, wait, wait, Head of Security...you don't mean you're going to resign your commission, chuck everything into the toilet, are you?"
"Yes, sir. It means exactly that."
Captain Mercer attempted a resolution: "But you don't have to!"
"How can I do my job? I mean, say we get contacted by High Command? Me standing on the bridge would be a problem for them, sir. I don't want that. They think since I'm not one of them anymore, I'll betray them like my parents did. I'm exiled, just like them. Who knows...Edward? Maybe I'll track them down, find them one day and learn what really happened? So this is good-bye."
"Wow." The Captain got up and walked around the table.
Alara stood up and received his hug.
"Watch, eh? I'll be the one who cries," Ed said with a laugh.
They held the hug for awhile. It felt good.
Then Mercer got himself together and looked into her eyes. "And this was all because you went human being on them? What Dicks!"
"I know!" They laughed and hugged again for a short time. "Hm. I'm going to miss all your dicks and asses...you know what I mean, Captain?"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hey. We're going to miss you too, kid. You're kind of...unreplaceable."
Her luscious lips smiled bigger. Her eyes twinkled. Alara was in a good mood. "Why thank you, Captain. Been a pleasure. Oh. You called me, sir...and I sprung this on you. What did you want?"
"AH! I remember," Ed said. "We have those old movie-screenings you've never been to, from the Archives. I was picked to invite you to see something special at the next get-together."
"Sweet of the whole gang. Guess I can't make it. What was so special you wanted me to see? Can you tell me?"
"It will spoil the surprise - since you won't be there, sure. We wanted you to eat popcorn with us and watch a TREK show where half-human, half-Klingon, B'lanna Torres got separated into 2 people: one a full-Klingon warrior and the other a totally human woman, you know, like you?"
"Ha. Ah. And why should I see this?"
Ed didn't want to say. He fiddled with a few things on his desk. He flew the Kitty Hawk model plane with his hand. Then it came out: "She, ah...she was pretty...as a human."
Days later and after a few conversations with his First Officer as well as his helmsman, the Captain made a dramatic decision. Nothing important was on Orville's schedule for a few days. Ed ordered Kelly take command. He had his old friend pilot a shuttle. They were going to Xelaya as 'advocates' for Lt. Kitan in the hopes she'd be reinstated and be returned to the Union. Why not? Alara had saved the crew more than once. This was the least they could do for her...
As they pulled out of "dry-dock" at Union Station and were ready to warp away at light-speed, an unexpected event happened...
A Calivon warship suddenly came out of warp and appeared close to the Station and Orville. Its extremely potent multi-Electric Guns were trained on the Station and every Union vessel in the area.
Shields were immediately raised on all ships and the Station.
"Cap! You know what that is?" Malloy said and was not calm about it.
"We've seen them before. Calivons. The zookeepers."
"What the hell they want?" Gordon asked.
"Don't know. Oh, no. I'm not going back, eh? They're pissed about something? Get me the Commander. Any commander!"
"Right away," Malloy replied and tied them into the Orville.
"Commander. What's the story?"
Kelly Grayson responded before Bortus. She replied, "Sir! We don't know. Everyone's on red alert!" The alarm in the background was turned off. "I thought we were cool with the Calivons?"
Ed didn't answer and cut her off. "Keep me posted if you know something. Out."
Suddenly. Every viewing-screen, big and small, from table model to full wall-screen, now contained an image of a Calivon mother and her small son:
"We demand restitution! We, at the facility, were deceived, lied to, betrayed by your Union reps and as a result: Our royal and ancient House has been disgraced. We have been EXILED from our home! My husband is piloting the warship at the moment. He has his finger on the Big Trigger..."
His image flashed on the screen for two seconds. "Hi, bastards! Remember me?"
She continued. "Since you falsely represented the material of our deal, we demand...wait, what do we demand, Edwin?"
The husband-pilot broke in again. His image said to everyone: "Don't worry, Captain. We do not want you and your companion's return to the zoo..."
"That's a relief," Ed said to Gordon in the shuttle.
The red Calivon named Edwin said, "...No. We want you DEAD and simply want to smash Union ships to the smallest pieces possible. Right? Right." The image changed...
The mother and son reappeared. She said, with a trace of empathy in her voice, "Be fair, Ed. Give them some time, yes?"
Gordon weirdly noted, "Ed. His name's Ed. Ha."
The Calivon husband agreed with his wife. "Okay."
Captain Mercer responded to his friend. "Hey. Shut-up, this is serious."
"Sorry, sir. Ah, wait: it's a standoff; we all have our shields raised."
Ed was certain of his facts. "No, it's not. That ship has considerably more power. After the fireworks, whose shields you think will crack first? Patch me back to the Commander."
"I have to understand what's going on," the Captain wondered.
First Officer replied over the com: "Sir?"
"Can you tie me into the warship, so they hear me?"
Kelly answered, "Bortus can."
Commander Bortus said over the com: "Yes, sir. Done."
"Lady. With all due respect..."
The Calivon mother, father and son saw and heard the Captain.
She said, "Ah. You're the 'bastard,' sorry, Ed's word, that...'screwed' us, my word."
"Please explain! We gave you endless hours and hours of Reality TV and you LOVED IT! Ate it up! We provided chills, thrills and spills, you people, ain't ever had before in your little lives! Sights unseen. What a GIFT on our part, and after your illegal kidnapping of high-ranked Union officers. I mean, c'mon! WHAT?"
She explained softly and quietly: "Well. For one thing...we made a big discovery after you left and after our greatest minds studied the material over and over again. They came to a big Truth on the whole matter: IT WASN'T REAL! That was the lie...it was phony baloney: Reality TV, indeed. Are you not aware of this small fact, sir?"
The husband, from pilot's seat, barged in once more: "That's why we're going to blow you out of space! You know we can do it, too. Our family took the blame and punishment for 'diseasing' the whole planet. We can't go back! Some have concluded the Kardashians were War-Weapons! Guys. I'm going to enjoy this so much. YOU HAVE ONE MINUTE!"
Malloy told Mercer: "Scans read there's only three of them on that big ship."
The mother's image returned to the screen. She told them and showed them: "Ragweed here is...confused. He wants to wear make-up, 'twerk' and DATE. Captain. He's only 72!"
Gordon and Ed looked at each another.
At the mention of his name and recent, new antics, stubborn, ungrateful and now rebellious, little Ragweed...turned, marched out of the picture frame, and said: "Fucking bullshit."
Ed had a fantastic idea. It just might work...
Ed's idea worked. Father Calivon took his red finger off the Big Trigger when he heard another proposal from the Captain. He weighed the alternatives. He decided. The entire alien family of three beamed onboard the Orville and were warmly welcomed with 'open arms.' Their warship confiscated, a coup for the Union.
A bit later. Edwin, with his family around him on the bridge, said, "You mean, Captain? You'd have us...as, as one of your crew?" The parents were amazed and extremely pleased. They understood they were not prisoners and new adventures were ahead for the Calivon family as part of a Union vessel.
"Yes! You three will have the best quarters available. How's that sound?" Ed said with joy in his heart. The Captain handled the Calivons well, again.
First Officer was very proud.
Bortus smiled. The bridge crew (minus Alara) did also.
Dr. Finn approached them, took it upon herself to escort them to their quarters, help them and will show them around the ship.
As the group left the bridge and walked onto the Lift, they heard frustrated and tiny Ragweed who shook a little and said: "Fucking bullshit."
The Doctor told the parents, "It will take time. We'll work on that."
Soon. The Copernicus-class shuttle warped its way to Xelaya with the Captain and his helmsman. This time, they remembered to bring along Isaac.
Much later, the unscheduled, unprecedented Union visit upon the planet of Supermen and Superwomen (according to many races), was accepted by High Council. A sudden audience was granted and an arbitration will eventually be resolved one way or the other: Kitan will be returned to duty onboard Orville and be welcomed on Xelaya, or...
She will not be part of the Union and never be allowed back on home world, same as her parents.
Gordon Malloy remained in the shuttle, in high orbit and far from the moonless planet of intense gravity and other incredible pressures.
Captain Mercer stood [in midair] as prime advocate for Kitan, while android Isaac rolled alongside on the floor and assisted the 'talk' in any way it could. Ed was depressurized for some time and placed inside a suit that compensated for the extreme forces that pushed upon Xelaya.
The room itself was established as a Pressure-Room in order for other, softer lifeforms to communicate and interact in person with Xelayans on the highest level.
Advocate Rolvar was chosen as State's Advocate and opposed the Captain's arguments.
Each took positions: Rolvar in an elaborate and beautiful court, with many other officials in the room, and...
Captain Ed in suit, in the Pressure-Room, with his android at hand below him.
When official ceremonies were over, one of 7 Council members in front of Rolvar said: "Make your argument, Captain Mercer. We are listening and recording and calculating. Go on."
With nothing under his feet and as he swayed in the air slightly, the Captain stated opening lines he really hadn't prepared: "Good Councilors. You've seen Lt. Alara Kitan's full record. She is a glowing star with credentials, honors, distinguished awards for valor and heroics up the...ah, I mean: Kitan's largest asset was never her physical strength, it was always her incredible mind as a strategist and moral compass against adversity. Whenever there was trouble, I relied on the young Lieutenant's advice much more than anyone else...and that includes the very experienced and accomplished, Dr. Finn. Alara Kitan should be a hero on Xelaya! Don't you know, she gave up everything...to..."?
"To be one of you and no longer be one of us," Rolvar interrupted the Captain's testimony.
"Out of order! Advocate Rolvar..." Prime Councilor stated firmly. "You'll have a chance to respond. Please continue, Captain."
"Thank you." Ed bowed slightly. He said, "...Alara has also made many close friends onboard the ship. We care about her. I'm sorry to say, ladies and gentlemen, maybe more that you do?"
The Xalayans were bothered by the words. Grumblings in the crowd were heard.
Rolvar was silent.
Prime Councilor spoke: "Why is she not here, Captain Mercer? Should she not be present at her own defense?"
"Here, here," a few said along with other things murmured.
Ed turned to Isaac, some feet below him. "Have you located her yet, Isaac?"
The android responded with, "Since her transponder was removed when she departed, we cannot find her, sir. And sirs. Her last known location was at a tram-port at Station 794, but we have no knowledge of which tram she took or planet of destination."
Mercer ordered, "Keep an eye out for possible tram-destinations at the time she entered, then cross-check anything at those locations, which might pick her up."
"We will, of course, inform the court if there is any news on her whereabouts," Ed said.
Prime Councilor said, "Captain. A minute, closing argument on why we should forgive the Kitan family, then we will hear a counter from the State. Go."
"You said it right there, sir. We are not guilty because of family ties. Sins of the father, sins of the mother. I understand very young Alara was raised by her grandmother and kept in the dark about her parents, told they were dead. She was not a young spy-in-training, part of a sinister plot hatched by parents of anarchy and dissention. She didn't know them at all. I don't know what they did, their crimes as so-called 'traitors.' If they were like her, they're no traitors. If they were traitors, then she's nothing like them. She's the BEST of all of us. And if you Councilors are anything like her, I'm sure you'll see it in your hearts: she's done nothing but good things. There isn't the smallest blemish on record or inside her, I believe. She really has no family now. Let her come home to us; we're her family. Thank you, good Councilors." Ed thought he did well and nodded to Isaac.
"Now, we'll hear from State's Advocate. Rolvar?"
"Thank you, High Councilor. I wave argument in its entirety. I need not argue anything at all."
"What?" Ed asked as he floated.
The seven Councilors on the board also were confused. Prime one commanded, "Explain."
"Oddly enough, around the same time as her 'humanization,' our scientists, after years of work, stumbled upon an anomaly on her brain scans. I should say, its true purpose. A very small polyp on her G7x region, right hemisphere. Captain. Have your android access her brain scans; I'm sure it's a part of your data."
Isaac jerked slightly at the mention of its name. "I can do that." It turned to the Captain and asked, "Should I, sir?"
Rolvar stated, "We used Union scans so you have the same pictures as ours. Have the polyp located..."
"Found," Isaac quickly replied.
State Advocate ordered, "Now go to maximum magnification and analyze."
Ed nodded for Isaac to do it and he asked the android: "Have you ever done this before?"
It answered, "I was never ordered to and saw no reason to."
"Tell your Captain and the court what you see, Robot."
"Bio-nanites. That is a new one, sir. Barely detectable. This small ball of flesh is not natural. It was placed there for purposes...unknown."
Then the magnified motion picture was displayed to all. Everyone viewed microscopic lifeforms that moved or repeatedly orbited the fleshy and unnatural sphere.
Rolvar concluded with, "We don't know what this is. She could be a Bomb. This could be the port that controls her remotely. Maybe her parents can control her every action or some other enemy? We cannot take that chance, knowing full well she's a Kitan and what that means. She certainly cannot serve the Union until we know for sure what this is and what we are dealing with. Thank you, honored Councilors."
Ed Mercer was stunned. He didn't believe the verdict. He fixed the Calivon affairs and numerous other tight situations. Could this be utter failure? He thought he wasn't a loser anymore.
The High Court's decision took no time at all. Not one of the 7 on the board voted in favor of the Captain. Alara would not be reinstated and she remained in exile from a home planet that, in reality, never wanted her.
Light-years away, Admiral Halsey met in secret, inside a dark, deep, underground chamber of a camouflaged planet. Halsey, a Union 'puppet,' was ordered to this location as he'd been ordered a hundred times on other occasions. The dark, warm, wet and very private spot in the galaxy pleased the Yehcruy-creature well, as it was used to slimy, dank, dirty caverns.
The Admiral was not comfortable and had sweat that poured underneath his uniform. "Director. What are you telling me? Now war is inevitable? You've swung the other way? Your initial plans for Galactic War, to destroy the Union you've financed and constructed? What changed? Now you're considering it, the end of everything? Director, I don't understand."
"What you said, Halsey. That is it...precisely."
The 20-foot tall arachnid, and only producer of Union Credits, said: "I am...considering it."
Back on Xelaya, within High Council chambers, final preparations were made. In a moment, Captain Ed would begin the long procedure to reverse-depressurize in order to safely leave the 'Pressure Planet." Isaac assisted. But the process was halted...
A surprise guest had arrived in court. Green curtains 'magically' appeared.
The big screen was activated so the Captain and android observed one more strange event...
The visitor was one of the rarest beings in the galaxy: a female Moclan. The most famous writer in the history of (all-male) Moclus. She had come to add a few more words.
Everyone who viewed the court in person or over Xelayan Media was in awe. They wanted very much to know what "Gondus Eldon" would reveal to them. She had no pressure-suit, which was a miracle in itself. The Moclan walked out of green curtains and told the world:
"I was an exile. I was discarded by my home world and grew stronger because of it. I am here to tell you of a much larger problem, far, far beyond your decision today and a lone Lieutenant. I'm here to tell you the galaxy and all of its spidery tentacles and every covert Black Op Union elite: fear the Superwomen and Supermen of Xelaya. You are only 5 million strong with a meager military and weak defenses. They all, the Outlanders, fear what you could do, what gods could do if you sat down, organized and decided to takeover. You could, you know? The reign of Xelayan Gods could rule the galaxy for a thousands years and it would have little to do with militarization. But only if you become soldiers, spirits of conquerors, warriors and hardened your hearts and burned Compassion out of your souls. You are not War Weapons! You are lovers and must stay that way. Your planet is a crucial nexus point and will be used that way in future by forces beyond you. Peace and love and forgiveness is your nature. Turning-point can begin here, today. Open your hearts and allow a beautiful, innocent, little girl to return home. You would be wise to appreciate what she has done and will do for you. Your choice." She smiled. The great Gondus Eldon (who really was great) disappeared behind the green curtains. Then the curtains disappeared~
The Councilors felt the writer's words and reversed their decision.
She could rejoin her friends on the Orville.
Alara Kitan's family was instantly forgiven. She was truly welcome on home world. They wanted very much to tell the 'human' in person that they hoped she'd forgive them. No one would ever shun her or disrespect her ever again. They were 'super people' after all, realized their importance in the Balance of the Galaxy. It would start now, with Alara...wherever she was.
Much later, in the large crew Lounge, the Captain had a secluded and private moment with Kelly and Gordon. He informed them of everything he knew and they didn't, everything that went down on the unscheduled excursion. They were all ears.
Thoughts turned to the former Lieutenant. Where was Alara?
Suddenly. Isaac jogged by and stopped directly in front of their table.
"What's up, guy?" Gordon asked.
Captain Mercer asked the android, "Did you locate her, Isaac?"
"No, sir. I hesitated to inform you of what else I discovered when I closely examined her polyp. You should know, sir...I know why it was placed there..."
"Why?" Kelly asked, excitedly.
"Spill it," the Captain ordered.
The android answered: "I don't know who did it. It was put there to kill her. It is a personal bomb, sir. It has been there awhile. If it is not removed very soon, it is going to go off and kill her."
"Damn," the Captain expressed.
The helmsman said, "That sure isn't right."
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