"How dearly I hate thee ... men of Earth. You have vexed me throughout eternity on the playing fields of the Infinity. A game, my forever foes, one we have played so many times before. A board, changing with every turn of our unchanging struggle. The Prize? Ah, there's the mystery."
Summary[edit | edit source]
The USS Enterprise has tracked down an Orion ship that has been raiding colonies along the Eerina V sector. Kirk and an away team have beamed over to the Orion ship and are attempting to capture it from its captains: Narhal and Susna. While Kirk fights Susna, Narhal attempts to activate the vessel's self destruct system in order to protect the secrets of their planet and take the Enterprise down with them. Kirk is able to overpower Susna and knock Narhal out of the way before he is successful.
Back in sickbay, Dr. McCoy asks Kirk exactly what the point of this mission was. Kirk explains that while Orion has been claiming neutrality, their pirate ships have been raiding outer colonies for years. When these ships face capture, they self destruct while the Orion government dismisses them as rogues. If they were able to capture one intact, it would help to prove Starfleet's suspicions that these vessels are not as rogue as the government claims. McCoy tells Kirk that someone else should be leading these missions and he shouldn't always put his life on the line, but Kirk retorts that he wouldn't ask his crew to do anything he wouldn't do himself. Uhura then contacts Kirk to inform him they have received a message from Starfleet Command. Kirk proceeds to the bridge in order to take it.
Admiral Fitzpatrick orders the Enterprise to proceed to Pollux II at best possible speed in order to assist Armand St. John with whatever assistance he requires to safeguard his newest discovery. Kirk informs the Fitzpatrick that he has a brig full of Pirates to deliver to Gelb VII and asks why he doesn't send a closer ship. The Admiral explains that St. John specifically requested that Enterprise be sent and that given his past discoveries, the Federation wants every possible courtesy to be extended to St. John. While Kirk and McCoy wonder why St. John would request that they be sent, Spock tells them he believes he is the reason. Spock and St. John attended the academy together and St. John once claimed that Spock was the only person in the Federation capable of understanding his brilliance. Kirk has Spock give a full report given on St. John. Spock classifies him as the most brilliant and mercurial man he has ever met. He is also conceited and prone to violent emotional outbursts. Wondering why such a brilliant man could behave this way, Spock did some research into St. John's past. His parents were successful and affluent socialites who were ill-equipped to raise their son. He grew up with a succession of nannies all of whom he resented.
Though his parents gave him every material thing he asked for, he was only to gain their attention through tantrums. Though his parents disapproved, when he reached the age of consent, he enrolled in Starfleet Academy. St. John considered Spock to be his only friend at the academy, though Spock would frequently chastise St. John for the irresponsible shortcuts he would use during research. When one of these experiments caused extensive damage to the campus, St. John was expelled from the academy. He briefly worked in the family business, but found even less success there. Soon thereafter, he founded the research facility on Pollux II, considered to currently be the most advanced in the Federation. There is some controversy surrounding the facility as St. John abandoned his experiments on transwarp drive once something else caught his fancy. The Federation however is convinced whatever discovery he has made is worthy of their attention.
The Enterprise arrives in orbit around Pollux II and is immediately hailed by Armand St. John, who complains about the length of time it took for Enterprise to arrive. Kirk retorts that perhaps they could have made it faster with transwarp drive. St. John asks to speak with Spock and invites to beam him down and witness his newest discovery, giving him permission to bring Captain Kirk along with two security officers. Kirk tells St. John their own transporters are capable of this, but St. John informs him that he has erected shields around the planet to block all transporter beams except his own. McCoy asks to come along as well, but St. John angrily denies this request.
Though Dr. McCoy expresses concern over St. John's psychological state, Kirk, Spock, Chekov, and a security officer beam down to Pollux II. When they arrive, they are confused as they are immediately greeted by a man who looks exactly like Armand St. John, but is wearing a red tunic instead of a blue one. He identifies himself as one of St. John's "others", and shows the captain that on Pollux II, everyone resembles Armand St. John. Sure enough, the planet is populated by members of various humanoid races all bearing a striking resemblance to Armand St. John.
Kirk asks Spock if these could be clones, which Spock denies as some of the "others" are of different races, and the technology to combine genetic material to make a clone in this manner is beyond even St. John's capabilities. We are also introduced to a female "other" of Armand St. John. Kirk demands an explanation, and St. John wonders why Spock hasn't figured it out yet. Spock claims he has a theory but will not voice it until he has enough data. St. John claims that he has been reading up on all of Spock's adventures and asks if he remembers the report Enterprise filed about their trip to the mirror universe. Kirk wonders how St. John did this, since the report was classified, but St. John reminds him that his security clearance is at the highest level. St. John then wondered about the possibility of an infinite number of parallel universes, each with their own Armand St. John. He resolved to gather all these alternate St. Johns together in one research facility, making it unnecessary for him to constantly explain himself to those of lower intelligence. Kirk tells St. John that this is a Prime Directive violation since he is depriving alternate universes of people who could be of vast importance.
Spock tells Kirk not to worry about this since St. John is clearly misled in thinking that his "others" are being produced in this way. In order to do this, St. John would need to scan for his specific genetic pattern in all planets in all universes he claims to have pulled his "others" from, and the logistics of this are beyond even St. John's capabilities. Spock tells Kirk that there is nothing for the Federation here and suggests that they leave. St. John will not allow them to, since he can't have them giving a negative report to the Federation. He sends a beastly "other", a less evolved version of St. John, at Kirk. Kirk tries to shoot the beast with a phaser with no success and instead has to settle for wrestling him. He yells out for Spock to help him out, and when he is eventually pinned, St. John gestures over to an unconscious Spock and three of Spock's recently created "others", one of them Romulan, one of them with a more primate-like appearance, and one of them looking similar to mirror Spock.
Kirk, Spock, Chekov, and the Security Officer are being held prisoner on Pollux II. Meanwhile, on Enterprise, a group of Armand St. John's others have boarded the ship, released the Orions from the brig, and are attempting to gain control. They are unable to break into engineering as Mr. Scott rewrote all the sections' programming into a new language during the boarding attempt. All systems except life support have been shut down.
On Pollux II, Armand St. John has faith that his "others" will soon be able to break Mr. Scott's code due to their superior intellect and makes it clear that he intends to use his "others" to rule the entire Federation, as someone of his intelligence is the only one who can keep it from falling into shambles. Spock then tells St. John he will consider joining him if he explains his plan in more detail. Kirk yells in objection but St. John silences him. He releases Spock from the force field imprisoning him, and at Spock's urging, Kirk as well, since St. John said his rule would be benign and this treatment of a guest did not seem compatible with that motive. Spock then asks to examine the machine more closely. Meanwhile, Enterprise has managed to raise shields in order to prevent more "others" from beaming on board.
Even after examining St. John's machine four times, Spock is still unconvinced that it does what St. John claims it does. He also wonders how St. John is able to command both Romulan and Klingon variants of himself, as it is difficult to imagine either of those species taking orders from a human. Spock asks to see the machine in operation, and while St. John runs it, notes that the "others" collected by St. John seem to be created exactly as he wished them to. St. John's machine then produces a female "other" of Captain Kirk, calling herself Jane T. Kirk, commander of the Foundation starship Enterprise.
Spock claims this proves the machine to be the deception he thought it was, since while previously examining the machine he disconnected the power supply. In rage, St. John orders his guards to attack the away team, but Spock subdues his Romulan "other" and takes his disruptor, aiming it at St. John and forcing him to surrender. Spock then explains to Kirk that since the machine still appeared to function when the power was disconnected, and since genetic engineering has not progressed far enough to create duplicates in this manner, the only logical conclusion is that some other unknown force is at work here, creating St. John's "others" exactly as he wanted them to appear. St. John denies this, and receives a transmission from his "others" aboard Enterprise, claiming they have broken Mr. Scott's code and taken control of the vessel. The weapons Kirk and the away team have captured disappear from their hands, causing St. John to claim that if there is an unknown force at work, it has chosen to side with him. While fighting breaks out on Pollux II, Spock is able to force St. John into a mind meld, convincing him that the gathering apparatus was always a charade. The "others" then all disappear, leaving the Orions severely outnumbered on the Enterprise bridge and St. John reduced to hysterics on Pollux II.
Back on Enterprise, Kirk has arranged for St. John to be transferred to the psychiatric facilities on Elba II, as he seems to have lost track of reality and is merely drifting between his shadow universes.
Kirk and Spock discuss the recent mission over a game of three-dimensional chess when they are interrupted by a voice. A creature calling himself "Djinn", resembling the Islamic spirit of the same name, appears. He claims to be the power between Armand St. John's duplicates and did so to destroy St. John's mind out of his hatred for humanity. He then tells Kirk and Spock that near the Orion ship they captured was a remote human colony, Leora IV, which was close to a discovery that could greatly evolve humanity, giving it powers rivaling his own. He claims to have sent Enterprise away from the region so he could destroy the colony with little resistance, eliminating the threat to his power. Djinn then disappears. Uhura contacts Kirk and says they have just received a distress call from Leora IV. Enterprise travels there at maximum warp, but is unable to find any survivors of the attack. Spock contemplates Djinn in his personal log, still curious as to why he has such a great hatred for humanity, and deduces that his people are probably already in their descent, and therefore Djinn lashes out at humanity in fear, as they will someday surpass him.
Log entries[edit | edit source]
- Captain's log, stardate 6619.7
- Armand St. John's plans for the Enterprise -- whatever they may be -- seem to have hit a snag. Scotty's doing, no doubt.
- Ship's log, stardate 6619.9
- Our shields prevent Armand St. John from beaming more of his others on board.
and thanks to Mr. Scott, the invaders are unable to access the ship's computers.
They are especially peeved about that.
Unfortunately we are still their prisoners--
--And very convenient outlets--
--For their exasperation.
We can only hope the captain's situation offers more options than our own.
- Personal log, Spock, stardate 6620.4
- We could find no survivors at Leora IV. I have been attempting to understand why this Djinn possesses so powerful a hatred of humanity.
I have formulated a hypothesis...
His... people... are likely unimaginable old, perhaps already in their descent. I believe djinn fear humanity will someday surpass his own kind.
As an ancient Earth philosopher once asked, 'what did the last Neanderthal say to the first Cro-Magnon?'
Perhaps nothing was said. Perhaps the Neanderthal simply struck out in abject terror...
...Of that which would replace it.
References[edit | edit source]
Characters[edit | edit source]
- Chaput • Pavel Chekov • Djinn • Fitzpatrick • James T. Kirk • Jane T. Kirk • Leonard McCoy • Narhal • Montgomery Scott • Spock • Armand St. John • Hikaru Sulu • Susna • Nyota Uhura
- Referenced only
- Eve St. John • Janus St. John
Races and cultures[edit | edit source]
Starships and vehicles[edit | edit source]
Locations[edit | edit source]
States and organizations[edit | edit source]
Other references[edit | edit source]
- admiral • bridge • captain • clone • computer • disruptor • distress call • Earther • engineering • Islam • life support • mind meld • mythology • nanny • narvag • parallel universe • phaser • piracy • Prime Directive • quarantine • self destruct • shields • sickbay • stardate • Starfleet uniform • Starfleet uniform (2260s) • three-dimensional chess • torture • transporter • transwarp
Appendices[edit | edit source]
Background[edit | edit source]
- This story spans from Stardate 6618.4 to 6620.4.
- Spock studied science at Starfleet Academy with Armand St. John.
- St. John's "others" consist of members of various different species, including Andorian, Talosian, and Romulan, along with both "ridged" and "unridged" Klingons. There are no Vulcans. There was at least one female "other" of St. John.
Connections[edit | edit source]
In the Sleep of Death, What Dreams May Come
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The Patrian Transgression