USS Vesta

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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Cry Taran and Let Slip the Kids of War

Posted on Fri May 27th, 2022 @ 3:53pm by Latchkey Kid Holographic Program Mk I & Taran Willeg

Mission: Between Realities
Location: Deck 7, Family Quarters
Tags: lkh, taran
1597 words - 3.2 OF Standard Post Measure

“Captain’s Log, stardate 2397-point-5, rounded to the nearest decimal point.

The Enterprise is en route to a colony on Nikto VII in response to a distress call. There has been no word from the colony now for more than two hours.

The ship is at red alert. All hands, battle stations.”

The olive-skinned boy sat on the floor, his legs tucked around him in a w-sit posture. Coarse, mahogany hair swung just above the shoulder, trailing down from the broad forehead that displayed a prominent cranial ridge.

The child shifted the position of the miniature Constitution-class model starship that was part of the array of toys that littered the floor. Then, raising himself up on his knees, stretched over to grab the Captain Kirk action figure. Sitting back on his heels, the hybrid youth’s black eyes guided the small fingers as he equipped the toy with the tiny hand phaser.

Satisfied with his work, the boy raised himself back up on his knees before waddling across the carpet to the ottoman, where he started assembling the away team.

Without a thought, the boy reached down for one of the other toys on the floor...

...instead of carpet, his hand brushed against bare metal.

Vertigo set in. Suddenly, the sights, smells, lights, even the temperature seemed to change. Blinking, the boy found the familiar environment of his family quarters replaced by a harsh, spartan environment. The echoes of people singing, or chanting, in some gutteral language reverberated from somewhere else.

He could sense them.

He could sense him.

With a gasp, the boy’s head came up as he found himself staring into the face of another. His face. And, yet, not.

Blue eyes stared back at him.

“Chot!” this blue-eyed boy shouted, baring fang-like teeth as he did.

It was Klingon. Even without speaking his mother’s language, Taran’s empathic senses supplied the translation. Intruder!

The blue-eyed boy lurched to one side. A flash of steel revealed the curved blade of the mek’leth as the boy grabbed hold of the handle.

Taran took a step back as the other boy brandished the weapon, feeling himself brush against something behind him and realizing only too late that he was falling backward...

...the boy landed on his back, staring up at the ceiling in his quarters.

Scooting backward on his hands and knees, Taran found the breath frozen in his throat as his young mind wrestled with what had just happened.

He’d tripped over the ottoman. He was back in his quarters, with no sign of the other boy. “Computer,” the child uttered aloud, waiting a moment for the tell-tale warble that marked the activation of the ship’s computer. As soon as he heard it, he said, “Activate the Latchkey Kid Holographic Program!”

There was a slight shimmer, as the familiar hologram of a balding man appeared in the middle of the room. Dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, the spectre of Lewis Zimmerman announced himself as was his habit. “Please state the nature of the...”

That was as far as the simulacrum got before a Betazoid-Klingon hybrid slam-hugged him. “Hello, Taran,” the hologram offered, bending to gently hug the child in return. Internally, his systems were checking the internal chronometer against the ship’s schedule.

Chief Willeg would be on engineering rotation at his hour. As the former EMH’s senses began to pick up the evidence of distress, the man gently pried the boy from his holographic form just enough as to allow himself to kneel down to the child’s eye level. “Did something happen?”

Taran’s lips never opened, but the eye movement and body language suggested Betazoid norms of conversation. “I’m a hologram, so you’ll have to use your words,” the program reminded the boy.

“I don’t know what to say!” Taran blurted aloud, seemingly on the verge of tears. Arms flailing, in a habit that was reminiscent of Nolan’s vivid gesturing, the boy said, “I was here, but... but then I was... and there was a me, but it wasn’t me.”

The hologram seemed to cock its head to one side. The formulation of one theory was that the boy had a nightmare. It was a line of thought that the hologram had intended to pursue...

...except there was a loud noise from inside one of the closets.

The hologram and the boy each turned their head toward the closet, with the boy shying back slightly so that he was behind the hologram.

“Computer, list the occupants of these quarters,” the hologram inquired.

[ Taran Willeg. ]

“Are there any other lifeforms present?”

[ Negative. ]

As the sound of rustling and banging continued, the hologram could only give a slight nod of his head. “That seems suspect,” the man noted dryly. Taking a step forward, the hologram pressed his hand against the control panel recessed into the wall.

The door to the closet popped open, as a small figured fell back onto the floor in an assortment of coats and bags.

The hologram started to bend down to help the small form, before just as quickly scooting back away as a mek’leth weaved through the air. Extending an arm behind him, the former Emergency Medical Hologram pushed Taran further behind him as the young Klingon sprang up from the floor.

He was darker in complexion than Taran. Stockier in frame as well. But the resemblance was unmistakable.

“HIvje'!” the boy shouted hoarsely, as he charged at the hologram.

The Klingon short sword passed through the man as though he weren’t even there. The boy slashed at the hologram a second time, finding no resistance. Then, locking his attention on Taran, tried to charge through the hologram.

Solidifying his particles, the man seemed unperturbed as the Klingon child bounced off him. A hand quickly shot out, taking the boy’s wrist and twisting the sword from out of the child’s grip. Holding the Klingon blade up for a moment, the man gave a sigh, before tossing the weapon off to one side of the room – out of reach from either of the boy’s.

“Let’s just set that aside for now,” the hologram uttered, his other hand snaking out to grab hold of the belligerent Klingon before he could charge off again.

His photons full of squirming, spitting, struggling Klingon day care, the hologram craned his head around to look over at the slightly-less-Klingon-looking one. “Taran, does your father keep a tricorder at home?”

His photon integrity field solidified so to keep a grip on the violent child, the hologram could only grit his teeth as a mixture of saliva and snot hit him in the face.

“BelHa'ghach!” the small Klingon shouted.

...and people managed to confuse Taran for a Klingon child... how, exactly? With a tuck of his head and a roll of his shoulder, the man tried to brush off the split, as Taran came back from one of the back rooms with a tricorder in hand.

A second hologram appeared beside the boy. “Fortunately, I can be in two places at once,” the EMH remarked, taking the tricorder from the boy and then kneeling down near where his other self and the Klingon boy were wrestling.

“He’s me!” Taran remarked finally.

“Not precisely,” the hologram responded, looking down at the tricorder for a moment. “Only half of his genome matches yours,” the hologram remarked, closing the tricorder as he glanced back at Taran and explained, “This boy is fully Klingon.”

The door to the quarters sprang open.

Taran and the hologram both turned to look, expecting it was Chief Willeg, only to find a young girl standing in the doorway.

A young girl with an olive complexion, prominent forehead ridges, and black eyes.

“Let me guess,” the hologram quipped dryly, “Tara?

“She’s... also me?” Taran uttered from behind the man. As the hologram glanced at the two, it was clear the Betazoids were talking. Or thinking, rather, since they weren’t verbalizing speech at all.

Turning her head up at the hologram, the girl asked, “Who are you?”

“A question for the ages,” the hologram supplied dryly. Then, straightening back up, inquired, “Computer, are we in the vicinity of any temporal anomalies?”

[ “Access to that information has been restricted.” ]

“Worth a shot,” the hologram remarked.

Taran and Girl-Taran seemed well-behaved enough. Klingon Taran was... well, a handful would have been a gross understatement.

And, yet, without explanation for why this was happening, it seemed that this was the reality they were stuck with, for at least the present moment.

Bending down toward the two Betazoid-Klingons, the hologram quietly suggested, “Why don’t we try playing a game?”

When both looked over at the Klingon boy, the hologram clarified “The two of you. For now, anyway.” Gesturing over to where the Klingon boy was being restrained, the hologram added, “I think Obnoxious of the House of Bat’leth needs a timeout.”

“Oh,” Taran uttered, turning toward the girl. “Do you like kadis-kot?”

The EMH should have seen that coming. Taran liked board games and Nolan disliked anything that involved sitting still or playing quietly.

As the two of them ran back to find the kadis-kot board, the second hologram vanished, leaving just the original holding onto a very angry Klingon.

“This is definitely not part of my programming.”


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