Author’s note: Everything Trek belongs to Paramount. That isn’t a question and this is not an effort to infringe or otherwise question their rights.
This is fan fiction using my own characters and timeline. I’m a Trek nerd, and this is my Trek story.
Author’s other note: I don’t normally do fan fiction. I have, in fact, called it “stupid” more than once. But… I do this for a living, I’m occasionally wrong, and I love Star Trek. And no, it isn’t “wrong” for a professional to do FanFic. If Neil Gaiman can do it, so I can I. Hell, several popular authors started with FanFic. I started with my own work.
So… Let’s Go Where No One Has Gone Before.
Star Trek: Fearless
Chapter One (1.1)
2286: Klingon Neutral Zone, Starship Enterprise
Lieutenant Cadence Song tapped the arm of the command chair with one nail and fought to keep the thought-voices of her crew out of her head. It always got like this when she was stressed, her control slipped, her thoughts slipped, what the hell was she doing in the center seat?
She sat back and listened to the thrum of the ship, the faint beep-whir of the systems around her, casual speech as the crew went about its business. Focusing on the here and now helped. The thought-voices faded and she opened her eyes to focus on the main viewer. They had just left Deep Space K-8 and were heading out onto their next leg of a three week patrol. Ever since Enterprise had breached the galactic barrier, Klingons had been testing defenses and crossing the Neutral Zone. Things along the neutral zone were tense, to put it mildly.
Cadence turned to look at the crew around her, and caught her reflection in a darkened screen. Hair so blonde it was almost white spilled down her shoulders, eyes as black as night she inherited from her Betazoid father and a nose ring that wasn’t regulation, but allowed by her religion. She looked young, too young to be in Starfleet.
“Captain, I’m receiving a message on the emergency channel.”
Cadence glanced at Commander Uhura, the communications officer, and again wondered what the hell she was doing in the center seat. Uhura was older, wiser, more experienced…
“On speakers,” she said aloud.
The speakers hissed with static and interference, then the universal translator spoke just above the primary voice, like an echo. “This is the Kobayashi Maru, we’ve hit a gravitic mine, all systems are failing, we have a hull breach <static> and many casualities.”
“Kobayshi Maru, this is Captain Song of the USS Enterprise, what’s your position?” Cadence asked.
“Nineteen <static> out of Altair Six <static> life support failing, can you assist?” The voice asked.
“Lieutenant Ilyia, what do we have on Kobayashi Maru?” Cadence asked.
The short redheaded young Lieutenant (jg) at the science station let her fingers dance across the console. The blue-tinted screen beside her flickered with data and the schematics of a large freighter.
“Kobayashi Maru, she’s an ore freighter out of Altair. Eighty-one crew, with a full load of passengers.”
Cadence stood and moved behind the Ops station, where Lieutenant William “Liam” DeFeo sat anxiously awaiting instructions.
“Liam, show me where they are,” she said.
Liam pressed his controls and the viewer shifted to display a parabolic course into the neutral zone. The Kobayashi Maru was deep inside the zone, almost in Klingon space.
Cadence bit her lip. She could hear the thought-voices again, all the suggestions people didn’t want to say. She pushed them down and focused on the screen.
“Take us in, maximum warp. Yellow alert, shields up,” she ordered.
Commander Pavel Chekov at navigation half-turned in his chair. “May I remind the captain−”
Cadence cut him off. “No. Plot us a course the hell back out and prep a tractor beam.”
Chekov didn’t look happy, but did as he was told. “Aye, sir, tractor beam ready, plotting return course.”
The Enterprise began to move faster, Cadence could feel it in her boots a low vibration that told her the engines were giving her their all. She dropped into the command chair and pressed a well-worn stud.
“Engine room, Scott here. Yer pushin’ the engines mighty hard, Captain.”
Scotty’s burr was a welcome, almost grounding voice. Cadence gave a half smile before responding. “Can’t be helped, Scotty. I need you to babysit your bairns until this is over, we’ve got a freighter to rescue before someone notices them. Or us.”
“Aye captain, you’ll have my best,” Scotty replied.
Cadence heard a hint of… what..? Resignation?
“Captain!” DeFeo called.
“Klingon Birds of Prey decloaking!” Chekov added.
Alarm bells went off in Cadence’s skull, so loud she could hardly hear herself think. She could hear voices she didn’t know talking about Kobayashi and the no win scenario.
Damn. She’d heard about the test, but Starfleet made a habit of shuffling scenarios so you never knew when it was coming. She’d been so caught up in the test and keeping her telepathy suppressed she hadn’t even thought about it. Well, she wasn’t going to fail that easily.
“Full power to the shields, charge weapons. Ilyia, can you confirm the presence of Kobayashi Maru or have we been had?” She asked.
Ilyia bent to her sensors. “Four, no five Birds of Prey, no sign of a freighter. If it was here, they pounded it into rubble.”
The Enterprise rocked with disruptor fire. Cadence grabbed the arms of her chair and snapped at Chekov “concentrate fire, target the…”
She paused and reached out with her mind. The information was there, somewhere. Yes! There! She stood and leaned over Chekov’s shoulder. “There,” she said, pointing at the junction between the nacelle strut and hull.
“That looks like nothing,” Chekov said, his accent making it sound like “nothink.”
“Just do it! DeFeo, get us out of here, best possible speed.”
On screen, the Enterprise’s phasers lanced out, blue trails of energy that cut through the first three Birds like they were butter. Cadence watched with satisfaction as they exploded and spun away trailing green plasma.
Her triumph was short lived. Enterprise rocked again, and again as more Birds of Prey swooped past, disrupters and torpedoes lighting up the coldness of space.
“Shields failing captain,” Ilyia called.
What? That didn’t make sense. They were thirty year old ships, no match for Enterprise. She slapped the comm system. “Scotty, where are my shields?”
“Sorry, Captain, the main energizer is out, shields are all but gone!” Scotty replied.
“Auxiliary power then, keep the shields up,” Cadence said. “We’ll be out of the neutral zone in a few seconds.”
“I’ll see what I can−”
His reply was cut off by another impact that knocked Cadence to the floor. Uhura screamed and fell out of her chair, a theatrical display of painful death, followed by Ilyia, who merely slumped to the deck with a sour expression.
Cadence pulled herself up next to Chekov. “What’s left?”
“Nothing, Keptin,” he said, touching the worn controls. “Phasers out, torpedoes won’t fire.”
The Birds of Prey swooped past the screen again, disruptors firing like chains of green lightning that cut across the Enterprise’s bow and made the ship rock. Cadence glared at them. She knew they weren’t real, it was a test. But that made it all the more infuriating.
“DeFeo, target the center ship, set collision course,” she said.
“Captain?” DeFeo asked.
Cadence leaned past him and set the course herself. “Klingons don’t take prisoners, Liam. We’re dead either way, we may as take some of them with us.”
DeFeo looked at her from beneath his shock of ash-brown hair and smiled. “Aye, captain.”
Enterprise lurched with a sickening tear of metal. Cadence knew one of the nacelles was gone, but that didn’t matter. Impulse engines would do the job.
On the viewer, the Klingons turned, attempting to avoid the inevitable collision. Cadence sat in the command chair and toggled shipwide emergency. “This is Captain Song. Enterprise is too damaged to escape, and Klingons don’t take prisoners. We’re going down fighting. Song out.”
She pressed another button to eject the log buoy, for all the good it would do, and sat back to watch the fireworks.
A moment before impact, the systems died and the front of the simulator opened. Cadence squinted in the light and shaded her eyes with one hand. She didn’t recognize the silhouette in the gap, at first, then her heart went cold. He was unmistakable with his brown hair that was twenty years out of date, ruddy cheeks and lopsided smile that always said “I know something you don’t.”
Captain James T. Kirk stepped down into the command deck. He walked past each station, greeting the officers from the real Enterprise. He helped Uhura to stand, clapped Chekov on the back, then turned to stand in front of Cadence. His smile was gone, but there was still a twinkle in his eyes.
Cadence stood and saluted. “Captain Kirk.”
Kirk nodded. “Lieutenant Song. Performance assessment?”
“Grade C, midrange, sir,” Cadence replied without thinking.
“Oh, I don’t think it was that bad, Lieutenant. You lasted two minutes longer than the last cadet,” Kirk replied.
“Sir,” Cadence said.
Kirk paced a few steps away as the blowers began removing the smoke from the air and technicians entered to make repairs.
“You’re the first Betazoid in Starfleet, is that correct?” He asked.
“Yes, sir. Commander Scott sponsored me, sir,” Cadence said.
Kirk nodded again and folded his hands behind his back. “Interesting technique, shooting the chambers coil vents on the Klingon ships. That doesn’t work in real life, you know.”
“Thank you, sir. No, sir, it doesn’t. I took advantage of the computer.”
“I see,” Kirk said, turning back. “Do you think that could be construed as cheating?”
Cadence looked at him. “The test is a cheat, sir. The Birds of Prey had capabilities far beyond real life, there was no way to win. I sought an advantage to save my ship.”
Kirk stepped close and smiled. “Well done, Lieutenant.”
Cadence blinked in surprise and watched as Kirk left with Uhura and Chekov.
“Wow,” Ilyia said at her elbow. “Captain Kirk!”
Wow was right. He was a legend, what was he doing loitering at the academy. Surely he had better things to do than watch a tactical exercise.
Cadence shook her head and followed Ilyia out of the simulator. She still had finals to take before graduation, then her training cruise aboard Thunderchild. It was going to be a busy year.