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Story [Star Trek] The Ravening Horde

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Seldes_Katne, Nov 11, 2020.

  1. Seldes_Katne

    Seldes_Katne Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2002
    This story was written in response to the Monster Challenge. My prompt:


    Many thanks to my beta reader Cowgirl Jedi 1701, for providing both feedback and an extra pair of eyes on this story. Both are gold for writers.


    The Ravening Horde

    Captain’s Log, Stearate 48320.6. The USS Unity is responding to a distress call from Science Station Zeta Seven, a Regula I-class research station orbiting the seventh planet in the Bessari system. Some of the call seems to be garbled – the communications officer claims the station personnel are being attacked by monsters.

    Acting Chief of Security Sitar Neveev walked into the briefing carrying a data padd and a sturdy cage. The data padd contained her report on the rescue mission that her team had just completed. The cage held something small and furry that growled almost constantly.

    Barbara Hollings, Unity’s human captain, nodded Neveev to a chair. “Lt. Commander, you have a report for us?”

    The Orion woman slid into the indicated chair. “Yes, Captain. For openers, Dr. Spottedhorse believes she can save Commander Travers’ leg.” Travers was the Unity’s Head of Security; he’d been injured during the rescue mission.

    “That’s good news,” Hollings remarked.

    “We managed to retrieve a dozen station personnel, all of whom are currently in sickbay,” Neveev continued. “None are in any condition to report at the moment.”

    Hollings turned to the ship’s Counselor. “All are suffering from both physical and psychological trauma,” the Vulcan T’Vrenn said. “They will need the resources of a starbase.”

    “That will be our next stop,” Hollings assured her. The caption turned back to Neveev. “Proceed, please.”

    “According to the station’s logs, it appears that the research here on Station Zeta Seven included attempts to open a stable, predictable gateway into what’s known as the Mirror Universe,” Neveev continued.

    “Why would we do that?”

    “We’ve been encountering the Mirror Universe during random incidents for the last 100 standard Federation years. Presumably someone at Starfleet Command thought it would be a good idea to access it on our own terms.”

    T'Vrenn suggested, “One could see potential for research into the Mirror Universe’s culture, possibly through methods of undetected observation, as we would use with races not advanced enough for a First Contact situation."

    Hollings nodded. “All right. I get the idea. Continue, Lt. Commander Neveev.”

    “Commander sh’Keva seems to think the research team succeeded,” Neveev said. All eyes turned to the Andorian engineer.

    “The logs record three successful attempts to open a door into the Mirror Universe,” the shen told them. “The first seemed to mostly establish a doorway onto a space station that occupied the same space in the Mirror Universe that Science Station Zeta Seven does in ours. The second and third attempts allowed Starfleet personnel to pass from our universe to theirs and back again.

    “According to the mission logs, science and engineering personnel successfully placed remote passive sensors aboard the Mirror station. This allowed our researchers to monitor communications and tap into internal sensors. We could listen in on both internal and external messages and readings. All was going smoothly until the Mirror Universe station reported a problem.” Jenais sh’Keva looked back at Neveev.

    The Orion picked up the narrative. “Apparently a trading vessel had landed on the station, carrying various creatures of scientific interest. Both medical personnel and the station’s military unit commander were interested in one particular animal that they, ah, forcibly removed from the trader’s possession for further study. A few hours later, something went wrong. Our recordings show some of the events of the massacre. There are a couple of segments that are quite… gruesome,” Neveev said.

    “So, the Mirror Universe station’s personnel were all killed?” Hollings asked.

    “We're not sure, but it's quite possible. Our personnel could not intervene directly, as per orders – all they knew was that something had escaped and was attacking the Mirror station’s crew. Our station personnel opened the doorway to beam the recording devices back before any Mirror rescue vessels could arrive. Unfortunately, at least one of the attackers came with them.” Neveev nodded to the cage. “I think this is it.”

    The furry creature in the cage was about the size and configuration of a large guinea pig. The fur was a rusty red color with black tips. There were no visible eyes, nose or ears. There was, however, a very noticeable mouth with four large teeth bracketing sets of smaller teeth, three each on top and bottom. All the teeth were sharp, and mouth seemed to be constantly opening and closing.

    Hollings and the rest of her officers stared at the creature. “Is that a… tribble?” Hollings asked finally.

    “Yes, Captain.” R’varr, the Caitian science officer, tapped her computer’s control panel, and a holo-recording of a tribble appeared in the center of the conference room table. “The coloration is different, and the dentation for our universe’s version is much smaller and flatter. Tribbles here are vegetarian and prefer grains, various vegetable matter, and seeds.”

    Hollings remarked, “It’s almost cute.”

    As if on cue, the tribble in the cage snarled and attacked the bars of its cage, biting and chewing on them. “The tribbles of the Mirror Universe seem to be carnivores,” R’varr added.

    “Violently so,” Neveev remarked.

    Hollings shook her head. “You’re sure that’s the only one that came through?”

    Neveev hesitated. “It’s more accurate to say that it’s the only one we found.”

    “Lieutenant R’varr, scan the Unity for other Mirror Universe tribble readings.” The Caitian acknowledged the order and set to work.

    “As I understand it, tribbles in our universe can breed rapidly, and each one is capable of producing offspring very early in its life,” T’Vrenn stated. Neveev, Hollings, and Sh’Keva all turned to stare at her. R’varr glanced up from her scans and nodded confirmation. “I have read of studies using tribbles as therapy animals,” T’Vrenn explained. “If the same characteristics hold true in the Mirror Universe, then presumably as each tribble was born, it attacked a station member and consumed whatever it could, then gave birth to the next batch of tribbles, and so on.”

    “That’s my guess as well,” Neveev said. “The tribbles could literally form a devouring horde in a matter of hours.”

    Hollings stared at the furry red-and-black creature still biting the cage bars. “Can it chew through anything stronger than flesh and bone?”

    Sh’Keva tilted her head. “It would depend on the strength of its teeth and jaws, Captain.”

    “I’d say they could,” Neveev remarked. “Damage to some areas of the station suggested that enough of the tribbles focused on biting through some of the wall materials and tore off ventilator covers. Hence the reinforced titanium bars on this cage.”

    “Captain? Scans show no sign of other Mirror Universe tribbles aboard Unity,” R’varr said.

    “Thank you, Lieutenant. So, what do we do with it?” Hollings asked. “Ideas, everyone.”

    T’Vrenn rested her elbows on the table and steepled her fingers as she studied the tribble. “Vulcan has an institute for preserving rare and endangered animals. An entire section of the compound is dedicated to tribble studies, especially since the Klingons destroyed the tribble homeworld. Presumably institute personnel would be able to contain this one and any resulting offspring.”

    “We could send it to an uninhabited planet,” suggested sh’Keva. “Somewhere with no higher life forms.”

    “Is it possible that this one could do the same thing here as happened on Zeta Seven?”

    “Entirely,” R’varr said. “All it would need is a certain amount of food.”

    “Which it might already have,” Neveev warned them. “This is the only one we found on the station. If a single tribble produced enough offspring to overwhelm and kill the entire station’s crew, it could certainly happen here. My suggestion is to space the thing.”

    Seeing the expressions on her colleagues’ faces, Neveev added, “Look, I understand you Federation types are big on preserving life and all that, even when that life is trying to eat you. But in the Orion Empire, survival is paramount. And we need to survive this.

    “Captain, this was the only tribble left. All we found of the rest was some fur and, ah, tissue scraps. This one didn’t just help eat the crew – it ate its offspring and siblings as well.”

    “Which means –” Hollings broke off as the tribble suddenly backed away from the cage bars and settled in the middle of the cage, quivering.

    “—it has eaten enough to begin reproducing!” R’varr warned.

    “Engineering!” sh’Keva shouted. “Prepare to beam—”

    Neveev drew her phaser. “Computer, override Weapons Protocol Two. Security code Beta Grey 5!”

    “Acknowledged,” the computer replied.

    Neveev aimed her phaser at the cage and the (now four) tribbles and fired. The beam disintegrated the conference room table, the cage and all four inhabitants.

    There was a pause. “Disregard that last order, Engineering,” sh’Keva said, sher voice quivering slightly. R’varr’s ears, flattened against her skull as she bared her teeth, perked back up to their usual position.

    Hollings drew a breath. “Quick thinking, Lt. Commander.”

    Resetting her phase to stun, Neveev said, “Thank you, Captain. Sorry if I’ve deprived the Federation of a major opportunity for scientific discovery.”

    “I’m sure we’ll all learn to live with it,” Hollings remarked dryly. “File your reports, everyone. We’ll do a final sweep of the ship, just in case anything else wandered over here, and then set course for Starbase 28.” She paused. “Maybe we’ll pick up a couple of those ‘therapy tribbles’ Commander T’Vrenn mentioned….”

    “Maybe not,” Neveev responded firmly.

    End
    ~*~*~*~​

    Author’s Notes: While I would love to take credit for inventing the Mirror Universe version of a tribble, the fact is that they already existed -- I own one. (Her name is Vlad, after Vlad Dracul, the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.) Courageous souls can acquire one here and at various other sources. (Chain mail gloves definitely recommended while handing….)