Writer's Block: Looking Back

LiveJournal is turning 10 and we're feeling nostalgic. What was your first LJ post about?

"Nostalgic" … Ah, yes, one of your Earth emotions. I do not feel nostalgia; however, this is irrelevant to the question at hand.

My first post to LiveJournal began with the sentence "I am here under protest." Our former captain, KY Jellico, had instructed the officers on the USS Murgatroid to hide our log entries on a computer network in the past, where they would be safe from Starfleet's prying eyes. After a modicum of research, I determined that LiveJournal would be the optimum site to employ, as the interface was easy to navigate (important for a crew oversupplied with mind-altering substances and undersupplied with actual minds) and because the site would not survive the third world war, so that none of our records would be in any of the archives preserved in present-day (for us) Terran museums and educational institutions – a similar site, called "DreamWidth", will survive into Earth's twenty-third century, so I warned the crew not to leave any "time-sensitive" (so to speak) information there.

We have little or no concern about contaminating the past with information about the future, as anybody in the twenty-first century who locates these logs will simply assume that they are fictitious accounts written by "role players" or "fan fiction writers". There is, however, the small possibility that the internet of the twenty-first century may contaminate our ship and crew. I have taken steps to minimize that risk.

Storvik-Hero Machine

Hair Apparent

I looked in the mirror again, and my hair color has gotten even lighter. Under normal circumstances, I would not be concerned about a change in my hair color. However, the whole point of this exercise is to impersonate Evil Storvik; and a change in hair color makes me look less, not more, like him. Doctor Mib Khan explained to me that he had used Hurrg DNA from Ifix as a basis for the Rapid-Gro™ formula, but that Hurrg fur seemed to have an unfortunate tendency to turn bright yellow when exposed to one of his standard retroviri.

Still, I was fortunate on two counts: first, that my hair color merely looked blond (so far, at least) rather than "bright canary metallic yellow"; and second, that hair color modification technology was centuries (if not millennia) old. I should be able to dye my hair back to the standard off-black shared by myself and my analog before we arrive at Deep Space Nine in the Bajor system.

Storvik-Hello Kitty

Me And My Big Mouth

In the report I submitted to Starfleet (and also, indirectly, to Diziara), I included the following line (right on the main summary page, not buried in the appendices like my sidenotes on the "other" "mirror universe"):

I also recommend that Starfleet or the Vulcan Science Academy assign to DS9 somebody who has specialized in this area of astrophysics, to make a more detailed study of the local conditions and perhaps provide early warning of any attempts to crossover from the other side.

It did not take long for Starfleet to respond to my recommendation. They ordered me to take the USS Murgatroid to Deep Space Nine; and to support Evil Storvik, who is being assigned there on temporary detached duty. It will be Evil Storvik's job, with my assistance, to enact those recommendations. The primary problem with those orders is that Evil Storvik is currently absent from the Murgatroid, a fact which I am required to conceal. I shall have to perform double duty – both as myself and impersonating my analog – while on Deep Space Nine.

I considered – very briefly – making use of Doctor Mib Khan's cloning apparatus; but that is likely to cause more problems than it solves. In addition, my wife believes that there are already too many Storviks in this universe, and would be unlikely to accept the creation of more … even if they were identical copies of myself rather than alternate-universe analogs like Evil Storvik. Instead, I shall make use of the formula which I have previously obtained from Khan to simply grow and remove facial hair in order to facilitate my deception.

I have not actually tested that formula yet. I shall do so now, right after I confirm the orders from Starfleet and before I order the helm to make way to our destination…

Storvik-Miniature Maker

The Other Mirror

As a side note to my analysis, I also examined the data relating to the crossovers between our universe and the "Dark Mirror" universe from which Evil Storvik originated. To the best of our knowledge, the first crossover involved "Evil" Kathryn Janeway and the ISS Voyager; although we do not know exactly where, when, why, or how this crossover occurred. We do know that this crossover lowered the field densities between the two universes sufficiently for a number of subsequent crossovers to occur, all of which involved an artifact belonging to Brother Lothar (the alternate-universe analog of our own Counseller Lothar; Brother Lothar remains trapped in our universe and has been left behind on Starbase 668):

Evil Storvik escaped into our universe after a failed assassination attempt against his former captain, Evil KY Jellico.
Not So Nice Khan, the analog of our own Doctor Mib Khan, crossed over into our universe in pursuit of Evil Storvik.
Not So Nice Khan returned to his universe with both Evil Storvik and I as prisoners.
Evil Storvik and I escaped, and returned to this universe accompanied by Brother Lothar.

As there have been no further crossovers with that universe that we know of for some time now, either in support/pursuit of "Evil" Janeway or from the ISS Murgatroid, one may speculate that the field density between that universe and our own has sufficiently "healed" so as to prevent other crossovers for the time being – at least until another incident punches another hole through the barriers between that universe and our own. I repeat that we still do not know exactly where, when, why, or how the crossover of "Evil" Kathryn Janeway and the ISS Voyager occurred, no do we know whether or not the Imperial Fleet is able to replicate that incident.

Storvik-South Park

Time Flies

Once again, the USS Murgatroid has been assigned to a patrol route along the edge of Federation space, devoid of any strategic interest. Despite the change in commander and the service we performed in assisting in the identification and elimination of the Janeway imposter, Starfleet Command apparently still prefers to keep this vessel underutilized and "out of sight". I would consider lodging a complaint, were it not for the fact that the majority of the crew (and, admittedly, the captain) also prefer the situation of being far from authority and oversight.

The crew is, as always, capable of finding diversions to keep themselves occupied during long and pointless patrols. Some of those pursuits are even legal; or, at the very least, not a danger to the survival of the ship and crew. (Mental note: I must remember to find out what Lothar has been doing with all of his free time in the holodecks or his quarters lately.) My wife and I have each sampled Lieutenant Commander Alabama Picard's unusually large and firm tomatoes, and my daughter T'Sorvik clearly has some news that she is planning to surprise me with.

My analog Evil Storvik shows signs of what a human would call "wanderlust"; I suspect he will make an attempt to depart from the Murgatroid at some point in the near future. I do not plan to prevent his departure, but I have taken certain precautions with the assistance of Doctor Mib Khan.

Storvik-Card Fighters Clash

I Don't Want Your Freedom

I had a conversation with Evil Storvik in my office, about Starfleet's orders. He has been effectively placed into my custody and become my responsibility – obviously, not a position I would have chosen. Granted, the two of us have come to an "understanding" since our escape from the ISS Murgatroid, and the birth of our daughter T'Sorvik, but it has still been somewhat of a relationship of convenience whose dynamic will change if it becomes a mandatory arrangement which has been imposed upon us. Also, given his Imperial background, the balance of trust between us is somewhat uneven. I have to assume that he will attempt to assert his independence at some point in the future, and make the appropriate precautions for that event.

Storvik-Miniature Maker

Our Five-Minute Mission

As we are almost ready to depart from Starbase 668, I have received some orders from Starfleet Command. They have reconsidered their previous stance on Evil Storvik, and have instructed the USS Murgatroid to locate him as soon as possible. They are not requiring me to return him to Vulcan, but neither do they completely trust him on the loose. In order to prevent him from once again joining a criminal organization, or in some other way acting against Federation interests (yet acknowledging his invaluable assistance in the elimination of the threat posed by Evil Janeway), they will permit Evil Storvik to remain outside of their control … as long as he is under my personal recognizance.

I am aware that this can be, in a sense, a trap; in that Starfleet Command will be able to hold me responsible for any future offenses perpetrated by my analog. However, I am also aware of one other thing that they appear not to realize – that as long as our daughter T'Sorvik lives on the Murgatroid, Evil Storvik will not be far away. I do not anticipate that the "search" for him will be difficult; as a matter of fact, I expect him to contact us not long after our departure from Starbase 668. I did not expect his rapid departure without warning from the station; but I know that he does not intend to be separated from our child for long. Perhaps his departure was, in part, intended to make my refusal to return him to Vulcan easier?

One other thing I noticed about the new orders from Starfleet is that they were quite specific about Evil Storvik remaining with the Murgatroid – but they made absolutely no mention of Brother Lothar. I have inquired as to the opinion of a representative sampling of relevant and responsible Murgatroid commanding officers (i.e. myself), and the result was unanimous: If at all possible, we shall be leaving Counsellor Lothar's analog behind on Starbase 668.


The Truth Hurts, Ensign

Captain Storvik returned to the USS Murgatroid from Starbase 668, and immediately received a somewhat confused report from Doctor Mib Khan. Normally, Khan's reports were not this confused; but in this case, Khan himself (or "themselves") were somewhat at a loss. "Lothar … in a dress," said Storvik, making certain that the facts were correct, "has joined an old Terran religious sect and assaulted an ensign." The doctor nodded. "And the assault … continues?"

"That's the odd part," Khan said, then smirked. "Well, one of the odd parts. Lothar has once again gone completely immobile, with the ensign's neck caught in his grasp. Chief Engineer Ifix is using some of his heaviest power tools to try to force Lothar's hand to open, and one of my clones is treating the ensign with tranquilizers and tri-ox compound."

"Is this the only crisis that—" began the Vulcan, but was interrupted by the arrival of his wife on the bridge.

"T'Sorvik is missing," she announced.

Storvik-Teddy Bear

Twist Of Fait

Although not a human myself, I have over time learned how to navigate the human-dominated hierarchy of Starfleet better than many native Terrans. The two adages which have kept me alive and in uniform are "Nothing succeeds like success" and "It's easier to get forgiveness than permission."

The first one is remarkably similar, in meaning and outcome if not in phraseology, to another human expression, "The ends justify the means." That adage, however, has a rather disreputably history to it, given how (and by whom) it has been employed. To a certain extent, however, it remains true: if one is successful in carrying out his mission and achieving his goals, his superiors will often be somewhat lenient in judging the means through which victory was achieved. The career of James Tiberius Kirk, by former captain's idol, is replete with examples of this phenomenon. And given some of the USS Murgatroid's recent successes, most notably against the alternate universe analog Janeway; Starfleet is willing, to some extent, to overlook our recent actions in support of those successes.

To a limited extent. When I spoke to Starfleet Command, they went on at great length about the complaints they had received from Captain Wong, late of the late USS Cairo. Wong has been recalled to Deep Space Nine on the Ankh, and I have been commanded to restrict Counsellor Lothar to the Murgatroid. Given his current condition, Lothar is unable to move under his own power and thus actually has no choice but to follow this order. I have propped him up against the wall outside of the hydroponics lab, to act as a guard for Alabama Picard. He may be unable to move, but he is aware of his surroundings … and none of the crew will enter the laboratory against his wishes, for fear of his retribution once he recovers. Doctors Mib Khan are still finishing the repairs and reactivation of their cloning and ansible apparatus in the Murgatroid's sickbay, after which they will examine Lothar. They refuse to approach him without that apparatus in place and functioning.

The second adage also comes with ample precedents, especially from Kirk's era in which instantaneous communications with Starfleet Command were impossible over long distances. The adage recommends that the commander on-site utilize his own initiative, and seek "forgiveness" or approval after the fact, rather than delay to obtain permission before acting. In some cases, the commander on-site may believe that the odds of receiving permission in advance are unlikely, and may therefore move without seeking sanction specifically to avoid being ordered not to perform the actions he plans to take. At least this way, although he acted without orders, he did not specifically act against them. This is known as presenting one's superiors with a fait accompli, a thing already done. At this point, the superiors can either retroactively condone the acts of the errant officer, or punish him; but either way, the act has been accomplished. Whether or not the officer receives "permission" depends in a large part upon the success of the actions performed – thus returning to the first adage.

I informed Starfleet Command that I could not order Evil Storvik to return to them, because he had already left Starbase 668 on Surak's Razor. Granted, I could have attempted to prevent him from leaving; but once gone, he is out of my control. Also, or so I assume, once they acknowledge that he is gone and out of their control, and grow accustomed to this fact, they will not attempt to have me re-capture him when he returns to the Murgatroid. I do not know where and when that will be, but I do know that he does not plan to abandon our daughter T'Sorvik for long.

Starfleet Command, speaking for the Vulcan Science Academy, has also sought the return of T'Sorvik; but here, I refused. Another human adage, which some Ferengi have also adopted as an unofficial corrolary to the Rules of Acquisition, is that "Possession is nine-tenths of the law." When they had T'Sorvik under their control, it would have been difficult for me to free her; but now that she is under my control, the difficulty and effort ("the ball", as the humans would say) is in "their court." As they wish to study her development, we were quite scrupulous in giving her frequent mental and physical examinations during our time in hiding; and now, I have just sent almost seven full years of data (along with Khan's recent reports) back to the Vulcan Science Academy. That will keep them occupied for some time; and when they are finished processing that data, I shall have plenty more to give them. As I am giving them everything they need (and then some, to keep them particularly "swamped"), they have no call to press for T'Sorvik's return. I expect some routine protests from them, but no real difficulty. T'Sorvik shall remain here, where she belongs, with her family.

Starfleet Command will also be lodging some serious protests about "Evil" Storvik, as I shifted the blame for our unauthorized trip through time upon him. Still, given that he was also instrumental in the defense against the Janeway analog, that too (as the humans also say) shall pass.

Storvik-Miniature Maker

Regarding Lothar (Updated)

Lothar had always been one of the more unusual members of the USS Murgatroid's crew, particularly in his role as the ship's counsellor. He was highly irrational, extremely violent … and, for reasons unknown at the time (one would think his personal file would have contained some mention of it), he was able to survive unassisted outside the ship in the vacuum of space. Doctor Mib Khan was unable to provide any explanation for this phenomenon, because every time he tried to give Lothar a medical examination, Lothar killed him. Still, rumors that Lothar was some form of android or mechanoid were quashed when he, along with the rest of the crew, had his gender temporarily reversed by Khan's retrovirus while on Starbase 668. (His response to this was, of course, more violence.)

Eventually, Doctor Khan was able to examine Lothar when he had some form of breakdown, and found some unusual devices and anomalies inside him. We discovered that he was the result of a (presumably failed) secret Starfleet experiment (codename GWIII – Great Warrior, project prototype III). When that project was cancelled and disavowed, Lothar was exiled to the Murgatroid … Starfleet's "dumping ground". Lothar awoke, stole Surak's Razor, and crashed into the Starfleet Command headquarters building on Earth. We later learned that he had been summoned by Admiral Janeway, who planned to upgrade and duplicate his systems, as well as place him completely under her control. She failed in that last task, as he broke free before she could activate his restraining program. Eventually, I was also captured and tortured by Janeway. After I discovered that she was actually an imposter from a "mirror universe", Lothar and I escaped.

Janeway's upgrades to Lothar's implants made him even more powerful. He was able to walk through walls by grasping and disintegrating them in front of him (he called it "hugging the walls", and appeared to accomplish it by dispersing the molecules with an unfocused short-range transporter field lacking a heisenberg compensator). During our escape, he also "hugged" a couple of starships to get us out of the Sol system. His upgraded internal gravity generators had further enhanced his strength, and were also what he used to make short "jumps" in space (as long as he was within close range of a ship or asteroid upon which to focus his gravity field). The upgrades also restored some mental stability and memories which he had previously lacked.

However, while we were in hiding (before we regrouped with the Murgatroid to overcome the Janeway-analog), a weakness of Lothar's was revealed: a deliberate dependence upon alcohol to remain conscious and functioning. We had never noticed this vulnerability before, as the Murgatroid was always well supplied with alcohol – we had even drained an entire nebula of alcohol to keep ourselves stocked up. However, outside of the Murgatroid (and some other, less law-abiding places like Starbase 668), alcohol was harder to come by (Synthehol, though readily available, did not suit Lothar's needs). As long as we continue to "booze Lothar" (in Ifix's words), he continues to function – although "Evil" Janeway did discover a way to exploit his vulnerability. I have never needed to duplicate that maneuver; but neither have I forgotten it.