SciFi Ocean Liner Pulp For Halloween

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Oct 23, 2000
Happy Halloween, everybody! :)
Here is a bit of micro short Sci-fi fiction I spun these past couple days for your All Hallows Eve reading enjoyment.
But be warned: It is in a fictional universe I am sure many others here besides me loves. :)
And so, your attention please, folks, it's story time!

'Permit me to open this tale by quoting from the ship's log:

"Captain's Log, Stardate 2612.7.19
The USS Gettysburg is en route to Aquarius 1. A recently-discovered planet that is mostly liquid save for strings of islands here and there, as well as ice caps at it's north and south poles.
As usual, we have been tasked with the rather prosaic duty of survieling the planet's surface, after having been relieved by USS Lindbergh at the neutral zone...."

"Mister Ta'Vek," I said as I relaxed with a cup of coffee on the bridge. "Have you ever heard of the ocean liners that used to ply the oceans of planet Earth?"
"Yes, I have." Ta'Vek replied with the usual Vulcan neutral tone of voice, looking up from his scanner. "In fact, I found the story of the ship known I do belive as the Titanic to have been one that defies any concept of logic."
"Indeed," I said as I sipped some coffee, coaxing my tired brain along for a few hours more after a long voyage from the Romulan Neutral Zone. "Defied all logic to the point even humans shook their heads."
"To proclaim something indestructible when it is nonetheless vulnerable is, I do believe your saying goes, an exercise in futility."
I smiled.
"Ta'Vek, you just quoted the title from a novel that was written before the Titanic was lost in which a liner named the Titan strikes an iceberg and sinks."
"Fascinating." was all Ta'Vek said before returned to his scanning.
I often had wished to sail aboard one of those ancient ocean liners. They were so opulent, so graceful, lovely, vibrant. The complete opposite of the severity of the rehabillitated Constitution-class starship I commanded.
As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
We had been detecting nothing but water, islands, more water, and more islands. Something only a Vulcan could scan without suffering retinal burnout, when suddenly the scanner beeped loudly.
"Mister Ta'Vek," I said, wincing at the sound, swiveling in the captain's chair to face his station. "Please turn that down, and what have you found?"
"What appears to be an early twentieth century ocean liner, captain."
"An early what?!"
I was up by his side in a flash, while Mister Jackson, at his communications console, just stared, along with everyone else on the bridge, including Commander Jonathan Riker, my excutive officer.
"As I said,' Ta'Vek calmly went on. "It appears to be an early 20th century ocean liner."
I leaned over his shoulder.
"Lusitania-class." I gasped. "What in blazes would one of those be doing here? Lusitania was lost in the First World War, Mauretania and Aquitania sailed for long careers before being scrapped..."
Then it struck me.
"Centania." I said aloud in shock.
"I beg your pardon, captain?" Riker asked me, walking over to have a look himself.
"She must be the Royal Mail Steamer Centania, Mister Riker." I replied. "The fourth and last of her class built for the Curnard Line. She encountered a mysterious storm in nineteen twenty-six in the mid-Atlantic that left her becalmed, listing. Badly damaged.
All passengers and crew were evacutated to the ships that replied to her SOS, but suddenly this same storm reappaered out of nowhere, and when the storm cleared she had vanished without trace."
"Yes," Riker replied, awed, as he stood back up after having a look himself. "I remember that story now, sir."
I spun on my heel, heading for the port turbolift.
"Mister Riker, take charge. Mister Ta'Vek, meet me in transporter room one with Mister Lawrence from engineering."
"Yes captain." He replied, punching the intercom to relay the message before following.

The three of us materialized on the Centania's bridge, wearing the leather overcoats we replaced our red tunics with on away missions.
At first I was disoriented by the pitch of the deck under foot, so used was I to the steady motion of the Gettysburg up in the stars.
Ta'Vek pulled out his tricorder, began taking readings.
"No signs of radiation, or other anamolies." He intoned, pacing up and down between the telegraphs and the windows that looked out across the bow.
I turned to my chief engineer, who seemed rather dazed by it all.
"Mister Lawrence?"
"Sir? Oh, yes sir?" He replied, his flavorful Liverpool accent tinged with awe at standing in something he had seen only in pictures.
"What do you make of her structural integrity?"
"Her list is gone, sir." He said after checking the commutator. "Nor can I detect any signs of settling in the water."
"I detect no compartments breached." Ta'Vek piped up, coming in from the starboard wing of the bridge.
We went out onto the port boat deck.
A long row of empty davits greeted us, ropes still attached, dangling loose in the gentle breeze caressing our faces.
"Phasers to kill. Maximum power."
"Captain?" Ta'Vek asked. "Why such a high setting?"
"I do not trust this situation, Ta'Vek." I said as I adjusted my phaser. "This ship could be a ghost ship, you know."
"Tales of ghosts and hauntings...." Ta'Vek mused as we walked down the deck, scanning away with his tricorder. "It is an integral part of human mythos, I understand."
"I bet there must be a hold full of microbes around 'ere myself." Lawrence interjected, adjusting his own phaser as we entered the forward staircase. "No chance this ship couldn't 'ave been pulled so far from Earth by whatever took it and not be infested by some kind of bloomin' creepy crawlies."
"Safety is logical, yes." Ta'Vek agreed, putting the tricorder on his belt and pulling out his own phaser.
"Life signs?" I asked him when he was done adjusting his weapon.
"Life signs negative on this deck." He replied, putting the tricorder back on his belt.
We moved down the staircase to B-Deck. No lifesigns there either.
And on and on.
"Well," I commented after Ta'Vek returned yet another negative reading when we reached the lowest deck. "That confirms she had no stowaways aboard when she disappeared."
"I beg your pardon, Captain?" Ta'Vek asked, turning to me, curious.
I smiled.
"People who did not pay their fare but snuck aboard ship."
"Ah. I see, captain."
Lawrence chuckled a little.
"I see you 'ave a lot left to learn about the ancient merchant marines of Earth, sir."
"True." Ta'Vek replied, then grabbed for the tricorder at his belt.
"I am detecting an anamoly aft."
"Location?" I asked, Lawrence and I flanking him, looking as well.
"A large open space..."
"Turbine room." Lawrence informed him.
"In the ship's man propulsion plant. Interesting."
We made our way aft.
As we entered, Lawrence heaved a huge sigh.
"Oh how I always wanted to see one of these beauties up close, sir." He said to me as he examined a silent turbine.
"Warp engines of their day." I concurred, running a hand over it's top.
"Captain!" Ta'Vek called.
We rushed down the corridor to where he stood.
A large blue orb sat in the center of the deck, glowing.
"What is it?" Lawrence asked before I could.
"An unknown device that is apparently...."
But before Ta'Vek could finish, the object began to glow with greater intensity.
And start spreading out into the floor.
"Back off! Back off!" I shouted to Ta'Vek and Lawrence.
We began backing up, slowly at first, watching as the pulsing glow began spreading out from the center of the floor.

The walls of the turbine room soon were glowing so bright it was almost blinding.
"Let's go! Go!" I shouted to Ta'Vek and Lawrence.
They needed no urging.
But the bluish glow pursued us relentlessly, turing the Centania's beauty into a grotesque caricture.
I pulled out my communicator as we ran for the forward staircase.
"Captain to Gettysburg."
No reply.
"Gettysburg, this is Captain Hancock. Come in!" I shouted again.
"We read you loud and clear." Came back Jackson's sudden drawl.
"Let me speak to Riker." I shouted as we three dashed up the staircase, the bluish glow not far behind.
"Sir." He said when he came on line. "We have an unidentified ship that seems to be sending a bluish beam down to your location. What is your status?"
"Status? We are running out of space to run, that is our status, Riker!" I yelled as we reached A-Deck.
Bolting out onto the boat deck, I saw we had not much time left before being engulfed.
"Can you beam us back?"
"Negative, sir. The alien ship's beam is disrupting our transporter locks."
"Well, tell whoever it is to stop it! There are people on this ship!"
"Aye sir."
Several long minutes passed as we retreated towards the bridge.
"Captain, it seems our outlook is somewhat grim." Ta'Vek finally said after a long silence.
"Amen to that." Lawrence intoned.
"Sad." I lamented. "They said the Centania was one of the luckiest ships afloat."
As if on cue, the beam coming down from the heavens that the object in the turbine room was responding to suddenly ceased.
"Captain, are you there?" Riker's voice came over my communicator.
"Yes, Mister Riker. Report."
"They answered our hails by firing a phaser beam at us, and then we got some audio curses at us in Ferengi. The ship is now knocked out floating dead in space after a surgical hit by one of our torpedoes."
I smiled, relief flooding through me.
"Send a boarding party over and take them prisoner. My guess is they must be time travel pirates of some sort."
"That would be a logical assumption, Captain." Ta'Vek agreed.
Lawrence chuckled.
"And amen to that too, Ta'Vek."

My log entry of a few hours later would be the best summary of the outcome of our discovery:

"Captain's log, Stardate 2612.7.19
The Ferengi prisoners have readily confessed to being time travel pirates who have been pilfering 20th Century Earth of ships and aircraft for profit, and have agreed to assist us in locating their other caches of stolen ancient goods in the Aquarius Sector. One which doubtless lead to many mysteries of the skies and seas being solved at last.
Meanwhile, Commander Lawrence and a hand-picked team are busy investigating the Centania with an eye to putting her in service on the planet, for Starfleet has been blessed with a fully functional, made-to-order oceangoing vessel for this intriguing world."

The next day I toured the Centania at great lesuire with Commander Lawrence.
"You know," I said as we toured the opulent dining room, still pristine after all these centuries. "This has always been a boyhood fantasy of mine, being aboard one of these old greyhounds."
I stopped, ran a hand along the back of a table chair.
"I dreamed of it as often as I did being a starship commander."
"Yes, Captain." He agreed as we left the dining room to continue our tour. "Such ships," He gestured towards the bulkheads with both hands, "Were the stuff of dreams, sir."
"Yes, Commander." I smiled as we began touring the kitchen. "The stuff of dreams."
After a beat, I smiled, added "It was not just the Titanic that was a ship of dreams. Each and every lady of the seas like the Centania." I gestured about us. "Was a ship of dreams. And now," I smiled happily. "She now will serve a new owner on a new world her builders never knew existed."
"Amen to that, Rich." Lawrence replied, beaming.

The End'
Feb 4, 2007
Denver, Colorado, United States
Beam me up, Mr. Scott! Nice story, Richard, thanks!
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