Based on the Star Trek LB Universe created by Winter in her story
Follow the Stars Home, and yes, I have
borrowed a few tidbits from other LB fics. I hope no one minds!
Joy, you don't know how much I appreciate all that you do! Happy birthday!
Dont wanna, JD said stubbornly.
Well, Im afraid you have to, young man. Commander
Wilmingtons Voice of Authority was not working.
A bath is not logical, Vin stated. We will just get dirty
Wilmington looked at the little Vulcan. Circumstance had denied Vin his true
Vulcan heritage - from what they had been able to piece together, he had
been raised as a human - but he was more than happy to call upon it when
the need suited him.
Buck sighed. Three days ago, Josiah and Nathan had finished constructing
a playground for the two youngest members of the Regulators crew in
the ship's hydroponics deck.
The hydroponics deck, in the Regulators case, was misnamed, for both
the Counselor and the Doctor felt that only true, fertile soil could yield
produce that was both nutritious and tasty. There was no sound scientific
evidence for that belief, but, it was a true fact that some of the best food
to be found anywhere in the Four Corners sector came right out of the galley
of the USS Regulator. Of course, the cook, Petty Officer First Class Potter
- aka Miz Potter to the boys - probably had a lot to do with
that. Their replicator was rarely used.
The Regulator's hydroponics deck was a true garden, with real soil from earth,
and together, Commander Sanchez and Dr. Jackson grew almost every earth vegetable
imaginable, and there were also a dozen fruit trees. Now, it also included
a sandbox and a sturdy set of playground equipment. The boys had not wanted
to leave it.
Unca siah said we could pick begables, JD whined.
Wilmington raised an eyebrow at the ships counselor. So, it was
I dont like begables, Vin stated. Thats because
Im a carnival.
Carnivore, Dr. Jackson corrected. And Chris did not mean
No changing the subject, Wilmington asserted authoritatively.
The little Vulcan saw there was no point in arguing, so he didnt. JD,
however, groaned as if he were in pain as he put down the garden shovel he
had been using.
It was then that Buck noticed that the boys were not just playing with the
dirt. They had constructed a miniature city from the set of construction
blocks Ezra had procured for them from God only knew where. There were roads,
tunnels, mountains and rivers (thanks to a diverted stream from one of the
hydrating units). Wilmington wondered if anyone had noticed they were using
broccoli for trees.
Thats a good job youve done there, he commented.
JD grinned. Vin only nodded sagely. The Vulcan child rarely smiled, and the
men were at odds as to whether or not they should encourage him to do so.
Were terraforming, Vin informed him.
Yeah, terror foaming, JD echoed. We are making a whole
When were done, can we get some little people for it?
Yes. Balajras would be good, Vin said.
The Balajran race were the smallest humanoids known, most small enough to
fit in the average mans coffee mug. However, they were more highly
advanced that eighty percent of the civilizations in Federation, and Wilmington
sincerely doubted that they wanted to be playthings.
Well, maybe well find you some toy robots that look like
JD loved that idea. YES! Robots! We can program them to have wars and
blow each other up!
Vin glared at him. Then we would have no more robots, JD.
Oh. I didn't think of that, the younger boy admitted.
Well talk about all this later. You boys need to have a bath
and some supper and then Chief Wells is going to stay with you in your quarters
for a few hours.
Vin frowned. Why?
The adults on the crew never lied to the boys - the Regulator was their home,
and they had a right to know what was going on.
We are having some special company, important beings called
We want to come, too! JD said. He loved meeting new people.
Im afraid you would just be bored.
Wilmington knew that he sure as hell would be. The only reason the Regulator
had been chosen to host a conference between the Federation and the
newly-discovered Gyban race was that even though he was now semi-retired,
Commander Josiah Sanchez was still recognized as one of the foremost First
Contact negotiators in the Federation. The Gybans had not yet achieved even
basic atmospheric flight, but the forced emergency landing of a Star Fleet
freighter had acquainted them with the fact that they were not the center
of the universe. They were still coming to grips with the fact.
In a corner of the deck towered an Aloak nut tree which was now dropping
its treasured baseball-sized fruit. Aloak nuts were renowned for their exquisite
flavor and silky, buttery texture. Unfortunately, nothing short of a blast
from a phaser would open the damn things. There was ample evidence everywhere
that the boys had been trying, though. The nuts were all over the sandbox
Ill tell Miz Nettie to blast open a couple of nuts for you, if
Can we have brownies, too? Vin asked.
The boy would live on sugar if he could.
Buck gently tousled his hair. The little guy was somewhat gun-shy about being
touched. I think that can be arranged.
With chocolate ice cream and chocolate sprinkles and choc
Well see, Buck interrupted the menu planning. Vin adored
chocolate. He wanted Ezra to program the replicator to make everything taste
like it. Baths! he reiterated. Thats an order.
Both boys snapped to attention as they had been taught and saluted smartly.
Buck had found he could get them to do almost anything if he made it appear
to be their 'mission.'
In the security briefing room, which was actually
the Regulators wardroom/dining hall, Captain Chris Larabee was pacing nervously
in his dress uniform. God, he hated these things.
It was bad enough that the Gyban were a newly discovered race, accidentally
contaminated in contradiction to the Prime Directive. But, to add to it,
they were a violent, mistrusting people who still waged war on each other
over petty differences - in other words, uncomfortably human.
He sighed. The Gyban had made it clear that even though Federation technology
outstripped their own by, oh, maybe four centuries, they were not to be
intimidated. They had almost killed and dissected the crew of the freighter
Dixie, who had only escaped after offering them their cargo of recreation
equipment. The Gyban had no clue what most of the stuff was for, but true
to their basic humaniod-ness, they wanted it. All of it.
It had taken major cajoling to get them to agree to a neutral location for
the meeting, and they had balked severely at the idea of coming aboard a
Gyban was a numbingly flat world. Back at the dawn of time, a little chunk
of astral goop had been hurled into space, spinning at unfathomable speed,
until it had cooled into a perfect ball. Unlike Earth and many other Class
M planets, it had cooled completely, all the way to its core, so there were
no geologic upheavals to create features such as mountains and canyons. All
of its water was trapped below the surface and in the humid atmosphere. It
was a survivable world, but an exceeding boring and featureless one. The
Gyban could not conceive of the concept of volcanoes, or oceans, or hurricanes
- the very ideas terrified them. But adding to their fear of these odd creatures
that had recently fallen from their sky at their feet was the fact that they
seemed to have no actual conceptualization of up. Their buildings
were all dug exactly 4 feet into the ground. They had no stairs, no ladders,
and in fact could not even stand upright in their own structures.
The idea of beaming aboard a starship was incomprehensible to them.
They were fast learners, though, and when one of the Dixies
crew had expressed astonishment at their magnificent gemstones, they had
quickly seen a way to turn their Close Encounter to their advantage.
The secret to creating the gems was one the Gybans carefully guarded, but
the beauty of the stones was undeniable. Lieutenant Commander Ezra Standish,
the Regulators supply officer and Chief of Protocol, had beamed down
to the planet for the purpose of finalizing preparations for the summit,
and had traded his galactically expensive timuk leather boots for one of
them. The stones varied in size, color, translucence, and texture, according
to Ezra, but upon close examination, the one he had returned with was found
to be quite remarkable indeed. For one thing, even though they were shaped
and polished by hand, they were symmetrical down to a micron. They also were
imbued with their own gravity and an odd magnetic field with six poles. It
had been immediately surmised that they would be perfectly suited for use
in several Federation technologies. Yes, there was big money to be had here.
The Gyban ambassador would be arriving last, and it had been his crews
job to see that the Federation representatives were briefed on what to expect.
Commander Sanchez had made a point of telling them that the Gyban by and
large remained unimpressed by the glory that was The Federation. They lacked
technologic advancement, but in Old West fashion, when all else failed, they
let their weapons do the talking. Dr. Jackson had discreetly observed their
physical constitution and had ascertained that though they were basically
hominids, they possessed several distinct features common to arthropods.
They had six limbs, the two extra ones endowed with razor sharp pincers similar
to a crab or lobster. There were three distinct sexes - the third possessing
the actual brood pouch in which the fertilized product of the other two matured.
Unfortunately, there were no apparent external features to enable one to
tell one sex from the other, and they had no idea what the Gyban representative
was, so they would prudently address him/her/other by the title
Ambassador although they had agreed to refer to the being in
question as he until they were informed otherwise.
The banquet table - for it had been determined that the Gyban loved to eat
- was laid out with a sumptuous selection of goodies from all over the
Federation, or, at least, those which had been determined to be non-poisonous
to the guests in attendance. The Federation big shots were already there,
including Fleet Admiral Orin Travis, his Secretary of Protocol and
daughter-in-law, Lieutenant Mary Travis, the Federation Trade Board
representative, a weasly character named Conklin, the self-appointed Four
Corners Sector Superintendent - another weasly character named Guy Royale,
and the Sector Treaty Negotiator, a crook named Stuart James. There was to
be a Federation Ambassador there, also. Chris didnt know anything about
her, other than she was a Vulcan, but she was probably an asshole, too.
Only Ezra wasnt worried. His brief dealings with the Gyban had given
ample indication that they were impervious to bullshit.
Chris paused in mid-pace when he noticed a mop of jet-black hair and two
big hazel eyes peering over the edge of the dining table. Directly behind
it was a shock of brown curls with the tip of a delicate little Vulcan ear
poking through and two equally big blue eyes.
What the hell
What are you boys doing here? he whispered, trying not to sound
too stern. I thought you were with Chief Nettie. At least they
had both been scrubbed free of mud and dressed in clean uniforms, he observed
There was a system failure and she had to go fix it, Vin explained.
Chief Nettie Wells was not a babysitter, even though she willingly looked
after the boys on occasions such as this. She was actually the Regulators
environmental systems technician, which caused Larabee to frown. What
kind of system failure? he asked suspiciously.
Vin looked down sheepishly.
I just wanted to see if I could do it, the little Vulcan offered
by way of an explanation.
Do what? Chris was almost afraid to ask. Both boys were insatiably
curious, and too smart for their own good.
Chief Koje said the Injuns used to rub sticks together to make fire,
so I got some sticks
Chris held up his hand. He didnt want to hear the rest. You boys
cant stay here. This is for grown-ups, now
Well, well, what have we here? Admiral Travis voice boomed.
You must be the young gentlemen Captain Larabee and Commander Wilmington
have told me so much about.
JD beamed upon hearing that. Vin, however was suspicious of anyone he
Who are you? he asked pointedly.
Chris intervened. Vin, this is Fleet Admiral Travis. Hes the
one who gave us permission for you to live on the ship.
A waste of Federation revenue if you ask me, Conklin interjected.
We dont outfit starships so they can be turned into nurseries.
He sipped smuggly at his drink.
This is Mr. Conklin, Chris introduced the sour diplomat.
To his horror, JD rushed up and poked Conklin on the backside.
Conklins brows knitted in anger.
I jus wanted to see how ya felt, JD explained.
When that got a puzzled frown from the adults, the boy cheerfully elaborated,
Capn Chris said you aint nothing but a big bag of
The face Conklin made defied description, whereupon Vin innocently inquired,
Which half of your head contains the brain?
WILMINGTON! Chris snapped into his comm badge.
Hes talkin to Lieutenant Travis, JD explained.
Vin nodded. Yes, hes trying to score. I dont know what
game they are playing, though.
Chris felt his head begin to throb as he wondered who he could call to come
and fetch the two little boys before they triggered an intergalactic war.
Petty Officer Potter was busy with the meal, and he didnt want to know
what Chief Wells was having to repair.
Naturally, the Federation Ambassador would choose that moment to make her
The little boys made no move to leave - having not actually been told to
do so by anyone - as Ambassador TPong was introduced.
Not to be left out, JD shouldered his way through the adults and held out
his hand with the fingers separated in a traditional Vulcan greeting. Live
long an perspire, he said. Im JD. You can take your
coat off if you want.
The Vulcan eyed the little boy sternly but patiently. Why would I want
to do that?
My unca Ezra said you are one hot lady.
Admiral Travis choked on his drink. Larabee found himself wondering how hard
it would be to get away with killing his crew.
Luckily, the Ambassador either didnt understand the remark, or, more
likely, chose to ignore it.
Vin, however, did not escape her notice. Come here, she commanded
the little boy.
It never occurred to Vin to disobey - something else the men were undecided
on how to handle. Sometimes, he was too good.
He stepped forward and tried to conceal his fear. Sadly, the little guy trusted
This is a Vulcan child! she spoke accusingly to no one in particular.
What is he doing here?
Chris explained briefly how they had found the two little boys alone and
starving on a hostile planet where their shuttle had apparently crashed,
killing everyone but them. The boys claimed they were cousins, but genetic
tests had determined that Vin was indeed the Vulcan he appeared to be while
JDs genetic make up was largely human. Both boys did share a few strands
of Romulan DNA, but it was less than four percent, meaning their common relative
went back at least 5 generations. Both boys had been entered in a Federation
data base for missing persons, but, no one had come forward to claim either
A Vulcan child belongs among Vulcans, the Ambassador lectured.
This situation, she gestured at the ship around her, is
I like it here, Vin said, all trace of his normal reserve
Vulcans do not like - they accept or they comply. Anything
else is not logical.
Vin was clearly confused by the Vulcan ethnobabble. He looked at Chris, who
reassured him by smoothing his soft curls.
The uncomfortable moment was interrupted by the boatswains whistle
and bells announcing the arrival of the Gyban Ambassador.
Chris squatted down and put a hand on each boys shoulder. You
guys really do have to leave now. This is just for grown-ups, okay? Its
your duty to stay out of the way, clear?
Crystal! both boys answered, and much to Chriss relief,
scampered out of the dining hall.
Everything had quickly gone from bad, to worse,
to hell in a handcart.
It had started with the grand entrance of the Gyban ambassador. The man was
tall and dignified, but had the misfortune to be wearing a head-dress that
appeared to be made from certain items purloined from the Dixie. In
particular, they were tennis balls, in several different colors. His head
was covered with them. And around his neck, he wore a garland of fishing
By a miraculous feat of will and composure, Jackson and Sanchez managed to
greet him with a straight face. Wilmington and Standish however, had found
the need to abruptly excuse themselves so that they could collapse in hysterical
laughter in the corridor outside the dining hall.
The actual diplomats were trained in such situations and accepted it
nonchalantly, and fortunately, TPong apparently didnt even know
what a tennis ball was, although reflecting upon this, Larabee wondered if
she knew about ping tpong balls and abruptly, he had to join Standish
and Wilmington. Sometimes, you just had to laugh.
By the time the three officers had composed themselves, the meal and the
negotiations had gotten underway without them.
The Gyban Ambassador had brought a gift to present to the Federation. It
was an ornately carved hexagonal box that contained seven Gyban gemstones.
They were breathtaking in their beauty, uniform in size, but each with its
own unique color and hue. The Gyban made a point of noting how valuable they
were, although Ezra had seen that they turned them out by the hundreds and
apparently didnt actually use them for anything. He had to admire the
creatures business sense, although at some uncomfortable level, he
was reminded of his mother.
Later, they had retired to the conference hall to begin negotiations. The
Gybans demands were simple: Give them anything they wanted, including Federation
technology, Prime directive be damned, and in return, theyd supply
the Federation with as many gemstones as they felt like.
Things really deteriorated when the Gyban asked TPong if she had eggs
ripe for mating, and her reply had been a Vulcan death-stare, which while
not actually lethal, had resulted in an abrupt halt to the proceedings.
Commander Sanchez called for a much-needed break and the participants retired
to the dining hall for refreshments. Larabee had just enough time to reach
for a cup of blue Yenchan custard when the Gyban emitted a sound that could
only be described as a cross between a shriek and sonic boom.
The gemstones were gone.
The Regulator had no security force per se, other
than the 6 Marines who had accompanied the diplomats. Larabee was momentarily
at a loss for how to pursue the theft. The Gyban, however, had brought his
own security force, and they immediately cordoned off the room and began
a search of everyones personal items and clothing.
Indignant protests rang out from every corner of the large room and the Marines
quickly drew their phasers to intervene. And just as quickly, the Gybans
grabbed the weapons in their vice-like pincers and cut them in half.
Convinced the thief had escaped to somewhere else on the ship, the Gyban
instructed his soldiers to keep everyone barricaded in the dining hall and
then set off on his own to search for his missing treasure.
Larabee was left to wonder why it was important to him to find it, being
as how he had already given it away, but if he had wanted a job understanding
alien thought processes, he would have been a counselor instead of a Captain.
Besides, he knew that Chief Wells had probably gone to the nearest security
monitor the moment she had detected something was amiss. Every stateroom
on the Regulator had an escape route other than the door. The dining hall,
in fact, had several, and it was only a few moments before Wells activated
The Gybans - and everyone else - stared on in disbelief as one by one, the
officers of the Regulator disappeared from the room.
Nettie rushed towards them. Hes on the hydroponics deck. Hes
sealed himself in!
Chris was about to breathe a sigh of relief - the worst thing the Gyban could
do on the hydroponics deck was eat all of the fruit and get a good case of
the trots. But, Netties face told him there was more to it than that.
Vin and JD are in there, too, she said quietly.
Chris and Buck moved instantly in the direction of they hydroponics deck.
Standish, Sanchez and Jackson followed hot on their heels. If that creature
hurt the boys, the Regulators crew would turn its entire planet into
a flat, boring, smoking cinder and gladly spend the rest of their lives in
the brig for it.
Chief Nettie sealed the corridors behind them as they went so that they would
not be followed.
Chris cursed when the entry to the hydroponics
deck failed to respond to his manual override. Nettie had needed to disconnect
the system to work on it, and now she was frantically trying to restore it
to working order.
Chris wanted to pound on the door, but he dared not do anything that might
anger the Gyban or frighten the boys.
All he could do was wait the tortuous minutes while Chief Wells worked feverishly
to reroute circuits and establish critical connections.
From inside, they could hear the boys high pitched voices, but could not
tell if they were crying or screaming or simply yelling at their captor.
The men knew the little guys would stand up and fight for themselves, and
it could cost them dearly.
HURRY UP, WELLS! Larabee shouted with a harshness that was
uncharacteristic even for him.
Wells ignored his outburst and a few seconds later, the door to the hydroponics
deck slid open.
The lights were turned out, but even so, the men gaped dumbstruck at the
sight before them.
Above the boys sandbox city, the seven gemstones hovered in mid-air,
their six-point magnetic fields enabling them to repell one another with
just enough force to maintain their delicate balance.
Each stone glowed with a soft luminescence and emitted a distinctly musical
hum that harmonized with that of the other stones.
It was an absolutely astonishing, wonderous sight, but even more astonishing
was the sight of the Gyban Ambassador sitting calmly on the floor with a
boy on either side, enjoying the light show as his dual pincers easily cracked
one impossibly hard Aloak nut after another. Both boys held a nutmeat in
each hand and had a pile in front of them.
Buck! Look! Our world has MOONS! JD exclaimed.
Chris tried to sound stern. Where did you get those?
Vin and JD looked at each other.
We was just borrowin them, Vin said. We was gonna
bring em back.
The Gyban dropped a nut - whole - into his mouth. These are most
excellent, he said, his apparent earlier rage now completely forgotten.
And your hatchlings, he sighed, such sweet and precious
We aint hatchlings, JD laughed. Were kids!
Ezra smiled. Hed forgotten to mention that the Gyban, for all their
faults, were devoted to their offspring, unpleasant looking slug-like little
creatures that they were.
Chris stepped forward. You have my personal apology, Ambassador. They
boys didnt know any better.
The Gyban moved his 4 upper appendages in a very close approximation of a
shrug. Your young are very charming. They should be indulged whenever
Yeah! JD nodded eagerly.
The Ambassador rose and patted each boy affectionately before walking towards
Anticipating him, the Captain held up his hands. I will pay for the
stones. I assure you
You cant afford them, the Gyban scoffed somewhat derisively.
And I can get more.
Larabee breathed a sigh of relief.
Im taking the nut tree, though, the Ambassador said, and
motioned for his newly-arrived bodyguards to confiscate the plant.
Nathan and Josiah werent going to like that. The Aloak tree had cost
a pretty chunk of latinum. But, they could get another one, one way or another.
And, all things considered, one tree was a comparitively small and easy price
to pay for interplanetary good will
and a box full of moons.