Chapter 11.
'It seemed strange they would bring weapons on board, just so they could take them off,' Geordi said, on the bridge with the rest.
All of the crew were gathered together. Since the ship was motionless, and they were still in the process of deciding what to do, and since it involved everyone aboard, all work was suspended, while they decided on a course of action. Mary Anne and her colleagues had abandoned their weapons as there was presumably no threat left.
'When they arrived they were wearing them and just took them straight off,' Geordi said. 'Glock was the first to think it was strange, and I agreed. Even if it was some sort of ceremonial dress, why get rid of them immediately?'
'I thought, perhaps they have no intention of ever going back to their ship,' agreed Glock. 'These might have been their only possessions. When Geordi and Malcolm went over, the ship was stripped down, with nothing of value left aboard, so I still thought that.'
'Well, that was a reasonable guess, I suppose,' said Geordi. 'Especially when they all handed them over and asked us to keep them somewhere safe. But I had to consider the possibility they were booby-trapped, which they were!
'I figured a safe place for them was out in space. I put them in a box, put a signal device on it, and beamed it into a stationary spot within reach of the wormhole. I knew we would have to stay in this vicinity, or come back to it. The Romulans must have picked up the signal. I guess they could detect radio signals, even if they couldn't detect shields.'
'Well, I was trying to hold off blasting them,' said Riker. 'I've destroyed enough for a lifetime. But I guess fate stepped in. We'll never know if they were planning any treachery.'
Sela was still on the bridge. She had been sitting, brooding. Deanna was sensing building anger beginning to displace her feelings of despair. When she spoke her voice was as calm as ever to begin with. Only Deanna could sense her depth of emotion.
'I don't understand,' she said. 'You are an emotional man. I would have expected you to have destroyed them out of grief or anger. I would have expected you to destroy me by now!'
'I don't feel anger,' he said wearily. 'I just feel... dead.'
'You should execute me,' she said desperately. 'I deserve it!' Had she not been Romulan, she might be in tears by now. The others on the bridge were all surprised by the intensity of her speech, and this sudden view of a different side of an implacable enemy.
'Sela,' interposed Deanna, 'you are overwhelmed by the guilt of what you have done. You are coming to realise that humans are not the devils you have always thought of them as. But that is how we are. We recognise contrition. We may even forgive.'
Sela had regained control.
'It is not logical to spare us,' she said. 'We are merely a hindrance to your plans from now on.'
'We do not kill people for being a hindrance!' said Beverley Crusher.
Only Selar seemed to have remained calm through everything.
'We all have to survive,' she said. 'The history of earth has been changed, and there is nothing we can do about that. But we need to change history again, somehow.
'We have a number of humans on board. We will have to get them safely to earth. I don't think there is another habitable planet within range of this ship.'
'In fact there is,' said Data. 'Soronis Minor II. It is less habitable, but well within parameters of survival. My data is from sixty five millions of years in the future, of course.'
'Earth is the natural habitat of humans,' said Lieutenant Selar, 'so I think we should take them there and drop them together. We can find Revi and Pachek, given a little time. Then they and our two Romulan passengers can be taken to Soronis Minor. We do not have any other pairings, so the rest of us will have to live out our lives on one planet or the other.'
Glock, Mendon and Gr'h Arrg looked disconsolately at each other.
'Wait a minute,' interrupted Beverley. 'Spock is a Vulcan-human hybrid. Surely you could come with us.'
'I doubt it,' said Selar. 'Spock's birth required sophisticated technology. It would not be available on a primitive planet. Besides, I am closely related to the Romulans.'
'I will go where Deanna goes,' said Worf. Riker gave him a sharp look, but said nothing.
Deanna said, 'We may not be able to have children, but.. yes. Perhaps that is best.'
Selar interrupted. 'Who has children by whom will have to be decided by the community. Counselor Troi and Mister Worf may choose to cohabit, but all of the women will have to mate with the various men to attain genetic diversity.'
All of the women looked taken aback at this.
'In fact, since Ensign Smith is the only totally human female certainly young enough to have children, it would be desirable for her to mate with each of the human men, whichever one she chooses to cohabit with. Counselor Troi is half human, so presumably her progeny would become indistinguishably human after a few generations.'
Mary Anne was pink again. Her mind whirled. She glumly tried to reconcile her mind to the prospect. One husband seemed a good idea. Three seemed overkill! What would the nuns at the convent think of all this!
The men also considered the idea. They were not so averse to it. However, Beverley and Deanna were not among the converted. They were old enough not to have been overwhelmed by the excess of authority figures, as Mary Anne was.
'This is all so impersonal,' cried Beverley Crusher. 'I don't know that I'm still young enough to have another child. And I don't know if I could. I'll never see Wesley again.' Tears welled in her eyes. 'We should just set up our community, and see who settles down with who.'
'What a piker!' said Deanna drily. 'And I was going to nominate you to be in charge of the rosters! Now, I'll have to work out the timetable myself.'
'i don't know that a timetable will be essential,' said Selar seriously. 'Mating may be allowed to occur somewhat informally. I believe that is the established human custom.'
Mary Anne grinned in relief. Deanna and Beverley were rejecting the idea! And Selar was unable to detect the 'Mickey' being taken out of her, as Malcolm's expression had it.
Geordi suddenly stood up.
'I don't understand this. Those two Romulans fled to earth with nothing. But we have technology in abundance. We can land this thing on earth, and use its resources. And we have Data. He is my friend, but he is also technology. I don't think we would have all that much trouble with birthing technology. I suggest we all go to earth and create a big family to start with!'
'Perhaps not, Geordi,' said Deanna quietly. 'It doesn't seem like a time to be talking psychology, but if we have two genetically incompatible races on the one planet, eventually one will wipe out the other. We might start with small but technologically advanced tribes, but as they spread and grow so will ignorance and superstition. Eventually they will crowd each other, and conflict will escalate.'
'Mathematically, the choice of two venues is superior,' added Data. 'If we have two different worlds populated there is double the chance of one proving viable, and so altering history in some fashion.'
'Yes,' said Geordi, 'if you want to bring in mathematics, can I remind you that we deliberately held back the number of humans on this trip. Apart from Doctor Crusher there are only four women on board, and only one is all human.'
Sela had not offered anything toward the discussion. Selar had not made the obvious offer of her as a part of the human colony. Like Deanna, half her genes were human, and similarly, if she stayed and mated she would contribute diversity to the new world. But her Romulan genes would be swallowed up.
Presumably Selar was not confident that she would not continue her attempts to destroy the human colony. It was an intelligent decision. It would be more logical for her to go with Dovor, Revi and Pachek to the other world, and try to begin a new Romulan race, in which she would try to inculcate positive values.
'Two humans is theoretically enough,' said Selar. 'The rest are a form of insurance against the unexpected.'
Mary Anne grimaced to herself. She had been saying very little all trip, and feeling somewhat that she was the unimportant one on the mission. Now she had become the most important, and she trembled at the thought.
All the Romance holostories she had experienced flowed through her mind. The mousy little heroine suddenly becoming the focus of attention of the handsome hero was a general theme, not that many women were unattractive these days. But who would be the handsome hero? Would it be... all of them? This was a bran new world. Maybe she would have to accommodate to new ways...
Sela had been considering the prospect of mating with Dovor with some distaste. She looked around for him, and saw that he was sitting very quietly, remaining inconspicuous. He beckoned her, when he realised she had seen him.
Worf had allowed his customary vigilance to lapse at the news that he was the lone survivor of his race. His stoic face hid a deep sorrow. As there was no other Klingon to mate with, he resolved to live with Deanna, assuming she were as willing as he believed, and perhaps die gloriously defending his home from some tyrannosaurus or suchlike predator.
Sela sidled surreptitiously across to Dovor, and sank into a seat next to him.
'They are planning on setting up another Romulan race,' she remarked. 'The four of us starting a new dynasty. I do not find the idea attractive.'
'Nor I,' he said. 'You are, after all, not entirely Romulan genetically.'
She flushed, without changing expression. Would it be possible to raise a gentler, better race with Dovor as its progenitor?
'I prefer our original plan,' he said. 'It will be cruder, but they can still be destroyed.'
'How do you mean, our original plan?' she asked curiously.
'They can still be destroyed with a sudden coup!' he snarled quietly. 'Worf cannot concentrate on me forever!'
Meanwhile, the others had sadly decided to split up between the two planets.
'it's all very well to have all this technology,' said Geordi, 'but getting it down to the surface could be tricky. These tubs are made for space, and it would fly like a stone if we took it into an atmosphere. Even a starship has a bit of aerodynamic capability, because someone thought it looked pretty, but this ship is round!'
'Yes, I don't fancy trying to hover it down on its jets,' agreed Riker. 'And it's not designed for operation in planetary gravity. The rooms point in all directions.'
'We can take one of the shuttles down to earth and leave it there,' said Geordi, 'and Data can take the other one to the other planet. We can strip a lot of stuff and take it down in shifts. We'll have to decide which parts go to earth and which to the Romulan planet.'
Interesting, thought Sela. We will start off both the Romulan and human races sixty five million years early. Will that only exacerbate the problem. Will the humans develop quickly enough to stop the Romulans going bad? I will teach my children peace, she resolved. So, no doubt would Selar. But what about the other three.. psychotics. She trembled to have thought the word.
Dovor was being watched very carefully now by Worf, but he remained calm.
'Since you seem uninterested in executing me,' he said to Riker, 'and have plans which involve me, I would like to cooperate. Your idea seems an excellent one, and acceptable to all of us. I will assist you in your manual labors if you will permit me.'
Riker looked thoughtfully at him. He did not trust him an inch, but every hand helped, and there were plenty of people to keep an eye on him.
'All right, Dovor,' he said grimly. 'It seems just that you should do some of the work, since this mess is your fault.'
'We may as well all go down and get your group started,' said Dovor, 'and then those of us going elsewhere can leave with Mister Data for our own little habitat.'
All were startled at Dovor's offer, including Sela. Has he relented? she thought. Unlikely. Riker, however, took him at his word.
'All right,' he said. 'That's a good idea. The first thing we need to do is find those other two. Data?'
'Very well, sir,' replied Data. He brought the starfighter over the isolated continent, and scanned. 'I cannot find them,' he announced after a while. 'Either they are underground or dead. Strangely, I cannot detect the phasers either. If we had access to the Enterprise's computers, we could locate the phasers even underground.'
In fact, they were simply underground at the time, sleeping in their cave.
Dovor thought, the Enterprise's computers would only locate them if they looked in the ship's storage compartment, where he had secreted them.
'Well, we haven't,' said Riker. 'I guess they're dead. I suggest we land in that area that Ensign French knows. His knowhow about the place may give us a start.'
They set the starfighter into a stable orbit, and set off in both shuttles. All of them landed in an open area, near water and fertile ground. It was a part of Australia which seemed to offer a lot. It was land which had been volcanic, which meant it would be fertile, and it had adequate water both above ground in the form of lakes, and underground in a large water table, in case of drought. It had grasslands, trees and easy access to the sea. While they might not need all these immediately, their descendants would. All of the humans and part-humans watched the approaching land with new eyes. This was going to be home.
They had taken both shuttles, although only one would remain. As the hatches swung open they stepped out into the harsh bright light, and looked around. There was a grove of trees nearby, but otherwise the land was relatively clear of dense vegetation.
'We can build here,' said Mary Anne. 'It seems safe.'
'It's the middle of the day,' said Malcolm, 'and we've only been here a minute. The animals will appear around dusk if there are any. With water this close I'm sure there are. Our landing would have scared them off, but they'll be back.'
'We'll use the replicators to produce some buildings,' said Geordi. 'Some houses would be a good safe start.'
'I'd suggest we just put up something temporary for a start,' said Malcolm. 'The replicators are not going to last long here, so we should be sure what we want.'
'So what's first?' asked Geordi.
'I reckon, get some big leaves, and make little shelters to sleep in,' he answered.
The whole group looked around, and found some timber. Deanna trimmed it with her phaser, and they made a very primitive lean-to.
'That's probably not the best idea,' said Malcolm. 'It'd be better to use the phasers to shape some stone tools like hammers or axes, then use them. The phasers won't last for all that long. We should save them for emergencies.'
'It's a start,' said Riker. 'But I agree. We could use the replicators on the starfighter to make better tools, though. Keep the phasers as long as possible. They won't hold their charge forever, anyway.'
They found large leaves and made it into a shelter. Malcolm had decided upon a spot, not in a water channel, but sheltered. Dovor obligingly carried over some of the stores he had picked up in the storage area, trying not to lean forward and reveal the outlines of the two phasers stuck in the back of his belt, especially to Glock. He had offered to trim the wood, but Worf had not let him have one of the other phasers. He offered to fetch firewood, and stashed the two phasers where he could find them easily.
Even Sela was pitching in, perspiring with the effort, as were all. Early earth was hot, at least here. They had not checked which season it was, thought Beverley. She must check that soon.
'I guess we need to decide who is going to stay here,' remarked Riker after a while. 'And I guess it's time to stop calling each other Commander and Lieutenant. There's no Starfleet any more. I'm William.'
'Thank you, William,' said Dovor. 'Though I notice you have called me nothing but Dovor since we met.'
Riker still felt slightly repelled by the Romulan, but he forced a smile. They would be going off forever soon. It should be possible to be civil for that time.
'Shades of the Admirable Crichton,' said Malcolm ruefully.
'What's that?' asked Mary Anne.
'It was a classic play I studied in university,' he said. 'In ancient times, England had very set social classes. The so-called upper class ran everything and the lower classes were servants. A socially stratified group is shipwrecked, and all the old roles are reversed. The butler turns out to be the natural leader.'
'What's a butler?' asked Arrg.
'A personal valet,' answered Malcolm.
'Malcolm,' said Riker, 'can you catch us some sort of animal to eat? We have food from the ship, but I think it might be a good idea to keep it until we need it. It might be the only non-perishable food we have.'
Malcolm climbed to his feet, took a phaser, and went scouting. It was getting late, and animals had begun to appear. He shot a small dinosaur, and they cooked it.
'I know crocodile tastes OK,' he said, 'so this might be tasty. I guess I'll have to start making a few simple weapons soon. The energy weapons won't last indefinitely. Spears and boomerangs could be fun. I think I can manage them.'
They ate around a campfire, getting used to using each other's first names.
'Which planets are you three going to?' Malcolm asked the three odd crewmen.
Mendon had decided to try his luck with the Romulan group. He hoped that the other planet might offer a more breathable atmosphere. Arrg decided to stay with the humans. He had rarely been accepted, so he would stay with his new friends.
'The trouble is,' he said Gloomily, 'I am going to run out of anti-pheromone. when that happens I will have to go and live alone.'
'Maybe not,' said Malcolm cheerily. 'I reckon we can get used to it, then you can keep away the nastier animals from our doors, if we ever have any.'
Beverley thought that it was unlikely that they would soon 'get used to it', but she held her peace.
'You would be welcome to go with us,' said Sela. 'We are capable of ignoring the effects of your pheromones.' But Arrg decided to stay with his new friends.
Glock said, 'I guess I'll go with the others. Now I'm not in Starfleet any more I have to think in terms of profit again. My people may not exist yet, but I can gain honor by becoming rich.'
'But why go with them?' asked Malcolm. 'We've become friends.'
'When I was an ensign it was all right to have friends,' Glock replied. 'Now I'm just a Ferengi again, it would get in the way of profit.' He lowered his voice so that only the humans might hear him. 'The Romulans are so sure that they are brilliant they are easy to.. err, trade profitably with. You humans are a bit too..'
'Canny?' asked Malcolm.
'That sounds right, whatever it means.'
'Well, good luck, Glock,' said Malcolm. 'It's been a pleasure to know you.'
'Glock, why do you need to chase profit now?' asked Deanna. 'There are no other Ferengi here. Why not just stay with us?'
'The Ferengi may not exist yet,' he replied reverently, 'but the gods do.'
'The gods?' replied Deanna, startled.
'The gods of profit,' he said. 'They still exist. I suppose I should say, already exist. I still have to think of my soul.'
'You have to make a profit for your soul?' asked Mary Anne incredulously.
'Our people have always believed this,' he said. 'Don't you have gods?'
'Well, yes,' she said. 'A lot of humans have believed in gods. But nearly all of ours have told us that we should help others, look after the poor, and so on. Not get rich ourselves.'
Glock was amazed. But he knew other cultures had weird beliefs.
'How do your gods tell you this..' He tried to think of a better word than 'garbage.'
'Well, one of our religions believes that God came to earth as a man, and told us,' said Mary Anne. 'He told us to love one another, and help the poor.'
'We had something just like that!' exclaimed Glock. 'The philosopher, Radnir. He said that it was all right to help someone else make a profit, as long as you made a profit yourself!'
'I don't think it's exactly the same,' floundered Mary Anne, to Deanna's amusement.
'What happened to Radnir?' asked Malcolm. 'Proph.. philosophers on earth usually didn't do too well.'
'He was persecuted,' said Glock, 'and made to,' he shuddered, '..give all his money away. He died of shame.'
'Is there a book about this?' Deanna asked. 'There is one about the Christian faith.'
'I'd like to read it,' Glock said. 'I'd like to compare it to our holy books. I'm sure they're the same. The gods must be the same everywhere, fundamentally. They just adjust their messages a bit for different cultures.'
'It's called the Bible,' said Mary Anne. 'There's one in the shuttle. You can read it if you like. While the batteries last.'
'You have a bible in the shuttle?' asked Deanna in surprise.
'There's a group called the Gideon Foundation,' replied Mary Anne. 'They have managed to have a bible chip put into every computer in the Federation. They started putting them in as viruses, so the manufacturers decided it was easier to just let them supply the chips. They don't take much computer space.'
'You learn something new every day!' exclaimed Deanna. 'So we have a book with the history of what happened on the earth, before we stuffed it up!'
She immediately felt a wave of anguish from Will Riker, and regretted her flippancy. She hurried over to console him.
Glock went inside with the others, and Mary Anne called up the chip.
'It's in English,' she said. 'Use the translator.'
'It's Ok, I speak English,' he said.
'You speak English?' she asked in surprise.
'Any Ferengi can learn any pronounceable language in two weeks,' Glock said proudly. 'It's an important tool of commerce. If you speak the customer's language and he doesn't speak yours, you have a natural advantage.'
They left him to browse and went back outside. Malcolm lay back on his own and stared up at the stars which were just beginning to appear. Why are the stars so much more beautiful when seen from home? he thought. And the air is so clean. It has never been polluted yet.
'Well,.. William,' said Selar, 'you will have to decide your habitation arrangements soon. It would be best to determine them civilly, lest animosity arise and people are killed. You cannot afford unnecessary deaths.'
'Well, I guess Mary Anne, Deanna and Beverley will have to choose how they want to live, and we'll have to go along with it,' said Riker. 'I don't imagine we have too much to worry about killing each other over it yet.'
'Um, do I have to decide to actually marry someone,' said Mary Anne doubtfully. 'I guess it'll be Malcolm.'
'OK, er, Mary Anne,' said Riker. 'Mis.. er, Worf intends to live with Deanna, and Beverley?'
'Can't we let this all.. develop?' she said desperately. 'We're going to be here a long time. We don't know who will turn out to be...'
'The Admirable Crichton?' offered Malcolm.
'Yes,' she agreed. 'Look, let's just wait to see what happens. I'll set up my hut over here with all our medical stuff. Let's let things develop.'
They finished their meals, and began to think of sleeping their first night on their new world.
'OK,' said Riker, 'while we still have the shuttles here, we may as well make use of them. I suggest we have a roster for guard duty, in case any animals decide to invade, since Malcolm said they were mostly nocturnal. The ladies can sleep in the shuttles, and we can..'
''As soon as we get back to prehistory you turn sexist!' exclaimed Deanna.
'Well, you are our most valuable commodity now,' grinned Riker, the first time he had smiled since his trauma.
Glock immediately fell into thought. They were commodities now. Perhaps there was some sort of profit to be had from them. But humans did not trade in women. Still, in this situation, perhaps he could be some sort of.. agent?
'Hmm, they are commodities now,' he half-muttered. Deanna heard him.
'Don't even think about it!' she laughed.
Dovor began to become very alert as the evening drew on. His time would come when all but two were asleep. Even better if he were allowed on guard duty. With everyone asleep, it would be a simple matter to slaughter all the humans and Worf.
Although it grew late, nobody had gone off to sleep. The women, except Sela, had gathered in one group, and the men were scattered about.
'As we seem to be staying up late, and the fire is dwindling,' said Dovor, 'I shall collect more firewood.' He went to the glade.
'Well, here we are,' said Geordi. 'A crowd of Adams and Eves! Not enough Eves, unfortunately.'
Sela sat alone, some distance from the others. She was wondering whether the humans would accept an offer from her to stay with them. If they found Revi and Pachek, there would be more women than men among the Romulan and Vulcan group. Here there was a shortage of a woman. It was more logical to remain, but her Romulan genes would be severely diluted. Then again, the fledgling human community would be enhanced by them.
'The worst part is that we'll never know whether we succeed!' exclaimed Beverley. 'We'll live out our lives like primitive tribes, and we'll never know whether it changes things. Whether our descendents will survive, whether they'll - change anything!'
'Not necessarily, Doctor,' said Data. He had observed the eating of the animal, but had not partaken. 'I can return to the future, then come back through the wormhole and tell you whether the future is different.'
'You won't have time, Data,' said Malcolm. 'By the time you settle all of us onto two planets, the wormhole is likely to be closed.'
'It was not my intention to do so,' said Data. 'By flying back through the wormhole I might somehow invalidate the timeline. I intend to fly at high speed out from this plane of the galaxy, turn and accelerate back, arriving at the correct time to meet the wormhole. The computers should be capable of such a calculation.'
'Data, it's sixty five million years,' said Deanna. 'I know you're built to last, but.. wouldn't you at least get a bit bored!'
'Even at maximum warp it would take millions of years,' said Malcolm, 'and you don't have that much fuel!'
'You are so used to warp drive,' said Data, 'that you forget its purpose. Continuous impulse acceleration can bring the ship up to a high fraction of the speed of light. But if one travels at near the speed of light, time and distance are affected. One might fly out into space and then back, and find that generations had passed, and everyone one knew had died. The warp engines enable us to fly great distances quickly, and return at what appears to be the normal flow of time.
'In this case, however, the impulse engines would supply what I want. As time and length are distorted, it might appear to me that I have flown out only a few million miles, and only a few years have passed, but when I return sixty five million years would have passed - if I can get close to the speed of light for much of the way in each direction.'
'I will go with Mister Data,' said Ensign Mendon suddenly. They looked at him in astonishment.
'I cannot live indefinitely on your planets,' he explained. 'My breathing apparatus will not last indefinitely. You might find a planet with a suitable atmosphere for me, but I would be all alone. I would prefer to take my chances with Mister Data. He is agreeable company. Whatever future we find, I will be with a friend. If it is a better future I may choose to stay there.'
'Why, thank you, Ensign,' said Data, much flattered.
'I too, will go with them,' said Gr'h Arrg. 'My supply of antipheromone will not last long. Ensign Mendon has his breather, and Data will not be affected. And I am used to being alone.'
'But you would need an enormous amount of fuel,' said Geordi, embarrassed that he had not seen all this himself as soon as Data proposed it.
'All I need of the ship is the engine and the shields,' said Data. 'The rest of the space can be filled with asteroids, which I can use as matter to be converted to energy. As far as energy creation is concerned, one piece of matter is as good as any other.'
Riker uttered an expletive.
'I'm stupid!' he exclaimed, jumping to his feet and kicking over the embers. 'It's like Glock's Rule of acquisition! If you don't have what the customer wants, sell him something else!'
The others stared at him as if he had gone mad. Glock tried to think how the rule might apply. Sela asked Selar drily, 'Is this rough language some reversion to the prehistoric?'
'Data,' he said, 'have we got much time before that comet should have hit earth? A day? A week?'
'No, much more,' said Data.
Suddenly there was an interruption.
Dovor suddenly appeared behind Sela. He produced the two phasers he had secreted. He quickly set them both to 'kill', and tossed one to Sela, who rose to her feet in a fluid movement.
'Don't move, anyone!' he commanded as Sela eyed him curiously.
'What the hell are you up to?' said Riker angrily.
'I was hoping you might just have stayed here to decay, while we went off and outbred you,' said Dovor. 'Or I might have waited until you were all asleep and destroyed you at my leisure. But you seem to have leapt to some solution. I can't allow that.'
'Good,' thought Mary Anne. 'Keep the maniac talking. It's what they do in all the adventure books.'
'What are you going to do?' asked Riker angrily. 'You won't get us all.'
'I'm going to kill the women,' he sneered. 'The rest of you will kill me, but you won't spread like some virus through the galaxy again!' He had his phaser pointed to the women, who had conveniently grouped together as they readapted to primitive ways, and were having a gossip. They nervously began to edge apart.
'Don't be stupid, Dovor,' said Sela quietly. 'Did you see what Romulus had become in that future?'
'The superior race!' he shouted. 'Are you with me?'
Suddenly Malcolm flung himself through the air, catapulting Mary Anne away, and desperately rolling to fire his phaser at Dovor. It seemed a futile attempt, because Dovor already had his phaser aimed.
'Against you,' Sela said calmly, shooting Dovor, who fell heavily against a tree. He sagged against the trunk, and slid down unconscious.
'I must be catching something from you all,' she said, giving the phaser back to its owner, 'I set it back on stun.'
Mary Anne grinned as she picked herself up from the ground where she had fallen.
'I'm sure Beverley and Deanna will forgive you,' she said to Malcolm. 'Picking out the young and fruitful one to save. The good of the community is primary!'
'It seemed like a good idea at the time,' he said. 'Ouch, I've twisted my ankle!'
'I'll take you to the medicine hut,' she said, stooping and picking him up, 'my valiant hero!'

On to Chapter 12, or return to my page.