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Star Trek: The Original Series: Serpents in the Garden (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 29. April 2014

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Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Jeff Mariotte is the author of more than forty-five novels, including the supernatural thrillers Season of the Wolf, River Runs Red, Missing White Girl, and Cold Black Hearts; the thriller The Devil’s Bait, the horror epic The Slab, the Dark Vengeance teen horror quartet, and others, as well as dozens of comic books, notably Desperadoes and Zombie Cop. He has written books, stories, and comics set in beloved fictional universes, including those of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, CSI and CSI: Miami, The Shield, Criminal Minds, Conan, Superman, Spider-Man, Hellraiser, and many more, and is a two-time winner of the Scribe Award presented by the International Association of Media Tie-inWriters. He’s a co-owner of the specialty bookstore Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, and lives in southeastern Arizona on the Flying M Ranch. Please visit him at JeffMariotte.com or Facebook.com/JeffreyJMariotte.

Leseprobe. Abdruck erfolgt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

Star Trek: The Original Series: Serpents in the Garden

One


“We’ve got a Klingon situation,” Rear Admiral James T. Kirk said.

“A Klingon situation?” Lieutenant Rowland echoed. “Where, sir?”

“I’m glad you asked.” Kirk tapped a display on his desk, and a viewscreen on the wall illuminated. He walked over to it. Rowland, no doubt, saw only dots and swirling lines, but the admiral knew what he was looking at. He had been studying it for a week. And Kirk saw trouble.

“These lines,” he said, pointing, “indicate the movement of Klingon vessels through this region. All within the past few months.”

“That’s a lot of lines,” Rowland said. Lieutenant Giancarlo Rowland was bright, but young and more than a little green. He was Kirk’s flag aide, and since the admiral was desk-bound, that meant Rowland’s duties were largely administrative and occasionally ceremonial. Kirk expected that Rowland would distinguish himself in starship duty one of these days, and become a captain before too long. He was young and bright and green, but he was also ambitious, and getting himself linked to an admiral was a wise move, politically speaking.

“Exactly. Which means a lot of Klingon traffic.”

“Do we know why, sir?” Rowland asked. A soft southern accent revealed his east Texas roots. “I mean, why they’re there?”

“Not yet,” Kirk said. “Frankly, there’s not much there. It’s a sparsely populated little corner of the galaxy. There is one inhabited planet in the vicinity—but again, sparsely populated. I’ve actually been there. It’s a Class-M planet, very Earthlike in many respects, but the entire global population can’t be more than a few hundred thousand, if that.”

“Capable of warp travel?”

“No.”

“Well, maybe I’m just bein’ dense, sir, but I don’t see what they could possibly have that Klingons would want.”

The admiral peered at the chart. He had been asking himself the same question for days. He’d been studying every reported Klingon sighting, mapping them, and trying to figure out what their big-picture plan might be. It was easy to simply assume that the Klingons were up to no good, for no other reason than that they were Klingons.

That was dangerous thinking, though. Klingons didn’t think like humans did. They planned, schemed, and they had reasons for the things they did. If the Klingons were suddenly active in this one particular sector, there was some motivation behind it.

“I don’t know, either,” he said at last. “But we need to find out.”

“We?”

Kirk pointed toward Rowland, then back at himself. “We. You and me.”

“How, sir?”

“I guess we need to go on a little trip.”

“A little trip?” Rowland asked.

Kirk returned to his desk and backed out of the chart until it showed a vast swath of the galaxy, with Earth in the lower left corner. The sector under discussion was visible in the upper right.

“That’s . . .”

“It’s not next door,” Kirk said.

“Boy, I’ll say.”

“Is that a problem, Lieutenant?”

“No, sir!” Rowland said quickly. He stood there, staring at the chart.

“Is there something wrong?” Kirk asked after a minute.

“No, sir. It’s just . . . well, I’ve never been that far out there.”

“Most people haven’t, Giancarlo. It’s a rare privilege. I think you’ll like it.”

“I’m sure you’re right.”

“I usually am,” Kirk said with a grin.

“One more question, sir?”

“Yes?”

“The planet?”

“You wouldn’t have heard of it,” Kirk said. “It’s called Neural.”

“Neural?”

“That’s right.”

Realization dawned in the lieutenant’s eyes. “You’ve been there twice,” he said. “You commanded your first planetary survey there.”

“That’s right,” Kirk said again.

“You were a lieutenant. And, what? My age.”

“About that,” Kirk said. Two years younger. “You’ve been studying my career.”

“I know everything there is to know, sir. About your career, that is.”

“Everything?”

“I mean, everything in Starfleet’s records. I’m sure there’s plenty more that’s not in those.”

“All the best parts,” Kirk said. “Just the boring stuff goes in the official record.” He tapped his temple. “The good stuff’s in here.”

“I have no doubt, sir.”

“We’ll need a ship,” Kirk said.

“A ship, sir?”

“To get to Neural. They can’t walk here, but we can’t walk there, either.”

“But we can’t—we need to take this to the Federation Council, have them raise a protest with the Organians. If the Klingon Empire is in violation of the Treaty—”

Kirk cut him off with a wave of his hand. “No Federation, no Starfleet. Nothing on the record. Civilian transportation. A charter, since there aren’t any commercial flights passing anywhere near there.”

“Why not, sir?”

“It’s a long story,” Kirk said. “I’ll tell you sometime. Let’s just say I have some unfinished business on Neural. If that is in any way responsible for what’s happening there now, with the Klingons, then I need to set things straight if I can. Not Starfleet. Me.” He wondered briefly if this was a fool’s errand. Second chances were possible, Kirk believed that with all his heart, but they were as rare as snowmen in July. The admiral shook his head to clear it. “When I left Neural, I informed Starfleet of the Klingon presence there. The Federation Council raised the issue with the Klingons, and the two sides agreed that Neural fell under the hands-off policy dictated by the Treaty of Organia. If they’ve broken that agreement, I want to know about it.”

“So a civilian charter . . .”

“Right. Something small and fast, preferably. Something that can get in and out of orbit before the Klingons know it’s there.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Pack an extra toothbrush,” Kirk suggested. “I don’t know if they’ve invented those yet, and we’ll be staying awhile.”

“How long, sir?”

“I have no idea.” Kirk sat behind his desk. It was a beautiful thing, carved mahogany with brass fittings, in a vaguely nautical design. It was big and it weighed a ton, and it felt like an anchor chained to his leg. He loved Earth, but like so many things, that love was felt more fervently from a distance. A desk in Starfleet’s headquarters had never been one of his career goals. His title, chief of Starfleet Operations, sounded impressive. But to Kirk the title was little more than a cruel joke, since by definition, the chief of Starfleet Operations never operated among the stars.

Kirk hadn’t realized, until he’d decided he had...


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