The second part of this story first appeared in Issue 75 of the Power Star Fanzine, June 1994, published by the team of Jerry Seward (Editor) and Kimberly Murphy-Smith (Managing Editor). Story by D. Lynn Bivens and Gerald James Seward
This story is posted without the author's permission - with due acknowledgment - hoping to attract her attention. If you wish it to be removed, please contact the webmaster without any delay.
The Devil's Sweets
A SPACE: 1999 Script By D. Lynn Bivens And Gerald James Seward
(Based In Part On A Premise By Ben Bova)
A C T T W O
[THE STORY SO FAR: Commander John Koenig has a nightmare about finding himself alone on Alpha… alone, that is, until the ghost of Professor Victor Bergman finds him. Bergman urges Koenig to think long and hard about their situation...why they spun out of Earth's orbit, how they could possibly have gone so far so fast, why everyone is so willing to believe any of this could have happened. Koenig realizes the truth in Bergman's pronouncement, and when he awakens, he orders an extremely short-range sensor sweep. Just as Paul Morrow is about to comply, a massive alien ship appears on the viewscreen....]
EXTERIOR, SPACE--THE MOON AND THE ALIEN SHIP
The incredibly huge vessels slowly appraches the moon. Both are in motion; both seem to be on a collision course. The vessel's size in comparison to the moon is now obvious.
INTERIOR, MOONBASE ALPHA--COMMAND CENTER
Everyone appears shocked at seeing the massive ship.
(frantically reading instruments)
Commander, the ship's so large it has its own powerful geomagnetic forces at work! It's conflicting with the moon's self-generated gravitational field!
The moonbase shutters as if to illustrate Paul's statement. Alarms SOUND.
COMMANDER JOHN KOENIG
Those are perimeter sensors...located on various stress points on the exterior.
(to Ann Fraser)
Ann, nature of the perimeter alarms?
ANGLE on ANN FRASER as she quickly accesses the requested data.
Commander, according to these sensors, structural stress levels have doubled in the past few minutes.
Everyone REACTS with alarm.
At that rate, Alpha'll be crushed like cardboard in less than fifteen minutes!
Thank you, Mr. Verdeschi... I can always trust you to state the obvious.
Verdeschi REACTS silently, forcing himself not to break protocol and reply. Meanwhile, Koenig does what he does best under tense circumstances: He commands.
I need an electromagnetic analysis of that ship! I need precise gravimetric readings pertaining to this base! Keep a constant watch on those perimeter sensor readings!
Various replies of "Yes, sir", "right away", and "processing now" are heard.
Perimeter stress levels still rising, Commander!
Koenig stands defiantly in the middle of the Command Center and stares up at the display of the huge ship on the viewscreen.
Somehow, we've got to get a message to them and explain the danger their presence presents.
(turns to Sandra Benes)
Try and establish a communications link with them. Maybe we'll get lucky and make contact before it's too late.
Trying now, Commander...
(operating controls at her station)
...but so far, we haven't been able to find the right frequency or transmission ratio to break through static around the ship.
Keep trying. Tie in all higher-level logistics systems to help speed the process.
Koenig looks back at the viewscreen as MAYA comes alongside him. She follows his gaze.
I've never seen anything so large, Commander. Not even multi-generational habitat ships!
(picks her brain)
Never? Your race has no knowledge of such vessels, Maya?
No, Commander...nothing even remotely this size. It could easily hold half my world's population in its interior!
Assuming, of course, the occupants are of normal humanoid size and shape.
What do you mean?
(amused by her naivete)
You're a metamorph, aren't you? Figure it out.
His meaning finally gets through to Maya, and she looks back at the viewscreen, fear now mixing with her curiosity.
stepping over to a CommPanel and pressing a button)
Command to Medical.
Helena Russell's image flickers on the screen, looking very concerned.
Medical here. John, what's going on?
We have..."visitors", Doctor. Please report to the Command Center. I need your opinions.
On my way. Medical out.
The screen goes blank. Koenig turns back to the viewscreen.
The huge ship, approaching much more slowly than before, continues to loom large above the moon, effectively blocking out the surrounding starfield.
ANGLE ON KOENIG
Who looks much more determined than before.
(under his breath)
Who are you? What do you want?
EXTERIOR, SPACE--MOON AND ALIEN SHIP
It is closer than ever, causing a visible CONFLICTING GRAVITY EFFECT. The moon itself shudders.
EXTERIOR, MOONBASE ALPHA
More visible shuddering of the portions of the structure on the lunar surface. EXPLOSIVE EFFECTS help demonstrate the stresses more visibly.
INTERIOR, MOONBASE ALPHA--CORRIDORS AND LABS
The gravimetric stress becomes more apparent by STRUCTURAL DISTORTION EFFECTS at various points throughout the base, combined with EXPLODING COMPUTER PANELS and SPARKING CABLES. Personnel in corridors scramble for safety, shouting to their co-workers to run as well. Confusion reigns supreme.
INTERIOR, COMMAND CENTER
Also shuddering, with consoles sparking. People struggle to maintain their footing and their seats in chairs.
Initiate structural stabilizers! Re-route all command consoles through secondary systems! Get that communications channel open!
All systems re-routed, Commander!
Structual stabilizers initiated, Commander...but they're already at one hundred twenty-five percent and can't keep it up for much longer!
Structual stress levels have quadrupled! In less than two minutes, they'll burn out!
San, I need that comms link now...
Comms established...but I don't know how long it'll last...it's a combination of lesser-used frequencies that could collapse at any moment!
It'll have to do...open channels!
Another set of wall panels sparks. Everyone REACTS accordingly. Helena ENTERS, looking distressed. She searches the room with her eyes for Koenig, then comes over to him.
Channels open, Commander!
(into the air)
This is Commander John Koenig of Moonbase Alpha. Your vessel's gravimetric fields are interfering with those of this satellite! Our base's structure is about to cave in due to the added stress loads! Please pull away to a distance of one hundred fifty thousand kilometers! Please respond if you understand.
The base shudders and we HEAR the sound of metal warping. Nothing but static can be HEARD over the speakers. Koenig defiantly stares at the viewscreen. All eyes in the room are on him.
The display is still that of the huge ship hovering dangerously close to the moon's surface. CONFLICTING GRAVITY EFFECTS increase.
(after a beat; over speakers)
We understand...and will comply with your request!
The ship begins backing off. The CONFLICTING GRAVITY EFFECTS begin easing.
Everyone REACTS with relief as the sound of metal warping fades. The shuddering slows, then stops. Koenig looks toward Ann, still wary.
(checks screen readouts)
Stress levels falling. Now only one hundred eighty-five percent above normal.
Stabilizers still holding! Structural integrity intact!
(manipulates controls on his console; reads results from screen)
Adverse gravitational effect is dwindling. Ship now ninety-five thousand kilometers away and still retreating. We're out of their effects, sir.
Yes...but how much damage? How many short-circuited systems? How any injured colonists?
We're out of it...but a long way from being normal...or safe.
Is that channel still open?
S'KAR'D'VEE's voice booms over the speakers before Sandra can check her display.
Yes, Commander John Koenig of Moonbase Alpha, the channel is still open!
Everyone REACTS as Koenig straightens and turns back to the viewscreen.
(into the air)
I take it by the very fact you approached this moon that you come with some orm of contact?
In a manner of speaking, Commander...we have detected your rogue satellite ntering out space and scanned it long before coming into range of your less- advanced devices of detection!
Everyone REACTS to the insulting tone of the alien's arrogance...everyone, that is, except for Maya, who has to suppress her amusement.
Am I to assume, then, that you are the...captain? Commander?... of this vessel?
The huge ship continues to recede, but still it dominates the image on the screen, blocking out most of the surrounding starfield.
...am in control of this ship. Yes. In fact, the prefix of my name is a title of respect and authority, such as "commander" obviously is a prefix of respect in your culture. I am S'Kar'D'Vee.
Koenig looks suspiciously at the screen. Something is definitely not right.
Ship reaching the one hundred fifty-kilometer safety margin, sir.
Structural levels approaching normal, sir!
(into the air)
If your devices are so sophisticated, how could you not know that your ship would cause destructive effects to this moon? Why did you come so close?
The ship stops receding and now hangs motionless at a distance, though still appearing massive. There is silence for a beat, as if S'Kar'D'Vee cannot or will not respond.
Is he still receiving?
It would appear so...but the communication frequency is very tenuous. I can't hold it open for much longer.
Boost the gain. Shunt additional power from unused consoles. I want that channel kept open!
(waits as Sandra manipulates controls, then looks toward the screen)
S'Kar'D'Vee? Did you understand my questions? Should I restate them?
No, Commander, that will not be necessary. The truth of the matter is...I cannot answer that at the moment.
Cannot...or will not?
(very tense beat)
As I stated, Commander...I cannot at this point. It seems...some of us are not quite sure why such a potentially detrimental oversight was made.
I...we...are terribly sorry. We meant no harm. We meant only to establish contact with you and attempt to understand how such a satellite could travel at such velocities through open space.
Koenig now looks intrigued. The others in the Command Center REACT similarly.
Assuming such is true, S'Kar'D'Vee...why not simply open a communication channel to us? I'm sure a technology which makes scanning us from vast distances possible could certainly determine our primitive communications protocols.
(another tense beat)
We were attempting to open such communications, Commander...but, as I am sure you own communications officer will attest, the frequency levels of our two systems were far too imcompatible to create such a transmissions link right away. And our approach speed was so swift...we had no time to transmit prior to coming too close. Again...I am sorry, Commander.
Verdeschi has heard all of this he can stand. He steps forward to stand just behind Koenig and faces the viewscreen head-on.
Why not ask them their real agenda? What is the real reason they would initiate such a violent method of contact?
Koenig shoots Verdeschi a chastizing look, then turns back to the viewscreen.
As usual, my First Officer has bypassed diplomacy completely. But he does raise a valid point.
What is the real reason...aside from your stated reasons...you have initiated this contact, S'Kar'D'Vee?
The ship hangs in space. CRACKLING STATIC EFFECT dominates the speakers.
(manipulating controls for a moment)
Sorry, sir...the channel has been closed.
From their end? Or ours?
Unsure, sir. The channel was very precarious.
(stepping over to Koenig)
It would appear, Commander, that our guests have no desire to answer specific questions about their presence here and their approach to this moon.
It also appears they are hiding something.
San, I want that link reopened.
(once more trying controls)
Trying, sir...but the frequencies are elusive.
(joining Koenig and Maya)
Never a dull moment.
Never. And right now, I could use one.
The ship hangs in space. It looks as if the distance has not changed since it reached the outer limits of safety.
INTERIOR, COMMAND CENTER
A sustained one.
I know what you mean. We've not had one day since September 13th that could even remotely be called "normal". Dealing with tension and stress have become our only activities
(smiles, hushed aside)
Well, not our only activities...
Helena smiles as the two share a moment. Everyone REACTS with amused smiles at the worst-kept secret on Alpha...save Verdeschi, whose expression seems to indicate his annoyance at the unprofessionalism.
Commander, something's coming through on another set of frequencies!
(quickly moving to her console)
Excellent work, San!
It was not me, sir. This communication was externally initiated.
Everyone REACTS tensely as Koenig looks up at the screen, smirking.
Well, well. Looks like our "guests" have finally decided to answer our questions. San, put it on audio as soon as the computers finish deciphering it.
That's just it, sir...it's not an audio signal! My instruments show it to be something much more cohesive...aimed directly at this Command Center!
Now everyone's REACTION is that of fear as the threat becomes clear. CAPTAIN ALAN CARTER rushes to Koenig's side, very tense.
It could be some form of attack disguised as a communications attempt, sir! They may mean to finish what they started!
But...if our destruction is truly their intent...why did they not simply remain in close proximity to the moon and allow the gravimetric forces to complete the destruction?
Maya's words begin to sink in to all personnel. Even Carter looks amazed, as if he had not thought of that possibility.
Maya's right, Alan. They've had ample opportunity to destroy us already. And, even if they had some curious reason for waiting until now to do so...I'm certain their technology would offer up weaponry which wouldn't need to utilize a communications link to do the job.
(thinks a moment)
Still...ready the Eagles for launch...just in case.
Carter nods sharply and quickly EXITS. Helena steps close to Koenig, deep concern etched into her timeless beautiful features.
You're absolutely certain this "signal" isn't some means to our abrupt end, John?
I don't know, Helena. It could be something much worse.
You're suggesting...it could be some means by which to gain control of our minds?
We don't know what it is or what it may do.
(notices Sandra's rapid-fire movement at her console)
But I have a feeling we're about to find out...
Sandra looks up at Koenig, her face excited and puzzled simultaneously.
Her voice trailed off, awed. Everyone looks toward the viewscreen, tense and expectant. Helena grips Koenig's arm almost unconsciously. Maya looks intrigued.
The area before the viewscreen is suddenly blocked by S'Kar'D'Vee appearing in holographic form in the Command Center. He looks feline-like, like a ferocious lion, with a devilish expression. He looks about at those in the Command Center, which suggests he can see them.
Everyone now looks impressed, surprised, and slightly fearful. Koenig tries to remain in control.
I am S'Kar'D'Vee. What you now see before you is what, in your science, would be termed a "holographic projection". Of course, as our technology is much more advanced than your own, such a primitive term does not do justice to the scientific sophistication of this process.
(walks toward Koenig, standing nose-to-nose with him)
You would be the one called "Commander John Koenig", correct?
Yes...I am the Commander of this Moonbase, S'Kar'D'Vee. And I am very interested in learning why you did not use this particular mode of communication earlier?
S'Kar'D'Vee eyes Koenig for a very tense beat, then turns and paces back to the front of the Command Center before turning back to Koenig.
(after turning back to Koenig)
I do not expect any of you to understand, Commander. But I felt such a "revelation" too early in our contact might prove detrimental to our negotiations.
Everyone REACTS to this suspicious statement. Verdeschi struggles to keep from jumping this intruder, while Koenig and Helena exchange glances.
Negotiations? Just what is it you're here to "negotiate"?
S'Kar'D'Vee seems to smirk while slowly walking up to Maya and circling the apprehensive shape-shifter as if sizing her up.
(while circling Maya)
I am here to negotiate not for a "what", Commander Koenig...but for a "who".
He stops and looks toward Koenig with a "don't mess with me" expression that almost seems to include an animalistic snarl.
I am here to negotiate...for Maya!
Maya REACTS with startled horror. It is a REACTION that is shared by all.
S'Kar'D'Vee smirks, his cards having been played. The stage has now been set for deadly negotiations.
Koenig scowls tensely as we CLOSE on him and:
(END OF ACT TWO)