Jen Air: Frontier of Forever, Part Two

Part two of a special story I’ve written to celebrate Star Trek’s fiftieth anniversary.

Part One.

Jen Air: Frontier of Forever, Part Two

At age eleven, Tenley Tych encountered the ELF Queen,
Titania.

The girl was changed, and her natural want to avenge her
mother’s murder exploited by the Queen in order to gain access to the Crystal
Eggs that would have enabled her to breed an army capable of conquering the
entire Earth.

The Queen’s plans were thwarted by punk guitarist Kaya Cade,
scientist and tinkerer Jennifer Airhart and, having grown to see Titania for
what she was, Tenley Tych.

Today, she was watching Star Trek.

Peering at the TV screen, the bridge of her nose wrinkled as
she asked, “why do the Klingons have a cloaking device?”

Tenley was being swallowed by the arm chair as Kaya, whose
hair was a bright red and black today, lay across the sofa stuffing popcorn
into her face and shrugging, “I don’t know.
I think originally they traded with the Romulans for it, in exchange for
ships.”

“But they’re supposed to be warriors.  It’s not very honourable, is it?  A sneak attack.”

“In war, nothing is more honourable than victory,” Kay
explained, throwing some corn and watching it bounce off Ten’s head.  “Anyway, why do you care about the Klingon’s
fighting dirty?  I thought this was, I
quote, ‘a bunch of dumb space hippies fly around doing dumb stuff and then a
lot of dumb talking about trying to fix the dumb stuff they screwed up earlier
because they’re dumb.’”

“I was wrong,” Tenley sighed.  “There’s a lot more dumb talking than I
thought there would be.”

“Don’t you have schoolwork to do or something?  Why are you annoying me?  I’m just trying to relax here.”

“Right,” Tenley snorted.  “Obviously you need a break from all the
nothing that you do all the time.”

“Look who’s talking.”

“I’m a kid.”

“Touche,” Kaya conceded.
“But isn’t Jen supposed to be teaching you stuff?”

“She’s outside, fiddling with some giant balls.”

“Oh,” Kaya nodded, unsure whether Tenley knew how that
sounded.  “But she’s missing Data stroke
his cat.  That’s not like her.  We should probably see what she’s up to.  You know, in case she’s making a bomb or
something.”

“Probably,” Ten agreed, peering at the TV set and making no
effort to move.

“Yeah,” Kaya stuffed some more popcorn into her mouth.  “After the next episode we’ll go and take a
look.”

About an hour later they stepped outside into the courtyard
below the lighthouse.  There were indeed
metal balls strewn about among all sorts of other equipment, cables and
boxes.  Jennifer herself was stood up on
top of a van adjusting the volume on the huge headphones covering her ears
while holding up a pole attached to an antenna.

“Jen,” Kaya called up, but the little blonde woman seemed to
not hear.  “Jennifer,” she tried again
more loudly, but with the same result.
So one last time she yelled, “Jen Air!”

Jen looked around, suddenly startled until her eyes happened
upon the two females standing below her.
“Oh, um, g-good,” she awkwardly wrapped her elbow around the pole so she
could glance at her watch.  “Good
morning, still.  Yes.”

“Jen,” Kaya asked her friend as she clambered, “why have you
turned the yard into a scrap heap? Didn’t you agree to do all your science
projects indoors?”

“Exotic particles,” Jennifer said as if that somehow
explained everything.  “H-high energy
pulses.  I started detecting them last
night and thought maybe I was picking up radiation from a black hole on the
other side of the galaxy.  But now it
seems like they might be a lot closer.
Can you please hold this?” She said as an aside to Tenley, handing her
the pole which, although the girl was a little confused, she held aloft like
someone bearing a banner.

“Well, that all sounds a bit worrying.  How close?” Kaya asked.

“A few miles,” Jen answered, adjusting her headphones again.

Definitely a bit worrying.
“But, uh… black holes, right?  I
mean I’m no expert, but from what I’ve seen on TV shows those are… those are
pretty bad…”

“If this is coming from any black holes then I expect they’re
microscopic, evaporating almost the instant after they form.  But something must be creating them, for some
reason… can you turn it a bit?  Thank
you.”

“But we’re in no danger?
We’re not going to be all spaghettified and torn, like people’s brains after
watching a Transformers movie?”

“Your brain will be no more spaghetti than usual,” Jen
assured her as she knelt down to unfold a map across the gravelled ground,
using some stones to hold the corners in place.

“So it won’t interfere anymore in our plans for today,
right?”

“Plans?” Jen squinted up at Kay.  “W-we have plans?”

“Well, sure we do.
Don’t tell you forgot?”

“Err…”

“Today’s a very special day, Jen.  We’ve been talking about it for weeks.  Come on, you must remember!”

“Uhh… is it…” Jen squinted hard, trying to recall.  “The first day of Ragnarok?”

“No, Jen,” Kaya exhaled, folding her arms over her
chest.  “It’s not the first day of
Ragnarok.  I don’t think so, anyway.  I’m sure I’d have marked it in the diary if I
knew that was coming.  No, it’s the
Science Fiction convention in town.
Remember?  You were hoping to get
some of your old books signed.”

Jennifer looked down, sudden turning more pale.  “There’ll… there’ll probably be a lot of
people there…”

“Hundreds at least, I would say.”

“So, I doubt anyone would have time to sign anything for me,
anyway, so…”

Kaya threw her hands up in frustration.  “Awww, c’mon, Jen!  Don’t wuss out now.  And I’ll be there, and Sayuri, and Ten, and
plenty of other people you know.  It’ll
be fine.  Plus, you know a lot of those
guys are going to be dead soon.  You’ll
probably never get another chance to meet them.”

“I guess,” Jen conceded reluctantly.

“So you’re coming?”

“I-I…” before Jen could formulate an answer, a cricket like
chirping came from Kaya’s phone.

“Hang on,” the punk said, turning away and flipping it open.  “Hey, Say!
Yeah… we’ll be on our way soon.
Jen’s just getting some jitters…” she said as she walked away a bit.

Tenley, still holding up the pole and slowly turning it, huffed.  “I don’t see what all the fuss is about.  It’s just a bunch of people who pretend to do
stuff.  Anyone can do that.  I once spent an entire week pretending to be a
princess.”

Jen, adjusting dials on her headphones and other nearby equipment,
smiled slightly.  “Did you have a prince?”

“Yeah,” The girl sighed.
“I had him executed because he kept singing.  It was annoying.”

“Well, anyway… I-I think there’s probably a little more to
acting than just playing pretend.”

The girl tilted, her dark eyes squinting as she asked, “like
what?”

“I-I… well, I don’t know, but,” fortunately Jen didn’t have
to think of anything as she suddenly leant into her headphones.  “Hold it there!” She told the girl.  Checking the direction of the antenna, she
then turned to the map and started nodding her head as she counted, beginning
to trace a line from where they now were.

Meanwhile, Kaya had finished her phone call and wandered
back.  “Now Jen, let’s not have a big
argument about this.  You said you would
come and I’m not gonna let you go back on your word.”

As was often the case, it wasn’t clear if the blonde was
actually listening.  She was staring at
the map, her eyelids peeling back slightly.
“Where is the convention being held?”
She asked quietly.

“That new place,” Kaya said.  “The Kosinski Centre, or something like that…”

“Where the ice rink used to be?”

“Yeah, that’s right.
So anyway, I’m not going to have to drag you there, am I?  Because you know I will…”

“Alright!” Jennifer suddenly sprang to her feet, tearing
away the headphones.  “Let’s go!”

Kaya was a little surprised and startled.  “What, n-now?”

“What other time is there?
And Sayuri’s waiting for us, right?
So we’ll take the van.  Let’s go!”

She rushed off, already opening the van door as Kay shook
her head.  “I don’t understand her
sometimes.”

Tenley shrugged.
“Maybe it’s not important to understand,” she said, dropping the
pole.  “Maybe what’s important is getting
this whole thing over with so I can watch some TV that doesn’t suck.”

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