“Rihannsu Warbird decloaking at 118 mark 12,” the excited voice of Lieutenant Jenkins called out from the Science Station. “They’re powering up their disrupters!”
“That makes six,” Mark Adams at Navigation took note, “We’re surrounded!”
Demora Sulu, manning the helm of the Enterprise, took a brief second to glance up from the tactical display in front of her and shot a look of incredulity at the officer sitting to her right. In the days her father had sat in the same position she now held, most of that time had been spent with her “Uncle” Pavel at his side. She had the misfortune to be saddled with this idiot.
“Like we weren’t pretty much surrounded when the third Warbird had come out of hiding,” she thought scornfully, “or the two Birds of Prey before that.”
“Chief Engineer reports damage to the main energizer,” said Pierce at Communications, “another hit like the last one and we’re going to lose the warp core containment fields.”
“Then we either jettison the warp core or we go up like a nova,” Anthony Yeager completed Pierce’s thought from the Captain’s chair. “Not much of a choice,” he added, seeing that they weren’t going to last sixty seconds against that force out there without warp power. Even with it, the odds of them lasting much longer than that were growing greater by the moment.
The Enterprise had been patrolling the edge of the treaty zone and responded to a distress call from within. Too late they discovered that it was an ambush.
“The Romulans are making another run,” Adams reported using the old human term for their adversaries, a strong sense of fear in his voice.
“Sulu...” Yeager called out, a supplication mixed with prayer.
The second-generation helmsman’s face held a serious grin as her hands danced across her controls with an artistic flair. The awesome power of the dying starship replied to her command, sending triple spreads of photon torpedoes across the darkness, interlaced with deadly streams of phasers.
The structure of the ship groaned in protest as it spun into a series of near impossible maneuvers in response to her bidding. With all the speed the engine room could deliver, the Enterprise pressed forward into the empty gap that her weapons had just blasted open. If the luck of her heritage held, they might still have a chance.
But there are times when even luck isn’t enough as the closest Warbird and Bird of Prey exploded into fiery hulks, only to have two other Warbirds avenge their deaths as multiple salvo’s ripped through the Enterprise’s shields.
With the bridge exploding around her, Demora held her position, trying to coax just one more shot out of the phasers, hoping to will one last photon out of the torpedo tubes. A final effort that proved futile as screens and consoles went dark all over the bridge as the Enterprise died.
“Well, that wasn’t much fun,” Mark Adams said, as he broke the loud silence that had descended on the dimly lit bridge.
Demora desperately wanted to hit her classmate, preferably with something heavy enough to pierce his thick skull. Her fantasy was interrupted, however, as the even larger fantasy around her ended. The lights of the fictitious starship grew to their normal intensity and a section of the wall gave way, allowing the senior officer who was observing the exercise to step onto the bridge.
As uncomfortable as losing the battle had been, Demora had the impression that the debriefing and critique that followed was going to be more so. It was going to be a very long afternoon.
“You could’ve at least warned me,” Demora said to the tall Lieutenant walking along the shoreline with her. “Then I might’ve been better prepared.”
“It is not a test of preparedness, rather one of character,” her companion, a tall dark haired woman dressed in a Lieutenant’s uniform, replied. “As such, one must enter it without any advance knowledge of the scenario.”
“Well at least tell me one thing,” the newly commissioned Ensign asked, “did you do any better?”
Saavik paused for a moment, her thoughts drifting from their walk alongside San Francisco Bay back to her own encounter with the Kobayashi Maru. Even now, she still remembered making all the right logical decisions, yet still failing to rescue the trapped fuel carrier or to save her ship.
Standing amid the wreckage of her test command, she had protested to then Admiral Kirk that it had been an unfair test. After all, she had reasoned, there had been no way to win. He had responded that a no-win scenario was a possibility that every Commander might face and asked if that had ever occurred to her?
When, in her youthful arrogance, she had said that it certainly had not. The veteran Starship Commander had simply smiled that famous grin of his and said that now she had something new to think about. And think about it she had, about that and so many other things in her life.
As a young child, she had spent the first third of her life on Thieurrull, a failed Rihannsu colony. The daughter of unknown parents, Vulcan and Rihannsu, she had been abandoned along with the rest of the half-breed children to survive on their own or die.
Salvation had come in the form of a team of Vulcans sent to explore the world they knew as T’Vorus. The leader of that expedition, a Starfleet officer named Spock, saw something worth saving in the street urchin who introduced herself with an armed attack on his person.
She had spent the second third of her life as the adopted daughter of Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan and T’Sai Amanda, Commander Spock’s natural parents. Devoting herself to the discipline of d’Vel’nahr, Vulcan by choice, she became as the saying went, more Vulcan than Vulcans. Following the example of her savior now turned mentor, she had followed the path that led to Starfleet Academy.
In the most recent third of her life, the daughter of two worlds had finally come to terms with her dual heritage. No longer ashamed of the circumstances of her birth, she celebrated what was the best of each.
“Earth to Saavik,” Demora laughed as she waived her hand to get her friend’s attention, “come in Saavik.”
Snapping out of the brief journey through her memories, Saavik recalled the question that prompted that trip.
“No, I didn’t do any better,” she said. the faintest of smiles forming at the corner of her mouth.
“Well, if no one ever wins,” Demora replied, her own smile much more evident. “I don’t feel as bad.”
Saavik was about to correct her error, then thought better of it. Knowing that one Cadet had actually beaten the no-win scenario would immediately send her back to the simulators to try and duplicate his performance. Instead she moved the conversation in a more pleasant direction.
“Now that you have taken the Kobayashi Maru scenario, you are officially done with the Academy, are you not?” she said.
“That’s right,” Demora exclaimed, her broad grin growing even brighter as she realized what that might mean for the two of them.
After an extended absence from Starfleet, Saavik had returned to the Academy as an instructor earlier in the year. A former shipmate of her Father’s, Saavik had made it a point to meet Demora and offer her best wishes. They found themselves spending more and more time together and soon became friends. To at least one of them, it was a friendship that was more than just friendship.
Still, technically, Saavik was one of Demora’s teachers and Demora felt that as long as that continued, there had to be some limits to their relationship. Now that Demora’s commission was official, those barriers no longer existed. A fact that had been forgotten by the young Asian woman in all of her concern over the final training simulation.
“We have to celebrate,” the shorter woman continued.
“I had assumed that you would be attending the Cadet Party tonight to celebrate with your classmates,” Saavik replied. “You have much to be proud of.”
“I’d rather celebrate with you,” Demora replied.
“I think you would be better served if you went to the party,” Saavik said. “It would not be proper to ignore your classmates.”
When Demora considered the idea for a few moments, she realized that Saavik was right. Years from now, when she encountered her friends, she didn’t want to be remembered as the one who was too stuck up to show up for the traditional graduation bash.
It had been a long path to the Academy for Demora as well. Like Saavik, her own childhood was far from ordinary. The daughter of Susan Ling, she didn’t learn until the death of her mother that she was also the daughter of Hikaru Sulu, a rising star in Starfleet. The appearance of a seven-year-old child came as a surprise to the helmsman of the Enterprise as well, seeing as he had only known Susan for a brief time years before.
Still Demora, named after the city where Hikaru and Susan had been lovers, was loved no less by her father than she had been by her mother. Turning down his chance to be First Officer of the Bozeman, he had instead requested an Earth bound assignment for a few years in order to be a proper parent to his child.
A task of love in which he was assisted by Pavel Chekov, a friend who became Demora’s godfather in fact if not in name, and Janice Rand, another old friend who provided a woman’s influence when needed. By the time the elder Sulu did return to space, this time as the Captain of the Excelsior, his daughter had grown into a young woman and begun her own path to the stars.
.... There is more of this story ...