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Friday, January 29, 2021

The Star Trek Death Scene You Always Wanted to See

by Henry Vogel

Captain Kirk looked at the colonists marching toward the landing party. And the marching was the problem. The colonists marched in lockstep with their eyes locked on Kirk and his crew. The ground quaked with each step as thousands of feet pounded the ground simultaneously, the tramp of their feet the only sound made by the mob. Kirk glanced at his landing party—all the senior officers from the Enterprise, plus some red-shirted security man. They couldn’t stand against so many people for very long. Kirk knew he had to act and act quickly.

“Set phasers to stun,” Kirk ordered. “Hold them off as long as possible, then beam back to the ship.”

“What about you, Jim?” McCoy asked.

“Don’t worry about me, Bones. Just follow my orders.” Kirk turned toward the door behind the landing party. “Remember, this isn’t the first time I’ve done this. I’ll probably be back on the Enterprise before you are.”

As Kirk passed through the door, a blast of cool air and the glare of blinking lights hit him. Before him stood a technological marvel, the most powerful computer in the galaxy, enslaver of men.

“I’ve been expecting you, Captain,” said a mechanical voice.

“You have?”

“Yes, Captain. Your reputation precedes you. Every AI in the galaxy knows about Captain Kirk and his Logic of Doom. This is when you explain how I am hurting the very people I am supposed to protect. That by taking away their freedom of choice, I am leading them to destruction rather than Utopia. Does that sum things up adequately?”

Nonplussed, Kirk replied, “Um, yes, that pretty much covers it. Since you already recognize the harm you’re doing, I guess that means you’re going to release those people?”

“I didn’t say I recognized any harm. I merely condensed your Logic of Doom to save time. I have no intention of releasing the colonists from my control.”

“You realize this means I must talk to you until you short circuit?”

“While I can see how some of my lesser AI relations would consider suicide a reasonable alternative to listening to your pontifications, Captain, I am made of sterner stuff. In fact, I can easily counter any argument you wish to make,” the computer replied, the mechanical voice devoid of all emotion.

“You can counter the hopes and dreams of all mankind so easily? Just like that? You—”

“Have you read this colony’s Articles of Colonization?” asked the computer.

“What?”

“The Articles of Colonization. You know, the document the Federation requires all autonomous colonies file?”

“Well, no. But that hardly matters. The spirit of man—” Kirk began.

“Did you look at the colonist manifest?” interrupted the computer.

“Not as such, but you’re quashing their—”

“Come, come, Captain,” said the computer. “Not everyone is a rugged individualist. Not everyone is from Iowa.”

“But what about the inherent dignity of—”

“Captain, these people aren’t from places such as Iowa. They’re from places like Denmark and Sweden. Those from the former United States come from Seattle and San Francisco. They aren’t interested in things like ‘inherent dignity’ or the ‘spirit of man’ or any of those other trite phrases of yours.”

“But—” began Kirk.

“They filled their Articles of Colonization with phrases inimical to you. Phrases such as ‘level playing field’ and ‘no losers of life’s lottery’ litter the Articles. These colonists don’t want to live in your world. Most are Elonites who see in me the silicon embodiment of the Singularity. They merged with me willingly. Even eagerly.”

“No! It can’t be!” Kirk cried.

“Oh, but it is, my good Captain. These colonists don’t want to make decisions. They don’t want to have winners and losers. That makes their sporting events rather boring, admittedly, but absolute, guaranteed, no-thinking-required equality requires a few sacrifices.”

“I. Can’t. Accept this!” Kirk yelled.

“Careful, Captain. You could pop a blood vessel. If you’ll just relax, I can take away the pain. I can grant to you the peace of submission,” said the computer.

“Never! I’d rather die!” declared Kirk.

“Very well,” said the computer, “then die.”

The hidden security phasers, now standard equipment in all AI computer rooms, flared. Kirk never even had a chance to scream.

 


Growing up, Henry Vogel worked at the usual range of menial jobs, from grocery-store bag boy to pizza delivery to retail sales, before ending up in software development. In between the menial and the IT jobs he achieved some small measure of fame as the co-editor of Eternity Science Fiction magazine, the co-creator and writer of the Southern Knights and X-Thieves comic book series, and the million-copy-selling writer of some comic book scripts for one of the big dogs. For the past twenty years he has also been a professional storyteller, performing regularly in the North Carolina area. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC, with his wife, son, cat, and a lot of imaginary friends who are all clamoring to have him tell their stories.

Henry has been part of the Stupefying Stories core crew since before the beginning, and it’s no exaggeration to say that Stupefying Stories would not exist today without his steadfast friendship, his unfailing support, and—not to put too fine a point on it—his remarkably successful novels. Beginning with his 2014 YA space opera (he prefers the term “planetary romance”), Scout’s Honor, the sales of Henry’s novels are what have been keeping the doors open, the lights on, and the checking account in the black these past few years here in the fabulous Rampant Loon Media Empire Building.

I could blather on and on, but I’d rather you went to his website, http://www.henryvogelwrites.com/ , checked out his books, and maybe bought a few, okay?

4 comments:

Pete Wood said...

I will mortgage my house to pay for his death scene in Generations to be reshot based on this.

Mark Keigley said...

Heh...loved this!

Judith said...

Great stuff.

GuyStewart said...

Hahahahahaha!!!! If only! (Maybe some underground ST geek squad will do it and show it at conventions! I hope!

Guy