- Editor’s Note: This story is truly unique. While I wrote the framework, the individual “ghost stories” have been contributed by many different authors, all of whom were named on the Main Page. Individual story credits are listed at the end of the page - “Spooky Stories” TEASER Lieutenant Commander Heather Seiyan grinned and formed a fist. “Yes!” Captain Jean-Luc Picard watched with grim satisfaction as the third and last Jem’Hadar fighter erupted into flames, debris hurtling through space. On the viewscreen, the Segur banked to port and cruised past her sister ship, the Enterprise. In the three weeks since the raid on Torros Three, any single person’s optimistic look at the war had gone straight to hell. Day after day, the Enterprise had been on the front lines, destroying enemy ships, rescuing crews off damaged ships and trying to hold the lines. And it showed. The science station was being held together by little more than spit and gum. Twenty-five Enterprise officers and crew had been killed, and another sixty transferred to starships that badly needed experienced crews. Picard looked around the bridge. Aschenbach and Okun were the only familiar supernumery faces - the others where new to him. Ensign James, Ensign Wyl, Ensign Kilmer, Ensign Kramer, Ensign Carr... Ensign Carr, working one of the backup posts, had been thrust into combat from service on the science ship Bailey. So far, he had kept his wits, but Picard knew that Carr had been one of many crewmembers to enlist Troi’s services. Ensign Darryl Mann, the ship’s helmsman, swiveled in his chair to look at his commanding officer. “Captain?” Picard stood. He had been on the bridge for seventeen straight hours. He grimaced as a sudden pain burst through his left arm, which had been broken at Torros Three. Although Dr. Crusher had knited the bone, day after day of constant warfare hadn’t allowed his arm to heal properly. “Return to patrol course,” Picard said. “Warp three. Mr. Data, you have the bridge.” “Aye, sir,” the android said, swiveling in his ops chair and standing, walking to the command chair as Picard walked to the turbolift and ordered it to his quarters. Emerging on deck six, Picard was disheartened by the destruction he saw. Bulkhead panels had been removed after they had been destroyed to such an extent that they would be of no use to anyone. The carpeting was burned in places, and many overhead lighting panels did not shine. “Captain!” Picard turned to see Geordi LaForge hurrying down the corridor towards him. The chief engineer had shed his heavy jacket, and his undershirt was ripped and stained with grease and dirt. “Geordi?” Picard replied, exhausted. “Sir, we need dry dock time,” the black officer said, a note of anger in his voice. “This ship is falling apart!” “Report, Geordi,” Picard said. Geordi sighed. “We should have shields back up to eighty-nine percent by oh-six hundred hours.” “That’s not good enough.” “It’s going to have to be,” Geordi said, asserting himself. “Captain... we can’t recharge phaser capacitors, we’re down to eighty quantum torpedoes... I’m a miracle worker, Captain, but I can’t produce new weapons from thin air. I can’t even get all the lights aboard to work,” he muttered, indicating the darkened panels above. “Geordi,” Picard said. “I understand your complaints. I’ll talk to Admiral Mitchell tomorrow.” Geordi nodded. “How long have you been awake?” Picard asked. Geordi shrugged. “What day is this?” “Thursday.” Geordi pretended to do some mental calculations. “Oh...two weeks. Give or take an hour or so.” “What about Mr. Barclay?” “He got a solid six hours last night,” Geordi replied. “You’re getting a solid eight hours tonight,” Picard ordered. “At least.” “Yes, sir,” Geordi said with a tone of resignation, turning and walking away. Picard resumed walking to his quarters. “Captain!” a voice called. Picard turned to see ship’s counselor Deanna Troi racing towards him. “Yes, Counselor?” Picard asked. With the War with the Dominion raging, her services were called for more than ever. “Sir, we need shore leave.” Picard rolled his eyes. Why did she have such a knack for stating the bloody obvious? “Where? Gallyes Two, perhaps?” Troi’s eyes narrowed at the captain’s mention of the Federation colony that had been destroyed by the Dominion one week after the Torros Three attack. The Jem’Hadar had bombarded the colony from orbit, killing three million civilians. “I’m sorry,” Picard said. “I’ve been...” “Short tempered, I know. Maybe you should think about coming to see me,” Troi said, turning and walking away. Picard sighed and continued on his way. He almost banged his head into the bulkhead when he saw his first officer, Commander William T. Riker, waiting outside his quarters. Riker held up a data padd. “Crew evaluations,” Riker said. Picard sighed. “Tomorrow.” “Sir...Captain McClellan insists that she needs this data as soon as possible.” Picard looked at his first officer. “Number One - tomorrow.” He entered his quarters and sighed deeply as he saw the sleek form of the Segur through the viewports in his cabin. Picard collapsed onto his bed and was asleep instantly.
==== Scene 1 Twenty-four hours later, the Enterprise cruised through her assigned patrol route at warp three, followed closely by the Segur. The bridge was nearly empty, Picard reflected. It had been a slow day, in a relative sort of way. They had caught a Jem’Hadar fighter harassing a freighter but it had managed to escape. They had responded to a distress call, but it had turned out to be a false call from an over anxious civilian captain. Riker was at his right, working on a report for Starfleet Command. To his left, Deanna and Dr. Beverly Crusher were going over a Ship’s Fitness report. At the Ops station, Data was programming in three hundred new evasive maneuver patterns. At Conn, Ensign Mann was running a simulation with Seiyan, who was at Tactical. Geordi and Barclay were trying to rewire the Science station, which had short- circuited (again!) a few hours earlier. “Sir,” Data said, turning in his chair. “Have you heard of an old Earth custom called Halloween?” Picard looked up, blinking. He had once had his uniform called a “Halloween costume” by a holodeck character, and had looked up the reference immediately following the adventure. It had started out as a way to ward off evil spirits - or to celebrate the lives of the dead, depending on who you listened too - but had evolved into a celebration where young kids dressed up and collected candy. “Yes, Data...why?” “Sir, this is the week of October 31st on Earth.” “And...?” Picard said. “I think Data wants us to swap Halloween stories,” Beverly said, an impish grin on her face as she leaned forward, slightly. “Yes!” Data smiled. “Halloween...stories?” Mann asked, a confused look on his face. “Ghost stories,” Data filled in. “Data,” Riker said sadly. “Some of us have seen enough ghosts to last a dozen lifetimes.” “You have no idea,” Beverly smiled. “I take it you have a ghost story, Beverly?” Picard asked. The doctor nodded. “I went to Starfleet Medical with Mairsa Witten, who became the CMO of the Starship Colchis...” ==== Scene Two Doctor Marisa Witten was sitting at her desk in the Sickbay of the USS Colchis, trying to finish her medical analysis of the ship’s air contents. It was an important job, as it was always necessary to detect any stray viruses that might have gotten through the ship’s air filtration systems. Important, maybe...but hardly interesting. The Colchis was a ship with 15 decks, and Doctor Witten had to analyze each section of each deck individually. Now it was almost 0300 hours, and she had only reached Deck 7. Not only that, but the computer had been very picky all night, ignoring her commands and putting meaningless images on the screen instead of what she wanted to see. She sighed and put her head in her hands. “Next time I volunteer for Nighttime analysis duty, kill me, please,” she said to no one in particular. She rubbed her eyes and looked back at her console. Was it just her imagination? Or was the computer looking back at her? She rubbed her eyes and looked again, and all she saw was her own reflection. “God, I must be going crazy,” she muttered, standing up and moving to the replicator. “Coffee. Black.” she mumbled. The small cup of coffee appeared in the replicator. Doctor Witten picked it up, hands shaking for lack of sleep, took a sip and moved back to her desk. “Computer, display molecular analysis of deck seven, section 3.” The computer screen went blank and then brought up the image of one of the crew quarters. Doctor Witten rolled her eyes. “Computer, this is NOT the image I asked for!” she shrieked, the combination of sleep deprivation and the computer’s unwillingness to participate finally pushing her too far, “what IS this?” “Image being displayed is molecular analysis of deck seven, section 3." The computer responded in its typically inflectionless tone. Doctor Witten kicked the back of her desk. “Does this look like a molecular display to you? This is obviously one of the crew quarters!” She cried, falling back into her chair. She closed her eyes, hoping that maybe if she went to sleep the problem would just solve itself by morning. Doctor Witten’s dreams were full of strange images...shapeless forms and screaming masses. They were clawing at her...the forms grabbed her arms and tried to pull her down. She started to run, and she fell face down in the dirt. She looked from where she was, and saw a man looking down at her. She had never seen him before, and yet he seemed strangely familiar. He stared at her with cold eyes and spoke one word, “Marisa.......” She woke up with a start and rubbed her eyes. “Computer, time,” she said wearily, holding her forehead in anticipation of an extreme headache. “The time is 0338 hours,” was the response. Doctor Witten rubbed her temples. “Well, I had 30 minutes of sleep. Should be enough to get me through the night.” She looked at her computer console which still held the image of the strange room. She sighed. “Computer,” she began, trying to control the annoyance in her voice, “display molecular analysis for deck...” but she stopped short in her request as she noticed a change in the image. The door to the room slid open and a woman in Starfleet uniform walked in, one of the old uniforms from almost 100 years ago. She looked quizzically at the screen. “Computer, what image is being displayed on my console?” she asked, scowling at the image. “The image being displayed is the molecular analysis for...” “Forget it,” she interrupted, “I get the picture,” she shook her head and stared at the console, “there is definitely something strange going on here.” Doctor Witten thought about the situation. She knew in the back of her mind that she should call someone; the engineering team, security, one of the nurses...anyone, but somehow she couldn’t bring herself to touch her combadge. She continued to watch the image, completely transfixed by what she saw. It was so strange...what was this strange woman doing on her console? Why couldn’t the computer recognize it? And why the hell couldn’t she tear herself away from it? The woman on the screen sat down in her thigh-length red uniform and took down her ridiculously high beehive hairdo. As she sat down to relax, the door opened again, and a man entered. He embraced her and started to lead her into the bedroom, but as she turned to walk in he placed his hands on each side of her head. The woman opened her mouth in a scream but she seemed unable to speak. Within a moment she fell to the floor limp. The man looked down at her, then turned his face upwards as if looking up at Doctor Witten herself. He smiled, a cruel, evil smile full of mocking and scorn. Then he took a phaser out of his back pocket and put it to his temple. He said something, one word, inaudible, but she was quite certain of what it was. ”...Marisa...” He then pulled the trigger, making a flash of light as he fell to the ground. Then the console went blank. Doctor Witten broke free of her trance and shook her head quickly. She rubbed her eyes and looked at the console, which was now displaying what appeared to be the molecular analysis of deck 7 section 3. Doctor Witten breathed a sigh of relief. “A sleep-deprived delusion,” she muttered, cradling her face in her hand, “maybe the molecular analysis can wait...I need sleep.” Doctor Witten packed up her tools and placed them in her bag. “Computer, lights,” she said as she walked out, and the room darkened behind her. She walked into the Turbolift and the doors closed. She closed her eyes and leaned against the side. “Deck 9, please” she said, wearily. As the turbolift started to move, she opened her eyes again. Her mouth dropped open as she looked at the other side of the wall. The reflection was not her own...it looked similar to the girl in the scene that had played out on her console. She paused, looking at the girl on the other side of the lift. She started walking, slowly and hesitantly, to the other side. The reflection just looked with pitifully staring eyes as Doctor Witten reached out to touch her. As her fingers inched slowly closer to the image opposite her, the turbolift doors opened and the image vanished. Doctor Witten closed her eyes tightly. “Just a few more steps and I’ll be safely in my quarters...” she thought, trying to reassure herself, “all I have to do is keep walking and I’ll get there. Don’t look at the walls...just look at the ground...not that it matters...it’s just a sleep deprivation induced hallucination...I’ll be just fine in the morning...just keep walking...” These thoughts were meant to reassure her, but in fact they were just making her even more nervous, and she began to walk faster and faster with every thought she had. By the time she got to her own door, she was practically running. She pounded the panel trying to open the door, and missed it each time. She looked frantically behind her, not even completely sure what she was looking for. “Open...please open...” she cried to the door, flailing wildly at the button that would open it. Finally she hit it, and ran into the room and closed the door behind her. She leaned against the door and slid slowly to the floor, sobbing into her arms. Eventually she calmed down and stood back up and made her way to the bedroom. She ordered a glass of warm milk from her replicator, then laid down quietly in her bed, making sure not to disturb her husband who was sound asleep. She lay down and fell into a sound, dream-free sleep. ==== Scene Three One week later, the entire senior crew was assembled in Holodeck 1. Captain Michele Milcenie stood up and addressed the crew. “We are here to bid a fond farewell to our beloved ship’s surgeon, Doctor Marisa Esperenza Arnez Witten, and her husband, Ensign Jonathan Walter Witten. Doctor Witten was an extremely talented woman who cared about all of us, and indeed, we all cared a great deal about her. She was such a young woman, full of so much life and hope. None of us would ever have guessed that her mind was slowly deteriorating, and the stress brought on by her late night work only made the problem worse. We will all miss Doctor Witten. The crew will never be the same without her. As for her husband, Ensign Witten, he was a man of few words and little action. Doctor Witten was, according to his suicide note, his only friend, the only person that he believed truly understood him, and the only person who knew him for what he really was. It is understandable, then, why he chose to take his own life after her death. We will all miss these two fine members of our crew, some of the most shining examples of Starfleet officers that I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I only hope that, perhaps, if they are watching us right now from wherever they are, that they will understand quite how much they will be missed.” Captain Milcenie wiped a tear from her face as she stepped down to talk to her first officer. “So tragic,” he said, “shooting himself in the head with a phaser like that...killed in an instant. There was nothing the Doctors could do.” “And her, too,” the Captain responded, “she must have had some horrible delusions before her mind finally just gave up. Such a cruel way to die.” The entire crew filed out of the Holodeck to bid their last goodbyes to their friends before their bodies would be shot into space. Only two figures remained behind, vague silhouettes standing side by side, one wearing a red Starfleet dress from 90 years ago, the other in a modern day doctor’s coat. The two looked at each other with a feeling of mutual sympathy, and then slowly filed out behind the others. ==== Scene Four Riker applauded. “I’ve never heard that one before.” “The Colchis was in service for one hundred and thirty-six years, and was destroyed during the recent conflicts with the Klingons,” Data said. “Dr. Witten and her husband died fifteen years ago.” “Data...how much stuff do you store up there?” Mann asked in amazement. Data tapped his Ops console. “I just read the Colchis’s logs from our ship’s library catalog. One hundred and four years before Dr. Witten died, a 23-year old ensign named Marisa Neason was killed by her boyfriend, Lieutenant Joseph Unger.” “I don’t buy it,” Ensign Mann said. “Why not?” Data asked. Mann turned to Crusher. “Doc...how do you know she was hallucinating? Did she write it in her log? Or her diary?” Crusher glared at him. Mann raised his hands in defeat. “Who’s next?” Picard asked, spotting Geordi. “Mr. LaForge?” Geordi looked up and smiled as attention turned to him. “A ghost story, eh?” He asked. “I’m sure you’ve got a story in there somewhere,” Riker grinned. LaForge smiled back. The two had been in the same class at the Academy, although they hadn’t socialized much back then, they became friends when they served on the Hood together. “Yeah, I guess I do. My first training cruise was aboard the Repulse,” Geordi said. “About a month out, we received a ship in distress call from a science ship - the Heimler. We went to investigate, and found her floating dead in space. No life signs, no power. The first officer, John Kvach-” Picard frowned. “As in Admiral Kvach?” “Same guy,” Geordi confirmed. “He led an away team, and he needed two cadets from engineering to come along. He picked me and Sara O’Ryan.” ==== Scene Five Twenty year old Starfleet Cadet Geordi LaForge swung over the slab of metal and landed on the deck. In an instant, his phaser was out. Next to him, Cadet Sara O’Ryan joined him, drawing her weapon as well. The Cadet training ship Repulse had received the Heimler’s distress call thirty-six minutes ago, and both LaForge and O’Ryan had been thrilled to be part of the Away Team led by Commander Kvach. But upon arriving on the derelict, drifting starship, the team had been cut off from each other. Kvach had disappeared first, followed by Lieutenant Krim and Ensign Balis, who vanished at the same time. Doctor Meirich had been next. “Anything?” O’Ryan asked as LaForge scanned the area with his VISOR, reading various heat levels. “No,” the engineering specialist cadet replied. The Heimler had carried a crew of one hundred and twelve, but the Repulse’s sensors had detected no sign of life. Where had the crew gone? O’Ryan tapped her badge. “Cadet O’Ryan to Repulse. Come in, Captain Fichter.” She shook her head. “Still no reply.” “Maybe they’re not there anymore,” LaForge muttered. O’Ryan shot her friend and co-cadet an angry look. “They’re there. Unless what happened to the Heimler happened to them.” “That’s a pleasant thought,” LaForge said. “Geordi...” O’Ryan said, touching him on the shoulder. She pointed. LaForge looked up and frowned. A man wearing a Starfleet uniform about ten years out of date was walking down the corridor. “He’s real.” LaForge said, looking at the thermal patterns through his VISOR. “No, he’s not,” O’Ryan said, looking at her tricorder. “Wow!” Laforge said. The corridor changed, the debris was gone and the bulkheads looked barely a month old. Four officers wearing gold shirts with rank strips slashed across their wrists were walking away from them. One of them turned and called out a warning. “I’m Lieutenant Gold,” one of the men said, turning. “Who are you?” O’Ryan looked at LaForge. “I think he’s talking to us.” “Gold to bridge. Security alert, deck four, section six-nine.” The corridor shifted again. The bulkheads looked different, darker. Some were scarred from combat wounds, and LaForge threw himself out of the way as two Klingon warriors took off down the corridor. The two warriors suddenly went flying backwards as two men dressed in bulky armor fired on them with phasers. “Those uniforms,” O’Ryan said, “that type of armor was used 2293.” “What the hell is going on here?” LaForge asked as the deck changed again. “Cadet LaForge!” Kvach burst around the corner. “There you are!” “Sir,” O’Ryan began. “We’re shifting in time,” Kvach said. LaForge noticed the nasty slice across his arm. “Klingon with a bat’leth,” the commander said. “Kvach to Repulse! Three to beam off!” “Attempting to get a lock, Commander, stand by.” “What about the others?” O’Ryan asked. “They’re already aboard,” Kvach said, stepping off the transporter pad as they materialized in the transporter room aboard the Excelsior-Class Starship. ==== Scene Six “As soon as we rematerialized, the Heimler faded and vanished.” “That really happened?” Troi asked. Geordi nodded. “It really happened. There was a science ship, the Portenoy which did a sensor sweep and study of the area. The Heimler had been caught in some sort of time loop. She’s still there, as far as I know.” Geordi smiled. “Whose next?” “Yes...who goes next?” Picard asked, swiveling in his chair to face Seiyan. “How about you, Lieutenant Commander?” Seiyan nodded. “As a matter of fact, I do have one.”
==== Scene Seven I grew up on Earth, in Skaagsvale, Norway with American parents who were both NCOs in Starfleet. I have two brothers - one older, one younger: Josef and Starn. This story is about Josef. He’s in Starfleet too, the captain of the Valmir Deliaj. About fifteen years ago, during my second year at Starfleet Academy, my brother was on extended Shore Leave on Earth with his girlfriend, Jennifer Taylor, whom he served with on the McGuiness. My grandfather owns an old and stately mansion in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was built in 1750 by Robert Carter, who was perhaps the wealthiest men in Virginia at the time. Carter died before his mansion was completed, but left it to his grandson, Carter Burwell. In his Will, he specified that his mansion go by the name of ‘Carter’s Grove’, which it still does. In 1752, Burwell brought an English artisan named Richard Bayliss, who spent three years working on the woodwork for Carter’s Grove. Over the years, the mansion has had some damage done to it. A British cavalry officer named Colonel Banastre Tarleton rode his horse up the stairwell, hacking the banister with his saber as he went. But in 1622, the site on which Carter’s Grove would be built was home to a colonist settlement named Martin’s Hundred, and every man, woman and child who lived there were massacred by the natives. The house has long been haunted. A hundred years ago, my great-great Grandfather, Admiral Judd Sarkis invited several high ranking officers to a dinner at Carter’s Grove. While they were eating, they heard a harp playing in one of the upper rooms. The only others in the house were two kitchen workers and a trio of security officers - all on the bottom floor. The security men investigated upstairs, but found no one. Calling to the orbiting starship Excalibur, the ship’s sensors confirmed that no one else was in the house. But, that’s another story. Anyway, my brother brought Jennifer to Carter’s Grove, where he wanted to ask her to marry him. Unfortunately, he chose to ask her in the downstairs drawing room, where an 18th century woman named Mary Cary turned down a marriage proposal from George Washington, and where, some time later, Thomas Jefferson was rejected by Rebecca Burwell. The Rejection Room. Strange things happen in this room. If you place white carnations in it, they are ripped apart late at night and scattered around the room. In 1939, Mrs. McCrea, then the owner, agreed that something was happening in the room, and had her butler set the traps. They were never sprung, and the butler said it was “ghosts”. Jennifer Taylor said “no” to my brother. ==== Scene Eight “Very nice,” Troi smiled. “Deanna?” Riker asked. Troi laughed. “Not yet. I want to hear some others. How about you, Will?” Will Riker leaned back in his chair as all eyes turned towards him. “A ghost story, eh? Well, actually...I don’t think I have one.” Geordi leaned back and snorted. “Oh, please.” Will smiled. “Yeah, the ghosts of the Hood.” “The what?” “The Hood is the second Starfleet starship to bear that name. She has a proud tradition that dates back over a hundred years...one night, about two months before we - that is, myself and Mr. LaForge over there - transferred to the Enterprise...” ==== Scene Nine Lieutenant (j.g.) Geordi LaForge sat at the Conn station on the bridge of the Hood. His fingers danced across the control panel, and he noted that the course correction had been accepted by the computer. “I hate these late night shifts,” the duty-commander said. Geordi swiveled in his chair to see the ship’s first officer, Lieutenant Commander William T. Riker working on a data padd. “Oh,” LaForge grinned, “these are the best times,” he indicated the bridge, which was empty except for the two of them. The Hood was en route to Starbase 123 to deliver six new crewmembers and four industrial size replicators. Riker leaned forward. “Maybe, lieutenant, but I rather like it when we’re chasing off Orion pirates or rushing to deliver desperately needed medical supplies.” LaForge shrugged. “Orion ships can’t stand up to the Hood,” he pointed out. “But you remember that guy we chased off last month?” A slow smile came to Riker’s face and he burst out laughing. “Bob! Captain Bob, the Orion pirate!” LaForge laughed. “I thought the captain’s face was going to break in two. Besides, what are you complaining about? I heard you were offered the XO position on the new Enterprise?” Riker nodded. “Well, I have a choice, actually. I’ve been offered command of the Drake.” “That’s good. Are they going to boost you to captain?” Riker shook his head. “Unfortunately, no. The deal goes that after two years of exemplarily performance reviews by my supervising Admiral, I’ll receive a formal promotion to Captain.” “Are you going to take them up on it?” Riker shook his head. “No, I’m fairly certain I want to serve as first officer aboard the Enterprise.” “I’d jump at the chance to serve on that ship,” LaForge smiled. “Your mother, she’s a captain, isn’t she?” “The Hera,” Geordi nodded. “She’s offered me a position aboard the ship every time I see her...but...” “It would be wierd serving under your mother?” “That’s right,” Geordi smiled. Suddenly the smile faded from his mouth and he stood in shock. Riker looked at him, then stood and turned. Two officers were working the science station built into the rear station. They were wearing the redpull over tunic and turtleneck underneath. ==== Scene Ten “Is it just me,” Mann said, interrupting Riker, “or do we have a lot of haunted ships?” “It’s bound to happen,” Picard said, leaning forward. “Centuries ago, on Earth, there were many people who felt that structures - like houses... Carter’s Grove, for instance - could contain the ‘spirits’ of those who had formally occupied them.” “Haunted starships?” Mann questioned. “It could happen,” Riker said. “And it did.” He raised his voice and continued. ==== Scene Eleven Riker recognized one of the men from the holophoto in the Hood’s rec room down below. Captain Elijah Cajd, who had been the starship’s first captain. The other he didn’t know. “Sir...” Geordi said. Riker spoke up. “Captain Cajd?” Cajd turned. “Yes...” the long dead man frowned. “What kind of uniform is that? Who are you?” “Sir,” the other officer said, “that looks like a Starfleet arrowhead on that one’s chest.” Riker recognized the younger looking officer as being a lieutenant, from the rank pins on his right shoulder. “I’m...Will Riker. Do you know what year this is?” He asked. Cajd looked angry. “It’s 2307.” Geordi and Riker exchanged looks. In 2307, the Hood had pursued an Orion pirate who had grown reckless and had attacked. Two of the Hood’s crew had died. “Captain Cajd,” Geordi said. “And Lieutenant...” his eyes met Riker’s. “Boylar.” “Yes?” Boylar asked. “The year is 2364,” Riker explained. “Oh, not again,” Cajd said in anger, slamming his hand against the bulkhead. “Excuse me?” Geordi said, incredulously. “I’m sorry,” Boylar said. “See, this is the fifty-seventh anniversary of our death. Orion pirate and all that. Last year we got two ensigns who fainted.” “I remember that,” Riker said, remembering coming to the bridge and finding two young ensigns who had fainted dead away lying on the deck. “Look,” Cajd said. “What time is it?” Geordi looked at his chronometer. “Zero-zero thirteen.” “Okay,” Boylar said. “We’ll be gone in five minutes. At the exact time we died. Oh, damn, here it comes.” Riker and Geordi looked around in shock. The bridge began to change. The basic bridge module design had been used for the seven bridge refits, but each had varied in different ways. The two separate Ops and Conn stations disappeared, replaced by one console with two different chairs for navigation and helm. And people materialized, manning the stations. “Sir,” the woman at the helm station said, “the Orion ship is coming around, bearing two-six-nine...” “That’s Admiral White...” Geordi whispered to Riker. White had been an instructor at Starfleet Academy. “Ensign White, actually,” Boylar whispered to Riker. Riker turned to talk to Boylar and jumped. Captain Desoto was standing in his place. Riker spun. The bridge looked the way it had before he had seen the two ghosts. “Any problems, Commander Riker? Mr. LaForge?” “No, sir,” LaForge said, sliding back into his lounge chair. ==== Scene Twelve “Wait a second,” Barclay spoke up. “I thought you were stationed at the ship yard where the Enterprise was built.” “I was,” Geordi said. “I got kind of...nervous...about space travel after that incident on the Hood. But when I was assigned to the Enterprise...how could I turn her down?” “Did the two ghosts ever appear again?” Troi asked Riker. “As far as I know, every year since,” the bearded Number One replied. “Ghosts, yeah,” Mann laughed. “I believe in ghosts,” Troi said, leaning forward. “At least, there’s one ghost I believe in. I don’t know about the rest.” “I sense a story,” Crusher smiled.
==== Scene Thirteen For most of my childhood, my best friend was Kenda Wanan. She and I where your typical little girls. We played games of our own invention, formed clubs we were the only members of, swooned over older boys, hated the boys our own age...you understand. Our mothers despaired over us, our fathers humored us, and we were inseparable. I had heard of Halloween from my father, but Mother, in her typical fashion, dismissed it as foolish superstition. So I treasured the idea of a holiday dedicated to all things scary. And naturally, I told Kenda. “We should do something then,” she said excitedly. “Like what?” I asked, but I already had an idea of my own. “Well,” she reflected, “we have to do something scary.” “Of course.” We were ten years old that year. And with the courage of the young who have no idea what they're doing, we set about planning something scary to do. We went through many ideas, plotting and planning furiously. Then we had it. “When it gets dark, we’ll go explore the Marasta house,” Kenda said, glorying in her stroke of genius. The Marasta house had been the summer home of a noble family centuries before. It had passed through many hands over the years, but it was still known by the name of the family who first owned it. We made our plans. I would stay at Kenda’s home and we would walk the short distance to the house. It would even be reasonably close to Halloween. On the appointed night, we snuck away on our grand Halloween adventure. Flashlights in hand, we firmly told ourselves we weren't afraid as we opened the front door. The interior was completely bare. No cloth-draped furniture or mysterious portraits, just faded, chipping paint on the walls and half- rotted carpet on the floor. The ceilings were hidden high in the gloom. There was an intense, breathless quiet that filled the ancient house. Kenda and I stood stock-still in the doorway and waited for one of us to take the first step over the threshold. I did, and the floor groaned so loudly under my slight weight that I had to fight the urge to run back out the door. Kenda joined me and we walked into the mystery before us. We went through an archway and entered a room with a flagstone floor. The outer walls were glass, and though many panes were broken and the rest were grimy, we could still see Betazed’s constellations shining down on us quietly. “A sun room,” Kenda whispered. “It’s twice as big as the one at my house!” I nodded my agreement and as I did, I caught a glimpse of light blue or gray reflected in the glass. But when I turned my head, there was nothing there. “Kenda,” I asked, “did you see something?” She shook her head, and I shrugged. “Oh well.” We kept walking. The next room had a large flight of stairs in the center. I wanted to go up them, but Kenda reminded me that they might not be safe. I continued looking about when Kenda grabbed my arm. “Deanna, did you see that?” “What?” It was blue. Or gray. It was really light. I couldnít tell. I swallowed. “Let’s keeping going.” Somehow we got turned around and realized the second time we passed a certain beautifully carved door that we were going around in circles. We tried going through different doors, down different halls, but we kept ending up in the same places. About the fourth time, I just wanted to curl up in a corner and cry and I know Kenda did too. Finally, after coming out the carved door and finding ourselves faced with the same hall again, we sat in the floor together and gave up. Just then, we heard a voice. “Girls, are you lost?” She was one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. She was tall and slender, with dark red-blond hair pulled into a low ponytail, and strangely bright green eyes. She wore a light blue dress of a style that hadn’t been popular on Betazed in years. She held out her hands. “Come on. I’ll show you the way out.” Her hands were very cold, but she kindly led us to the front door and waved to us as we walked into the night. I turned to wave back, but she was gone. ==== Scene Fourteen “I know what you’re thinking,” Troi said. “Of course she was a ghost. I can’t think of any other explanation. Kenda and I searched high and low, but we never found any record of her. Not did we ever see her again. The closest we’ve gotten to finding an answer is in the diary of the house’s owner about one hundred years ago. It mentioned a daughter of one of the maids disappeared while she was playing in the woods . A week or so, later, he says that the maid died, apparently by her own hand. I like to think that ghost was that maid, trying to keep other lost children from the same fate. Mann made a hurrumphing sound, and received glares from several of the bridge officers. “Well, I think it’s sweet,” Beverly said. Troi smiled back. “What happened to Kendra?” Seiyan asked. “She’s the Betazed representative to the Federation Senate.” Troi said. “So who’s next?” Riker asked, scanning the bridge. His eyes landed on Mann. “Well,” Mann said, kind of nervous. “I don’t really have any.” “Come on,” Seiyan prodded. “You must have something,” Picard joined in. “Well...” Mann said, finally. “My great-great-great etcetera, etcetera Grandfather was a security guard in the capital building of the United States before the death of the president, Joe Kennedy...no, wait...it was a Kennedy, a ‘J’ something...” “John F?” Data supplied, helpfully. “That’s it!” Mann smiled. “Anyway, the day before John Kennedy was killed, he was on guard duty in the basement. He was alone, and he saw the shadow of a cat following him - and then he saw the cat. It was kind of shadowy - black and gray. He thought it was another stray, and was kind of surprised when it started swelling - growing in size. Anyway, it goes from purring to growling. It got to be the size of a tiger, and it kept coming, growling turned to snarls. He was frozen in place...and the cat pounced. He threw his arms up in front of his face to protect him...” Data leaned forward. “And...?” Mann looked at Data, then took a long sip from his cup of coffee. Riker chuckled at the suspense Mann was placing on the android second officer. “The cat disappeared,” Mann finished. “Poof, into thin air. He tells the tale a few days later - after John Kennedy’s death - and finds out he isn’t the only person to see it. It’s the Demon Cat, and it only appears before a national tragedy or the eve of a changing administration. In fact, it was responsible for one old guard’s heart attack.” Data pounced. “But how can they be sure? If the guard died of a heart attack, then who saw the Demon Cat, as you call it?” Mann looked at Data harshly then swiveled in his chair and tapped a sequence across his keyboard. “Sir,” Seiyan interrupted. “Incoming hail from the Segur. Captain Dasz reports that the Dakota has been destroyed and she’s been assigned her patrol course.” “Signal Dasz to take care of herself,” Picard said, watching as the Segur angled away on the viewer and disappeared into warp space. “Captain,” Will said, “I may be mistaken, but I do believe it’s your turn.” Picard nodded his head. “Very well then. When I grew up in Labarre, France...” “Captain,” Data interrupted. “I’m detecting a distress call from the U.S.S. Tawney, under attack by a Cardassian warship...” “So much for a night of Halloween tales,” Picard muttered to no one in particular, raising his voice to issue orders (to be honest, he later admitted to himself, he was rather glad he wouldn’t have to relate that particular tale - at least not until the next Hallow’s Eve). “Go to Red Alert. Load quantum torpedoes, Commander Seiyan. Mr. Mann, set an intercept course. Ahead warp eight.” “Warp eight,” Mann said, his fingers dancing across the board. “Aye, sir.” “Engage,” Picard ordered, bringing his hand down in a sweeping motion. The Enterprise accelerated to warp speed - to do her duty to the Tawney and to the United Federation of Planets.
==== Scene Fifteen The Starship Enterprise had a proud tradition, not only just in name, but in pieces. Every starship named Enterprise had pieces of her predecessors built into her. Plating from the first Enterprise had been melted down and reformed into part of the port nacelle’s pylon. And, as Picard swiveled forward in his chair, giving the order that sent his starship to warp, he was watched. A man stood along the back rim of the bridge, near the turbolift doors. He was a tall man, with dark black hair, and a gold uniform tunic with an unadorned arrowhead on his left breast and three gold slashes across both wrists. If someone were to look at him, they could see the turbolift doors through him. As the turbolift doors opened and discharged supernumery officers, the first Captain of the first Starfleet starship to bear the name U.S.S. Enterprise, Robert April, vanished into the air with a smile. ============ Write to... The Author of Deanna Troi’s “Spooky Story”! Melody Nazworth The Author of Beverly Crusher’s “Spooky Story”! Liz Ellis The Author of just about Everything Else! Jeff Benson Return to the STTNG Fan Season Page Here!