by Emmet O’Brien
Khan Noonien Singh opened the curtains of his modest hovel. It had been a few years since this once tyrannical terrorist had been marooned here due to the actions of a gutsy if foolhardy captain by the name of James Tiberius Kirk.
In that short space of time, Khan had built a nice life for himself. He and his wife Marla had, thanks to the incredible strength and intelligence of the stranded crew, fashioned a nice makeshift settlement with adequate shelter and durable materials. It was not a perfect life, but Khan had the two out of the three most important things to him. He had the love of his wife, a fiefdom to rule with an augmented fist, but the last elusive thing was his revenge on Captain Kirk.
As he grew accustomed to the environs of Ceti Alpha V, thoughts of revenge became less important to him. However, a summer ceti eel problem in the nearby “school” was becoming a concern. While searching the rudimentary viewscreen directory they had set up, he located a “Gene Rodent-Berry Exterminators” hovel and quickly clued them in that this was in fact the “eel” deal and they would be handsomely rewarded. Currency was still being worked out on this brave new world and a barter system was in place. As a ruler, he simply offered them a “get out of wrath” card so that if they displeased him in the future, he would not be able to punish them horribly. Gene and his workers felt this was a fair payment for any services rendered.
One day, Khan was planting a sign in his yard. It was a novelty sign of sorts, the type of silly whims only wealthy dictators indulged in. It read: “My other mansion is on Ceti Alpha VI!!”
Laughing as he entered his house, he informed Marla of the joke.
“Well,” she replied, “the housing market there is supposed to have exploded, according to some whispered rumours around the town crate!”
Khan sat at the dinner stump and mock bellowed, “Who do I have to overthrow for some food here? Must I Singh for my supper?”
He idly looked at the primitive curtain arrangement they had recently put up. “That fixture. It tasks me and continues to task me every time I enter this room. Its colours remind me of darker hues from which my failures stem. Out damn spot, back into the black abyss of interior decoration go you, to stew with your dull brethren.”
Arranging the stump so they could eat, Marla glided around her genetically engineered husband and began mildly inquiring, “Have you finished that book I gave you yet?”
Khan sighed. “No, not yet. Apologies precious virago. I’m just finding it hard to get through. We get it. The man feels wronged. It’s just a cursed whale after all!”
“Well darling husband, I think you’d really get something out of it.”
Yes, yes. I shall finish it this evening.”
A buzzing noise from a nearby monitor disrupted the conversation and Khan hurried over to it.
A being made of pure energy appeared on the screen.
“I am looking for the shore leave planet please, if you primitive lifeforms could provide precise or approximated coordinates.”
“Ah, my photonic friend, precise directions are beyond even my enhanced abilities, but I would suggest you turn left at the Mutara Nebula, then ‘round the moons of Nibia and ‘round the Antares Maelstrom til you reach Perdition’s Flames— …I mean, sorry, Planet Hell. You should be near enough to ask someone from there.”
“Thank you, limited but accommodating mound of flesh. You were much nicer than that V’Ger person I tried to ask.”
“Go, and good tidings to you. And if you are avenging yourself upon anyone on the shore leave planet, I send you my warmest regards. From a content heart I gift thee.”
Marla was eating back at the table. “I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation with that entity and it reminded me of something. A talented augment by the name of Joachim is setting up an amateur dramatics club. I think you should sign up.”
“Ah, I thought I could hide it. But how could I from creation’s angel herself? My monologues have become stale and second rate. I have never acted the bard, or the barbarian, in front of a paying crowd at the Ceti Civic Centre. It would be something to check off my list!”
He gave a little laugh as he said this.
“What’s so funny?”
“I was just reminded of that Russian rapscallion I believe I met when on board that infernal Kirk’s ship. A mister Chekov, wasn’t it?”
“Oh no, I don’t believe he was stationed there at the time you were on board.”
Khan looked confused for a second and then remembered.
“Ah, I must have met him somewhere else then. But I’m not sure where. I mean I was cryogencially frozen, attempted to take the Enterprise then exiled here. I didn’t have much of a social life apart from that. ‘Curiouser and curiouser,’ as was stated in that other book you gave me, that I did not finish…”
Another buzz from the monitor and a newscaster came on the screen. “The gig from Eugene and the Eugenics has been cancelled tonight due to a strange solar calamity in the sky. It seems, according to our leading scientist, Ceti Alpha VI has exploded! Ill effects, if any to our planet, have yet to manifest and our one expert in the field is not concerned.”
“Seems like the housing market isn’t the only thing to explode,” Marla added, providing a touch of gallows humour to alleviate the tension.
Khan was unperturbed. “No, precious desert rose of a spouse, nothing shall be deter me from joy this year. It shall be a golden age. Remember my slogan? Can we do this? Can we live on this rock after Kirk washed his Starfleet hands of us? Yes we CAAAANNNNNNNNN!”
He and Marla embraced lovingly.
“Shame about the concert though,” he said. “And they were opening for one of my favourite acts, the band that tackles those 20th century soft rock songs.”
Marla was not up to date with augment cover bands. “What’s their name again?”
“The Genesis Project.”