|Home||Story Index||Stories by
|ScoTpress History||Zine Archive|
One night, San Francisco,
The city was sleeping.
A man walked through shadows to gaze at the stars.
He stood at the harbour,
Intent on the heavens,
While moonlight streamed round him, like glass prison bars.
He sought brief distraction
From Starfleet bureaucracy,
From timetabled meetings and Earth-bound routine.
His feet firmly planted
On harbour side paving stone,
His heart reaching star-ward where few men had been.
A boy saw him standing
Alone in the moonlight,
Alone with the yearning which shadowed his face.
He watched him in silence,
Intrigued by his presence,
Intrigued by this stranger who stared into space.
"Why stand here so often,
With moonlight for company?
I can sense your frustration, your longing and pain."
The stranger turned slowly,
His hazel eyes misted,
Then, voice filled with passion, began to explain.
I Captained a Starship,
I captained a vision,
I captained a glorious, curious team.
We sailed out together
In joyful diversity,
United in purpose, inspired by a dream.
My silver hulled Starship,
My beautiful lady;
A sleek combination of science and art,
Was not just a structure
Of cold lifeless metal,
But a star-faring mistress who captured my heart.
My Starship depended
On skilled engineering,
On coaxing and swearing and fierce Scottish pride.
On a helmsman's sure instinct,
A Russian's commitment,
And a lady, named Freedom, who sang at their side.
There were soft Bantu star songs
And wild Irish ballads.
And evenings with surgeons and Romulan ale.
And closely fought chess games.
A mission to challenge - a Starship to sail.
There were two on that Starship;
A Vulcan and Doctor,
Whose unwritten rule was to never agree.
A conflict of logic,
And human emotion,
Disguising affection they tried not to see.
Those two stood beside me
Throughout our long mission.
One calm, cool, collected; the other outspoken.
Our friendship was tested
Through countless shared dangers.
The bonds forged between us can never be broken.
We faced difficult choices,
With no-win solutions.
To go by the book - to concede or defy.
To arm peaceful natives,
Or see their destruction.
To alter the future... or watch someone die.
We encountered computers,
Found Romulan values as dear as our own.
Met Klingons with honour,
And tribbles with breeding,
Crusaders of vision and mothers of stone.
There were lonely survivors
Of past destroyed empires.
Children, bewildered and centuries old.
On fear and destruction,
Doomsday creations and wolves in the fold.
As we saw different cultures,
The truth became clearer;
The same basic conflicts put people at odds.
And parents defended
The rights of their children,
Whether Klingons or Hortas or Vulcans or gods.
For five years we travelled,
Exploring the galaxy
Seeking new life-forms, expanding frontiers.
The crew I commanded
Were closer than family.
We shared joy and triumph, enchantment and tears.
Now our mission is over,
Its purpose accomplished.
My crewmen are scattered - the best have resigned.
I accepted promotion,
I should be contented,
But I can't tear that Starship and crew from my mind.
My friends tried to warn me.
They knew what would happen.
Concern for my welfare destroyed their careers.
I abandoned my Starship
My first, my best destiny.
Gave in to persuasion - regretted for years.
They spoke of commitment,
Devotion to duty,
The debt that I owed them - a chance to repay.
I became a guest speaker,
A walking recruitment,
A still-living legend on Starfleet display.
When life gets too ordered,
And paperwork drowns me,
I escape to the harbour - the stars understand
That I gave up the freedom
To reach for my vision,
My friends and the ship I was born to command.
One day I'll return
To my star-clustered reaches,
Where galaxies beckon, and free spirits roam;
For somewhere out there,
At the rim of the starlight,
A Starship is sailing, and calling me home.
The stranger grew silent,
His story completed.
The boy left him standing alone with his stars.
Alone at the harbour,
Alone with his memories,
While moonlight streamed round him like glass prison bars.