101
7109
1966
36
880
11.03
1954
03
6.08
241
309
7.08
1935
12.20
53
1961
2.16
102
8102
1987
044
0051
1968
704
10.31
1984
1954
764
1940
9.9
1972
815
4.12
2023
103
714
1993
0222
4.4
1969
2450
91
56
21
716
801
417
602
5618
238
1443
104
6104
1995
3.22
1931
0.0
0000
1701
1984
218
908
10
85
1888
27
2879
213
105
08
2001
713
079
1977
LV
426
105
10
1642
1979
402
795
361
0852
984
106
31
2017
429
65
871
24
541
656
M
113
12.6
27
05
85
12.25
7884
107
5
2022
784
3304
42
733
1224
5801
23
1015
84
36
029
24
318
12.24
108
23
174
91
947
28
527
04
0469
2200
88
1985
540
3121
308
9571
404

Please understand the following disclosures before reading "How Davir and Andrew Met."

"Author's personal log, supplemental.

Starfleet Academy

"Davir Benmata and Andrew G. Hunter are Starfleet officers and long-time friends. This is the story of how they initially met as cadets at Starfleet Academy. One of their instructors approaches them with the need to undertake a seemingly benign errand in the Chulan System for extra credit. However, things go awry when Dav and Hunter arrive planetside, and the young cadets eventually need to be rescued.

"This Benmata Chronicles backstory is a collaborative work that's being written at this time.

"Computer, end log."

Michael Rosado
April 22, 2020

As I said in the introduction to “A True Way Resurgence,” I’ve written these stories non-canonically because I generally prefer the liberty of my own imagination, and I don’t necessarily agree with every aspect that canon dictates. Canonical sources sometimes conflict. Even Ambassador Spock said, “Canon is only important to certain people because they have to cling to their knowledge of minutiae. Open your mind! Be a Star Trek fan and open your mind and say, ‘Where does Star Trek want to take me now?’ “ – L. Nimoy (Reuters, May 2009). I heartily endorse the sentiment. Here are some of the more significant ways this story departs from Star Trek canon.

Correlating Star Trek's stardates is messy business. There’s no one canonical timeline for everything Star Trek. Many such calendars exist, and people disagree on their underlying assumptions, but I’ve decided to use TrekGuide.com’s TNG/DS9/VOY stardate calendar.

The first time Ferengi are canonically identified as a species is in TNG: "The Last Outpost," which took place in the mid-2360s. This backstory takes place in 2347, but it refers to them as Ferengi anyway for continuity even though that species was canonically unidentified at that time.

Michael Rosado
April 11, 2024

CHAPTER 1: EXTRA CREDIT

It was a bright, crisp, wintry day. San Francisco Bay was dotted with sailing ships as recreational boaters plied the sheltered harbor’s choppy waters, their tall masts and colorful triangular sails a throwback to a more bygone era.

Starfleet Academy, Starfleet Command’s primary military campus, occupied a large part of the southern peninsula that formed the harbor’s mouth. It was a huge school, with smaller academies emphasizing many fields of study from anthropology to xenobiology. Every military branch in Starfleet Command was represented somehow as well, and the complex annually churned out large classes of cadets in every qualification. Some joined Starfleet Command immediately upon graduating, hoping to be assigned to a ship of their choice so they could begin a career in galactic exploration and discovery. Others entered civilian service, equally qualified and just as eager about their chosen craft or practice.

Starfleet’s Engineering School was on the lee side of the campus, facing the harbor’s interior. Several buildings strong, the main one bordered the shoreline. It had three tiers of classrooms, offices and a transporter in its basement, and two shuttle pads on its roof. Labs and additional offices were in smaller buildings next to it. There were enough classrooms to admit almost a thousand pupils, and a fair amount of remote instruction happened besides.

Cadet Davir Benmata stared out the second story window of his quantum physics class, listening idly as the teacher droned on endlessly about how Heisenberg compensators worked. While he certainly appreciated the fact of transporter technology, Davir was befuddled by its details, and he heartily wished he were elsewhere.

A small cutter slid by quickly just offshore, heading towards a nearby marina.

I wish Uncle Eli were here to take me sailing again, he thought.

That brought back memories of summer days spent as a young boy in Florida with his extended family. Eliakim and Dav’s father Erik Benmata co-owned a vehicular repair business in Sarasota. Dav had grown up learning to work in their machine shop, making parts, repairing machines, and programming holographic computers, but fishing in the Gulf had always been a favorite vacation activity. Dav was a quick study at mechanical engineering and physics with an inventive mind for programming simulators. Both Erik and Eliakim had encouraged his aptitude, and Dav had applied for Starfleet’s Engineering School as soon as he was old enough.

Now, at 17, he found himself buried in coursework he barely understood, hoping to be just good enough to graduate and get a billing on anything capable of leaving the atmosphere. All he wanted to do was be a Starfleet engineer on the biggest ship he could find and be a contributing part of a team. That dream seemed so far away right now, and he was bored with trying to grasp the nuances of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle as it related to transporters.

He sighed despondently, still staring out the window.

The teacher cleared his throat loudly. “Mr. Benmata,” he called, “would you please remind the class why checking the Heisenberg compensators is a level one procedure when diagnosing a malfunctioning transporter system?”

Davir started, glancing nervously around the room. It was very early in the new school year, and he knew very few of his classmates, but most weren’t even looking at him anyway. Apparently, none of them knew the answer either and were just as glad they’d not drawn the instructor’s negative attention.

He thought about it for a moment, then replied, “Because the compensator's the only thing that keeps the matter-energy stream coherent enough to form or reform. Without it, you can’t transport anything. It’ll just disintegrate.”

The teacher smiled smugly. “Nice try, Mr. Benmata, but I didn’t ask what Heisenberg compensators do. I asked why checking the compensator is a level one diagnostic procedure.”

He addressed the class. “Transporters can’t define or acquire a matter stream without a working compensator. A level one diagnosis requires shutting the transporter down first because if you don’t, trying to diagnose an otherwise working transporter will yield the same result as a higher diagnostic that doesn’t require shutting it down: nothing happens. If you disable the transporter first, the compensator can be analyzed in isolation. Effectively, a broken compensator can’t be discovered in conjunction with the rest of the transporter system online – transport will fail anyway. You have to test it by itself to see if it’s broken. A level one procedure facilitates that – higher diagnostics don’t.”

The lecture continued as Davir’s interest continued to wane. He looked idly around and noticed that the young man sitting at the next desk was busily taking notes on his PADD. Davir couldn’t tell what the other cadet was writing about, but the teacher was droning on about the course’s syllabus, so Davir imagined it had something to do with that. The cadet didn’t notice Davir was watching him.

The young man had a shock of dark brown hair atop an oval face with equally brown eyes. A strong nose bridge led down past high cheekbones to a thin brown mustache and goatee that lined a squared chin. His overall frame was medium in height with a fairly strong musculature and presence.

I’ll bet he hopes he’ll make commander, maybe captain someday, Davir thought, but that takes a lot more than boyish good looks.

Davir had smaller goals, wanting nothing more than to fix things and be part of a great crew. He’d never been any farther than Earth Space Dock, and he hoped to be assigned to a ship of the line like an Excelsior-class heavy cruiser so he could see the galaxy, but he would settle for anything extrasolar as long as he could be useful as an engineer.

"Mr. Hunter, Mr. Benmata,” the teacher interrupted, “you’ll be paired on the term paper."

Wha–? Davir started, worried the teacher had singled him out again for answering incorrectly. He looked up to see that the teacher’s piercing gaze included Dav’s neighbor.

The cadet reached over with an inviting handshake. “Hi, I’m Andrew Hunter.”

Davir materialized on one of Earth Space Dock’s transporter pads amidst a crowd of humans and aliens.

ESD was the main spaceport for the Sol System and the central hub of all spaceborne traffic to and from Earth. Since Earth was the seat of the United Federation of Planets, every planetary government in the Federation was represented as well as alien species from all over the galaxy. Besides being a political waystation, ESD housed thousands of support personnel in every professional expertise plus equipment bays and labs for all manner of construction or experimentation. It was, simply put, the largest and most important space station Dav had ever seen or knew about.

Not that he’d been any further than this. The truth was he’d never been off-planet except to ESD. There were other stations in the Sol System, and he’d always wanted to visit the Utopia Planitia Shipyards above Mars, but ESD was the only station he’d ever been to.

As he stepped off the transporter platform, he reminded himself that he and Andrew had made dinner plans at Club 47 to discuss their mutual class assignment. The restaurant was three floors up, and Dav was already late. He’d been waylaid by a call from his father, inquiring about how he was adjusting to school and if he needed anything.

I hope Andrew hasn’t been waiting long, Dav thought anxiously as he wound his way through the crowded hallway and stepped into an elevator car.

Club 47 was one of the most popular establishments on the station. It was always open for business, and it was famous for hosting large parties for any occasion. It was the dinner hour, and it was very crowded by the time Dav got there. As he climbed the ramp leading to the restaurant, the smells of various foods wafted out to greet him, and his mouth started to water because he’d skipped lunch. The doors opened as someone exited, and he could see that the foyer was equally crowded with people waiting for a table.

I’m glad Andrew thought to make reservations ahead of time, he thought gratefully and went in.

The restaurant’s main dining area was to the left of the door, the bar was in the middle, and a dance floor with additional tables was on the right. DJ Zuza was playing very loud music in a style Dav hadn’t heard before, but it was raucous with a driving beat, and Dav decided he didn’t like it.

I hope Andrew didn’t pick a table in the dance room, he wondered. We’ll need to talk, but I can’t hear myself think in there.

He didn’t see his classmate anywhere, but the restaurant was very large, and not every table was visible from the entrance.

Best just to ask rather than wander around the place, he thought, and he approached the attendant at the front desk.

“Excuse me,” he said, “I’m looking for Andrew Hunter’s table, please.”

The maitre d’ consulted the computer before him. “He’s waiting for you at table 12,” he replied. “This way, please.”

Table 12 turned out to be a booth at the back of the main dining room. It was big enough to seat four, but Andrew was the only one in it.

Andrew waved Davir over as the maitre d’ went back to the main desk.

“Sorry I’m late,” Dav apologized, sitting down. “My dad called at the last minute to check up on me.”

‘It’s fine,” Andrew replied nonchalantly. “I took the liberty of ordering for both of us.”

Davir was mildly surprised. “How did you know what I might like?” he asked bluntly.

“You told me after class that you’re from Florida, and your last name sounds Hispanic, so I figured you’d like Mexican or Caribbean food,” Andrew answered. “Was I wrong?”

Smart guy, Dav thought, smiling slightly.

“It’s Jewish, actually,” he corrected, “but yeah, I love Caribbean food. Not replicated?”

“Heck, no,” Andrew retorted. “Prepared, always.”

Davir smiled widely. “I think I’m gonna like you,” he said, nodding.

A waiter arrived at their table a few minutes later laden with two platter-sized plates and their entrees. There were two seasoned flat steaks in red sauce with corn tortillas, Spanish rice, pinto beans, and guacamole on the side. There was also a small pilón of fried mofongo with small boiled shrimp.

As Dav’s stomach growled in anticipation, the waiter paused, looking at the empty bench in their booth.

“Excuse me,” he said to the cadets, “but we’re somewhat overbooked tonight. There are two young ladies at the bar who are very anxious to find a quiet place to sit down, and I noticed you aren’t using the other side of this booth. Would you mind sharing your table?”

Davir looked up, surprised at the unusual request.

Andrew glanced questioningly at Dav.

Dav shrugged noncommittally. “It’s your reservation.”

“Sure,” Andrew told the waiter. “We’re just gonna talk about an essay over dinner. As long as they don’t mind that, we don’t either.”

A minute later, the waiter brought the girls up to their booth.

“Thank you so much,” the taller one gushed as they both sat down opposite the cadets. “I really didn’t want to spend another moment at the bar."

Dav noted her 1.8-meter height, very statuesque frame, and lavender alien features were well complemented by the blue Starfleet uniform she wore. Although he wasn’t interested socially, he liked her appearance, but the lieutenant pips on her collar and mature impression told him she was somewhat older and well above his station.

Andrew, on the other hand, was immediately taken with the younger, human woman, momentarily forgetting about the essay. He noted her long, brown hair, well-tanned complexion, and tailored clothes. At only a little over 1.5 meters, she was using every millimeter of it to her advantage, and he liked her overall allure.

“I’m Tama and this is Merisa,” the taller one said by way of introduction. She waited expectantly.

“I’m Andrew and the shy one’s Davir,” Andrew replied cooly.

He ignored Dav’s annoyed glance and continued, “Go ahead and order. We’re going to dig in while ours is hot.”

Dav briefly blessed his food while Marisa and Tama ordered their dinners, then he and Andrew began eating while engaging the two women conversationally.

“I can tell from your yellow uniforms that you’re Starfleet cadets,” Tama began. “What’re your fields?” she asked, curious.

“We’re both engineers,” Davir replied, “or we’re going to be.”

“In fact, that’s why we’re here,” Andrew added. “We’ve got a term paper to do together for a quantum physics class. We decided to discuss it at dinner, and this is my favorite off-world restaurant.”

“Mine, too,” Marisa said, glad to find compatible company.

“What do you do for a living, Merisa?” Andrew asked.

“I’m in security management, or at least that’s what I’m studying,” she answered proudly.

“And you?” Dav asked Tama.

“I presently work in life sciences at a facility that designs climate control satellites,” Tama answered, “but I used to be an environmental science officer aboard the U.S.S. Roosevelt.”

Hence, the uniform, Dav realized.

The idle conversation continued apace until, after a little while, the waiter interrupted it to bring the girls’ meals to the table. Once everyone had food, the girls allowed the conversation to become one-sided so the cadets could get down to business.

“So,” Andrew said to Dav, “getting back to our quantum physics paper, we need to decide on a topic.”

Dav nodded. “What do you want to write about?” he asked.

“That’s what I was going to ask you,” Andrew commented.

Dav pulls up his PADD. “Computer,” he said, “suggest quantum physics essay topics.”

The cadets go through several suggestions between them as the girls look bored. After a few minutes, they have a short list of abstract ideas.

  • Dilithium crystals and quantum effects.
  • Shaping quantized warp fields.
  • The limitations of quantum computers.
  • Using quantum singularities for FTL communication.
  • “I like all of them,” Dav said, uncertain.

    “Well, we gotta pick something or come up with more ideas,” Andrew replied.

    He shrugged and showed Marisa the PADD. “What do you two think?”

    She shrugged. “Not my field and not my grade.”

    Dav sighed, making up his mind. “I’ve had experience fixing shuttles in my dad’s repair business, and I’m mostly interested in warp drives. I vote for the first one or the second.”

    Andrew was satisfied with that. “Dilithium-based quantum effects it is, then,” he said. “Should be interesting.”

    “If you say so,” Tama commented. “Like she said, it’s not my field either.”

    Dav nodded understandingly. “I’ll start taking notes when I get back to my room,” he said.

    Andrew nodded, too. “Sounds good.”

    He glanced speculatively at Marisa. I wonder if she’d like to dance? he thought.

    He turned to Dav. “Think I’ll stick around for a while.”

    Dav easily took the hint. “I’ll catch up with you later, then.”

    He smiled at the girls. “Ladies, your company’s been a pleasure, but I’ll retire now. Keep the booth as long as you want.”

    “Good night, Davir,” Marisa said.

    Dav headed back towards the elevators, still wondering how the paper might turn out. It wasn’t that he was afraid of the subject – he was long used to the counter-intuitive nature of quantum mechanics anyway. Rather, this was the first collaborative assignment he’d been given since arriving at Starfleet Academy a few months ago. He didn’t know Andrew well enough to gauge his expertise at the subject, and he wanted a good grade. It was too early to judge.

    Just work with it, he told himself inwardly as he stepped onto a transporter pad.

    The confinement beam dissolved his atoms into energy, and he disappeared.

    APPENDIX

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