Previous Next

Doctor Eden

Posted on Sep 22, 2018 @ 8:33pm by Commander Jacob Crichton
Edited on on Sep 22, 2018 @ 8:33pm

Mission: The Uncertainty Principle

= Doctor Eden =

(cont'd from "Stand-Off")


LOCATION: USS PHOENIX, in dry-dock at the Mars shipyards
SCENE: Captain’s Ready Room
STARDATE: [2.18] 0923.0054

Jake Crichton glanced between his CO, Captain Michael Turlogh Kane, and the elderly woman seated across from him, in a small chair next to the one where Jake was sitting. He noted the differences in their expressions. The captain had a look of steely resolve, but Jake had known Kane long enough now to read between Kane’s displeasure from the lines. Some of them were literal: the beginnings of new worry lines, on the forehead and in the cheeks, earned over what had been a very tumultuous past four years, starting with the reactivation of the USS DISCOVERY, the Neo-Essentialist crisis, a narrowly averted Romulan Civil War, and even the recent troubles with a Klingon warlord on Sherman’s Planet. In between there had been mutinies, malfunctions, and a host of other problems, enough to etch a few new creases even in their immutable captain.

**Kane’s not that much older than you are, you know,** Jake thought. **And you’re looking a little more ‘seasoned’ these days yourself.**

Jake pushed these thoughts away and turned his attention instead to the elderly woman.

Dr. Lorraine Eden was in her late 80s, and while humanity’s medical technology had advanced to the point that many octogenarians remained relatively fit and spry into their old age, she looked every bit as old as she was. She stood perhaps a hair above five feet tall, which was an appropriate way to think of it considering that Jake was pretty sure that the poofy, white curls of her hair added at least a half inch to her overall stature. Her face was a maze of wrinkles, out of which peered a pair of unsettlingly sharp green eyes. She moved slowly, and Jake noticed a slightly tremor in her hand when she’d raised it to shake with him earlier, and when she spoke, her voice quavered a little, rising and falling across the syllables of each word.

Yet for all of this, Dr. Eden looked more comfortable and at-her-ease than Kane did, which Jake couldn’t help but find fascinating.

“I understand your ship has a bar with an attached kitchen,” Dr. Eden was saying, totally oblivious to Kane’s sour mood. “I like a nice cup of tea in the evenings, but none of that replicated dross. I’ll need fresh tea. I assume your, eh, chef or quartermaster or whatever it is they go by can provide that?”

“I’m sure she can,” Kane deadpanned. “Is that why you insisted on the PHOENIX for your project, doctor? For your tea?”

Dr. Eden barked laughter, a surprisingly loud and sturdy sound given her advanced years. “Wouldn’t that be something? All this fancy hardware just to get an old woman her tea. No, captain, the kitchen is an added bonus. I quite fancy an evening constitutional, so I think most nights I can make it down there on my own, but if I’m feeling particularly tired, I’ll need to have it brought it up to my quarters.”

Jake cut his eyes back to Kane, thinking he would see a flash of annoyance at how Dr. Eden assumed she could repurpose the PHOENIX’s crew as room service. He wasn’t disappointed.

“And they’ll turn down your sheets and leave a mint on your pillow,” said Kane.

“I think the tea will do for starters,” Dr. Eden said. She didn’t seem oblivious to the captain’s sour mood now, just wholly unconcerned by it.

“Doctor, may I ask why you *did* choose the PHOENIX for your test?” Kane asked, in a tone Jake thought he normally reserved for berating enemy starship captains. “Surely there are better equipped options, science vessels and the like, that would be a more appropriate choice for this kind of mission.”

“Not happy playing chauffeur to an old woman, are you?” Dr. Eden asked, finally meeting Kane’s glare with her sharp eyes.

“We’re not a research ship,” Kane said. “We usually have more important work we could be doing.”

“Then it is very fortunate that you’re beholden to the orders of your superiors,” Dr. Eden said. “People with a more thorough grasp on the facts, and what matters.”

“In theory,” Kane said. “A theory you haven’t proven yet.”

“Well, that’s why Starfleet Command has given me your ship,” Dr. Eden said, her eyes twinkling. “Oh captain, as much as I’d like to sit her trading verbal barbs with you all morning, I’m feeling a little faint. I assume accommodations have been prepared for me?”

Kane sighed. “Quarters have been prepared for you.”

Now Dr. Eden looked at Jake. “And I assume this young man is here to show me to them?”

Jake smiled and gave a mock salute. “Sixteen years in the fleet and I’ve finally achieved the rank of ‘bellhop’.”

Dr. Eden looked him over with her sharp eyes, and frowned. “Hmm. You’re one of those ‘funny’ officers, aren’t you? I never like them.”

Jake looked at Kane again. Now he saw the ghost of a smile playing at Kane’s lips. Misery loved company.

Eden looked back at Kane. “In spite of the dismissive attitude of you and your crew, my project is vitally important to the future of the Federation. I expect you will all take this assignment seriously.”

“In spite of his unconventional manner, Commander Crichton has proven to be a very competent first officer,” Kane said. “You’ll find the rest of my crew equally overqualified.”

“I suppose I shouldn’t worry,” Dr. Eden shrugged, her green eyes flashing. “To answer your question, captain, my selection of the PHOENIX has little to do with her crew and everything to do with her hardware. This project requires the most state-of-the-art engines that Starfleet can provide.”

“We’ll do our best to stay out of your way,” Kane said. He turned to Jake. “Please show Dr. Eden to her quarters.”

“Aye sir,” Jake said, rising from his chair. He moved to offer help to Dr. Eden as she rose out of her own, but she shrugged him away.

“When can I expect us to depart?” she asked, still looking at Kane. “At the risk of inviting some sophomoric crack about my age, time is of the essence.”

“I’m afraid your usurpation of my command has hit a few bureaucratic snags,” Kane said. “We have some personnelle transfers to complete before we disembark. I’m told it won’t take more than a day.”

“Hmph,” Dr. Eden snorted. She pushed herself out of her chair, then turned to look at Jake. “I trust you can conduct me to my quarters without making wry observations the whole way there?”

“I will do my best, doctor,” Jake said.

Dr. Eden frowned. “This is going to be a very long trip.”


The Federation Role Playing Game Presents
A Mind's Eye Production of a Collective Film


Sarah Albertini-Bond as Iphigenia Bonviva
Shawn Collins as Commander Jake Crichton
Alix Fowler as Major Kassandra Thytos
Susan Ledbetter as Lieutenant Eve Dalziel
Ranjani Sabarinathan as Lieutenant Jasmine Yu
Phillip Wright as Ensign Lynette Ryan
Jerome McKee as Captain Michael Turlogh Kane



SCENE: Turbolift

Eve Dalziel thumbed the control that summoned the turbolift. A few moments later, the doors parted, and Eve saw Dr. Karrington Crow look up at her in surprise. Dr. Crow’s cheeks seemed to flush a little, and she took a step back from the middle of the turbolift, which she’d been formerly occupying, to give Eve room to enter.

Eve stepped in. “Deck 9,” she intoned. The computer chirped its response, the doors hissed shut, and the turbolift began to move again. Dr. Crow and Eve stood there, facing forward. Out of the corner of her eye, Eve noticed Dr. Crow straightening her hair a little. The silence seemed to double upon itself, then triple, until finally Crow turned to look at Eve.

“I was practicing a speech,” she said.

Eve turned to look at her and tried to smile disarmingly. “I wasn’t going to ask.”

“Oh,” Crow said. She faced forward again.

“Practicing for a symposium?” Eve asked. “I’m sure you’ll do very well.”

Dr. Crow smiled weakly. “If only. I’m afraid this is rather more personal.”

Eve looked at her. “Anything you’d like to discuss?”

“Oh, no no no,” Crow said, waving this off. “I couldn't. It’s nothing major. You’re so busy.”

Eve nodded. “Suit yourself.” Technically, it was her job to push notoriously tight-lipped and emotionally unavailable Starfleet officers into sharing their innermost conflicts, but given how they tended to fight her tooth-and-nail on the subject every time, she’d long ago decided she could at least limit her professional curiosity until *after* she’d clocked in for work in the morning.

They rode together in silence for a few more moments, and then Dr. Crow turned to her again.

“Have you heard about the ship’s new guest?” she asked.

“Dr. Lorraine Eden,” Eve nodded. “A respected name in the astrophysics and warp theory fields. Other than having heard her name, I don’t know much about her.”

Crow frowned. “I do.”

Eve turned to her again. “Oh?”

“She was one of my teachers at university,” Crow said. “Pushed me harder than any other teacher I’ve had, and then failed me anyway. I was more interested in xenobiology by that point, but I put in my time in the astrophysics classes, same as anyone, and I was as good as any of the other students she had, and still she failed me.”

Eve blinked. “Why?”

“She’s a witch, that’s what I think,” Crow frowned.

“I see,” Eve nodded. “That speech you were practicing…”

“I have a lot of things I’ve wanted to say to her over the years,” Dr. Crow said. “I took the class again with another professor, and passed with perfect marks. I sent her a message after, and do you know how she replied? ‘Not everyone is suited to be a teacher.’ That’s all her message said. I guess I was supposed to think the professor who’d passed me after she had failed me didn’t know what he was talking about.”

“University was a long time ago,” Eve said. “You’ve accomplished so much since then.”

“Oh, it didn’t stop there,” Crow said. “I sent her messages after I got each of my doctorates. She never replied. Then I messaged her again when I graduated from Starfleet Academy, and again each time I was promoted. And when I was given my own research team. In all those years, after all those messages, do you know the only thing she ever sent back? Just five little words: ‘What are you waiting for?’”

Eve shook her head. She did her best to hedge her impressions of people based on the descriptions of those who knew them, but it certainly sounded like Dr. Lorraine Eden wasn’t exactly personable.

“And what’s that supposed to mean, anyway?” Crow continued. “I’m not waiting for anything. I have two PhD.’s, a successful career, a posting on the Federation flagship! I love my life! What am I waiting for, indeed!”

“Doctor,” Eve said, turning to her again.

“Oh, please, you can call me Kari,” Crow said, her cheeks flushing a little again.

“Kari,” Eve said. “What I do is a little more involved than diagnoses provided over a two minute turbolift ride, but even so, it’s obvious to anyone that you’re looking for this woman’s approval. I think you need to consider two things.”

Dr. Crow blinked. “What are those?”

“The first is that you’re probably never going to get it,” Eve said. “And the second is that the fact that you’re still so eager for it after all these years probably says more about you than it does about her.”

The turbolift slowed, then stopped. The doors opened. Dr. Crow didn’t say anything.

“I would be more than happy to discuss this further,” Eve said. “Frankly, it would be a nice change of pace for one of the senior staff to request a counseling session instead of me having to quote Starfleet regulations to drag them into one.”

“Yes,” Dr. Crow said, nodding a little. “I might just do that. Thank you, counselor.”

“If I can offer one last piece of advice,” Eve said. “Save the speech. From what you’ve already told me, Dr. Eden doesn’t sound like she’s worth it.”

Eve turned and left the turbolift, but even as she did so, she was already almost certain of one thing: Dr. Karrington Crow was *never* going to forget the speech.


NRPG: And so it begins! The PHOENIX has a new guest aboard, Dr. Lorraine Eden. She’s basically the Dowager Countess from “Downton Abbey” except also a genius astrophysicist; ready to verbally spar with the best of them, but also kind of bored and perpetually flummoxed and disappointed with everyone around her. She’ll be using the PHOENIX to conduct an important science experiment - you can glean some of it from the mission blurb, but more details will follow - and for now we’re all under orders to be nice and do what she says.

We haven’t left dry-dock just yet, there’s some personnelle reassignments to think about first, but the ship will be on its way soon! In the meantime, feel free to post some character development stuff, to speculate about what Dr. Eden’s secret project might be, or to have your characters bump into her. Let’s try to keep a nice, steady posting rate on this one, this will likely be our last mission for 2018 (unless it tanks immediately and we switch to something else), so let’s close the year out with a bang!

Shawn Putnam


Jake Crichton

Executive Officer



Previous Next