This story is an expanded version of my satirical piece that has appeared in the Milo Sci Fi Review. In it, James Kirk is transported from the middle of the original series second season to the fourth season of Deep Space Nine. For commentary, click on the links in the text.

Battle of the Starfleet Captains

by Milo Swanton

Q, the super-being, was bored. What good was omnipotence if he couldn’t keep himself entertained? Life in the Continuum was too ordered. Nothing out of the ordinary ever happened. Everything was too expected, and mundane, except when he interacted with that curious biped species, the humans.

O, the humans. They scampered about, living out their miserable little lives as if they mattered. He had to admire them. For all their frailty, they dared to venture into the universe. The first crew had been led by Johnny Archer, before Q’s time. A century later Q toyed with Jimmy Kirk, which would have been more fun if Jimmy hadn’t made him so furious. Then there was Jean Luc, the one human he almost respected. Picard possessed a unique verbal wit for cutting him down to size, although Benny Sisko was the only human who ever dared to punch him in the face. Finally, of all the humans, he held the softest spot for Kathy Janeway. O Kate, if only she would return his affections!

Which one would he visit? Who would give him the biggest surprise? He could only guess, unless he gathered them together to find out. Splendid idea! He knew the perfect locale for the meeting, taken from Jimmy’s experience. In an instant he was there, having assumed his favorite human form dressed in a red Starfleet uniform from Picard’s era preceding the Dominion War. The others formed a circle around him, summoned for his pleasure. A blue and yellow pattern of triangular shapes emblazoned the floor of an open arena, surrounded by whitewashed columns under a rosy occluded sky.

James Kirk recognized the place immediately. (1) Triskelion! The planet to which he had been whisked by over nine hundred light-years with Uhura and Chekov to compete in gladiatorial contests for the wagers of three disembodied brains. This time, however; he was not met by any big hairy ogre or a scantily-clad Amazon warrior. His fellow captives, as he assumed them to be, were other Starfleet officers. Four of them he didn’t recognize, wearing variations of his own gold and black uniform, but they seemed to be familiar with each other, as well as knowing who he was and the one member of their party he did recognize; Jonathan Archer, captain of the previous incarnation of his own Starship Enterprise. Archer wore the navy blue uniform from his own era and the same pained facial expression Kirk remembered from the old videos as if the guy were perpetually (2) constipated.

“Q!” The officer with a bald head bellowed at the red-uniformed figure in the center of their little circle. “What trick are you up to now? I’m not sure about Sisko and Janeway, but do you expect me to believe these are the real James Kirk and Jonathan Archer?”

“O Jean Luc,” said Q, clutching his chest in a mock gesture. “You know how it hurts my feelings when you’re so ungrateful to see me, and where are your manners? You should be introducing yourself to your revered predecessors, whether you believe in them or not.”

But Q didn’t allow Picard to speak, and made the introductions himself, although by given names only.

“Jean Luc. Benny. Kathy. Jimmy. Johnny. You’ve all attained the illustrious rank of Starfleet captain, including you, Benny, thanks to your recent promotion. However, I wonder. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, who among you is the best of all?”

With a wave of Q’s arms, the five captains found themselves armed. Kirk held a long pike. Picard wielded a broadsword. Sisko had a Klingon bat’leth. Archer clutched a granite club. Janeway looked befuddled at a Vulcan (3) lirpa, weighted by a blunt ram at one end and tipped with a curved blade at the other. No doubt some, if not all of them, would have taken advantage of their weapons to assault Q, but the imposter had wisely winked himself to a balcony overlooking the arena.

“There’s no greater test, I think, than a fight to the death,” he said. “Don’t worry, I’ll resurrect the losers and return you to your sorry existences with no memory of your inadequacies. To the victor goes the knowledge of being Starfleet’s finest.”

Archer attempted to make sense of what was happening to him. He could only assume he had been drawn into some new phase of the (4) temporal cold war.

“You people from the future, listen to me,” he called out to the other combatants, and pointed to the balcony. “That being up there is from the thirty-first century. We must join forces against him.”

Q displayed open disgust. “Johnny, you’re a crushing bore,” he said. “You don’t have the slightest idea who I am.”

He waved a hand, and a rope net settled over Archer, immobilizing the twenty-second century captain. (5) Oh boy, Archer thought to himself. Whether trapped in a net, tied up, or stuck inside a gooey alien; here he was again (6) helplessly watching the action around him.

“The rest of you get to maiming one another,” Q shouted. “I expect to see some hacking.”

Kirk exchanged glances with Sisko, seeming to read his mind. Let’s take out the other two lightweights first. He aimed his pike at Jean Luc’s chest.

Picard lowered his sword. “No, wait. We must talk.”

As Kirk ran him through his (7) artificial heart, Q moaned in the balcony. “No, Jean Luc. Not again.”

Sisko squared off against Janeway, who was still deciding what to do with the lirpa, and slashed her with the bat’leth.

“Chakotay wouldn’t have done that,” she gasped before she expired.

“(8) I’m not Chakotay,” said Sisko.

Kirk came at him with Picard’s sword. The two survivors parried for several minutes, finding in each other a formidable opponent. Then Kirk thrust his sword towards the overcast sky.

“Look, (9) corbomite!

What in the world was corbomite? Sisko had to see, and was duly dispatched by the clever Kirk.

“Bravo, Captain,” called Q, applauding from the balcony. “Good show!”

Kirk still wasn’t sure of his sadistic host, but something about him was disturbingly familiar. He tossed the sword aside.

Q appeared alongside. “What about him?” he asked, pointing at the ensnared Archer.

Kirk shrugged. “He’s not worth it.”

Q baited him. “What if I told you he’s Wesley Crusher’s ancestor?”

“Who’s Wesley Crusher?”

“An (10) insufferable brat with special powers,” said Q. “Not unlike that hormonally imbalanced (11) Charlie Evans who had a crush on your Yeoman Rand.”

An uncontrollable rage overcame Kirk. Without knowing why, he took Archer’s stone club and pounded the other captain’s head like he had recently seen the denizens of (12) Vaal do to one of his security guards.

Q yelped in delight. “Splendid! Absolutely smashing. You’re the best Starfleet captain, indeed.”

At that moment, Kirk knew who his antagonist was. “(13) Trelane,” he said, more annoyed than ever. He didn’t relish finding himself at the mercy of the adolescent alien he had encountered on the planetoid Gothos, without his parents around to reprimand him.

“Captain, you finally recognize me,” said the Squire of Gothos with a smile. “I wondered how long it would take you, given my new appearance, but my previous form looked too much like your Klingon friend (14) Koloth. You deserve a reward. Shall I find you a woman?”

Kirk became even more exasperated. “When are you going to grow up?”

“This is the twenty-fourth century, if you haven’t yet figured that out,” said his nemesis. “I don’t have to listen to my parents any more, and my powers are no longer limited to some machine behind a mirror.”

Trelane, or Q as he now called himself, was still a child as far as Kirk was concerned, and he would treat him as one.

“I played along with your little game here,” said the captain. “So send these bodies back to where they belong, alive and kicking as you promised, and return me to where I came from.”

Q sighed. “Very well,” he said. “But you’re not going to like the predicament whence I plucked you.”

* * * * *

Kirk regained consciousness to the touch of soft sheets over him and a warm, tender body in his grasp. Trelane had made good on the promise of a woman as well, and she smelled wonderful, but no, the twin memories of Triskelion and Gothos rolled together must have been a bad dream. He stroked the long blonde hair entangling his arms. What was her name? Drusilla, he remembered. Then he recalled his dilemma, much to his chagrin. On this planet of (15) neo-Romans, like in his dream, he was destined for an arena and a fight to the death.


(1) From the original series episode, The Gamesters of Triskelion. Return to the story.

(2) I swear every time I watch Enterprise, Scott Bakula looks like he's loaded his pants. Return to the story.

(3) Spock tried to slice Kirk with one of these in the original series episode, Amok Time. Return to the story.

(4) An Enterprise continuing plotline that I could do without. Return to the story.

(5) The last line of any Quantum Leap episode when Scott Bakula's Dr. Beckett leaped to somebody else's body. Return to the story.

(6) Another flaw of the new Enterprise series, although not as often now. Captain Kirk solved his own problems rather than depending on somebody else to save his butt. Can you guess who's going to come out victorious in this story? Return to the story.

(7) A reference to the Next Generation episode, Tapestry, in which we found out Picard was stabbed through the heart once before. Return to the story.

(8) A reference to the Deep Space Nine episode, Q-Less, in which Sisko punches Q in the face. Q said, "You hit me! Picard never did that." To which Sisko replied, "I'm not Picard." Return to the story.

(9) Kirk's favorite bluff, used twice in the original series in The Corbomite Maneuver and Journey To Babel. Return to the story.

(10) My chance to get in a hit against the hated Wesley Crusher character. Return to the story.

(11) A reference to the original series episode, Charlie X, which was the first Star Trek episode I ever saw. Return to the story.

(12) A reference to the original series episode, The Apple, in which four redshirts bite the dust. Return to the story.

(13) Q is so much like this character from the original series episode, The Squire of Gothos, they must be the same person! Return to the story.

(14) Trelane and Koloth were played by the same actor, William Campbell. Return to the story.

(15) A reference to the original series episode, Bread and Circuses. Return to the story.

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