Disclaimer: I own nothing related to or part of Star Trek. This fan fiction was written purely for fun.

July 2020 Author's Note:

This chapter of the rewrite was reorganized and co-written by at16908.

The Adventures of Augment Gothic

Chapter 2 – How to Make Friends with Aliens and Alienate Teenagers

Guest Quarters. U.S.S. Enterprise.

I woke up in darkness, with only faint light and white lines streaking by a large window. At first, I didn't remember where I was, but as soon as my brain kicked into gear, it was like it hit me all at once. The memories made by my enhanced brain were like watching an ultra-high definition movie with all five senses somehow intertwined all together, like a memory file on a video file that I had complete control in reviewing. Pause, slow motion, fast forward and backward, zoom, sharpen, it was all available, even showing things that I hadn't consciously been aware of the first time around. I went over the events of yesterday and was surprised at all the details and nuances I would have missed if not for my new enhancements. The amount of information I had taken in, even subconsciously, was simply astounding.

When I had first learned about Augments on the shows, I had wondered if an Augment's descent into megalomania was the result of nature or nurture – and now that I was one, I still wasn't sure what the truth was. Since I had become an Augment so late in life, would I gradually slip into megalomania or would the 'normal' years of my life protect me from such an outcome? Would it feel natural? I could easily see how someone could go down that road, as physically and mentally I really was better than just about everyone else…by some purely quantitative measure at least. But, that said, for all of my new ability, I wasn't a god or even a demigod.

Like Khan had proven several times over, just because we were more, arguably better by some subjective and objective measures than the rest of humanity, we were not invincible. I could be beaten, imprisoned, even killed, fairly easily actually, in this time. I also didn't feel like I had that spark of genius (or madness) that allowed musicians and artists to create works of art that lasted the test of time and made their names immortal, but maybe that would change? I needed to keep myself grounded or risk becoming someone my former self would have fought against.

Those dark thoughts aside, I actually felt amazing - like I had just had the best night's sleep in my life, took a hot shower, and chugged a gallon of freshly brewed gourmet coffee that practically invigorated the soul as well as the body. I felt no aches, no pains, and no more bad knee… I didn't even have bad breath or teeth funk from forgetting to brush the night before – it was incredible!

I got up from the bed and got dressed. "Computer, lights," I called aloud, and walked into the next room to use these quarter's personal computer terminal. I sat down and activated it carefully, paying close attention to the amount of strength I used. Since I'd woken up an Augment, a few moments of inattention had resulted in my breaking several pieces of furniture and technology which hadn't been designed for someone of my strength. In time, I suspected that I wouldn't need to pay such close attention to it, but for right now I had to be very careful lest I break everything I touched, like pressing too hard on a touch panel and cracking the material.

Noticing the current stardate and time, amazingly, I realized that only a little over three hours had passed since I had gone to sleep. Luckily, the benefits of having an Augment body kept on coming and after 300 years of forced sleep, the less sleep I needed to stay sane was all the better, especially with the mind-breaking amounts of information I had to learn about this time. A seven-year-old human in this time probably knew more than I did. The extra hours per day would be put to good use.

But before I could get going, I found myself really hungry all of a sudden – not quite starving, but definitely in desperate need of some fuel. After a big breakfast of half a dozen fluffy scrambled eggs, a rasher of bacon, a dozen sausages, lots of hash browns, pancakes, coffee, and fresh fruit from all over Earth, all modified by the replicator to have far more calories than was normal, I was all set. Just for the hell of it, I tried Miles O'Brien's favorite coffee, the one he was famous for ordering on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Jamaican blend, double-strong, double-sweet… and it was fantastic! I added a little cream, since I like my coffee a bit muddy, but damn if this wasn't my new favorite. For this breakfast I was keeping to comfort foods I was familiar with, native to Earth, but in the future, I was set on trying exotic foods from all over the alpha quadrant. What was the point of being in this time if you didn't try all kinds of alien foods? Even eating could be an adventure!

With an extra-large cup filled with delicious coffee in my hand, I decided to fill all of my free time with continuing to study everything I could get my hands on, starting with the basic education every child received in the Federation, and slowly working my way up the educational ladder. With my Augment brain, stuff that took most people years to learn I could blitz through with little trouble. The main difficulty was there was just so much material, and I was nowhere close to the stuff that I really, really wanted to learn like starship engineering and weapon design… I'd get there eventually, but I also had to be careful not to trip up any security programs that might be monitoring my actions on the computer. Working my way up from the bottom, using the standard educational track, would hopefully be seen as expected and harmless, an attempt to acclimate myself into this new time. I needed to show that I was not a threat, especially in these early days, to anyone who might be monitoring me.

I was trying to stay away from publicly available materials even approaching what Starfleet considered classified or that could be viewed as dangerous. What most people don't realize is that a lot of the underpinnings of everyday tech (including weapons, armor, shields, etc.) can be found in publicly available archives and technical papers. I remember a true story about how a kid in the 1970's (in my dimension), used those types of public materials to design a viable nuclear weapon for a school project. Now, he didn't build an actual nuke (only a mockup), this kid obviously lacking the precision explosives and fissionable material required, but it was apparently close enough to the real thing that the FBI had quickly confiscated it and his design. When questioned later about where he had gotten the information for such a thing, he answered honestly that he had gotten it from the library.

In my case, maybe I couldn't get my hands on the exact blueprints or replicator patterns for say, a standard Starfleet phaser rifle, but I could find out the general principles on which a phaser worked – phasers having been around for over 200 years by this point -which could lead to extrapolating how the modern Starfleet version worked or even one day making my own more effective variant. I had no doubt I would get there eventually, but right now it felt like I was wading hip-deep through a swamp, blindfolded, while trying to track a hungry moving crocodile – just when I thought I caught up with him, it seemed like even more swamp to trudge through was ahead. I'm pretty sure that I won't ever need to know something like the mating habits of an Orithian Saber Cat, but considering the way things seemed to work in the Star Trek universe, it would be better to know it and not need it, then need it and not know it. This new brain had plenty of memory storage for even the most esoteric facts. If a human child in the Federation was supposed to learn this in school, then I would too.

Frankly, even my enhanced brain seemed to have its limits, at least insofar as how much I could try to stuff into it in a very, very short span of time. The constant adding to the list of things I needed to learn wasn't helping. It wasn't so much that the materials in question were particularly difficult or beyond this humble 20th century human to understand. On the contrary, I had never been able to understand and instantly connect with other knowledge the things I had to study as well as I was now, but I think I was reaching the point of information overload and needed some downtime to assimilate it all.

I had been at this now for hours - studying with a level of focus and intensity that I genuinely think might have been physiologically impossible for me before - but I think I was reaching the point of diminishing returns, the point where it was getting harder and harder to remain focused without Herculean effort. I had started taking longer and longer breaks before resuming again and had even seriously been considering… exercising. Something which wasn't even all that necessary anymore according to Dr. Crusher's report on my new physiology.

Maybe I just needed to get out of my quarters for a bit. While this place didn't look like a prison cell, in fact it looked like a high-end luxury apartment, the fact that I was stuck in here was starting to aggravate me.

"Computer, what time is it?" I asked.

"Current ship time is 1035," the computer replied.

"Thanks," I said, thinking that that was the end of the conversation when the computer replied with, "You are welcome."

For a moment, I was rather surprised that the computer responded, almost conversationally, but figured that the Enterprise probably had a souped-up version of Alexa or the Google Assistant running as a Virtual Assistant (VI). VI's weren't capable of independent thinking, just functioning according to set programming, answering inquiries and completing assigned tasks as requested - which reminded me of yet another branch of science I needed to learn and understand, computer programming. I doubt I could ever make a true Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Android-level intelligence (or even want to considering the dangers), but it would be really useful to have a starship controller or even companion device with VI capability.

Thinking of the computer's answer, I also realized why I was feeling so burned out. I had taken breaks here and there, but I had essentially been studying for about 13 hours straight. That was not something I had been capable of before. Without a clear delineation between night and day providing by the rising and setting of the sun, I must have gone to bed at a really strange time last night.

I wasn't sure about the duty rotation on the Enterprise, or how time was set or decided on the ship when we weren't in a solar system, but I figured that the day shift had already begun. I decided to contact Counselor Troi and see if I could get out of here.

"Gothic to Counselor Troi," I said, after activating the comm system by tapping on a button on my computer.

"Troi here," she responded. "Good morning Gothic, I hope you had a pleasant rest."

"Good morning to you too," I replied. "For what little time I slept, I slept great and felt quite rested. Counselor, I'm feeling a bit cooped up in here – any chance you can ask the Captain if I could take a walk somewhere?"

Troi paused for several moments, possibly speaking to the Captain, because she soon responded, "While I can't yet take you on a full tour of the ship, if you'd like, I can take you to the holodeck for some recreation."

I don't know how I managed to agree without squee-ing like a school girl. Holodecks are one of the coolest pieces of technology in all of Star Trek. When you first enter a holodeck, it usually doesn't look that impressive, just a large empty hall. The Enterprise's holodecks have all the surfaces covered with black (almost light-absorbing) panels that are separated by bright yellow gold lines in a grid pattern (think 1-meter square black tiles with yellow grout in between them). But, once a holoprogram is activated, it looks and feels like being transported into another world. Everything not part of the program disappears (even the single doorway in and out of the room) and is replaced by an almost perfect virtual reality simulator - you can go anywhere, do, and be anything… as long as the computer can process it. That said, Star Trek holodecks do have one glaring imperfection, namely that they are notorious for going haywire at the worst possible times, and required carefully thought out commands to prevent accidents from occurring.

Not long after we spoke on the comm, Troi showed up and we walked towards the holodeck, two Vulcan security personnel in tow. I was still getting the odd-look from passing crew, but I decided not to worry overmuch about it until I could do something about it. We made a little small-talk, but my attention was focused on the destination, and taking in every little detail on the way there. It was amazing what incredible little details were left out of the TV show's sets.

Troi and I walked into the room, but the guards stopped at the doorway, taking up position on either side. They had watched me with hawk-like intensity every moment we were walking, always walking several steps behind me. Even in the turbolift they had stood in separate corners, keeping their backs to the wall, eyes on me, with a hand always on their phasers. This level of wariness by my security escort was ridiculous and was starting to annoy me, but, as I reminded myself yet again, it was a sight better than sitting in the brig behind an electrostatic forcefield. Apparently Troi felt my annoyance since she tried to deflect it.

"Well, Gothic," she said, gesturing around the room with a small smile. "This is the holodeck. Judging by your excitement, I think you know what this is."

"Yes, Counselor," I replied. "Ever since I learned about it, I've been wanting to give it a test run." Thankfully I had accessed numerous topics on the computer on the off chance I'd be confronted with things I knew from the show. That way I had an excuse for having the knowledge I did.

"I'm not surprised, most of the crew find this to be a wonderful tool for activities and relaxation that otherwise would be impossible onboard a starship. Let me show you some of things that you can do in here before I'll return to my duties."

It took a couple of a minutes, but I quickly got the hang of it. Like I said, the thing I was most worried about was doing something that could potentially blow up in my face. After Troi felt that I could figure the rest out on my own, she left, and I could swear she was swishing those hips just a bit more aggressively than previously when she walked out. She had to have felt my eyes on her ass, as well as the emotions that went with it.

Well, it was time to have some fun. It was practically my civic duty to live out the fantasies of millions and millions of people from my home dimension.

"Computer, I would like to get some exercise. What high intensity training programs are available?"

"Processing request," the computer replied in a feminine monotone, sounding exactly like Majel Barrett, the voice of the computer from the Star Trek television shows. I'm sure Troi's mother was around in this universe, had no one seriously realized how similar their voices were? "The following programs fit the parameters requested…"

After listening for several minutes, I learned that Worf had a pre-programmed calisthenics program. Something told me it would be right up my alley, so I requested it, but only after verifying it was not set to private, and suddenly the world changed around me entirely…

I was now in a series of damp underground caverns and tunnels that looked like they were dug out by crude hand tools… badly. Burning braziers and torches gave off a dim light and heat, filling the place with moving shadows. I was dressed like a Klingon warrior, with a bat'leth held in my right hand. A bat'leth is a large crescent shaped blade with another smaller crescent blade connected to the main one by four struts, leaving just the outer edges and the inner crescent as cutting/stabbing tools. The larger blade also had three integrated handles with which to hold it.

Taking a few practice swings with it, I was left unimpressed. While extremely cool looking, it was also quite possibly the dumbest weapon ever made in my opinion, at least from a functional standpoint. It was actually quite heavy, in comparison to other such weapons, which is pretty important when you may end up swinging it around for more than a few minutes in battle. It was unwieldy too and kind of awkward, unless you spent a ton of time training with it, being something like 4-5 feet long. Among its many faults is that its design prevents the proper application of leverage and force since its striking distance is rather small unless you are strong enough to wield it one-handed, which it really wasn't designed to do, even if most Klingons were probably strong enough for that.

All in all, I think a regular sword was much more versatile and effective in just about every way – and don't get me started on how it fared against a dude with just a hand phaser or disrupter, which was a very real match up in this time. A single guy with an energy pistol could probably hold off half a dozen bat'leth wielding Klingons. I developed this overall impression pretty quickly, because almost instantly a Klingon warrior with a bat'leth leaped out of the shadows of one of the tunnels and tried to kill me with one. I sidestepped the surprise attack and instantly turned around so that I could unartfully jam a pointy end into the Klingons head. Killing him made the body drop to the floor with a heavy thud, and leaving him as a weirdly bloodless corpse, which was strangely disappointing. Did Worf actually choose to not include realistic visible consequences to the bodies of his attackers? I quickly set that question aside as another attacker appeared to my right.

This pattern went on for about 5 minutes before I requested that the computer increase the program's difficulty level. I now had to face two attackers, one usually appearing behind me. Even then it felt a bit easy since I was still stronger and faster than these holograms based on the physical abilities of Klingons. Slash, thrust, punch, kick – I fell into a nice combat rhythm slaying the Klingons like it was nothing. To even a semi-competent blade user, much less a master of the bat'leth, my form and style, if you could even call it that, probably looked like absolute shit. Nevertheless, it was effective; enhanced speed and strength had a way of overcoming such deficiencies in style and skill. I felt a bit like a dumb cave-man who had just discovered the potential of a wooden club as a killing tool, but I was quickly learning how to use my new body, finding out just what I could do with it, while slowly but surely improving my blade skills as I tried to feel out what felt more natural to me.

Before my awakening as an Augment, I had never been that interested in fighting, much less mortal combat, far more interested in building and repairing things. I had gotten into a couple of fights over the years, sure, but it was more the result of being a dumb teenager or getting drunk, than something I truly sought out. I had served as a combat engineer in the Army, though my time in Iraq had been very late in the game, as it were, and I had seen very little actual combat. While I certainly knew how to shoot a gun and some fighting styles thanks to basic training, a lot of my time had been spent in the green zone, and thus had avoided the more dangerous aspects of being a soldier deployed to first Iraq and then Afghanistan – which is why it was so strange to me that I was enjoying the hell out of this.

It was like I had just won the keys to a supercar and it was time to take it for a spin. Sure, I wasn't driving this new supercar to its full potential, but I wasn't crashing it either, and every minute driving saw a small, gradual, but cumulative increase in my driving skill. Feeling my body move, responding to my desires like a precision machine, was incredible. My muscles practically sang in purpose with each movement. I hadn't even stretched before starting this program, but I felt no aches or pains as I dodged to the side to avoid a blade thrust. There was no pain in the knees (especially my bad left one) when crouching to slip under a slash. Just clean, exact, graceful movements, from a body that shouldn't be capable of such things without a ton of daily vigorous exercise, training, preparation, and a lifestyle to match – it was glorious!

I got used to the new difficulty quickly and decided to ramp up the program's difficulty level even more, but even then, was finding it a bit too easy, so I upped it one more time. The Klingons began to close the gap in skill and ability, making up in numbers what they couldn't individually, the computer probably setting hard physiological limits for the Klingon species to keep it accurate. At this point there were five Klingons constantly trying to kill me, and avoiding their blades was getting tricky as killing one just summoned another. Eventually, I made a mistake, tripped on the growing piles of corpses in the area, which let one of those fuckers slash me open from my right hip to my left shoulder. This alerted me to two things. The first, Worf's 'calisthenics' program had automatically turned the holodeck safeties off, which meant the slash had created a real wound. The second, was that it really fucking hurt!

Everything suddenly became sort of greyed out as the shot of adrenaline in my system triggered something in me and I stopped holding back. Apparently, I went on a bit of psychotic killing spree, and I'm not sure when it would have ended since I no longer seemed capable of the rational thought necessary to simply order the computer to end the program. Luckily/unluckily, my killing rampage required the ship's computer to use more and more processing resources to continue the program. I later learned that the rapid increase in computer resources being diverted to the holodeck processors had caught Geordi La Forge's eye and he quickly decided to have someone investigate after the computer told him I was the only person present in the holodeck in question. He contacted Deanna, who for some reason hadn't detected my descent into bloodlust, so when she did finally sense it as she approached, she burst into the holodeck without thinking (or sending in the guards) and nearly got accidentally skewered by yours truly, a now blood soaked, dead-eyed Augment, surrounded by several hundred dead holographic Klingons who had been cut down in so many interesting ways. Now, I'll admit, it wasn't my best look, especially since I was trying to convince everyone that I was nothing like the murderous Augment tyrants from the Eugenics Wars, but damned if I hadn't had a good time pushing myself to the limit… at least once I regained control of myself.

"Gothic!" she yelled out, flinching away from the approaching weapon as I hadn't stopped my forward momentum.

She had not even finished yelling out my name when my bat'leth went past her head and hit the Klingon that had appeared behind her, preventing him from stabbing her in the back. Her entry into the holodeck mid-program had somehow designated her as a viable combatant, which didn't fully make sense to me, but like I said, the holodeck was unpredictable as fuck. I wound up just in front of her, leaving us almost face to face, although our size difference forced her to look up at me (this version of Troi was about 5'7).

Deanna had turned as white as a sheet, whether from seeing me like this, feeling my emotions or lack of them, or realizing that she had nearly stupidly died in a holodeck, and thus was only barely able to stutter out, "Com… computer… end program." The computer instantly complied and suddenly the two of us were once again standing in an empty black room with yellow orange grid lines on the wall. The bat'leth in my hands and the Klingon armor on me also disappeared when the program ended, leaving me covered in torn, bloody clothing and several mostly closed wounds that still bled just a bit, but even that was slowly decreasing as my enhanced body was restoring things back to normal.

We simply stared at each other for several long moments, her eyes locked on mine, her cheeks flushed and breath coming harder than normal, while several complex emotions played out on her face. The new hint of sweet and tangy I detected suggested that women in the 24th century were not so enlightened that a strong, virile, and masculine man capable of violence (and thus protecting them and their offspring from violence, at least from an evolutionary perspective) didn't turn them on.

"Hey Deanna, what brings you by?" I asked cheerfully as I took a step back, emotion returning to my face.

Deanna gave me a dirty look before it slowly morphed into concern. "Gothic! You're injured! Why weren't the safety protocols on… oh no, you were using one of Worf's programs. You need to get to sickbay right now."

"That's ok. I just need a shower - it looks much worse than it really is, I promise." It really did, as without the constant motions required during combat, opening the wound yet again, the cuts were healing a lot faster than before and only the big slash wound on my chest was still weeping a bit. That said, I was really hungry, like I hadn't eaten for a couple of days. Troi, however, wouldn't take 'no' for an answer and practically dragged me to sickbay. I'm kind of surprised she didn't call for a medical emergency and request a medical team come to our location, to be honest, but I decided to humor her and just went along with it. If that set her mind at ease, I was happy to accommodate her.

Returning to sickbay felt entirely unnecessary as far as I was concerned. Sure, I was still a bit sore, but it was a pleasant feeling after being inactive for so long. My wounds had finally fully stopped bleeding, and were practically healing before my eyes - this new body was insane. I suppose I could understand Troi's concern, but I honestly felt like this trip was a bit of an overreaction. We hurried to sickbay, and I think this was the first time I got anything but negative looks from the passing crew – I half-seriously wondered how hurt I had to be for them to be happy to see me?

We walked through the doors and were instantly approached by Dr. Crusher while her nurse, the guy I had hurt before, hung back – at least he didn't leave.

"What happened?" Beverly Crusher asked as she saw the blood and hustled over to me, medical tricorder in hand. "Did someone attack you?"

That required some explanation, though her concern was touching.

"I was trying out Worf's calisthenics program," I informed the doctor. "It… got a little… intense."

"No safety protocols?" Dr. Crusher asked me, clearly knowing the answer already. Worf probably came here regularly with similar injuries.

I nodded in reply. Truthfully, I hadn't known the safety protocols were off until I was nearly cut in half. The crazy thing was that a truly lethal instant wound, like one of those holographic Klingons cutting my head off, could have killed me. I knew for a fact that I didn't have the authority for such a thing, but Worf must have pre-programmed the safeties off for his program and as Security Chief and a senior officer onboard, could make that stick with the computer.

Dr. Crusher shook her head and had me remove my shirt and sit down on a biobed. She picked up a device that I hadn't seen before and waved it purposefully over the damaged parts of my body in slow sweeping arcs, finishing the healing process before setting it down.

"There won't be any scarring," she assured me with a small smile. Her long experience at setting her injured patients at ease was apparent, no matter how unneeded it was in this particular case. She then picked up another device and began holding it over the other already closing wounds, a visible energy field soon being emitted by the device. I figured that this device was the one that would heal the wounds, or speed up healing in the affected area, and what she had used before had been something to prevent infection or to find out how much damage there actually was in the first place. That made some sense, you wouldn't want to seal up a wound if it wasn't clean already.

Counselor Troi suddenly received a comm request and was called back to the bridge. She left, promising to check in on me later. We all said our goodbyes and Dr. Crusher turned back to look at me as Troi walked out. Like a magnet, my eyes remained stuck to that perfect ass until she left.

"Dermal regenerator," Dr. Crusher explained to me once I focused back on her. I could have sworn I saw a slight frown on her lips. "It can heal simple injuries, but they won't do anything for the pain… would you like something for that?"

Maybe it had been the adrenaline or my body somehow regulated the pain so I wasn't overly distracted by it, but the hurt was actually pretty minor and already fading.

"No, I'll be fine," I assured her.

"As an Augment you have enhanced healing," Dr. Crusher explained, a serious look in her eyes, "but that doesn't make you immortal. Remember that, Gothic, it may save your life one day."

I took her warning to heart, though it wasn't like I had deluded myself into actually thinking I was immortal – almost ageless, maybe, immortal, hell no. While my enhancements certainly made me harder to kill, it would take a lot more damage than I had just gotten for me to get really worried about dying… and yet, if I had received a similar injury in my original body, I would be in very bad shape for weeks as I healed naturally, and yet here I was, hale and hearty.

"Well doc, I'm more than three hundred and fifty years old," I reminded the beautiful red head, which was true at least from a strict calendar perspective. "I bet you won't find many people that look this good at my advanced age," I joked, sending her an over-the-top wink.

"You aren't even the oldest person on this ship, Gothic, even with your time in stasis," Dr. Crusher informed me, a small smile on her lips. "And if you want to get any older, you'll have to be a little more careful. Keep in mind, fast healing also means it could heal incorrectly, if not taken care of quickly enough. A bone that heals incorrectly would need to be rebroken, for example."

"Don't worry about me, doc," I said, getting up. "Whoever changed me built me to last."

Dr. Crusher appeared to be lost in thought, or at least that's what I first figured when I saw her staring intently at my chest. At first I thought she was focused on the blood smear, but when I accidentally flexed my hard pecs and she unconsciously darted her tongue out to wet her lips, I think it finally hit me. I took a few deep inhales to pick up the scents in the room to confirm my suspicion, and wow… something about me and my current condition really got the good doctor's juices flowing right now. I don't know if it was my physique or the pheromones or the combat proficiency I obviously possessed, or maybe it was just that she hadn't been with anyone in a while, but she was attracted to me something fierce.

Dr. Crusher put her hand over my heart and lightly touched my chest, seemingly unconsciously.

"Gothic…" she said slowly. "Why don't I give you a physical… in my office… right now… over there…in private."

I gave her a grin that let her know I wasn't fooled, but happily consented to this 'physical'. Since I had been discharged already, I suppose I was no longer her patient.

"Sure, doc," I said. "Let's go."

Dr. Crusher walked me to her office like she wasn't sure if she was going to go through with this or not. But when she turned to see me just behind her, a look of lust in my eyes, apparently she had decided it was worth it after all. I stepped into the room and was barely able to brace myself as she threw her arms around my neck and kissed me, hard. In the privacy of my mind I was jumping for joy, while outwardly I played it cool. This Christina Hendricks lookalike was grinding her body against me and those plump kissable lips I had looked at several times were now mine.

Stopping for a brief moment, I spoke aloud to the room, not knowing if this would actually work, "Computer, activate patient privacy mode." At my command the door was locked, the room windows darkened, and some kind of noise cancelling field turned on changing the overall acoustics of the room. It had been a shot in the proverbial dark, but presumably a Doctor on a starship may need to have private conversations with patients and that might require some electronic help to ensure the patient's privacy was assured.

Her look of appreciation and smile at my forethought to protect her reputation told me she was very pleased. Being viewed as a considerate and discreet lover would hopefully ensure a repeat performance and favorable gossip among the females on the ship. And don't let anybody tell you different, women were even worse gossips when it came to their sex lives (with other women) than men were.

We spent the next few minutes thoroughly exploring each other's mouth, our tongues dueling each other. My hands pulled her close, slipping under the waistband of her pants and panties and grabbing a handful of firm ass, kneading it roughly with my enhanced strength. Her moans of pleasure at how forceful I was being with her signaled loud and clear that she was a fan of this treatment, so I kept it up.

My left hand left her panties and went into her beautiful red curls. Threading my fingers tightly, I strongly massaged the back of her head, deepening the kiss, before I pulled her head semi-sharply to the side, exposing her neck. Her surprised moan intensified as I attacked her neck, my kisses and lips sucking on her pulse point in time with her heartbeat.

Her reaction to my rough treatment proved a theory I had. Dr. Crusher was a devastatingly sexy and beautiful woman, but she was also the Chief Medical Officer and part of the senior staff aboard Starfleet's flagship. Even on a ship which over a thousand people called home, her safe options for a casual sexual relationship were likely extremely limited. I, on the other hand, was a handsome, sexy, powerful and mysterious Augment, a civilian in every sense, who likely wouldn't even be on the ship all that long. I was also someone who wouldn't be intimidated by her high position or reputation or be willing to defer to her, even in this sexual situation. This was a woman who I suspected wanted a strong man to take charge for once, to let her just be a beautiful and sexy woman about to be fucked, rather than a mother, Starfleet officer, doctor, and department head.

While I was busy driving her crazy kissing her neck, she had reached down to open my pants and fished out my already rock-hard cock, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to end this day disappointed with blue balls.

Glancing down to my cock in her hands, a moment or two of shocked awe ensued at my new porn star cock.

"Do you think you can handle that, doc?" I asked, a challenging tone in my voice.

Dr. Crusher immediately fell to her knees and took me deeply into her mouth, as if to prove me wrong, her tongue working overtime. Overachieving women were so easy to rile up. She wasn't the most experienced at blowjobs, but damned if she wasn't eager, passionate, and willing to please. It had to have been a while for her, but she still managed to get me going. After a couple of minutes of sloppy cock sucking, I decided to move onto the main event. I had considered grabbing her face and fucking it, but that might have been a bit much for this first time. I somehow had this certain feeling that I could go as long as I wanted and cum practically on command. It was mighty strange and a rather significant contrast with my other sexual experiences.

"I think it's time I returned the favor," I said. Pulling her up and I sat her down on the edge of her office desk. I slowly grasped her waistband, giving her time to stop me, but kept going when she didn't. I pulled her pants down, then got between those thighs, my mouth just inches away from her panty-clad pussy. The panties were soaked through, and her delightful scent filled the room even stronger than before, sweety and tangy.

"Please, Gothic…" she said, almost pushing her neatly trimmed cunt into my face.

"Don't worry, doc," I replied. "I won't make you beg… this time."

I finally pulled down her panties and was faced with a well-maintained bush over the prettiest pussy I had seen in a long time. Her tiny clitoris was sticking out and the lips were covered in her juices, signaling she was extremely turned on right now. I bowed my head forward and got to work, tasting her, licking my way up and down her thighs and sucking on her clit. My enhanced physiology seemed to include much greater control of the four muscles in my tongue because I was pulling some truly epic shit, stuff I had never managed before, including high speed vibration, which was almost certainly impossible previously. Her scream of surprise when I figured out that trick had been loud as fuck. My enhanced memory also meant I had perfect recall of every little (and big) reaction of hers, building a list of things that worked and didn't work specific to her body.

I added some gentle finger penetration which brought her right to the very edge of orgasm before backing off, enjoying the moans and groans coming from the usually collected and stern doctor, before going back for more and doing it again. She finally couldn't take it anymore because she soon pulled me up, almost desperate to get me to stick my cock inside her, her legs wrapped tightly around my hips. I wasn't having any of that, so my left hand wrapped itself around her throat and gently squeezed, showing her who exactly was in control, and gently increasing her arousal via the light asphyxiation and the show of dominance, placing several gentle kisses on her lips. There was no way in hell I was going to have this end without getting my hands and mouth on those huge perky tits, so with my right hand I pulled up her shirt forcefully and freed those puppies for my touch. My fingers were soon playing with her nipples, which I quickly learned were quite sensitive, before lowering my mouth to them and taking them in my mouth. I switched back and forth for a while, her moans sounding like sweet music in my ears.

Standing straight I moved my left hand that had been around her throat to the back of her neck. "Do you want me to fuck this pretty pussy, doc?"

"Yes, yes, please, Gothic, don't make me wait any longer!" she begged.

"Put me inside." With that she reached down and took my now 10-inch cock and pressed it against her soaking wet pussy.

In one fluid motion I sheathed myself inside her, stretching her tight pussy to accommodate me. Her scream practically echoed off the walls and made me extremely thankful that I had had the foresight to activate the office's privacy settings lest someone think that I had attacked the woman.

I hadn't had sex for over 200 years and this beautiful woman and her hot, wet, and extremely tight pussy was straining even my Augment control over my body, so I gripped those hips tightly and started a hard and fast rhythm right from the get go. I rotated my hips continuously, cataloging every tiny reaction in my mind before finding her g-spot and hammering that spot over and over again before changing my rhythm for a bit, then returning, drawing sweet gasps from her rosebud lips.

Just like when I had first awakened in this new body, the sensations I was feeling were far more intense than anything I'd ever felt before during sex in my old life. It was beyond description. I could get addicted to this.

When I felt her reaching the edge, I released my bruising grip on her hips (whoops), her legs still wrapped tightly around my hips, and grabbed both her nipples and roughly tweaked them as we both came at the same time. My hands returned to her hips, as I pulled her tight against me as I grunted and released my cum deep inside her. She screamed like a banshee as she came. It was a beautiful moment, which is why it was probably the worst possible moment for her son, Wesley Crusher, to walk in on us, both of us mostly undressed, my cock still fully inside her pussy, her heaving tits pressing tightly against my chest.

Like a bad sitcom, Wesley's face seemed like it went through an exaggerated pantomime of several emotions before culminating in an embarrassed and outraged, "Mom!" and we could only watch him run out before either of us could say anything. I would imagine the doctor had given her son access rights to her office in the past and that had overridden the privacy seal.

"Oh dear," she said with a sigh and a giggle, still coming down from her orgasmic high, a smile still plastered on her face, but obviously quite embarrassed too. "I better go after him. I wish I could have introduced you under better circumstances."

"Yeah, me too," I said, wondering what the chances were for the kid to have walked in at that exact moment. At least it wasn't before we both came, or when I was face deep in the woman's pussy. Ah well. I thought about offering my help in finding Wesley, but considering that he had caught the two of us together and I was being followed by two guards, I figured the good doctor might want to handle this quietly, and my presence would make that impossible.

Crusher got up and tried to make herself presentable, before giving up on that and deciding to put on a spare uniform she had. The office had a small bathroom and sonic shower that she used to clean herself up and get dressed again. Her calm, methodical movements were seemingly at odds with the almost possessed way she had acted before I popped her cork like a champ. She looked mighty Zen now.

I had cleaned myself up and gotten dressed as well, putting on a newly created shirt I pulled out of the replicator. I walked up behind her and wrapped my arms around her from behind, my lips kissing the side of her neck in a spot I had already identified she really liked.

"You know, I'm not going to be long on the Enterprise," I said gently. "I can't promise you a relationship or even fidelity," I continued, making sure we were looking in each other's eyes in the mirror. "All I can be is your friend… with benefits."

The smile Crusher wore made it clear she felt the same way, knowing the score from the get go, before replying, "Thank you for your honesty. We'll just have to enjoy what time we have together."

I nodded, and turned her around so I could kiss her hard again, our hands exploring each other once again. After a moment, we separated, and left the bathroom. Crusher put her doctor's coat back on, and like a switch had been flipped, she was Dr. Crusher again.

"So, Dr. Crusher," I asked, with a smile on my lips, "how'd I do on my physical?"

I caught a naughty glint in her eyes as she slowly looked me up and down. I got the impression that if she didn't need to go find Wesley, we would be engaging in round 2 with a round 3 soon after. The woman was passionate and insatiable.

"You passed with flying colors, Gothic," she answered huskily. "We might need to continue the examination later, though, to ensure consistent results… and please, call me Beverly."

"Looking forward to it… Beverly," I said. I waited for her to walk in front of me and said, "After you, Beverly," before we both stepped out into the hallway, acting like nothing unusual had happened. Hopefully Wesley would keep his mouth shut. I had a feeling gossip traveled on this ship at warp fucking 10.

With one last nod, she turned left and began walking away, her hand already reaching for her comm badge to ask the computer exactly where Wesley was.

I turned back to my guards, and said, "OK boys, looks like nothing's falling off today. How about we go back to my quarters?"

Without waiting for a response, I turned to the right and began walking towards the turbolift. I couldn't help humming, "I just had sex, and it felt so good" by the Lonely Island under my breath – maybe a little juvenile, but it's not every day you essentially lose your virginity for the second time.

And man, oh man, what a revelation it was. It was night and day different from my life before. The enhanced body control meant I could have probably gone for hours and cum on command…and the intense sensations were insane. The enhanced memory meant I had perfect recall of every little reaction of my partner and could tailor my every move for maximum effect. The enhanced mind somehow also meant enhanced intuition, because I somehow picked up on Beverly's desire for a dominant lover relatively quickly. Thank God that had panned out or things would have gotten awkward, fast. The fact that I pulled off that dominance so easily, something I had never done before, was a bit surprising too. What was even more surprising, though, was just how much I liked it.

Every day brought new revelations as to exactly what it meant to be an Augment.

(Line Break)

Deck 7. U.S.S. Enterprise.

We had just stepped into the turbolift when a ship-wide alert went out. A prisoner had just escaped during transport off the ship and was being chased by security. While my guards didn't say anything, I could practically sense their tension rise, something I didn't expect from Vulcans. The turbolift had continued to move way past where I thought we should have gotten off, like its destination had been overridden remotely. Eventually, we arrived at deck 36 and my two guards told me to remain inside the lift while they checked out what was going on. They had just stepped out when a large purple being ran by, knocked them aside without stopping, just yelling out in a husky, but identifiably feminine voice, "Out of my way!"

I quickly left the turbolift to check on the guards to confirm that they were alright, with just the wind knocked out of them – good thing they were Vulcans, a very hardy species overall, or they could have gotten seriously hurt. I tore after her, following her scent like a bloodhound. Her smell was very odd, like that of a blooming rose that had been mixed with the metallic aftertaste of dried blood. As I ran after her, I mentally tried to examine it more, expecting fear. Frankly, I was a bit confused because while I knew what fear smelled like now, she wasn't emitting anything even close. On the contrary, other than her natural scent, some body odor given the physical exertion, and that of the damaged armor, I had nothing else from her. Whoever this alien woman was, she wasn't panicking or hesitating - instead, she was as cool as a cucumber, which meant she was used to situations like this, which suggested a lot of training and experience in combat, which meant I had better be careful or I would get my Augment ass handed to me.

I found her scent trail led into the Jeffries tubes (the maintenance tunnels that ran all over the ship) and entered after her. I could just hear her crawling somewhere ahead of me. What really alarmed me was that I recognized the rhythmic, ground-eating pace she was using (even while crawling through the tube) as similar to the one drilled in to me when I was in army basic training. It was at this point I began to finally pay attention to the mental alarms that had been blaring inside my head since I had begun following her: specifically that I was unarmed, chasing what was looking more and more like a highly-trained special forces operator, in the bowels of a starship that I didn't truly owe any duty to, especially a duty as potentially dangerous as this. In fact, they'd probably tell me that I had no business getting involved at all! And they'd be right!

Still, all my new stuff was here and I couldn't have her break things and people without consequences. One could also hope that protecting the ship from such a dangerous person like this might also improve my reputation with the ship's officers.

I picked up the pace and started to gain on her. I must have pinged on her threat radar enough to merit an immediate response as she was ready for me and I almost got my head knocked off my shoulders for my trouble as she gracefully twisted around with her fist at the ready when I finally got close enough. My enhanced speed and reflexes meant I was able to duck and counter just in time, getting a fist of my own in position to punch her hard in her undefended side, which was the last freebie I got. She let out a sharp grunt of pain and turned fully toward me, now taking me very seriously and giving me her full attention before attacking like a cornered animal.

It was at this point that I really felt the significant difference between fighting a computer-generated opponent and the real deal. The real deal, in this case, was a highly trained flesh and blood being that could be unpredictable as fuck and adapt to all my moves. Holo-opponents have a certain rhythm to them that you can get used to and anticipate no matter how random it appears on the surface. With a sentient opponent, on the other hand, with real stakes on the line, fighting for their lives, there can be real randomness added that changes the way the fight progresses every second. My previous military hand-to-hand training had been mostly grappling and submission maneuvers and that limitation was now going to be a problem. Fuck, I really should spend some time on the holodeck learning some martial arts.

My fight with the Klingons had been with blades and hadn't exactly been fair in the first place, as I was both faster and stronger than them – but while I was still faster and stronger than my opponent, that seemed to be my only advantage as she had a longer reach, knew how to better apply her strength, had extensive martial training, and obviously possessed a great deal of actual combat experience. I managed to hold her off for maybe half a minute before she was able to land a couple of very heavy blows that drove me back. If I had still been in my pre-Augment body, I'm absolutely sure that my arms and ribs would have been broken or shattered several times over by now. Strangely enough, despite what had been an intensely brutal fight so far, I got the impression that she hadn't truly been trying to kill or maim me, at least at first, instead trying to disable me with minimal injury. When I hadn't gone down as expected, though, she had escalated the strength of her blows. It was a level of adaptability I had only seen before in truly professional black ops soldiers, masters of warfare.

"Huh. Looks like the Federation has enhanced soldiers of their own," she said. "I figured that that counselor had been lying to me about that. How did you even track me? My life signs should not have shown up on your sensors."

That statement shocked me, but maybe it shouldn't have given the martial skill and experience I'd seen so far. This alien woman had correctly deduced, from just 30 seconds of fighting, that I was an enhanced human, quite different from baseline humanity, and that I had somehow tracked her without technology.

"I'm not exactly standard issue, a bit of a unique oddity really. And I followed your scent," I shot back, deciding to skip my convoluted backstory for the moment, and getting my first real glimpse of her. The alien female in front of me was 7'5" tall; had dark purple skin covered in blue, vaguely Celtic-looking tattoos; bluish-green hair (cut short in a military style); and her eyes currently resembled a feline's, with a black line for a pupil and a faintly glowing electric blue iris surrounding it. Her ears were slightly longer and thinner than a Vulcan's, and stuck out the sides of the head, swiveling back and forth like a predator animal to pick up sound. Her face actually reminded me of a purple Rosario Dawson – alluring, but somehow aggressive. Her body was the ultimate balance between fitness model and weight-lifter – a curvy hour-glass shaped figure, mixed with a strong musculature with which I could easily believe could crush a skull in one hand or bend metal rebar for fun. I'll admit that I temporarily became distracted by her heaving chest, because she was built like a brick house, with a pair of some of the biggest, firmest, bounciest breasts I had ever seen. I swear that each one was the size of my head!

She let out an annoyed snort, possibly detecting my rather lustful evaluation of her body, which brought me back from la-la land. I was lucky she hadn't attacked me while I was distracted by her exotic looks. All in all, she looked like a jacked-up Night-elf from the Warcraft series, dressed in something from the Mad Max movies, and I was sure that someone like her had never been in a canon episode of TNG. Even with my poor memories, pre-Augment status, I'd remember a chick this exotic looking.

"Who are you?" I asked, "And what are you doing here?"

I'm not sure why she was still talking to me since she was a fugitive and ship security was after her, but maybe she felt some sort of kinship with me as we were both enhanced and warriors of sorts, different from the rest of our respective races.

"My name is Roga Danar," she answered. "I just escaped from the Lunar Five prison when the Enterprise interfered. I won't go back – the government calls it a 'colony', but really, it's just a prison for those they want to ignore, to forget, instead of helping. Be careful or one day you'll end up on a Lunar Five of your own."

So, she did feel some kinship with me. Her name was familiar, as was the name of the colony, but something wasn't quite right about what I was hearing. As for me ending up in prison just for being an Augment, that was already something I feared.

"What is the name of your world?" I asked, needing more information to finally get the puzzle pieces to fit.

"You call it Angosia III."

Well, boom – there it is. I finally remembered where I had heard these names before. They were from a TNG episode called 'The Hunted'… but that couldn't be right. For one thing, if I remembered correctly, all this should have happened months ago, and already been resolved. For another, Roga Danar had been a regular looking man on the show, very human looking with just a small blue tattoo on the left side of the face between the eye and ear – certainly not a purple and sexy Night Elf/She-Hulk that towered over me by almost a foot.

The gist of the episode had been that the Enterprise was on a mission to visit with a civilization called the Angosians, who had been rapidly recovering after a war, and had petitioned for Federation membership. At first, it seemed like the Angosians were tailor-made to become members, but then a prisoner escaped from the planet's lunar colony and the Angosians asked the Enterprise for help in capturing him.

The Enterprise succeeded in tracking him down with the ship's superior sensor technology, but that's when the rotten core of the Angosians was revealed. It turned out that the Angosians had been unable to fight the war properly, because, like the Federation, they had neutered themselves into a virtually pacifist society that only focused on cultural advancement… so when war finally reached their world, the Angosians had taken volunteers and had them go through extensive genetic engineering, chemical manipulation, and psychological conditioning to make them into perfect and deadly soldiers capable of fighting against the oncoming threat, a threat they couldn't fight against themselves.

After the war was won and over, Danar and the other enhanced soldiers attempted to integrate back into Angosian society. With no attempt to reverse their conditioning, the soldiers quickly became violent at the slightest provocation. A referendum over their future was held, and they were subsequently relocated to the penal settlement Lunar V where they were well fed and comfortable, but were unable to leave. It later came out in the episode that part of the reason for the government not even attempting to return them to normal was that 'they might be needed again.' What a massive burning pile of diseased dicks. Danar was supposed to escape the Enterprise in canon, return to the colony to pick up a couple of friends, go on to lead an attack on the capital, and hopefully then force the government to finally help its veterans with the Enterprise leaving the system, letting the Angosians settle their own internal affairs. The question of Federation membership was put on hold while the Angosians figured this out.

Perhaps this wasn't the best time, but I couldn't help but wonder why this event was happening now, just in time for me to be on the Enterprise. Perhaps this was yet another example of a growing list of differences between this universe and that of the TV shows, but I had the sneaking suspicion that this event was actually a manipulation by my patron or another ROB. That felt right, for some reason. This cemented in my mind that future events were not set in stone, not in the canon timeline and not how they were resolved in canon.

So far, my foreknowledge was almost entirely good in terms of the broad strokes, if not necessarily the exact timing or in the fine details, like how Dr. Crusher or Roga Danar looked. I suppose I should have felt outraged that I was being manipulated, like a marionette on strings for some uber powerful God-like being's amusement, but considering that everything my patron had done up until now had been to my extreme benefit and that they had been mostly been hands-off otherwise – I could live with it. In any case, I needed to focus back on the present - Danar was giving me a strange look, probably because I had zoned out for a bit.

"Sorry about that. Right. If you want to get off the ship you're going to have to disable the external sensors and get to a transporter. If you get into the shuttle bay, they may use gas to try and knock you out, so you'll want to pick up a pressure suit. There should be one there."

Due to the Angosian Augment's enhancements, her life signs couldn't be detected by the Enterprise's scanners, so Danar still likely had just enough time to escape and finish the episode the way it had before, even with my brief delay. I was tempted to ask how she was able to pull off her sensor trick, but there was no more time and it was entirely possible that she didn't even know how it had been done.

"Why are you helping me?" she asked in suspicion, which I couldn't blame her for.

"Let's just say that I can sympathize with a fellow enhanced, one whom the rest of her race looks at with fear and suspicion, and leave it at that. Give me a nice punch in the face to make it bloody and get going. Look me up someday if you ever want to get away from this place. Maybe we'll meet again under better circumstances. Good luck."

Without any hesitation at all, she socked me in the left temple and I hit the side of the Jeffries tube hard enough to damage the bulkhead itself and leave a bloody gash on my head.

"Go…" I said and she began to run, not even looking back. I decided to take a moment and just sit there, acting as disoriented as possible, hoping that this would be enough to sell the deception. That really had been a good punch though, and maybe resting a little would make the world stop from spinning. Incredibly, the whole exchange had taken less than two minutes.

Not long after Danar had left, my two guards, Tweedledee and Tweedledum showed up. They helped get me up and we walked back to the turbolift. We had to wait a couple of minutes before Danar managed to escape, but once she had, the turbolift system became functional again and I was taken to sickbay yet again. Good thing I liked Dr. Crusher or coming here so often would have been getting annoying. As it was, she still wasn't back from dealing with Wesley, so the only people there was a doctor I had never met before and the same male nurse that I had injured, go figure. I had forgotten about him while Beverly and I had been otherwise engaged, and figured this was the time to try and make nice.

I made several attempts to start up a friendly conversation with this guy during my examination, but the nurse ignored them all. Guess he wasn't going to be a fan after all. Ah well. I tried.

By this time, I had already healed up and the on-call Doctor told me to return to my quarters, get some rest, and contact Dr. Crusher if I had any symptoms of a concussion. I agreed, and was quickly allowed to leave sickbay. Well, I had stuff to do back at my place so I headed there, with my two guards trailing after me in what was slowly becoming a familiar routine.

(Line Break)

Guest Quarters. U.S.S. Enterprise.

As soon as I got inside, I began to strip down and put my blood-splattered clothes in the replicator for recycling so that I could get fresh versions. I then took a sonic shower and afterwards grabbed a bite to eat, this time a 32-ounce Japanese Kobe beef steak, with rosemary salt and garlic butter, parmesan Tuscan mushrooms and French fries. In my time a steak cut like that would have been easily $200 and up just for the meat itself, but here it was just a replicator order away. The food was very tasty and filling, but I noticed that it was just a little off from what I remembered, like the seasoning wasn't quite right or something like that. All replicated food that I had tasted so far had this semi-sterile taste that needed a little bit of time to get used to. As soon as I was done and had recycled the dishes and utensils back into the replicator, I decided to go over some things that had been bothering me all day now.

The first was why hadn't Troi felt my emotional change till she had gotten physically close to me? On the show, Troi's empathic power was capable of reaching out into space and feeling the emotions of people on other nearby starships – how could she not have noticed me getting that angry? That didn't make sense. Was I somehow protected or shielded from long-range empathic detection? What about telepathy? Would a telepath learn I had knowledge of future events? Something weird was going on here, but for obvious reasons I couldn't test this theory. I'd have to table it for now.

The second thing was Roga Danar's radical difference in appearance. I decided to look up what this universe's version of the Angosian race typically looked like and wasn't all that surprised to find that they looked like Danar, but much thinner, shorter, and lighter skinned. They were a beautiful race, in my opinion, and were still visibly humanoid enough that they still fit in with the narrative introduced in the TNG episode 'The Chase'. That episode was the writers' attempt to explain why it seemed (except for some minor cosmetic differences) most of the aliens encountered on the show were humanoid, instead of say, something that looks like a walking pink jellyfish/octopus hybrid, or a man-sized space spider. In the very rare occasions where more exotic alien species did appear, they were rarely seen ever again, as the money spent on building and maintaining puppets or using computer generated images (CGI) was usually better spent on bigger visual effects extravaganzas like large fleet battles. This universe apparently had a similar backstory, specifically that an ancient and incredibly powerful humanoid race, called the Preservers, had seeded many worlds throughout the galaxy with their DNA, hoping that the lifeforms that would develop would be similar to their own and they would no longer be alone. In any case, I still wasn't sure why Danar was specifically an incredibly beautiful woman – not that I was complaining – though I did have my suspicions.

Out of curiosity, I decided to take a look at what Kivas Fajo had looked like to see if he had matched my memory from the show. Fajo was a Zibalian, and the TV show version pretty much looked human as well, with just a slight cosmetic difference in the nose, and had been portrayed by the actor, Saul Rubinek. This universe's version resembled the original concept version, of someone that looked like a goblin mixed with a satyr, as would have been portrayed by David Rappaport if he hadn't dropped out.

My thoughts returned to the oddness surrounding the Roga Danar encounter. It was quite a coincidence that my turbolift had moved across the entire ship and deposited me just at the right moment to intercept Danar. Was it a glitch, or a further manipulation by my mysterious patron, or simply fate? I wasn't sure. Assuming it was my patron, what had been the point? Was it just to meet Danar? To give me a warning about the Federation possibly turning on me? To allow me to meet a fellow enhanced? To show me that I needed to learn how to fight because I would not be able to overcome every opponent with just how much stronger or faster I was now? Maybe all of the above? Speculating endlessly like this was getting exhausting and I suspected I would never know the answer to these questions.

The third thing was that I would need to get my hands on some body armor with some sort of energy shield component or research and develop it myself. While I should heal quickly from melee weapons, I wonder how much worse it could have been if I had decided to use a holoprogram where the safeties had been off and the enemies had fired modern phasers or replica machine guns. Even a holographic bullet can kill, as the movie Star Trek: First Contact had proven when Picard had used the holodeck to kill a Borg drone. Even my badass Augment body probably wouldn't have survived a bullet to the head. To top it all off, I had been seriously lucky that my arrogance hadn't gotten me killed when I had decided to go after Danar. If she had used a phaser set to kill on me or I had fun afoul of a lethal trap she had set up, it could have easily ended with me blown to pieces… something I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have survived. In many ways I was akin to a superhuman, but Superman I was not. I was far from unkillable, hence why body armor was a necessity. Just another thing to add to my long list of things I needed to do…

I decided to hit the books again, spending the next few hours trying to complete the education every Federation citizen did as children. Several hours after starting, I could feel the impulse engines begin to move the ship. If all had gone well, then Danar and her fellow veterans had had their showdown with the Angosian government that forced them to acknowledge their existence and their right to freedom. They were never mentioned again on the show, so I had zero foreknowledge at to what happened after or if they were even successful, but part of me hoped it ended without more suffering or bloodshed. The veterans had been through enough, and maybe they would finally get the help they deserved from the government and society that had created them and then, when the war was over and won, discarded them.

I had just gotten back into the swing of things when I was interrupted by the comm system.

"Troi to Gothic," she said.

"Gothic here," I replied. "Go ahead."

"Captain Picard has requested to meet with you, are you available to come to his ready room?"

"Of course," I answered eagerly. Not only would this give me my first glimpse of the bridge, but going inside the actual captain's ready room – nerdgasm!

With that, Troi arranged for my security escort and we set out for the bridge.

(Line Break)

The Bridge. U.S.S. Enterprise.

Stepping onto the Enterprise's bridge in real life was a surreal experience. I couldn't help but examine everything. Frankly, if they had let me, I could have spent hours just observing one of the most iconic sets in science fiction history. The bridge was shaped like an oval with the back section slightly raised about midway, with ramps on two sides connecting it to the lower level. The raised and wider section is for the tactical operations, engineering, and several science stations. The middle part contains three chairs - the one in the middle for the captain, the one on the right for the first officer, and the left usually for the counselor, but could also be used by high-ranking officials like visiting diplomats or admirals or guests to the bridge. Just beyond these were the dual helm stations, essentially the ship's pilot stations. At the very front of the room was the main viewscreen for the ship, essentially a gigantic monitor that was primarily used to display the space around the ship, but could also be used for any communications. Behind the bridge was the equally famous observation lounge or conference lounge, where the ship's senior officers would often meet to discuss matters both big and small, but I didn't get a chance to see it this time. Completing this area was the captain's ready room, which was on the left side, a place where the Captain could work in private but be only a few steps away from the bridge if needed.

While not my favorite bridge layout, it was still awesome to be in here; this place was iconic. Even the tactically stupid location at the very top of the ship (and thus vulnerable to attack and taking out the ship's command crew mid-battle) and having a skylight, of all things, didn't detract from my enjoyment being in such a famous place. The guards lead me down the ramp towards the ready room, allowing me to see that Riker was currently in command, with Data sitting in one of the helm positions. Troi's seat was empty, as she was probably with the captain in the ready room. The rest of the positions were filled with random crew members that I didn't recognize from the show. It would have been impossible for a ship this size to only be manned by the senior officers, after all. Of course, there would have to be many, many officers to work the various shifts 24 hours a day. People had days off, even in the future.

Worf was nearly identical in appearance to his show version, i.e. the actor Michael Dorn in season 3 and later heavy makeup and prosthetics. He stared at me intently as I passed by, almost as if he was expecting me to take this opportunity to try and take over the ship – that probably explained the extra security personnel positioned around the room. Worf wasn't a bad person, he was just a bit of an asshole, so I decided to ignore him.

Commander Riker was almost an exact copy of the actor who played him on TV, Jonathon Frakes. He was a bit more in shape than his show counterpart, and without the slight slouch that Frakes had due to his bad back. He also didn't appear to like me very much because he was rather cool towards me, practically ignoring the guards and myself as we walked by… ah well.

I gave Data a half-wave, and he nodded at me congenially. With that, I pressed the button indicating I was there and waited at the door till I heard a "come" from within, and entered the ready room alone, my guards apparently not needed inside.

(Line Break)

Captain's Ready Room. U.S.S. Enterprise.

The Enterprise-D's ready room wasn't as grand as I had imagined, just a desk, a small couch, a couple of chairs, a small aquarium, and a couple of models/statues of previous ships that had been named Enterprise. Everything looked comfortable, but not overly fancy. It was still elegant, but Picard obviously hadn't been going for gaudy or ostentatious in his private office. In fact, it was virtually identical to the version seen on the show.

Captain Picard was sitting quietly behind his desk, with Troi sitting in one of the guest chairs, her back to me. Picard looked very similar to Patrick Stewart, except somehow younger looking, but thankfully still with his shiny bald head. I really hadn't known what to expect, but Picard appearing more youthful was in line with my expectations and the various canon characters I'd already seen around the ship so far. 24th century medicine had come a long, long way and that meant humans could expect a much longer life, on average, and appear younger for much longer as well. I even remember season 1, episode 2 of TNG when Dr. McCoy, Kirk's Chief Medical Officer, showed up at the start of the new series. The man was still alive and walking around at 137 years old!

To my great delight, Picard was still bald. At one of the first press conferences for TNG, a reporter had famously asked Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry about casting Patrick Stewart, commenting something to the effect that 'Surely by the 24th century, they would have found a cure for male pattern baldness.' Gene Roddenberry had the perfect response when he answered, 'No, by the 24th century, no one will care.' I always loved that idea. In this case, I would imagine there were simple treatments available, but Picard had simply kept it natural. I rather liked that. It might be ironic for an Augment to think that way, but that's how I felt.

Troi turned toward me and gave me a welcoming smile – apparently, she had detected my strange mix of strong emotions and was trying to comfort me or calm me somehow. The more analytical part of my mind suggested that since Troi could currently feel my emotions, when I was in her direct presence, that something was preventing her empathic abilities from working on me at range. That was very useful to know. Was she unaware of that? I nodded at her, and gave my full attention to the captain.

Picard was everything I had imagined him to be. He had this cool, commanding, and charismatic presence that made the very best leaders, ones who could inspire people with their very presence.

"Hello, Gothic," he said. "I felt it was long past time that we were introduced. Please, sit."

"Thank you, Captain. It's a pleasure to meet you," I said, sitting down in the empty guest chair next to Troi.

"I do apologize that we are only meeting now," he said, "but my duties as captain have kept me rather busy these past several days. Have you had any difficulties in settling in?"

"My quarters are great, Captain, very comfortable," I answered. "Thank you very much for your hospitality. As for settling into this time, well, that's a work in progress."

"Splendid, very good," he said. "Now, to business. Gothic, I asked for this meeting because Dr. Crusher has completed her tests and determined that you are indeed not native to this universe," he solemnly spoke. "Unfortunately, we are unable to determine at this time where you do come from. Furthermore, even if we could, our technology has not advanced sufficiently to allow for dimensional travel. No, I'm afraid you may need to call this universe your new home."

He paused to let me consider what he had just said. I'll admit, a part of me had wondered what I would have done if the Enterprise had found a way to get me back to my home dimension, but I suppose that was a moot point now. I focused back on the present, and met the captain's eyes.

"I appreciate your candor, Captain, and for letting me know the reality of the situation," I said. "So, what happens now?"

"Although you have only been on the ship for a few days," he intoned, "you have followed the restrictions placed on you without complaint and have spent your time educating yourself in ways that do not threaten this ship or the Federation. You apologized for hurting your nurse, even when it was clear you were disoriented and not completely in control of your actions. Most recently, when the Angosian prisoner escaped, you attempted to protect the ship and its crew by attempting to apprehend the escapee and were injured for your trouble. This all speaks well of your character. As such, I will be removing most of your movement restrictions while onboard – at least for the time being. I hope the rest of your time spent on the Enterprise will be productive and help you acclimate to this new place and time you find yourself in. We will soon be returning to Earth for resupply, so please spend some time considering what it is you want to do once you get back to the planet."

This was a bit of an odd turn. If things had been reversed, I don't know if I would have trusted an Augment with mostly free reign on my ship, especially after only a few days of 'good behavior.' Picard didn't strike me as that naïve, and considering the reactions from Worf and Riker, I suppose that this was going to be a trial run of sorts for me. If I took this opportunity to be a good boy, then I likely would be fine, but if I followed in the steps of Khan and tried to take over the ship, it wouldn't end well for me. I had no doubt that I would still be under constant physical and computer surveillance, so I would need to be on my best behavior.

"Thanks again, Captain," I said. "I've actually thought about it a great deal, and while I was a combat engineer in my previous life, my skills are not exactly up-to-date, so I was hoping to make learning my fulltime job, really. There is so much yet for me to learn and I think becoming a librarian would be the way to go. And while my dimension's history might not have been the same as yours, your historians will likely find no one better at understanding 20th and 21st century Earth than me."

Both Troi and Picard looked slightly shocked at my answer, and I'm sure most people would have looked the same – an Augment wanting to be a librarian? The thing is, I wasn't lying – there really was a lot for me to learn if I ever wanted to explore this time, go on adventures, or be a captain of my own ship, and this position would give me ready access to resources I would otherwise be unable to access. I had learned that the libraries of the 24th century were mostly archive repositories, with very few actual people coming inside except for research purposes. They were also equipped with holodecks – which would be very important if I wanted to get the appropriate training that I would have otherwise been unable to get except at Starfleet. Libraries had most of the ship training scenarios I would need to go through, including the infamous Kobayashi Maru program, also known as the No-Win Scenario. I might even find a few shipboard emergency scenarios or combat training simulations – it wouldn't be quite the same as having a flesh-and-blood instructor with actual experience under their belt there to teach me and critique my performance, but my mental enhancements should bridge the gap. Eventually I may even be able to find someone who would teach me.

"That's… surprising," Picard said, apparently thrown off his usual stoic nature due to my unexpected answer. "Uhm… yes. Right. Well, I don't expect that would be a problem. I will make inquiries on Earth, if you're sure. Counselor, why don't you give Gothic a real tour of the ship."

"Of course, captain," she replied and stood up, waiting for me to join her.

"Captain, there was one more thing I wanted to talk to you about," I started, feeling rather nervous about this next request.

"Go on," Picard said.

"As you may have heard, I stumbled across Lt. Worf's calisthenics program on the holodeck. As it was set to public, I ran the program. It was invigorating and robust," I said.

"I received a report about that from Doctor Crusher. You received some minor injuries, but your natural healing was able to deal with most of it, as I understand. Were your injuries more severe than previously thought?" Picard asked, sounding concerned. It made sense; my physiology wasn't exactly well understood.

Smiling now, I tried to reassure him. "No, no, I'm feeling very well, better than well, completely healed as a matter of fact with no lingering effects. Doctor Crusher took very good care of me. What I'm trying to get at is that when I was looking for an exercise program to run, I found many interactive training and instructional programs publicly available to all the ship's inhabitants, set to open access, even to those people onboard who aren't members of Starfleet," I explained. "Since this time and dimension will be my new home, I've spent much of my free time trying to acclimate and learn everything I can, trying to, at a minimum, achieve the same level of education any adult in the Federation would have. I would like your formal permission to run these publicly available interactive training and instructional programs on the holodeck while onboard."

At this Picard leaned back in his seat, looking genuinely confused. When I had found this huge list of programs available to anyone onboard, I was excited at just what I could learn via the holodeck… then harsh reality set in. I had no doubt whatsoever that Starfleet Intelligence and Section 31, were aware of my every physical and electronic move while onboard. While I'm sure I could probably get away with it, it was much better in my mind to simply level with the captain, be as transparent as possible, and ask for his formal permission. Given what I knew of Picard from the shows, and the man's propensity to do what was right, versus what was easy, I had little reason to think he'd actually say no, but the proper steps needed to be taken anyway. The captain's formal permission would be a powerful shield against naysayers like SI, though probably not so much with Section 31.

"I am afraid I don't understand the need for such a request, Gothic. We have many such programs available in the ship's database. The Federation and Starfleet encourages its people to always continue learning and improving ourselves. Official certifications and licensures, up to a certain level, can even be obtained through such programs. As you've said, these are freely available and set to open access, so I do not understand why you would even require my permission," Picard said.

Sighing at this expected, albeit somewhat naive answer, I continued.

"Captain, I've read what the Augments of Earth did during the Eugenics Wars. I've seen how the crew have looked at me in the corridors, seen their eyes fill with distrust and fear and suspicion. My security escort have unconsciously acted like at any moment I would spout some insane nonsense about my superiority over the human race and try to take over the ship, like Khan did," I explained passionately. "I might be genetically enhanced now, but I wasn't like that at birth or from childhood. I was born in 1982 on Earth, a regular human with no super abilities or powers or whatever you want to call them. I was 34 years old when I was last on my Earth in 2016. I might be called an 'Augment', and that might make for a good shorthand, but that's not really accurate for me. I'm not from this dimension. The Eugenics Wars was not part of my world's history. Being considered or seen as an Augment, fair or not given my unique circumstances, comes with a lot of prejudice, a lot of baggage, a lot of weight and bad history that I'm being viewed with. Being considered or seen as an Augment means every action of mine is scrutinized for nefarious intent. I'm asking for your formal permission because I recognize all that, fair or unfair. I would rather be completely upfront and transparent now, before it ever became an issue, or something that could be used against me to sow even more suspicion. This way I won't be thrown in the brig because I started a ship pilot training and licensing program, or an engineering primer, or a weapon's safety and maintenance course so I can play a game of Velocity on the holodeck."

I felt a soft hand gently grip my shoulder when I finished speaking. Looking over I saw that it was Counselor Troi, with a sad smile on her face, obviously offering me some comfort. The emotions I felt while saying all that weren't faked. I knew I'd likely always be viewed with mistrust by humanity. While I had a thirst for adventure and wanted to travel through space on a ship of my own one day, I wasn't evil and certainly didn't want to be looked at like a villain without my having done something to actually deserve it.

Picard looked taken aback by my words, but also thoughtful.

"I am saddened to hear that, Gothic. While Starfleet and the Federation do have genuine concerns about the Augments of that time, you most certainly should not be tarred with that brush given your unique origins. It is patently unfair and unjust given your circumstances. I will try to make it very clear to the crew and to Lt. Worf that you are not an Augment of that time, and should not be viewed that way. You have my permission to partake of any publicly available, open access training program in the ship's database on the holodeck, and I will both make a note in the ship's log saying the same. Will that assuage your concerns? You will never be thrown in the brig for trying to better yourself while onboard my ship," Picard said solemnly, offering me his assurances. This was a genuinely good man, a great example of what humanity could be.

"Thank you, captain. That gives me incredible peace of mind. Good day to you, captain," I said and got up.

"If you have any more concerns like this, Gothic, please feel free to seek me out or speak to Counselor Troi. Good day," he replied.

We stepped out onto the bridge; apparently my guards had already known they were no longer needed since they were nowhere to be seen. I gave a nod to Data and then Troi and I were off to see more of the ship.

I was excited for another reason. A whole new dimension of practical education had just opened up to me, stuff that could be genuinely useful to me on many levels. I had a feeling the holodeck and I were going to become well acquainted with each other.

(Line Break)

Ten Forward. U.S.S. Enterprise.

The tour had been everything I had hoped for and more. I had only caught a glimpse of some of the more sensitive areas like Main Engineering, but it was still something I would remember fondly for all of my life. While we had only entered a few feet into the section and stayed mostly by the entrance, my telescoping sight, which I had discovered upon originally awakening in sickbay, allowed me to see pretty much everything within my eye line, including the various displays and controls. Using this 'zoom' feature of my sight did cost me my peripheral vision, though. Switching between the two 'modes' would take a little time to master, but could prove very, very useful in the future, especially since my memory was near perfect. I could simply review my memory of everything I had seen later, if I wanted. This 'far sight' gave me my first look at Geordi La Forge, who looked practically identical to the actor who played him on television, Levar Burton.

As the tour progressed, I noticed that the crew had apparently gotten the word that I was no longer to be shunned, and they more or less were just politely ignoring me now. No more dirty looks was certainly an improvement, to be sure. Troi chose to end the tour in Ten Forward – a lounge located at the very front of the ship, on deck 10, which gave it a spectacular view of the surrounding space, especially when the ship was at warp. In front of the floor-to-ceiling windows were tables and chairs, so that the ship's inhabitants could get together and eat and drink, with waiters circulating around the room taking orders. Several tables had games like Three-Dimensional Chess set up upon them for more recreational pursuits. The central area was dominated by a large bar, behind which stood the place's host and bartender, the infamous Guinan.

Guinan was a very attractive, dark-skinned woman, whose age seemed to shift depending on whom she was speaking to, having a sort of ageless look about her. I guess that wasn't really a surprise, since she was actually several hundred years old, at least. How old she truly was was a mystery even the show hadn't revealed, but since she had been kicking around in the 1800s on Earth, as one episode had shown, she had to be at least 600 years old.

Guinan might look entirely human at first glance, but she was actually an El-Aurian, a species that was very long-lived and didn't seem to visibly age. On the shows they were almost identical to humans, but this universe's version differed by having colorful crystals embedded in their foreheads, palms, ankles, behind the ears, and over their genitals, which the El-Aurians could make disappear or reappear at will. On the TNG show and movies, Guinan had been portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg, but this version looked more like a vibrant and sexy Angela Bassett. The main reason I realized that the host actually was Guinan, was her placement behind the bar in Ten-Forward. This woman also wore the familiar multi-layered shapeless robes with large attached head piece that had some sort of disc shape form, which was Guinan's signature ensemble in the show – like a mixture between a nun's habit and traditional African garb. Today's ensemble was a rich purple with a lavender colored toga-like overlay and what looked like fingerless opera gloves.

Our entrance had not gone unnoticed. While the room didn't exactly go completely silent, quite a bunch of people turned to look at me with varying expressions, making me momentarily feel like I was an 80's movie villain that had come into a rival dojo to annoy the plucky young hero or a stranger walking into a bar in a western. Fortunately, it didn't last long, because I honestly could not give a fuck what they thought about me – I had nothing to be ashamed about. Apparently, that got through to them because they all soon turned back to whatever they had been doing when we entered.

I approached the bar and took a seat with Troi joining me soon after. Guinan approached with that small, knowing smile I had seen many times before, and asked us what we wanted to drink. From across the room I had decided that Guinan was quite attractive, but when she spoke – wow, just wow. Even though she had only asked an innocent question, that low-pitched, husky voice just seemed to suggest the naughtiest of ideas in my ears.

Troi suggested a drink and Guinan poured out a glowing liquid into two glasses - that's when I got my first taste of really the first thing I actively disliked about this universe… synthehol. Synthehol is basically synthetic alcohol - it smells like alcohol, and somewhat tastes like it, but you got none of the benefits of getting really buzzed (if you're human). I say somewhat tastes, because I'm not sure if was just that my taste buds had gotten the same upgrades as the rest of me, or whether years of drinking the real thing had made me sensitive to the difference, or if it was something inherent to synthehol, but I noticed this weird aftertaste after every sip that I just couldn't ignore. I hadn't been a huge drinker before my dimensional transfer here, or even a connoisseur of fine spirits like some of my fellow servicemen had been about beer or whiskey, but I could safely say that even if one could get drunk off this stuff (which they couldn't), becoming an alcoholic wouldn't be one of my future problems.

I didn't quite do a comic spit take of my first sip of the glowing concoction, but it was a very near thing. Apparently, I must have had a bit of a mix of revulsion and disappointment on my face because both Troi and Guinan started laughing.

"Not what you were expecting?" Guinan asked in that all knowing and patient tone she must have developed over the centuries.

"Well, it doesn't feel like its eating its way through my stomach lining, even though its glowing rather ominously," I said. "So I suppose that's better than some of the stuff I've drank in my life."

Troi actually giggled at my reply. "I'm sorry, I just can't get over the look on your face!"

"Well, at least someone is getting enjoyment from this… this…" I stopped, trying not to use words best not said in polite company.

Guinan considered me for a moment, then took my glass away. She reached under the bar and got an old looking bottle and a new glass that she set before me. The bottle was rectangular, transitioning into a circular opening from which to pour from, and had a greenish yellow liquid inside that reminded me a bit of a picture of Absinthe I had once seen. She poured the bottle's contents into the glass and motioned for me to give it a try, which I did.

The liquid tasted sort of like Earth whiskey, at least that was the closest thing I could come up with, but that was all I could really say as I had been more of a beer drinker and a fruity cocktail guy, which I was man enough to drink openly. I had tasted whiskey before, but it had been nothing like this. There were so many subtle flavors going on, quite a bit fruiter than Earth whiskey, but they also worked together to combine into one new taste and sensation on the tongue. This was definitely top-shelf stuff.

I had actually closed my eyes as I enjoyed the drink. When I opened them, both Troi and Guinan were looking at me. Troi appeared almost like she had gotten a contact high from the strength of my emotional reaction, while Guinan had a mysterious smile upon her lips.

"That was… incredible," I said, meaning it too.

"That was Aldebaran whiskey," Guinan replied, still smiling. "It is a very rare vintage and I only take it out on special occasions." She put the bottle back under the bar.

"I believe you and thank you for sharing it with me," I said. "What's the occasion?"

"It's not every day I meet a relic of the past," she answered, a contemplative look upon her face.

While we spoke, Riker entered the lounge and began making his way towards one of the tables. I had caught his entrance from the corner of my eye, but had chosen to ignore him. He had definitely seen me, though, since I felt like Riker was practically burning a hole in my back with the strength of his glare. What had I done to that guy? I doubted he'd ever had had the occasion to meet or be harmed by another Augment, so what was his deal? Or could it be because I was sitting here with Troi and Guinan? He had never seemed like the jealous type in the show when it came to his old flame.

I guess Troi felt my unease, as she frowned, turning and glancing in Riker's direction, because she excused herself and went to speak to him, diverting his attention and leaving me alone with Guinan.

There wasn't much whiskey left in the glass, but I nursed it for the next hour or so as I got to know Guinan. She was the very definition of the Winston Churchill quote: 'a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma'. I don't know if it was something inherent to being an El-Aurian or if it was just the result of being very long-lived, but I had no doubt that Guinan had not always been a lounge host. I noticed her footwork was too well placed, her movements too precise, and she had perfect spatial awareness – I wouldn't be surprised if she had once been a soldier or even an assassin of some sort. I wondered why she was on the Enterprise, but I figured that despite all of the crazy stuff the ship got into, it was still a relatively peaceful and interesting place to be, and being the host gave her the perfect place to pick up the ship's goings on. I doubted she had any nefarious plans for the Enterprise or the Federation, but it was exactly the type of position a former spy might choose to take up to keep a hand in the business. On the other hand, for a very long-lived species, maybe this was just another interesting stop on her long journey of a life.

Time quickly passed, and eventually the lounge emptied out. I had stayed because I got the feeling that Guinan had wanted to talk to me when there were less people around. I didn't have anything in particular to do and had had my fill of studying for the day, so I sat and waited. This was actually the first time in a couple of days where I hadn't been studying for hours on end or getting into fights on the holodeck and I needed the break.

Guinan took out another bottle, this one with a glowing blue liquid inside. She grabbed two fresh glasses and walked around the bar to take a seat next to me on the barstool. She poured us both a small amount and waited for me to take a sip. The liquid was some sort of beer, a bit harsh on the throat, but it definitely had a real alcoholic kick to it with this really interesting taste that I was enjoying. It wasn't for everyone, but the more I drank it, the more and more I liked it.

"What is this?" I asked. "It's really… good."

"Romulan Ale," Guinan told me, taking a sip of her own. "It's technically illegal for Federation citizens to have due to the trade embargo, but you aren't technically a part of the Federation and neither am I really, so I'm not breaking any laws by serving it to you."

We sat for another few moments in silence, just enjoying our drinks. I could see why Starfleet personnel constantly broke the embargo to get some, so it was a shame that I wouldn't be able to find it easily in Federation space. The period of comfortable silence ended seemingly all too soon when Guinan spoke, "You know, I spent quite some time on Earth, long before the Federation even existed. My people are… long lived, and I arrived in 1800's San Francisco."

"No shi…" I started to say, barely managing to stop myself. Somehow it felt almost wrong, almost disrespectful to swear on the Enterprise.

Guinan smiled despite herself, obviously knowing what I had barely stopped myself from saying, and said, "No shit."

"I'm from there myself, though not from the 1800's," I said, smiling as well.

Guinan's smile faded. "Yes, I've heard. As I said, I spent a lot of time on Earth and have seen some of the best and some of the worst of humanity. I hope you don't take offense, but some of the greatest tragedies I bore witness to happened because of the Tyrants, the Augments that had conquered most of the planet in the Eugenics Wars."

I remained silent, wondering where she was going with this. I had the impression that this conversation was very important, and that turning her into an enemy would be a very bad idea.

She continued. "Obviously their body count paled to World War III's, but that was a world war – the Augments were relatively few in number, but did so much harm."

She made sure to catch my eye and held it. "I actually knew an Augment. Not one of the more famous ones like Khan, but a Tyrant nonetheless. He was an arrogant monster, who killed as easily as some people breathed."

Guinan paused to take a small sip before continuing. "He was incredibly charming, funny, and charismatic, even though he was up to his neck in blood. I knew he was evil, but I couldn't help but like him anyway, even ignoring the atrocities he was committing because of my affection towards him. My inaction eventually led him to killing a dear friend of mine… I had the chance to prevent untold suffering and death and yet did nothing, so her death and those of so many others stains my soul to this day, a sin that follows me even with it happening so long ago. Upon my friend's death I swore to not allow another Tyrant to rise if I could stop it."

Guinan stared into my eyes, like she was digging into my soul. "I don't think you are evil, Gothic. On the contrary, you seem to be a pretty good guy. You don't act like everyone owes you something for being genetically enhanced, or that you're superior to them because you're smarter, and stronger, and faster. You even waited for me to get free without complaint instead of throwing a tantrum, shouting about how the non-Augments should be waiting on you hand and foot. That wasn't an act. You also have a pretty good sense of humor."

Guinan finally smiled, and I couldn't help giving her one in return, but it dimmed as Guinan continued. "I don't know if you're going to turn into another Tyrant, Gothic. What I do know is that if you do go down that path, then one day soon, you're going to find yourself on the wrong end of a phaser – and the person holding it won't hesitate to pull the trigger like I did so long ago."

For a moment, I could feel as if the Grim Reaper himself was standing behind me, with his scythe at the ready. It only confirmed that Guinan was not somebody to fuck with.

"I appreciate your honesty and warning," I said solemnly, meaning it. I wasn't sure why I was so atypical compared to past Augments, but I knew that it would be so easy to become like them and that was the last thing I wanted.

"I don't know what the future holds, Guinan," I said after a moment, "but I think it would be better if I was dead than be like them."

Guinan nodded at me and finished her drink, and I followed suit.

"I imagine my memories of Earth are quite a bit different than yours. Tell me, did you ever see…" she said, starting off a nice conversation that I hoped would be the start of a beautiful and lasting friendship.

(Line Break)

Guest Quarters. U.S.S. Enterprise.

I wandered back to my quarters deep in thought. It seemed odd moving through the corridors without my two quiet and watchful tails trailing behind me. I didn't miss them, but I guess that I had started getting used to them. Maybe I was just in a melancholic mood – ah well.

When I reached my quarters, I felt stone-cold sober. While I hadn't had much real alcohol to drink, it seemed like I wasn't even buzzed anymore. I guess my body was now treating alcohol like a toxin and had purged it from my system… great, just great. I wasn't feeling tired, so I grabbed a bite to eat from the replicator and went back to studying. By this point I was about the equivalent of an eighth-grader in the Federation. The education system of the 24th century was quite a bit different than from my time, with a lot more advanced science and math introduced early on - for example, it was expected for most children to at least know basic calculus by the third grade. I found that kind of funny/sad because I remember barely passing that class when I was in high school. Fortunately, I was able to grasp the material quickly, making sure to take the sample tests that the computer had in its memory banks - that's right you little ankle-biters and snot-nosed punks… fear me, for I will destroy your grading curve… mwaghahahahaha!

Kidding aside, I probably could have been going faster, but I wanted to really know all this stuff backwards and forwards. What truly worried me was my lack of unofficial information, the shared experiences of a people, the cultural touchstones that defines every institution and society, the many little things that everyone knows by social osmosis, but which aren't written down in any textbook or holoprogram. For example, in my time it would have been the movies that everyone had seen, or the idioms and sayings native to a country, or the shared history and events that colored how everything was perceived. While it seemed somewhat ridiculous, I might really need to read what other alien races had written about Earth and the Federation to get a grasp on the culture. I was human, I had been born on Earth itself, but in many fundamental ways, I was as alien to humanity and the Federation as a Ferengi would be. I had to approach learning about this time and culture in that way, without preconception.

After a couple of hours more learning, I went to sleep. My enhanced physiology meant I woke up only two hours later fully refreshed and went through my morning routine, waiting for the rest of the ship to wake up, though that wasn't strictly a real thing. There was no sun to adjust a sleep cycle to when out of a star system, but Starfleet had designated a day/night cycle for the health of its humanoid crew. Of course, the ship was manned and operated at all times, but late night did tend to be more sedate than in the 'day'.

About 1030, I received a comm from Troi, asking me to meet her at the holodeck. Now that I was confirmed to not be a 'bad' Augment, she wanted to introduce me to Federation life and culture. I had been worried about my lack of shared cultural knowledge so I was quite interested in seeing what she chose to share with me.

(Line Break)

Holodeck. U.S.S. Enterprise

A couple of hours later, I was not in a good mood… not after going through 'The Adventures of Flotter', which was a series of children's holoprograms set in the Forest of Forever, where colorful characters like Flotter and Trevis (representations of natural elements and the forces of nature) helped teach children to be good little Federation boys and girls. That was what Troi had decided would be my introduction to Federation culture and its people's shared cultural touchstones.

So far, I'd gone through 'Flotter and the Tree Monster', 'Flotter and the Perfect Day', 'Trevis and the Terribly Twisted Trunk', 'Flotter, Trevis, and the Ogre of Fire' and last of all 'Flotter Meets the Invincible Invertebrates', which had involved me proving that they weren't all that invincible - my approach may have been unique, though, considering Troi's stupefied reaction.

Maybe I had been a bit unfairly violent in my problem-solving approach, after all, this was a series designed specifically for small children - but something about Flotter and his pals set my teeth on edge and finally pushed me over the limit. I understood that this was part of Troi's social immersion program, an attempt at giving me some cultural touchstones that would be common in this day and age, like some popular TV shows and movies had been in mine… and yet…

"Is this a common program used by children in the Federation?" I asked once the last program had ended. "Did you go through them as well?"

"These programs were one of my favorites as a child," she informed me, softly smiling. "I had a great personal loss when I was very young and Flotter helped me get over that pain by letting me join in on his fantastical adventures."

While on the surface it didn't seem that different from the kids' programs of my time, i.e. Sesame Street, I felt there was something kind of insidious about the whole thing that only an adult outsider would or even could pick up on. Most children's programs had some sort of moral message to convey, i.e. 'stealing is wrong' or 'don't talk to strangers', that was true in my time as well, but this felt a bit more dangerous, like the program had been trying to brainwash me somehow.

Troi had obviously felt my unease, because she asked me about it, "Why do they make you so uneasy? I know that using a program meant for children can be embarrassing, but you seem rather upset."

I considered my response for a moment, reviewing the holo-programs in my mind and examining them as a whole, rather than individually. I was getting much better at high-level data analysis, correlation, and synthesis, and I think I finally figured out what my subconscious had been warning me about. "They all seemed a little wrong somehow," I said.

Troi looked genuinely confused.

"I'm not sure what you mean," was her response. "Of course, most people don't attack the invincible invertebrates, but aside from that you did very well."

"I think the problem is something I found to be inherent in Federation culture. I'm worried that you think that somehow, just by the Federation simply existing, that the Federation way of life and perspective is so wonderful and right that eventually the rest of the galaxy will stop being disobedient children and unite under the great flag of the United Federation of Planets."

"While I disagree with your wording," Troi said, "would it really be so bad if exactly that happened? Imagine a galaxy without war, where starships were built only to explore, not conquer… how much less pain and death there would be if everyone tried to work together to battle disease and poverty rather than each other."

Troi was speaking of the galaxy becoming a utopia. The concept of a true utopia had been around for a long, long time, but I doubt it would ever actually happen on such a large scale. In a perfect universe, everyone would do the right thing for the right reasons, but I don't think that universe exists, especially when what is 'right' can differ from culture to culture. Like it or not, most of the beings that had evolved enough to rise as the dominant lifeform on their worlds, had often begun as predators… and that inherent predatory behavior did not just stop by flicking some sort of mental switch or simply developing advanced technology.

There is this great speech from the Dark Knight movie I have always taken to heart: "Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn." The same principle applies here, except perhaps on a species or multi-planet political entity/empire basis. There will always be those who cannot be worked with, who lie, cheat, steal, rape, kill just because they can… even when it's to their own detriment. It is the very height of naiveté, if not outright blind stupidity, to think that good thoughts alone can change reality, and the Federation was practically indoctrinating its citizens with this attitude. Sometimes, two races could not co-exist. Sometimes, for one race to survive, another had to die.

Fortunately for the United Federation of Planets, there were those who stayed in the shadows, a hidden force running around behind their back, doing the terrible things that the Feds were unwilling, or unable, to do themselves. This secret police and intelligence organization, known as Section 31, was not bound by rules, regulations, law, or even morality, nor the principles and ideals upon which the Federation was built. No, they knew of the many horrors this galaxy could offer, of the monsters, both external and internal, that would gladly feast on the Federation's rich corpse if they could or the existential threats that would see it end. They were the ones who crept silently in the shadows, with a bloody dagger in hand, keeping the citizens safe from threats foreign and domestic. As an Augment and a dimensional traveler, I had no doubt whatsoever that I was already on Section 31's radar – either as a future target, or as an asset.

What truly made the whole thing tragic to me was that I really did love the idea of the Federation, that humankind in particular had finally broken out of a seemingly never-ending cycle of self-destruction and had tried to better itself, joining with other species through diplomacy and cooperation, all working towards a better future. However, the mere existence and sheer necessity of Section 31, an organization that had been around since the Federation first came into existence, made the UFP feel like a hollow sham on some level, though even that was probably patently unfair…

Was it because the Federation's people had so thoroughly deluded themselves that made me feel this way? That they believed they were better than the other large multi-planet polities like the Romulan and Klingon Empires, the Cardassian Union, and others with their feared and powerful intelligence/secret police agencies? Was it because most Federation citizens, and Starfleet as a whole, had this ridiculous belief that the Federation's success, its continued growth and increasing power, its survival through and victories in multiple wars with various species, was through the sheer power of their ideals, conviction, and overall goodness? That the Federation had prevailed through all that due to the very rightness of its existence? What a crock of shit... There was a famous quote, often (mis)attributed to George Orwell, that said, 'People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.' Was Section 31 the 'rough men' for the Federation or were they the villains of the story?

From my perspective, Flotter was pretty much just a tool of insidious cultural propaganda – one that was systematically shown to children when they were at their most impressionable and malleable so as to keep them from seeing the universe as it truly was… a cold, dark place that wouldn't notice or even care if the last human alive drew their last breath. Perhaps that was a bit nihilistic, but living in a dream world wasn't the answer either.

"What if some people don't want to follow the party line?" I asked her. "What if they want to live the way they choose to, and not your way?"

Perhaps Troi wasn't the best person to be asking these questions of, but I really did want to know what she thought. I could feel my frustration building - maybe I was just jaded from knowing what was really going on behind the scenes, but I knew that for all the Federation's talk, they often chose the easy way instead of the right one – hiding behind things like the Prime Directive when it suited them.

"People have freedom in the Federation," Troi pointed out. "They can do anything they want to with their lives."

"Do you really believe that?" I asked, looking her dead in the eye. "Federation freedom seems to come with an asterisk attached – only those who have the Federation's approval need apply and only when they exercise that freedom in approved ways. By the way, have you noticed the sheer percentage of Starfleet that's human? What the hell is that about?! There are many other races in the Federation, damn it!" I said, throwing my hands in the air.

What was the deal with that? Was the organization so human-centric they stacked the ranks? Or was humanity pulling a much larger proportionate share of the weight when it came to recruitment? In theory, the other member worlds of the Federation should have just as much skin in the game as humanity. If it was the latter, then the Federation was in serious trouble. If races joined up for the defensive, economic, and trade benefits membership brought, but without actually contributing and risking their own people, then that spoke of an alliance that could easily be broken through enough hardship and adversity…or enough convenience.

"Sorry, that's a completely different issue altogether. Back to the issue of Federation freedom, I am not a criminal… I am not even from this universe, and yet because I am genetically enhanced, I can't join Starfleet, or run for political office – no exceptions. You really think I want to just be a librarian? I want to be an explorer, discovering new worlds and new civilizations… going boldly where no man has gone before… all these holoprogams are doing are promoting a lie, and bright colors and cheerful dialog won't change that."

Truthfully, I didn't want to become a politician or join Starfleet – but not having the option meant I wasn't actually free to choose them. Politics, with their ever-shifting loyalties, sounded like a nightmare. And as for Starfleet – I had already been part of the military once, and I wasn't eager to get under the flag (or thumb) of another one... especially since I had a lot more disdain for the group than I had previously realized.

"Is that what troubles you about the program?" Troi asked me. "I suppose I can see why you'd find it contradictory, but yours is a very unusual and very rare case. Yes, there are some restrictions, but you'll be free to do whatever else you want to do. If being a librarian isn't your dream job, then you don't even have to work if you don't want to - all your needs will be met, and you'll be able to seek out other forms of employment just for the sake of personal improvement and enjoyment."

Troi paused to give me a moment to consider her words. "Your unique situation will astound archeologists and sociologists alike, and I'm sure they will want to speak with you," she said. "You are living history, and even though your Earth is different than ours, you still lived in a past era; there's still much you can teach our historians about that time."

Even though I had chosen to be a librarian out of necessity, life as a guest lecturer seemed like an even duller idea. I had freaking super powers for fuck's sake… a life in academia was not where my interests lay. No, with my new found powers and knowledge of the future, the galaxy itself was my playground. I had every intention of living well, going on adventures, having fun with alien women, and making it look easy.

My trail of thought came to end when Troi's communicator suddenly beeped.

"Deanna," Commander Riker's voice said. "We need you to come to the Captain's quarters. We have a problem."

She pressed the comm device on her chest before replying.

"I'll be right there," she answered before addressing me. "We'll have to continue our talk another time."

I nodded at her. "See you around, Counselor," I said as she left.

I guess I had been bottling some stuff up, but I wasn't sure if unloading it all on Troi had been a good idea – one never knew who was listening. With the audio/video pickups all over the ship to query the computer, I wouldn't be surprised if my every moment of every day on this ship was being recorded and studied by Starfleet Intelligence and Section 31. I thought about going back to studying, but since I was already in the holodeck, I figured I might as well make the best of the situation.

I was tempted to access some of the training programs available, now that I had gotten the Captain's formal permission, but I felt it prudent to wait a bit and let my new status settle a bit more with the crew, not wanting to give Worf any excuse to bring me in for questioning. Waiting a bit longer before accessing those programs would also give me more time to obtain the foundational knowledge necessary to make those programs worthwhile. Instead, I decided to try my hand at holo-programming and designed a light cycle from the TRON movies and an arena in which to drive it around.

Light cycles were futuristic motorcycles that leave a solid trail of light behind them, with the purpose being to force another rider into crashing into it. I even created a second racer and fought against him. I had to build the entire program from scratch as apparently the TRON series had never existed in this universe for whatever reason, which was a shame as it fit right in with what a holodeck should be used for. Thankfully, the idea was simple enough to implement a crude version of it and the computer was smart enough to figure out what I described. It was kind of awesome to design the bikes from memory and even select different sounds for the motorcycle engine running and throttling up.

Anyway, it was a thrilling escape and I spent hours playing with the program, designing a three-dimensional grid and arena to ride the bike through, including some epic gravity changes. Riding the bike at insane speeds and making hairpin turns made me realize yet again just how awesome it was to be an Augment. I was capable of doing some truly epic-level stunts now. When I finished, I finally felt relaxed and the smile on my face was huge. The fact that I loved the Tron: Legacy soundtrack and had it mentally playing the entire time made the whole experience even better, though it would have been epic to have it playing for real. Man, I had really needed that. I saved the program to my own personal directory and got ready to leave, but set it to public. Maybe someone else on the Enterprise might find the same joy in this program that I had.

After that surprisingly tiring program, I was famished, but eating alone in my quarters didn't sound the least bit enjoyable, so I decided to make an appearance at Ten Forward instead and set off towards the nearest turbolift.

(Line Break)

Ten Forward. U.S.S. Enterprise.

I entered the lounge and was surprised to see that most of the seats were full - I must have come just as a duty shift had ended. I said hello to Guinan and took a look around. Sitting alone at one of the corner tables was Data, who was apparently doing some people watching. Maybe it was the nerd in me, but I found the guy utterly fascinating, and I decided to make my way towards him.

"Hi Data," I said. "Mind if I join you?"

"Hello, Gothic," Data replied. "No, please feel free to join me."

"If you don't mind me asking," I said, "why are you in Ten Forward if you don't need to eat or drink?"

"My sitting in this location allows me to study the behaviors of the various individuals who are onboard the Enterprise," he said. "I use the information gathered to compile a new algorithm with which to simulate similar mannerisms so as to be more like an organic being."

"Do you ever join in?" I asked.

"Join in?" he asked in return, as if confused.

"Well, yes," I said. "Sometimes doing is more effective than studying. When I had to assemble my couch, I did read the instructions first, but physically building it was a whole other story… mostly because it was a cheap couch and the parts didn't line up correctly or were flimsy when they did. I had to experiment with different tools and materials to fix the couch up, but eventually that thing was as solid as a rock. I learned far more from doing, than I did just by reading the instructions."

Data tilted his head slightly to the left, almost like a bird, which I knew from the shows was the physical way he conveyed thinking/processing new information.

"I think I understand the analogy you are trying to convey. Your hypothesis is an interesting one. How would one go about proving it?"

Well, as it turns out, it wasn't that hard. Data and I would walk up to a table, ask if they would like to help Data with an experiment (to which surprisingly everyone we asked agreed to), and then we would sit down for a couple of minutes, trying to join in on a conversation in progress or start our own, with me being Data's wingman, before moving to another table. Apparently, people were quite curious about Data and I, and I'll admit, I made some interesting acquaintances that evening. Still, of all the things I thought I would wind up doing, essentially speed dating my way through Ten Forward as Data's coach was not one of them.

The end result of our little experiment was that Data did indeed have a slightly more 'human' aspect when speaking, mostly in inflection. Working with him was rather fascinating, like watching an almost physical representation of a program upgrading on a computer, although instead of a progress bar, he got more nuanced dialog patterns - but the point remains. I was a long way from getting anywhere near cybernetics, but like many scientists, I wondered if I could one day make a duplicate of Data.

Apparently, someone in command noticed what we were doing, because I soon met Geordi La Forge, the Enterprise's Chief Engineer. La Forge was a man focused on technology, and his interests seemed primarily geared towards studying, building, or repairing various devices – basically the perfect engineer. I could see why he and Data were such good friends, and while I can't say that La Forge and I were instant buddies, I think that we got along pretty well.

La Forge's blindness was something I didn't understand, both as a fan in another universe and in my present situation. According to my memory, the man had been born blind, which suggested some kind of genetic abnormality. My studies had shown that the Federation, while making it illegal for genetic manipulation in an attempt to improve the body, had nothing against genetic manipulation whose intent was to cure or prevent a disease, or fix an abnormality. So how was it that La Forge's blindness hadn't been fixed? It didn't make a ton of sense to me.

Being in close proximity to the Enterprise's Chief Engineer and Data allowed me to pivot the conversation to finding out more about the ship and its technology. I was genuinely interested in all the widgets and gizmos that made flying the Enterprise possible. Eventually, we separated, and each went on their way.

I was making my way back to my quarters when I stumbled across Beverly Crusher.

"Well, hello there, Doc," I greeted with a smile, my mind jumping back with perfect recall to the last time we had met and how my cock had felt pounding her pussy.

"Hello to you too," she said, smiling as well, invitingly. Smiling was good – it meant she didn't regret our hooking up the day before and I had obviously acquitted myself well enough and given her a good time. In the days after our tryst I had worried that the dominant streak I had shown during our encounter had scared her off, but it looked like I had read the situation right and she had enjoyed herself.

We made a little small talk, before she invited me back to her quarters for dinner in a couple of hours. Wesley was going to be working on some sort of science project, which gave us some time alone. I eagerly agreed and headed back to my quarters for a shower. Fortunately, it was soon time to go and I headed out.

(Line Break)

Beverly and Wesley Crusher's Quarters. U.S.S. Enterprise.

Beverly invited me in, dressed in a lovely peach-colored dress with a plunging neckline that emphasized those amazing breasts of hers. After a little small talk, we sat down to eat. The food came from the replicator, of course, but they were her selections and was actually really good, the menu being made up of several alien dishes I had never heard of before but would definitely be trying again.

We talked during the meal, just some typical getting-to-know-you conversation. We ended the meal and she invited me to sit on a couch. Just as I had finished sitting, she sat next to me and began kissing me. One thing led to another, and we were both soon naked, with her riding me like her life depended on it and in a perfect position so that my mouth could suck on her nipples. We had just finished orgasming in an epic fashion, my cock still hard and inside her, still catching our breath, when, of course, Wesley walked in.

"Mom, again?!" he yelled and ran out, his face burning red in embarassment.

This was becoming ridiculous, but thankfully wasn't a true coitus interruptus situation, since we had both already finished. Laughing like teenagers, we got dressed and Beverly went after him again while I went back to my quarters… what a weird day. I took another shower and got into bed wondering what tomorrow would bring. Somehow, I doubted it'd be boring.