First printed: More Red Holt Steele #8
Summary: After surviving a helicopter crash and ending up on a deserted island, Remington and Laura’s adventures just start. (RS/Star Trek: Voyager cross-over)
Disclaimer: This “Remington Steele” story is not-for-profit and is purely for entertainment purposes. The author and this site do not own the characters and are in no way affiliated with “Remington Steele,” the actors, their agents, the producers, MTM Productions, the NBC Television Network or any station or network carrying the show in syndication, or anyone in the industry.
It was a dark and stormy night. Laura Holt belatedly realized that it was absolutely the wrong night to get into a Catalina-bound helicopter with a man whose pilot's license was as false as his passports. The storm had come up suddenly as they left for an evening of fun on the island, a few days after meeting Mildred's nephew Bernard.
"We have to turn back!" she shouted over the roar of the wind and the overstrained motor. "We can't land on an island we can't see!"
"We're too far! This bird can't stay up much longer! Watch for land during the lightning flashes! We must be near Catalina," Remington Steele called hoarsely.
Remington murmured what might have been a prayer, and might have been "I love you," but with the noise of the storm, Laura couldn't be sure. She saw a great flash of lightning, in a round shape, almost like a shallow bowl, then she blacked out.
They woke up on an beach in a smashed helicopter. After a few moments of feeling incredibly old, if not dead, they walked along the beach, looking for Catalina's tourist spots. They discovered that the island was very small, with no obvious sign of habitation. They could walk around it in what seemed to be about half an hour. Both of their watches had stopped. The helicopter radio was unusable.
They moved inland and found a variety of fruit growing as if wild, but the grapes and oranges suggested that once someone had made a garden there. They saw birds and fish, but could not catch them, although one parrot seemed quite friendly. The mainland was out of sight, even from the treetops.
As days went by, they built a hut with separate bedrooms, to Remington's regret. They lit signal fires, and watched for ships and planes, both eerily absent. They built a raft, but the surf drove it back to their island every time they tried to use it.
When they needed a break from hard work, they acted out scenes from favorite movies, including The Wizard of Oz. Laura's "Over the Rainbow" quavered as she remembered how her own life had been uprooted by the storm, but Remington's Scarecrow made her laugh until her sides hurt.
Laura began to wonder if their situation were being controlled by someone or something. That shape in the lightning as they crashed--could it have been a UFO? She described her memory of a science fiction show in which humans were trapped in an alien zoo, designed from their imaginations to be a pleasant environment. Remington replied that she seemed a bit...disoriented, and perhaps they should both should get out of the sun for a while, and have a dip in their sheltered lagoon.
Meanwhile, back on the Starship Voyager...
The woman in an old fashioned nightgown was clasped in the arms of her handsome horse groom. "Say my name," he whispered.
"Rory..." she breathed, as they sank into the fragrant hay of the stable. The horses nickered encouragement.
"Captain Janeway to the bridge," crackled a voice from the air.
"Oh, hell," said the young woman.
Rory looked hurt.
"Freeze and save program." Rory and the barn disappeared into the air of the holosuite. The woman tapped the intercom. "On my way, Chakotay. Janeway out." She dressed quickly. She felt a twinge of guilt for indulging herself in a slushy holo-novel, but reflected that her first officer took comfort in his traditional religion. All of her crew needed something to get them through the endless starry night, including herself.
Janeway and her crew had picked up the trail of the aliens who had kidnapped Amelia Earhart and other humans from the year 1937, and kept them in cryogenic sleep. They discovered the aliens' base, hastily abandoned. In it, she and the landing party found many cold-sleep chambers, most empty, but one occupied by an unconscious man. He was as handsome as the man in the holosuite romance. But there was a coldness about his face that Janeway suspected was not caused by cryogenics. She transported him to sickbay.
The doctor worked to revive him, as Janeway and the medical assistant Kes looked on. The doctor spoke softly.
"Kes, according to the translation on the plaque from his case, he had just jumped off a cliff when the aliens captured him by transporter. They had a 'hunting license' which allowed them to take humans who were about to die anyway. He was taken in the year 1997, sixty years after Earhart.
"He has no identification, but he carried papers that described a Hong Kong businessman named Ian Dunross. He was picked up near Hong Kong. He was carrying weapons and tools that were very advanced for his time."
The man wakened, his cold blue eyes taking in the room.
"I'm Captain Janeway. You're among friends. This is our doctor and his assistant. And you are?"
"Stock, James Stock," the man said warily. He sat up and ran his hands along his black clothes. "What sort of ship is this, Captain? You sound American."
"I am American. Voyager is a vessel dedicated to exploration. Can you describe what happened to you just before you arrived in our sickbay?"
"I was trying to get down the cliff at the edge of the sea as fast as possible. I saw a great flash of light, and woke up here."
"A witness said you jumped off the cliff."
"I had equipment that made it safer than it looked. May I speak to this witness? I'd also like to call my office."
"I'm afraid both the observer and our radio are unavailable now. We'll try to have more answers after the doctor finishes checking you."
The man looked around suspiciously, and gave a sharper look to the medical panels and instruments, plainly of a technology beyond his time.
Kes approached the patient, smoothing her hair to be sure it covered her exotic ears. Stock stood up. He swayed a bit--deliberately?-- so Kes put an arm around him for support. He gave her a grateful look and very warm smile, but as their eyes met, Kes stiffened, and drew away. "You should rest, sir. I'll ask my fiancé to prepare a meal for you. Excuse me."
Stock turned his attention to Janeway and approached her; she felt a little blush come into her face as their eyes met.
"Captain, I'm a commander in the British Navy," Stock said. "I'd be honored if you'd allow me to see your ship. I feel well. I'm fit for maneuvers," he added in a low, teasing voice.
The Doctor looked annoyed. "I have scheduled you for twelve hours of observation here."
"Sorry, Commander. Please cooperate with the Doctor. I can see you in my ready room at breakfast at 0600 hours tomorrow, where we can discuss a tour and other matters." She turned toward the door.
"Aye, ma'am," he said, and gave her a smile that would melt sherbet. "Good night, Captain," he added.
"Good night, Mr. Stock."
Janeway returned to the bridge. The navigator had reconstructed the route taken by a ship that left the planet of the alien kidnappers. They followed, in the hope of finding more survivors from Earth.
The next morning, Janeway was in her ready room, sipping the cook's attempt at coffee. Kes brought in Stock, but stayed at arm's length from the man, and excused herself promptly.
"A pleasure to see you again, Captain," he said.
"Thank you, Commander. I have...difficult news for you. You have probably realized that this is not a navy ship as you know it."
He nodded slowly. "Your medical equipment is out of this world."
"Exactly, Mr. Stock. We are on a spaceship at the other end of the galaxy from Earth. We found you in cold sleep on an alien planet. You had been abducted. We want to locate other Earth people who were taken."
"Cold sleep--you mean the cryogenics process, being frozen to be revived later?"
"Right again, Commander."
He blinked. "How much later?"
"Over 300 years."
"So everything I've done is ancient history...old alliances and hostilities are forgotten...secrets are long declassified." He gave her a sharp look. "I need a history lesson. Can I communicate with Earth?"
"I'm sorry, we're out of communications range. Our ship was thrown off course, beyond the normal limits of starship travel. We're eager to find the aliens who took you, because they may have technology that will allow us to return to Earth in a reasonable length of time." She paused. "Our estimated time of arrival to Earth is seventy standard years. We are all stranded out here. Did you have family?"
"No," he said tightly. "Captain, I would like to see more of the ship."
"I've asked our head of security to give you a tour and education." She tapped the intercom. "Mr. Tuvok, Mr. Stock is ready for orientation."
Tuvok stepped in.
Stock said, "Thank you. I'd like some training so I can be of service."
Tuvok replied, "That is eminently logical, Mr. Stock."
Laura Holt was trying to mend a seam in her blouse, using a safety pin and a strand of palm fiber as needle and thread. It wasn't working. Remington had lent her his shirt, still damp from a wash in their stream.
"Couldn't we just declare this beach to be clothing-optional?" teased Remington. The normally impeccable detective was bare to the waist, his trousers turned up for wading. Laura had gotten used to his beard.
"I burn easily. I don't want to look like a National Geographic picture when a rescue plane eventually finds us," she replied.
"Would it be so terrible if one never arrived? No one's shooting at us, the climate's perfect, we have lots of food and fresh water. We have time to...talk things out; no interruptions. No worries that one of us will run off." He moved closer, sharing her patch of shade, as she continued to work. "That's what I love about you, Laura; how you keep busy even when the situation demands relaxation." He waved a palm frond to cool them, and repeated, "That...I love... Laura," drowsily.
Laura heard a low hum, felt the hair on her neck rise, and smelled ozone. "Is that thund--"
Columns of light appeared in front of them, which turned into four people. She stood and backed away. Remington croaked, "Who are you?"
"I'm Captain Janeway, of Voyager. We're her to rescue you. Are you all right? Do you know where other survivors are?" Janeway was an auburn Valkyrie, Laura thought a bit dazedly, but the dark, pointy-eared man beside her was surely no angel. A pretty blonde came toward them with a little beeping box. "They're in good shape, Captain, but scared. You're safe with us. My name is Kes. This is Mr. Tuvok," she said with a nod to the dark man, "and Mr. Stock," she said of the other man, a tall Caucasian with black hair. Remington approached him; Laura was startled at how Remington and Stock resembled one another, although the clean-shaven stranger was older, more muscular, and serious.
"I'm Remington Steele, and this is my associate Laura Holt," he said, using the familiar introduction in surreal circumstances. "We're detectives. Our helicopter crashed. How did you get here?"
"It's a new technology," said Janeway. "Our ship is nearby. We'd like you to come aboard and make yourselves comfortable. Are there any other people around? Have you seen any nonhumans?"
"Just fish and birds, since we crashed. No people," said Laura.
"We'd better get straight back," said the captain. "Hold still, folks. Janeway to Voyager, six to beam up. Energize."
Laura saw a glow around herself, felt a prickly, queasy sensation, and her ears popped. She was standing on a floor suddenly, indoors. Remington and the visitors were with her.
After a few questions from Tuvok--including "What year was it when you left?"-- Stock escorted them to a stateroom with a pair of beds and other furniture. Stock coolly explained that they had been abducted by aliens, kept in cold sleep for centuries, and set on the island on the alien planet. Janeway and her crew were attempting to contact the aliens to negotiate for the release of any other humans they might have in custody. He added that he had been abducted too, and had been assigned to help them adjust to the future, but he'd only spent a week here himself.
"It's all so unbelievable," Laura murmured. "If it's true, everyone we left back home is dead."
"At first I thought it was some kind of simulation," said Stock guardedly. "I played along, learned what I could, and looked for opportunities. The device that brought you here is called a transporter. It turns you into energy, and back into matter again. Today was my first experience with it while I was awake. I tried out the food and clothing replicators. You must be hungry after being stranded. Go to this little box on the wall, and order any food you can think of. Just request enough for the two of you now. The ship has amazing resources, but not unlimited ones. Tomorrow, you can see the crew and have breakfast with them."
"Order anything?" asked Remington. "You mean like caviar, champagne, Peking Duck, and flaming Baked Alaska for two?"
The box beeped. It popped open, releasing wonderful smells. Stock put a cover on the flaming dessert so it wouldn't set off the fire alarm. He gave the box precise instructions to produce a martini. It obeyed.
"Are you still on duty?" Laura asked, tasting her champagne.
"Yes, but the replicator produces synthehol, an artificial alcohol that doesn't affect the reflexes or judgment," Stock replied. "There are incredible things on the ship. The holodeck is their entertainment room. You can see that later. It's unsettling at first, to be inside a movie, and playing any part you want, rather than just watching. They have artificial adventures, artificial drinks..." He fell quiet.
Stock nibbled toast and caviar, while Laura and Remington ate ravenously . The food was not quite as tasty as it had smelled, but two weeks of living on fruit had sharpened their appetites.
"If we aren't in the future, we must be having a really good hallucination," said Remington cheerfully. Stock nodded somberly. Remington continued, "Let's try out that entertainment room as soon as possible. Think of it Laura, we could be in Casablanca, Gone With the Wind ...maybe Love Affair," he added with a sly look. They finished their meal.
Stock said, "I have left some information on the computer for you, instructions for the clothing replicator, and other features of the ship. Look at it, and call me or Tuvok if you have questions. I'll let you get some rest," he said, and left them.
They tried out the computer, clothing replicator, and bathroom fixtures, and went to their beds, separately.
"That's what I love about you Laura; so sensible and proper even when we're hundreds of years and light years from home," Remington said.
"Sorry. I've lost my whole world twice in two weeks. I need time to absorb it, before I can think about making another big change in my life."
The next morning, Stock escorted them to the mess hall. Captain Janeway greeted them. The captain's fair skin became a bit more rosy as she met Stock's eyes. She joined them in the line for an all-natural breakfast, prepared by a happy cook with a very alien face.
"I hope you've been comfortable," the captain said. "I would have liked to visit with you earlier; you come from such an interesting time in history, just before the fall—" she broke off. "You can look it up later. I'll have a history synopsis sent to your quarters. Right now, we're trying to communicate with the aliens that live on the planet where we found you. Unfortunately, their language is a jawbreaker for our linguistics software. Do you remember anything about your capture?"
"Our helicopter was about to crash in a stormy sea. There was a lightning flash, and we passed out. We thought it was sheer luck that we woke up on land," said Remington. "We didn't see any little green men."
"Actually they're brown, and look somewhat like elephants. I suspect their communication involves odors, which we're not equipped to send or receive. We're guessing that the ones that abducted you are more humanoid, but they delivered you to the, er, elephants," said Janeway.
"They went to all that trouble, then just left us alone?" mused Laura.
"They may have been observing you remotely," said Janeway.
A man popped into existence next to their table. Laura saw that even Janeway, accustomed to transporters, was startled.
"Q!" the captain gasped.
"Kiss me, Kate," the stranger said sweetly to Janeway. "It's been so long since we've been together."
"What do you want, Q?" Janeway asked coldly.
"To keep you from picking a fight you can't win, dear," he said. "You're right, Remington and his girl Friday were being observed," said Q. He was a human in his forties, by appearance, in Starfleet uniform. "The birds were a form of organic robot used to transmit sights, sounds, and smells to millions of elephants, without alarming the humans. It was fun and educational. Now their lovely primate reserve stands empty. The elephants' children are heartbroken. I hope you're satisfied."
Other crew members stood up warily around the newcomer.
"Captain, who is this?" asked Stock.
The visitor's age suddenly seemed to double. He became an old man, dressed in a white lab coat.
"Q," whispered Stock. He seemed angry and betrayed.
"Oh, grow up James," the old man said dryly. "For years, I gave you gadgets that let you break the laws of physics. Didn't you ever suspect that there was something more to me than this body?" He turned back into his younger form.
"Q is an alien, beyond our understanding or control," explained Janeway. "He can take human form, or any other form he wants. He has occasionally appeared on Federation starships, and does whatever amuses him. The results are generally unpleasant."
Q sighed. "She's so judgmental. Kate, darling, I came to warn you. The aliens who abducted these three humans sold most of their catch to the Vedians--aliens who specialize in chopping up other species for spare parts," he explained to Laura. "You two were sold to the elephants' zoo. The aliens intended to sell the zoo two pairs of humans. Stock was supposed to have a mate, an ideal match. She was a military woman, quite a fighter, abducted as she was dying in a jungle after a helicopter accident. The abductors thought they'd healed her injuries, but she died in cold sleep. Stock was being held until they could capture another nice female. The Vedians double-crossed the abductors, and took them too, so there was no one around to mind the store when Janeway arrived. Kate, dear, if you follow the abductors' trail back, you and your crew will die, as those other humans did. Even I can't save them now--at least not without seriously annoying my fellow Qs with some time alterations."
Janeway looked tired. "Thank you. We couldn't have left without knowing whether they were alive." Her spine straightened with determination. "If you're willing to help us, help us to get home."
"I'm sorry, Kate. You and your crew have a purpose in this part of the galaxy." Q looked at Stock with a sharp, jealous glance. "But this dinosaur has no place here. He doesn't know your technology or culture. His lethal training could be a disaster when you need diplomacy. His habit of loving and leaving women would be disruptive in a closed environment like Voyager. I'm throwing him back where he belongs."
"What did you do to him?" Janeway asked sharply.
"He's as safe as he was when the aliens took him--all right, I'll show you on the viewscreen here."
Janeway and Laura gasped--the monitor showed Stock falling off a cliff. He stopped, upside down, a few feet from the bottom, and freed himself from a safety line. The cliff was at the edge of a sea. Stock put on fins and scuba gear and swam toward a yacht just visible in the twilight. "He won't remember a thing about his visit to the future," said Q. "He can finish the mission that he started, over three hundred years ago."
"Won't that change history?" asked Laura.
"Not seriously," sniffed Q. "He's not as important as he thinks he is."
"Can you send us back like that?" Laura asked.
"Be careful what you wish for, Laura," warned Remington. "We were nearly shark food."
"Can you send us back to Los Angeles, where we'll be safe?" she asked.
Q looked hesitant. "You considered Los Angeles in the late 20th century to be safe?"
"Yes. Please," said Laura.
"Oh, all right. I suppose the problems of two little people wouldn't matter a hill of beans in that crazy world. Hold hands, click your heels together three times, and say, ‘There's no place like home.’"
Janeway looked perplexed, but Remington and Laura happily complied. They vanished.
Janeway watched them on the monitor. It showed a helicopter on an airport pad, with two people inside. The motor started, but was drowned out in a boom of thunder. The couple inside jumped slightly, then stepped out.
"I'm sorry, Laura, we have to take another rain check on that trip to Catalina," said Remington. "But the evening is young. I'm sure we can find something fun to do indoors." They ran, hand in hand as raindrops started, back to their car.
Janeway smiled sadly as she watched. "It would be so easy for you, Q. You could make us all that happy."
"You'll be happy when the time is right, Kate," he said, and vanished.
Janeway tried to finish her breakfast, but had no appetite. She told Chakotay to give up on the attempt to communicate with the elephants. Scans of the planet had indicated that the elephants' spaceflight capabilities were less than Voyager's. "Set course back toward home," she said. "You have the conn, Mr. Chakotay." She added softly, "I need to take a little personal time."
She entered the holodeck. The computer asked, "Do you wish to continue your previous holodeck program, Captain Janeway?"
"I'll save that one for later, computer. Now I'd like a story from about the same time period, something cheerful, about a traveler who sees the whole world, but gets home safely."
"Recommendation: Around the World in 80 Days."
"That sounds fine. Initiate program." She allowed the story of Phileas Fogg to carry her away to a simpler time, when one could never be even a light-second from home.
ROBINSON STEELE “CRIB SHEET”
Rory was Brosnan's character in “Manions of America;” Mulgrew was his love Rachel.
James Stock: Need you ask?
Ian Dunross was Brosnan's character in “Noble House.”
Phileas Fogg was his character in “Around the World in 80 Days.”