Now, over a dozen books later, Peter David has gathered some of the finest Star Trek authors to tell new tales of the Excalibur crew:
Dayton Ward's thrilling adventure from Calhoun's sordid past Loren L. Coleman's tale of Shelby's first experience with the Borg Robert Greenberger's origin of "Lefler's Laws" Susan Shwartz's adventure with Soleta and Ambassador Spock Terri Osborne's chronicle of Selar's encounter with the Q David Mack's tale of the longest day of Zak Kebron's life plus stories by Keith R.A. DeCandido, Susan Wright, Josepha Sherman, Ilsa J. Bick, Kevin Dilmore, Christina F. York, Robert T. Jeschonek, Peg Robinson, Mary Scott-Wiecek, Allyn Gibson, and Glenn Hauman & Lisa Sullivan.
Added Bonus! Peter David himself tells the untold story of Calhoun and Shelby's honeymoon on Xenex!
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No Limits (Star Trek: New Frontier)
Star TrekCopyright © 2003 Paramount Pictures
All right reserved.
Chapter OneCALHOUN & SHELBY A Little Getaway
After the destruction of the Ambassador-class U.S.S. Excalibur, Captain Calhoun was believed killed. When he returned alive and well, he asked Captain Shelby to marry him, which she accepted after belting him. Before he took command of the new Galaxy-class Excalibur, and before Shelby took over the Trident, the two of them went on their honeymoon. "A Little Getaway" is the story of that happy occasion ...
"We're going to Xenex?"
Newlywed Elizabeth Shelby had been looking forward to an increase in the quality and frequency of communication with her longtime love, sparring partner, rival, and commanding officer, Mackenzie Calhoun. They were, after all, husband and wife, married in a ceremony officiated by Jean-Luc Picard that could be called, at best, impromptu, on the bridge of Calhoun's once and future command, the Excalibur.
The truth was that every fragment of Shelby's common sense had warned her that marrying Calhoun was folly. But, hell, the man had literally come back from the dead to ask for her hand in marriage. How could any woman, any person, with a fragment of romance in their soul, walk away from a situation such as that?
Very easily if she had any brains, Shelby was starting to think.
Calhoun, after having undergone a debriefing so that Starfleet knew exactly what his whereabouts had been during the time he'd been believed dead, had been given two weeks' time to rest, recuperate, and honeymoon with his brand-new bride. ("During which time, Shelby will no doubt repeatedly debrief him as well," Kat Mueller had deadpanned, a comment that had gotten puzzled looks from some crewmen and guffaws from others.) Calhoun owned a state-of-the-art runabout, which had been moved to the new Excalibur, almost in a sort of in memoriam gesture. So it was conveniently there when the happy couple required it.
Crew members had assembled on the holodeck, armed with handfuls of rice to be thrown, a tradition that was incomprehensible to Calhoun, who thought it represented a collective desire that they put more fiber in their diet. Shelby had explained that it represented a hope for fertility, which had sent Calhoun into such spasms of laughter that she wished she'd said that yes, it represented fiber. For his part, Picard had taken the opportunity to make reservations for them at the resort world of Risa, generously offering to pick up the cost as a present to the newlyweds. So Risa was, naturally, where Shelby was anticipating they were going to go.
That anticipation took an abrupt U-turn when she saw the coordinates Calhoun had entered into the nav computer and the intended destination.
"We're going to Xenex?" It was the second time she'd said it, because Calhoun had simply nodded the first time.
"That's what I was hoping," said Calhoun. "Well, my love ... let's fire up the engines and not keep all the nice folks waiting for our depart -"
"Hold it!" Shelby said, standing. "Nothing's getting fired up, Mac, including you on our wedding night tonight, until you explain this. Xenex? Your homeworld?"
"It's the only Xenex I know of."
"Why?" she demanded.
He sighed heavily. "I'm sorry. You're right. I shouldn't have assumed. I mean, it would only add a day to the trip, but it wasn't a given that -"
"Spare me the halfhearted apologies, Calhoun. What's going on?" She leaned against the console, her arms folded, clearly not backing down.
"All right ... look," said Calhoun. "I know that Picard conducted the ceremony, and in the eyes of the Federation and Starfleet it's all legal, proper, aboveboard ..."
"But ...?" she prompted.
"But ... I am Xenexian. Before I was Starfleet ... before I was anything ... I was, and am, Xenexian."
"I know that, Mac," she said, beginning to have a suspicion what the problem was. "And I know it hasn't always been easy for you, balancing the heritage and upbringing you have with the man that your time in Starfleet has made you become." She reached over and ruffled his hair affectionately. Then she glanced at the view on the monitor. The folks outside were looking impatient. "Okay, so ... Xenex ..."
"In the eyes of Xenexian society," said Calhoun, "our marriage wouldn't be considered legal. We would need to be married in a ceremony conducted by the village shaman. Otherwise, I'd feel like ..." Then he stopped and shook his head.
"But this isn't your problem, Eppy. You're looking forward to the honeymoon, and you've taken such a leap of faith in marrying me already. This is my problem, not yours, and if the Federation considers us married, that should be all that matters...."
"But it's not," Shelby said. "What matters to you, Mac, matters to me. That's what being married is all about. You've made it clear it's important to you, and all the backtracking you're now trying to do, out of consideration for me ... well, it's sweet because it is being considerate of me, but it's unnecessary. I feel good about our being married, Mac. No ... I feel great about it. And I don't want there to be any impediment to your feeling great about it as well. And it's one day. One day out of the rest of our married life. Besides, let's face facts: Being married won't be easy. We'll be spending a good portion of our time apart, in separate commands. I want our bonds to be as strong as possible, and if that means having a second ceremony on Xenex, I'm all for it."
"Really." She smiled.
A minute later, the runabout lifted off, and the crew members pelted the vessel with rice as it headed for the forcefield door. It eased through the field, the atmosphere in the shuttlebay staying neatly intact behind it.
The moment they were gone, Zak Kebron said loudly, "All right. Taking bets as to how long it will last."
Activity was fast and furious.
It had been many years since Shelby had set foot on Xenex, and it was every bit as hot and uninviting as she remembered. But Calhoun was grinning ear to ear the moment they disembarked from the runabout, and that alone was enough to make her smile as well. Then again, they'd had a festive and very active wedding night, so it seemed natural that he'd been in an exceedingly good mood. She thought it was sweet the way he kept reaching over, touching her hand or her shoulder, especially since he'd never been that much of a touchy-feely person before. When she'd made an observation about his attitude, he'd simply said, "It helps me to believe you're actually here." That seemed even sweeter.
"Amazing," Calhoun said, gesturing around at the spaceport where they'd landed. "None of this was here years ago. Now look how built up it is."
"Built up" was hardly the phrase Shelby would have used. It was one of the smallest spaceports she'd ever been to, with exactly two landing fields as opposed to the typical nine or ten, and no conveniences for the transporting of luggage. But Calhoun seemed impressed by it, and she had to suppose that, for him, it was impressive. He had, after all, walked this world when he was little more than a savage fighting for his world's freedom, and even a simple glass of water was considered an amenity. So she supposed it was all relative.
Calhoun obtained a land skimmer to take them the fairly short distance to his home territory of Calhoun, the location that had provided him the last name he'd adopted for his career in Starfleet. "Mackenzie Calhoun" was a much easier name for non-Xenexians to say than his given name of M'k'n'zy of Calhoun.
Upon arriving in Calhoun, he was greeted boisterously by other Xenexians, who spoke at him in their rapid-fire native tongue. They'd received advance word of Calhoun's survival when he'd previously been believed dead, so naturally there were joyous greetings from all. The Universal Translator handled it all for Shelby, of course, but she was nevertheless struck by how raunchy and racy virtually all of the Xenexian expressions were. "You look well!" for instance, was literally translated as "I wager your genitals have not shrunk!" It wasn't enough to bring a flush of embarrassment to Shelby's cheeks, but it was sufficient to throw her slightly off her stride. Nor did any of the Xenexians make the slightest pretense of doing anything other than openly sizing her up. They looked her up and down as if assessing a potential racehorse, and they were quite vocal in their appraisals. Some dismissed her as "too stringy," which made it sound like they were considering whether she'd make a good meal. Others, however, nodded approvingly, and made candid comments about which parts of her anatomy were the most pleasing.
In short, the Xenexians displayed a total lack of tact. So much so, in fact, that it gave her a new, fuller appreciation for all the strides that Calhoun had made in his time with Starfleet. Her husband might have been a maverick with little regard for rules and regulations, but at least he didn't meet women and say, "Your hips seem more than adequate for childbearing."
D'ndai, Calhoun's brother, was not on Xenex, a discovery that disappointed and frustrated Calhoun. D'ndai was ostensibly in important meetings on Danter and couldn't get away. "He's there so much, one would almost think he was becoming Danteri," grumbled more than one of the Xenexians, who looked to D'ndai for leadership. From Calhoun's grim expression, it seemed to Shelby that possible problems for D'ndai might be arising in the near future if these attitudes among his people continued.
Finally, Calhoun turned to her and said, "This way." Cutting through the throng, shaking hands, assuring them that he'd take the time to continue conversations later, he led her across the city. The buildings were all very simple, built low to the ground, and although Calhoun kept commenting on how living conditions on Xenex had improved, it still looked terribly primitive to her. But Shelby was, first and foremost, a Starfleet officer, and she refused to sit in judgment on the Xenexians.
"Here," Calhoun said finally when they stopped in front of one particular house. It was smaller than the others, and the exterior was covered with various symbols and signs that Shelby couldn't begin to comprehend. Calhoun saw the way she was looking at them, and said by way of explanation, "They're prayer symbols, asking the gods for strength, wisdom, and guidance."
"Ah," said Shelby. "Well, they're very nice. Very striking. Is this the residence of the shaman ...?"
"Yes." He nodded. "B'ndri. He has been the shaman here since I was very young. He seemed ancient to me even then, so I can't even begin to guess how he'll look now. But he was always supportive of me, particularly when I took on the responsibilities of warlord. If he hadn't been behind me, I doubt I would have gotten the confidence of the people ... or perhaps even had confidence in myself."
"I find it hard to picture you without confidence in yourself," Shelby said with a grin.
Calhoun returned the grin, and then knocked on the edge of the front door. There was silence from within for a moment, and then a gravelly voice said, "Come, M'k'n'zy."
Shelby and Calhoun exchanged glances. "How did he know?" she asked.
He shrugged. "He just does." Then he led the way in and she followed, feeling a bit tentative and mentally assuring herself there was no need for her to be that way. She had met any number of planetary dignitaries under a vast array of circumstances. Granted, this had a certain personal involvement, but nevertheless, it shouldn't be anything she couldn't handle.
The moment she entered the small house, she started wondering if she was wrong.
There was exactly one room in the place, and the man she presumed to be the shaman was seated directly in the middle of it. He was wearing long blue robes, with a gray beard dangling from the point of his chin, and his lighter gray hair splayed around his head as if it had exploded there instead of growing upon it in orderly fashion. His eyebrows were so thick that it was difficult to see his eyes beneath them. He was seated crosslegged upon the floor, his hands resting upon his knees. The room itself was devoid of furnishings. If he had possessions, Shelby couldn't see where they were.
Calhoun bowed deeply to him, and Shelby immediately imitated. "I bring greetings, B'ndri," said Calhoun. "It has been a long time."
"Too long, M'k'n'zy," replied B'ndri, "so long that I have come to believe you have forgotten your roots." The problem was, he wasn't looking at Calhoun. He was looking at Shelby.
"Never, B'ndri," Calhoun said.
"You say never. Yet you do not even call yourself M'k'n'zy anymore, do you?" Still he was focused on Shelby. It was disconcerting.
"It was painful to hear offworlders pronounce it," said Calhoun lightly, clearly trying to bring some levity to the proceedings. Unsurprisingly, B'ndri didn't so much as crack a smile. Calhoun cleared his throat loudly and said, "B'ndri, it is with the greatest supplication that I present you my mate, Elizabeth Paula Shelby. Elizabeth, this is the honorable B'ndri."
To play it safe, she bowed again. "A great honor indeed, sir," she said.
He looked her up and down, and then finally stared at Calhoun. "This is one of those who has weakened you."
"What?" said Shelby.
"What?" echoed Calhoun, shaking his head. "Honored one, no. She has been a source of strength, not weakness. I've learned much from her ..."
"And I from him," Shelby quickly added. "That's why we're so good for each other. We shore up each other's weaknesses ..."
"The world you represent is the only weakness that M'k'n'zy has had to contend with," B'ndri told her. "He was a great man, a great leader, before he left here."
"And I still am," Calhoun said flatly. She could see that he was becoming more irritated with each passing moment. "Honored one, with all the respect in the world ... you seem ready to pass judgment on me, and on Elizabeth, so quickly ... yet you hardly know us...."
"That," B'ndri said, "is precisely the point, M'k'n'zy. Once, you were someone I knew. Someone I knew better than he knew himself. I look at you now ... and it is as if the M'k'n'zy I knew is gone. As if his warrior heart has been cut out."
Calhoun looked visibly staggered at that, and it was more than Shelby could take. She kept her voice neutral, polite, but there was undeniable iron in it as well. "Again, with all respect, sir ... you're wrong."
"Eppy," Calhoun tried to say.
But she'd started talking and wouldn't back off. "This man, whether you call him M'k'n'zy or Mackenzie, has more of a warrior heart than anyone I've ever met. It's what has gotten him through all of the challenges he's had to face, be it adjusting to the world of Starfleet or facing down death itself. He never gives up, never stops believing in himself. It's the thing that most attracts me to him."
"Indeed. You are attracted to it ... because you yourself do not possess it?"
Shelby was thunderstruck that he would say such a thing, but it was Calhoun who immediately responded. "No, B'ndri. Not at all. Elizabeth has just as strong and determined a heart as me. I couldn't love her, marry her, if she did not."
"So I am to take your choosing to wed this woman as sufficient proof that she is what you say she is. That she is a fit mate?" asked B'ndri. "I am to substitute your judgment for my own? Have you grown so far from our ways, M'k'n'zy, that that is what you would expect of me?"
And Shelby saw the darkening of the scar on Calhoun's face. She knew what it meant, knew that his temper was starting to become inflamed. Obviously he had come into this situation with a set of expectations as to how it would go, and what he was getting instead was so far away from those expectations that he was having trouble keeping himself in check. "B'ndri," Calhoun said with exaggerated attempt at self-control, "your support, your blessing ... means a great deal to me. But Elizabeth means the world to me, and if you're unable to -"
"Wait," Shelby interrupted, and Calhoun looked at her curiously. She reached over, put a hand on his arm, and said softly, "Don't try to diminish what this means to you. I know you. I can see it in your eyes, in your face. Let me try to make this right."
Excerpted from No Limits (Star Trek: New Frontier) Copyright © 2003 by Paramount Pictures. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of ContentsContents
by Peter David
Mackenzie Calhoun: "Loose Ends"
by Dayton Ward
Elizabeth Shelby: "All That Glisters..."
by Loren L. Coleman
Zak Kebron: "Waiting for G'Doh, or, How I Learned to Stop Moving and Hate People"
by David Mack
Robin Lefler: "Lefler's Logs"
by Robert Greenberger
Morgan Primus: "Alice, on the Edge of Night"
by Ilsa J. Bick
by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Si Cwan: "Turning Point"
by Josepha Sherman
Selar: " 'Q'uandary"
by Terri Osborne
Burgoyne 172: "Oil and Water"
by Robert T. Jeschonek
Mark McHenry: "Singularity"
by Christina F. York
Arex: "The Road to Edos"
by Kevin Dilmore
D'ndai of Calhoun: "A Lady of Xenex"
by Peg Robinson
U.S.S. Excalibur: "Making a Difference"
by Mary Scott-Wiecek
Kat Mueller: "Performance Appraisal"
by Allyn Gibson
by Glenn Hauman & Lisa Sullivan
Soleta: "Out of the Frying Pan"
by Susan Shwartz
Burgoyne 172: "Through the Looking Glass"
by Susan Wright
Calhoun & Shelby: "A Little Getaway"
by Peter David
The Star Trek: New Frontier Timeline,
compiled by Keith R.A. DeCandido