NGC 2126 -- Open Cluster in Auriga
Junior (NGC 2126)
When I was drawing Open Cluster, NGC 2126, its stars both resolved and unresolved,
reminded me of JUNIOR, a spaceborne species from Star Trek’s Next Generation
(Episode: Galaxy’s Child). The more I stared at the cluster the stronger the connection
grew. Lack of sleep? Hyperthermia (it was cold out)? Whatever the cause, this cluster
will now and in the future be “Junior” to me.
Summary taken from https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Junior_(spaceborne_lifeform)
“The creature known only as Junior was a member of a spaceborne species, existing
entirely in the vacuum of space. When born, the creature was about 42.1 million cubic
meters in volume.
In 2367, the crew of the USS Enterprise-D first discovered one such solitary creature
orbiting Alpha Omicron VII of the previously uncharted Alpha Omicron star system. The
creature's mother was inadvertently killed when minimal-powered phasers were used in self-
defense against the creature's aggressiveness. The reason for the aggressiveness was
discovered when scans by Lieutenant Commander Data soon revealed that another
distinct energy signature was present within the dead creature. It was about to give birth
and had understandably attacked the encroaching Enterprise as any mother would. Dr.
Beverly Crusher was able to use the ship's phasers once again to perform a Caesarean
section, removing the newborn from its parent using a thin beam at 3% power. Once free,
the newborn immediately imprinted on the Enterprise as its mother, and attached itself to
the secondary hull, where it began feeding on power from the fusion reactors.
Soon dubbed Junior, it began a steady drain of the ship's energy, and increased in size
8.5%. It could not be allowed to continue without endangering the ship's life support
systems. The crew extrapolated the parent's original course, leading them to a nearby
asteroid belt. There, three additional full-grown creatures came out to meet the ship in
response to radio emissions from the newborn. The asteroids contained meklinite, a
substance which interferes with ships' sensor scans and may explain why the creatures
were not previously detected. The asteroids also contained quantities of kefnium, which
also comprised an element of the creatures' outer shells and may have been a significant
part of their diet.
The crew of the Enterprise was able to remove the newborn from the hull (and "wean" it
from its "nursing") by altering their engines' energy signatures to a different wavelength
from the space-normal background radiation band of 21 centimeters (in other words,
"souring" Junior's milk). As it left its surrogate mother, the other entities welcomed the
newborn into their midst, and they all proceeded back into the asteroid field together”.