Literary Challenge #38 : We'll Always Have New York
Hello and welcome to another edition of our writers' challenges! :cool:
Today we start the two-week run of the thirty-eighth Literary Challenge: We'll Always Have New York
You and your crew recently experienced an anomaly while observing a star that caused "subspace folds" that have never been observed before. As the phenomenon seemed to pass through your ship, it temporarily placed you and your crew back in time in New York City, United States (you pick the time period, bonus points for writing as a Klingon ;)). Write a Captain's Log entry about the experience, and how you returned to the correct place in time and space.This is the writer's thread -- only entries should be made here.
The Discussion Thread can be found HERE.
We also have an Index of previous challenges HERE.
The rules may change from one challenge to another, but I'd like to remind everyone what the base rules are. These may grow as we move on, so also feel free to give feedback!
Challenge #38: End of an Era
Captain's Log, Star Date... considering when and where we were, September third, 1945...
The Manticore was observing a star causing unusual gravimetric waves in the Sirius Sector block.
T'kek our science officer was monitoring a strange shift in the poles of the star when the ship was struck by a strange energy wave, later we would find out it was a new type of subspace fold.
Several EPS conduits exploded and despite a plasma fire on deck ten no lives were lost, though our doctor was less than pleased to be interrupted from his first night off to handle the problem.
Supplemental: Requisition a case of Romulan Ale for the doctor.
Continuing, when the ships systems came back online we attempted to contact Star Fleet and were concerned there were no beacons or signal coming from Earth.
I ordered the helm to make our best speed there to see if there was an issue.
Upon arrival, the lack of Earth Space Dock, Utopia Planetia, the lunar colony and any satellites surrounding the planet came as a surprise.
After listening to the radio broadcasts of the time, we realized this was an important day in the planets history and we would be foolish to not observe it more closely.
Myself and my first officer Syren made use of a pair of holographic emitters in order to blend in a bit easier, while New Yorkers have been said to ignore and accept most anything. I highly doubted they were ready to see an Orion Female.
I dressed as a sailor and she appeared as a dark haired nurse, we beamed down into an alleyway and walked out onto the main street, people were celebrating, I grabbed a news paper seeing the headline of Peace I smirked. This was the official end of Earth's Second World War.
As Syren and I looked around we noticed a man with a camera taking various pictures of the celebrating people, now as a buff of this time period I knew there was a picture that was synonymous with this date and specifically this place in New York. But where were they? sighing and realizing how much I truly despise the Temporal Prime Directive and paradoxes in general I did my duty and grasped Syren by the waist dipped her back and kissed her deeply? as I saw the flash go off I stood back up and wondered just what she was going to say in regards to this.
After she stopped blushing and mumbling about getting a repeat performance we went back to an alleyway to contact the ship.
My Chief Engineer and Science officers had come up with a plan. Apparently the polar switch that affected the Manticore and crew was simply rare not new. The star we had been watching was currently giving off the same distortions that had started this mission to begin with. Prior to the wave hitting we would need to send a deflector pulse of equal and opposite frequency. They theorized it would send us back where we belonged.
Upon returning the ship we warped to the star and repeated what happened and prayed it got us home.
Just as T?kek noticed the shift in poles, we released the pulse, the same wave encompassed the ship, once again a few conduits blew but this time there were no casualties.
Supplemental: Remind the doctor of overdue poker debt.
As soon as we were able, we contacted Star Fleet and set course for Earth Space Dock for repairs and to report on our mission.
Supplemental: Do Orions enjoy Saurian Brandy?
End Captains Log
Captain's Log, Stardate: Unknown - Earthdate: April 5th 2063
The Retribution has been ordered to assist U.S.S. Rhode Island in making scans of a highly unstable graviton star. However, when we arrived at the RV co-ordinates, only a duranium shadow remained of the Rhode Island.
My science officer surmised that it had been sent through time; where and when was a slight harder to discover. We were eventually able to determine that the missing ship, commanded by Captain Harry Kim, had been sent back to the years after earth's 3rd World War - and the day that Zefram Cochrane launched the Phoenix.
We had planned to send a multi-spatial probe into the star, in order to determine the time period in which the Rhode Island was in. However, my executive officer had informed my that the probe may not survive. Running out of time - and options - I summoned the senior staff to the conference room for an emergency meeting.
"Does anybody have any useful suggestions into HOW we're going to get Capt. Kim and his crew out of there?", Starfleet Admiral George Aubrey asked.
"I don't think we can do much about that right now, sir. The star is becoming increasingly unstable from the latest scans," Reman science officer T'Kek replied.
"Short of taking the ship through the pulses, there isn't anything we CAN do to help the Rhode Island", said the chief engineer.*
Tales of Alyosha Strannik
"One More Candle"
Personal Log of Captain Alexei Ivanovich Strannik, Encrypted.
It's easy to talk about the Temporal Prime Directive. About the moments in history where the most wildly-diverging timelines converge and then break apart--the temporal loci that send out shock waves forwards and backwards in time by the sheer gravity of what happened there. And how those compression waves have a way of drawing people caught in temporal anomalies into or around the most chaotic time frames--places of impending tragedy where the worst...and also the very best in people will soon be displayed for all to see.
It's also easy to speculate about why we wound up on Earth from all the way in the Tau Dewa block--perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I exist partially in another phase, or perhaps it had something to do with the fact that elsewhere in the United States during that time frame, I 'slept' underground in stasis, still waiting for the geologists to come and awaken me.
But all of that is reduced to academics' talk when it actually happens, and you find yourself suddenly swept from shouting a warning to a shuttle crew to raise shields and flee the temporal anomaly scanners had just revealed--and that you can sense all over you, and then you're swept back in time and place.
And then you look up...and up...a bit to the right...and up even further, and you realize exactly what the enormous shadow is that blocks the sun from your view: a place so majestic and yet so few, in the scheme of time, ever had the chance to witness in full glory as I now have.
That this is the world that adopted me...not the world of my birthright...doesn't matter in a time and a place like this. One that engenders such reverence and such mourning all at once. We can look at monuments and reflect upon tragedies past, parse them at a safe distance--but the awful, helpless foreknowing of actually standing in that shadow simply cannot be adequately expressed.
Commander th'Valek shielded us quickly enough with his illusions; to those passing by, we were nothing more than another set of average tourists or perhaps commuters on foot. And that meant we saw at close proximity the vitality in this place. Utterly vibrant. Utterly fragile.
This I will never forget: I saw them exit and walk by, just heading home from a day's work.
We had to return to our time, those of us of Earth in one way or the other with aching hearts as we walked among the heroes of ordinary life.
The temporal compression waves were growing exponentially stronger--and with the right tuning of our equipment it was clear that we would very soon be swept away, back home, well before morning, and all we could do was wait in silent vigil.
One change I did make, as we waited in the place history told me would be safe even if our calculations were wrong. There in St. Paul's Chapel, one more votive candle burned, soon to stand against the dark.
Miles O'Brien's Funeral
The duffel bag was only hallway full. As he continued packing, Chief Engineer Yair Hillel continued his personal log entry. "First officer T'Panna and I are headed to Zyin IV in the Gamma Quadrant to honor a fallen hero - Miles Edward O'Brien. After retiring from teaching at the Academy, he moved to the Gamma Quadrant to help the small settlements that sprang up after we ended hostilities with the Dominion. His death was fitting in a way - he died pulling people out of the wreckage of a crashed shuttle.
"His widow Keiko insisted that the official funeral and burial be performed on Zyin IV, and the admiralty agreed. I am going because he was my favorite instructor at the Academy. T'Panna is going because her roommate serves on a Corps of Engineers ship and will be attending. All I can say is that I wish I had a chance to say goodbye to him." He paused for a moment. "End recording."
Satisfied with the half-full duffel bag, he zipped it up, lifted it, and started walking towards the door. Then he dropped the bag, smiled, and said, "Computer, transport me to the shuttlecraft Firefly, authorization Hillel Tango Epsilon Eight."
T'Panna entered Shuttlebay One and was shocked to find Hillel sitting in the shuttle. "You have reformed now? This is the first time I've seen you early for a departure in the entire time I've been known you. If this wasn't for a funeral I would say that you are meeting a former love there."
Hillel took his feet off of the control panel and sat up straight. "Good morning to you too, Commander. Are you ready for a seventeen hour ride in this small shuttle?"
It took four hours to reach Deep Space Nine, followed by two hours waiting in the queue to pass through the wormhole. T'Panna wondered if Starfleet had gathered this many ships in the area since the Dominion War. This time there was a wide variety of vessels - mainly shuttles and runabouts, but also several large capital ships. O'Brien had definitely made a lasting impression on the fleet.
The wormhole was as majestic as she imagined. How could something like this be so stable for decades? Then the ship jerked violently and she was flung from her seat.
Hillel noticed T'Panna on the ground, determined that she was not severely injured, and checked the instruments. The forward viewscreen showed a hazy city at what appeared to be night. Hillel rubbed his eyes and confirmed that Firefly was rushing towards the ground at an alarming rate. "Maybe I've found where the Prophets live here in the wormhole," he muttered.
T'Panna mumbled an insult and strapped herself in. "That planet shouldn't be there," she said through bleeding lips.
As soon as Hillel realized that a crash was inevitable, he adjusted the heading to make the crash as smooth as possible. "I'm aiming for the field near that barn a few kilometers away," he said as the buildings came within a few hundred meters. Something seemed odd about the place...and then they collided with the barn.
The impact knocked Hillel unconscious. He woke up to the smell of blood. A large animal was lodged into the port side of the shuttle, right on top of where T'Panna should be. Hillel scrambled to free himself and then realized he couldn't help her. T'Panna's neck was twisted at an odd angle and a several hundred kilogram animal - a cow? - was on top of her. What a terrible way to die, he thought.
The aft compartment of the shuttle was on fire. Hillel scrambled out of the shuttle and took an inventory of the situation. He was alone in a field near a poorly-developed city on an unknown world. The buildings all appeared to be made of wood. This must be a small farm, he thought.
Then something in the shuttle exploded, knocking him down to his hands and knees.
There was no stopping the fire after the explosion. All of the nearby buildings were set ablaze by the flying debris. Hillel's training in emergency management kicked in. It was time to knock down doors and tell people to leave.
Hours flew by as the situation grew more desperate. This planet's star was under the horizon, but the fire made it look like broad daylight. As the blocks flew under his feet, a few clues started to form together in his mind. He could read the signs and understand the people. His combadge had fallen off hours ago, but the language was familiar. The motor vehicles looked like something out of an ancient history lesson. Could those really be combustion engines?
In an alley he found a newspaper and picked it up. It was The Chicago Daily Tribune, dated Sunday, October 8, 1871. T'Panna had become the first Vulcan - well, quarter-Vulcan anyway - to die on Earth as the shuttlecraft Firefly started the Great Chicago fire.
The weight of this revelation sunk in. It felt like the atmosphere had thickened and gravity had doubled. All he wanted to do was sit down and cry. Had his actions really caused one of the greatest tragedies in American history? How was this possible?
Relentless in their pursuit, the flames - his flames, his devastation brought from the future - caught up to Hillel. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a man rush into a building that was clearly about to collapse. Remorse can wait. He ran over to help.
The man came back out carrying a small child. "There are three more in there," the man said. He briefly made eye contact. Hillel was shocked to see the eyes of Miles O'Brien.
Before Hillel could say anything, O'Brien had entered the flaming building. The child had run off, so Hillel was free to go in. As he took his third step into the building, Hillel saw the second floor of the building start collapse all around him. A quick dive brought him outside as the building fell inward.
The child came back and grabbed Hillel's shoulder. "He saved my life and died a hero," the girl said. Then another hand grabbed Hillel's other shoulder. "He saved my life too." "And mine," a third voice said. Suddenly he was in a swarm of children, clothes ruined but otherwise unharmed. They were all praising O'Brien.
Hillel stood up and examined the crowd. There were probably fifty children standing in the street as the city burned. Then the impossible happened - again? - and the crowd parted for O'Brien to pass. His curly hair was singed and blood was on his bare arms, but he held eye contact with Hillel. "I made a difference with my life. Will you?"
Another hand grabbed Hillel. This one was so strong that it pulled him to the ground. He looked up and saw T'Panna in a perfectly clean uniform. There was no blood, no death, and in a moment of honesty he found her attractive. They were onboard the shuttle Firefly again.
"Chief, what is wrong? Can you hear me?" She continued to poke at his shoulder. Hillel gently grabbed her hand, held it in his, and replied.
"I think I just heard from the Prophets."
#6 We'll always Have New York
"Here you go, sir," said the young girl as she placed the ceramic mug of coffee on the small table in front of me. Steam carried the earthy aroma of the dark liquid into the air.
"Thank you," I replied, smiling up at her.
The barista was a young girl, no more than 19 or 20 years old by my guess. Her neon hair was braided into a thick ponytail that draped down her back. She had on a dark polo shirt and green apron, a white name-tag read 'Zoe.'
"First time in New York?" Zoe asked.
"I guess you could say that. Does it show?" I almost wanted to laugh as I pondered the absurdity of the truth. I may be as human as she is, but these people could barely launch themselves into space while I had traveled across half the quadrant in just the past month alone.
"Yeah, a little." She spoke in a strong accent, then added as an after thought, "Make sure you see the sights while you're here. There's a fantastic pizza joint not far from here in Chelsea!"
"Thanks, I'll see if I can make the time," I acknowledged slyly.
Oblivious to my little joke, she turned and returned to her work. I looked around at the various people gathered in the small dining area, enjoying a beverage or snack before returning to the floating museum docked only about 30 meters away in the Hudson River. I observed my two companions enter through the double glass doors of the main entrance. They took a moment to survey the cafe before noticing me and moving to join me at the table. Orin Ryce--my Chief Engineer and a friend with whom I had shared a dorm room with at the Academy--lead to distance across the cafe. It was entertaining seeing the two of them in period specific garb.
"You wouldn't believe how much trouble we had finding it," Orin said, taking an open seat. "It was massive! Even with a tricorder I couldn't get more than about a percent of it."
Kelsi Ty--my first officer--took a seat opposite her human counterpart. As she looked at me I could see my own reflection, framed in bright pink plastic, in the large lensed sunglasses she wore. I wanted to chuckle a little bit at how silly she looked as the oversized glasses obscured much of her face.
"But we have the information we need, right?" I asked, composing myself.
"Affirmative, Admiral," Kelsi replied.
"Took a little Borg intervention from Three to sift through all that data without getting caught though," Orin informed, nodding in recognition towards her. Kelsi rarely let people refer to her by that designation anymore, but Orin and I were among those exceptions.
"Any issues getting access?" I asked, taking a sip from the beige mug.
"Are you kidding?" Orin smirked. He continued as though the next thought were as obvious to the rest of the group. "There isn't a security system on the planet that can stand against two Starfleet engineers, especially when one is a genius and the other is half Borg."
I just shook my head a little at my friend.
"Your modesty not withstanding, good job you two," I commended. "As for me, the great 21st-century scavenger hunt went well. I'm reasonably sure I was able to find everything we need to assemble the transponder. It'll be crude, but should work."
I reached down and lifted the brown canvas messenger bag that had been sitting at my feet and laid it on the table. Kelsi took the bag and peered inside, examining the various contents as Orin and I watched on.
Finally, as if pleased with my wares, she looked up and announced, "I agree. These items are acceptable. These components, in conjunction with the technical schematics we acquired, will allow me to modify my cortical implant for the desired effect."
"Great, get started," I ordered. "We probably shouldn't linger in this time longer than necessary."
I took another sip of the coffee and watched as Kelsi again sifted through the contents of the bag, setting a few items aside. Orin fidgeted in his chair a little as if debating what he wanted to say next. I didn't have to wait long, the young man wasn't known for censoring his thoughts.
"I'm still a little unclear how you knew that we could even find schematics for a temporal transceiver in a 400 year old computer database," he paused to consider his next comment. "I mean, Chronowerx Industries folded over a decade ago when their CEO inexplicably disappeared. Its been bought and sold half a dozen times and carved up more than twice that. There is no way any of this information will survive to our century."
"Just a story my Dad told me once," was all I would share with my colleague.
There was a long and awkward pause as Orin glared at me.
"Right..." was all he finally responded, clearly dissatisfied with my answer.
Kelsi seemed to ignore the conversation, fixated on her task. She had since opened up her tricorder and begun analyzing the technical schematics of the tiny transceiver she was constructing.
"Well, I'm beyond ready to get out of here. All this traffic and noise is driving me crazy," Orin complained, staring out the cafe windows at the busy boulevard just outside. "I miss the soft drum of my engines."
I had to admit, as much as I found this era fascinating, the past week in early 21st-century New York had made me long for the familiarity of the Odin. Nothing felt more like home to me than the bridge of my Galaxy-class starship. I wondered to myself how much time had passed for the rest of my ship and crew since the collapse of that star had displaced Orin, Kelsi, and I.
"I for one am tired of these ridiculous optical filters," Kelsi muttered, the first real acknowledgement of the banter going on between Orin and myself. She never even looked up from what she was doing as she spoke. "Based upon my observations, its unlikely any of the native population would have taken notice of my ocular implant."
I shrugged slightly, not entirely disagreeing with her.
"Maybe, but there's no reason to risk it either," Orin smirked. He was having too much fun to let it go. "Besides, I think they work for you!"
Even with the enormous glasses obscuring her eyes, I knew my Borg officer was glaring sideways in Orin's direction. She wasn't the most emotionally expressive individual I had ever known, but over the years I had learned to read her. I decided to change the subject and thus keep Kelsi focused on her construct.
"It's a shame we can't risk exploring this era more," I intervened. From our vantage point in the cafe, we could observe the comings and goings of pedestrians as they went about their lives. "These people are on the verge of some incredible social and economic changes."
Now it was Orin's turn to glare, this time in my direction.
"Don't romanticize them too much, Aiden," he began, his tone and volume dropping somewhat. "Afterall, they're also on the verge of a devastating war that will claim over 600 million lives."
I sighed, still looking around at the people as they passed. "Fair enough."
Silence overtook the table once more. I sipped at my coffee and Orin seemed to turn his attention to the small device his Borg counterpart had assembled. It was perhaps ten or fifteen minutes before anyone spoke again.
"Why are we here at this museum?" Kelsi asked, only barely looking up.
"As it turns out, my scans indicated this location has the ideal quantum coordinates for initiating the transceiver," I relied. It was the first time in years really that my background in quantum mechanics had been even remotely useful. Despite being a skilled engineer myself, I had come to rely on my staff to fill in the technical expertise in recent years. An unexpected side effect of command perhaps--more delegating and less doing.
"A bit of poetic irony I guess," Orin commented, glancing towards the carrier and the historic vessel contained within its hangar deck. I silently agreed with a nod.
"I should complete assembly of the transceiver before the facility closes," she assured us. I smiled at her, Kelsi never ceased to amaze me with her speed and efficiency. As much as it had been a prideful boast on Orin's part, he was right in that the two made an almost unstoppable engineering powerhouse.
Orin looked up from the downloaded schematics as a thought came to him. "What do you think will happen when we turn it on?" he asked. His eyebrows raised to accent the comment.
I had given this question some thought myself. Honestly, I had no real idea either, only supposition that made logical sense based on what little I understood of temporal enforcement. "I imagine someone from the distant future will stop by to figure out why we're here. They should have a means of returning us to our time as well. That transceiver should broadcast towards the 29th-century or so."
"I sure hope we haven't done anything to alter the timeline," Orin commented.
Kelsi noticeably paused a moment to consider that notion. I slightly chucked.
"On the bright side, we'll never know one way or the other," I stated. My mentor had once commented on how time travel used to give her headaches. I found no such annoyance in temporal mechanics; it was all a matter of perspective and if we had changed anything it was likely that we had already changed with it. In any case, I decided to reassure my Chief Engineer with false conviction only a leader can get away with, "No need to fret about a paradox you can't perceive."
"It'll still make for an interesting log entry," Orin chuckled.
Kelsi and I both stared at him blankly for a moment.
"I'm not looking forward to writing it," I finally replied.
Through The Time Nemesis
Captain's log, stardate 90709.26;
We are en route to the ISH system for a study of its star which behaves strangely according to Starfleet's science department. As we are about to discover the star's mysteries, a surprising experience is going to happen.
-What are your readings science officer? said the captain.
-The star's neutrino field is highly unstable, as if it would collapse on itself.
-I suggest we warp in near ISH three and launch a class twelve probe, then we get out of the star's gravity field.
-Sounds like a good plan. Helm, take the lead.
-Yes sir, warp destination layed in, arriving in five seconds. Four. Three. Two. One.
As soon as the ship warps into the stellar system, the science officer quickly inputs the probe's launch command.
-Probe launched captain.
-Helm, get us out of here.
Then the communications officer says :
-Captain, I'm picking up a radio transmission from Earth but it's not on any Starfleet channel.
-Let me hear it, said the captain.
The bridge's speakers shout :
-''Baby, baby ooh!''
-Enough! said the captain.
The channel was cut and the science officer turned toward its consoles that started to beep like crazy.
-What's happening? said the captain.
-The star is collapsing on itself captain.
-What about the probe?
-I'm currently gathering the data.
-Helm, get us out of here now!
-I can't sir, warp engines are not responding!
The captain swiftly opens internal ship communications.
-Engineer, what's happening down there?
-I don't know captain, the dilithium crystals are not reacting at all. I've never seen this before. I'll attempt to replace them.
-Captain! said the communications officer staring at the viewscreen.
The captain turns his eyes to the viewscreen only to realize the star went supernovae.
-Sir the shockwave will hit us in ten seconds. said the tactical officer.
-I highly recommend we launch a tachyon beam in order to drill a hole in the shockwave, said the science officer.
-Make it so!
A huge burst of blue tachyons emitted from the ship's deflector makes its way to the shockwave.
-Is it working? said the captain.
-It won't be enough.
-All hands brace for impact! suddenly shouted the captain.
The shockwave touches the ship without blowing it to pieces. Instead, a white light surrounds everybody on the bridge and in the ship. The white light slowly fades to reveal a 2013 New York.
Everybody is astonished by what they see : everything is backward because time flows the other way now. People are walking backward, talking backward and acting backward. People eating food looks gross. The captain looks for his crewmembers who are scattered throughout NYC Broadway Street. All look disoriented but they are acting normally.
-Why aren't we affected science officer? asked the captain.
-It may be possible that the tachyon drill we used has somehow protected us from the temporal inversion Earth is actually experiencing.
-Do you think there's a connection between that last radio transmission and what happened to the star?
-It may be possible captain. Do you know anything about what we heard? You seem to have overeacted when you heard that song.
-Yes, I do remember what it is and believe me, you don't want to know what it is.
-As you wish captain.
-All I can tell you is that this song comes from this century.
-Watch out! shouted the tactical officer, waving at a crewmember.
An ensign nearly got hit by a bus's wheels but he managed to step back in time.
-How do we get back to our time? asked the captain.
-I think we can realign the timeline if we keep the radio signal we heard from reaching ISH's star.
-What could be the source of that radio signal?
-Sir! shouted the engineer who was holding a newspaper.
-There it is, today is America's first live spatial music channel, said the captain intensively reading the newspaper.
-They have sent a satellite from Cape Kennedy and the live broadcast has been set here in New York. Justin Bieber, the famous artist who composed the song ''Baby'' lead the show.
-We have to kill Justin Bieber then! said the tactical officer.
-No mister Klingon, said the captain, if I rememeber correctly, this man will become the United States's youngest president so he has to stay in the timeline.
-We could sabotage the satellite in a way where it could not send something, replied the engineer.
-This is one great achievement for these people, we cannot destroy it, said the captain.
-How about we set our phasers to emit a reflection field around the satellite? We could use our tricorders to pinpoint the firing position, said the science officer.
-Excellent idea! Work on it at once, replied the captain.
The science officer hails two other crewmembers to reach him. When they arrive, he explains what to do and the small team begins tricorder calculations, phaser settings and methodical alignment.
-We are ready captain, said the science officer.
-Let's do it.
The phaser wave is shot directly in the sky where the satellite will be in this reversed timeline.
All of a sudden, the whole New York scenery becomes white again and fades out to become the bridge of a federation starship.
-Everyone's ok? asked the captain looking around to each staff officer.
Everyone on the bridge noded in a positive way.
-Are we where we are supposed to be science officer?
-I believe we do captain, astrometrics sounds normal to me.
-What about our strange star?
-The star is stable sir.
-And for the radio transmission?
-I am not receiving any transmission captain, said the communications officer.
-Well, it seems we have made the correct decision. Helm, set a course for Earth.
-Course entered sir.
The starship makes a long circle then warps out.
Meanwhile in another sector of the galaxy...
-Maq' Pa'Tuh! (Sir we are receiving a transmission.)
-Kho fu fu yupoh. (Put it through.)
The klingon bridge's speakers emitted a sharp prepubertal voice : ''Baby, baby ooh!''
The bridge is then quiet and the klingon captain stands up, turns and walks toward his communitions officer, puts his hand on his shoulder and says :
-Th'rish. (Where does it come from?)
-Ke Uk'ma ''Federation''. (From federation space captain.)
-Tu'k Ve Ak' Tu! (Death to all humans!)
The staff on the bridge then started to rally themselves with a battlecry.
The USS Valkyrie glided past Giedi Prime at a leisurely three quarters impulse power, aiming for the trinary stars of 36 Ophiuchi.
Captain Amanda Palmer strode onto the newly upgraded bridge, and glanced around, still getting used to the new configuration. The layout was essentially the same as that of the Sovereign Class, but smaller, more compact. As she passed the dedication plaque, the familiar quote caught her eye:
"Words build bridges into unexplored regions" - Adolf Hitler
Unlike the Sovereign Class, the command chair was isolated in the centre of the bridge, with her first officer now located at the secondary tactical station at starboard, while the new chief of security, Lieutenant Commander Bellic Chanos, scowled at the viewscreen from tactical one at port, the lights from the bridge playing across the azure skin of his bald head.
The Bolian was of course, not the only new face on the bridge: Ensign T'Natra had been promoted from relief helmsman to senior navigator, following a mix up of duty assignments which had mistakenly seen a newly qualified fighter pilot assigned as helmsman. Palmer hoped that wherever Ensign Mitchell landed, he would find himself in good company. Another addition, was strategic operations officer Lieutenant Elyse Fisher at the mission ops console on the port side of the bridge, who, while a veteran member of the Valkyrie's crew, finally had a duty station on the bridge, rather than forced to dwell in the security complex on deck three. At the starboard console which mirrored Fisher's, was seated the civilian scientist who made the majority of the officers feel like they were back at the academy. Doctor T'Pan, the legendary subspace morphologist, regarded the console before her with a casual passivity which belied the anticipation and curiosity she was feeling.
On the forward viewscreen, the orange dwarf stars drew closer, and the deck shuddered slightly as the Nova Class vessel was buffeted by the turbulence of the subspace folds they had been assigned to investigate.
"Captain, I would recommend activating the metaphasic shielding," T'Pan calmly stated.
Palmer glanced to Commander Rynar Lambert, and nodded, not even needing to speak for her first officer to understand her order.
"Metaphasic shielding is coming online now, Captain," Lambert responded as Palmer lowered herself into her command chair.
"What do your readings show, Doctor?" Palmer enquired.
"A most unusual manifestation of subspace which I have never seen naturally occur," T'Pan replied. "It is reminiscent of the soliton wave experiments of the late twenty three sixties. I wish to see if proximity to the stars increases the intensity of the folds."
"Take us in closer, Ensign," Palmer said, shifting her gaze between the viewscreen, and the readouts on the arm rests of her command chair.
"Aye, Captain," T'Natra acknowledged. "Taking us to within two thousand kilometers of the corona of the primary."
The shuddering of the deck grew more and more pronounced, until suddenly there was an eerie sensation like weightlessness, despite the artificial gravity.
"Report!" Palmer demanded, firmly gripping the arms of her chair, as the deck felt like it was rearing up beneath her.
Lighting flickered, and the viewscreen went offline.
"We're caught on the crest of a subspace fold, and being carried along on it at superluminal velocity in excess of warp nine," reported Lieutenant Brandon Mayer from the ops console.
"Helm, stabilize our trajectory," Palmer snapped, before looking to T'Pan. "How do we stop this, Doctor?"
"A subspace disruption in the path of the folds might cause them to dissipate," hypothesized the Vulcan scientist. "A graviton pulse from the navigational deflector might be sufficient to do so."
That was enough for Palmer.
"Lieutenant Mayer, bring the secondary deflector online and generate the pulse," she ordered as a plasma conduit ruptured at the rear of the bridge.
"Aye, Captain, firing deflector pulse now," Mayer replied.
There was a hideous shrieking noise, as if the very frame of the ship was being twisted, and then with a massive impact, everything went black.
She could feel herself rocking, as if in a hammock, but then Palmer felt the carpeting of the deck beneath her cheek, and a liquid warmth on her hairline, and she gradually pushed herself up into a kneeling position.
"Report," she called out, regaining her footing and looking about.
The bridge was a mess, with most consoles either destroyed or only partially functional. So much for the upgrade... she thought ruefully, as the deck continued to sway beneath her feet. Some officers lay unconscious, while others ignored their wounds, either pulling themselves back to their posts, or assisting their wounded colleagues.
"We've dropped out of warp," Mayer reported. "To be more accurate, we've dropped out of space entirely. According to external sensors, we're fifty feet beneath the upper New York bay."
"Are you kidding me?" Palmer demanded.
"No, ma'am," Mayer assured her. "We were carried over fifteen light years along the route of our original heading, right back to Earth. According to the system log, the anti-grav thrusters fired automatically when there was no helm input to avoid a crash landing, and the computer targeted the largest body of water along the flight path. To be honest, it's a miracle we didn't hit the Verrazano bridge as we came in. At the speeds we were travelling, both the ship and the bridge would have been destroyed, as well as turning most of Brooklyn into a crater."
Palmer took a deep breath and slowly let it out.
"Status of the ship?"
"Not good, Captain," Mayer admitted. "There's damage reports coming in from all over the ship, but that's not all..."
Palmer sighed and tapped her comm badge.
"Senior officers, report to the conference lounge immediately," she said.
Five minutes later, Palmer was sitting at the head of the conference table, periodically dabbing the cut on her forehead with a sterile dressing.
"So we're not just under water, we've been thrown just shy of five hundred years into the past," she summarized.
"That's right, Captain. August thirteenth, nineteen sixty nine," Elyse clarified.
"Understood. Our course of action seems clear, we simply need to get back into orbit and create a temporal vortex to return to our own timeframe. First year temporal mechanics covered the procedure, this should be simple."
"That's going to be a bit of a problem, Captain," admitted Lieutenant Commander Meliden Bowen. "The force of our impact has seriously damaged the articulation frames of both the primary and secondary navigational deflectors. Without the ability to correctly position them, we won't be able to properly manipulate the chronometric particles to create the vortex."
"Can't you just replicate a new frame?" asked Lambert.
Meliden shook her head.
"When the cargo bays were restructured to accommodate the new rearward torpedo launchers, the industrial replicators were relocated to inside cargo bay two. Falling equipment in the crash damaged those replicators beyond what can be repaired on board," she explained. "We can still replicate anything small enough to come out of a food replicator, but not the size of parts I would need to repair the industrial replicators, so no, I can't just replicate a new frame, even though the blueprints are in the Valkyrie's computer."
"I might have another alternative, Captain," said Elyse, scrolling through files on the conference table's glossy surface screen. "There is a New York-based company in existence at this time which produced a lot of equipment and munitions for the US military. We might be able to outsource the construction of the parts to them, and simply replicate enough currency to pay them."
"Captain, I have to object to this proposal," Chanos said, leaning forwards against the table. "To allow Starfleet schematics to fall into the hands of a pre-warp civilization, even a Human one, is an unacceptable breach of the Prime Directive."
"The objection is noted, Commander," Palmer observed. "I understand your concerns and appreciate your vigilance, but we're not talking about weapons technology, or even an instance like when Admiral Kirk outsourced transparent aluminum manufacture to a company in twentieth century San Francisco, we're talking about an articulated mounting frame, no different in theory to what presently exists in radio telescopes and radar installations. I'm going to have temporal investigations on my case for this, but I guess that's why I'm the captain..." Palmer closed her eyes and leaned back in her chair. "Elyse, do it. Do it now, before I change my mind."
"Aye, Captain," Elyse replied. "Tapping into the local telephone network with the communications array, and - making the call now." She tabbed a few controls on the surface screen, and moments later, a trilling sound could be heard.
"Stark Industries, how may I direct your call?" a disembodied voice politely enquired.
"I need to speak to someone about placing an order for some hardware," Elyse said. "I understand that your company is used to projects where discretion is paramount."
"One moment, please," said the voice, followed by a momentary silence, and then a male voice spoke:
"This is Howard Stark."
"Hello Mister Stark, my name is Elyse Fisher. I have an urgent order I need to place for a piece of hardware, and I believe that your company may be best suited to accommodate my needs."
"You're English?" enquired the gruff tones.
"I am indeed," Elyse replied. "I'm from Chelsea, in London."
"You're going to want this, whatever it is, shipped over to the UK?"
"No sir, we're actually in New York at the moment. Transportation is not a problem, we can handle that, we just have a manufacturing issue, which your, uh, past projects, rather qualify you to assist us with."
"I see, what is it that you need?"
"It's probably best that I put you on with our chief engineer," Elyse said, ignoring the look of wide eyed horror from Meliden, who shook her head and gestured silently. "One moment please..." Meliden's eyes narrowed into a glare, but she took up the conversation.
"Hello Mister Stark, I'm Meliden Bowen. What we need, is an articulated support frame for a ten meter parabolic dish. It's going to need to be made from grade thirty eight titanium alloy, and have a nine point attachment chassis."
"Grade thirty eight?" repeated Stark's voice. "Specialist stuff indeed. I didn't realize there were any decent technical colleges in Wales, where did you study engineering?"
Caught off-guard, without thinking, Meliden automatically replied:
"San Francisco, actually."
Elyse smirked and repressed a giggle as Stark answered.
"Berkeley? You're not some damn hippie are you?" he demanded suspiciously.
"I'm not a hippie, I'm an engineer!" Meliden replied indignantly. "How many hippies do you know who can discuss titanium alloys and their applications? This is a serious commission for the kind of hardware you have a reputation for being able to deliver. How soon would you be able to fabricate?"
"I'd need to see a design schematic before I can commit to a timescale, but maybe a week, ten days."
Meliden smiled and sat forwards against the table, her Cardassian neck ridges making her look like a cobra about to strike.
"Now Mister Stark, I know how engineers like to exaggerate deadlines," she said. "Is five days a more realistic proposition?"
"You're an engineer alright," Stark laughed. "But it's not just a matter of fabrication time, but other projects I have running, schedules I need to adhere to."
"If disappointing your other clients is a concern, we would willingly compensate you, and them, for any delays to your schedules," Meliden said reassuringly. "We have a limited timeframe, and are willing to pay a premium for that. Funds are not an issue, name a price."
"Very well, twenty five thousand dollars will clear my schedule," Stark said. "And you bring me the schematics in person to discuss them so there can be no confusion over any details."
Panic struck Meliden, but before she could refuse, she saw Palmer typing rapidly on the desk, and an internal memo flickered before her.
"Uh, very well, Mister Stark. Twenty five thousand dollars it is. I'll see you with the schematics this afternoon. I have your address here."
"See you this afternoon, Miss Bowen," Stark said, before a click being heard, followed by an audible humming.
"Excellent work," Palmer said. "Meliden, report to sickbay. Elyse, get to work replicating Mister Stark's money. Access historical archives to use serial numbers from recently destroyed bills. We might technically be producing counterfeit money, but we're not confidence artists or thieves. I don't want Mister Stark to have any issue from the authorities when he tries to use this money. Also, replicate the necessary schematics so they will look like era appropriate engineering blueprints. Remove any superficial details or anything else which could suggest how the frame will be mounted."
"Aye, Captain," Elyse replied, as she and Meliden rose from their chairs and exited the conference lounge.
Palmer turned to face T'Pan.
"You've been very quiet, Doctor," she observed.
"I had no relevant suggestions to present," replied the scientist. "Logic dictated that I allow you and your officers to resolve this situation, although of course, I extend my regrets that my research has placed your ship in this unanticipated predicament. If you will excuse me, I shall retire to my quarters and examine the data we have gathered thus far."
Four hours later, Palmer and Elyse entered sickbay, and Meliden looked up from where she sat on a biobed. The corded ridges from her neck and eyebrows had been removed, and her skin was now a warm pink. She smiled at Palmer, and the captain saw that the gap between Meliden's front teeth was still there. Even with the changes in her face, her smile was still her own.
"What do you think, Captain? How do I look?" she asked.
"You look..." Palmer's voice trailed off as she examined Meliden. The eyes and voice and smile were the same, but the facial changes were as jarring as the new bridge layout. Eventually, she admitted: "This will take a bit of getting used to."
"Oh you'll have plenty of time for that," Meliden assured her with a broad grin. "I've wanted to look like this my whole life, there's no way I'm having this procedure reversed."
"Here're some appropriate civilian clothes for you," Elyse said, handing over a pile of garments. "There are attache cases with the money in transporter room two, and Commander Lambert will be escorting you to ensure your safety."
Meliden smiled again.
"I guess I ought to get ready then."
Howard Stark heard the buzzer and looked up from a series of blueprints.
"C'mon in," he shouted, downing the remains of his glass of whisky and pouring another.
The doors opened, and he saw an attractive brunette in a pinstriped pencil skirt and cream blouse, closely followed by some mook in a brown suit carrying two huge suitcases.
"Mister Stark? I'm Meliden Bowen, we spoke earlier about a project," said the brunette as she approached.
"You said you needed a support frame," Stark said, casting an eye over Bowen's slender form. "Who's the muscle?"
"Oh, that's Mister Lambert," Meliden replied. "He's looking after your money for me. Do you want to have a look at the blueprints for the frame?"
"Sure, just spread 'em on top of these," Stark replied, draining his glass, and dropping it onto his desk.
"Another project?" Meliden asked, glancing at the torroidal diagrams on the desk, before spreading her own blueprints on the top.
Stark waved his hand dismissively.
"Just something to keep the hippies quiet," he replied. "The promise of clean energy keeps them off my back about my other, uh, production lines, or it will, once I can get it working."
"Well for a start, you need to be using palladium for the induction coils," Meliden said absently, before focusing on the task at hand. "So what do you think, Mister Stark? Can you build the frame we need?"
"What's it going to be used for?" Stark asked, not lifting his eyes from the blueprints.
"For mounting a dish on a ship," Meliden replied. "I'm not at liberty to discuss the applications beyond that, I just need to know if you can do it, and in the agreed upon time."
"Millitary, huh? No problem," Stark replied. "When you said you were from San Francisco, I was worried that you were a bunch of hippies out to scam me."
"I take it this has convinced you otherwise?" Lambert enquired, speaking for the first time.
"Yeah, you could say I'm convinced," Stark said. "I can build your frame for you, it'll be ready for you next Monday, by which time all those damned hippies will have cleared out from upstate."
"What's happening upstate?" Meliden enquired.
Stark waved a hand dismissively as he poured himself another drink.
"Some three day love in with a bunch of musicians," he replied distainfully. "Bunch of unemployed bums, if you ask me."
Meliden shrugged non-committally.
"It looks like we have an agreement, Mister Stark," she said. "Your money is in the cases, and we'll contact you later in the week to arrange delivery."
"You've got my number," Stark said, returning his attention to the original set of blueprints on his desk as Meliden and Lambert turned and headed for the office door.
"Palladium..." he mused.
Out on the bustling street, Meliden and Lambert walked a block, before turning into a darkened alley, making their way passed garbage cans until they were hidden from the view of the street. Reaching under his jacket, Lambert tapped his comm badge.
"Lambert to Valkyrie, two to beam aboard," he said. "And Captain, you're not going to believe what's happening at the weekend..."
For your reading displeasure, another shameful adventure of Commander Khas Ker'at, ((Inscrutable Bugman of the Future!!!)) and his misanthropic crew. In today's adventure Khas has a feeling!
So now, I present you:
Dice tumbled over the soft green felt, making muted clicking sounds as they bounded.
"Seven," stated a malevolently cheerful, if somewhat muffled, voice. "It seems, Mr, Kaskeratti, that your soul and your moonshine distilleries now belong to me!"
The figure on that side of the table was shrouded in shadows, but strong fins flanked it's ovoid silhouette. The gangster's small derby, perched atop it's mouth, seemed to glow in the harsh, yellow, overhead lighting.
A rough, flat voice grumbled a terse reply. "Over my dead exoskeleton, Hal Capone. I mined those distilleries from the very earth using nothing but sweat, tears, and heavy machinery." Khas' right manipulator limb tightened it's grip on the harpoon gun hidden under the card table.
"Think you'll off me that easy, eh?" Came Hal's smug voice. "I got a gun, too, Kaskeratti. Yeah! It seems we're at a standoff, see?" Khas watched the hat bobble at the top of the fish gangster's head as it's mouth opened and closed.
Khas scowled to himself. The Halibut was a crafty foe indeed. He tightened his finger around the trigger slowly, staring Halibut Capone squarly in his two close-set eyes. Hal Capone returned the look steadily, daring Khas to make his move. It was a tense moment indeed.
Suddenly the door burst open and two suited shrimp with Thompson subacquatic machine-harpoon guns aimed their fearsome weapons at the card-playing duo. With a nod of understanding Khas kicked the table over as Hal brought his own weapon up, and prepared to open fire.
The simulation paused as Khas' hidden commbadge chimed.
"Khas." He grumbled, like he always did.
"Cap'n! We got a thing on sensors! It's sort of an anomaly. Or an anemone. Certainly an anomalous anemone at any rate. Might wanna scoot up." The voice was also malevolently chipper, though decidedly feminine.
"Acknowledged, Lieutenant Tarayl. As always your lack of formality sickens me. I will be up momentarily." Khas sighed, blowing a suppurating breath out of his cranial oxygen/carbon exchange vents and ended the program.
Khas shambled gracelessly onto the bridge. Lieutenant Commander Shanda, his tall, slim Andorian First Officer stood up from the captain's chair to make room for him.
"Did we interrupt anything important, Captain" Shanda asked with a smirk.
"It was a terrible simulation, Lieutenant Commander. Who would bother to create a scenario where one dwells within a sub-aquatic pineapple?"
"It takes all kinds, sir." said Shanda diplomatically. That was one of her favorite holoprograms.
Khas turned his chitin-plated head towards Tarayl. "Put it on the main screen, Lieutenant, and give me your analysis."
It took Khas a few moments to make any sense of what he was seeing. It appeared as though the background image of stars was rippling at first, but as he continued to stare, he could see that it was more like something was curving space right there in front of his eyes. The shape was something like a hundred writhing tentacles pressing and struggling against a thin sheet of plastic. Most of the crew couldn't bear to stare at it for long and just seeing it gave Khas a headache. Tarayl simply watched with rapt fascination as she described the sensor readings.
"Not sure, sir. Subspace emissions are going wild in the area, though. I'm getting Chronitons, gravitons, even phlogistons. Something's definitely stirring up subspace right there. Doesn't match anything in Starfleet Records, but it seems almost alive, Captain."
"Well, it could pose a hazard to shipping in the area, whatever it is. We might as well give it a look. Raise shields and bring us in. With our luck it will end up being some giant borg-encrusted Romulan supership from the future."
"Could be Q again, sir." Shanda added thoughtfully.
Khas's eternal scowl deepened. "Man. Screw that guy." he intoned.
From up close, the distortion was enormous. Vast, tapered, barely visible structures flexed and moved just at the edge of understanding. Khas had ordered the image off the main screen some time ago, but he was still watching it from the tiny interactive panel on his command chair.
"Still no response to our presence. Scans aren't turning up anything new." Tarayl seemed almost disappointed.
Khas stroked the spikes of chitin jutting from his lower mandible and clacked his dozens of rending teeth together thoughtfully. "Try hailing it on the subspace radio. Perhaps we'll get it's attention that way."
"I'm not sure that's a good idea, Commander" Shanda spoke quietly. Something about that shapeless entity caused her an immense sense of disquiet.
"Noted. If you would, Lieutenant, Tarayl."
Tarayl gave Khas a smile and tapped a virtual button on her interactive console. After a moment, her smile grew strained. "Uh...Captain. I think we got it's attention."
Khas would never be able to make much sense of what happened next. Indeed, today he can't even remember it. There was a sound that came over the ship's comm systems that he felt more than heard. The lights started to flicker. Tarayl said something about enclosing and the ship. Khas remembered himself shouting something about engaging the warp drive and then nothing at all seemed to happen for a very, very long time.
When Khas awoke next he was very disoriented. He rolled over onto his belly and found the action took an inordinate amount of effort. He hauled the forward half of his thorax up on one arm and tapped at his commbadge. His movements felt ponderous and slow.
"This is the Bachelor to the Bride." It was an old joke to the crew, but he found using it made them feel slightly more at ease about their horrible, anthropo-arachnoid commanding officer. Hopefully, someone on the USS Bride of Quiet could hear him.
"Bride, here. That you, Commander?" The voice sounded more irritated than concerned.
"Of course it's me, Piper. What's going on up there?" If Lieutenant Piper, the Bride's surly Chief engineer was answering the comms, then things were probably awry.
"Couldn't even begin to tell ya. Half the crew's missing. We found a few of them just floating in space not too far out. They've been...changed. They're mostly dead, of course. Except for Crewman Lovegood. the Holodeck janitor. He seems to be made of living stone and seems quite put out by it."
"He'll get over it. His grim duty has hardened his soul much as the capricious whims of causality have hardened his body. Any idea what happened, Piper?"
"None! I will tell ya that we seem to be in orbit around Sol III of all places, only it's smoggy and there seems to be some wars going on. Chronometer's saying that, based on current star positions, it's about 8:42 pm Greenwich Mean Time, October 3rd, 1940. You're just north of New York City."
"So we've been moved through both time and space?"
"I'm an engineer not a time-space theorist. I mean...I took a few classes, but mostly so I could see a girl, you know? Didn't pay much attention. Tarayl's the one you'll wanna ask that. Uh...she's somewhere nearby. About two kilometers north of you. See if you can't find her. Oh, and be careful about violating causality or the Temporal Prime Directive of whatever. Huh...you know Kirk'll be showing up in a bit."
Khas stood up painfully and his perspective on things changed. There were small creature pointing up at him and hooting in horror. If this was Earth and those were humans... Hrm. Well, this was rather going to be a problem.
"We can pretty much throw all of that out the door. I have already been seen."
"Can't you be more careful, ya terrible bug? If humans from this era saw you, their heads would pop clean off their bodies."
"Piper, silence your meat-hole. I'm close to fifteen meters tall at the moment and in the middle of a large field. Two humans are pointing and hooting at me. This reminds me of being in the Academy. I will find Tarayl. Do what you can to keep the ship running."
Khas looked down at the two humans who had seen him. They were holding each other and were obviously terrified. Khas squatted down awkwardly and looked at them closely.
"Sorry for the interruption. Which way is North?"
They goggled at Khas for a moment in confusion until they heard the word "North." One of the two figures pointed off to Khas' left.
"Thank you. Have a pleasant day." One of them started making those gurggling sounds that humans make when overwhelmed by their horrible, alien emotions. Khas unfolded himself back to his full height again and ambled off towards the North and his missing Science officer.
It didn't take long but Khas was spotted several more times on the way. Humans in smog-spewing conveyences stopped to point and jabber at him. Khas ignored them. He had to find Tarayl. He made his way to a likely copse of trees near where her last transponder signal and was startled when a blindingly-blue light flew up to him unsteadily. Khas blinked one eye, then the other.
"Hey, Listen!" The blue light shouted impatiently. "Captain! We've got a big problem!"
Khas nodded sagely to Tarayl. "Quite."
Khas sat down and spoke quietly with the pixie-ish Lieutenant. Her own form shimmered and had taken on an insectoid sort of appearance that Khas found uncomfortably attractive. "What do you make of things?"
"1940, huh? No good. I think that whatever that...thing...was, it was trying to break in to our reality from somewhere outside. That's the best I can come up with right now. We've been pulled here, probably along with it. Don't even ask me why here and why now. I couldn't begin to tell you, but the passage has screwed with reality something fierce. There's no telling how much damage we've already done to the timeline."
Khas looked up at the helicopter already hovering nearby. "Noted." He rumbled. "How can we get back?"
Tarayl just shrugged her tiny shoulders. Her wings tinkled. "That beasty's probably still around here somewhere, though there's no telling what it looks like. It could be anything. Entering space probably changed it worse than it changed you and I."
"Do you think you could pinpoint it, Lieutenant?"
"I could always try. Might be emitting some exotic particles. I'll need to beam back aboard and get access to the ship's sensors. I'd suggest you go back in with us, but...I don't think you'd fit, Captain."
Khas looked around glumly. He could hear sirens in the distance. "Do so. I'll try to keep myself out of sight as much as I can. Given the tensions of the day, I do not expect to be able to do so."
Tarayl gave Khas a vicious smile and disappeared in a shimmering cloud of science. Khas stood up again and started moving deeper into the farmlands.
Khas had just finished a meal of terminally startled deer when his comm badge chimed.
"Khas" he rumbled, picking a hoof out from between his grey, translucent teeth.
"I think we got something, Captain. The whole region's lighting up with subspace emissions. And by region, I mean the whole bleedin' solar system. Something's distorting reality in a terrible way, like a hand trying to push through a rubber wall. It's stretching from a central point. They can't sense it with the instruments they have here, but we're getting a lot of radio chatter anyway. Seems that...something...is pushing itself up out of the water near a place called Manhattan. Reports say it's big, green, and...er...tentacle-y. About the same size you are, actually."
"What do propose, Lieutenant?"
"I think that's the source of our trouble. All of it. If we can...I don't know...push it back somehow, it might cause space-time to snap back into its proper place. I think that's just the little bit of it that's managed to punch clean into our reality, sir. The place where the emissions are the strongest is right off the coast. Slap that creature back through there and I'll betcha it'll think twice before trying that again."
Khas grumbled, as he always did, and managed to finally dislodge the hoof. "Very well. I am on it. Guide me to his Manhattan place."
It took a few hours to make the trip. The harsh, grating buzz of the helicopters overpowered the panicked caterwauling of the surprised, horrified (and in one case highly aroused) American citizenry. While Khas could make some sense of what they were saying, he didn't realize how much he relied on Starfleet's auto-translate software to make up for his linguistic deficiencies. He'd have to rectify that if... No. When. When he made it back to his proper place and time. His appeals for calm probably sounded like tearing sheet metal to their poor ears anyway. He just hoped he could make it to the human's primary dwelling hive without too much fuss.
This would not be the case.
Khas was greeted by some human military vehicles when he reached the edge of the city. He was impressed by the towering structures across the water, but less so by the hurriedly thrown together defensive position. Someone was squawking at him, but he couldn't make it out. He held up his hands in supplication and slowly squatted down so he could hear the little man a bit more clearly. The human took a step back, but held his own hands up.
Khas very, very slowly tapped his comm badge. "Keep this line open and translate what this man is saying to me."
Piper grunted in reply. "He says "'identify yourself or get blown all to Feckenbach."
Khas had never heard of a town called Feckenbach, but given the needlessly complex history of human linguistics, he didn't question it. "I see. Translate what I say back for him in 20th century English if you would. Do try to make me sound diplomatic."
"Terrible meat-creatures of Earth." Khas said theatrically. He paused as his comm badge broadcast his words into the jibbering mess of ugly consonants that is 20th Century English. "I come to you today in peace. Even now a terrible creature assaults your shoddily-constructed metropolis. I am here to defeat it in the name of Lord America. May your slipshod gods bless the USA."
At those final words the men cheered and the officious-looking one gabbled back at him.
"He says that it's off that way and that he'd appreciate it you could go around the city instead of through. There's a lot of people packed in the streets."
"I will take this monster the same way that Japan will take your nation's navy next year: By surprise."
"You shouldn't have told him that." Piper snerked.
"Whatever. We'll let the time police fix it later. I have to go fight a space monster now."
Khas waded out into the sea. As his legs drug through the grey, briney water he caused great swells to batter the small boats ferrying horrified people off the island. Many of them pointed at him and cried out in horror or delight. Khas couldn't tell any more than he could when it happened to him at the Academy. Humans were such inscrutable creatures. Already primitive combat planes were swarming in to the air. A few of them lined up on him and began swooping down, only to break off without firing. He supposed the officious human at the defensive position was to thank for that. Or not. Either way.
The city really did have its charms, Khas thought. The vast hive-city of the Arch-Genarch on Arkathia couldn't match it for size, even today. Deep in his withered soul, Khas was quietly impressed by the industriousness and banality the humans of this era displayed. For just a moment, he was caught off guard as an enormous green humanoid woman with a curious, spiky forehead loomed on a pedestal ahead. He realized it was the famous Lady Liberty. Khas quietly wondered where Lord Liberty was. Beyond her, however, was a ruined corridor between two towering buildings. The creature had entered there. It was time.
Of course, it's impossible to sneak when you're a giant space bug from the future, but Khas crept as best as he was able to. The interloping entity had manifested itself as en enormous green humanoid. On its back were two great wing-like structures and its head seemed soft and bulbous. Hearing his approach, it turned, revealing a face made of tentacles. It bellowed a challenged in a tongue that made Khas' teeth tingle. Despite being unable to understand the words themselves, Khas was sickeningly aware of the meaning: "I hunger!"
To emphasize it's point, the creature bent down and grabbed an entire group of humans in one of it's tentacled forelimbs. They were carrying a banner that said "Welcome Cth..." or something along those lines, but Khas couldn't read the rest. The banner tumbled to the ground even as its bearers were consumed.
Khas lumbered foreward and slamed his chitinous fist into the creature's squid-like face.
"The Commander's gettin' stuck in!" Piper uttered breathlessly. He tapped a few buttons and a staticky news broadcast from somewhere nearby the fight piped through the bridge's audio relays.
"Jet Johnson here and you won't believe this, folks, but another monster has emerged from the sea! This one's big, black bug-like man, and wearing a uniform of some kind! The green monster's seen it and...OH MY GRACIOUS! The black one's just walloped the first monster something fierce! The two are exchanging blows. My goodness folks, I can't believe my own eyes. Sea monsters fighting right here in Manhattan. Oh, the green one's slammed the black one with some sort of tentacle and sent him reeling into the Empire State building. The black one's back up and charging. HOLY F....Oh...Words fail me folks! These two Titans of the Deep are just destroying downtown. The green one's grabbed the black one's shirt and pulled it off.. ((here, the sound of vomiting can be heard)) The big-man's built...like...like a spider! There's extra legs under there! It's leaping onto the green one now. He's got him and he's dragging him back, back into the sea! Oh my god! Oh my...I'm gonna have to stop drinking, folks. I have no idea what to make of this. The green one's putting up a terrific effort, but the bug monster's pulling steadily back. Waves rock the coast and boats are been sunk by the dozens, but still..."
Piper smiled happily. "That's our monster, eh? Oh, they're gettin' close. Ah, bloody hellfire! He's lost his comm badge. Can anyone think of a way to tell 'im where to go?"
Exhausted, Khas gripped the rubbery Kathy Hulu or whatever it's name was an pushed it under the waves. It continued to bellow profanities that Khas couldn't really hear, but still understood. It was maddening. His head craned around, looking for any obvious sign of the rend in reality he was supposed to drag this beast into, but could find nothing. Khas was starting to lose heart when an actinic lance fell from the sky and turned a few thousand liters of sea water into steam. If Khas were capable of smiling, he would have done so. Instead, he grabbed the weakening monster and dragged it along behind him.
There was a "sproing" of sorts.
Khas blinked. The strange, frightening, writhing mass just disappeared. The rest of the bridge crew looked a bit ill, but glad for it being gone.
"Any idea what just happened, Lieutenant?"
"None, sir. It was there one minute and...now it's gone. I feel a bit strange, honestly. Like my insides just flipped."
"I also feel a great deal of discomfort, but I was certain it was simply gas." Khas replied soberly. "Belay that order to transmit a subspace hail, then. We'll sniff around some more, but if that distortion does not return, we'll need to move on. I wonder what happened to it."
Meanwhile, in a place beyond space and time....
A vast and indescribable being rubbed the tip of its maddeningly huge pseudopod gingerly. It's attempt to burrow into this reality had failed. Again. It's unspeakable bulk pulled away from the ephemeral wall between worlds and it moved on to find easier pickings elsewhere. The wound in timespace even now was rapidly healing itself. The inhabitants of that universe would never know, never possibly remember, just how close to annihilation they had come. Kathy Hulu would try again one day, but for now, they were safe.
((OOC note. Polekitty was originally one of my first COH characters, when that game folded I tried creating her in CO, then thought 'well what if she got sent forward in time from that alternate earth? I mean there's mirror universe folks running around, and there are a lot of different possible alternate earths.. it was originally just a joke, but the more I played her the more it grew on me. It's a bit long but hope you like it and thanks to Admiral Stern's player for letting me borrow her :D ))
Captains log, Stardate..oh heck I'm not sure, with all the jumping around the clocks are still messed up. Call it Tuesday. It was supposed to be a simple mission. Drop off some scientists who were observing some sort of folds in subspace, do a little exploring, maybe even some of the badly needed maintenance that the antique Constitution class ship seemed to need on sometimes an hourly basis. When a ship got that old, there were a lot of loose nuts that needed regular tightening, or things stopped working. Like now...
Lt Rhonda 'Polekity' Evans, was a temporal throwback like most of the crew of the Powhatan, only in her case instead of being stuck in a wormhole for over a century, was shoved through a portal from an alternate 21st century earth that was about to be destroyed. Still as her poppa used to tell her, any morning when you're on top of the dirt instead of underneath is is a good day. Looking at the readout on the view screen however, it was not looking to be a good day.
"Bridge to engineering. How much longer, that fold is getting closer!"
It was a good thing she didn't speak much Andorian, but she did know most of the curse words, her Andorian chief engineer swearing like a sailor as she struggled with the ancient engines "two more @#$%# Dilithum crystals are cracked, if we try to energize the drive in this state I can't @#$%^ guarantee we wont end up in a @#$%^ cloud of ^$#@##!"
"do what you can, but if we don't get moving soon we'll be the first to see what happens when you try to surf a subspace wave!"
She closed the connection as the chief commenced swearing in another couple of languages at the engines "Time to impact?"
Her first officer was another Andorian, but Mirra was a lot more laid back than the ever stressed engineer "Three minutes forty nine seconds" she said, watching on the screen as the fold was getting closer, even now visible to the naked eye as a distortion in space. "I've managed to put us bow first in the wave with maneuvering thrusters."
Rhonda just nodded "Good, hope we won't need to find out if that was necessary." For not the first time she wondered why Starfleet would put something so old out in the black that spares haven't been stocked for many of their systems for over ninety years. Not that most ships used spares anymore, with the high power replicators they had now. On the Powhatan it was just food that could be replicated, and even then you had to go up to a slot in the wall and put a card in to order. "wheres R2-D2 when you need him?" she muttered, watching the fold get closer.
"never mind, before your time...and looks like we're about out of it ourselves-ALL HANDS, BRACE FOR IMPAC-"
The ship rose as if cresting a wave..and kept rising. Outside the starfield seemed to be compressed, as if things were shrinking, while the Powhatan was hit full force by the fold..then empty space.
It's the noise that got her attention. On a starship, especially one of this vintage, there were always noises. Fans, pinks and beeps from various instruments, the distant rumble of the impulse engines, the ringing of her i Phone....wait what? There was a click as the red emergency lights came on, then the emergency systems one at a time, followed by groans of the bridge crew as they began to stir from where they had been flung. Her own face was bloody, forehead hit the edge of the captains chair during the impact, blood matting the soft black fur she was covered with. "ev...everyone ok?" She asked, holding onto her chair as she got wobbly to her feet
"Been better Captain" said Emerea Elfan, her Trill helmsman, the young woman climbing back up into her own seat "we seem to be in one piece, trying to determine..that's weird." Emerea frowned, looking at the readouts "I'm not picking up any subspace beacons, or for that matter, not even the station where we dropped those scientists four hours ago."
"nothing on any of the standard frequencies either Sir" came from behind her, the com officer shaking his head "though I'm getting some signals, frequencies that haven't been used for..shoot, hundreds of years."
"Let's hear it" Captain Evans said as she sat down. There was a bit of static as the frequency was tuned in..then music came through the overhead speakers, an electric guitar whine filling the bridge, then..
"There must be some kind of way out of here,"
Said the joker to the thief,
"There's too much confusion,
I can't get no relief.?
the bridge crew looked at each other stunned, hearing it in English..only to be even more surprised when Captain Evans started singing along...
"Businessman they drink my wine,
Plowman dig my earth
None will level on the line,
nobody offered his word, hey"
"Captain, are you all right? And what's that buzzing noise?"
Rhonda just blinked, as if coming out of a dream "it's Jimmi Hendrix..my dad was a huge Hendrix fan...buzzing,wait what?" Starfleet uniforms don't have much in the way of pockets, but there was one thing that she carried with her ever since the day she was thrown from her world into an alternate future, even through the Academy. It had all her music, and pictures of her family lost four hundred plus years and another dimension away...and it was buzzing in her hand, message on the screen reading 'voice mailbox full'. She stared at it, then up at the view screen as it came on, it was a familiar sight, one they saw just a few weeks ago, except for the lack of a spacedock, and no lights from the lunar cities lighting up the dark side of the moon..but then there were no moon bases or space docks around earth in her 2013. "Holy @#%, I'm home..."
Conference room, four hours later
The USS Powhatan had moved out of sight behind Luna, there was enough power left to do that. They had a couple probes just peeking over the moon, gathering what data they could on their situation, Captain Evans called a department heads meeting to go over their their next possible moves
"the #%$@ crystals barely held Captain, we have also detected Dilithum near the south pole of Luna, and can easily get enough to get us back to full power in about four to five hours."
"that's good" replied Dr Olefa, the Bolian head of medical "But where are we going to go? Your home world won't discover warp travel for another fifty years, not to mention the temporal prime directive-"
Mirra spoke up. "Technically doesn't apply-this isn't the Federation's past. There were no Eugenics Wars in the 1990's here, while there were conflicts between meta-beings, it technically now seems to be a corporate police state. I'm sorry to say Captain, that should you attempt to go down to this Earth, despite it being where you are from, you would be arrested or worse within seconds, as would myself or any of our non human crew."
Rhonda nodded glumly "I know, I've seen the videos. And they don't even talk about what happened here, it's like the state of Rhode Island never existed, literally" she said, pulling up an overhead on the viewer. It was as if an entire third of new England simply vanished, just a giant water filled circular bay.
"Even Google doesn?t admit the word paragon exists,as if it's been erased from the language."
Ensign Elfan spoke up "there is one promising thing Captain. Long range sensors are detecting another fold, possibly the same one, though it seems to be reversed."
"Reversed? You mean like when a wave hits something and it rebounds?"
"Exactly Sir. Once we have the warp drive back, it may be possible to reverse the effect that got us here in the first place. The wave however is moving away from us..."
"So the clock is ticking. Right, Chief, take whatever and whoever you need to get your Dilithium. Try not to make too much racket, though I don't think there's any real danger of getting spotted by anything if you stay on the dark side of the terminator. Emera, keep tracking that fold and as soon as we have the drive back get us there."
"There's one other thing Captain" Mirra said as the chief engineer left the room "are you going to try to contact your family?"
Rhonda shook her head "no, as much as I would like to it wouldn?t be fair to the others-"
"With all due respect captain, bull****" That caused her to blink, Dr Olefa was hardly ever profane, perhaps the chief was rubbing off on him. "No one on this crew would protest you making contact, in fact they would be more upset if you did not." She watched as he stood and looked out the view port at Luna below them "I was stationed there in 2258 as humans calculate years, before being posted on the Powhatan. I left my wife when I deployed with our first child on the way, when we finally escaped from the wormhole loop I got back just in time to see my great granddaughter die of old age..Captain, you need to see them, and THEY need to know that you did not vanish into thin air."
She bit her lip as she listened "But you saw the reports, anything out of the ordinary gets reported to the Federal Security Agency-"
Mirra just grinned and put several small devices on the table "Holoemitters, just like we use for the EMH system and we adapted when we got Ensign Tiver out of that situation on Mirande IV."
her arguments were rapidly fading "But we don't even know where they are-"
"That won't be hard Captain, you have your phone there that interfaces with the data networks, you can use that to contact him, and we can trace the signal."
She had forgotten about that in her concern for her ship. "You know, I kept it the whole time, just because of what's on it. At the Academy one of the tech instructors managed to not only manage to get it interfaced with modern charging systems and with our communications, upped the memory to 64 Terabytes, I know , tiny memory but still." she said, laying the phone on the conference table, then taking a deep breath, touched the screen. There was a several millisecond delay, as the ship's network interfaced with a communications satellite.
"whats that noise it's making?"
"it's ringing, that means it's trying to make contact on the other end"
She waved her hand to shush them , after about five rings there was a voice she hadn't heard in six years, or four hundred plus depending on how you counted. "You got some ******ned nerve calling on my daughters number. She's dead, they're all dead, leave us alone!" followed by a dial tone as her father hung up. Rhonda looked shaken, but Mirra was already at work on her PADD
"I have got a location, eastern north America, New York City."
"what the hell are they doing there, I would have thought they'd have gone back to Florida, only reason they were in the northeast at all was for me."
Mirra just grinned "I guess we'll just have to ask him when we see them!"
Ft Meade Maryland, FSA Intelligence Processing
"Hello, what's this?"
"What's what?" the agent looked up from his New World Today paper, as his partners' computer started beeping.
"Just had a hit on a family member of a paranormal. Phone call to his personal cell phone from her number, Rhonda Leah Evans, alias Polekitty."
"Maybe it's just another hacker?"
The agent shook his head "unlikely, after the public executions the last time someone tried this..and this is weird we don't have a location for where the call came from except, wait...got it...signal detected coming from...a communications satellite?"
That got his full attention "Call the Director, and get some Exterminators in the air. I think we need to pay the Evans family a visit."
Captains log, supplemental.
Well that had to be a new record for an away mission going pear-shaped. I had decided to take a small group as possible, just myself and Mirra. We scanned for any life forms within fifty meters, then ten, then finally five, this was New York after all, one of the most densely populated regions of north America. It was an empty alley we beamed down into, empty before the two cops turned the corner. Cops, heh. I've seen soldiers with smaller weapons and less body armor. Fortunately it wasn't proof against a phaser on stun, nor were the surveillance cameras in the alley.
"It's not going to be long until they're missed Captain."
"I know...dammit just once I'd like to see something work smoothly!" Rhonda muttered as they ducked into the doorway of a building, the sound of a helicopter passing by overhead.
"I think something just did." Mirra pointed to box next to the doorway, with buzzers for the various apartments "What did you say your parents names were again, Randall and Sharon?" Mira pointed at the name tag on a label by one of the buttons "13C it says, shall I push the button?"
"No, they've got no reason to believe its me at the moment..better if we just go up. Can you get this lock overridden?"
The andorian just grinned, tapping a few keys into her tricorder. There was a click, then the door opened "how do you say, piece of cake?"
"You should know by now, never say that..." Rhonda muttered as they got on the elevator. It was dingy and barely lit, like most of the building. In fact it was almost a flophouse, the elevator lurching as they got to the thirteenth floor. The hall was lit by a bare fluorescent fixture, the doorway to apartment C was clean at least. "well here goes nothing." she reached out and pressed the doorbell..then hearing nothing, knocked on the door.
"For the last time Mrs Ramirez, I haven't seen your..." he'd gotten taller, not technically her little brother anymore as he was now a half a foot taller than her. "Do I know you?"
Rhonda just stood there open mouthed, until Mirra prodded her "Your emitter Captain, you're still disguised."
"oh, right" She turned it off, and now it was her brother who was gawking right before he wrapped his arms around her, he had gotten stronger too "Rhonda!! I Knew you weren't dead!?
"ooof!" her breath was knocked out of her as she was bearhugged, then over his shoulder as an older, much thinner man than she remembered came out of the back "Jacob, keep it down, I just got your mom to fall asleep..."there was a crash as the tray he was carrying fell to the floor. Mirra glanced across the hall at the older woman who was peeking from her apartment door, then suddenly slammed it, the sound of a lock turning. With a frown she stepped into the apartment , closing the door behind her.
"Rhonda, how...no wait..there was a FSA agent by earlier this afternoon. You can't stay here, you gotta run before they catch you-"
"Wait run, what? I ain't running nowhere, I just got here..and where's mom?"
Her dad looked down "she's in bed...with the shortages of medical care, and the pregnancy, and the MSRA..but you still can't stay, they'll find you, Rhonda!" she ducked past him, already reaching for her tricorder. It was bad, worse than the look on her father's face.
"Why isn't she in a hospital?"
"Because unless you signed the loyalty oath and join the Corporation, the only medical care you can get is a monthly free clinic. It wasn't so bad before they moved us all in here."
She looked at the readings "white cell count low, BP low, whatever she's got is really kicking her immune system hard..I can fix this!"
Her brother looked skeptical "I know your healing powers worked good on injuries but diseases-"
"Oh I don't have them anymore, the docs who looked me over after Schrodi shoved me through the portal corrected the radioactive DNA mutations. Only thing that the treatment didn't remove was the fur, because they thought that was natural. Miss being able to fly, but it's better than being dead...so when I got accepted to the Academy I took the medical track, course the way the universe tends to hate me it seems I got stuck in command instead of in a clinic. yeah, we've got something in sickbay that will get rid of that infection pretty easily."
"It's not going to do any good if they catch you and KILL you!"
Mirra stayed out of the discussion, instead looking out the window. "Captain there are multiple vehicles converging around the base of this building, occupied by people who are equipped similarly to those 'cops' we encountered earlier." Both her father and brothers faces went white, while Rhonda just sighed "and of course they'll have TV crews, and negotiators, and the like. I don't have time for this, and mom doesn't have time for this." she tapped her combadge "Evans to Powhatan."
"we read you Captain."
"mains will be online in approximately fifteen minutes.-also Captain? We are intercepting communications, there is an assault group entering the building you are in."
She looked at her family "You have any real desire to hang around here?" her brother and father just shook their heads "No one cares what rights get trampled anymore, as long as people feel safe, and they've got their reality shows." her brother said with disgust.
"Well fortunately they don't have those where we're going." she grinned "Evans to Powhatan, five to transport."
"don't forget mom's cat"
"fine...five humanoids, and one feline. Though if that damn cat pukes on my bridge it's going out an airlock..."
She felt the familiar tingle of the transporter just when the door was kicked open, with three armed men and a TV Camera behind them. She flipped them an undignified bird as the apartment faded out, replaced by the familiar sight of the transporter room. "Welcome aboard the USS Powhatan, don't mind the faded paint, she's an old girl" Her mom hadn't even woken up from being transported, though Pukey the cat looked rather disturbed by the whole affair "Evans to Sickbay, got a patient for you in transporter room three Dr Olefa, take good care of her for me. Bridge, this is the Captain. Set your course for the subspace fold, and lets get out of here"
Captains log, supplemental.
Getting home was a bit easier said than done. While we were flung backward on the fold with the engines out, with the warp field activated , we over shot. Fortunately only by a few weeks, Ensign Elfan realized the situation and cut power before we went too far. Still the stress burned out the dilithium that the Chief had gotten from Luna , as well as severely damaged the warp coils. Luckily by that time there were other ships that had come to investigate, three more had vanished else when as well before Admiral Stern forbade any vessel getting within ten thousand km of the anomaly. The Admiral was also rather , well, pissed at how we got into this mess in the first place. Reportedly when she contacted Starfleet logistics she was cursing a streak so blue it was giving off Cherenkov radiation. So when we get back to space dock (being towed by the USS Tunguska, our drive is pretty much slagged at this point) we'll either have a full function parts replicator system, or the next new ship that comes out of the shipyard. There was a bit of flak about me bringing my family over, but Mirra was right, the temporal prime directive doesn't technically apply to an alternate universe that had already been tampered with by others. Mom's recovered, and my baby sister (geez that's a weird thought still) is due in a few more months. They're probably going to settle back near Tallahassee once we get back to earth, and my little brother is already working on holodeck programs using shows and movies from our home time. He says he's getting the hang of it, and wants me to test out the Firefly program. So once all these reports are done, going to have dinner with the folks, then spend a few hours at a shindig with Captain Tightpants.
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