Literary Challenge #37 : Mirror, Mirror on the... Viewscreen?
View Single Post
Join Date: Jul 2012
Revenge for Lieutenant Parker
01-23-2013, 07:48 PM
In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended to by a bodyguard of lies.
- Winston Churchill
Kalandra Sector, Beta Ursae Block
Acting captain's log, supplemental. Now that I've summarized the status of the ship, it is time to get down to the details - how I ended up sitting here in Captain Carter's ready room. Five days ago we had an unusual situation...
An annoying beep interrupted T'Panna's skim reading of personnel logs. Glotz turned around with a stunned expression. "Captain, I am detecting subspace distortions nearby. Range: three hundred kilometers, bearing 127 mark 13."
"Shields up. Yellow alert. Captain Carter to the bridge. Turn to face the threat. Put it on the viewscreen."
Carter arrived about thirty seconds later.
He must have been on his way back from the mess hall when I called for him
, T'Panna thought to herself. Making us stagger our lunch to help hide our relationship has been lame. I miss the time with him, though he?s been good about making it up to me.
As she yielded the captain's chair to Carter, Glotz noted that Odyssey was being hailed. "On screen." Carter's voice was firm.
My God, they did it! Section 31 cloned us.
T'Panna's hands balled into fists. Then she realized that the Carter on the screen had a scar on his left cheek and what looked like a raw blaster burn on his scalp. The background in the image looked odd too...
"Carter, I presume? I am also Carter, of the Terran warship
. I spent a lot of time and money trying to hunt you down. I need your help."
The real Captain Carter stood up. "Ok, you look like me. But how do I know that you are from the Terran Empire? We've had a situation here that leads me to be suspicious of people who show up looking like me."
The Carter on the screen smiled. "That sounds very interesting. Maybe you can tell me about it while we go hunt down some Gorn. They killed my first officer, Travis Parker. I need to avenge his death. Will you help me?"
Four months ago
He was the first officer to be killed since her promotion to first officer. T'Panna knew that Parker wouldn't be the last. The problem was deciding whether to be impersonal (so the deaths wouldn't hurt as much) or a real human being and hurt every time an innocent person met an untimely death.
Carter stood at the front of the gathering, and it was clear that he was holding back tears. He raised his head and continued to read from his prepared remarks. "Times like this make me hate being a captain in Starfleet. We aren't allowed to hunt down and kill the Orion pirates who murdered Lieutenant Parker in cold blood during a routine planetary survey. All I can say is that Parker embraced the ideals of the Federation...and I hope that his murderers will one day come to justice. Honor guard, commence with the funeral."
T'Panna broke the silence. "Why should we believe you? I doubt we were the easiest people to find. Are you out of mercenaries in your universe?"
The mirror Carter shook his head. "You don't understand just how intertwined our realities have become. Ships move back and forth so freely these days...so when we ran across an Orion trader that mentioned being chased by a Federation captain named Carter, I knew that finding you would be the best course of action."
Carter and I argued about his decision all the way from the bridge to Shuttlebay One. Then security chief Hillel jumped in on my side. We didn't know what was going on, but something didn't feel right.
The mirror Carter offered too much - in exchange for our help avenging the death of his first officer, Commander Tyler Parker, he would give us information to lead us to the Orions responsible for the death of our Lieutenant Parker. The story was that the Orions who killed our Parker are actually smugglers of scientific goods and managed to get themselves into a tangle with the Terrans. Mirror Carter heard them tell of an escape from an irritable bald guy who looked kind of like him.
I still thought it was a trap.
When Hillel and Ensign Wedemeyer went to the back of the runabout, Carter leaned in and whispered to T'Panna. "He knows about our relationship. While you were doing the pre-flight check, he took me outside and explained how he figured it out. But don't worry; he's not going to report us. "
T'Panna looked doubtful. "Why not?"
"He wants to cut a deal that's a little bit outside of his jurisdiction. He has evidence that points to Alice, our photonic librarian, as the Section 31 mole. I haven't seen it yet, but I trust his judgment. Her portable emitter is onboard, and he's convinced me that we can't turn her on until we return and he gets to interrogate her."
"But she's a sentient being. This is a clear violation of her rights."
"A violation? Yes. But this is war." Carter swiveled his chair around and pretended to focus on some meaningless readout.
Our runabout, the
, was joined by the shuttle Retaliation in the chase. It took seventeen hours to reach the unnamed planet where the Gorn were. Then we waited for two days for them to leave. My doubts started to fade when all the Terrans wanted was for us to stay on our own ship and be the extra firepower.
The actual ambush was fairly simple. Mirror Carter hailed them, told them why they were going to die, and opened fire. I had a little bit of a breakdown and refused to open fire on an unarmed vessel. My Carter took the helm and fired the torpedo that gutted their ship.
A few minutes later the Terrans opened up the wormhole to our universe. That's when the real trouble hit.
T'Panna's eyes went wide. "They followed us back!" She turned around and saw Ensign Wedemeyer covering Carter's mouth with one hand and holding a knife into his ribcage with the other. Hillel lay on the floor unconscious.
"I'm sorry Commander, but I couldn't trust you with the truth. Don't stand up. No, stop fidgeting or the knife goes in deeper.
"This Carter is actually a clone. The real Carter is onboard the Retaliation. He planned this as a way to eliminate some terrorists and regain his command. Admiral Farber gave him this assignment."
T'Panna sagged her shoulders.
Play along just a while longer.
"Well, I guess that makes perfect sense...you sick, twisted..." Her words faded out as years of martial arts training kicked in. Wedemeyer was on the floor within two seconds.
Mirror Carter didn't react too well to me opening fire on his ship. Somehow I managed to knock off a warp nacelle with my first shot. I guess he thought that Wedemeyer could keep us under control.
Back on the
, things got even more confusing. Hillel's evidence pointing to Alice as the Section 31 agent was obviously false. It appeared that Hillel was the agent, and Alice was the only one onboard smart enough to figure it out. So he set her up to take the fall. But, Hillel swore that he was unaware of Wedemeyer's scheme to take out our Carter.
Could Section 31 have two agents working independently? It is possible. But who is this mirror Carter? Under interrogation he admitted that the Gorn were actually the ambassador to Cardassia and his aide from our universe. Whoever was pulling mirror Carter's strings wanted them dead, so mirror Carter caught them and imprisoned them in the mirror universe. He had agents on the ground release their shuttle and let them fly into the trap.
Now I have the Carter I've been with daily for several months in sickbay and another Carter in the brig. One was mortally wounded but will recover; the other is morally warped and delusional. Oh and the delusional one confesses his love for me all the time.
What was supposed to be gained by this mayhem? It is possible that Wedemeyer could have incapacitated me and made the switch. Then we'd have a cloned Carter for a captain. Or maybe this was engineered to take our minds away from something else. Or maybe this is all meant to punish Carter for being a reluctant partner in Section 31's dirty work. What is the truth? Is it even uglier than all of these guesses?
Last edited by superhombre777; 01-23-2013 at
. Reason: inability to copy/paste from Word without rogue question marks!