Literary Challenge #38 : We'll Always Have New York
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Miles O'Brien's Funeral
02-06-2013, 09:14 PM
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
, 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
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
"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."
Last edited by superhombre777; 02-06-2013 at