Literary Challenge #38 : We'll Always Have New York
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Join Date: Sep 2012
#6 We'll always Have New York
02-07-2013, 10:56 AM
"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
. 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.
Last edited by captainbrenden; 02-07-2013 at
. Reason: format/grammar edits