Literary Challenge #38 : We'll Always Have New York
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Join Date: Feb 2013
02-19-2013, 02:13 PM
Echoes of the Past
Commander Frank Keith Lamont sat in the small cabin of the Captain's Yacht, and brooded. He hated these sorts of missions, where the most exciting part of the mission happened, according to the Admiral studying the sensor readouts, almost ten years before they got here. The remains of a Luna-sized moon were scattered into a ring-like system around the Jovian planet, and the remains were slowly falling into the Jovian's atmosphere.
For the life of him, Frank couldn't fathom why he'd been brought on this mission.
"Something bothering you, Commander?" said Admiral "Sam Bright," not looking up from the display.
Frank stiffened slightly. "Your Betazoid senses detecting something, Sir?"
"You know I don't use them without permission, Mr. Lamont," said the Admiral, still not looking up. "I didn't need to, anyway. The fact that you haven't said anything since we dropped out of warp says volumes."
There was a brief silence.
Sam set the scanners to continue to catalog the moon's debris, and turned to face the Commander. "Go ahead and speak freely, Frank. What's going on?"
Frank sat back in his chair, still tensed. "Why did you bring me on this mission, Samuaal?"
The Admiral gave a half-smile in appreciation for Frank's use of his given name as opposed to the "Terranized" version. "I thought you needed to relax a bit, and get back to what Starfleet's all about. It's not all fighting and training. I mean, look out there," he motioned towards the transparent aluminum viewscreen, "and tell me what you see."
Frank sighed, and decided to humor the Admiral. "What's left of a moon that probably got too close to that Jovian and got torn apart by the big planet's gravity. Went inside its..." he searched for the word, "something limit."
"The Roche limit," Sam said, wordlessly forgiving his security officer for his lack of knowledge of the sciences. "That's right. But this is a recent phenomenon. Something happened that pushed that moon too close. I want to find out what happened, and why the moon suddenly got pulled in. But that's beside the point, Frank. You have to look at the beauty of this galaxy. You need to relax some more. You can't be 'on' all the time... what are you looking at?" Samuaal turned around and looked in the direction Frank was squinting.
The Yacht started to shake as a small glowing light got closer in the orbital path.
Frank's hands started to input the commands for emergency evasive, but as the ship began to swerve out of the way, the glowing light expanded, looking like a torn and fractured version of the wormhole near Deep Space Nine, and engulfed the small ship.
Lights flickered as the inertial dampeners went into overdrive, protecting the inhabitants of the small vessel as best it could as the ship was buffeted back and forth, side to side.
Then, just as quickly as it started, it subsided, leaving the Yacht drifting in a strange, warm glow. And then, as if realizing the "gravity" of the situation, starting to fall.
Sam picked himself up, gingerly touching a gash on his head from when he hit the panel going down. He looked out the viewscreen at a world much different than the one just out there. This one was covered with blue water, except for the part almost directly below, gravitationally speaking, which was obviously a series of islands, covered with a city. Three things were immediately obvious: it was a city well into the Information age, which was incongruous with the second thing, which was that it was completely dark. Third, and most troubling, was that it was getting bigger.
Frank cursed and slammed the console. Thankfully, the engines kicked into life, and the craft wheeled around and started to ascend, back towards a dissipating orange glow, and a white hole in the sky, swirling and jagged.
Sam ran a scan for a Federation Locator Beacon, and got nothing. Fearing the worst, he started running a scan for local pulsars.
Frank, meanwhile, let loose a curse. "That can't be right,"
"What do you mean?" Sam said. He was having trouble concentrating; a rising wave of panic was emanating from the city below.
"I'd swear that was New York City, but the buildings weren't right. Some of those buildings aren't there any more. Haven't been since..." he looked at the last flickers of the strange glow that had heralded their entrance. "Since the third World War."
Sam's eyes widened, and expanded his search to check for temporal drift from the pulsars. Finally, the computer spat out an answer: Earth, local date mid 21st century. He simply replied "Location and date appear to be right for that. I think."
Frank squinted at his Admiral.
"I nearly flunked Pre-Federation History," Sam said defensively. "Don't tell anyone you know that."
"I didn't hear a thing," Frank said, and returned to his console. "If I were to hazard a guess, that glow was the remnants of the first strike against the East Coast of the United States. The Eastern Coalition detonated a couple of high-altitude fusion bombs, creating a series of EMPs that fried most of the electronics across the nation."
The roaring wave of panic from below was nearly crippling to Samuaal Brait as he gripped his console, and tried to focus on what the sensors were telling him about that hole in spacetime. "Would that fusion blast have been about 310 kilometers above the surface?"
"I think so, why?"
"Because if so, that blast might have torn open that hole we fell through," Sam said. He shook his head and redoubled his efforts to block out the fear emanating from the dark city below.
Frank whistled, unaware of the emotions pummeling his commanding officer. "I didn't know the Eastern Coalition had fusion bombs big enough to do that."
"It might have been just random chance," Sam said through gritted teeth.
A blip on Frank's console made him look down. "I've got about a hundred aircraft coming in from all sides," He gave a somber look out the window, looking down at his home planet. "I think it just started... they haven't had a chance to evacuate the major cities yet..."
Frank noted the tones of sorrow and pain in the Admiral's voice. "Sir, that hole?"
"Hole? ...right, hole," Sam focused on the sensors. "We have to get that thing closed. If one of those chunks of moon comes through the hole, Earth's going to have even bigger problems than a war."
"Think we can use some kind of graviton pulse from our deflectors or tractor beam? Push it out of orbit?"
"Maybe... I'm detecting some kind of event horizon on the hole?" He ran a few more scans. "Frank, I think I have a solution right up your alley. We'll blast it shut."
"I don't follow."
"We need to detonate a micro-quantum torpedo right at the event horizon, and use our shields to push the resulting explosion towards the end of this hole back in the Delta Volanis cluster."
"And how are we going to get back to our time?"
"That's the tricky part: We detonate the torpedo inside our shields to do it. Best way to get the shields in the right shape."
"Well that'll be interesting."
"You have a better idea?"
"If you can't think of any within the next two minutes, the airspace over the coast will become one big furball of human air and spacecraft, and we'll be spotted."
"Humans had military spacecraft at this time?"
"Not many, but both sides pretty much came to the conclusion that this was the time to throw everything at the enemy. No matter how experimental. They're launching everything."
"Alright, let's get into position and close that hole."
The ship started its final approach, then turned around to face the ground, flying backwards into the gaping hole, so its micro-quantum torpedo launcher would be able to fire.
Samuaal and Frank looked down at the once great city, brought low by the electromagnetic pulse. Samuaal had seen the great buildings that had replaced the ones that were to fall in the coming days, weeks, and months, while Frank had done reports on the battle tactics used in the Third World War, but nothing could prepare them for the actual images of a city in panic, as their world started to fall apart before their eyes.
Frank glanced at his controls. "Ten seconds to the event horizon."
Sam looked back at the controls. "Diverting Emergency Power to the Shields, reinforcing the Structural Integrity Field."
The white edges of the hole in spacetime appeared on the edge of the transparent aluminum right as the Micro-Quantum torpedo fired. A fraction of a second later, the torpedo detonated.
* * * * *
Samuaal Brait's eyes flickered open, revealing the ceiling of the Catherine's sickbay, and the concerned face of his ship's EMH looking down at him.
"How are you feeling, Admiral?"
Sam groaned and tried to sit up. "I'm fine," he managed to mumble before falling back again.
The EMH slowly guided him back onto the biobed. "You suffered a major concussion and multiple lacerations, Admiral. With all due respect, you're not fine."
"What about...?" he mumbled, the emotions of those in New York still replaying in his mind.
"We closed the hole," said Frank from an adjacent biobed. "I managed to signal a distress beacon before I passed out. Judging by the fact that we're still here, there must have been minimal impact to the timeline."
Sam groaned and leaned back. "Great. Another visit from the Department of Temporal Investigations... they still haven't forgiven me for the Gateway incident."
"Any visit from any Federation official can wait until you've both back on your feet," the EMH pointed out.
"Now can I get you anything to help you relax?"
Sam looked at the EMH. "A PADD so I can fill out my report to Starfleet Command, please."
When he got the PADD, he opened up a separate tab, and accessed the ship's library's records on Earth's Third World War.
"You were right, by the way," Mr. Lamont said, shifting in the biobed, trying to relieve some of the ache.
"About what, Commander?"
"I do need to get out more."
Last edited by reddwarf86; 02-19-2013 at