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Part of USS Themis: You Changed The Ending

You Changed The Ending – 3

USS Themis (NCC-76554), Swallow Nebula region, Delta Quadrant
Stardate: 78500
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Captain Cambil Bexa sat crossed-leg on the carpet in the centre of her ready room aboard the USS Themis, the ambient hum of the ship’s systems creating a serene atmosphere punctuated only by the soft glow of the console panels and the holographic candles. Her eyes were closed in quiet contemplation, her thoughts reaching out to the Bajoran Prophets in silent prayer. 

The weight of their mission hung heavy upon her, the elusive USS Constitution and its crew lost in the vast expanse of the Delta Quadrant. For some time now, the Themis had been assigned the mission of finding the missing member of their squadron, but alas, they had not been fortunate. Besides the probe the Constitution sent through folded space, there was no clue where they were. Using the experimental hyper-subspace communication systems installed on their ships, the Themis had tempted to raise the missing ship several days ago, but something was blocking the call. So far, they didn’t know why.

Too many mysteries. 

Instead, Cambil had felt she might find some answers by reaching out to the Prophets. At least, she hoped, her signal would get through to them. As she sought solace in her faith, the tranquillity of the moment was abruptly shattered by the chime of her ready room door. With a composed exhale, Captain Cambil straightened her jacket as she stood up, steeling herself for the challenges that lay ahead.

“Enter,” she called, her voice carrying a sense of quiet authority laced with determination. She pressed a button on her desk, and the holographic candles vanished, followed by the ready room’s illumination increasing to its standard level. Some normality, she thought. 

The door slid open, admitting Commander Tremt Hunsen, her first officer. In his hand, he held a PADD containing the latest sensor readings, his expression marked by a blend of concern and unwavering resolve.

“Tremt, please tell me you’ve got some good news,” Cambil remarked, motioning for him to take a seat across from her desk as she took her own seat. 

Hunsen approached slowly before sitting, the weight of their shared burden evident in the furrow of his brow. “Sorry, captain, we’ve completed another sweep of the surrounding space. Regrettably, we’ve yet to determine the source of the signal interference interfering with our attempts to reach the Constitution.”

Cambil’s features tightened with frustration, her worry for the missing vessel gnawing at her resolve. “How far are we from the origin point of the interference?”

“T’Rani estimates approximately two weeks at maximum warp, barring any unforeseen complications,” Hunsen replied, his voice steady despite the underlying tension.

“Two weeks,” Captain Bexa echoed, her mind already calculating the myriad possibilities that lay ahead. “Very well, have our new chief flight control officer lay in a course and engage at maximum warp. In the meantime, continue monitoring the situation closely. I want regular updates on our progress.”

Hunsen nodded in acknowledgement, his commitment unwavering in the face of uncertainty. “Aye, Captain.”

“Anything else, Tremt?” Cambil asked. 

Hunsen shook his head. “Nothing to worry you with, ma’am.”

“Don’t say it like that,” Cambil said as she looked at him. They had gotten to know one another a lot since she took command of the Themis earlier in the year. After almost eight months of serving together in their new roles, they had developed a strong routine with one another. “What is it?”

“I know this is important, and I had a feeling you would order us to find out, but it’s another two weeks of the crew not doing much,” Hunsen remarked. 

Sighing, Cambil couldn’t disagree with him. “Perhaps, however, it does give you another two more weeks to spend quality time with your gorgeous new son!”

Hunsen smirked at the mention of his newborn. It had only been a couple of months since he had become a father, and it had certainly changed him. Cambil knew it would and was pleased to see the transformation that Hunsen had undergone these past few weeks. The Betazoid man was more relaxed while on duty while at the same time being extra cautious and protective of the ship and its crew. He certainly didn’t want anything wrong to happen to it. Thankfully, what had made him more settled was down to Captain Louwanna Horin, Hunsen’s Imzadi, who had temporarily transferred from the Odyssey to the Themis after the birth of Eddim (their son) so she and he could be with Hunsen. Horin and Hunsen wanted to make something of their new family life, and spending it together seemed right while she was on maternity leave. Fleet Captain McCallister hadn’t stopped the request; a father himself, he knew how important it was for a family to be together. Nevertheless, Cambil knew that her former captain and squadron leader would soon want his chief counsellor back. When that would be, even she didn’t know. 

“Yeah, I suppose there’s that,” Hunsen nodded. “I think Louwanna would appreciate me being around a bit more.”

“I don’t need to be a Betazoid to read your minds. Lack of sleep?” Cambil asked with a chuckle. She had been there herself when her two sons were young. “Plus, over the next two weeks, T’Rani may eventually pop too!”

“Let’s hope that happens figuratively and not literally,” Hunsen said, still smiling. 

“I don’t know, Tremt. Have you seen how big she’s got?” Cambil asked as she got out of her chair and went to the window. “I remember being that big with Leeyum; my ankles were so swollen. Who knows, baby T’Rani-Samris may finally appear.”

“I think Samris would appreciate a bit more time,” Hunsen said. “I think I’ve scared him with a few horror stories!”

Turning back around to face her first officer, Cambil smiled at him. If she was any other captain, this type of talk about babies and young families may not have occurred. That said, having both her first officer and second officer taking paternity and maternity leave, respectively, at this point did cause some logistical nightmare for her. She was thankful that Fleet Captain McCallister had reassigned Lieutenant Andar to the Themis to take over from T’Rani as its chief flight control officer. The Phylosian officer was impressive and was certainly not being challenged in being the Deputy Starfighter Squadron leader. T’Rani, on the other hand, had to be persuaded to take on a more command-level role. It was natural for her to progress and take over as Senior Officer of the Watch. Cambil felt it gave her a bit more flexibility once she became a new mum. However, T’Rani, in typical fashion, did not see it that way. Nevertheless, she had relented and realised the logic and understanding that it was time in her career to move on beyond the helm. 

“How’s the betting pool going in guessing when the newest addition to the crew will arrive,” Cambil inquired.

“Still waiting on you to give us your guess!” 

Cambil rubbed her chin before placing her hands on her hips. “Put me down for two weeks’ time once we arrive wherever this interference is coming from.”

“Done!” Hunsen said as he typed it into his PADD. “Anything else, ma’am?”

She shook her head and dismissed him. Looking over her shoulder, she stared at the starfield and wondered if they would ever find out where the Constitution was. However, she knew they needed to discover what was stopping them from reaching out. 

One of the many mysteries the Delta Quadrant loved to throw their way!

Stardate: 78580 – Four Weeks Later

USS Themis (NCC-76554), Swallow Nebula region, Delta Quadrant

Captain Cambil stepped out of her ready room with a PADD in her left hand and a mug of Deka tea in the other. She surveyed the bridge, and a sense of anticipation hung in the air like a charged particle awaiting release. She sipped her Deka tea, the warmth soothing against the backdrop of uncertainty. Looking up at the command pit, she noticed T’Rani sat in her chair. T’Rani’s composed demeanour belied the gravity of their situation, her presence a testament to Vulcan stoicism amidst the possible upcoming chaos.

“Report, commander,” Cambil inquired, her voice steady yet brimming with curiosity as she approached the command centre.

T’Rani gracefully rose from the chair despite her heavy pregnancy and relayed the ship’s progress. “We should be at our destination in approximately twenty-seven and a half minutes.”

“I’ll take over from here; you go take a break,” Cambil offered, genuine concern etched in her smile. 

Before T’Rani could voice her protest, Abbej interjected, urgently diverting attention. “Captain, I’ve got something!” 

Intrigued, Cambil and T’Rani joined Abbej at the science console, where the Boslic officer unveiled her findings. Abbej pointed to her readings. “Long-range sensors detected a high amount of radiation at our destination, and now that we’re closer, I’ve been able to get a clearer picture.”

T’Rani’s raised eyebrow betrayed her concern. “Any insights into the nature of this radiation?”

Abbej nodded, her focus unwavering. “It’s Adler-Lasky temporal radiation. It’s indicative of a temporal anomaly, Captain.”

Cambil’s gaze darted towards the helm as she issued orders. “Andar, reduce our speed to warp six.”

The Phylosian nodded their fuzzy artichoke-shaped head. “Aye, ma’am, but it will increase our estimated arrival time by another hour if not two.”

“I know; I want more time to see what we’ve got ahead of us,” Cambil remarked.

“Time is certainly an apt choice of word,” Abbej stated. 

Tapping her combadge, Cambil wanted all her senior staff to discuss this new revelation. After making the call, the captain turned back to her science officer. “Anything else of interest?”

Abbej nodded as she kept her focus on the sensor readings. “The anomaly is planet-side; it looks like the fourth or fifth planet. I can’t be sure. There’s a lot of chronokinetic interference at this range, but I am picking up life signs.”

“How many?” T’Rani asked as the turbolift doors to the aft of the bridge opened to reveal the arrival of Forbes, Hunsen and Jines. The three men made their way over to them.

“I’m detecting around five million humanoids,” Abbej stated. She compared their biology to the Starfleet database, and a match appeared. “They’re Krenim.”

 “Krenim?” Forbes echoed, curiosity gleaming in his eyes

“The temporal buffs, right?” Hunsen asked as he leant against the bulkhead with his left shoulder and crossed his arms. 

Cambil nodded, her expression grave yet resolute. “Temporal aficionados, in a sense. Voyager encountered them, albeit briefly, during its journey. The Krenim Imperium’s reputation precedes them, especially in temporal sciences.”

“Then perhaps we are approaching their territory?” Jines offered. 

Pulling up the star charts that Voyager had made over twenty-seven years ago, Abbej showed them what was meant to be territory held by the Krenim back then. “I appreciate this data is old, but we’re far from the Imperium’s borders, suggesting this could be a distant colony.”

Cambil turned to Decter, her tone decisive. “Send a preemptive message to the colony. Diplomacy first.”

Jines nodded and went straight over to the operations station. At that point, the rest of the senior staff arrived. Lenjir and Samris made their way to their stations while Commander Ramona Perez wandered over. Themis’ new chief engineer was a welcome figure as part of the ship’s senior staff. 

“Did I just hear someone is finally letting go of the pressure on my engines?” Perez’s voice carried a playful edge as she directed her inquiry towards Cambil, her longtime acquaintance from their days at the Academy as instructors.

Cambil, now standing in front of the command chair, shared a knowing smile with Perez, their camaraderie evident even in the midst of their duties aboard the Themis. “We’re taking it easy momentarily, just to see what’s ahead of us,” she replied, her tone a blend of familiarity and the weight of their responsibilities.

“Ma’am, I’m detecting a distress call coming from the Krenim colony,” Jines reported.

Concerned to hear that, Cambil looked at him. “What do they say?”

“It’s a bit garbled, sir,” Jines replied. “Something about an overload, that’s about what we can make out. The temporal anomaly is affecting its content.” 

“This temporal anomaly must be stopping us from contacting the Constitution,” Hunsen suggested.

“You may be right, Number One,” Cambil agreed. “Are there any other ships in the area that can lend a hand? I can’t see us being able to support over five million people.”

Lenjir from the tactical station behind Cambil spoke up. “Captain, I’m detecting the U-S-S Constellation. They’re on the edge of the sector.”

“The Constellation?” Cambil echoed. “I didn’t realise they were this far out in the Delta Quadrant.”

T’Rani, who had now stationed herself at the mission ops station, spoke up. “The Constellation is on a deep space assignment working with scientists from the Romulan Free State.”

“Captain Taes is still in command, right?” Cambil checked, looking at T’Rani.

“I believe so, ma’am.” 

“You know, Captain Taes?” Hunsen asked from his chair.

“Only by reputation,” Cambil said as she crossed her arms and gave Perez a look. If Hunsen had read her mind at that point, he would have heard her remember the things they had heard about Taes via their old Academy contacts. Taes’ time at the Delta IV annexe had come back to them. The Deltan had gathered a reputation back when she was a cadet herself. She was known for hating the dorms and the sensory overload of so many cadets.  Shaking her head, the Bajoran woman looked at her operations officer. “Decter, send Captain Taes a request to see if they can join us.”

Jines nodded before he checked something and spoke up. “Ma’am, the Constellation is a week away at their best speed.”

“Surely more hands to help out is better than nothing?” Samris asked.

Cambil agreed with that point. “Send the message.” She took her seat as she gathered her thoughts on what she was committing her ship and possibly the Constellation to. 

Moments later, Jines confirmed Captain Taes’s agreement. 

“Here we go then,” Cambil stated as she told everyone to prepare for whatever lay ahead.