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Part of USS Themis: You Changed The Ending

You Changed The Ending – 4

USS Themis (NCC-76554), Jameeta System, Swallow Nebula region, Delta Quadrant
Stardate: 78594
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The USS Themis was ensnared in a chaotic web of subspace anomalies, each one a potential threat to the ship’s integrity. These anomalies, like a relentless tempest, sent shockwaves through the vessel, causing it to shudder and groan under the strain. The blaring red alert, a piercing testament to the severity of the situation, echoed urgently throughout the ship.

On the bridge, crew members darted from station to station, their movements swift and purposeful, their faces etched with a mix of perseverance and strain. Sparks erupted in the air as engineering teams scrambled to reinforce critical systems. 

“Report!” Captain Cambil’s voice cut through the racket, commanding attention amidst the chaos of the bridge. Her grip tightened on the arms of her chair, a lone strand of hair escaping the confines of its tie, a testament to the ship’s tumultuous journey.

“Structure integrity is holding, but I’m diverting power to the inertial dampeners,” Perez’s voice rang out from the engineering station, determination evident despite the strain in her tone. “Warp core stability remains unaffected.”

“Shields holding steady, Captain,” Lenjir’s assurance came from behind at the tactical console, a stalwart presence amidst the storm.

“Seems like we’re navigating our way through it, Captain,” Andar’s voice carried a note of relief from the helm, signalling a glimmer of hope amidst the turbulence.

The Themis shuddered several more times, each jolt was a reminder of the unpredictable nature of their predicament before it was finally spat out from the grip of the subspace anomalies.

“We’re through,” reported Abbej. “I think it was a bubble of temporal energy.”

“A bubble?” Hunsen questioned. 

“A subspace anomaly compromising of suppressed temporal energy,” Abbej summarised. “But from what I can tell, it’s,” she paused as she looked at the sensors. “Ma’am, I’m detecting the Constellation off the starboard bow.”

Cambil’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion as she turned her gaze towards Hunsen upon receiving the unexpected news. It was a pleasant surprise to discover that the Constitution III-class ship had arrived ahead of schedule, and the realisation brought a glimmer of hope to their mission. “Andar, get us free and far from that bubble and then Decter open a channel to Captain Taes.”

Both men in front of her complied with their orders, and a few seconds later, the image of Captain Taes on her bridge appeared.

“Captain Taes, welcome to the Jameeta system,” Cambil greeted her counterpart.

Captain Taes’ holographic transmission didn’t respond immediately.  Rubbing the back of her neck, Taes took a breath that started from deep down.  She shook her bald head, and then she became still.  At the same time, a pleasant smile had snapped into place over her visage.

It is most gratifying to meet you, Captain Cambil,” Taes said.  “Our rendezvous has proven gruelling in equal parts.  Although Constellation reached the Jameeta system some hours ago, we passed through a time rift into Onitha’s distant past and have only just escaped.  We have not been able to make contact with the colony.

Intrigued by Taes’ remarks, Cambil was confused by what was happening here. “It would appear, Captain, that we have been the victims of some temporal shenanigans. We, too, have struggled to raise the Krenim. Maybe we should attempt to coordinate our efforts so we can find out what has happened here?”

Taes nodded once at Cambil’s suggestion, maintaining eye contact until she tilted her head to nod at someone outside the visual sensor range of the viewscreens.

Our science officer will make our sensor logs available,” Taes amicably said.  “Between our two crews, I trust we can handle temporal shenanigans.

Abbej then shared a report from the science station. It was delivered with an air of urgency, the tone laced with concern as the readings scrolled across the monitors. The pulsating lights indicated an unsettling combination: chroniton radiation, tachyons, and polaric ion energy suffused the surrounding space, hinting at a profound disruption in the delicate balance of the space-time continuum. “Temporal rifts are forming around us,” she warned, her eyes darting between the myriad of displays.

Cambil furrowed her brow, absorbing the gravity of the situation. “We must proceed with extreme caution,” she advised her voice firm yet tinged with apprehension.

But before any course of action could be decided upon, a colossal temporal rift materialised before them, the very fabric of reality warping and distorting in its wake. Within moments, the ominous void gave birth to two looming silhouettes, their angular forms casting eerie shadows across the bridge.

“Krenim vessels?” Hunsen queried, his fingers hovering over the control panel in anticipation. The tension on the bridge was palpable as the crew held their breath, waiting for Lenjir’s confirmation.

“Confirmed,”’ Lenjir replied, his gaze fixed on the approaching ships on the tactical station’s sensor readings. “Their shields are at maximum, and their weapons are charging up.”

Abbej interjected, her voice cutting through the tense atmosphere. “Captain, these ships bear an unusual quantum signature.”

Cambil’s expression hardened as she processed the information. “In what way, commander?” she inquired, her eyes narrowing with suspicion.

“Quantum scans indicate that they appear to be from two and a half decades ago,” Abbej explained, her fingers dancing across the interface as she analysed the data. “Yet their quantum signature deviates only slightly from the norm.”

“An alternate timeline,” Perez proposed from the aft engineering station, her voice tinged with a mixture of awe and trepidation.

Cambil’s jaw tightened with resolve. She had been here before with temporal mechanics on the Odyssey and wasn’t keen on another round. 

“Precisely my thoughts,” Abbej replied, her gaze locking with the captain’s as they braced themselves for whatever temporal anomaly awaited them.

The holographic feed of Captain Taes on Constellation’s bridge compressed to one-quarter of the viewscreen.  The audio was momentarily silenced as Taes gave orders to her own bridge crew.

The audio returned when Taes said, “As much as it will put as at a disadvantage, I must recommend holding our respective positions.  The topology of the temporal rifts appears to be in a continuous flux.  We must circumvent those rifts as much as the Krenim vessels.  Shall we send a joint message of friendship, sharing the frequency of Onitha’s distress call?

Cambil agreed to Taes’ suggestion, and both crews simultaneously sent the message.

Jines then spoke up from ops. “Ma’am, we’re getting a response.”

“Put it up so both ships can see it,” Cambil ordered as she nestled into her chair.

The viewscreen was altered to show the incoming hail. A Krenim man sat in a chair, almost swirling on its axis, and looked at both captains with nearly utmost distaste. 

“Who are you?” 

Cambil took a breath as she answered on their behalf. “Captains Cambil and Taes of the Federation starships Themis and Constellation.

“And you’re reasons for being here?” He asked. The Krenim commander was more bothered about ensuring his uniform was neat and tidy as he brushed one of its shoulders. His focus was no longer on either Cambil or Taes.

“We were responding to the distress call coming from the Krenim colony,” Cambil replied. “However, we’ve had a few difficulties since arriving with these temporal bubbles. I believe you’ve just exited one yourself. Perhaps if we work togeth-”

“No!” The Krenim captain responded angrily. His focus was now back on Cambil and Taes. We will not work with you. Who do you think you are? One of your ships has already violated our space, and we will not submit to your hostile invasion of our realm. Surrender now or be destroyed.”

 Cambil raised her eyebrow at the Krenim leader. She was sure he had no idea he was from an alternative timeline. Though she was intrigued by who this other Starfleet ship was. “We don’t respond well to threats,” Cambil replied.

And still,” Taes added emphatically, “we maintain our offer of aid to your colony.  Have you contacted the source of the–

“Either you surrender, or you will not survive our assault.” The Krenim said, almost spitting out every word he spoke. 

As the Krenim crammed more bile and vexation into every word, the more still Taes became in response.  On her own bridge, she was sat in her captain’s chair with her palms laid on her thighs.  She did not flinch at the word surrender.  She did not flinch at the word assault.

We come in peace and friendship,” Taes said.  There was a genuine warmth to her intonation, even if sounded brittle around the edges.  “If your colony’s distress call was an elaborate ruse to lure us here, I do not regret answering the call.  Our offer of aid is genuine.  However, our crews are under our care too.  We will never surrender.

Determined not to be beaten by a bully, Cambil agreed with Taes’ comments before ordering the ship to red alert. “All hands, battle stations!”