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Part of USS Constellation: You Changed The Ending

You Changed The Ending – 5

Bridge, USS Constellation
August 2401
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Captain’s Log, Supplemental

 

Space-time has shattered around the planet Onitha.  In our vain efforts to respond to the Krenim colony’s planetary distress call, Constellation was waylaid centuries into the past, even before Onitha’s colonisation.  Because the temporal fractures have spread into Onitha’s past, we were able to find our way back through to the present day.  Not only was our crew greeted by the USS Themis, but two Krenim warships who traveled through different fractures from nearly twenty-five years ago.

 

Are the time distortions an invasion attempt from out of history?  Are we facing another lost fleet?

 


 

The deck rocked just as Executive Officer Kellin Rayco descended the stairs from the command platform.  After a career of standing behind a tactical console, muscle memory kicked in.  He shifted his weight to avoid rolling his ankle.  The magnitude of the vibrations was familiar, like a specific dance move repeated on holidays.  Swift aftershocks were clearly torpedoes exploding against the ship’s shields.  Clearly.  The temporal fractures were represented by sensor composites, projected holographically on the view screen.  Judging by the subtle movement of those teal blobs, the impact of the Krenim warship’s torpedoes was pushing Constellation towards one of the fractures.

“CONN, hold position,” Kellin ordered.  The word was given absent-mindedly.  He was stalking down to the tactical station, flanking the flight control console.  Through the flat plane of the holographic LCARS panel between them, Kellin was impressed by the precision Security Chief Ache was operating the ship’s phasers.  For fear of micro-managing —as one ex-security chief to the incumbent— Kellin hesitated for only one heartbeat.  But then his accountability to the crew cut through that fear.

“Disable their weapon systems, commander,” Kellin barked.

Without looking away from her targeting scanners, Ache replied, “What’s your preference, sir?”   

In staff meetings, Ache could come across as nervous or overly formal.  Here, under the wash of red alert lighting, there was a casual playfulness to the way she spoke.  Her Osnullus facial tendrils flicked upwards at the end of her question. 

“The torpedo launchers,” Kellin offered; “Here and here.”  He pointed out the areas he meant on the wireframe warship on the tactical displays.  As Ache fired the phasers again, Kellin looked back over his shoulder to see if Captain Taes would agree with his orders.

From the captain’s chair, Taes offered him the smallest of half-smiles, and then she looked away.

“Doctor Flavia, why isn’t the colony responding to our hails?” Taes asked.  “Any theory would be welcomed.”

On some mornings, if Flavia hadn’t solved the mystery yet, she would entirely ignore questions from Taes until she was ready to answer.  There was no hesitation in this instance, even as an EPS conduit exploded over her station.  From the port-side science console, Flavia plucked two of the sensor panes from the LCARS panel and tossed holographic expansions of them in Taes’ direction.

Flavia declared, “The grinding of planes between differing time zones is generating chronon oscillation.  At this frequency, the oscillation reverberates into subspace.  Our signal is degrading before it can even reach the planet’s surface.  Captain, I know the imperial expansion of Starfleet’s presence across the delta quadrant is principal, but we have that last subspace relay probe-“

“Launch it into low orbit,” Taes ordered.

To one side of the main viewer, Cambil was holding tightly to the arms of her chair as her ship was hit hard by multiple torpedo hits. Being a former tactical officer herself, Cambil looked at the sensors of the torpedoes as they hit both ships. “Their torpedoes are chroniton based; they’re in a state of temporal flux. I’m not sure our shields can prevent some of them passing through.” She looked back at Taes. “We may have no choice in destroying them, captain.”

Taes tilted her head to the right.  She didn’t blink.

“It may come to that, captain,” Taes said.  Kellin could hear the honeyed diplomacy in her delivery.  When she used that voice on him, she was usually about to shut him down.  “For now— right now we have more choices.”

Cambil cleared her throat as she ran through ideas in her head. “Captain, if we re-modulate our targeting scanners to a parametric frequency, we might be able to destroy the torpedo launchers before they fire.”

A galvanized smile sliced through the neutral expression on Taes’s face.  Her eyes wide and her eyebrows raised, Taes nodded swiftly at Cambil’s suggestion.  She pointed at Ache, and Ache sounded off a confirmation.

“Remind me, captain,” Taes said.  There was something impish about the way she looked down at the tactical readouts on her chair arm.  Even more so when she asked her question.

“Can the Ross-class muster up sensor pulses at that rate?”

“We can muster up most things,” Cambil grinned back. “Let’s get this done!” 

Cambil gave the order to Lenjir (behind her at tactical), and moments later, after the Themis’ phasers had been adjusted and fired, he reported a direct score on one of the ships. 

Smirking, Cambil looked at Taes via their opening link, “That’s one disabled, just one left to go.” 

“I better keep up,” Taes remarked. She twirled a finger in the air.

The ships shuddered from hits from the remaining Krenim warship. It was adamant it wasn’t going to give up against the two Starfleet ships. Both ships were pounding it with their torpedoes to weaken its shields.

Kellin thought he saw a tear opening in the Krenim’s shields, but Ache plainly saw it first.  Constellation landed four quantum torpedoes into the Krenim’s launchers and pierced its engines with their phaser turrets.  Even as the Krenim’s shields flared to recover, critical damage had already been done. The warships’ weapons barrage came to a halt.

“Great galaxy!” Ache exclaimed, her hands raised.  It was rare to see Ache so joyful. Too, that vibrancy was short-lived. 

“Captain, we’re being hailed,” Ache said.

“On screen,” Taes acknowledged. 

“Federation ships, this is Doctor Irlina of the Krenim.” The Krenim scientist’s voice and face interrupted the commotion on both ships. “Please send help; we are stuck in a number of temporal—“ 

On the viewscreen, she appeared scared, concerned, and terrified of whatever was happening. Behind her, an explosion went off, and the line then went dead. She was gone.

For a moment, everything on both bridges froze as if everyone was trying to work out what had just been shared and who this mysterious Krenim doctor was.