Flashback to just before the launch of the USS Solstice…
Commander Jackson Porter, Commanding Officer
Porter turned and stopped to look at the nameplate on the door of his quarters. It had only been a few days since he was given command of the new Nova-class science ship, but it still hadn’t sunk in that he was the commanding officer of a starship.
He took a sip of coffee from the mug in his hand, turned down the corridor, and headed into the turbolift. “Bridge.” The lift started and brought him up to his new job location.
“Captain on the bridge!” an officer called out as he stepped out.
“Carry on,” Porter replied, letting everyone get back to their duties. “Good morning, Commander,” he said as he approached his executive officer’s seat.
“Good morning, sir,” Lieutenant Commander T’Mel replied. The slender Vulcan stood up from her seat. “I trust you had a restful night’s sleep?”
Porter nodded. “As well as one can the night before a new ship’s launch. Anything to report?”
“Yes, sir. Admiral Vargas is waiting for you in your Ready Room.”
Porter nearly spit out his coffee. “You’re just telling me this now? Why didn’t you call me up here sooner?”
“Admiral Vargas ordered me to not inform you. He said it could wait until your duty shift started,” T’Mel replied, her voice not wavering one bit.
After quickly drinking most of the rest of his coffee and placing the mug on the deck in front of his commander’s chair. “I’ll be in my Ready Room. The bridge is yours, T’Mel.”
T’Mel’s response came just as Porter entered his Ready Room. As soon as he stepped inside, he saw Admiral Vargas sitting in one of the chairs in front of his desk. “Admiral, I apologize for keeping you waiting.”
“Not a problem, Commander,” the petite Spanish male replied. “Computer, seal the entrance to this room, no entry without my authorization, and secure all visual and electronic paths into and out of this room.”
The computer beeped in compliance, sealed the entrance door, and tinted the outer windows. Porter found himself stopped in a mid-hover above his chair. “Uhh, what…” Porter didn’t know what to think about what just happened.
“I’m sorry for this, Commander, but as you are a new commanding officer, I have to fill you in on some classified information. Computer, access secure file Omega One.”
“Voice print confirmed, state clearance code,” the computer replied.
“Command Authorization Alpha-Omega One, clearance level 10.”
The main screen on the wall next to Porter’s desk brought up a symbol. “Do you know what this is?” Vargas asked.
Finally sitting down, Porter swiveled his chair to focus on the image. “If memory serves me, it’s the Greek letter omega.”
Vargas nodded. “Correct. It’s also a symbol of one of the most dangerous substances in the known galaxy.” Vargas tapped the console on the des and changed the screen. “Back in the 23rd century, a physicist and his team tried to create a new source of power. Unfortunately, their efforts not only failed, but discovered a new problem.” The screen changed again to show a map of several sectors of space, with various colors showing different levels. “The destruction of this omega molecule destroyed subspace for several light years around it.”
The screen went off and Vargas turned his attention back to Porter, who also turned back to face the admiral. “As you can imagine, Starfleet didn’t want any word of this to get out, so they suppressed all knowledge of it, and made sure that only captains and flag officers know about this danger.”
Porter nodded. “Makes sense. So, what do I do if I encounter it?”
“Once any Starfleet ship detects the molecule, the ship comes to a full stop and the computer locks out everything until the commanding officer uses their clearance to unlock the necessary parts of your ship. Then you will access the same file I just brought up. Once you review the information, you will be required to notify Starfleet Command immediately. A special team will be out to collect your data, completely unlock your ship, and purge your database of all mentions of omega. If you can render any assistance, all other missions are rescinded, and you are authorized to do absolutely whatever is necessary to neutralize the threat. That is the nature of the Omega Directive.”
“Aye, sir.” That was all Porter was able to reply with. “I won’t let you down.”
Vargas stood up. “I know you won’t, Commander. If you’re anything like your dad, and everything we’ve seen shows that you are, then you will be one of the finest officers Starfleet has ever seen. Besides, the Omega Directive has only been enacted a few times in the centuries since it’s discovery.” Vargas entered his code back into the desk computer. “Computer, lift all locks, Command Authorization Alpha-Omega One, clearance level 10”
The computer beeped and Vargas headed for the door. “Well, I think that’s enough excitement for today, Commander. I believe you’re due to launch on your first assignment in a few hours. Good luck.”
“Thank you, sir,” Porter replied as the admiral left his office, leaving Porter to sit and think about everything he just heard.
Three weeks later (current date)
“Good morning, sir.”
Porter looked to his left as an ensign approached him. Porter recognized her as Ensign Leeanne Harrison, an ops officer on her first post after graduating from Starfleet Academy. “Good morning, ensign. How are you today?”
“Not bad so far, sir, how are you?” Ensign Harrison replied.
“Good so far,” Porter said as he gestured down the hallway. “On your way up to the bridge?”
Harrison nodded. “Yes, sir. It’s my first day, and I’m excited to get started!”
“That’s the spirit, ensign,” Porter replied. The two stepped into the turbolift and headed up to the bridge. When the lift stopped, Porter gestured for the ensign to exit first. Harrison stepped over to her console, relieving the night shift officer, and Porter took his seat from Lieutenant Commander T’Mel. “Good morning, T’Mel,” Porter said.
“Good morning, sir. I trust you had a restful night’s sleep?”
Porter chuckled. “You’re replies are as regular as the warp core. Yes, I had a good night’s sleep. Anything to report from the night?”
“Negative sir, all was quiet.”
“Roger.” Porter turned to the science station. “Lieutenant Moore, how go the scans of the nebula?”
The Human male in teal brought up some details on the main viewscreen showing the current progress. “Scans are proceeding according to-”
Before the officer could finish, the ship’s engines suddenly cut off. Porter looked up to the helmsman. “Helm, report.”
“Sir, the engines just shut off and we’re at a dead stop. I’m not sure why, I-I didn’t do anything different,” the Tellerite Lieutenant JG Grell stated.
“Calm down, lieutenant, I’m sure it’s just-” Porter stopped what he was saying as he saw something he hoped he would never see: the omega symbol. He took a big gulp and sat back in his seat. Looking around the bridge, Porter saw the symbol up on every computer screen. Confused officers exchanged looks with each other.
“Uh, I definitely know that’s not my fault,” the helmsman replied.
“I’ll take care of it.” Porter entered his command code into his console and cleared the symbol from the other consoles. He stood up and headed for his ready room. “Do not discuss any of this with the rest of the crew. I will be in my ready room.”
“Sir, may I ask what this is about?” T”Mel asked.
Porter replied without turning around. “Not at this time. You have the bridge.” When the door shut behind him, Porter did the same thing that Admiral Vargas did. The doors locked, the windows dimmed, and the computer console brought up the omega symbol. After entering his clearance code, the computer instructed him to implement the Omega Directive immediately.
“Computer, open an encrypted channel to Starfleet Command, authorization Omega-One.” The computer beeped. A couple minutes later, the image of Admiral Vargas came up on the screen. “Admiral Vargas! I, uh, wasn’t expecting it to be you on the other end.”
“Nice to see you, too, Commander,” Vargas said with a slight chuckle. “Based on the channel you’re contacting me on, I take it you’ve encountered the phenomenon that we said probably wouldn’t be a problem for you.”
Porter dropped his head and nodded. “Yes, sir,” he quietly answered.
“Don’t worry, Commander, just remember what you were told. We’re dispatching a ship to your location. In the meantime, you’re to review the data and see what you can deduce about the nature of the particle. Once the special team arrives, do what they say without question, is that understood?”
“Yes, sir, completely.” Vargas nodded and the screen went blank. Porter rubbed his forehead and sighed. “Alright, computer, let’s look over the sensor data on the omega molecule.”
Eleven hours later…
Porter looked over every ounce of data that the computer had on omega. Given how classified and rare it was, he was surprised how much information there ended up being. Apparently, Admiral Janeway and the crew of the USS Voyager encountered multiple omega molecules and were able to neutralize all of them. The report also stated that the molecules randomly harmonized before the chamber they were encased in was destroyed.
“Too bad I can’t get a hold of the good admiral,” Porter said out loud to himself. He sighed deeply and took another sip of his twelfth cup of coffee for the day when the comm chimed.
“Bridge to Commander Porter.”
“Go ahead, Commander,” Porter replied to T’Mel.
“Sir, a Starfleet ship is approaching and requesting to speak with you. It’s…Admiral Vargas.” Though T’Mel was a Vulcan, the pause and slight inflection in her voice signaled that she was intrigued by the admiral’s approach.
“Put it through to my ready room. Porter out.” He closed the line to the Bridge before T’Mel was able to ask any more questions…well, at least any more than they already had. The computer screen on Porter’s desk changed from the omega information to the Federation logo, then to Admiral Vargas’ face. “Good evening, Admiral.”
“Hello, Jackson. How is your research going?” Vargas inquired.
Porter closed his eyes and rubbed them with his thumb and pointer finger. “It’s certainly going…where it’s going, I have no idea.”
“Why don’t you let my team and I take a look at your research?” Vargas replied. Before Porter could reply, the screen cut out. A couple seconds later, three Starfleet officers, including Admiral Vargas, appeared in his ready room. “Permission to come aboard, Commander,” Vargas jokingly said.
“Uh, permission granted, sir.” Porter stood up for the admiral, as protocol dictated, but Vargas waved for him to sit back down.
Vargas gestured to each of the officers with him. “These are Lieutenants Samuels and Pratt, and Lieutenant Commander Durham. They are some of the omega specialists that I brought along with me aboard the Hullman.” The officers nodded at Porter, who returned the welcome. “You will do whatever they ask, and as with before, you are not to discuss any of this with any of your crew.”
“Aye, sir. So where do we start?”
“That would be with me,” Commander Durham said. “We’ve looked over the data your sensors have collected, along with some of the steps you’ve already considered.”
Porter raised his hand. “Wait, wait…you mean you’ve already looked at our ship’s records? How? There was no sign that an outside entity was attempting to access our ship’s computer.”
Vargas chuckled. “That’s because we’re good at our job. It wouldn’t be much of a secret if your senior staff knew what we were looking for.”
“Still though,” Porter replied. He stopped when he saw Vargas’ face had changed from the laugh to a serious look. He cleared his throat. “Uh, please continue, commander.”
Durham nodded. “We already have all the data we need to start coming up with a plan. For now, we will remain aboard the Hullman, but since your ship is one of the newest science vessels in the fleet, we may need your assistance. Should that time come, I assume you will maintain the same level of security on the matter. We would hate to have to take…certain measures, to maintain omega’s secrecy.”
Porter’s eyes caught Vargas’ to see if he could gather anything from the admiral’s movements. Vargas maintained his composure and simply gave a nod to confirm the severity of the commander’s comments. “With all due respect, sir,” Porter said, “I think I should at least inform my XO about all of this. It’s one thing if the captain is acting odd but having a seasoned Vulcan knowing where my decisions are coming from will certainly go a long way to alleviating any of the crews’ anxiety. Plus, it helps that T’Mel was a scientist with the Vulcan Science Directorate for over twenty years.”
Vargas and Durham exchanged looks, then Vargas nodded. “Very well. Bring her in.”
Porter keyed the comm. “Commander T’Mel, please report to my ready room at once.”
“Acknowledged, sir.” A few moments later, the door chimed, and Porter let T’Mel in. When the tall Vulcan walked in, she was taken aback by the sight of four people she was not expecting to be in the presence of. “Sir?” she said.
“This is Admiral Vargas and his team. I think I should let the admiral explain the situation.” Porter gestured to Vargas, who reiterated the whole situation to T’Mel.
When the admiral was done, he asked if T’Mel understood everything. “It certainly is a lot to take in, Admiral, but I will comply with everything you have said.”
Vargas nodded. “Good. Now, if you don’t mind, Commander, I think we should get started. You’ll be hearing from us, Commander. Until then, keep where you are and await further order.” With that, he and Commander Durham nodded at each other. Then, Vargas and the scientists all pulled out an item from their pockets, activated them, and transported back to the Hullman, leaving Porter and T’Mel in the ready room. Porter stared at T’Mel to wait and see if she had any questions, which she did.
“Sir…I understand the need for secrecy, especially given the prospects of what might happen if the wrong people obtain this information…but I’m not fully sure how we can keep all of this from the crew.”
Porter stood up and walked towards the viewport. “I’m not really sure either. We’re a new crew, and we’re going to be asking them to have some very deep trust in us that usually takes time to instill.” He took a deep sigh as he looked at the Vesta-class USS Hullman floating in space. “Well, you better head back to the bridge. I will wrap things up here and be out to join you shortly.”
“Aye, sir.” T’Mel spun on her heels and left the ready room, leaving Porter alone with his thoughts.
“Well, dad,” he said out loud, “you always said that big moments can make or break a career. I hope to hell that this doesn’t break mine.”