Part of USS Crazy Horse (Archive): Argent Dawn

Chapter Three:

Main Engineering
Immediately after Chapter Two
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Commander Nicholas Halstead matched his captain’s stride as they headed for engineering.  “So, they’ve had a breakthrough?” He asked.

Aoife shrugged,  “According to Commander Hayden they have translated the text and they have a working theory.”

“Working theory? I’ve heard those before.  Usually a dead end. ‘Sorry Captain.  I swear I thought it would work’.”

Aoife shrugged,  “Maybe, but the translation alone is worth a look.”

Nicholas looked less than excited.  “Sure, if you think some 1,500 year-old artifact that doesn’t affect my life in any way is worth a look.”

“I’m surprised with your attitude,” the captain replied. “This is a new culture. That is at its core Starfleet’s mission.”

Nicholas shrugged,  “Let’s just say, I’m more interested in the flesh and blood kind, not some moldy statues of some long dead civilization.”

“Well, I admit, anthropology wasn’t my favorite subject in the Academy,  but this is a mystery.  Don’t you like a good mystery?”

Halstead shrugged,  “I admit it is weird.  I just would rather be out exploring. “

Aoife laughed,  “Nicholas,  you are on the wrong ship for that.  They don’t send Excelsiors into the deep any more.”

“Don’t I know,” Halstead quipped as they approached the door to engineering.  He paused to let his captain take the lead.

“Adjust the beam by 500 hertz,” Shrin shouted excitedly,  tricorder in hand.

There was an azure energy beam streaming across engineering ending with the artifact.   The low hum changed in pitch as the beam intensified. 

“Chroniton particles are building up within the object,” Shrin announced.   “I think it’s reaching critical mass.”

Suddenly the object opened up like a flower in bloom.  White light was emitted from within.   Then there was a bright flash of white, and silence.

Aoife woke up staring at the sky. Not the ceiling of the ship, but a blue sky with wispy white clouds slowly floating overhead.  There was a male groan and stirring in the grass nearby.

She rolled onto her stomach and then pushed herself to her knees when a strong hand grabbed her arm and helped her to her feet.  “Where are we?”

“Good question,” Commander Halstead said scanning their surroundings.

Aoife slapped her communicator which made a disheartening no signal sound. “Mckenzie to Crazy Horse,” she said anyway.   There was only silence on the other end. Commander Halstead did the same and he too was met with similar failure.

Aoife sighed and took in her surroundings.   They were in an open field of green grass that stretched over a low hill to the north.  To the south a line of trees marked the edge of the field with a dirt lane leading east to west.

Far off to the west a village sat in a low valley. Thin tendrils of white smoke rose from what appeared to be thatched roofs over stone walls.

“A primitive… well, pre-industrial culture,” Halstead said echoing Aoife’s own thoughts.

“So it would seem,” she agreed.  “We should proceed cautiously.   Not only to preserve the Prime Directive,  but we don’t need the locals thinking we are demons or heretics of some form.  These cultures generally aren’t too forgiving.”

“We could use a cultural anthropologist,” the commander said half joking.

“Let’s just hope we blend in with these aliens,” Aoife said, “but, there’s no use in us standing here in a field.”

“What about the Prime Directive?”

She sighed looking at the village,  “We preserve it the best we can, but standing here won’t get us home.”