Part of USS Odyssey: Shattered Storm and Bravo Fleet: The Stormbreaker Campaign

As Time Goes By…

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000), Paulson Nebula, Beta Quadrant
Stardate: 98021.007
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Opening his eyes slowly, James Preston McCallister couldn’t work out where he was due to the bright light that shone down on him from up above. The light seemed extremely bright and it only took a few more seconds for him to feel the strong headache that finally hit him as he became conscious. Slowly he raised his right hand to cover his eyes and his left to rub his temple. He felt absolutely sick from whatever was wrong with him but soon his mind was distracted by hearing the noise of a calm voice. 

“The captain appears to be slowly coming around.” It wasn’t a voice he recognised but a gentle caring hand was placed onto his arm and he was helped to sit him. “Slowly sir, you may feel a spell of dizziness.” 

Gradually he blinked and soon he started to take note of where he might be. Sickbay. It wasn’t the Odyssey’s sickbay though. Or was it? Dotted around the edge of the room from where he was were several other bio beds and to one side he could see the entrance into the surgical ward, but everything looked different. The standard colouring he would expect to see for the Odyssey’s huge medical complex of silver and blues were replaced by a mixture of soft bronzes, dark reds, and a spectrum of greys. For a moment he wondered if he was on a Sovereign-class ship but then he saw in the corner of his eye the ship’s name and registry. It was the Odyssey and his Odyssey. But none of it looked familiar.

A young man approached him and smiled as he passed the tricorder over him. The tricorder was definitely not the type of medical tricorder he had seen before. It appeared to be of a device attached to something around his wrist and the holographic display that came across from it appeared to work as the tricorder function. The man’s uniform was not familiar either. It was Starfleet but nothing he had seen before. His entire top was the standard cerulean blue expected to be worn by Starfleet science and medical officers, instead of the black turtleneck undershirt and the black top with division colours displayed on both its shoulders and its high collar. The combadge was also different. It was no longer pure silver, the actual backing behind the delta was gold and then he noticed the pips were solid gold too and sat just below the black piping that ran across the yoke. He then noticed the actual top of the uniform was almost like a jacket, similar to what was worn by Starfleet in the late twenty-third century. The medical officer that was tendering to him was not human. In fact he didn’t recognise his species. On either side of the man’s forehead were a bulbous sort of cranial bulge while a dark set of patterned lines that almost looked like veins ran around this part of his face and down his cheeks and just under his ear lobe. It then dawned on him the officer was Krenim. The next question just filled him with, how did a Krenim join Starfleet?

Glancing to his right, James noticed Lieutenant Commander Jen lying unconscious on the bio-bed next to him. A much younger looking man with almost pointy Vulcan-like ears was scanning him. Again he wore the same uniform as the person attending to him but with the rank of ensign. James noticed that his ears had folds of skin around the bottom of his ear. Ocumpan.

“Don’t worry, Cap-” The Krenim medical officer corrected himself quickly before speaking further. “Lieutenant Commander Jen is fine. The Jen symbiont needs a bit more time to adjust.”

“Adjust?” James repeated and quizzed the man. He was about to ask another question when the door, which he assumed was the main entrance opened and walking in were three individuals that surprised the hell out of him. All of them were wearing red command uniforms with the one in the middle having a gold trim running down the edge of the jacket and around the cuffs. 

Standing before him were Tomaz, Max Duncan and one individual he couldn’t quite work out who he was. Then it hit him. Alfie. His son.  

However none of them looked like the young selves he had only seen that day. All of them looked older. All of them had changed. James could feel his headache getting worse in order to understand what was happening. His default Starfleet training told him to tread carefully in this situation. Was he under the control of an outsider’s influence? Was this the Q Continuum playing tricks on him? Was he back on the Quirennal and had never escaped it over two weeks ago? Or had he lost track of time himself? He looked down at his own uniform, it was still the same one he had been wearing since Starfleet introduced it in the 2390s. He took another look over at the entourage approaching him. Part of him wanted to break out into laughter at how ridiculous all of this looked but none of them had any smirks across their faces, all of them appeared to be extremely seasoned veteran officers. Was this truly real?

Tomaz had a streak of grey hair running through the top of his hair (which was receding along the forehead). The Barzan, who was James’ chief strategic operations officer, no longer had the same breathing apparatus he was used to seeing on either side of his cheeks. Then there was Max. He had nothing but pure silver hair that was sleaked right back. A good number of lines were etched across his face, especially around his eyes then to the top it all off this was complimented by a speckled silver beard. The man also wore a silver ring around his wedding finger. When did Max get married?

James’ eyes finally fell on Alfie next. Still he could see the young man he was but he looked more like he was in his thirties, a bit more fuller in the face and a lot taller than James remembered. Alfie’s hair was more golden in colour, with a few hints of grey strands and just like Max, he too had a ring around his wedding finger. A golden one.  

Examining their uniforms, he saw that Tomaz held the rank of captain, Max a vice admiral and Alfie a commander. What universe was he in? 

“Hello, sir.” spoke Max with a friendly smile as they approached him and the doors closed behind him. His voice was slightly gruffier than James remembered but the hint of calmness that came from Max was there. The counsellor in him hadn’t died off. 

Looking at each of them, James didn’t know what to say. He was speechless as he wasn’t sure what was going on. 

“Dad, are you okay?” Alfie asked, as he stepped closer. His voice was completely different. Almost as if he was a different man. 

“What is going on?” was all that James could say and get out. “Where am I?” He paused. “Or do I want to ask when instead of where?”   

All three looked at one another and Tomaz dismissed the Krenim doctor and the other Ocampan medical officer looking after Lukiz (who had just started to wake up himself). Lukiz, who rubbed his forehead and shielded his eyes just like the captain had done a moment ago, looked around and saw the three men standing by his captain. “Are we dead, sir? Or did I hit my head hard on something? Is this real?”

James looked at Lukiz and then went back to their company. “I think it’s real Lukiz and I hope that we’re about to find out what’s happening.” He paused. “Can we get some answers to my original questions?

Tomaz just smirked at Max (as did Alfie) as the older man spoke up. “What was the last thing you recall, sir?”

“Before we were here?” James checked and got a nod from the Barzan officer before continuing. “We were in the midst of abandoning the Odyssey after we were hit by a massive chronokinetic surge from a subspace rift we were trying to seal inside the Paulson Nebula. The warp core had to be ejected.” James then looked to Lukiz for asistances as his memory felt a bit fuzzy. 

“The ship was being pulled apart as it was in a constant temporal flux.” Lukiz added as he swung his legs around and sat on the edge of his bed. 

Nodding to confirm that was right, Max continued. “From our perspective that was twenty-one years ago.”

“What?” James exclaimed by that revelation. “How can that be? How can we be here?”

“It’s a long story, dad.” Alfie assured his father. “But it’s one we will share and we do need your help in resolving.”

“Okay.” James sat up straight and took himself off the bed as he started to pace in between his bed and Lukiz’s. “So obviously the ship survived whatever was happening to it?” James checked looking around. “This is the Odyssey right?”

Tomaz nodded with a sense of pride. “It is, sir. She’s the current Federation flagship as well.”

“What no Enterprise in your era?” James challenged. 

Tomaz looked at Max and then smirked before he replied. “Let’s just say it involves a certain admiral from the upper echelons of the fourth fleet who when they became Starfleet Commander-in-Chief decided to change the rules about the Federation flagship after the previous Enterprise was decommissioned.”

“It’s a very long story and one you don’t need to know about right now.” Max commented. 

“Let me guess, the almighty temporal prime directive?” James asked. 

Max nodded. “Exactly.” He paused. “But we are on the Odyssey, sort of.”

“Sort of?” Lukiz challenged. “How are we ‘sort of’ on the Odyssey?”

“When the chronokinetic surge interacted with the ship’s warp core it split the vessel into various pockets of timelines.” Tomaz answered. “Some go as far back to the day the ship was launched from the San Francisco Fleet Yards all the way up to this current time period.”

“So let me guess,” James said looking at Tomaz, “You’re the captain of the Odyssey now and what is Alfie? Your first officer?”

“That’s correct sir.” Tomaz said with one nod and another smile over at his first officer. “I took over command when Max joined the admiralty.”

Looking at his first officer, who wasn’t his first officer now, James just raised his eyebrows. “Don’t tell me you led a mutiny to take over from me?”

Max chuckled as did Alfie and Tomaz. “No, sir. I was promoted fairly and you gracefully transferred command to me.”

“Dad, in our timeline you’re an admiral too but you teach at Starfleet Academy on Earth.” Alfie shared and then realised he had said too much. “You weren’t to know that.” He then whispered ‘sorry’ to Tomaz and Max who just ignored that.

 Suppressing a smirk, Tomaz shook his head at his first officer for getting a bit zealous in sharing information. “Anyway, sir, we’ve been preparing for this day for sometime.”

“How come?” Lukiz asked. 

Max looked at Lukiz. “Well this is one way in which we can break the temporal directive as the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations has granted us permission.” He looked back at James. “Once we’ve restored the Odyssey back to its original timeline, yours in fact, then you’ll meet with two agents from DTI to discuss this temporal incursion. Then with the DTI agents, you read the entire senior staff plus others, Alfie included, into what has happened or will happen and have us sworn to secrecy. Plans are put in place so that when this event does happen we can restore the timeline.”

“Oh my god, you’re talking about a temporal causality loop.” James stated.

“Not quite dad,” Alfie said, correcting his father. “This is what we call the Pogo paradox. It’s a causality loop in which interference to prevent an event actually triggers the same event.”

Lukiz looked at his captain and then back at the younger McCallister. “That’s confusing to understand. So has someone tried to prevent this event from happening?”

“Unfortunately from our perspective, yes.” Max stated. “However their attempt is what triggered this event from happening.”

“Now I am getting a bigger headache from all of this. I hated temporal mechanics at the academy and I hate it now.” James moaned. “Who triggers all of this?”

Max and Tomaz looked at Alfie and both gave him reassuring looks to tell his father the culprit. Alfie gulped, took a breath before uttering the words that shocked his father. 

“It’s mom’s fault, dad.”