With the tip of her left thumb perched between the almost tight grip of her teeth, Commander Reyas was sitting in the captain’s chair of the Telemachus staring out into nowhere as she waited calmly for their arrival at the last known coordinates of the Odyssey in the Paulson Nebula.
Believing she was right to take them back in, she couldn’t shake this weird sensation she was having surrounding her sons. They were alive, she was sure of it. It felt right to feel that way, but could she be wrong? Could this be some sort of survivor’s guilt she was now feeling? Her crew were adamant that the ship couldn’t have survived what they had detected earlier. The only one to believe her was her mother. As a result, after her mother was discharged from the ship’s sickbay, she was brought to the bridge and given her clearance to sit at the empty Mission Ops II station. A highly decorated scientist, not only as an archaeologist but in other areas too, having her mother’s insights she felt would be useful at this time.
Tierra, who was sitting at the engineering station to Reyas’ left, turned in her seat to speak to the captain. “Commander, the levels of tachyons and chronitons just spiked hugely. If I transfer some power from the warp core then it should keep the shields up for a bit longer.”
“Do it.” Reyas said after blinking from being interrupted by the Deltan acting first officer/chief engineer as she took her thumb out and spun her chair around to look at Abbej who was at the science station behind her. “Anything on sensors, lieutenant?”
The Boslic acting chief science officer shook her head as she continued to run scans. “I’m having to recalibrate our sensors every few seconds. It’s taking it longer to get a clearer picture ma’am.”
Speaking up from the mission ops station, which was located on the forward-starboard side of the bridge, Najar Reyas shared an idea. “Is the ship powerful enough to send out an anti-tachyon pulse and anti-chroniton burst from its main deflector? If it’s strong enough it may cancel some of this interference we are encountering.”
Turning her chair back to face her mother, Karyn just shook her head. “It’s a great idea mum, but we’d lose vital power to keep the shields up.”
“Just a thought my dear.”
Appreciating the idea, Karyn smiled at her mother trying to help before turning her chair back to where Abbej was.
The redesigned version of the Telemachus bridge was a welcome one. It was just slightly bigger but retained its lineage from the Defiant-class. No longer was everyone on the same level. A small raised area in the centre of the bridge gave the captain’s chair and the two forward centred stations (the helm and ops stations) a better view of all of the stations that sat around them. One step was used to gain access to each area where each primary station was located. Every terminal expected to be found on a bridge had a decent size wall console that was within a sunken area of the ship. Normal Starfleet bridge designs had the centre of the bridge in a lower bunker level, instead this was inverted on this design. Karyn preferred it.
Glaring at the sensor readings, wasn’t helping her nerves. Closing her eyes for a second, she realised she needed to get a grip so she got up and walked over to the replicator that was in the wall opposite to the entrance to the captain’s extremely small ready room.
“Raktajino with one sugar.” Karyn ordered.
Just as her hot drink came to life and she took it out, Abbej called her over. “Captain, we’ve got something ahead of us.”
“Let’s see it.” Karyn ordered as she returned to the centre of the bridge while finishing off the sip she had started. Placing her mug into the holder attached to the side of the chair, the El-Aurian science officer was confronted with the image of the Odyssey. However the Odyssey was shifting in shape ever so slightly, almost like golden and white ripples were riding across the hull. At a closer look it appeared like a dark pink forcefield currently existed around the ship. It too was shimmering around the ship. However the scary image was how the ship appeared to be completely dead in water. Nothing was on.
“That’s impossible.” Tierra remarked in shock as she looked at the mainscreen.
“What’s happening to its hull?” Najar asked, sharing a similar surprised expression like everyone else on the bridge.
“Sensors show the ship is in some sort of temporal flux. I can’t be any more precise than that. We are limited to what we can scan with the Telemachus’ sensor capabilities.” Abbej answered.
“Ensign Shumark,” Karyn said, grabbing the attention of her pilot. “Bring us to a full stop, but keep an eye out for any dangers heading our way. If you see something, move us to avoid it.”
The young Bolian just nodded in response.
“Is there anything else we can tell about the ship?” Karyn asked as she moved from her position to stand behind Abbej. The waist-high bannister was located between them. Instantly she saw something on the sensor readings. “Look, there.” She pointed at the sensor sweep and quickly moved herself to join Abbej behind her in the pit that had the science and communication stations. “That’s a temporal phase variance.” She then saw another one. “Again, another variance.”
Studying the readings herself, Abbej agreed with the assessment. “You’re right but if these scans are correct then the ship is undergoing a huge transformation across…well I can only summarise as different timelines from its history.”
“Run a quantum scan.” Tierra suggested as she joined them, as did Narja. “We should get a precise reading of what we are seeing.”
Abbej nodded to her wife’s suggestion and ran the first series of quantum scans and then squinted her eyes. “This can’t be right, I’m detecting parts of the ship not just in its own past but in its own future.”
“Damn, now that’s one helluva of a find, Karyn.” Narja stated as they all turned to look back at the live image of the Odyssey. Looking at her daughter, the older El-Aurian woman spoke. “Can you still sense the boys?”
Wincing slightly, Karyn nodded. “I can, but it’s hard. I can feel Alfie tremendously, which is something I’ve never noticed before with him.”
“What about Henri and Theo?”
“Yes but both of them are different.” Karyn shook her head. “I can’t work it out or explain it. I just know they’re over there but something is seriously wrong.”
“Question is, how do we help them?” Tierra asked next.
Abbej answered swiftly. “I’m already looking into it,” She tapped away at the LCARS display in front of her and used the holographic display to her left to aid. “I think I may have something.”
“Go on.” Karyn said as she shook her head and re-focussed her attention back to the Boslic and what she had found. But in the back of her mind she couldn’t shift that nagging feeling of what she could sense with her sons.
“From these readings, it looks like this subspace rift opened. I’m detecting the remains of huge gravitational energy mixed with neutrinos, chronometric particles, tachyons – all the bad stuff that in theory I think would explain why the Odyssey is in a temporal flux. Every single one of them is at some point linked to temporal mechanics.” Abbej explained. “That chronokinetic surge we detected earlier, I reckon was the combination of all of those things emanating from that rift and hitting the Odyssey.”
Karyn nodded in agreement. “More than likely, and look here.” she pointed to the sensor readings, “high amounts of subspace radiation too. So I reckon the ship’s primary warp core acted like a magnet and attracted the surge towards it.”
“Odyssey’s enhanced warp drive does produce a high level of subspace radiation, allowing it to sustain high warp factors for a longer period of time.” Tierra confirmed. She squinted at something on the readings. “Talking of which, Abbej my darling, will you point our sensors to that area below the Odyssey’s stardrive section. I think I recognise that subspace resonance signature, some of the variance patterns are consistent with the-” The Deltan engineer paused as her wife showed the image of Odyssey’s warp core slowly floating in space. “Warp core.” She said, “Obviously they had to eject it.”
“A surge that powerful, as you both said earlier, would have destroyed the warp core.” Reyas remarked. “So what did we detect earlier that was a powerful antimatter-matter explosion?”
Abbej shook her head. “I’m sorry ma’a, but the ship isn’t equipped with temporal sensors. I can’t be certain for sure.”
“We could retrieve the warp core and pull it out of the nebula to prevent it from breaching.” Tierra suggested. “A modification to our tractor beam should be enough to tow it out safely.”
“I don’t think we should do that.” Karyn stated, focussing on the scans before her.
“Why not?” Tierra questioned.
Pointing at the other readings, Karyn shared what she was thinking. “The ship is still filled with the chroninketic surge. If the warp core acted like a magnet to the surge, then the ship is almost like something storing static electricity. If we could somehow attract it away from the ship, using the warp core as bait perhaps, then we might be able to help save the Odyssey.”
“That could end up causing the warp core to breach.” Tierra said.
“But it wouldn’t harm the ship or us if we’re far away.” Karyn stated. “Either way we can’t leave that surge to remain active across the Odyssey. At any point it may destroy them, in whatever time period they’re in.”
“A gravimetric torpedo might be enough to neutralise the warp core without causing too much damage to subspace once the surge has been attracted to it.” Abbej offered.
Tierra considered the idea. “It’s just that’s our second warp core. I don’t think Commander Hunsen is going to be happy we’ve lost another one.”
Smirking at her concerns for their chief engineer, Karyn eased her first officer’s worry by stating she would sort out that mess afterwards. Their conversation was interrupted by Najar.
“Karyn, isn’t that a pair of lifesign readings?” The El-Aurian said, pointing to another set of live data.
Looking at where her mother was pointing, she agreed. “They are and they’re on the bridge.”
“This I can work with.” Abbej stated as she tapped a few buttons on the holographic controls. “Oh my god ma’am, I’m detecting a Trill lifesign, the other is human and it’s the captain’s combadge.”
Hope that they were alive brought a smile to her face, Karyn looked at her mother and then back to her two officers. “Can we beam them out?”
“We can try.” Tierra said as she returned to the engineer station and got on with her work.
Looking over to the slightly older chief petty officer that was sitting at the communications station, the Tellarite man looked to be old as her mother. “Chief Blargh, can you cut through the interference and hail the captain?”
The Tellarite played with his console and then turned to his superior and shook his head. “Without knowing the correct temporal phase variance and any more power to the subspace transmitter, I don’t think I can break through the interference.”
“Damn.” Karyn cursed. “Keep trying though.”
“Yes ma’am.” The Tellarite answered and returned to his work.
Looking over her right shoulder, Tierra called out that she was ready with the transporters. “I’m going to attempt a skeletal lock.”
“Then by all means lieutenant, energise.” Karyn ordered as she returned to her chair in the middle. Her mother moved to stand by her right hand side. Without realising it, she felt her mother take her hand and tightly squeeze it. She returned the gesture.
In front of the main viewscreen two outlines began to appear as transporter beams attempted to rematerialise them. However they weren’t fully formed.
“I’m losing them.” shouted Tierra.
“Stop the transporter beam then!” Karyn ordered fiercely.
“I can’t return them back to their original location.” Tierra announced. “The bridge is undergoing further temporal fluctuations.”
“Transport them to the main sickbay.” Abbej called out. “Sensors detect a clear signature there. Quickly Tierra, do it now!”
The engineer nodded in response as she reprogrammed the transporter beam and sent it back to the Odyssey. “Transporter cycle complete, they’re safely back on the Odyssey. Hopefully someone in sickbay will find them.”
Giving out a huge sigh and pushing back a tear, Karyn stood up and let go of her mother’s grip. “Prep the tractor beam. We’re ending this now.” She ordered as she turned and began to head off the bridge towards the port turbolift doors. “Abbej you’re with me. We’re going to go and do some surgery on a torpedo.”
Abbej just gave her wife a worried look before acknowledging her superior and following in her footsteps.