“I don’t understand, how is this your mother’s fault?” McCallister asked his son, the confusion evident in his tone. “She wasn’t near to us when we were hit by the surge.”
Alfie looked at his superiors and sighed heavily. “I can explain to you the whole paradox and how phenomenon A leads to event B and then action C tries to change the outcomes to event B but somehow effect D takes place which results in a variant of phenomenon A happening even though the desire was to avoid it.”
Holding his hands up at his son to stop, McCallister got the idea. “Okay, I get the general temporal gist. Your mother tries to rescue us and in the process the event still takes place. So how do we save the ship?”
Tomaz and Alfie both looked to the admiral, who had by this time crossed his arms across his chest. “This is where we do break the temporal prime directive and I am authorised to share this data with you both.” Duncan said as he looked at both Captain McCallister and Lieutenant Commander Jen.
“We’re honoured.” Jen said, almost in a sarcastic tone.
“If Doctor Obrith and Nurse Tarrik are happy for you both to leave sickbay,” Tomaz said, looking over at the Krenim and Ocampan medical staff to check (both nodded), “then we can show you eberything in our Temporal Observatory.”
“Temporal Observatory? Odyssey doesn’t have a Temporal Observatory.” Jen stated as Tomaz started to lead their group out of sickbay and towards the nearest turbolift.
As they got to the lift, Tomaz explained how they did. “When we knew that at some point in the future, we would find ourselves in this moment certain areas of the Odyssey were reconfigured. Deck Five, Section Forty-Seven Alpha was changed to the Temporal Observatory.”
“Deck Five, Section Forty-Seven-Alpha is the location of the Entomology Lab. What happened to that?” McCallister quizzed as they passed a Klingon woman wearing a teal science Starfleet uniform walking down the corridor with a Cardassian in command red.
“After we worked out the bugs, they were moved into the shared biology labs.” Duncan answered with a smirk.
“Two decades later and I see your humour hasn’t developed, Number One.” McCallister said shaking his head at the bad pun.
Ignoring the banter between his father and the admiral, Alfie carried on with their explanation. “The Temporal Observatory was specifically designed for this moment. It’s not been used for anything else and no-one without level ten clearance or above can override the door lock. Then access to its database is encrypted and can only be accessed by the admiral and you, dad.”
McCallister looked at his son after hearing that final statement. “Why only me and Max?”
“The system was specifically designed that way to avoid anyone else trying to access the data that it contained.” Alfie stated.
As they got into the turbolift and took a short ride to deck five, Jen noticed the amount of different species on the Odyssey after they got off and proceeded down another corridor. “Is it my imagination or has the diversity in crew expanded further?” Jen asked as they walked past a group of officers that included a Kazon, a Talarian, a Reman and a Karemman.
Realising what the joined Trill was referring to, Tomaz confirmed his observations. “A lot has changed between our two timeframes. Let’s just say the Federation has expanded its influences a lot further.”
“That’s an understatement.” Jen stated as they went down a junction and approached their destination, passing more species he didn’t recognise as being members of the Federation.
The door to the room was guarded by two security officers. Both were Talaxian men and both were holding phase rifles in their hands. When they saw the senior officers approaching they both automatically stood to attention.
“Lieutenant Bralix,” Tomaz said, getting the attention of one of his men, “No one is to disturb us. Is that clear?”
“Aye sir.” The Talaxian security officer said.
After inputting his code, Tomaz led the team into the room that looked like a huge dome. The computer beeped at their arrival and ran a number of scans of them, identifying each person who was present. After it had scanned and confirmed the identities of Captain McCallister and Admiral Duncan, it announced it was unlocking the Time Machine Protocols. Again McCallister looked at his former first officer who just assured him that it wasn’t his idea to call it that, instead he believed it was actually McCallister who called them that.
The room came to life and a number of holographic images appeared across the curved walls while consoles that were sitting in the centre of the room powered up. Still leading, Tomaz took the group over to them and began bringing more information up. “Admiral, we’re ready for your briefing.”
Nodding, Duncan looked at the others. “So, what I’m about to de-classify and share with you all obviously remains with us and protected under the Temporal Prime Directive. Only certain key individuals are aware of all of this and the plan is to bring the Odyssey back into normal time and space and in sync with where the original flashpoint was,” He looked at McCallister and Jen, “your timeframe.”
“An ambitious idea.” Jen remarked.
“It is Lukiz but we’ve had over twenty years to work on this and make a credible plan.” Duncan said, showing his slight irritation at the Trill’s statement. “To bring the ship back into sync with the flashpoint timeframe we need to generate a significant and powerful chroniton field.” He flicked on a holographic display and an image of Odyssey appeared, showing its current temporal status. “Right now temporal sensors are showing that there are over forty-seven different timeframes currently existing on the ship. Temporal sensors can’t be precise at what every one of these timeframes are, but we’ve been able to map some of them. For example in cargo bay three, the year is twenty-three-eighty-six and we believe it is near to the time when Odyssey assisted with Romulan refugees. While in The Lion Gate, there’s a diplomatic event being undertaken from the year twenty-four-oh-six.” Hitting another button, the plan on how to bring the Odyssey back together was then shown. “The timeframe for the flashpoint we want to reach is the only period of time we can’t detect. When the surge interacted with the warp core it shattered the space-time continuum hence why we can’t find that specific timeframe, so our belief is that the chroniton field would force every timeframe to return to that point.”
Studying the hologram for a second, McCallister looked at Duncan. His confusion was developing but he did his best to focus on everything he was hearing. “How do we generate a chroniton field that large? The ship is massive.”
“It is, but since we know that this incident took place then plans were put into place not to only install the temporal observatory but special conduits would be built in areas of the ship we know would be placed into timeframes that are the future from your perspective. To Tomaz, Alfie and I, that is our past and the work we’ve have to do quietly without others knowing.” Duncan explained. “These conduits, and then along with modifications we can make to the ship’s systems in other past timeframes will be used to generate the field. We activate the field by using the warp drive.”
“But we ejected the warp core?” Jen questioned.
“In your timeframe, yes but from our perspective a new one was put in but we’re not going to use the main drive.” Tomaz responded. He pressed a button this time on the controls and the ship’s MSD appeared as it zoomed into a particular section. “The chevron’s warp core will be used as it is the same one that exists in all timeframes.”
“However we do have a slight issue with what is going on.” Duncan added as he pulled up another record. “Not only do we have people on Odyssey we don’t want roaming around for too long as they may begin to work out what is happening, if we don’t complete the work within six hours then the ship will eventually either create a temporal fissure taking the ship into what we call the Dali paradox or we believe a temporal inversion will happen inside the Paulson Nebula in our timeframe that will then send shockwaves in all directions across the space-time continuum. This will then cause long lasting and far reaching temporal anomalies across the entire galaxy.”
“The Dali paradox?” Jen asked clarity on
“Also referred to as the melting clock effect, it basically means that the fissure will eventually slow time to a gradual halt. We would all be frozen in time.” Duncan answered.
“No pressure then.” Alfie stated. “We know either of these may happen as we received a visit from the Department of Temporal Investigation who have the technology to determine the possible outcomes. These two have the highest probability of happening.”
“As I said earlier, Odyssey is massive. How are we meant to get around to every single section that needs modifying and coordinating such a large project in such a short amount of time?” McCallister wondered as he scratched his chin.
Tomaz pushed out another set of files and each one of them showed key personnel that served on Odyssey from its past to its current present. “Sir, without going into the whole temporal paradox reasoning again, you’ve already picked who we will recruit and under the temporal prime directive have them aide us.”
Noticing his former first officers: Zack Hawkins and Cambil Bexa listed, McCallister tried to listen to the Barzan captain but his heart sank when he saw their records appear. “I take it we are going to meet former colleagues who knew about all of this.”
“From their point of view in their timeframes this will be the first time they hear about it, but once we recruit them and then after this incident you’ll pick other crew who are awaiting to help us, they will know what happens.” Duncan shared.
“But if we bring Odyssey into sync with the flashpoint timeframe, how can those in the past remember?” Jen challenged. “Or is this one of those other paradoxes that means they just will remember.”
“Kind of.” Duncan said with a smile. He could see how temporal mechanics was frustrating for both Jen and McCallister. Telling the computer to replicate a chroniton-infused serum, a set of hyposprays appeared in the middle of the console they had been using. “These serums will help us pass through the time barriers from one timeframe to the next. We need to limit how many timeframes we cross into as it places us at risk of sensory aphasia. However, another side effect of the serum means we will be aware of the changes in the timeline once we complete our mission. That means those from the past we recruit will remember.”
“Max, are you telling me that there are members of our crew who knew about this before I knew about this?” McCallister checked.
“They will once we tell them and after the chroniton field has been activated.” Duncan answered. “Again, don’t ask me to explain the paradox involved here but I know from our timeframe that we succeed as it is you two who prepare those of us who we don’t encounter in the past timeframes. We also know that those you recruit from the past come forward and are debriefed by the DTI at this time with what they know.”
McCallister looked at his son, “Alf, does that mean you’ve known about this for a long time?”
Nodding towards his father, Alfie answered him. “This is one of those burdens I’ll carry with me for my entire Starfleet career.” He sighed. “But if it means we can prevent losing the Odyssey, my home, then it is worth the burden.”
“And what about your mom? Can we rescue her? Stop her from causing all of this damage.” McCallister checked waving his hand at all of the floating displays around them.
Alfie looked at Duncan and Tomaz, a guilty expression went across his face, something that McCallister noticed but couldn’t say anything as Duncan answered. “As long as our plan to bring you back into your timeframe at the flashpoint then in theory she wouldn’t come and investigate. We might be able to break that cycle.”
“Might?” McCallister said, sounding not impressed at that possibility.
“Dad, all of this can’t be calculated to a precise point in time. In theory by forcing the ship back to the flashpoint, we can deflect the surge before it interacts with the main warp drive. We can also end up saving the life of Commander Hunsen too.”
“Tremt’s dead?” Jen asked, now sounding shocked at hearing that revelation.
Realising he shouldn’t have said that, Alfie winced as Duncan and Tomaz looked at him a bit annoyed with his comment.
“Tremt dies trying to eject the warp core after the flashpoint. He is hit by a surge from the drive.” Tomaz answered. “He dies in the arms of Counsellor Horin almost instantly.”
“The core was only ejected by Louwanna’s quick thinking.” Duncan added. “But Alfie is right. If we can deflect the surge away from the ship then we shouldn’t lose Tremt and Karyn shouldn’t come in to the nebula to investigate what happened to us.” Duncan now looked at his former captain. “So what do you say sir?”
Sighing heavily, he crossed his arms against his chest and considered everything for a moment. “We don’t have much choice, do we?” He looked at Jen who just shrugged his shoulders at him. “Let’s get the job done!”