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Part of USS Eagle: Mission 1 – Delta Quadrant and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Pieces of the Puzzle

USS Eagle
November 2400
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Captain Matt Kirby had been waiting patiently to hear from the away team, but more time had passed than he would have liked before the XO finally called.  Learning the scientists were messing with time travel was disconcerting, but it was a situation they had to handle.

“Do we know why they used blood dilithium?” said Kirby.

“Lieutenant Ohtani says they tried different sources, including protomatter, but nothing worked,” said Allen.  “According to Doctor Kendall's logs, when they first heard about blood dilithium, they couldn't build a facility here fast enough.”

“It seems that didn't work either,” said Kirby.

“In a sense it did,” said Allen.

Yes, in a sense it did, thought Kirby, but in what time were the scientists and were they damaging the time line?

“What do you recommend?” said Kirby.

“Ohtani and Saunders are still reading through the logs,” said Allen.

The Eagle shook as though struck by a wave of vibrations.

“Report!” said Kirby.

“Sir, we were struck by some sort of temporal wave,” said Tactical.

“Did we do a time jump?” said Kirby.

“Ohtani and Saunders are still reading through the logs,” said Allen.

Kirby felt like he was punched in the gut.  “Roger, we just got hit by a temporal force and jumped back in time several seconds.”

“Captain?” said Allen.

“If I may interrupt, sir.”

It was Ohtani.

“Go ahead, Lieutenant,” said Allen.

“Captain, the chroniton particles explain why Commander Allen, Ensign Hok, and now the Eagle went back in time, but...” said Ohtani.  “I'm scanning the facility…”

“Haia?” said Kirby.

“A temporal field formed and it's growing in size.”

Through the comm, Kirby could hear the tension in Ohtani's voice.

“What does that mean?” said Kirby.

“At some point soon, it's going to cause havoc in space-time,” said Ohtani.

“Haia, I'm a command officer, not a scientist.  What does it mean?”

“There are going to be pockets in time like rooms in a house.  You could be in the here and now, but move the ship a few hundred meters and be in a completely different time.”  Ohtani paused.  “That is if I'm correctly understanding this.”

Ohtani was a prodigy genius, so Kirby knew she understood.  “So what do we do now?”

“There's one more thing,” said Ohtani.

Kirby didn't like the sound of that.

“The field will engulf the planet and eventually spread throughout the system.  It will also keep going, affecting space-time as it expands.”

“And the ship?” said Kirby.

“I would recommend you back away so you're not caught inside the field.”

“Can you stop it?”

“No, sir.”

“Roger, get everyone back here now.”

Eagle, Deck 1, Observation Lounge

“Haia, are you sure you can't reverse the temporal effect?” said Kirby.

“If I study Doctor Kendall's notes long enough, I'll eventually figure it out, but at the rate the field is expanding, there just isn't enough time.”  Ohtani shrugged.  “I would also need blood dilithium to power the temporal reactor, but the science team used all they had.”

“Nick, could we use some of our regular dilithium?” said Kirby.

“I wouldn't want to try,” said Saunders.  “The science team already went that route.  The inorganic matter they used came back damaged.  We could end up making things worse.”

“I'm not liking where this is going,” said Kirby.

The room fell into an eerie silence.  It was like Kirby could reach out and touch the growing tension in the air.

“Doctor, will the chronitons have any effect on us after being exposed to them?”

“No, we'll be fine,” said Weaver.

More silence.

“Sir, I know this isn't what we came here to do, but our only option is to destroy the facility,” said Allen.

Kirby appreciated his XO saying that.  The burden, and consequences, were on him, but Allen was helping to carry it.

“Haia, are you absolutely sure there's nothing you can do?”

“I'm sure.”  Ohtani's voice was almost a whisper.

“What exactly do we need to do?” said Kirby.

Ohtani raised her brows while she calculated the math.  Tapping a PADD, she passed it to Kirby.  “Three quantum torpedoes at those coordinates.  It's a bit of an overkill, but we want to be certain.”

Kirby studied the information and handed it to Allen.  “Take this to the bridge and prepare tactical.”

Allen paused.  “Yes, sir.”  He got up and quickly left the lounge.

When the XO was gone, Kirby could feel the others looking at him, while trying not to look.  “Haia, once we do this, what will happen to the scientists?”

“There's really no way to say, since we don't know when they are.”

“Speculate.”

“Well, sir, if they're in the future, there will be a large crater where the facility was.  They'll be on a planet with only an extensive animal population. They'll have no survival resources unless they took something, which I doubt they did because only Doctor Kendall was supposed to travel through time.  It's possible someone could rescue them."

“And if they're in the past?”

“That's where it gets tricky,” said Ohtani.  “The facility would still exist and they would continue moving forward in that time line.  They might repeat the same mistake that caused all this, though it's more likely they would realize what they did, procure more blood dilithium, and keep trying."

“If the scientists are in the past,” said Weaver, “and we destroy the facility, once they reach now, wouldn't they be killed in the explosion?”

“I'd like to answer that,” said Saunders.

Kirby nodded.

“This is what we know.  A team of scientists are trying to develop a time travel device.  As a cover story, they said they're studying the blood dilithium.  They contacted Starfleet and asked for supplies and Command sent us.  They miscalculated something and got thrown to another time.  Since the last thing they want is for us to discover what they're actually doing, if they're in the past, they wouldn't reach out to Starfleet until they corrected their error.  The fact that we're here, means they called for supplies and we came."

“So they're not in the past?” asked Weaver.

“Correct,” said Saunders.

“That's a lot of speculation, but it makes sense,” said Kirby.  He sighed deeply.  “Is there really nothing else we can do besides destroying the facility?”  He had asked that several times already and he knew there was nothing, but it still bothered him.  Why didn't they have just a little more time?

“I'm sorry, sir, but no,” said Ohtani.  “The damage has been done and it's getting worse.”

“I need a drink,” muttered Weaver.

“I think we all do,” said Kirby.

Bridge

“I was about to call you,” said Allen.  “The field is expanding at a greater rate.  If we're going to do something, it needs…”

“Captain!”  Ohtani shouted from the main science station.  “A strong temporal wave is heading straight for us.”

“The urgency in her voice told Kirby everything he needed to know.  ”Fire quantum torpedoes!"

"Firing!" said Hok.

The temporal force slammed into the Eagle.

*****

"We're dropping out of warp now, Captain, for final approach to Sefus IV," said the helm officer.

“Hail the facility,” said Kirby.

“Aye, sir,” said Hok at tactical. He tapped the console, sending the standard hail. “No response.”

“Try again.”

Silence.

“Still no response,” said Hok.

“Haia,” said Kirby.

“Scanning now,” said Haia. “That's odd.”

“Lieutenant?” said Kirby.

“There was a ship orbiting the planet, but it was there for less than a second.”

“A cloak?”

“No, sir. Cloaking takes several seconds as a ship fades from view,” said Haia. “With this, it was there, then it wasn't. I've never seen anything like it.”

“Captain, there was an explosion on the planet,” said Hok.  He tapped the tactical board.  “It's the science facility.”

“Confirmed.  The facility was destroyed,” said Ohtani.

“What happened?” said Kirby in disbelief.

“There's a quantum torpedo signature.”  Ohtani frowned.  ”Sir, the torpedoes were Starfleet issue."

Kirby and Allen looked at each both, both bewildered at what just happened.

 

 

Comments

  • Good lord! Classic Trek time travel with the audience slowly but surely understanding what is happening and connecting the dots until the moment builds and BAM - the realization and finale unfolds in just picture perfection. The reader understands, but the characters don't - feels very Yesterday Enterprise in its thematic elements but not an exact copy - you made it your own and led us right to where the trap was laid as a writer. Nice job!!!

    November 30, 2022
  • Well now, you've done a fantastic job of creating a nail-biting premise here. Space and time are broken and it sounds like the cracks are spreading out from the planet, out throughout the galaxy. That's a very big problem weighing on Captain Kirby's shoulders! Especially in that breath-taking moment when the senior staff sound like they're out of options, out of ideas. Such a scary place to be. I also really appreciated the theorizing about where in all of time the scientists may have ended up. This is no one's grandfather's TNG time-loop. I love the chaos of charting out the possibilities if the scientists traveled forward to after the base was destroyed or if they could change the timeline again if they traveled to the past. Intricate, intricate plotting and such fun to read. And then that ending! Ha!

    December 5, 2022
  • So they've witnessed the disappearance of their own ship, twice now; technically. But second time around the science base has been destroyed. I guess then everything that happens next has to be different this time around. I like it.

    August 8, 2023