“Ssshh,” Samantha said to Dimitry as they stumbled into her quarters, the only light in the cabin coming from the red glow of the port Bussard collector, its radiance entering through the window and reflecting off a wall, casting the space in a dim red glow.
“I thought you had quarters to yourself?” he asked, the door sliding shut behind them just as his hands started pawing at her uniform, peeling it away from her just as she was doing to his.
“I do, I do,” she answered. “Just that wall is thin,” she added, pointing to one wall, opposite the red-stained wall.
As she stripped Dimitry’s tunic off him, a flick of her hand sending it flying, she stopped momentarily, the quizzical look on her face barely visible in the poor lighting. It didn’t hinder Dimitry, who only noticed she’d stopped when he’d similarly sent her tunic to parts unknown.
“What’s up?” he asked, concern in his voice.
“I’ve got that déjà vu feeling again,” she admitted. “You threw my top onto my dining table.”
“I just threw it. Didn’t really see where.”
“Computer, lights at half,” Sam said, much to Dimitry’s dismay. As the lighting came up she turned to face her quarters, generally tidy save for the two uniform tops thrown haphazardly around. Dimitry’s blue had splayed out on the floor while hers had indeed landed on the dining table as she suspected.
The guessing of the captain’s words, knowing what others at the party would say, Dimitry’s advances, where er uniform ended up – it was all starting to be just a bit much for simple déjà vu in her opinion.
And that’s when the door chime went off.
“Sam,” Dimitry said, pleading.
“You said if I feel off, you’re taking me to sickbay,” she reminded him as she stepped up to the door and pushed the open button. She was mostly dressed, just missing the uniform tunic and frankly didn’t care, but she could hear Dimitry going through the motions of collecting his and putting it back on. “Ensign Linal,” she said straight away as the doors parted.
“You knew it was me,” the young Bajoran woman said with relief. “Prophets, finally.”
“And I’m about to get a message on my terminal?” Sam asked, Linal Nerys’ head nodding in the affirmative just as the computer terminal in her quarters chirped to let her know a message had arrived. “Did you send it?”
“Manufactured evidence,” Nerys admitted. “How much do you recall?”
“I feel like I’ve done all of this a few times, but can’t be certain.” Sam startled slightly when Dimitry stepped up behind her, a gentle hand on her shoulder to get her attention as he passed her uniform tunic over. “I have done this a few times, haven’t I? What the hell is going on?”
“Time loop I think.” Nerys pushed past, entering Sam’s quarters and letting the door close behind her. The short Bajoran woman was well-built and the force of personality about her made her seem taller than she actually was. Probably things that were beneficial for a security officer.
“I’ve tried talking to the senior staff,” Nerys continued, “but the few times I have I’ve gotten nothing out of them. Haven’t managed to speak with the captain though. No one believes me. But I heard something about you and thought maybe you’re experiencing things like I am, able to remember things each time.”
“You got a tricorder around here?” Dimitry suddenly spoke up, directing his question to Sam, who just pointed at a closed drawer. A moment later he produced the device, powering it up and aiming it at both women.
“So…” Sam stretched it out in an incomplete query to continue on.
“So I’m hoping maybe instead of some security ensign trying to tell the captain or commander about the problem I can get the assistant ops chief onboard. You were awfully rude the first few times you know.” Nerys had moved until she had found a spot as equidistant from all furnishings as possible, arms crossed, and by presence alone laid claim to the space.
“I was having a nice night?” Sam looked to Dimitry with a wry smile and as he looked up at her, his smile genuine, brought one to her face as well. Honestly, she was annoyed with herself right now, letting this situation get between her and him, but mysteries waited for no one.
“Yah whatever,” Nerys huffed, unimpressed.
“Watch it Ensign,” Dimitry said immediately, never even looking up from the tricorder. “No signs of tachyons or chronitons that this thing can pick up.” He gave the device a gentle lob to Sam so she could check it as well. “But if it’s subtle we’d need either sickbay or a science lab to tease it out.”
“Chronitons…” Sam hadn’t meant to say it out loud, but his mentioning it had sparked a bit more memory. “It’s chronitons. Don’t ask how I know,” she said to Dimitry and Nerys at the pronouncement.
“Hmm.” Doctor Terax had repeated that exact same noise five times now as he pointed various technical devices at the two women on biobeds either side of him. Both were subjected to the same scans at the same time while he read the readouts on a large padd he read on his central arm.
“Well?” Nerys asked, sounding impatient. Which to Sam, in her limited experience, seemed to the young woman’s natural state of being.
“Hmm,” Terax repeated, louder, aimed at the ensign this time. “I am conducting an investigation here Ensign, not bully-work. I will take as long as I need.”
Before Nerys could say anything, Sam spoke up to try and smooth the waters. “Just relax Ensign. We’ll get an answer soon enough.”
Soon enough, it turned out was fifteen more minutes of scans before the Edosian doctor was ready to present his findings. “There is a minuscule chroniton build-up in both of you in excess of standard background.” He presented both of them with a padd with his findings. “Ensign Linal however has a higher concentration of chroniton particles in her hippocampus than you do Lieutenant. And in both cases, it is higher than in the rest of your bodies.”
“Which means?” Nerys asked.
“Which means you have a higher chroniton concentration than the Lieutenant.” Terax’s tone was gruff and to the point. “The levels I’m detecting are well within the realm of possibility for Starfleet officers on deep space assignments.” He tapped a button on his padd and both other theirs updated with a collection of medical journal articles to support his position. “I need a larger sample size than two to attempt to deduce what might be going on here.”
“And the déjà vu we’ve both reported, or remembering time loops?” Sam leaned forward slightly and set her padd on Terax’s desk. She’d have to give the articles a read later, but right now wasn’t the time.
“My hypothesis would be the chronitons giving you an unconscious glimpse of the future perhaps.” Terax too set his padd down. “And if this is the result of an actual timeloop, then may I suggest you memorise the readings so you can compare them next time around? More information is the only solution.”
“So, there is something going on.” Nerys stated. “We should take this to the captain.”
“Two officers, with readings slightly above standard,” Terax said dismissively. “I’m not going to annoy the captain with just minor details at this time.” He raised his central hand to stop further protest. “I will however conduct further scans of the crew and keep both of you informed.”
“Appreciated Doc.” Sam collected her padd and with a hand gesture told Nerys to stand. “We’ll get out your way for now then.”
“Seriously?” Nerys challenged.
“Now Ensign.” And with that Sam herded the ensign out of the CMO’s office. “We’ll get some more info if we don’t harass him. And maybe he’ll stumble across a few others in our position.”
“Fine.” Nerys took two steps away from Sam, then stopped and turned to face her. “I’m late for my shift. Thanks for listening at least.”
“Hey, it’s not Starfleet without a mystery, right?”
With only a few hours of sleep and another few of reading Terax’s findings, the doctor delivering as he’d promised, Sam found herself yawning as she approached the alien door on the space station. She’d opted to just let things play out, though pre-empting a good number of reports and notifications.
And this time as she approached the door for her initial scan, instead of reporting it wouldn’t open and spending nearly forty-five minutes trying to crack it open, she had it open in the first five seconds. She had remembered the sequence she used last time, or was it the time before, maybe a handful of times before, and had made it part of the initial scan, the door hissing as the seal broke and let them into the station.
This time she was forty-five minutes ahead of schedule.
“Atlantisss to away team, we’re getting an odd energy ssssignature from the sssstation.” W’a’le’ki’s voice emitted from Mac’s commbadge as the science officer called. “Have…have you managed to infiltrate beyond the firssst door?”
She sounded uncertain in that question to Sam, which was different. Like she was asking herself about the question?
“Yes we have Lieutenant,” Mac replied, a quizzical tone to his own voice. He hadn’t even reported difficulty with the door back to the Atlantis yet but was being asked about it. “We’re proceeding inside. What’s the reading from the ship?”
“There isss a large ssscale chroniton build-up occurring in the ssstation. But the outer hull isss masssking sssome of it, ssso could be much higher than we’re detecting.”
“Roger that Lieutenant. Guessing our opening the door is letting some of it leak out.” Mac had nodded to Camargo and Sam, both of them now reconfiguring their tricorders. “We’ll keep you appraised, MacIntyre out.”
“Chroniton radiation for sure,” Gabs said when the comm line closed.
“I give it forty-five minutes until it hits critical,” Sam said, then she looked up, a sheepish grin on her face. “Just, uh, where I’d put my bet.”
“Uh huh,” Mac said. “How about we don’t bet on the mysterious scientific readings until we get a better idea?” Then he grinned at her. “I prefer to bet with something approaching an educated guess.”
“Yes sir,” Sam replied.
As Mac passed, a security officer in tow, Sam felt Gabs walk up beside her and nudge their shoulders together to get her attention. “What’s up Sam? You’ve been a bit odd all day.”
“Oh you wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” she said, half-heartedly believing it. But only because she knew scientists had to be at least somewhat open-minded, especially Starfleet officers who encountered, or at least read about weird stuff all the time. “Hey, uh, W’a’le’ki, do you know where she was about the time you were getting promoted?”
“She was in Port Royal,” Gabs answered. “But you seemed to only have eyes for Malenkov I noticed.” Gabs grinned and nudged shoulders again. “Anything I should know about?”
Sam grinned. She needed this relaxed conversation. It was something new. “His attending Gantzmann’s exercise classes is paying off.” That got a slight laugh out of Gabs.
“Say no more,” Gabs said, then started off after the others. “Let’s go explore this thing.”
“Yah, let’s.” Same then fell into step beside her friend. “Just hope I can remember everything perfectly.”