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Part of USS Atlantis: Mission 11 : Tomorrow Today Yesterday

Tomorrow Today Yesterday – 5

USS Atlantis
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The piercing wail of the bosun’s whistle forced W’a’le’ki to crush her left ear into her shoulder to better shelter herself from it. But of course, that wouldn’t do anything for her right ear. Just a case of which was experiencing the most pain from the shrill sound. She waited patiently, like everyone else for the pronouncements, ceremonies, and pleasantries before the true party started. So many had no idea why they were here, but surely they had to know right? It had all started to feel rehearsed for her like she’d seen this a dozen times already, but she knew that couldn’t be the case.

A few colleagues approached, she knew who and in what order, and responded exactly as she felt she should. It was all starting to get quite odd, a little disconcerting even. She expected Ensign Krek to be next, dreaded it even. Tellarite manners and hers didn’t mix well. But instead, something unexpected happened – Samantha Michaels pushing her way through the crowd, making directly for her and even going so far as to push Krek out of the way.

“W’a’le’ki, mind if we talk outside?” the human woman asked, indicating the nearest door out into the corridor.

“I…” she stumbled for a moment. For the last five minutes every conversation had felt like she’d lived it already, knew what to say, but this was new. Unknown. Normal. “Yesss.”

“Excellent.” And with that Michaels grabbed her hand and lead her through the crowd, dragged along in the other woman’s wake as crowds and doors parted and they found themselves in the blessed quiet of the hall. “Tell me, have you been experiencing déjà vu?”

“Déjà vu?”

“Human term for a phenomenon where you feel like you’ve lived through events before.” Michaels looked at her quizzically. “Has anything since that idiot Fightmaster and that stupid whistle of his felt like you’ve done it before?”

“Yesss,” she answered. She couldn’t help the smile forming on her face. So someone else was feeling it too! That was mildly reassuring. Until it dawned on her and it wasn’t. “Wait, you’re experiencing it asss well?”

“It’s not déjà vu per se,” Michaels continued. “Just that’s a good comparison, I think? And yes, I’m experiencing it as well. Like everything has happened before, knew what was coming, could get ahead of things. No surprises.”

“That actually sssoundsss dreadful,” she found herself saying. To know what was coming sounded horrible. Where was the adventure? The new experiences? And to have it happen over and over again sounded downright dreadful.

“Especially when it starts all over again with some yeoman blowing a whistle that I’m starting to want to shove down his throat.”

“Don’t do that,” she said. “Ssterling hass a wonderful ssinging voicce.”

That stopped Michaels dead. The ops officer just stared at her for a few seconds, eyes blinking as she processed what she’d just said about Fightmaster. “What?”

“I ssaid he hass a –“

“Nevermind.” Michaels cut her off sharply, accompanied by a shaking of her head. “He’s an emotionless automaton. An escaped A400 with a good skin job.” Michaels then looked down the corridor in both directions, sighed, then tapped her comm badge. “Ensign Linal, please report to Sickbay.”

A momentary pause, then a response. “Aye, ma’am. Meet you there.”

“Ssickbay?” she asked of Michaels, who simply grabbed her hand and started to lead her down the hall. “Lieutenant, why are we going to Ssickbay?”

“Trust me on this,” Michael said. “You’ll want to hear it straight from the Doctor’s mouth. And have you been working on your…lisp?”


“Hmm,” Terax said as he studied the tricorder in his central hand while scanning two of the three women before him with scanners in his others. “There is indeed an elevated chroniton signature in all three of you.”

With sickbay rather quiet, no pressing needs on his skills that evening, Terax had been settling down in his office to catch up on some journal reading when Lieutenants Michaels and W’a’le’ki and Ensign Linal had all stormed in, right past Doctor Walters and straight into his office. One fantastical tale later, with rather specific values that had tweaked his curiosity, and he was rather certain that there would be no journal reading tonight.

“Though your values were off Lieutenant,” he continued, directing it to Samantha Michaels. “Ensign Linal has a flux of zero point zero zero four in her hippocampus, while yours is point zero zero three eight.”

“That’s higher,” Michaels said. “So, explains why Nerys is remembering more than I am each cycle? And why W’a’s being so low could match her just starting to really notice the cycling?”

“It could also be the result,” he interjected, “of Atlantis passing near any number of undetected stellar phenomena, or some sort of issue with the warp core or main deflector. Starfleet crews are exposed to interesting subatomic particles on a frighteningly high frequency.”

“Iss there any way to detect this increasse in anyone else acrossss the sship?” W’a’le’ki asked.

“Not at such a low level,” he answered. Both scanners were pocketed, and then a command tapped into the tricorder to pass its readings to the main computer before he closed the device. “I however am showing no increase at all above background, so perhaps am immune to the effect.”

“Nice for some,” Linal Nerys said, her tone just above a growl. “Sorry,” she immediately followed up, looking a little ashamed of her previous tone of voice. “It’s been an exhausting month, couple of days, your choice,” she explained.

“A month?” all three others said almost exactly at the same time.

“Two days, ten cycles, or is it eleven?” Nerys asked herself out loud. “Give or take.”

“We need to talk to the captain,” Michaels stated. “Now.”


“I’m not getting up for anything less than a Borg invasion or Starfleet Command calling to make me an admiral,” Tikva grumbled as a hand settled on her shoulder and gently jostled her. To drive her point home she buried her face into the pillow, attempting to hide from the universe at large.

“Do you want a dressing gown, or for me to tell them you need a few minutes to get dressed, Admiral?” Adelinde asked in response, the humour in her voice evident.

It had gotten late in the evening and the two women had indeed retreated to the Captain’s Mess with Mac and Blake for a few more drinks in a more relaxed environment before calling it for the night, opting to make their way to Tikva’s quarters seeing as they were only a few doors down. And when a few hours later three officers had come calling it had been Adelinde who had heard the door chime and responded, letting Tikva stay in bed, even if both had woken at the sound.

One of the perils of command was learning to be a light sleeper, or at least to somehow respond to summons at all hours.

“The nice dressing gown,” came the response through the pillow.

A few moments later and she was tying the burgundy silk robe around her waist in the dark of the bedroom, grumbling incoherently to herself and the universe, before she took two deep breaths, straightened her back, then stepped towards the door, stopping just long enough to pop up on the balls of her feet, plant a quick peck on Lin’s cheek, then proceed through to the social space of her quarters.

Adelinde had seen their visitors in, all three officers sitting on the couch and looking a little sheepish for disturbing her in the night. Linal Nerys, Samantha Michaels and W’a’le’ki – she knew all their names and faces immediately. Any good captain should in her opinion. It lent an air of all-knowingness when interacting with the crew and the mystique of command was important to protect.

This isn’t a Borg invasion.

Or Starfleet Command either.

Can we go back to bed then?

No.

No.

Awww…

“Before any of you start,” she said, crossing the space and taking the single seat for herself at the end of the coffee table, Adelinde’s comforting presence behind her the whole way, “I want you all to know the Captain’s Mess has real alcohol, I’ve had a quiet a bit to drink this evening and I’ve had about three hours of sleep. Now, that said, I wouldn’t expect you to circumvent Commander MacIntyre unless it was dire so spill it.”

“The ship is stuck in a time loop,” Samantha Michaels blurted out.

“Prophets,” Nerys muttered, just audible to all present.

“It’ss true,” W’a’le’ki confirmed. “At leasst I’m starting to believe sso mysself.”

The mix of feelings she was getting from the three was honesty, shocked disbelief and annoyance, the latter two just from Nerys herself. Likely the disbelief at Samantha’s directness and the annoyance she couldn’t place.

“I’ll get you a coffee,” Lin said from behind her, a hand gentle on her shoulder for a moment before she went to the replicator.

She’s not telepathic, but damn that woman can read a room.

No, she’s just a good partner.

Uh-huh.

“The loop is about two days long,” Samantha continued after a brief moment. “It ends with us getting to the GSC-9587 system and discovering an alien space station. Just as we’re starting our exploration of the station  everything gets reset back to about thirty seconds before Fightmaster walks into Port Royal for Gabs’ promotion ceremony.”

“Any evidence of this claim?” she asked as a coffee was lowered over her shoulder for her. Rich and sweet smelling, with a hint of caramel. She never ordered fancy ones for herself, but Lin always did and hadn’t run afoul just yet.

“We just came from Doctor Terax,” W’a’le’ki spoke up. “All three of uss have increassed chroniton flux countss in our hippocampuss.”

“Ladies, I’m a pilot and operations-trained individual with an interest in astrophysics, you’ll need to spell that out for me.”

“The hippocampuss in most sspeciess is ressponssible for memory,” W’a’le’ki continued. “Neryss hass the highesst flux and recallss the most from each loop, with Ssamantha the next. I mysself have jusst sstarted to notice the cycling.”

“So the more loops we’ve been through, the more you’re recalling and retaining?” Nerys and Sam both nodded their heads, and W’a’le’ki merely shrugged. “And the loops reset to the same point, so presumably end at the same point?”

“I haven’t been checking precisely, but think so,” Sam said. “Last time I finally managed to open a door on the station and we got inside before everything reset.”

“Huh,” she said, then sipped at the drink in hand, giving herself a moment to think. “Something like that should set off a few red flags I would think.” She leaned forward to tap at a control that was built into the table, more to control the large monitor opposite the couch, but it served a few more purposes. “Theodoras to T’Val, can I get an update on any navigational sensor readings please.”

“One moment Captain,” the Vulcan helmswoman’s response came. “We are detecting a warp trail captain. Looks to be a few days old, travelling the same course we are currently on.”

“Can you identify it?” she asked. She could see the interest of her three visitors, even taste their own emotions as they were hungry for more information, more reinforcement of their story.

“Attempting to do so ma’am, but it would appear there are in fact multiple warp trails overlapping each other.” Silence over the comm channel for a few more moments, another sip of coffee. “Interesting,” T’Val said, breaking the silence. “It would appear ma’am we’re following ourselves. The computer has identified the warp trail as belonging to Atlantis.

“Just one of them?”

“All thirteen of them.”

Comments

  • I love the adaptation of the various source materials you mentioned on Discord. There's enough to be familiar with but so much more to the characters, what they're feeling, and how it's starting to be revealed. Love each little moment here and the last few paragraphs really amp up what's going on. That last line reminds me of Doctor Who, "No, all thirteen!" Brilliant writing, fun plotting, and delightful dialogue. Great stuff,.

    February 14, 2023
  • Curiouser and curiouser! I love the last line, true cliffhanger ending there! I really like how you’re layering this. And that line about fightmaster made me chuckle, great characterisation for all of them. Great work, looking forward to reading on!

    February 23, 2023
  • I think that whistle's haunted. Loving the Lower Decks feel of these junior officers trying to get to the bottom of things. Which is just doubled down on by Tikva being so utterly reluctant to be disturbed. I feel you, Tikva. Ooh, and I LOVE the ending - the Atlantis detecting itself! Thirteen times! That's some good Trek Ominous Dialogue.

    March 31, 2023