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Literary Challenge #52 : Hello, again, Q

pwebranflakespwebranflakes Member Posts: 7,741
edited October 2013 in Ten Forward
Hello and welcome to another edition of our writers' challenges! :cool:

Today we start the two-week run of the fifty-second Literary Challenge: Hello, again, Q
As you walk onto the bridge, you notice The Chair is occupied... by Q. "Hello, again, Q..."

This is the writer's thread -- only entries should be made here.
The Discussion Thread can be found HERE.
We also have an Index of previous challenges HERE.

The rules may change from one challenge to another, but I'd like to remind everyone what the base rules are. These may grow as we move on, so also feel free to give feedback!
  • Each Challenge will run for two weeks. For 2 weeks we will sticky the challenge and let you make your entry.
  • There are no right or wrong entry.
  • The background story, questions I ask, and format requested are only to serve as a platform that you can start your writing from. Feel free to change up the back-story or the way you deliver, as long as the entry stays on topic of the original challenge.
  • Write as little or as much as you would like.
  • Please keep discussion about the entries in the appropriate Discussion Thread.
  • In the Discussion Thread, feel free to write what inspired you and what your thoughts on the topic are.
  • A few other important reminders:
    • Please heed the rest of the forum's rules when submitting your entry! All of them apply to these posts.
    • Each poster can have one entry. Feel free to edit your post to fix typos or add/ remove content as you see fit during the next two weeks.
    • After two weeks time, the thread will be locked and unstickied, as we move on to the next challenge.
    • We'll have two threads: One to post the entries in and one to discuss the entries. **Cross-linking between these two threads is acceptable for these challenges ONLY!!**
Post edited by pwebranflakes on

Comments

  • sharpie65sharpie65 Member Posts: 679 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    As I walk on to the bridge of my newest ship - the Avenger-class battlecruiser U.S.S. Sentinel - I notice that a security team is standing in front of my command chair, heavily armed. When I finally see past them, I notice an old "friend"...

    "Q, what in the blazes are you doing on my bridge?! And get the hell out of my chair!"
    "My..most sincere apologies, Captain Aubrey. I was hoping to get off to a better start than this! Before you have your "security" shoot me, I have a message of the utmost importance to give to you. Regarding the Solanae Dyson Sphere."
    "The Solanae Dyson Sphere?! I tend to keep out of things like that, Q. Please explain to me AND my officers in the command centre."

    **********************

    "So what Q suggests - if we belie--"
    "WHAT DO YOU MEAN, 'IF' WE "BELIEVE HIM"?! I have NEVER been so offended by a Human before! Give me one reason why I shouldn't ERASE you from existence, foolish girl..."
    "Because you'd have to find me a new tactical officer and first officer, Q.That's why. As you were saying, Commander?"
    "Right, sir. As I was saying, if we believed Q why would he tell us that the Voth are being influenced by - potentially - the Iconians? It could be just another "test" of his, like with the U.S.S. Copernicus and the Battle of Wolf 359...what I'm saying, sir, is that we can't trust Q to tell the truth. At least not like a Vulcan."
    "Noted, Commander. Has anybody else got any more concerns or obje--"
    RED ALERT! WEEEOOOP! WEEEOOOP! RED ALERT!

    "Computer, initiate ship-wide broadcast. All hands, this is the captain speaking: Battle stations. I repeat: All hands to battle stations! End broadcast. Sorry,Q. Looks like we'll have to continue this meeting later. Senior staff to the bridge and appropriate stations."

    **********************

    "Captain, it appears that a Voth ship set off the proximity detection grid. Defensive armour has been deployed, weapons locked and shields up."
    "Thank you, Ar'ryv. Broadcast a communique to the task force: modulate shield frequencies to a rotation of 89.07 MHz. We are being engaged by a Voth assault fleet. Prepare the VATA for Tachyon Armament Projectiles, power to engines. Emergency power to shields, then rotate shield frequency.
    MXeSfqV.jpg
  • nikkipadennikkipaden Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    As the turbolift slows to a stop and the door opens a look of astonishment washes over my face.

    "Subcommander Locutus, what did you do to my bridge?!" "It wasn't me, it was him." says Locutus before raising a hand to point at my chair.

    Before I can ask who my chair rotates around revealing Q.

    "Great... Put my bridge back to the way it was" I say before grabbing the pistol at my side. After tapping the communicator on the side of the wall with my elbow I say "Transporter room, lock on to my chair and standby to beam it into space on my order." "Acknowledged." replies the transporter operator. "My bridge... Put it back to the way it was... Now.." "Fine... Romulans are no fun." says Q before snapping his fingers and restoring the appearance of the warbird's bridge. "Now then. The chair. Get out of it." I say before raising the weapon at my side. "Q, this might not kill you or even hurt you but I will shoot you if you don't get out of my chair!" After Q raises up out of the chair I say "That wasn't so hard, now... what do you want this time!" As Q begins to talk I lower my pistol and put it back in its place, "Klingons." "If you wanted Klingons then maybe, oh I don't know, gone to a KLINGON ship!"

    As if on cue, an alarm on the bridge goes off.

    "Commander, I am detecting a small fleet of Klingon ships." says Locutus. "Just freaking great... Lolu, hail the Regent unless it is on a patrol, it should be with the rest of the fleet. Maybe we can catch the Klinks before they get where they are going." "Aye. U.S.S. Regent, this is the I.R.W. Destrix, respond." says Lolu. "Response coming in, Commander." "Onscreen" I say before taking a seat in my chair. "Commander... What can I do for you?" says Admiral Roy. "Sir, our sensors have detected a small klingon fleet near our postition, we are currently under cloak, but should they detect us, we will need assistance. How soon could the Regent and the rest of your shiny new Avenger-class battle group be here?" "Let's see... Hmmm... Less than a day based on your current position. How many ships are we talking about here?" says Admiral Roy.

    I stand up and walk around to my first officer

    "We aren't getting a clear reading, sir, my estimate is 5, maybe 10. But we can't be sure at this distance, We could close to say an AU or closer and get a better picture. Honestly, Admiral. With our enhanced cloaking device, we would get a km off thier asses and they wouldn't know we were there." "No, that's to risky. I will contact the other ships under my command and be there in a day. If they move, follow them and contact us, what ever that fleet is doing so far out of klingon space, can not be allowed, Regent out."

    "You're welcome" says Q, before flashing out. "If you ever see Q on this bridge, or anywhere on this ship you are to alert me right away, understood Subcommander?" "Yes ma'am"
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    {UFP} Diplomatic Corps Foreign Officer, Romulan Imperial Guard Officer
  • garsidegarside Member, Banned Users Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Player: @%$&; (/facepalm).

    Q: What?

    Player: I mean, what is it Q?

    Q: Well I'll get right to it then.

    Scene Changes to a new Borg STF where all players get to play with a variation of their own ship that is completely borgified visually, and with bonus borg consoles temporally added to your existing build, and you get to play against the feds ( pve or pvp setup). It's like Khitomer, only you're the klingons.

    Upon winning, Q Gives you rewards and says something like "blah blah blah, now you know how it feels, you humans have a lot to learn about moot", and you return to your normal setup.

    or,

    Player (second option): Nope.jpeg turn around and quietly go back into the turbolift.
    Then maybe if you play it too much in a day, you get full assimilated, and then have to go through another borg STF to get free'd by the feds. I dunno. It would be a cool mini mission thing for the STF family.

    NX01 REFIT FOR VA'S!!!!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=664146860271653&set=a.574372305915776.1073741826.574284575924549&type=1&permPage=1
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]my nx and nx refit 24th century refit models. 6 hours work in 3ds max. not bragging- just some fool called me out. i havent modeled in a few years- but im glad i still got it.

    been a while, but the nx still is an amazing design.
  • masopwmasopw Member Posts: 157 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Present day, USS Bonaventure

    "Computer, resume recording."

    "Working," came an odd, mechanical voice from the desktop. I shook my head, figuring it was after midnight. In order to keep morale up, I'd authorize theme weeks for Starfleet Heritage Month. Each major division comes up with a theme and makes the ship feel like it belonged in another era. I tapped a button on my desk, and the usual beep that paused a log entry had a secondary echo indicating activation. Not a surprise...Science did have this week, and it seemed they voted on the 2260's. I wasn't looking forward to the uniforms....but then remembered I could use that green wraparound...and L'naa is going to look great in those skirts.

    A huge grin came across my face as that image imprinted on my brain...and was quickly replaced when I called up the menu plan for the wardroom. Gone was traditional Friday Surf N' Turf...gone was Nacho Wednesday...and gone was Midrat Munchies. Saturday was the Cap'ns Luau, featuring poi, poi bread, and poi pudding. Not good...if you say you like poi, yer Hawaiian or yer lying.

    And no ice cream for dessert on any of the days.

    *Sigh*

    Could be worse...they could have chosen 2281, and I'd have to wear a communicator on my wrist for a week. And those horrible uniforms...

    Well, guess I have to add new rules for next year. Hitting the button to again resume recording, I said, "Captain's Supplemental Log, regarding shipwide morale events. New rule: replicators are not to be altered. End log, playback rules for these events."

    The echoed beep sounded again, and the oddly voiced computer spoke. "Working. List of morale event rules:
    Rule 1: no shipwide shutdown of artificial gravity.
    Rule 2: hot water is never to be limited, particularly when H2O shower protocols are in effect.
    Rule 3: "Apollo Bags" are *never* to play any part in proceedings. Ever.
    Rule 4: Crossing the Line simulations will have no Royal Babies or hazing involving diving into decayed galley leftovers.
    Rule 5: if simulating ocean going navies, no hot bunking for any ranks. Also, "Hollywood showers" are allowed and do not "detract from the experience.". The addition of minute amounts of jet fuel so the drinking water 'tastes authentic' is strictly forbidden.
    Rule 6: if the ship from an era being simulated has a bridge systems status monitor opposite the viewscreen, the ship's true status is never to be displayed on that monitor, so that a threat doesn't see what's currently broken, as well as our current shield frequency.
    Rule 7: replicators are not to be altered.
    End list."

    I punched another button on my desk, shutting the system down. If it was the simulated year 2260 on my ship, then it was about an hour after bedtime, and since I've finally started sleeping normally again, I had no desire to be anywhere other than my rack.

    Standing up, I reached over to the upper right side of my jacket an undid the clasp. 2295 week was officially over now, but undoing the clasp and letting it hang down was known as, "I'm off duty and headed elsewhere...don't bug me unless it is urgent." A great tradition...one that wasn't possible with our "Destiny" era uniforms. Walking over to exit my ready room, I paused to wonder who came up with these names...but that thought became the last thing on my mind as I walked on my bridge and tripped over something.

    "QUACK!!!"

    I thought I must have fallen down and hit my head a bit hard. I saw stars, but not from the viewscreen. These stars danced across my vision, and as I pushed myself off the deck, I became aware of what made that noise...and what I had tripped over.

    A white duck crowned with silver feathers was staring me in the face, but there was a look of self-awareness in the eyes.

    Again, it gave out a loud, "Quack!!"

    I blinked a few times, looking around the bridge. The familiar sights of a Type-3 Odyssey bridge were replaced by the classic round shape of the original Constitution-class ships.

    And there were a dozen intelligent looking ducks waddling towards me, each quacking at a different frequency.

    "Eh...howzit, cousin?"

    The words came from my chair, currently occupied by a being with a face that I've seen too many times in the past year.

    Q.

    I brought my left hand up to my head and started to rub my temple. "Q...haven't I been through enough?"

    "Try wait, cousin. You going to figga dis out garans."

    Taking a deep breath, I counted to five, then as calmly as I could said, "Q, please stop speaking Pidgin."

    A mischievous grin crossed his face, as he said, "But don't you think these ducks would appreciate it?"

    "Q, I hate puns," I said, but I couldn't help myself from chuckling inside.

    "Come now, Captain...that's how you most enjoy being greeted when you're home. Jean-Luc just 'loves' when I call him 'Mon Capitain.' I do believe that's how I'll greet each Captain from now on...in the manner they find most pleasing when they're home."

    I shook my head, saying, "Those words coming from you are definitely not pleasing. You have to earn speaking that way to another person. And you haven't earned the right to speak to me in that way. Haole." I muttered the last word under my breath.

    "And so the only ones to speak to you like that are your surfing buddies?"

    I stood up straight, saying, "My Ohana. My family. Those of blood, and those who I choose to share my life. But I don't expect you to understand."

    He frowned, admitting, "No, I guess I don't understand. Yet. Humans are just so....so...complicated. But ever so fascinating. You are fascinating, Nico. We've been chatting for a few moments and not once have you asked why I'm here...or why your bridge resembles a nest."

    "Q, the one thing I have learned from you is that you'll tell me what you want to *when* you want to. And not one second before. So I won't demand to know what's going on." I paused a moment, then added, "I will ask you. Could you please tell me why you're here?"

    Q shook his head, scowling. "I bet that you picked up the manners from your better half. How is she doing?"

    "If you're referring to L'naa, I think she's doing better. But that's a question only she can answer." My face reddened, and I looked down to the deck. "And she's not my better half."

    With a smirk, Q asked, "Do you think you're the better half?"

    I took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. "That's not what I meant. We're not...uh....she's not..."

    Q waved his hand, stopping my feeble attempt to explain the situation. "Hhhmph. Then you're denser than Bolian Fruitcake. Can't you figure out that you two are meant for each other? Why exactly aren't the wedding invitations out yet?"

    It was my turn to interrupt him. "We...we've been through a lot. And we are not rushing into things."

    The answer seemed to satisfy him. "Well....if Riker finally figured out to marry his true love...and to finally accept a ship of his own...then there's hope for you still. After all, you already have the ship part."

    I looked around, noticing that the ducks were all standing behind me, staring Q down with eyes burning like an overloaded phaser. The white one I tripped over had tilted his head towards Q, looking like it would love nothing better than to peck at his face. "Q," I asked, "could you also please explain the ducks?"

    "Quaaaack!!!" came the resounding chorus from behind me.

    Q snapped his fingers, and the ducks vanished into white light. "Your crew, of course. Didn't you recognize the one you tripped over? The loudest, most obnoxious one?"

    "Where are they now?" I asked, a bit of anger seeping into my words.

    "I put them in the storage area by the port dorsal chevron connection. I'm getting tired of having phasers pointed at me every time I come to visit."

    "Perhaps you could find a different way to announce yourself."

    He looked amused, and said, "Would you prefer a subspace comm, or would an email suffice? Perhaps an engraved invitation on latinum bordered ivory bonded paper? Smoke signals? Maybe an elaborate orchestral number, and I appear during the crescendo?"

    "Q, just popping into people's lives unannounced is considered very rude. At one time, people who did that...I think the term was telemaker, or something like that...they were actually put into arenas and forced to fight one another."

    Standing up, Q smiled, and snapped his fingers again. His Starfleet Admiral uniform was replaced by red and black robes, with a squared hat atop his head. "Yes, I do recall that! I sat as a judge in these very robes to observe the trials! A very bleak time in humanity...one that Jean-Luc showed you've progressed beyond." He snapped his fingers again, robes now replaced by a gold Commodore's uniform, circa 2265, and my red jacket was gone, replaced by a tight green Captain's wrap from the same era. "There...now we fit into the decor," he said, gesturing to the obsolete bridge.

    I shook my head slightly as I checked this new uniform. Hmm. Good thing there's no ice cream this week...I could stand to drop a few pounds. "Could you please tell me now why you're here?"

    "I just want to see how you are doing."

    Sighing deeply, I asked, "Seriously?"

    Q looked genuinely hurt. "Is it so hard to believe that I came here to check in on you?"

    "Yes."

    Q returned to my chair and sat down. His voice took on a paternal tone as he said, "Nico, I told you a month ago that the Q can learn from their mistakes. Take ownership of them, and correct them. I did so."

    "And I thank you for that," I broke in.

    Q looked morose as he continued. "Part of taking ownership, I've learned, is remorse. I do feel bad for what you've endured...and wanted to see if you're doing alright."

    I squinted my eyes at him, voice full of doubt. "Really?"

    "Really."

    I leaned back against a red railing that surrounded the bridge pit. "I don't know what to say. This is just...so...so atypical of everything I've known about the Q. To tell you the truth...I'm not sure how to answer you. I have good days and bad days. Each day seems a bit better...then some day I feel like I've made no progress."

    Q stood back up and walked over to the rail. "Yet they've given you back your ship. If you aren't at your best, isn't it negligent to put you in command?"

    "Starfleet doesn't throw away any being just because they're not at their best. We're not a commodity that is simply replaced if broken....we have a duty to each other to be helpful. I trust my crew to do the right thing if I do end up permanently broken. " I walked over to the centre seat and sat down. "And I'm not beyond repair. And sometimes, things that have been broken are stronger than they once were."

    Q wagged a finger at me, saying, "You haven't answered my question. How are you doing?"

    A thought popped into my head. "Quid Pro Quo, Q. I'll answer your question if you answer mine."

    He smirked, and raised an eyebrow, countering with, "Two questions, and it's a deal."

    "Fine," I said. "The answer to your first question is that I'm doing better. It's a long way to heal, and there's an old saying. 'Inch by inch it's a cinch, yard by yard it's hard.' I look at my healing as a day by day affair. Looking at the big picture can be too daunting, so I take it one step at a time. So my answer is this: I'm better than I was yesterday, but not as good as I'll be tomorrow."

    Q thought about that for a moment, finally saying, "That will do...for now. Your first question?"

    I looked around, wondering how to phrase the question, but decided to just be straightforward. "Are you going to keep checking up on me...L'naa...Sotek?"

    Again, Q looked genuinely saddened. "Yes, I will. I do want to make sure that all of you will be alright. But I will try to do so less...rudely." His expression changed to a mischievous one, and said, "My second question: have you and Blue Boo made up?"

    Exhaling deeply, I thought about it for a while. "Repairing an old friendship can also be a long, difficult road. How about I leave it at there is a bridge being built where once ther was nothing but destruction?"

    "That will do...for now," Q said. His face again took on a paternal expression, and he continued, "I hope that you'll finish that bridge before it's too late. Yours is a dangerous profession...and I think old Blue Boo would mourn for you if you fly into a supernova or get squished by a Black Hole."

    "Whatever happens, happens, Q. Day by day is how I'm going to take things. Now my last question: Why did you turn my crew into ducks?"

    A big grin came across his face, and he snapped his fingers, vanishing into a flash of white light. He was gone, as was the old bridge, replaced by the smooth lines of Bonaventure's slightly modified bridge. But his voice was clear in my mind as he said, "Because, cousin...I wanted to make sure you weren't still quacking up."

    I'm glad Q left...because at that answer I started laughing...and nearly fell out of my chair when the turbolift opened and out ran Doc Irve, white feathers stuck to his forehead.
  • allen1973allen1973 Member Posts: 22 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    General Gaardox MonG-DecH did not want to report for duty immediately after the immaculate victory. He had rested after the 'deck party' on bridge, so much reportage and communiques, kasqs of blood-wine had to be brought up to the bridge repeatedly, and the immediacy of the secondary crew was noted as they performed after the initial officer crew had won all battles, and they had been sworn the honor of this duty shift in sobriety while the officers before them had celebrated in their presence. In truth most of his senior officers were commanding on other house fleet vessels. Gaardox longed to communicate with family members, yet allies and friends must have had similar thoughts and they reveled as it was thier honor to do so.
    This shift, first shift of the following day, no after party of course, which is humor from an earlier time in his career as a KDF officer. First shift would notoriously occur many weeks after certain victories as he recalled in his mind approaching the turbo-lift in my specialized Qu'Daj'Nej'Var battleship. This would be different, although Gaardox did spend an hour in communique with loved ones before the required rest period, an hour that was recorded and sent to family members, he only spoke in an ad hoc fashion to verify his survival and safety to his immediate family members and friends that he had closest ties with. Luckily his wife was who Gaardox had the directed recording with on a secure channel. Gaardox only could wish she was aboard, and yet, how could he, Gaardox had not slept for more than a few hours at a time in months. No this shift would be like yesterdays, with less fanfare, more pronounced diplomacy, more criticality, and too many actualized situation reports.
    General Mongdech would be held accountable as a general for his deeds. First with the Chancellor for a debriefing, the actual most interesting and relieving communique, his office sent an encrypted message after the immaculate victory, however it was merely a hastily recorded proverbial protocol-nothing more. Gaardox was not planning to drag the Chancellor out of chambers, and as he was inundated with fleet communication at that time, in these situations he had found that he was usually fifth or sixth to be contacted by J'mPoc at 'First Shift.' Gaardox imagined he would be no less than third on this occasion.
    Be that as it may, many dignitaries, generals, governors, house fleet admirals, chief trade representatives, and so on, you simply could not imagine, would inundate this day in his private quarters on this particular 'First Shift.'
    "'Qu'Qapla ... Quue" The turbolift door slammed behind Mongdech, the general didn't know how he recognized the human, every officer in the detail bridge heard this stagnant greeting, not one officer so much as drew a blade. The Bridge of the 'BaQ MonGDecH' is usually quite vacuous. Kling do their duty and have not much noise to make upon most occasion if it is not celebratory in nature.
    "HeH Dech Mong Qu-Qapla." How intriguing, this particular surprise had unique metaphysical properties that Gaardox could immediately attest to.
    "Of course 'Q' is supposed to be much smarter than I," thought Gaardox. "I wouldn't choose to challenge this concept." Thnking again, Gaardox had not recognized his face from the Federation file, however, he had met previously.
    "Oh yes, I have not yet returned to Khitomer, you?" 'Q' maintained a stance of witticism as was his custom.
    "H'lija'Quuue'" Gaardox was beginning to prepare to use his diplomatic Terran language skills, the general's mind began reciting his consonant retinue.
    Suddenly Gaardox HeH Het Mongdech was on a bridge of a ship that must not have been much larger than that of the 'Qul'DaQ,' on this particular deployment his second wife O'Wa'TaQ was on command duty of the House Fleet specialized Kamarag.
    "It's called a 'Krynn.'" 'Q' murmured slowly, drawling the consonant thickly in Klingon. He was actually quite a handsome Klingon for a 'Q.' MongDech recalled a fantastic novella series he had read as a young cadet, the planet the heroes had saved had the same name as this model of ship.
    "The Eureka moment, Quuue." Ew isn't much of a vowel or syllable in Klingon, more of an expression like "Er, um," or sometimes referent to numbers, such as 'an' or 'one.' It can be used to interject when making up unique compound verbs, or not to and explain plainly in painstaking formal or regal form, and sometimes slang. In the General's mind there was so much involved with the socio-dynamic metaphysics of this war that had not yet been addressed. Just in terms of revenge, the mind reeled at that in terms of Klingon philosophy, to say nothing of political science. This had been a very bloody civil war. There had been made so many new advantageous advances on record making prisoner taking battles. The first few weeks of battle were relatively bloodless, to speak least of all. It was not the first distinction that the Occupation Fleet had made for itself in this regard during this particular war, during the prior against the same foe, it had.
    Suddenly 'Q' and General MongDech held blood wine and were surrounded by the VIP's that Mongdech was to contact, and they all held blood-wine, and still aboard this strange 'Krynn' vessel.
    "QAPLA!" All aboard the 'Krynn' vessel had shouted while toasting before it was only an echo in an empty ship's bridge with one Klingon General MonG-DecH, and one very overdressed Klingon Q.
    "You don't like my ceremonial uniform? Doesn't it strike you as opulent and indicative of my position in the Empire?"
    "HeH-Hmm-Qu-'EW'." Mongdech replied crudely, not wanting his distaste to outdistance his sensibilities yet not wanting to show any support to the means of this endeavor.
    "Hlja'vlegh Gaardox." 'Q' was yet patient. Mongdech decided to sip his blood-wine in rebuttal, slowly. Gaardox was yet patient actually. "There is little else to do I suppose. I told you on Khittomer that you needed to consider curbing your imagination. That did not hold much blood-wine with you apparently."
    "Dalegh." The General had finished the wine and dropped the cup. He walked to 'Q' and took his cup, and drank it. 'Q' nodded. He finished and dropped that cup and just stood in front of him, in a deaf fashion.
    He was gone in an instant and Mongdech was now surrounded by Klingons. Klingons with very refined features. Klingons with more than typical physical strength, Klingons who were apparently much more accustomed to being at least slightly more strong than the general, and were already quite well seasoned to be as such. There were even Klingon hybrids, Vulcan/Klingon, Romulan/Klingon, frighteningly enough, even Cardasian/Klingon, something he had only seen in images, and of course not a more refined future species. All of this was apparent to Gaardox, and like previously they encircled him with blood-wine in hand, aboard this 'Krynn' bridge and he as well. Sipping for the entirety, as he could ascertain, judging by the sparse simplicity of their armor, that Gaardox was among Klingons of the future. Perhaps they had a better immunity to the effects of this drink.
    "He will torture us as long as there is a universe for him to do so in. We are at your service." Although these Klingons meant 'Q,' Mongdech had never heard a more common form of colloquial Klingon come out of any sentience's vocal chords.
    "Daj. HA! 'be 'DaJ'Nej-Qot'VoM."
    "Well indeed interesting, we may name the ship whatever you like for our service to you. For reasons that may seem obvious to you we are indeed at your service." Again, too polite to sound like an android, yet such perfect guttural infliction, and the inference was correct, or maybe a guess, Gaardox seemed to, or indeed had, 'caught Vom.' The fact that they seemed to maintain servitude to him must have been indicative of this yet Mongdech looked around at the bridge, sipping wine cautiously. He was in the same sector space, possibly the same location, or adjacent, yet no, he more than likely was no longer in the same century. He looked carefully at the group and walked in a circle, they were senior officers, most were of uniform age, near his or slightly younger, or older by no more than a few decades. It slowly dawned on him that that must have less meaning to them as their longevity would have more salience than his own. "We have had limited contact with Klingons from the 25th century, Lord Mong-Dech." Now this was disturbing.
    He had been called many things, mostly Mongdech, formal, polite or informal slang depending on your point of view. The beauty of most of the 'MongDecH' affectation was that he usually made a universality obvious and completely capable of being intelligible in doing so again, whether it was tactics, intellectual prowess, or esoteric mannerisms that would prove somehow relevant or viable. A respected crass methodological approach that was usually completely orthodox in its adherence to chaotic experimentation, and his namesake was completely urban in an unrespectable consideration. He was getting somewhat too aged and villainous to make light of such reality, but what these Klingons must know of him now, he could think of it and attempt to at least humor them all.
    "Always a good ice breaker Gaardox," 'Q's' voice omnipresent voice trailed off.
    "I have never expected to command a field promotion as LORD." Gaardox finally said. It was sadly true. He usually had his father's sword at his side at all times now. He had maintained this war with co-command in House Fleet, Occupation Fleet, and elite alliance members of the Honor Guard who were linked politically to him via the High Council, as well as old friends from the earlier civil wars. Gaardox Mongdech conceded to the fact that at his age fewer had seen either so much civil war or war at all to be plainspoken.
    Laughter, rebellious, unscrupulous and unbridled. It was a trans-dimensional, trans-decadal coronation. MongDech mused with some glorification. These officers likely had wondered why Gaardox would have allowed himself the title, or how he had come to abide as such to such a reality. He had found a curious way to steal it for himself.
    "Don't get ahead of yourself." Again 'Q' spoke, however, Gaardox could conclude that only he could hear this now.
    "We had followed your history, we are all professionals of this field of research, you must assume some generalizations." An old and particularly seasoned handsome Klingon-who-had-aged-well remarked, his uniform markings indicated he was in command. "We cannot tell you our names. It is not allowed." The temporal Klingon had remarked.
    "Pagh wejvam." Now MongDech had named the commanding officer of the 'Daj'Nej-QoT-Vom,' things were making a sharp turn now. "We must inhibit Tholian surveillance of the most circumstantial battles from this civil war now that it has finally finished. Can you put a holographic astro-metric and holographic chart tactical computer from the 24th or 25th century here?" Later he would have nick names for the entire crew of fifty mirror universe temporal Klingons, Gaardox was a personable general.
    All put their mugs or cups (if you will,) down in front of them, some taking sips, and all sprang into action. Monitor stations were Klingoned, discussion ensued on the most proper considerations on such actions. It was quite quixotic and terrifyingly dizzy'ing, indeed MongDech was very in glorified by all of this activity. Before he could find a state of embellishment, the computer console emerged and he began scanning charts, making notations and, as it so happened agreeing or disagreeing with a series of preset notations. He had to assume that some of it was the officers at work and others were already programmed into the computer.
    "In this case how do I tell of the origin of the notation presets 'Pagh Wejvam?"
    "You will not be able to." Gaardox found a way to supersede that theory by using assumptive reasoning and doing a comparative analysis predicating historical analysis design philosophy using current popular philosophical political science analogy from his time, and his analysis of that based on his initial conclusions as a younger officer in the 23rd century to make his conclusions. Naturally Gaardox had not known that longevity would make such scientific conclusion in his time, also facts and events would dictate his decision making to this regard at this particular event.
    Gaardox was aboard the USS Pathfinder, somehow this was obvious to him. A younger Captain Picard had spoken to an Admiral on the view screen. They were somewhere in the Romulan Neutral zone, Theta Eridani, he believed.
    Before Picard had spoken he bowed at the Admiral and put his hand on his chin before putting his hand to his side and looking up at the view screen again.
    "No, Admiral, I need to try reasoning with these factions in my own way-" he went on apparently reasoning his own design philosophy in regards with a diplomacy in the Tau Dewa between the Klingons and the Romulans, with Federation intent.
    "You see, you see what you are doing? You see what is being done?" 'Q' said.
    Now MongDech was again on the 'Daj'Nej-Qot'Vom' monitoring the console, his mind set, he formulated the telemetry also using his own design philosophy to configure interface with the ship computer. He knew he was no longer in the presence of 'Q,' for now. The view screen now showed a tactical Tholian fleet in a monitoring formation, one that would circumvent detection as well as allow for the best sensor linkage monitoring amongst them.
    "Attack now." As his sense of glory superseded any known expectation or familiarity he had ever known, he watched as what would be at the beginning of an even longer war than the previous civil war that he had just endured. He had barely been aware that the ship board computer's link up with the older monitor console system had actually been automatically linked up with astro-navigational service. He had only assumed as much and then, his conclusions still catching up to his reality, torpedoes that looked like pulsar radio waves and what looked like a series of purple lightening emitted from the 'Krynn' Temporal starship and decimated the Tholians. Gaardox sipped quietly at his blood-wine and made the next serial computations regarding the battle maps and charts, projections, and determinations. Battle after battle had ensued. The Tholians were shrewd to monitor the minor conflicts of this Klingon civil war, but it would serve them no glory.
    Battle after battle, each Tholian fleet seemed more and more futile. The fifty hour mark had passed. Gaardox required rest. He was escorted by 'Pagh Wejvam,' to quarters, sparse, yet comfortable. He looked out his window and strangely as light flashed during battles, he would for some moments at a time see in ultra violet or even the gamma ray spectrum as the Klingon physical reaction to the divinations of astral combat must somehow correspond visually. He went to sleep.
    Gaardox woke to the smell of fresh meat and blood-wine. He used the shower to refresh himself. His dreams, his wives showed him much less mercy than usual, it had been extremely gratifying, if not factual, yet not all would seem to be at complete odds with reality today. He would inquire of his wives of such dream activity when the timing was right. An optimist Gaardox ate everything on the table. He performed his morning calisthenics, and walked to the turbo lift, or whatever movement device it was. MongDech liked the guillaumes he had seen in his quarters, the alloy was not known to him, and the design intricacies had varied complexity. As he entered the turbo lift he had noticed that the noise of combat had ceased yet the armor plating had covered his quarters now, he was not to notice his whereabouts.
    Looking in the on bridge view-screen he could only assume that they were deep in the Gamma Quadrant. Then it dawned on Gaardox, telemetry had now rationalized surveillance by the Founders?
    "Section, quadrangle five six two mark nine hundred fifty three million, six hundred thousand..." This was indeed further than the computations of MongDech. Pagh Wejvam took off a wire frame head gear that had little volume or density. "Psychic interlink with the ship board computer, nothing more Lord Gaardox." Damn, he had forgotten that he was a 'Lord' now. "This is the fifth interaction we have had with this faction, their temporal ships are a bit harder to deal with, however, certain temporal holding combat patterns of the Tholians revealed some bi-lateral connectivity with the Borg in this sector, we ARE in the Gamma Sector, we assumed an inner-link by the Founders. We are close to a solution." Some kind of pulse wave hit the strange vessel that suddenly appeared at least twenty kilometers away, and the ship vanished. "An irregularity, the solution is match, at your station Lord Gaardox MonG-DecH." Gaardox preceded to do a bilateral equation using a logic to design itself a paradox which would determine which Borg fleet members were now too close to witnessing the said paradox, or had inadvertently done so in relation to the Klingon civil war activity. Yet despite the fact that this was not his quadrant, Gaardox was more at home in his own century. This time the Captain made the command.
    "De-assimilate now, WE ARE KLINGON!" What seemed like centuries would now pass and very often Gaardox would go to his quarters, at sixty hour intervals, and he slept until he could no longer do so. He often waking up to the most garish and horrific battle fields in space that he had ever witnessed. To break up the monotony the crew would often dine together, and speak of their glory. Gaardox was not certain how he could be alive for so much longer, however he believed that some new technological advancement had slowed his aging process considerably. His memory also was very much improved. He remember everything that had happened on board the 'Daj'Nej-QoT'VoM,' although he often found it within himself to entirely forget 'Q.' Idle time was usually used creating stasis fields and secret transmissions describing the dangers of Borg, undetectable to Borg, yet somehow universal to all in these sectors. They often moved from one decade to another, yet this enemy was always Borg. Their evaluations of the Tholians and Founders had to be thwarted. Once in a great while they encountered another Temporal vessel, their first was Federation, and they compared notes, they were both on similar missions. Finally they were in Tal Shiar territory discretely removing Borg notification technologies, Gaardox was very excited by this process as they had spent centuries doing so by way of other species use of Borg technology.
    The 'Krynn' vessel 'Daj'Nej-QoT'VoM' was a mirror-universe temporal ship. In their own universe these Klingons were minions of the Iconian Empire, an Empire that had grown to such power in the galaxy that the Borg were not used to defend it, or assimilate it, this is what had been the undoing of the Iconians in Gaardox's universe. The Borg were a technological mistake that had gone out of control, so much so that the fading Iconians in Gaardox Mongdech's universe had to rapidly cover their tracks or no trace of non-Borgified sentience could exist in the Galaxy. Upon finishing the last of the Romulan technological modifications they were forced to submit to a council review of the mirror universe Klingons by the mirror universe Iconians. A humiliating experience, these Klingons were no longer warriors in the eyes of these Iconians, and judging by appearances and behavior these Iconians were nothing like the Iconians from his universe. Yet in a strange way, the complexities of their reasoning indicated an unusual facilitation towards redundancy, one that was integrated into a political rhetoric which was as difficult to follow as it seemed to be unrewarding for the mirror-universe temporal Klingons. This paradox was further sustained by a casual acceptance towards what imminently seemed to be any acclamation of Gaardox's home dimension. While this was all fascinating, Gaardox MongDech could not configure any meaningful resemblance to this facilitation by the mirror-universe Iconians. Eventually it passed and they again headed into Gaardox's 'paradox of simplicity,' as one mirror-universe Iconian had mentioned referring to the General's home universe.
    Back in his side of things this Temporal crew forged ahead and they finalized towards secretly tweaking shipboard computers of any breach of dimensional astro-physics that may have inadvertently been created by the paradox by the completion of the end of Gaardox?s recent Klingon civil-war. This was going to only take a few decades to complete, yet Gaardox was the least familiar with this kind of enlistment, and the temporal compliance it required. Mongdech exercised, ate, and dreamed much more than he ever had on this part of the temporal mission. His wives were more familiar to him than they had ever been, and the son-of Drex more often present with this dream family and the daughter of Mongdech, which had only happened irregularly before. Although he knew he and his wives wished that La'Tal would take this relationship very seriously, La'Tal seemed to understand the flimsy circumstances of this dream relationship and had simply decided to take it one step at a time. This new integrated consideration of the dream reality made his temporal duties more bearable. Although he always blushed when he looked first at his daughter's stomach and then her eyes, this was something that he had previously in this dream series had only held for his wives when his daughter was present, they had not been impregnated, he shouldn't expect his grandchild at this time either. It was sometimes difficult to hold onto realistic consideration during such events. Time would pass.
    Now much later in the view screen was the battleship 'BaQ-MonG-DecH,' Gaardox, sighed heavily, "Please patch me through to my command structure." To great surprise to the Empire he took his meeting on bridge of the 'Daj'Nej-QoT-VoM.' He had to explain all circumstances, the appearance of a weird blood-wine ritual, a strange futuristic ship, his travels, and his mission, 'Q,' he had to tell of 'Q,' and his plans, which he had more than enough time to make considerations on. Factually also, although he kept it brief, he by now knew all too well the designations and designs of his command council, no decision was reached lightly. He would spend a year on Qo'Nos with his family and then together they would join Gaardox as he commanded the Krynn vessel, although Gaardox would never to use it in a physical temporal sense again, and when it was time for that, as it was agreed by the council meeting, during the 'First Shift' a now quite paradoxical and quixotic multi-present, multi-vector meeting, Pagh Wejvam and his crew would leave this time and space and he would take another year with his family until it was time once again for regular space governance, by way of a regular House Fleet deployment, a Fleet of which he was now Lord.
    General Gaardox HeH Het MonG-DecH didn't mind this meeting, it was one step closer for him to his loved ones, no what he detested would be the following meeting with J'mPoc where he would describe to the Chancellor in great detail what the Klingon 'Q,' looks like, and that in fact the sentient anomaly was in fact an ally. Repetition was one thing, he would have to tell the same tale to the Chancellor, almost exactly, to speak of 'Q,' as a Klingon, he hoped the Chancellor had heard the tale from his council meeting members first. He would earn his right to replace his father's bat'lith upon the family mantle of his house.
  • freezy321freezy321 Member Posts: 34 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    As Pithagoras walks onto the bridge, he notices his Chair is occupied... by Q.

    Pithagoras: "Hello, again Q, glad to see you arrived at least a couple of hours ahead of my calculations. "

    Q: "What fun would omnipotence be if you mere bipeds could just calculate the mystery out of it?"

    Pithagoras: "For as far as it applies to such a vastly superior creature welcome aboard", making a bow and a swing with his arm toward the chair, "please feel free to use my chair for as long as you need, I hardly have use for it, but being potentially everywhere and anywhere at once must be very tiring".

    Q looks at Pithagoras with a combination of a slime and disdain, a liberated borg attempting humor. The captain of this breen vessel renamed the U.S.S. Ramanujan, which is by the way a ship Q literally signed for, might just be the kind of entertainment Q is looking for.

    Theatrically standing up making an even grander wave then Pithagoras did, Q replies: "Nonsense, I was merely keeping it warm for you, I know your leg implants must feel after a hard nights regeneration."

    Pithagoras refusing to sit just, crosses his arms and looks Q in the eyes, remains silent for a moment too long, ensuring an awkward silence before continuing: "Either way, This ship is truly special, I must thank you again for all the autographs you gave me and my crew to trade with that big fan of yours. But we are on patrol, so before we start, I would humbly request that you return us in a time and fashion that would allow us to continue our mission without any negative effects".

    Q: "There you go again, taking all the fun out of it. Would you just trust me, just this once?"
    Pithagoras: "Well I trust there is a reason you came here, it's unlike Q to pop in just for a conversation. On that note, what would you like us to do today?"

    Q: "Well, the thing is I seem to have misplaced a large chunk of Winter Wonderland."
    Pithagoras: "Is it the Giant Snowman?"

    Q: "Close, it seems someone found my secret hiding spot and has moved the snowmen."
    Pithagoras: "All of them?"

    Q: "Size isn't everything, I stored them in a special sub quantum containment field, quite hard to find."

    Pithagoras: "The obvious questions is why haven't you just snapped your fingers and taken them back, or just create new ones.?

    Q: "Create new ones? What kind of reckless fool do you take me for? No reason to make more of them when I already created them. As to why I haven't taken them back, the truth is I hid it so well it's hard to find even for someone with unlimited control over space and time. I could find it, it might just take some time and that would be, well, boring. And you and your crew do still owe me a lot of favors for helping you get this ship."

    Pithagoras: "Agreed, we will try and find the snowmen for you, I have already had my science team examine the one I kept from last years event."

    Q: "You what?"

    Pithagoras: "I did say I was expecting you"

    Q: "Not that, I'm perfectly aware of your limited potentials. You stole one of my snow men?"

    Pithagoras: "I got one from the ferengi at the event, I thought you knew. About a week ago it started behaving weird like it was looking for something."

    Q: "Has your science officer been competent enough to uncover the triaxilating modulation on the interlink frequency?"

    Pithagoras: "Well yes and no, we used telemetry from nearby Starfleet ships to triangulate the signal after we found out how the snowman was being animated, but the subspace signal data is hard to align due to localized temporal differences far below what our differantiator can detect."

    Q: "I suppose you want me to just hand you a better temporal differentiator? It's always _".

    A hand gesture from Pithagoras slienced Q, it's effect surprised both of the men: "I would not say no to that offer, but we already isolated the source to a degree, after having failed our initial attempts at enhancing our differentiator, we instead accessed increasingly larger number of ships and been able to overcome the temporal differences by using reversed omnidirectional field harmonic theory. Using said theory, we found a way to amplify the source. Allowing us to pinpoint the signal to a few thousand kilometers, which seems to originate from Andor.", pausing for a second, "Unless we inverted the polarity on the second axis, but that would take us to another Galaxy altogether and that would be unlikely as any mode of travel that powerfull would potentially destroy also the snowmen."

    Q: "If you already knew this, why haven't you gotten my snowmen back yet?"

    Pithagoras: "And ruin the surprised look on your face? That would, how did you put it? 'Take all the fun out of it?' ", a big smile appears on the captains face, "I've made inquiries with Starfleet bases on Andor, your snowmen are most likely in a snowglobe that was excavated from the fire caves on Bajor. It?s being studied there to establish it?s antiquity and origin. I already instructed them that you would flash by soon. I'm glad we were able to find so many answers to your mysteries, it should make my calculations far more accurate next time."

    Q makes a theatrical angry face at Pithagoras and flashes away, presumably to the historical artifact research facitily on Andor.

    Turning around Pithagoras notices his chair gone, still smiling, he waves towards the viewscreen pointed towards Andor:
    "See you in a couple of months!"
  • marcusdkanemarcusdkane Member Posts: 7,439 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Fresh Meat

    "Would you look at that," Cadet Benn ch'Rmann gasped wistfully, peering out of the shuttle viewport as it approached the USS Vanguard on a low angle.

    "Apparently, she has transwarp coils for slipstream drive," said Cadet Daniella Vorkuta, peering over the Andorian's shoulder, and taking in the slender form of the Eaves Class tactical explorer. "Our midshipman cruise could take us almost anywhere."

    "That's nothing," replied Cadet I'K'rR'h c'r'nai, flexing from the waist to lean in behind her friends. "According to the specs, there are two class fifteen industrial tractor emitters installed. She could turn a moon into an asteroid field..."

    As the shuttle drew closer to the starship, sunlight reflected blindingly off sections of the hull, and I'K'rR'h's black inner eyelids automatically snapped shut, as she continued to gaze upon the sleek vessel.

    "Vanguard shuttle control, this is shuttle Musevini on final approach, requesting landing clearance and approach vector," said Lieutenant Simon Van Doren from the pilots' console.
    ***

    "First of all, I want you all to know, that you are all here with my personal approval," Captain Amanda Palmer announced, as she looked over the three dozen third year cadets assembled in the main shuttle bay. "No one needs to impress me, because your records have already done so. All of you are here, because you have earned the right to be here.

    "I run a fair ship, and don't display favouritism, as some captains have been known to do. I extend privilege to those who earn it, I discipline those who deserve it. Over the coming year, you will put into practice the skills you have thus acquired, as well as developing new skills. You are now no longer students, but serving officers, and any one of you may become responsible for the fate of the ship and all hands aboard. That is the burden and privilege which comes with being a Starfleet officer. I know you are all capable of shouldering that responsibility, or I wouldn't've approved your postings.

    "That will be all, please report to your assigned duty stations."
    ***

    The holographic view screen positively glowed with the cerulean maelstrom of the Vorlan nebula, bathing the bridge in its azure light.

    From the command chair, Palmer observed the handful of cadets earnestly observing her officers and making notes on their PADDs. A nostalgic smile played across her lips, as she recalled her own midshipman cruise aboard the Ganymede.

    "You have the bridge, Commander," she said as she rose from the command chair and walked towards her ready room.

    "Aye, Captain," Commander Brandon Mayer acknowledged, turning the Ops console over to Cadet I'K'rR'h, who had been shadowing him all shift, and moving toward the central chair.

    As she entered her ready room, Palmer stalled just inside the door, for sitting behind her desk, idly twisting her curly red hair, with a sly Cheshire cat grin, sat Q. Reaching out, she spun the ergonomic cream-colored ovoid form of Palmer's Verticoli hairbrush on the desk, which the captain snatched away from the enigmatic being.

    "Give me that!" she snapped, cradling the hand-carved whalebone brush to her chest as if it were a newborn child.

    "Oh, so rude!" Q observed. "Is that any way to greet your fairy Q mother?"

    "What do you want?" Palmer demanded.

    "I couldn't help but overhear that lovely speech you gave to the new recruits," Q said. "All that talk about responsibility and duty."

    "An important part of any officer's life," Palmer said. "Something you would know if you had actually earned that uniform you're wearing."

    "So you truly care about every officer under your command? From your senior staff to the lowliest cadet?"

    "Yes, of course," lowering her hands, Palmer began to unconsciously tap the brush on her upper thigh.

    "What if I were to tell you, that there was recently someone who came your way, in need of assistance, but you cast them aside?"

    "I'd say that's nonsense," Palmer retorted. "Anyone who comes to me with a problem has my full attention and support."

    "Oh really?" Q insisted. "Let's just see about that, shall we?"

    She raised her hand, her fingers pulling together --

    -- and in a flash of blackness, Palmer found herself standing in a room, Q beside her. She recognised that she was in the residential quarters on Spacedock, and fought the impulse to slap her comm badge.

    "What's going on?" she demanded, as assorted S:CIS officers moved about the room in head to toe polymer coveralls, bagging and tagging items, mostly PADDs containing a variety of extreme pornography.

    "Oh they can't see or hear you, Manda," Q said conversationally, as a suited technician passed clean through Palmer as if she was not even present. "Just take a peek in the closet.

    With an uneasy feeling building in her stomach, Palmer leaned forwards, pushing her head through the closet door.

    "HOLY S**T!!!" she screamed, recoiling in shock.

    "Anything interesting?" Q enquired innocently.

    Looking as if she was about to vomit, Palmer pointed towards the closed doors with a trembling finger.

    "There is a naked man in there, hanging from a noose, with a f**king bag on his head!"

    "Anyone you know?"

    "What?! No! I -- Hang on..." with a sigh, Palmer stuck her head back through the closet door, and recognised Adam Cornish. "I declined his transfer aboard the Vanguard before we first launched. He had behaved -- highly inappropriately towards a female officer aboard the Phoenix. I didn't feel comfortable with the idea of him aboard my ship, and feared he may try something similar with one of my female officers."

    "Well, after the Vanguard, he tried the Bedford, the Tiburon and the Endeavour. Each captain declined his transfer, but Commander t'Kazanak was particularly scathing after Captain Atreides' dismissal of Mister Cornish, although she clearly made an impression, as you can see."

    Palmer looked down at one of the unbagged PADDs, and saw it showing an issue of Romulan Babes.

    "I guess you're trying to tell me that if I had let this pervert serve aboard the Vanguard, he wouldn't be dead now," Palmer sighed. "That he was just a misunderstood soul who needed help."

    "Oh he was sicker than an Orion Matron's playtime," Q said. "But just remember, that your duty of care extends to everyone you meet, not just those under your direct command. At least I didn't have to take you back to the road to Damascus so you got the message."

    "Consider the lesson learned," Palmer insisted. "I'll be going back to my ready room now."
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  • jonnaroslynjonnaroslyn Member Posts: 50 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    The sky was a featureless dome above them, grey and overbearing and so smooth that Joanne Roslyn kept expecting to see the team reflected in it. There was no single light source, instead a uniform dim illuminated everything, washing out shadows and colours. The ground was covered with grey regolith, a powder so fine and dense that it gave the impression of walking on a really thick carpet - if pieces of the carpet came off with each step. The dust clung to their trousers and boots, and Joanne could feel it settling on her skin when she rubbed her fingers together. Apart from their small circle of footprints, the ground was as undisturbed as freshly-fallen snow, and there were no geological irregularities of any kind. In the distance, the curvature of the horizon was clearly discernible, a constant reminder of the size of this world. With a comforting regularity, the bright shape of the Mutabor would rise above the hard line of the horizon, climb maybe a quarter of the sky and then dip again. From what Joanne heard from Commander Taallir during these short periods of communication, they still couldn't tell exactly what it was that their Admiral was standing on, or how it managed to have both a surface gravity of one perfect g and a very fresh, breathable atmosphere.

    Again, Joanne wished she had her tricorder.

    Everything had happened so fast, Commander Corspa Eide hadn't even had time to grab a phaser, and that said something. One moment, they'd been well on their way after a biannual maintenance check, and the next, he had been on the bridge.

    Q.

    Dressed in a red 24th century uniform, looking impatient and like all those pictures in the Starfleet databases had been taken just yesterday, he had looked at them, calculating. Joanne's first instinct had been to get angry - what was that stunt with the Borg, all those months ago - but then her mind had helpfully supplied half-forgotten content from compulsory evening lectures on near-omnipotent beings at the Academy. Never challenge the entity. He hadn't let her form a response to his appearance anyway, just raised one arm and snapped his fingers.

    Behind her, somebody sneezed. Joanne turned around and looked at her small team. Q had just dropped random members of her crew on the surface of this object, giving no clue as to his intentions. Corspa was there, for which Joanne was immensely grateful, rubbing her nose. The other three were Nurse Koan, whose blue Bolian skin stood out starkly against the grey surroundings (contrary to Corspa, who just looked pale), and two young Human crewmen from teams usually working deep in the bowels of the ship, both in worn yellow engineering coveralls, looking scared.

    Koan looked from Corspa to Joanne. "We should return to the ship as soon as possible, Admiral, before we breathe in more of the regolith."

    Corspa nodded, sniffing quietly. "If I didn't know better, I'd say we're on the moon - Earth's moon. I'd recognize this stuff anywhere."

    Joanne frowned. "This sort of material is very common. How can you be sure?"

    "The taste and smell are very distinctive," Corspa said, then sneezed again. One of the crewmen offered her a piece of tissue.

    "It doesn't matter," Joanne said. "We've got enough of it on us to get it analysed in the lab. Let's beam back up next time the Mutabor comes around."

    Everyone nodded eagerly, relieved at the prospect of getting back to the relative safety of the ship. They were on edge, still waiting for something to happen, something that would explain why they'd been dropped here. Was this a test? A game? Would something burst out of the dust the second they made a false step?

    But the greyness around them remained unchanged as they waited for the Mutabor to complete its orbit around the small world, and as the transporter engaged, Joanne felt a deep uneasiness settle in her at the thought of leaving their footprints etched in the dust on the otherwise unmarred surface.

    x

    After the transporter had gotten most of the dust off their clothes, they had samples taken of the rest and then, at the insistence of her chief engineer ("This stuff gets everywhere"), they went through a quick decon. More than half an hour went by before the Admiral and Commander Eide returned to the bridge, which showed no signs of Q, and where Joanne finally learned more about the strange object she'd visited.

    "It actually has the exact dimensions of Earth's moon," Ensign Banks explained, prompting Corspa to wiggle one antenna at Joanne, "meaning it's possible that it was built by humans. However, our sensors cannot penetrate the surface, so we don't know if the high gravity is caused by its mass or a piece of machinery inside it. The atmosphere is, most likely, artificially created and contained. The artefact shouldn't have one, not out here."

    Joanne turned around from where she had been looking at schematics and data on the viewscreen. "And where is here, Ensign?"

    Banks took a deep breath, and Joanne became aware of the tension in the room for the first time, too thick for it to be just because of Q's sudden appearance. When Ensign Banks answered, her usually so collected expression gave way to an open helplessness, betraying her age.

    "We are out of the plane of the galaxy by some sixty-three degrees, and above it by almost ninety-three thousand light-years, Admiral."

    93,000 light-years. A cold fear clawed its way up Joanne's spine. Ensign Banks was still talking, but her words came to Joanne like she had thick wads of cotton on her ears, meaningless and mute. Q could probably send them back home in an instant, but what if they failed to do whatever he had brought them here for? Was the entity that malevolent? In a flash of quiet hysteria, Joanne remembered how, as a child, she'd thought the journey of the Voyager was the ultimate adventure, and had spent hours pretending to be Captain Janeway, guiding her crew home through the vast unknown. Now she knew with crystal-clear certainty that she could not do it. There wasn't even anything out here in the galactic halo, no planets, hardly any stars, just tons of hot gas, that could help get them home.

    When she realised that the bridge crew was expecting some sort of reaction from her, she fought her way through the numbness on her mind and schooled the expression on her face into something vaguely confident. She was still struggling for words when Taallir saved her.

    "But that's not even the most interesting part," he said, "look."

    Joanne turned around towards the viewscreen just in time to see it light up, the picture taking her breath away.

    Oh.

    The Milky Way filled the screen, surrounded by the deep black of intergalactic space. But it looked different from the composite images they had, and different from similar spiral galaxies they had seen - it was milkier, embedded in a dim sphere of stars, giving it an almost orange glow. The central bulge was bigger, nearly a quarter of the disc's diameter, and awash in warm, yellow light. The spiral arms seemed thinner, bright blue threads wrapped tightly around the core, and were dotted with individual stars, like grains of salt on the picture.

    "That's... that's not our galaxy," Corspa said.

    "But it is!" The fear had fallen away from Joanne at the sight, replaced by calming awe. Her mind was taking in the colours and returning numbers, information. "It is, but over seventy million years in the future."

    Corspa threw up her hands and returned to her station.

    x

    The data they were getting was invaluable, Joanne knew. When they returned home, it would entertain scores of physicists for decades, herself included. In her head, Joanne was going through cosmological models and theories that now were shown to hold true for a time-span of several tens of millions of years, while at the same time trying to clamp down on her excitement. She took the immensity of what they were seeing as proof that Q would take them back home, since it was unlikely that he cared about things like temporal directives. It made Joanne wonder. Was there still civilization, after all this time? Had the galactic community endured throughout the millennia, or was the little artificial moon they were still orbiting the last remnant of humanity?

    Taallir was now pointing out different features across the galactic disc, massive bubbles of hot plasma and supernovae, sketching out the history and fate of the galaxy. Corspa was still doubtful, so he told her that the Milky Way's nearest neighbours, the Magellanic Clouds and the Andromeda galaxy, were exactly where they should be, taking into account their known motion and the expansion of the universe.

    Joanne was only half-listening, her eyes darting back and forth over the screen, feeling more and more like Q had given her a great gift.

    "But why," Corspa said impatiently, addressing what Joanne should have been most concerned about, "why are we here?!"

    At that, Q popped back into existence. He was now wearing the Admiral's coat that Joanne favoured, pacing back and forth in front of the viewscreen. There was none of the usual "dangerous playfulness", as it had been described in the notes on him, but instead his eyes were too bright, his gestures too wide. Once again, Joanne felt inadequate, consciously resisting the impulse to shrink back when he walked up to her.

    "Do you see it?" He was walking around the bridge, looking at each crew member in turn. "Can you see it happening? Why is this happening?"

    His obvious haste, his confusion, scared Joanne. Weren't the Q omnipotent, all-knowing? What could possibly provoke such a reaction? He seemed to come to a decision then, looking almost disappointed. With a shake of his head, he raised his hand again.

    In a flash of light, they were home.

    x

    Epilogue:

    Joanne had only been poring over the data they had collected for about an hour, after having been extensively debriefed by Starfleet Command, when the message came in.
    A second ship had been taken across time by Q, and brought back. Over the next few days, a steady trickle of ships was flung into the future, only to be returned shortly after. Each captain reported the same Joanne and her crew had seen; a galaxy of ageing stars, watched over by a relict covered in moondust, and the entity Q becoming more and more distressed over something that no one seemed to be able to figure out.

    When it stopped, there was some more speculation, but even that died down after a while. Maybe the clue was hidden in the sea of data they now had, maybe not. The greatest thinkers of the Alpha Quadrant came to the consensus that, although there certainly was some great discovery to be made, it would happen so far downstream that there was no rush to get to the answer now.

    After all, there was time enough to worry about it.

    fin.
  • aten66aten66 Member Posts: 653 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Captain's Log:
    After successfully completing a raid against Orion Pirates on Nimbus, I've been ordered to DS9 to deliver the stolen goods where they can be returned at a later time. As of now, I'm on my way to relieve my temporary XO of night watch, as well as give the bridge crew a well needed rest.

    On stepping off of the turbolift, I find myself on a dark and empty bridge. Immediately I know something is wrong, as the night crew shouldn't have abandoned their posts yet. A low feral growl could be heard from across the room, my hair instantly standing up on the back of my neck from the unnatural sound. A sharp claw came at me before I knew it, I dogged it, only to vanish back a into the shadows. I took a quick shot at the shadows, hoping to hear something, only for the lights to go back on and to find myself in a normal, empty bridge. "Bravo, my friend, I toss you into the dark unknown, and you still fight" said a voice form behind me. I turn to see Q sitting in my chair...MY CHAIR.

    I fell to my knees, as I beheld the most atrocious sight I could ever behold. "What..whhh...." I stumbled to find the words, "Why would you harm a perfectly could chair Q!" Said entity was sitting in a chair, but not just any chair, the spot where a command chair once was, was now a bean bag chair on the floor. "A bean bag chair...are you insane Q, that's the worst thing you've ever done to me...topping the time you stole my stash!" I seethed. Q chuckled at my antics, which only worsened my mood.

    "I just tossed you against an unknown enemy, and all you worry about is that I changed your precious chair into a bean bag chair," he said standing now, shaking his head, "Seriously, Gregs, where is your priorities?" I was crawling into a ball at this point, as the chair was the only thing I loved about this ship, after a year of commanding it, I had just gotten it to fit me. Q sighed and snapped his fingers, turning the monstrous filth back into the beautiful, and comfortable command chair. After practically killing Q in a hug, I choose to sit back in the chair as fast as I could, before he changed it back.

    Sighing I got back to the important matter. "Why did you send an unknown reptillianoid against me Q?" I asked. Q had a look I could only place as puzzlement on his face.

    "How could you possibly know it was reptilian, it was hidden in the darkest shadows of the bridge!" he said in mock annoyance, "You couldn't have possibly gotten anything from one attack!" I turned to Q with a smirk.

    "I saw the arm had a scale-like pattern, the growl had intermediate clicks, and almost a slithering sound to it like a Gorn, plus when your a telepath even while hidden I could sense it's simple mind" I told Q, knowing he already knew these things. I merely wanted to get past his rude comments so I continued. "I want to know what sending that thing against me had to do with why your here" I said.

    Q looked at me almost dissapointedly. "Now Gregs, I'd never would have thought your time in the Alpha Quadrant has made you forget your home..." He replied.
    I narrowed my eyes at him, merely trying to figure out what he meant by that, when I heard him snap, and found myself in a tropical jungle.

    *****

    Second Officers Log: Sharvan
    At 0800 hours, we had lost contact with the bridge crew, only to find them reporting in at their respective rooms, also having lost contact with the Captain around the same time. As first officer Zinuzze is on personal leave to Trillius Prime, I have assumed role as acting captain while my counterpart is missing. Let us hope that this issue will resolve shortly...as they always seem to.

    *****

    Oh how I hate Q, loathe him, and utterly despise him in all regards, as he left me alone in this forest. The Voth of course, pointing his antiproton pistol at my back, seems to think I can understand him, while the Dankanasaur, the one word I could understand, probably in thanks to Q, I recognize as a bigger version (three times) of what Q pitted me against a few hours ago. Oh yes did I mention I had wandered two hours before stumbling onto this lone Voth and his pet. The scratches are minimal and the gash in my right shoulder will probably heal nicely in another hour or so without medical attention. I forgot how high and mighty the Voth were, looking down on other species with their superiority complex.

    From what I could tell, we where in an enclosed biosphere, a ship possibly, or a huge construct the size of a planet... oh @?#$. I mentally banged my head on a tree, it should have been obvious, the Voth, the giant jungle, the dinos, the metal walls, I was in a Dyson Sphere! In Voth Space! In the Delta Quadrant! I was sooooo in trouble, and was kicking my self over not noticing it sooner. Ah well, I'll probably learn why I'm here soon. Here's to hoping.
    *****

    An hour of walking, trudging, falling, and almost drowning later, I found myself in an encampment of Voth making, makeshift, yet showing its age. Among the scattered technology of the camp were a few scientists scanning the various plants and technologies on in the sphere. None of them seem to see me, instead focusing too much on their studies.

    The Voth lead his pet back to its holding place, and motioned for me to follow him into one of the structures. He taps a small device within his room then turns to me. "Welcome Starfleet Captain, I am of the Voth, as I believe you are aware warm-blood," he says, "I have questions as to why you are here and I expect you to answer them." He is blunt, he knows who I am, and seems to be familiar with Starfleet rank and structure, I deduce he must have been one of the Voth to come into contact with Voyager in 2373. I decided to humor him. "My first question, did voyager make it home after such a long journey?" he asked. I nodded, and he immediately relaxed his posture, as if he had a immeasurable weight on his shoulders removed. "My second question then, is how are you here, even if Voyager made it home, how could your people have reached this quadrant in a mere thirty earth years since we had last contact?" he said. I pondered what to tell him in this case, because while it was 'classified' everyone with the right clearance knew of the U.S.S. Callisto and its mission to the Delta Quadrant.

    "Truthfully, I was brought here by an entity of immense power (with an ego to match), left here, and then I kind of ran into you" I said, deciding to tell the truth. The Voth's skin changed color, almost paling to what it was.

    "Then you are in much trouble, if you are alone with no way back, you are stuck here," he said, "And while my excavation team is loyal to me, I fear your presence will cause dissention, possibly getting me thrown into another profession as the least punishment, or both of us thrown into a mining camp on some backwater planetoid." He paused, hesitant at first, then turned to me. "I'm sorry Captain, I've probably been rude to you, not even asking your name, or me telling you mine," he said apologizing, "My name is Tova Veer, head archeologist of the excavation of an important discovery, possibly the proof we need, to prove the Distant Origin Theory, that this sphere in space, once held our ancestors the pre-Voth civilization." I nodded, remembering reading up on the Voyager encounter in my academy years, though it was a bit sketchy. "I can give you a small shuttle, perhaps you can use it's subspace drive to..." I stopped him there.

    "I'm sorry Tova, but I cannot allow you to risk your life in behalf of helping me, besides once I'm finished here, I'm quite sure Q will be my ticket home" I told him. He asked how I knew Q would send me back. I smirked. "Q and I have a unique friendship, he gets me where and when I need to be, and I don't try and kill him every time he messes with me, not that I could harm him if I tried, there is always a lesson he wants me to learn" I tell him. He nods, then turns around and digs through a mound of paperwork on a desk in the room to pull up a P.A.D.D. of sorts, a Voth device, which he hands to me.

    "I believe Captain, that this is what you have come for, two letter sit in this device, both for a friend of mine, a Commander Chakotay if you know of him" he says. I remember Chakotay, but no longer as a commander, but as an Admiral. I took the device, then told him I would deliver this for him. Then a Voth scientist popped into the room. And I mean out of thin air.

    Then it hit me who it was. "Well Captain, it seems you've got an idea of what you needed to know, or at least some of it," Q smiled mischeviously before turning back into his regular form, surprising Tova, and annoying me, "But I believe it's time to go." He snapped his fingers and I found myself back on a full bridge, and Q's chuckling on the wind.
    ******

    Captains Log:
    After being informed of what had transpired in my absence, Icommended my crew, befoer choosing to retire for the evening. Once back in my quarters I decided to forward the letters to Admiral Chakotay, only to find the Voth device gone from my possesion. Instead I found a handwritten note from Q, explaining he already gave the device to Chakotay, and that he thanked me for humoring him with those hours of misery he watched. I so need a drink from my stash of ale. I fear though with the growing discovery of the Dyson Sphere on our end, we may come into contact with the Voth sooner then we thought.

    End Log
  • danquellerdanqueller Member Posts: 485 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    __

    Subcommander Rycho stood glaring at the position indicator of the turbolift as it clicked towards the Bridge of the Nor'Vessa. He allowed himself a brief consideration of having it converted back to Federation Standard, but knew most of his crew were less capable of reading an allied language, and threw the idea into the same place in his mind he sent all such distractions. He knew it would surface again as soon as he needed something to divert his attention from an actual problem.

    Ten minutes till we enter Mol'Dirsan. he thought, tapping his hand against his side with a nervous energy he only allowed himself in private. And all we hear on subspace is that twice-cursed whine that blocks out anything that might be worth listening to. What are we flying into?

    When the lift stopped, he barely noticed the doors as they slid aside, walking onto the Bridge with an eye on the main viewer as soon as he could see it. It was only after he saw it was blank and empty that he stopped in his tracks, noting the empty stations where his senior Officers and watchstanders should have been.


    That, and the man sitting in his judgement seat.


    Wearing the uniform of a Flotilla Admiral, the Human tilted his head in a casual air of exasperation he had seen on many senior officers in holofictions, his brow raising in mock surprise "About time you showed up. I don't have all day, you know. Junior officers, these days."

    Staring at the figure, Rycho could only say flatly "Q."

    The other stood, gave a stage-bow, and began to speak dramatically " 'Tis indeed I, brought forth from the willowy clouds of the ether and deposited upon your most frightfully primitive ship, that I might henseforth giveth mine Admiral's wisdom unto thine ear, oh high ruler of..." Q then seemed to realize he was speaking to only one person and continued in a normal voice. "Oh, but I'm sure you're used to this line by now."



    Reflexively, Rycho's hand attempted to bring up the weapon at his belt, but found only empty air where his hand burner had been moments ago. Frowning, his irritation and anxiety over the empty Bridge flaring, he snarled "I don't have time for your games! Where is my crew?! "

    A brief look of hurt crossed Q's face as he shook his head. "Tsk, tsk, commander. You're supposed to be the Old Man, calm and correct at all times, aren't you? Why, I have a good mind to bring you up on charges of insubordination."

    "You're no more an Admiral than I'm..." Rycho took several breaths before continuing in a voice that was clearly forced calm "Why...are you here?"

    "Well, I happened to be in these parts, and noticed your ship heading in exactly the wrong direction." Q said "I thought I'd save you the trouble of finding out for yourself and dropped in to let you know."

    Rycho shook his head "You're not making sense. We're heading into the Mol'Dirsan system, precisely where we're supposed to be! Now...where is my crew?"

    Q looked around as though speaking to an unseen audience. "Your -crew-?? Why are all of the captains of these wretchedly primitive races always so concerned with their own little kingdoms, when the entire map is about to burn?" turning, he gave the commander a baleful look "Honestly, it's getting so I can't even turn my back for a moment or it's 'galactic destruction' this, or 'temporal annihilation' that."

    Rycho clipped his hot retort in its tracks, realizing there was an omnious undercurrent to Q's words. "What do you mean?"




    Q started to speak, then stopped with his mouth open as though reconsidering his words. He began again, only to halt once more. Finally, he shrugged. "Trying to explain the various laws behind universal quantumn flux theory to your species always gets tied up in that meaningless technobabble Engineers drool over. If I simply said that you didn't have time to worry about a star system that is already beyond any help you can provide, and that pursuing your lost Commander is going to take you too far away from where you need to be, would you trust me?"

    That question was one Rycho didn't need to think over long. "No."

    Exhaling in fustration, Q held up his hands and said to the empty room "You see? I told you this one was too stubborn! Those Synarian gas mites were quicker to get the point, and look where they ended up! You had to pick this one? He's from their twentieth century, after all! You know what a mess of egos that....." Q stopped and looked to Rycho with a frown "Didn't they used to say a picture is worth a thousand words, back then?"

    The commander was taken off-balance by the sudden change in topic, and could only nod "I believe I have heard of that saying."

    Q grinned, and raised his hand. "You're from the twentieth century. When was the last time you went to the movies?" and snapped his fingers.




    When the flash of blinding light faded, Rycho found he was no longer on the Bridge, but standing in the aisle of a small theater, lines of padded chairs facing the white screen that dominated one wall. The roof and walls, covered in dark cloth decorations, lay in shadows, and a pair of doors sat closed on either side of the large auditorium.

    A tapping on his shoulder brought him around to see Q, now dressed in the uniform of a theater custodian, standing next to him. "My, my, sir! You're going to be late for the show! Take a seat, take a seat!"

    Glaring at the other man, Rycho grabbed Q's shoulders. "Enough of this! Take us back to my ship, or.."

    With another flash of light, Rycho found himself in one of the seats, his limbs kept fast by heavy leather restraints in the armrests and floor. As he struggled to break free, another smaller flash of light appeared and Q materialized sitting in the seat next to him, a large bag of popcorn in hand.

    "Don't mind if I take this seat, do you? I'd offer you some of this, but I can see you aren't in the mood." Q lifted the bag and brought out one of the popcorn kernels to eat.

    As the other man chewed, Rycho gave a grunt and finally gave up on his bonds. Looking over, he ground out "Get to the point."




    At this, the lights in the room dimmed, and there was the clacking sound of an old film projector being spun up. In the fading light, Q said "Do you know how much it cost to make this? I wouldn't want to miss a second of it, if I were you."




    The screen lit up with projected light, and a green notice was displayed in bold letters across its surface that read 'The Following Preview has not been Approved for All Audiences by the Temporal Integrity Commission. This History has been Rated 'E' Extremely Undesirable by the Continuum.'

    Q leaned towards Rycho and whispered while keeping his eyes on the screen. "I always loved this part. The anticipation. The waiting to be impressed. The impending sense of doom, perhaps?"




    The green notice was replaced by a starfield, slowly turning. Music began, a low-key, omnious strumming of string instruments, and Rycho saw a blue swirl of energy rise up as the view rotated to show where it had been below. With the music becoming more stringent in his ears, he watched as the scene dove down into what he had recognized as one of the Great Barriers of the galaxy, and passed into its depths, a chilling chorus of voices softly rising.

    Then a single male voice began to sing a lament in an ancient language as a single M-class planet came into view moments later, within a pocket of the Barrier. Wrethed in bands of blue energy that swirled and arced about it as though they were alive, Rycho watched as the camera approached that enigmatic globe, and just before plunging into the clouds above the world, he saw a single hybrid Borg cube in orbit above.

    The view broke through the clouds to fly over a desert landscape of cliffs and crags, lit by the strange light of the energies surrounding the planet, skimming quickly at surface level until it came to a place where a pillar of light arose from a stone formation that seemed as though it were a natural temple formed around that light. Drawing close towards, then into this formation, the sight of a single robed figure silhouetted against the column of light filled the screen, only its back and calmly folded hands visible to the two observers in the theater.

    With the unmistakable sound of a Borg transporter from somewhere out of sight, the figure turned its head, revealing the white-bearded face of a Vulcan. As the tone of the singing reached a final note of pronouncement, the man looked over his shoulder at what only he could see, and the knowing smile of a monster finally seeing the door to its cage open grew below eyes that held the promise of cruelty to come.




    Suddenly the view went black, the music now a woman's singing what sounded at the same time a valiant cry for valor and a dirge alongside the swelling music that seemed to become more desperate, and the only visible sight a line of text that read "The Master has Returned. The End Has Come."

    Then Rycho saw the images become instants of conflict on a scale he could barely grasp. First came the sight of Federation starships locked in desperate battle with Borg vessels, each ship fighting valiantly as a juggernaught of Borg cubes and massive command ships pushed inexorably towards Earth. The blue cloud-covered globe was abruptly blocked by the shape of yet another Borg ship, and a single line of text appeared. "The End of Stars."

    Next, Klingon ships boldy attempted to hold their battlelines as a wall of Borg cubes swept across them, not even bothering to slow as hundreds of Borg vessels pushed onwards to the red orb of Qo'nos. Fire and twisted wreckage filled space as green cutting beams crossed each other in the thousands to carve the orbiting stations and remaining ships to pieces, and the slowly tumbling hulk of a Klingon battlecruiser left behind it the words "The End of Swords."

    Then, Romulan ships elegantly danced and threw spheres of plasma energy at the massive armada of Borg cubes, assimilated Federation escorts and converted Klingon battlecruisers that slowly enveloped both the doomed fleet and the green-blue world behind them in a cloud of living metal. In the hundreds-strong flares of imploding singularities, the words "The End of Eagles." sat alone on the screen.

    Finally, the scene shifted to show a single starbase-sized station, its outer hull lined by human-numbered hatches. As the voices sung in final counterpoint to each other, the hatches slowly parted, and from each the huge shape of a Federation Odyssey-class starship emerged in errie synchonization. The final image of these twenty starships proceeding in formation from the station was the last scene Rycho saw before the words "The End of the Galaxy" stood out in stark letters that slowly faded with the end of the music until only blackness and silence remained in the theater.




    When the lights came to life, Rycho realized his mouth had gone dry, and saw Q staring at him, all trace of humor or lightness gone from his face. "This is what happens if you continue on your course. The ship your Commander's Borg decided to send out to discover a means to strike at the Borg central worlds will instead find their lost 'Master', and it won't matter if you find your Cube then, will it? "

    Rycho abruptly found his hands and legs were no longer restrained, but only rubbed the places where the bonds had been as he gazed back at the being that had just shown him the worst nightmare of every military in known space. "Why....why don't -you- stop this?"

    "We happen to be trying, in case you hadn't noticed by now." Q raised an eyebrow "But if you are asking why we don't personally handle all of the problems made by lower life forms such as yourself, the simple answer is that, in this particular case, we can't."

    The commander stared at him in disbelief. "You can't?"

    "No. This 'Master' wants to be discovered, and his abilities are a match for any of us. Anything we can try, he can untry and still take this galaxy into the cataclysm you just saw." Q gave Rycho a measuring look, though his voice remained cutting "You, on the other hand, are uniquely insignificant enough to escape notice, and have a connection to the root of this whole mess that makes eliminating you a much harder option without causing all those inconvenient temporal paradoxes."

    Rycho slowly got to his feet, and looked down at Q with hands that had closed to fists. "And why should I believe any of this? What motivation can you give me to believe you wouldn't just set all this up for some amusement of this Continuum of yours?"

    "I could tell you that I feel partially responsible for this situation, and I've always hated how that makes me feel." Q said, looking embarrassed "But the simple truth is that the Continuum has no interest in a galaxy where the only mobile life form is as much fun to interact with as a shovel!"




    Before Rycho could speak again, Q snapped his fingers, and a flash of blinding light again took them both. In an instant, they were in the commander's Ready Room, the lights pulsating with a reddish tint and alerts sounding in his ears.

    Q stared at him from where he sat in Rycho's chair, his hands steepled on the desk. "It's time for you to make a command decision. You either continue believing we went to all this trouble just to get under the skin of a rather stiff-backed minor Subcommander, or you take me at my word. There's nothing left for you to do in that system ahead, but if you delay in stopping that Borg ship from reaching the Barrier, there will be nothing left for you to do at all."

    Then, with another flash of light, Q was gone and Rycho was left standing alone in the flickering red light of the room. Frowning at the empty chair for a brief moment, he turned and marched out and onto the Bridge.




    Science Officer Tosik noticed him enter and reported "One minute to entry into Mol'Dirsan. Ship is at Battle Condition One."

    "Abort entry into the system!" Rycho sat heavily in his judgement seat and looked towards the Helmsman "T'dess! Plot us a course to the inner Great Barrier, and execute immediately."

    The Helmsman turned the same startled eyes to Rycho as the other officers on the Bridge and said "S..sir?"

    "The Barrier at the center of the Galaxy. You have the transwarp conduit information from the Federation to it?" Rycho asked, then continued at the nod from T'dess "Then get us there as fast as the engines can drive us!"

    Tosik stood and came alongside the commander's chair in aggrivated confusion "We are not going into Mol'Dirsan? What about the Republic fleet? What about....the Commander?"

    Rycho gripped his chair, his eyes hard as he watched the ship turn aside from her old course. "We....have to wait. There will be...another chance."

    "But..." Tosik could not go on as Rycho turned his eyes up to meet his, and a haunted look he had never seen before in the normally-determined Human gazed back.

    Rycho turned back to watch the main viewer as the stars expanded into warp-driven streaks, and his voice was stone "There will be another chance."



    ____

  • grylakgrylak Member Posts: 1,572 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Stunshock groggily came to. He didn't know how long it had been since the attack on the Sentinel. He didn't know where he was. All he did know was after the Gorn were finished with him, they had sold him to the Orions. And now he found himself in a stone dungeon, chained against the wall. The tattered remains of his uniform didn't cover much of his bloody body, and the chains held his arms up high against the wall. He had been placed just high enough to hang from them, but he could rest on the floor if he tried to stand on his toes, though his feet were shackled in a way to make that extremely uncomfortable. Other than the guards who fed him, there had been one or two Orion visitors over the days, or weeks, or even months, but they just teased him, hurt him and left. What little food they gave him was some horrific plant. It was the worst thing he had ever tasted, but at least it was compatible with his metabolism.



    He heard the door open. Too weak to even lift his head, he just gazed directly ahead as an Orion woman sauntered in, the door closing behind her. She stood infront of him, dressed in the usual skimpy garb this species dressed in and pursed her lips.


    "Well well well. Don't you look in a sorry state."


    Stunshock just curled a lip and tried to sneer.


    "Oh come now Stunshock, don't be like that. I'm impressed you survived this long. Your species don't exactly have a high rating for survivability among my people."


    "Too bad."


    His throat was horse as his voice cracked. The Orion continued.

    "Don't be like that now. I'm here to show you how worse it could be."


    Stunshock shifted his gaze to look at the Orion. She looked like every other generic Orion woman he had seen. No differences among them.

    "Oh please, torture me more. It's the only reason I'm hanging on."

    "Now, see, I know you're joking, but I am genuinely surprised. And as someone who can see the entire space time continuum, that's saying something."


    Stunshock frowned, starting to pay more attention.

    "Excuse me?"

    The Orion let out a sharp laugh and clapped her hands.

    "Oh, I'm sorry, I haven't introduced myself. I'm Q."

    "Q?"

    "Mhhh hmm. Oh, I know what you're thinking, you Starfleet types always do, but no, I'm not that Q. It's a shame how one bad apple can ruin the reputation of a species."

    She moved over to Stunshock, gently carresing his head horns.


    "Such a wonderfully sculpted species. He really did a marvelous job with your kind. Although the no eating fat thing is a bit much if you ask me. I told him not to bother with that, but, he does like his quirks."


    "What are you talking about? Have you come here to free me?"

    "Oh heavens no. I don't like messing around with lower lifeforms. Not now, anyway. Been there, done that. No, I just wanted to come and see how you were doing in person."


    Stunshock just scoffed and let his head drop.

    "Terrible. I don't even know what planet I'm on."


    Q pursed her lips as if she was thinking about something. She took a few steps back.

    "You know what you need? Some perspective."


    She clicked her fingers and suddenly Stunshock was on the ground with some Gryk'lin juice.

    "I'm not in the mood for games Q."
    "Of course not. I just thought you would like to see what's happening with some of the other members of your crew."
    "They'd better be allright."
    "Weellll.... that's debatable."


    Before Stunshock could speak again, Q snapped her fingers with a bright flash.


    Stunshock found himself in a sickbay. He didn't immediantly recognise it, but it was smaller than the one on the Sentinel, and was clearly Starfleet.

    "Where are we?"
    "This is the medbay of the U.S.S. Magpie. The ship that discovered your crew after the crash."

    Stunshock spun around.

    "Crash?"

    Q feigned surprise.
    "Oh, I'm sorry, did no one tell you? After they got rid of the Gorn, they tried a slipstream jump that ended up with the warp core going all kablooey on them, and smashed them into a planet. It was a most spectacular crash if I say so myself. Made all the headlines in the local town papers. They'll be picking up pieces of your ship for years to come!"


    Stunshock couldn't believe it. His ship.... after all they had been through, it was gone. Destroyed. And he wasn't even present for it. A Captain should always go down with his ship. He felt hollow. Struggling to speak, he asked how many survived.


    "Oh, the actual crash itself didn't kill anyone. At least, no one from your crew. They all evacuated, except for a plucky trio who tried ever so hard to not hit the city. But, with all these things, there was collatoral. Twenty Four people on the ground were killed by the debris. Few more were wounded. And then of course, they also ended up radiating much of the city."


    Stunshock slowly shook his head, trying to digest all of this. His bones felt heavy as he stumbled towards the nearest biobed, stopping in shock when he saw the patient. Talaina was lying on it, missing an antenna and badly battered. Stunshock went to brush the back of his hand against her face, letting his friend know he was there, but he went right through her. He kept staring at her as he spoke, barely able to more than whisper, such was he overcome.


    "Q. Why?"


    "Why is she there? She took on three Gorn by herself. I must say, I do like her fighting style. Take people down as quickly as possible, and TRIBBLE honour and TRIBBLE like that. I would love to see her fight a Klingon. But they pretty much shredded her insides. Docs put her in a medical coma to keep her alive."


    Stunshock slowly shook his head. Such carnage had come from that one incident.

    "What about Arwen?"

    "Your bride to be? Oh she's alive. So is that little space rabbit thing of hers. No, there was not alot of interest in the Evenstar once you guys turned up."


    The door opened and a pair of Doctors walked in, talking about providing radiation containment help to the city below. They checked on Talaina's condition and went about their tasks without paying Stunshock or Q any notice. Stunshock turned back to Q.


    "Ok Q. At least my crew is safe. And thank you for telling me that. But-"

    "Ah ah ah!"

    Q wiggled a finger at him.

    "I'm not done. The crew that stayed on the Sentinel are safe. But you weren't the only one taken."

    She clicked her fingers again. Stunshock now found himself in a bustling market place. At least, he thought it was a market place at first. but the crowd was all staring in one direction. He realised he was in an auction house. He looked around, his blood running cold when he saw what, or rather, who was on auction.


    On a raised platform stood a large Orion male, holding up Shalonda, the ship's counselor. She was clearly drugged and putting up no resistance as the bids came in thick and fast. Stunshock felt his anger boil to the surface at this, at how he was unable to protect his crew, how they were being sold into slavery for who knows what! He glanced around and saw some other officers that were under his command off to the side, either waiting to be sold or already having been done so. He balled his hand into a fist, his heart beating ever faster. The aching of his bones far from his mind, he took a step forward, ready to charge the Orion and try to free his crew when he paused. After all, he was only here as a spectre. There was nothing he could do. Or was there? He turned to Q.


    "Tell me there is something I can do. Tell me I can affect a rescue!"

    Q simply smiled sweetly and cocked her head to the side.

    "Oh you can. You could kill everyone here. IF.... if you were to break out of your prison and find yourself a time machine. You see, this has already happened. This happened the day you got thrown in that dungeon you're in now."


    "Then why show me this? Why torture me if there's nothing I can do about it?"


    Q simply shrugged, her smile splitting into a huge grin.


    "Because why the hell not?"


    A bright flash of light later found Stunshock chained up against the wall. His bones ached worse than ever. His muscles were weak from not moving for so long. Had it all been a dream? Was he finally going mad? A gentle voice whispered in his ear, even though he was alone.


    "Oh I assure you, it was all real."


    That was all the motivation he needed. His crew had not all escaped in one piece. There were members scattered throughout the universe. He started to draw in air through his nose, holding it before letting it out through his mouth. Each time, he held the breath longer, drawing greater strength each time. He tugged at the chain around his left arm. It was solid against the wall. He tried again on the right arm. The holding felt a little loose. It was still enough to secure him, but with concentrated effort, he could break out of here.


    Why had Q done this? What did she gain by giving him the strength he needed? To restore him from the broken man he had been? Whatever it was, he was thankful. He started applying pressure to the chain, waiting for the next time a guard came in......
    *******************************************

    A Romulan Strike Team, Missing Farmers and an ancient base on a Klingon Border world. But what connects them? Find out in my First Foundary mission: 'The Jeroan Farmer Escapade'
  • azniadeetazniadeet Member Posts: 1,864 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Time: The Final Frontier

    "Captain Deet, may I have a word with you?" Lt. Atom Approached the Captain's chair.

    "Of course." The Captain stood up, gesturing for Quallo to take command, "In my ready room?" she asked Atom.

    The two officers stepped into the Captain's bridge side office. "Bolian Tonic, three degrees Celsius." the Captain stated to her replicator. "Take a seat. What's on your mind?" She prompted her Science Officer.

    "Captain, astrometric sensors are detecting an interesting phenomenon 2.3 light years from our present position. I've found a gas giant orbiting Nu Cygni that appears to be laden with an unusually high amount of chroniton particles." The Android informed the captain.

    "Is there a specific reason you want to study this planet?" Captain Deet inquired.

    Atom handed the Captain a PADD. "This is... a theory I've been waiting to see actualized."

    Captain Deet scrolled through pages of thorough data, mathematical equations, and cosmological theory. She set the PADD down on her desk, looking mildly exasperated. She glared up into the Android's waiting golden eyes, "Lieutenant, could you give me an abstract?" she smiled.

    "Of course Captain," he leaned forward "This planet's unusual chroniton field, along with it's relative size, allows us an unusual opportunity to attempt an experiment that I have postulated for some time. If we jump to warp in a precise manner, using the gravity of the planet to distort our course, we should be able to travel several minutes back in time. We can then reverse course, and return to the present..."

    "Yes, I'm familiar with the slingshot effect for time travel, but isn't that normally performed around a star?" The Captain asked.

    "It has typically been used around larger bodies than this planet, but in order to test my theory, we only need to travel several minutes through time to run this experiment." Atom Explained. "The goal is to use the ship's deflector to generate a tachyokinetic pulse while we orbit the planet. This will imprint the planet's chronometric field with our Tachyon signature. If we track the same course back to the present, again initiating the pulse at the same point in orbit; I believe we can open a temporal disruption in the orbit of this planet that is immune to the passage of time."

    "Lieutenant, your work here is impressive, and it certainly appears thorough," the Captain continued to page through the data, "but is Time something that we should be meddling with?"

    "Captain, any experiment has its risks, but the rewards could be immense." Atom seemed to show some semblance of passion through his emotionless Android exterior, "I do not believe the risk in this experiment is too great. We have an opportunity for incredible exploration here. Is exploration not our primary objective? Time may truly be our next frontier."

    Captain Deet was inspired by her mechanical officer. It seemed like the Federation had lost that sense of duty to explore. "The Klingons, the Borg, the Undine... the threats we face every day. Somewhere along the line, the fighting made us forget the risks we must take to evolve." She pondered to herself. "This is your mission, Mr. Atom. Prepare a flight plan. I assure you'll cross every 't' and dot every 'i'."

    Atom's face did not change, but somehow it seemed to exude happiness. "Thank you, Captain. I will begin preparations immediately."

    Deet looked down at her drink as the Android officer left her office. Playing with Time itself was a bold step in exploration, and she wondered if she was qualified to make that call. It wasn't like she was meddling with history, it was only a few-minute long jump, the risks would be minimal, but the evolution of such knowledge could change the future forever. She didn't care. The opportunity to take a step into a new realm was too exciting, and it reminded her of the Captain's oath she took. Her crew deserved a chance to serve for once on the front lines of exploration, rather than the front lines of battle. It was their chance to go boldly.

    ---

    Three days had passed before the Federalist was prepared to run the experiment. Every move had been carefully coordinated through the ship's computer by Lt. Atom. It was only a matter of moments before the coordinated sequence executed.

    "Are we ready to make history... literally?" The Captain cracked a very small joke. "Let's make this happen!"

    The excitement was abuzz as the crew skillfully carried out their orders.

    "The countdown sequence has initialized." Ensign En'thaaz reported. "Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one." he counted.

    "Engage!" Deet commanded.

    The Federalist jumped to warp from a distance out. As the ship grazed the gas giant's gravity well, telemetry pulled hard to starboard, whipping the ship at a hard angle toward a new vector at high warp. At the apex of the curve, the ship's deflector came abuzz, bombarding the planet's atmosphere with Tachyon radiation. The pulse seemed to disappear from sensors, as the ship traveled backward through the moments to a time shortly before it had activated the pulse. The ship dropped out of warp after what appeared to be just a second at speed. It coast to a stop on the far side of the planet.

    "Bring us about." the Captain ordered. "How far have we traveled?" she asked, as the planet came about on the viewscreen.

    "Three minutes, 14 seconds." Atom reported. "The key will be to time our return jump so that we engage the Tachyon pulse at the same spot, at the same moment. According to my calculation's we will want to engage in Two Minutes, 3 Seconds."

    "Make the necessary preparations." she ordered.

    The Aenar helmsman and Android science officer coordinated the return course quickly. Ensign En'thaaz reported "Readying countdown..." he counted back from ten to one again. The ship jumping to warp on an identical trip back the way they came. Again the deflector buzzed with energy, as they hit the center of the hard curve to port. This time, the planet responded differently, illuminating with energy. The ship exited warp at the experiment's originating coordinates.

    "Exactly where we started, Captain. Time and location unchanged." En'thaaz reported the successful run.

    "Bring the planet on screen." The Captain ordered.

    A ball of light was left tethered above the planet at a low orbit. Chroniton particles from the planet danced in a fluid stream toward the newly created anomaly. It was like watching two bodies coalesce in a temporal tango. Time seemed to stop where the chronitons flowed from the planet, while the orbiting anomaly maintained an absolutely motionless core within the strings of chroniton radiation that flowed around it.

    "It's beautiful..." she remarked in temporary awe. Gaining her composure, she inquired "Is it stable?"

    Atom seemed to share the awe against his programming. "Yes, Captain. Everything appears as my calculations predicted. It should be safe to bring the ship in closer."

    "Take us in." the Captain indicated to her helmsman. She turned to the back of the bridge, "Mr. Quallo, Prepare a probe to enter the anomaly, and return course to us."

    "Right away." The Ferengi Tactical officer reported. "Probe launching."

    The hollow sound of a shot firing from the lower hull echoed on the bridge. The viewscreen showed a class-6 probe leaving the ship's safety, and entering the perimeter of the anomaly. Instantaneously, the same class-6 probe re-appeared from the anomaly, this time turned back toward the ship.

    "Fascinating." Atom exclaimed as much as an Android could. "Uploading data... it appears that the probe was actually in the anomaly for 45 seconds. It entered the center of the anomaly, reversed course, and returned to us. But from our perspective, those 45 seconds passed instantaneously. It would appear that time does not pass within the anomaly."

    "Would it be safe to take the ship in?" The Captain asked.

    "I believe so. The probe shows no signs of damage, and detected no discernable radiation or energy discharge. Nothing seems to be happening within the anomaly. Not even the passage of time." Atom answered.

    "Has the probe been retrieved?" The Captain asked Quallo.

    "Aye, it's back in cargo bay 1." Quallo answered.

    "Take us in, Mr. En'thaaz." The helmsman nervously tapped his console as the ship lurched toward the anomaly they'd created.

    The hull let out an audible whine as the Federalist crossed the chroniton energy barrier. The transition was more smooth than anyone expected. The silence inside the anomaly was stunning. The usual hum of the Federalist's systems seemed muted by the nothingness that surrounded them. From the interior, the chroniton energy field that surrounded the anomaly was still, where it appeared to flow from outside. The planet below stopped rotating. The stars even seemed to lack a shimmering luster. The Federalist found itself enveloped in the pure stillness of a moment of time itself.

    "The anomaly is measuring at 900 meters in diameter." Quallo reported the measurement. "Talk about a place to get a moment to yourself..." The Ferengi played on the phrase.

    "Captain," Lt. Atom interjected "I believe we can influence the passage of time within this anomaly by releasing short pulses of chronitons or antichronitons. The anomaly draws chroniton particles from the planet in order to maintain a bubble in time. By its very nature, the passage of time relative to this anomaly is contingent on the flow of chronitons cycled through its tachyokinetic matrix. If we generate additional chronitons from within, time will move forward. If we generate antichronitons from within, existing chronitons will be neutralized, and time will move backward."

    "Fascinating." The Captain tried to comprehend the nuances. "Let's start very slow."

    "Agreed. Generating chroniton pulse, duration one millisecond." Lt. Atom estimated a conservative duration.

    The planet below flickered into motion through the outside of the anomaly. The chroniton barrier surrounding the anomaly flowed into motion momentarily. Time seemed to move for just an instant.

    "Based on the rotation of the planet below, it would appear that we've moved 4.37 seconds into the future." Atom reported in.

    The Captain answered "OK, now let's try a one millisecond antichroniton pulse."

    Atom reconfigured the emitters, executing the command. Time again flickered into motion, seemingly in exact reverse of what they had accomplished moments earlier.

    "We're back to our starting time, Captain."

    "Well that seems to work like clockwork..." The captain realized the play on words "No pun intended."

    "We should be able to go as far back in time as the creation of the anomaly. I do not believe we can go beyond that point, as the Tachyokinetic matrix would not yet exist." Atom informed his commanding officer.

    "Make it so."

    The ship emitted a short burst of antichronitons. As time passed backward, they observed the past Federalist moving backward in time outside the anomaly.

    "What's going on?" The Captain asked.

    "It appears that while we're within the anomaly, we are the only Federalist. But outside of the anomaly, our past selves will go about their actions as the already have." Atom speculated.

    "Can they detect us?" Captain Deet worried.

    "I don't believe so, as we did not detect ourselves." Atom stated matter of factly.

    Captain Deet lightly facepalmed, "Temporal mechanics..." she sighed.

    They watched as the past Federalist 'un-retrieved' the probe they'd launched earlier. The probe flew backward to the edge of the anomaly. When it reached the boundary, it simply disappeared.

    "Where did it go? It should've instantly returned to the Federalist." Deet inquired.

    Atom responded. "The probe spent 45 seconds within the anomaly. It should re-appear after that time."

    Another 40 seconds passed with stillness outside, and the probe materialized at the edge of the Anomaly backing up to the Federalist's launch tube.

    The Captain wondered aloud "Why didn't we encounter the probe in here?"

    "Because it is back aboard the ship in our cargo bay. Within the sphere of this anomaly, it seems two items can not exist simultaneously." Atom handled the temporal issues with ease.

    Time continued to march backward to the moment of formation. The federalist was frozen at a moment of high warp mere meters above the anomaly as it came into being. It was emitting a beam that intersected concentric rings of tachyokinetic particles that converged at the anomaly's location with a diameter of 900 meters. It was a stunning sight to see such an impressive moment in time frozen.

    "Alright, Mr. Atom. Take us back to the moment we entered the anomaly. Let's make sure we can get out of here before we celebrate this achievement." The Captain nervously joked.

    The chroniton particle buzzed as time returned to it's original state. The events of the past few minutes zipped by on the outside yet again.

    ---

    The Federalist left the confines of the anomaly safely. They had essentially created the Federation's first safe, repeatable, two way time machine- though one direction had an originating limit. Captain Deet stood up to check the ship's status with Lt. Atom, but the moment she stood, a flash of light filled her chair.

    "You have no idea what you've just done!" a man appeared sneering, wearing a Starfleet Captain's uniform.

    Aznia turned back startled. "Excuse me. I believe you're in my chair." she regained her cool.

    "You'd think Starfleet would have learned their lesson about Women Captains after Janeway got herself lost across the galaxy..." the arrogant man scoffed, shaking his head. "Now you threaten the entire time-space continuum."

    "Would you be Q?" Aznia deduced, recalling some high level briefings she'd been privy to.

    Q's demeanor turned slightly upbeat. "Oh, you've heard of me! It's wonderful to have such dedicated fans!"

    "I take it our experiment has drawn your attention?" Deet cut through the pretense.

    Q nodded. "Right to the point... I like that, Captain! Which makes my purpose here so much more painful."

    Captain Deet's face went stern. "What do you mean??"

    "I assure you, what I have to do is not out of malice. But there is just too much at stake!" Q snapped his fingers, disappearing.

    The ship began to tremble. Alerts began to sound on every console. Aznia's comm badge was raised from her Chief Engineer. "Captain! We've lost containment in the Warp Core, we're only seconds from a brea..."

    The warp core on the Federalist breached, sending a massive matter-antimatter explosion through every deck of the ship. The Federalist was ripped to pieces. All hands lost.

    ---

    The chroniton pulse had returned the Federalist to a period 10 seconds after they entered the anomaly. "Perhaps we should take a brief look forward before we leave." Lt. Atom suggested.

    "Very well." Captain Deet acquiesced to curiosity. "Move us 5 minutes into the future."

    The chroniton pulse resumed. The crew began to watch in amusement as the future Federalist left the anomaly from a point just a few moments after their original entry. The ship moved out to a point of survey, and after several more moments, the crew was horrified to watch helplessly as their future ship exploded.

    "What happened!?" The Captain shouted.

    The crew tapped at sensors and schematics, trying to piece together the information they'd acquired.

    "It looks like the warp core simply lost containment!" Quallo explained from a tactical sensor diagram.

    "What could've caused that!?" Aznia pleaded. She tapped her comm badge "Engineering! Take the warp core offline now!"

    The ship's humming inner workings slowed to a stop. The crew of the Federalist checked every system and subsystem for some reason that the explosion could've happened. There was no explanation.

    "We've got all the time in the world to check this out." Aznia stated to her senior officers.

    "I believe I have a a way to get us some additional data," Lt. Atom piped in. "The ship has already exploded once, and we were able to observe the phenomenon in the future. We could simply program our ship to relay all operational and sensor data through a compressed stream, into a secured 'black box' capable of withstanding the explosion. It can be programmed to transmit the information back to us several seconds after the breach."

    "Make it so." The Captain ordered.

    "If that is the case, then I believe we have already done it." Atom referenced a causality loop, as he tapped his console to move the ship another few moments into the future. As time began to move, the data transmission came in. After several seconds, it was complete. The Captain and her crew split up and analyzed the data from the black box transmission.

    Commander Span chimed in, "Captain, you may want to hear this. I have an audio recording from the bridge."

    The dialogue between Q and the Captain sounded for all to hear. "Q..." The captain sneered.

    "Isn't the Q entity supposedly omnipotent?" Span inquired.

    Aznia raised an eyebrow, "Then why are we still here? From what I know, Q doesn't have a history of that kind of violence without good reason... Our actions with this anomaly may present some weakness to the Q. If it didn't, he would be in here now, putting an end to our plans."

    ---

    The Federalist again prepared to leave the anomaly. This time, the ship crept out at low impulse, hanging mere meters off the surface of the anomaly. They began to feign further scans of the surface in effort to deceive Q. Aznia stood up from her chair, Q appearing in her place, as expected. Taking this cue, En'thaaz immediately descended the ship back into the anomaly.

    Q jumped up from the chair in panic, "No!!" he swirled his fingers in the air to escape, but had no success.

    "Your powers don't work here, Q." Aznia stated with a sense of satisfaction.

    "Captain, this does not change your situation. The second you leave..." Q was cut off.

    "What? You'll kill us again? What if we just leave you behind?" Aznia enjoyed the chance to intimidate a Q.

    Q smiled at the rare surprise of a worthy adversary. "Azzy, baby, you just don't know what you're doing here."

    Aznia rolled here eyes.

    Q continued "If you do anything to me, another member of the continuum will be ready to stop you when you leave. We can not allow you to continue these experiments!"

    "Because we're outside of your power." Aznia stated as a matter of fact.

    Q waxed and waned... "Sort of." he nodded "Let's just put it in terms you can understand and say 'yes'. You're outside the scope of our power. Like a monkey with nuclear arms. OK?"

    "I can't let you kill my crew." Aznia pleaded with Q for an answer.

    "Look, I don't want to do it, but the continuum made up their mind! The knowledge and processes you've acquired here can not be harnessed by the Federation for at least another 250 years! Literally the fate of all space-time could depend on it. Your feeble calculations are just not accurate enough to play with!" Q demanded.

    "What if we agree to stop these experiments... to suppress all knowledge we've acquired." Aznia pleaded.

    Q shook his head. "Your species aren't all the most trustworthy..." he looked at Commander Span "Vulcans alone are some of the most deceptive liars in the galaxy!"

    Span simply raised an eyebrow.

    "Look, Q. We need to solve this situation, or else we'll be sitting here in stalemate for a very, very long time." Captain Deet delivered the ultimatum. "This planet." Aznia gestured to the gas giant "If we had not discovered this chroniton rich planet, we would've never run these experiments."

    "That's all well and good, but your walking, talking toaster still has the idea in his head." Q gestured to Lt. Atom, "If you allow us to dismantle him, I could find a way to spare the rest of your crew."

    "Captain, please agree to it." Atom pleaded.

    "No." Aznia wouldn't budge.

    Q rolled his eyes. "You'll hinge a deal for your life on the fate of a glorified Buick..." he scoffed.

    "Mr. Atom, if I were to give you an order to delete all of this research, and conceal it forever, would you do it?" Aznia asked.

    Atom nodded. "Of course."

    Aznia suggested a final solution. "Q, if we leave the anomaly, would you be able to travel back in time?"

    "Of course, Mon Capitan." Q answered.

    "If I record a message with orders for Atom, could you deliver it to his quarters say- one week ago? Then interfere with our ship's sensors to prevent the discovery of this planet. None of us need know you were involved."

    Q nodded, satisfied.

    "I hope I'm not making a mistake by trusting you." Aznia relented. "Mr. En'thaaz, take us out."

    The moment the Federalist crossed the anomaly's barrier, a flash of light encompassed the bridge. The crew was gone, leaving only Aznia and Q.

    "Where are they..." Aznia looked around, seeing no stars on the viewscreen "Where are we!" she demanded in a panic.

    Q raised his hands as to bring calm upon the situation. "I'm not tricked very often. I would've gotten away with simply destroying you, if I hadn't overplayed my hand by visiting you first. I got reckless- which is exactly what you did too. You caught the great and magnificent Q off guard... I don't know if you understand how special that is, but it would be awfully unfair to take such a rare accomplishment away from a mere mortal... though you have no idea how close you came from transcending beyond that."

    "If surprising the Q is such a rare and special event, then why have you gone to such lengths to limit our opportunities to do so again? Aznia asked rhetorically.

    Q smiled widely "You've got to work very hard to keep something rare and special when you're as powerful as we... oh, and don't worry about the rest of the continuum. I'll deal with them. Farewell, Azzy..." he raised an eyebrow "...until next time."

    Q flashed out of the picture, and Aznia found herself sitting at her desk in her Ready Room, 2 days prior. Lt. Atom sat across from her, waiting for approval to pursue his experiment. Aznia's face turned to sadness as she informed her science officer of the bad news, "Mr. Atom, I have to order you to delete every bit of that data from the computer, and erase that planet from our sensor logs."

    "But Captain, the potential for discovery here is..."

    Aznia cut the Android off "The potential for discovery is amazing. But the stakes are much higher than you are aware. Please, Mr. Atom, as a friend, and as your commanding officer, I need you to follow this order."

    The Android was taken aback. He stood from his chair, expressionless. "It will be done, Captain."

    Aznia smiled at Atom.

    Atom looked back expressing confusion, but he did nod as to say 'you can trust me' before the doors to the bridge slid shut behind him.
  • drajoradrajora Member Posts: 0 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Captain Selene Persico swore as she banged her head on the low ceiling, and made a mental note to pressure Starfleet again to bring the ship in for a full internal refit. The cramped, close conditions of the ex-Dominion Jem'Hadar Attack Ship were wholly unnecessary in this day and age. And would it kill Utopia Planita to install some more lights?

    The USS Talon was assigned to Task Force Omega, patrolling the Gamma Orionis Sector Block. The 'slippery' nature of the ships, their ludicrously overpowered weapons banks and agile nature made them ideal fast-response ships for Borg incursions. The Talon and it's sister attack ships Blade and Needle were currently cruising along near the B'Tran Cluster. It had been very quiet for the last two days, and long range scans for Borg activity were reassuringly empty. But the call to her quarters as she was about to settle in had sounded unnervingly urgent.

    "So what's the disaster?" she asked as she arrived on the transformed bridge. One area where she had got her way, the compartment was far from the original utilitarian box. A proper viewscreen was mounted on one wall, and there were five stations arranged around the Bridge. All with proper LCARS displays and shockframe-mounted chairs. While still undeniably a warship, there was now at least a place to sit while on long duty watches. On that note, the central railings had been removed and in it's place was a comfortable Captain's chair.

    Which was occupied. Selene stifled a groan as she recognized the smug face.

    "Hello again, Q."

    "My Dear Captain! Still such a dreary and small ship. You really must get out more!"

    "Q. We've been over this. The Fast Response Squadron needs to be on constant watch for Borg incursions into Federation space."

    "Oh, don't be so melodramatic, Captain! The Borg won't be back here for another week!"

    Selene considered the statement for a moment and then snapped out an order.

    "Signal to Task Force Omega. Borg activity in B'Tran at Condition Green for the next standard week. Source Authorisation Q-One. Signal Authentication Persico-One-One-Zeta-Five. Send with Fractal Pattern C."

    The Q clapped its hands delightedly.

    "Oh very well done Captain! But that means that you now owe me. And how about this, I have just the thing for you to pay that off! The game is Where and Who, Captain!"

    Selene didn't bother arguing the point. This was the Q's fourth visit, and the previous three had gone through the same charade. Arguing the point could take days - days in which her crew had to remain at high alert, and days in which the Borg indeed did not turn up. Might as well give them some downtime while it lasted.

    Besides, she had a hunch. This wasn't the Q that had badgered Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Bolvar, Terseck or Winglight. This wasn't even, Q, son of Q and Q. It was a different Q altogether, and it seemed to be - well, fumbling along was the best term.

    And the idea of a nigh-omnipotent God fumbling was one that put chills down her spine. It was like a child copying what it had seen another do. And thinking about the other Q's penchant for pranks and games, that was somewhat frightening.

    She had time for one more statement, if she judged this right.

    "Commander Anthi. You have the ship until my return-"

    Flash

    Warm air slammed into Selene like a battering ram. Heat and humidity immediately started her sweating. Weights appeared at her belt and she looked to see a tricorder and a phaser had materialized on her hip. Bright light from an overhead source saturated the area - an alien jungle of some sort, definitely a Class-M atmosphere...

    "Maybe this one won't be so bad."

    There was a screech, and a large avian, obviously startled, flapped it's way out of a tree, heading up towards the canopy.

    Where it was immediately skewered by a reddish beam of energy coming from somewhere to the right. The carcass fell to the ground, smoking.

    "Or Not. I'm really starting to dislike the Q."

    Thirty very frustrating minutes later, Selene was still clueless as to the source of the beam. She'd backtracked it using the thermal scorching on the undergrowth, and cautiously approached the small clearing, only to find it empty. A search pattern around the site had failed to bring up any form of tracks or trace.

    She took out the tricorder and set it for the most comprehensive scan the device could manage. Then, settling in, she chose a secluded spot in the root system of a large tree and waited. Many captains would charge off into the jungle, trying to find somewhere - anywhere that was a sign of civilization. Selene preferred to gather her intel first about the immediate area, and doubly so if there was a sign of a potential hostile.


    Selene jerked awake, startled. Somehow, she'd managed to doze off, and with an unknown, armed alien in the area.

    "Well, if this was the Academy Survival final, that would've been a clear flunk." It was still daytime, or at least the light hadn't appreciably changed. Maybe she'd only been out for a few minutes?

    The tricorder was emitting a soft beep. Retrieving it, she noted the scan had been running for about two hours. "Definitely a F-minus. Guess I'm more tired than I thought. Kinda wish the Q would allow me at least some rest before these ridiculous 'adventures'."

    According to the device, There had been seventeen avian forms passing the area, four radio-frequency spikes, a neutrino blast, two X-ray events from directly above and an incidence of a space-time curvature.

    Selene punched for a more detailed analysis, wishing she had the Talon's computers to rely on. The tricorder considered the readings and the obediently flicked the results up. An artificially regular spatial distortion had crossed the clearing in the last hour. The name rang a very faint bell.

    Where had she heard that before? Sitting down on a nearby fallen log, Selene leafed rapidly through memories.

    Borg Response? No. Klingon Patrol? No. West Arm Incident? No. Academy?

    That worked. The Academy. That's where she'd heard the term. Tactics? Colonial? Medical? No. Hyperdimensional Math? No. Exploration....

    Yes. Exploration classes. Admiral Hyde, guest speakers Captain Bolan, Lieutenant Acern, Captain Kim - with an almost audible snap, the memory clicked into place. For a moment, Selene was transported back to Room 17-J at Starfleet Academy, listening to a guest lecture by Captain Harry Kim.

    "One of the things in exploration is that you've gotta be on the lookout for the slighest discrepancy. One time, I picked up some spatial distortions on the bridge of Voyager. Completely normal day, and then Bam! Distortions. Turned out to be a couple of aliens called Voth. Big lizards. They used the distortions as a sort of cloaking technology and-"

    Her recollection stopped as some sixth sense tipped her off, and Selene dived to one side, rapidly rolling behind the fallen log.

    Seconds later, a plant at the side of the clearing snapped backwards on it's own. There was a faint shimmering, and then a pause. Selene watched as a large, silver-clad alien - no, the Voth, just appeared out of thin air. Of course, it wasn't as shocking as it could have been. The stolid Jem'Hadar Mira'Kirren back on the Talon tended to do something of the same thing every time he was tapped for an away mission.

    The alien was tall and distinctly saurian. It had a flat head with a bony plate forming a sort of club towards the back. Its eyes were set in a typical humanoid location, but appeared possibly slitted to her quick glance. It was dressed in a smooth silver-white armor. Decorated shoulder plates likely denoted some form of rank or group designation. It had scaly green claws with black finger talons, one of which was curled around some sort of crescent-shaped device. Most probably a weapon.

    The Voth looked around, chittered and clicked rapidly in irritation or possibly annoyance and then tapped a control, fading back into it's cloak as it headed back into the jungle.

    She held her breath for a minute longer, and then satisfied it was gone, quietly hissed "Q!"

    Flash

    "Ah Captain! So, have you figured it out yet?"

    "They're Voth. Encountered by Voyager in the Delta Quadrant. Is that it? Is that where we are?"

    "Spoilers, dear Captain, that's only half the puzzle!"

    Flash

    "Really, really starting to dislike the Q"

    She took stock. The Voth's cloaking technology was formidable, and that weapon was not likely to be good for her health either. She needed higher ground. Get up a tree, get a vantage point - there!

    Her eyes alighted on an tall alien tree that looked easily climbable up to the thick canopy, and a few minutes later had holstered her phaser and tricorder, and was grasping the smooth bark.

    "Just like the holodeck. Just a big holodeck with safeties turned off. That's all."

    Thirty sweat-filled, curse-punctuated and splintery minutes later, Selene emerged into the crown of the massive tree. She took one look and stopped dead.

    "Really, Really, REALLY disliking the Q."

    Her first impression was that of a giant bowl, with herself at the lowest point. A light source burned powerfully overhead, so her view was limited, but she could still see the sides stretching far off in every direction.

    There was some sort of huge archway off in the distance to her left, and next to that, there was a gigantic silvery-gray smear that carried up the side of the bowl and faded into the distance. Clouds could be seen - no, they were entire weather patterns.

    "If this is what I think it is, then that smear is a sea or ocean, and it's..." She ran some quick mental calculations. "...Too damn big. Q!"

    Flash

    The being was now reclining on one of the broad leaves, yet it wasn't bending under his weight.

    "Its a Dyson Sphere. There's Voth in a Dyson Sphere, somewhere in the Delta Quadrant."

    "Very Good Captain!"

    A shadow fell over the tree, and Selene had a quick look to see if the Voth had called in an aircraft of some sort. What she saw didn't quite make sense, in the way that a person suffering a number of shocks in quick succession often doesn't fully comprehend what they are seeing. The sleek, predatory shape was eerily familiar, although against the backdrop of the alien jungle it was very incongruous.

    "Q?" She asked almost disinterestedly. "Is that a Romulan Scorpion?"

    "Never mind that. You solved the puzzle! Although it was a rather simple one, wouldn't you say? I suppose I'll have to make it harder next time. Maybe I should take away all your fancy Starfleet tools."

    Flash

    Selene was back in the cramped corridors of the USS Talon, next to the door to the Bridge. The cooler conditions of the ship started to take effect immediately. After her time in the humid jungle conditions, the place felt downright freezing.

    "Well, how was that then? Are you not entertained? What a grand adventure and puzzle you were faced with!"

    "One of your simpler and easier 'adventures', Q. And one I would rather have faced with a full tactical team."

    "Oh you handled yourself fine! Your success means I get to score more points against Q and Q. But I really must work on making it harder for next time. Oh, and while I'm here, you might want to deliver this."

    There was another Q-flash and a small isolinear chip appeared in Selene's hand. It appeared to be a standard Starfleet message chip, although the identifying serial was replaced with a string of Q's. She frowned. Gifts from a Q were notoriously... unpredictable. Captain Bolvar had turned in a Q-gift to Starfleet Command, only for it to vanish overnight and appear in his cabin the next day.
    Or the infamous "T'kon Statuette" which had been gifted to legendary Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Which was nothing but a stone statuette, despite six years of intensive research by Starfleet Intelligence and nearly two dozen midnight relocations to the Ready Room of the USS Enterprise.
    After the Trophy Of A Thousand Worlds incident, Starfleet's policy in terms of these gifts was now "Just do what the Q says. And send a report to Starfleet Intelligence."

    "Who's it for?"

    There was silence. The Q was gone, having used the final flash to zip off on whatever unfathomable errand had caught its fancy.

    Selene stepped through the door onto the Bridge.

    "Captain? You're back?"

    Her crew was looking at her, obviously curious about where she'd been whipped off to this time. Selene crossed to and sat in the command chair, shaking her head in a "Don't Ask" manner, and punched up the time and location. Six days after her departure, and they were On approach to the Gamma Orionis Transwarp gate. Coming from....Risa.

    "Everyone have a good shore leave?" she asked in a resigned voice.

    The chorus of affirmatives was enough to confirm that her crew was well-rested and ready for battle. And she'd missed it. Again.

    Sighing, she inserted the message chip, and brought up the header display.

    "For Immediate Subspace Communication to Captain Sazev Bh'ypiv, USS Rampart, Vulcan Orbit, Vulcan System, Sirius Sector, Milky Way, Multiverse Q-7014"

    She flipped up the Com panel and began recording. "Captain Bh'ypiv. I've just come into possession of a message chip for you. The source is unreliable but typically accurate.... Ah, to hell with it. It's a Q. Take anything the message says with a healthy dose of skepticism. It might help you, hinder you, or just annoy you. I'm transmitting it now. In response to your unasked questions: No, I don't know what's in it, No, I don't know why the Q couldn't hand-deliver the message itself, and No, I wouldn't trust it unconditionally either. Captain Persico, USS Talon, Task Force Omega, Out."

    She punched the key and the message sped off into subspace. Next task.

    "From Captain Persico, USS Talon, Omega Task Force to Starfleet Intelligence. Source Authorization Q-Seven. Encountered Voth and Romulan forces in what appeared to be a Dyson Sphere, unknown co-ordinates, suspect Delta Quadrant. Unable to positively confirm Romulan sighting. Voth presence confirmed. Persico, out."

    She sat back, replaying the short, perplexing encounter again. Finally a voice interrupted.

    "Captain, We're next on the transwarp queue."

    "Thank you Commander. Helm, link us in to Transwarp control. Commander, you have the Bridge. I-"

    Selene stopped and picked a splinter from her hand.

    "-am going to have a stop by sickbay, then have a long shower"

    "Yes Ma'am"

    "Oh and Commander?"

    "Yes?"

    "If a Q ever asks you to do anything?"

    "Turn them down with extreme prejudice, Ma'am"

    Selene smiled.

    "Carry on, then"
  • zidanetribalzidanetribal Member Posts: 218 Arc User
    edited March 2016
    Literary Challenge #52: Hello, again, Q

    LC52: Victory is Q
    Captain's Log, Stardate 87491.26. Q is on the Lord English again.

    ===

    "Ni hao, Zhong jiang."

    Admiral Lee stood in front of the Captain's chair as the rest of the bridge crew tried to work at their stations. Q had returned to their ship and was now sitting in the admiral's chair; their orders if Q returned were to ignore him and go about their business. Their curiosity, however, kept them making furtive glances at Lee to see what he would do.

    "Don't you want to ask me what I am doing in your chair?" Q asked. Lee remained perturbed as his inner thoughts rushed in his head.

    What should I do? I told myself I would ignore Q next time he came aboard. Going off of that, I should pretend he isn't in my seat and just sit down. Do I really want to try to sit on Q though? If I want to beat Q, I need to do something he won't expect, like when Ben Sisko cold-cocked his father at DS9. But what if he expects I'm doing something he won't expect? Also, why is he speaking Mandarin when I'm Cantonese? Aiya...

    ---

    Commander Vorat'kax spent another sleepless night meditating in the armory room he shared with the Lord English's other Jem'Hadar. Of course, all nights are sleepless nights to a species that doesn't sleep, but to Vorat'kax, the Alpha Quadrant concept known as "down time" was especially frustrating for him. The Breen defector Commander Thot walked in on his meditation, a stream of electronic buzzes flowing from his helmet.

    "I was creating combat scenarios in my mind again. This time I was thinking of the best ways to defend this ship from a Tholian boarding party," Vorat'kax replied.

    Another series of buzzes came out of Thot.

    "Tell Lieutenant Ixtana'Adar that as Second he may proceed with the kumite. I will be unable to attend as I must be on the bridge in fifteen minutes."

    With that, Vorat'kax stood up and walked out of the room. Thot bleated more noises as him.

    "As a soldier of the Dominion, I will deal with unrest among the Jem'Hadar according to my mission's parameters."

    Vorat'kax made his way to the bridge. He was keenly aware that Ixtana'Adar was less than pleased with his command style; the Alpha Jem'Hadar of the ship were very stubborn dealing with Gammas, and only respect of rank kept Ixtana'Adar from overruling his orders and commanding the Jem'Hadar. Vorat'kax knew the lieutenant was more than skilled enough to become First. Ixtana'Adar had years of combat experience, was more independent-thinking and stubborn due to his Alpha lineage, and maintained the baseline Jem'Hadar soldier genes.

    Conversely, Vorat'kax's genetic code was written by the Founders for less war-centered missions; his lessened dependence on Ketracel White allowed him to stay in foreign environments longer on less white, but resulted in sub-standard Jem'Hadar combat ability. The Founders wanted him to serve the Dominion by serving on a Federation ship; for him, victories would have to come from following the Federation captain's orders. However, he still had reservations about the captain of USS Lord English and his "let it be" style of command, which he thought led to lower combat efficiency.

    It takes great faith in the Founders for a Jem'Hadar to follow a Human captain, Vorat'kax thought. If the Founders believe that this captain warrants my loyalty, then I shall give him my loyalty.

    ---

    Multicolored lights and festive music greeted Vorat'kax as he stepped off the turbolift onto the bridge. Party dancers and wild animals pranced about in hedonistic cheer while the bridge crew tried valiantly to stick to their duties. Admiral Lee himself was sitting on a bar stool half a meter in front of his captain's chair, wearing only a lei and Philadelphia Phillies boxers. A man in a fleet admiral's uniform sat in the captain's chair.

    "Well! If it isn't Remus' token Dominion officer! Pull up a chair and I'll get you a Ketracel White cocktail!" the fleet admiral exclaimed.

    I must have faith that this captain deserves my loyalty, I must have faith in the Founders, Vorat'kax thought to himself as he approached Admiral Lee. Lee's face bore a look of agitated annoyance. The rest of the bridge crew varied between incredulity and amusement.

    "Hey, 'kax, I want you to pretend that nothing is out of the ordinary and stick to your duties. As you can see, Q has returned," he whispered.
    Aloud, he shouted, "Commander Taylor, how long before the Level 1 Diagnostic of the primary weapon coils is finished!?"
    "There are still 45 minutes left, Admiral!" she shouted back, heedless of the Orion slave girl outfit she was currently wearing.
    "Admiral, the presence of Q is interrupting the activity of this ship," Vorat'kax opined. "A Jem'Hadar would rather die than allow a foreign presence control of the ship. I can get an assault squad onto the bridge in five minutes if you give the order."
    "Forget it, 'kax," Lee replied. "Q is not an enemy that can be defeated by force. I don't want any bloodshed on my ship."

    Vorat'kax shook his head.

    "Admiral," he stated, "this situation has left your control. The Founders have ordered me to serve you in all my capacities, but they also require me to safeguard the interests of the Dominion. If I see that Q has become more than you can handle, I will be required to act as a soldier of the Dominion and fight the enemy."

    "Oh those Founders, they're just sticks in the mud they call the Great Link. All this talk about imposing order on a chaotic universe, it's quite silly, really."

    Lee and Vorat'kax turned to see Q right next to them.

    "I hope I haven't interrupted your conversation," he said.
    "The Founders are not to be taken light of, Q," Vorat'kax responded. "They are gods, and I am a servant of their will."

    Q looked snidely at Vorat'kax as Lee tried vainly to get him to disengage.

    "Well, don't you have the undue heroes to worship. I have more divinity in my left pinkie than the Founders, and even I don't go ordering everyone to worship me," he said. He shot a quick glance at Lee and added, "I just want your ear every so often, dear admiral."

    Vorat'kax's antipathy towards Q rose. This disrespect for the Founders was testing his resolve.

    "If I do not punish you for your blasphemy, I am no Jem'Hadar!" he exclaimed as he unsheathed his kar'takin. "The Founders are gods, and your disrespect for them cannot go unanswered!"

    Q smiled.

    "Well then, if you are so set on protecting your gods, why don't I give you power to outstrip your gods?" he said, snapping his fingers. In an instant, Vorat'kax found himself on the Founder homeworld. A Founder emerged from the Great Link.

    "What is your purpose, soldier?" it asked.

    Vorat'kax bowed in obeisance.

    "Forgive my insolence, Founder, as I have been brought here by an unknown force. I am currently serving on a Federation vessel as a representative of the Dominion," he replied.
    "You don't have to serve, you know," the Founder replied. "I gave you Q powers, so you can do whatever you want. Blow up a planet! Take over the Dominion! Turn yourself into a Founder! The choice is yours!"

    With that, the Founder snapped its fingers, transforming himself into Q, before disappearing. Vorat'kax pondered his situation. It was not his position to question the Founders, even if he had powers beyond theirs. With some difficulty, he snapped his fingers and returned to the Lord English.

    ---

    Commander Vorat'kax spent another sleepless night meditating in the armory room he shared with the Lord English's other Jem'Hadar. The Breen defector Commander Thot walked in on his meditation, a stream of electronic buzzes flowing from his helmet, while pointing at the hundreds of PADDs littering the room.

    "I spent my time meditation on battle simulations again. This time I have made around 447 distinct battle scenarios which can be used to defend the ship from attacks by enemies ranging from Orion pirates to Romulan saboteurs to Borg assimilators to Undine infiltrators."

    Thot buzzed while pointing at the various open boots on the ground next to the PADDs.

    "I have been modifying boots by equipping them with small electromagnets. If ever a crewman is caught in a decompressing hold or gravity fails on the ship, the magnets will trigger and keep the crewman from falling out or down a long corridor."
    "That sounds utterly boring," Thot said. "Is this the best you can do with your Q power? Why don't I raise the bar for you?"

    With a snap of his fingers, Thot teleported Vorat'kax to the mess hall, where the other Jem'Hadar congregated for the sparring sessions. Taking off his suit, Thot predictably showed himself to be Q, dressed in a Klingon battlemaster's garb. Q pulled out a megaphone and shouted into it.

    "Ladies, gentlemen, and miscellaneous-gendered species! In the purple corner, a youngling with all the potential in the universe and a mind too small to realize it, Commander Vorat'kax, the Gamma Grouser!"

    Q pointed to a group of officers in the other corner.

    "And in the pink corner, not one, but five of the Lord English's finest assault squad officers! Ensign Sonya Richardson, the Bartitsu Brawler, Ensign Guzached, the Blue-faced Beast, Lieutenant JG Kurinka, the Mok'bara Master, Lieutenant JG Emergency Security Holographic Program AS-1 Security and Defense Subroutine Epsilon 626, the Photonic Fighter, and Lieutenant Ixtana'Adar, the Alpha Assailant! Let's get ready to brawl!"

    Q rang a bell on his arm, signifying the start of battle. The five assault squad officers circled Vorat'kax, who adopted a defensive stance.

    "We are dead, First Vorat'kax," Ixtana'Adar declared as he struck. "Let us go into battle together to reclaim our lives."

    For the next three hours, assault squad officers fought Vorat'kax two minutes at a time until one hundred officers admitted defeat or were knocked out. Unlike the officers of the Lord English, Vorat'kax was neither fatigued nor wounded, a pillar of fortitude amidst the bodies outside the ring. Q was displeased.

    "Where is your imagination? You could have used your powers to hobble your opponents with a single touch, yet all you did was stand there taking blows? It's time to take it up another notch!"

    Another snap of the fingers and Vorat'kax found himself and the bridge crew of the Lord English on a deserted planet. Overhead, Jem'Hadar dreadnoughts pummeled the smoking remains of the Lord English in a crater, and battalions of Jem'Hadar were advancing on their position.

    "What the frak?" Lee exclaimed. "'kax! What's happening?"

    A flurry of polaron bolts cut down much of the exposed bridge crew as Jem'Hadar advanced on their position. Vorat'kax was at a loss, unsure as to his current situation. Despite a last-ditch attempt to defend themselves, the surviving officers were unable to resist. Commander T'Shaanat was killed when a polaron bolt ripped through her skull, while Commander Kira attempted to rush a Jem'Hadar soldier and blew up on a subspace mine.

    "'kax, I would really like an explana-" Lee cried as a Jem'Hadar First cleaved the top of his head off. Soon Vorat'kax was alone, surrounded by armed Jem'Hadar. The First who had killed Lee turned to Vorat'kax, and he recognized the First to be Ixtana'Adar.

    "Soldier, you have been found guilty for aiding the enemy. The Founders have sentenced you to death. Prepare yourself, soldier," Ixtana'Adar stated as he raised his kar'takin above Vorat'kax's head. Vorat'kax kneeled.

    "If the Founders will it, I will give my life gladly," he replied.
    "Do you not understand your position, soldier? You are now going to die," Ixtana'Adar shouted.
    "I am already dead, Ixtana'Adar!" he shouted. "I can only be killed, but not defeated!"

    A hand rose, a blade fell, and Vorat'kax's head rolled onto the ground.

    ---

    Back aboard the intact Lord English, Admiral Lee and his bridge crew checked themselves for wounds.

    "What the heck just happened?" he stated, holding his head. "My head feels like a fruit salad!"

    "What happened is that your Jem'Hadar officer is a really dull guy! Seriously, I could get a better rise out of an Android than a Jem'Hadar!"

    Vorat'kax and First Ixtana'Adar appeared on the bridge in a flash of light. To nobody's surprise, First Ixtana'Adar snapped his fingers and became Q again. Q pointed at Vorat'kax.

    "I have never seen a person less interested in near-omnipotence than you. These Founders must have really sucked the fun out of you, so I'm going to take these powers back. I'm going to go to the USS Vanguard, at least Captain Palmer knows how to have fun."

    Q snapped his fingers again and disappeared. As life aboard the Lord English returned to normal, Lee walked over to Vorat'kax.

    "Well, Commander, it seems like Q has left the ship," Lee said. "I'm hoping we won't see him for a while, and also I hope *cough* that we won't see a scene like that we just experienced. *cough*"
    "In all frankness, Admiral, if the Founders ordered me to raise arms against you, I would obey," Vorat'kax replied. "However, as part of my loyalty to your ship, I will give my life to ensure that the Founders do not see you as a danger to the Dominion."
    "Well, that's reassuring," Lee said, edging away from Vorat'kax.

    ===
    Captain's Log, supplemental. Q has left my ship and taken the Q powers he gave Commander Vorat'kax with him. Life aboard ship is returning to normal. We're en route to Earth Spacedock to pick up another gaggle of cadets, and I'm hoping to catch the annual Boxing Tournament at Starfleet Academy. This year's matchup will be good, pitting "King Hippo" Captain Manuele Atoa against "Soda Popinski" Commander Grigori Yanishev, Jr.

    ---

    "I've not taken part in the dispensal ritual before. Commander Vorat'kax wants us to partake to bind the Jem'Hadar closer together."

    Ixtana'Adar and the rest of the Jem'Hadar clustered around the vintage ketracel white dispenser in the armory room. Commander Vorat'kax entered the room and unbundled the ketracel white dispenser. He held up a tube of white to Lieutenant Ixtana'Adar.

    "Second Ixtana'Adar, can you vouch for the loyalty of your men?" he stated.
    "We pledge our loyalty to the Founders from now until death," Ixtana'Adar replied.
    "Then receive this reward from the Founders and the captain of this ship. May it keep us strong."
    Post edited by zidanetribal on
  • icegavelicegavel Member Posts: 991 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Vice Admiral Rygobeth Lerginas deactivated his personal monitor, tapping the control to retract the display into the desk in his ready room. He'd just spent a few hours reading the latest information on several fronts. The biggest highlight was that the Crystalline Entity had been driven back, if only after an absolutely massive force had gone against it. A list of the combatants was enclosed. Since there was no news either way on the Tholian or Borg fronts (they progressed as typical), he decided to skim them. Maybe someone he knew would be hauling back chunks of Entity. He skimmed this list for a while, not recognizing many names, until he came to one he did. There were two problems with it.

    The first problem was that it was his name. He hadn't been involved in the war against the Entity, though. He'd been sent on a deep-space patrol. So that was clearly not correct. The second issue is that his name was under those from the Klingon Empire who had engaged the massive living snowflake. But, while he was TECHNICALLY a citizen of the Empire, he hadn't been affiliated with the Klingon Defense Force for 34 years, and even then (during the Dominion War), he'd only been a liaison officer. But no, his name held the rank of General. Why he hadn't been accused of treason was odd, but he supposed Starfleet knew something he didn't, like how he could be in two places at once.

    Another thing that bothered him was the name of the ship "he" was flying: the IKS Itak Cha'DIch. Rygo mused on that name, flipping mentally through his Klingon vocabulary. Itak Cha'DIch... Well, I certainly know Itak is a name, it's the house I belong to. Rather, DID belong to. I don't know if B'Mara would still welcome me as family. B'Mara, wife of the late Q'Tar, son of Itak, had managed the affairs of Q'Tar's house after the warrior died in the First Battle of Chin'Toka; at least, she did until Lukor came of age. Which shouldn't have been THAT long ago. Lukor was barely a year old when his father fell to the Jem'Hadar. Rygobeth had been there when Q'Tar had died, not three months after Q'Tar had accepted Rygobeth into his House. B'Mara still managed the family's estate on Qo'noS, though Rygobeth hadn't spoken to her since the beginning of the war. Cha'DIch... Cha'DIch... Second? Itak the Second? An odd name... Where was the Itak wa'DIch, then? Or would it just be Itak...

    Then it hit him. The IKS Itak. No, not IKS... AKS. His counterpart, in the Mirror Universe, was in command of the AKS Itak the flagship of their friend Q'Tar (who still lived on the other side of the mirror). Rygobeth had met himself only once. But he wondered... why would his counterpart need a second Itak?

    His musings were interrupted by the comm. "Bridge to Admiral Lerginas." The voice of Remata'klan, his Jem'Hadar tactical officer, sounded... annoyed.
    "Lerginas here," he responded.
    "Sir, you have a... visitor here." The second-to-last word had enough venom to kill a lesser being.
    "On my way." He closed the channel, rose from the chair behind his desk, and exited the ready room. He strode onto the bridge of the Galaxy-class starship, the USS Determination. He meant to ask Remata'klan who the visitor was. Stepping into view of his own Captain's Chair nullified that requirement. The seat was occupied. Not by Motstand, his current second-in-command, not even by Ilaa'kshis, his Ops officer. The human - or rather, the being posing as a human - wore full Federation Fleet Admiral regalia.

    "Oh. Hello, Q." A breath escaped his lips, the remainder of the air in his lungs after the sentence. It sounded almost like a sigh, but was far more subtle. Whatever exasperation that may have portrayed would likely be missed by Q, since Rygo had sounded genuinely cheerful saying it. And he was. Rygobeth, unlike many of his colleagues, happily played along with Q. It made an interesting excursion. Doing so had yielded a number of rewards. Q was more open to asking what the admiral wanted to do, leading to more genuine enjoyment for Rygo. Q was more receptive when asked to stop (though, a moderate amount of flattery was also typically applied alongside a more polite approach). Furthermore, Q got his fill of amusement more quickly, and thus was quicker to leave. They'd even developed a working relationship. Q wouldn't interrupt if the admiral were in danger, unless explicitly asked to. Q had once told him (after a particularly long visit which Q had focused on "Solar Art" - making new constellations, one of which Rygo had made in a shape and of the right components to expose a second Q who didn't like Rygo's Q very much) that Rygo had one free ride, one favor. He had yet to use it. He held it in reserve for when things could not be solved by his own means. So yes, Rygobeth worked with Q instead of opposing the would-be trickster. And he had profited.

    "MON CAPITAINE!" Q exclaimed. "There's my reasonable red-skinned Starfleet brass-hat. Only smart one out of the bunch. How ARE you, my friend?"
    "To be honest, Q... a touch perplexed. I was reading a report just now... why is my Mirror Universe counterpart here?"
    Q piqued an eyebrow, then vanished for a moment. He reappeared seconds later, not so formally dressed, and said (in his typical rapid speech), "Your pal Q'Tar sent him to look for allies. And so he has! The Empire on THIS side even gave him one of their ships. he's commanding it instead of his own, doesn't want Q'Tar's favorite Raptor to get a fender bender. So, what'll we do this time, Redskin? I'm in the mood for something sporting, something to get the blood flowing."
    Rygo noted the comment, and almost chuckled. Q, that he knew of, had no "blood" as he knew it. But he got the gist. "The mountains around the Fire Caves of Bajor are great for free-running and climbing. Would that suit your fancy?"
    Q chortled. "Oh, splendid. We'll go at once!" But Rygo held up a hand. "Hold a second." he turned toward Ilaa'kshis, manning a console behind him. "Hey, Ilaa, wanna come?" The Gorn shared Rygo's love of such sports. The Gorn hissed, which the universal translator reported as a yes. Q smiled, and the three vanished.
    ***

    A few hours later, they returned. The pair of mortals were covered in dust, but smiled. They'd enjoyed the climb. Q had, as well, but tidied himself up in transit. He'd bested the two, of course, but only marginally. Rygo insisted he play... not "fair," but close to it. It also helped that Q had made sure they were safe - he wouldn't want to lose "the only reasonable admiral Starfleet had," as he put it. Q bid his farewell, boastfully as usually, then cleaned the officers up and left. Rygo looked at Remata'klan, who'd not before dealt with Q.

    "See, Remata'klan, nothing to worry about. Q is a nuisance to some. If you just let him have his fun, he's out of your hair in no time." The Jem'Hadar mumbled something about "more than a nuisance," only to find that he didn't have a mouth afterward. I'm still listening, you know, a voice said from nowhere. Remata'klan mentally apologized, and had his mouth restored with only a warning.

    "Just a word of advice, Remata'klan... don't insult the omnipotent being." Most of the bridge crew chuckled, then Rygo had them resume their course and speed. There were things yet to be attended to.
  • wraithshadow13wraithshadow13 Member Posts: 1,538 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    I handed the day's crew reports back to Ensign Richards, eagerly awaiting C shift to come and relieve me for the night. After all, it had been a long and boring day, and I was almost wishing it had been a little more exciting as I turned back towards my seat, yawning.

    "Be careful what you wish for Darling..."

    There, in the Captain's chair, was a cute young red head, in a lieutenant commander's uniform, looking less perky than usual.

    "Hello again, Q. Reading my mind again?"

    "You know I can't do that Captain."

    "Can't?"

    "Of course not... It would be too degrading! Traipsing around in the mind of lesser beings like that... Eww!"

    It was at this point she did something truly surprising. She lurched forward and threw up onto my shoes, then proceeded by falling to the floor unconscious.

    Moments later we had transferred her to the sick bay. We had to move her via gurney since we couldn't get a lock on her with the transporter. Even though I was tired and run down from a long and boring double shift, I couldn't help but notice how bad she'd looked as she was sitting in my chair. She had bags under her eyes, like she hadn't slept in a two weeks, her usual rosy pallor was more of a sickly tone. It was hard to believe that this was a Q. I was under the impression that they were almost god-like, and out of nowhere, she was suddenly laid out in my medical bay. The sheer fact that this was happening was a little hard to take in, what could possibly do this to a being of the continuum.

    E'Saul couldn't explain it, and Poor Fizi couldn't even get near sickbay without being overwhelmed by the empathic impressions. From the very first scans, it was clear that what ever this was, it was weakening Q on every level. Every scan that followed showed a more disturbing trend however. As far as records indicated, Q (plural) couldn't really be scanned, how could a tricorder even begin to quantify all that a Q was? But the longer she lay in sick bay the clearer the scans would come in, the more details we would get about her mysterious illness, which began clearly deteriorating her physically. For all intents and purposes, each new assessment was leading to the logical conclusion that the nigh omnipotent being was becoming more and more Human. While the contagion wasn't air born, it was decided that she should be placed in quarantine. If this thing began mutating more than it's host, we would be in for a world of trouble.

    After the first day, deterioration gave way to lesions, which turned into open sores and gaping wounds just two days after. Some how... Q had contracted the Phage. There weren't many records on the disease, most of which were from the Voyager expedition, and even then they were limited. Many of which had been deleted under the premise that the race known as the Vidiians had been cured of the disease. Little else is known, but occasionally you hear different stories from species that far out. Some say the Vidiians where wiped from existence by some sort of tank, others claim that the cure given to the Vidiians was more of a curse than the disease itself. Rather than stealing parts from others to graft to themselves, they now had to consume the healthy flesh maintain their normal appearance, becoming some sort of ghoul in the process.

    As far as I was concerned though, the Vidiians weren't anything to worry about given that they were half a galaxy away, I doubt any of the rumors or folklore behind them were even true, but regardless, I doubt they would be a factor here. Even if we could contact them to talk about the cure, the signal alone would take months without the Midas array, and even that was shooting in the dark, while Q didn't even have a week before the Phage would consume her entirely. The entire medical staff was put on emergency quarantine protocol. This meant that the medical bay was to be fully staffed at all times, with any and all labs on board dedicated fully to curing the now human Q. Dr. E'Saul had even stopped sleeping altogether just so she could focus all of her efforts.

    As per usual, word started spreading around the ship. First, that Q was back on board, and secondly, that she was in sickbay. For the most part it wasn't too bad, but there were a few of the... "less informed" soon became lookie-loos as my Grandmother called it. We even had a crew member or two fake illness to get in, which prompted me to put Nurse Pruz on house calls since she couldn't go near Q. It wasn't until the fifth day that I was informed that the increased illness reports were far more than just idle gossip, but a growing problem. It seemed like a flu when it started going around, but the symptoms quickly became the thing we were trying to prevent. Somehow the infection had jumped all safety precautions and begun spreading through the rest on the ship.

    I had no other choice but to order full stop, putting the whole ship into lock down protocol. Non-essential staff were confined to quarters, essential members were issues personal shield units, modified to act as a makeshift EV suit. Devon Fine and her team were given orders to go over every shield and environmental system in the ship, to find just how the phage was spreading. I sent out the subspace beacon which would alert Admiral Aviess to our situation. There was absolutely no information regarding the cure or treatment of the Phage in the Section 31 files beyond the mentioning in the Voyager logs, but I couldn't believe that there was no way to contact any of the Vidiians to find out how they were cured of this illness. The Hirogen, for example, occupy the space between the quadrants. Talaxians as well, were known to frequent that space. There had to be some way to at least make contact with the Vidiians.

    The systems were clean, not a single trace of the phage other than in those who had contracted the disease. There was no way this thing could be spreading through out the ship, yet somehow my crew was clearly falling victim to it. Even I hadn't been saved, as I started showing the early symptoms by day seven. The medical staff was no closer to figuring out a cure, but they had managed to slow it as best they could. This would by the crew time, but in the end, it would only prolong the suffering as well. For the first time in a long while, I was at a complete loss to help my crew. Even as my body started showing the effects of the phage, I couldn't help but worry about the others. Fizi would keep me informed as best she could while the medical teams worked all hours of the day, but once E'Saul started administrating my treatments, I really started to worry.

    E'Saul herself was even showing the symptoms, which didn't help given that she hadn't done much of anything other than work for a week straight. She admitted that even her eating and meditation habits had been suffering as well, but her Vulcan physiology was tougher than most. She was doing all she could, but it was still more than even she could handle. I could see it clearly on her face, the mental and physical exhaustion... How she managed to keep her composure was beyond me. I myself, was starting to lose hope. I had lost about ten pounds within the first few days. By the end of the week, my hair had been falling out, and I had to stop shaving for reasons I'd rather not go into. The smallest impact, would leave bruises the size of my fists, and nothing seemed to be healing.

    My body started aching non stop as I continued to lose weight as well as sleep. It became difficult even getting out of beds some times, but each time that comm panel chirped I managed, even if it was for the littlest update. This time sadly, the news was the worst yet. Q had passed away. The deterioration of the phage had been too great, and her human body just couldn't handle the loss. E'Saul herself was showing now in the full throws of the disease, and only a handful of crew were left uncontaminated. Most of the senior staff were well into the infection as well, leaving the ship entirely unprotected. While the the ship itself was no longer the most advanced in the fleet, it still had plenty of technology to be stripped out, and the computer cores alone would be worth their weight in any black market currencies. With no response from Starfleet or Section 31, I could only assume that this was all part of some bigger plan.

    I initiated the self destruct systems, but didn't set a timer. Destroying the ship and it's crew was the last thing I wanted, but given the situation, I couldn't allow the phage to become some sort of bio-weapon. To be honest though, I was half tempted to do it anyway, if only to save the crew from their suffering. I waited patiently for any sign of attack, but none came. No ships even passed with in range of the long range sensors. I laid there, on my bed, for hours at a time, just wondering when the attack would come, worried that there wouldn't even be enough left of me to give the destruct command. The pain would come and go, some times lasting hours, other times it would be low but constant dull annoyance. The medical staff had forwarded some type of salve to all of the personal replicators, it slowed the spread of the disease and kept the wounds from getting infected, but it couldn't really do much for the pain.

    I couldn't even tell how long I'd been awake for, hours, days... It was all just too much, watching myself fall apart. Knowing my crew was suffering the same fate, each one dying such a slow and terrible death. Most of which, myself included, didn't even resemble their own species' anymore. I myself had become too weak to even stand anymore. I hadn't even heard from anyone, and no one was answering my hails. I had no other choice....

    "Computer... Initiate self destruct. Authorization code: Captain Donovan, James Charles. Epsilon, Omega, Omega, Seven, Thir-(COUGH), Thirt (COUGH COUGH)..."

    I started to blackout as Thomas entered the room. He looked so sad... So scared as he quickly moved to the side of my bed, taking my hand...

    "I... I'm so (COUGH) I'm sorry Tommy... about everything..."

    "It's okay Captain, I'm here to take you to..."

    I couldn't help but think how much I hated when he called me that instead of father. As space began to seep in through the walls, I closed my eyes and gave into the cold black.

    _______________________________________________________________________________________


    I woke up later in sickbay.

    The Dr. E'Saul, Fizi, and Wraith standing over me, the rest of the senior staff gathered around. Everyone was slowly recovering, though most of which were going to be permanently scarred, some had missing limbs, others were horribly disfigured. Some how every one was still alive, though I shuddered to think of what kind of life they had left to live. As E'Saul gave me a final checkup, she explained that as all of this was going on, she realized that there were two groups that held the most resistance, the Vulcans and those who had been assimilated, the latter of which seemed the most resistant. Wraith, being both, wasn't immune but showed the least amount of deterioration. From there, it didn't take long for Mr. Edison, my fully assimilated science officer, to replicate and enhance the anti-bodies. I only wish it hadn't been too late. E'Saul gave me one more shot for the pain before clearing me to return to the bridge.

    I was a long walk through halls thick with sorrow and lamentation, each crew member I passed in the halls, would no longer be the same person they had been before. The beauty of them all had been taken, and not just in a physical sense. You never realize just how much people of all race put into their appearance, especially not until it's all taken from them by tragedy. I sighed heavily as I entered my ready room, only to see Q, her normal, beautiful self. However, she was no longer her usual perky self. She was on the brink of tears as she ran to me, grabbing a hold of me and holding me tight. About that point, I'd noticed an older, solemn looking gentlemen in a Captain's uniform.

    "I'm so sorry Captain! I had no choice-"

    "She's right Mon Capitan," the older Q began. "She's broken a lot of rules to do this for you. One of which, you could say, is the Continuum's version of your 'Prime Directive'."

    "Why." I was cold and blunt. I don't care how much power they have, after all that's happened, I just didn't care any more.

    "Because they're coming." At this point, Q... Our Q, had been in full tears.

    "She's right, you know. The Vaphorans are currently amassing an army. The phage is only one of their weapons."

    "Vaphorans?"

    "Vidiians Captain, Vidiians. Long before the Phage, that's what they had called themselves. Ashamed of what they'd become, they had changed their names. When they'd agreed to pay any price for a cure, they were given a different curse. They were given their Beauty back, but in exchange for their very souls. The price for that beauty, was a hunger. A hunger for healthy tissue. They now have to consume fresh, live, and healthy flesh, to keep their from deteriorating and reverting them back to the Vidiian forms. Instead of roaming their space harvesting organs, they're enslaving other species, turning them into cattle. The rich remain Vaphoran, while the poor become Vidiian again, and resort to becoming shock troops, just to maintain their appearance. The real cure, was to be their extinction, for all the horrors they'd committed, the Vidiians were to eat themselves to death, or starve. But for a group that claimed to be made of the smartest minds in the galaxy, no one predicted what would happen next. They couldn't fathom how far a Vaphoran could fall, just for a little more life.

    Bah! Monsters... All of them."

    "I couldn't let them do this to everyone else Captain" the poor girl wept into my chest, "I had to do something, but I couldn't directly interfere."

    "But the Delta Quadrant is-" I started angrily, before the older gentleman interrupted.

    "Ah ah ah, Little man... the Delta Quadrant isn't going to be so far away for much longer. You'll soon find yourself face to face with enemies you haven't seen since you were all monkeys in a tree, and they'll only be the beginning. Those who time forgot and the Vaphoran ghouls won't be too far behind them either. You can't even comprehend the sacrifice this young Q has made, just to save you're inconsiderate species from a fate worse than death..." He said indignantly, as he prodded me a few times in the chest with his finger.

    With that, he snapped his fingers and was gone, leaving the guilt ridden girl still clutching my midsection as she sobbed. Instinctively, I reached down and hugged her back, trying to comfort the girl. She looked up at me, her big green eyes pouring tears as a little gleam of happiness returned to them at my forgiveness. She hugged me once more before I reached up to wipe the tears from her face, my skin still decimated by disease. She smiled as best she could through the tears as she brushed her hair softly to the side before vanishing. I sighed heavily and walked back out to the bridge, taking a seat. I stood again, turning to see what I had sat on...

    It was the Duty roster from two weeks ago...

    As I looked it over, young Ensign Richards came walking up looking as dapper as ever. I paused for a moment as I stood there, taking in everything that just happened. I checked the logs from the PADD and found the data for the phage anti-bodies locked away under my personal files, yet I seemed to be the only one with any memory of the passed two weeks that never happened. I encoded a message to Admiral Aviess, labeling in top priority, attaching the file with a short explanation. I couldn't help but think as I switched back and signed off on the duty roster, of how Q had managed to put himself in danger to save us all. He must have done something to get me that data, but for the life of me, I couldn't remember what he had done exactly. I suppose in the end, I was just glad that my crew was safe, everything was back to normal, even as the memories faded.

    I handed the day's crew reports back to Ensign Richards, eagerly awaiting C shift to come and relieve me for the night. After all, it had been a long and boring day, and I was almost wishing it had been a little more exciting as I turned back towards my seat, yawning.
  • jonsillsjonsills Member Posts: 8,707 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    Captain's Log, USS Bedford NCC-92570
    Capt. Grunt commanding.

    About a month ago, the USS
    Mutabor reported having been hijacked across time by the entity known as Q, transported to a point some 93 million lightyears outside the galactic plane and some 163 million years into the future. Now it looks like we've been picked - the same odd Milky Way galaxy is sprawled across our viewscreen. If the pattern follows that of other ships that have been abducted, we can expect Q itself to show up any minute now, demanding answers. We're busy trying to get some.

    "Anything on subspace, Mr. Manalang?"

    Ruben shook his head. "Just background radiation, Captain. No sign of any purposeful signal within at least ten lightyears. Of course, we are ninety-three million lightyears away from where home used to be, so..." He shrugged expressively.

    "How about you, Rock? Anything?"

    The Klingon straightened from his examination of the science console. "Just the anomalous age of the stars, sir."

    "Anomalous age?" Grunt asked. "What do you mean?"

    "Sir, the position of the Magellanic Clouds and other satellite dwarf galaxies does bear out the Mutabor's estimate of this being the galaxy of about seventy million years hence, plus distance at lightspeed, but the age of the stars visible corresponds more with the expected condition of some five to eight billion years from now. For instance, the data from what should be Sol indicates that it's expanded to red giant stage. Ferenginar's sun has collapsed into a white dwarf, as has that of Qo'noS. Other stars surveyed show the same pattern - excessive aging."

    There was a flash, and Q strode back and forth in front of the screen. "Yes, yes, we can all see that," he snapped. "But what does it mean?"

    "Hmm." Grunt sat for a moment, then leaned forward. "Q, I'd appreciate it if you could do us a favor - and as I'm sure you'll see, it will be in your best interests as well. Would you mind taking one of our class-three probes to a few lightyears away from the galactic center, then bringing it back to us?"

    Q stopped pacing and looked at the Ferengi. "Why not send it yourself, lumpy?"

    Grunt gritted his fangs. "Because," he said, straining to remain calm at the insult, "at our best speed, we should hear back from the probe in a couple of hundred years. I don't think this ship will hold up that long, do you?"

    Q frowned. "Oh, very well," he said ungraciously, "tell me when you want this probe dispatched."

    "Mr. Turing," Grunt said to the android ops officer, "please configure a class-three probe for full multispectral analysis, including gravimetric, tetryonic, and baryonic fields."

    "Aye, sir," Turing said, his fingers flying over his console. "Probe ready, Captain."

    Q flicked his fingers. "I think I see what you're aiming at, Grunt," he said. "I'll fetch it back in a few moments."

    Three tense minutes passed, then Q spoke again. "That should be enough information even for you lot - the probe is back in its bay now."

    "Analyzing," Turing said. "Sir, this is quite extraordinary. It would appear that Sagittarius A Prime, the supermassive black hole at the galactic core, has completely dissipated. This should be impossible. Further, there is a high concentration of dark energy throughout that portion of the galaxy the probe was able to examine, indicating that the gravitic constant throughout the Milky Way has been severely affected. Stellar evolution has been dramatically accelerated. Most intriguing."

    "'Intriguing'?" Q shouted unbelievingly. "You plastic wind-up, you're talking about the fate of all life in this galaxy! Even mine! And you merely find that 'intriguing'?!?"

    "Yes, Q. While I am capable of emotional response, in this case it would seem to be counterproductive, therefore I have disabled that capability. And it is most interesting. It is beyond even the hypothetical power of any race of which we're aware, even the Iconians or Undine, to affect the fundamental forces of the universe to this extent. Are your people capable of this?"

    "Well, of course the Continuum could do this," Q snapped angrily, "but why would we want to? Even if we survived, it would be in a universe devoid of all you lower life forms, and then what would we do for entertainment?" He seemed to calm for a moment as he continued, "That does raise the question of who else might be able to do this. The Melkotians refuse to attend to anything not near their own world; the Organians are too snooty to worry themselves about things like stars; you Humans and Klingons won't reach this level for almost a billion years yet..." Q stopped, and smacked himself in the head. "Of course! Why didn't I see this before? Obviously, they're behind this, the slime-sucking--"

    "Er, Q," Grunt interrupted, "for the benefit of those of us who aren't omniscient, would you mind saying who it is you're talking about?"

    Q spun around. "Of course, you wouldn't know about them yet. You don't even have a word for them - there's a cult of Orions who call them the 'Good Masters', although I don't know where they got the idea that these 'Masters' could be even vaguely and charitably described as 'good'. They were mucking about with your galaxy before the Iconians even thought about leaving their homeworld. They're what the ones you call the 'Preservers' were trying to preserve life from. I don't know what they're playing at here, but they are attacking the Continuum!" Q's face contorted with fury - and the fury of a god, even a near-god, is a terrifying thing. "And this will not stand!!" he blazed. There was a flare like a small star, and a roar of thunder. When Grunt could see again, Q was gone.

    A few moments later, the image on the viewscreen began to - well, "swim" was the best image that came to Grunt's mind. It flowed back and forth for a time, then settled down into something more easily recognizable as a normal spiral galaxy. Even the jets from the poles of the galactic black hole were visible in the X-ray frequencies.

    "Now that's interesting," Grunt said aloud. "What can you tell me, people?"

    Mycroft coalesced on the bridge. "Well, sir, a quick skim through the new data indicates that the stars have returned to the main sequence. Everything is as one would expect it to become in seventy million years. Of course, that does still leave us with the issue of how exactly we're to return across millions of years, and millions of light-years in distance..."

    Light flared next to the hologram. "Oh, yes," Q said, "I've been reminded that I should be nicer when playing with my toys. Well done, the Continuum thanks you for your assistance with this crisis, and now you're going home." He waved a hand, and the starfield outside returned to what one would expect in the Sirius sector of the United Federation of Planets in the twenty-fifth century.

    "Thank you, Q," Grunt said. "May I ask what exactly just happened?"

    "The threat has been dealt with," Q replied. "The Continuum is safe. And frankly, that's all you need to know. Although you might want to transmit a file labeled 'The Appreciation of Q' to one Admiral La Roca, aboard the USS Tiburon. You'll find it in your computer system. It's quite thoroughly encoded, so you might as well stop trying to read it, Mycroft. Jesu is the only one who'll be able to decode it. He should find its contents - interesting. And with that, I'm off. It's been fun!" Q waved, then vanished in a flash of light.

    "Ooo-kay," Grunt said slowly to no one in particular. "I suppose this means we'll never know what happened?"

    "I don't know about 'never'," Roclak answered, grinning. "Q did say we'd be at that level in a billion years or so - we just need some patience."
    Lorna-Wing-sig.png
  • cmdrscarletcmdrscarlet Member Posts: 5,137 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    The doors to the bridge swished open and Kathryn expected to see the order and quiet of her bridge crew dutifully focused on various tasks. Instead, everyone was standing straight and only Staza Murai held a weapon in her hand, pointed toward the Captain's chair. Looking at her chair, she noticed another Starfleet officer sitting relaxed and looking toward the main viewscreen. Kathryn didn't recognize the person sitting as a member of her crew and she stopped next to the command seat.

    "Hello, again, Q ..."

    The human-looking female smiled then looked up at Kathryn. "'O Captain, my Captain' ... so the Earth poem goes. I think. I read it before I came aboard but fell asleep after the first line."

    Kathryn crossed her arms. "You should make time to read it all. It's a sad tale for a great man of Earth history."

    Q shrugged. "Indeed. Yet, I do think your trip is done."

    "Is that right."

    "That's right. Before we get to business, kindly tell your Orion slave girl to drop her weapon. It's rude to point it without using it."

    Staza's eyes flared anger and Kathryn nodded toward her. Staza looked to First Officer Anthi Ythysi who nodded as well, then lowered her disruptor pistol.

    Q looked to Staza, and without losing the smile, said, "not that it would have worked on me anyway."

    Kathryn snapped her fingers. "Q, let's focus on why you are here."

    Turning to Kathryn, Q stood and brushed at her uniform. "Ah, yes. Shall we retire to your quarters?'

    "How about my ready-room." Turning toward the office door, she spoke over her shoulder. "Anthi, you have the con."

    Q followed Kathryn into the room and waited for Kathryn to sit in her chair.

    "Forgive me, Q. Welcome aboard."

    Q's eyebrows raised. "Thank you, Captain."

    "You're welcome. Now get to it."

    "Ah, ever the conversationalist. In short, do not go to Solanae."

    It was Kathryn's turn to be surprised. "Pardon me?"

    "You know, the ... what do you humans call it ... ah, yes. The Dyson Sphere."

    Kathryn could not contain her surprise and laughed out loud once. "The great Q comes to my ship to warn me? I didn't think you cared. I'm touched."

    Q's eyes narrowed. "Don't be so smug. I'm doing you a favor."

    Kathryn stood and smirked. "Remind me about that again?"

    "I'm telling you, Captain, the Voth are more advanced than your tribes are collectively. The Borg are animals compared to the Voth, which makes every species in the galaxy like amoeba in comparison. You, personally, will experience great hardship and suffering if you travel to Solanae." Q's demeanor darkened as she spoke.

    "Hyperbole suits you well, Q." Kathryn walked to the replicator and keyed a command. A clear glass with a dark brown liquid materialized and she took a sip from it, licking her lips to savor the taste. "Of all the ships in the Federation, why are you here, on this one ship to warm me personally?"

    Q sat into a chair in front of Kathryn's desk. "Have you ever asked why you are where are now? And I mean beyond adventure, duty, honor, revenge or ambition. I'm talking about your raison d'etre?"

    Kathryn took another sip. "You mean, you don't know either?"

    "I'm not joking, Captain. This, Dyson Sphere, will challenge you ... will change you." Q shook her head. "You may not like what you will become."

    "Maybe that's my choice to make."

    "Maybe choices can be influenced to not be made."

    "Maybe, as an officer in Starfleet, I don't have that luxury. If I am ordered to go to the Sphere, then that is my duty."

    Q scoffed, "oh, please. All sentient being have the power of choice, it's understanding the consequences that drives those choices."

    "Exactly! Thank you for pointing out the obvious. You still have not answered my question."

    Q paused. "Oh, yes. Why you?" Kathryn nodded, then sipped again. "Because the Continuum hoped this Sphere would never be found. Now that it has, it is bringing the species of the galaxy to it like moths to a flame ... and it is a very bright flame indeed. Of all the species the Continuum has faced, humans continue to intrigue us." Q stood and stepped toward Kathryn then spoke in hushed tones. "But this Sphere will damage the human race in ways you cannot imagine. Not even the Borg try to assimilate them. They have tried and failed."

    She stopped within inches of Kathryn. "I do not want you to go there." Q leaned in and kissed Kathryn on the lips, then disappeared in a flash before she could react.
  • pwebranflakespwebranflakes Member Posts: 7,741
    edited October 2013
    This post has been edited to remove content which violates the Perfect World Entertainment Community Rules & Policies. ~Q
  • QQ Member Posts: 252
    edited October 2013
    Oh, Captains. Don't worry. I'll be back...

    *snap*
  • wildthyme467989wildthyme467989 Member Posts: 1,235 Arc User
    edited October 2013
    this Post Has Been Edited To Remove Content Which Violates The perfect World Entertainment Community Rules & Policies. ~q

    Ignore me, (that's kinda a foregone conclusion though) Q's got to me, he's such a prankster
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