Hell on Warp Drive

Star-date 2386

Miles O’Brien departed from his Starfleet Academy office and headed towards Academy Transporter Room 1. His years in Starfleet had opened the door to a career on Earth to better facilitate family life. The stability of work here had given his children many opportunities he couldn’t have given them in transient life on ships and bases. Additionally, earth had afforded Keiko a renowned specialty in botany at San Francisco Sea Station. O’Brien would be lying if he said it had all been a sacrifice for family, for he had reaped his own professional advantages as well.

The last few years as a professor, coupled with his illustrious career beforehand, had put him in position to be invited to consult on a new top-secret technology in development, a Quantum-Warp-Transporter, project code-named, F-BARBS, in honor of the leading scientists on the project, Doctors Blalock, Ryan, Sirtis, Barrett, and Farrell.

Miles carried a small duffel containing a few sets of clean clothes, his Tricorder XIII, some pads of various manuals and scientific texts, a small kit of engineering tools, and his holographic-projector of Keiko, Molly, and Kirayoshi.

He would be taking a series of jumps along the Earth Transporter Network, from the Academy in San Francisco to the San Francisco Main Terminal, his pattern still held signal form, bundled with other signals in a signal packet, and relayed by long-range systems to the West Coast Central Transporter Hub in Las Vegas. From there the signal was decoupled, some materializing there, others bouncing off to various local destinations, while Miles and other travelers’ signals were sent to the Space Station Terra. There, the signals were split and spun off into new packets and shot to major terminals in Cheyenne Mountain Passage, Kansas City, Austin, Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, JTK Shipyards in Iowa, Chicago, St. Louis, New York, Atlanta, Orlando, and Detroit.

Miles’ signal went to Baltimore, to be sent to his final destination, the secret test site outside old Washington D.C. The city had lost its luster when the US had become just another region in the United Earth, headquartered in Brussels, making it an ideal region for a secret project. As he shot into the District of Columbia something went horribly wrong.

Just as Miles’ signal was making its final passage Ensign Pill fired up the F-BARBS system, neglecting the critical step of initiating the redundant force-fields and containment-fields.The F-BARBS waves converged with his signal rocketing towards the site. The signal beam glowed visibly red in the sky, and lightning crackled in its path, the two forces hung, suspended midair, the two powers giving battle in the sky, and then plunged to sudden darkness. 

The two forces interacted, tearing space-time, Miles’ signal ricocheted into the well of time. Miles O’Brien re-materialized, over 500 years in the past. 


A voyage to yesterday

Miles looked about, and found himself standing upon a street in a landscape of industrial age America. Assessing his surroundings, Miles saw near him a man laying upon the ground. Quickly, Miles fell to his knees beside him and pulled out his tricorder.

“Medical emergency; engage diagnosis and treatment functions,” he said to the machine.

The scanner emitted a soft glow over the man. Miles could see a large hole through the man’s abdomen that appeared to be cauterized closed.

“Assessment complete.” the handheld computer announced. “Patient is dead, and beyond known medical treatment to revive. Cause of death appears to be due to an intense energy beam striking the patient.”

Miles cursed, recognizing what this meant, a transporter accident.

“Identify patient,” Miles said to the tricorder.

Miles held the tricorder over the man’s face.

“Patient’s face is not in the database, however there does appear to be various near matches.”

Miles looked about. He didn’t want to believe the implications. Smoke rolled from chimneys roundabout, horses pulled wagons down the road, the dead man’s archaic clothing.

“Tricorder, identify stars and solar position, and juxtapose stardate and location.” 

“Stardate estimated to be -2/65.061511; Astronomical Date 2402402.50000; 19th Century, Earth, old United States.” 

O’Brien looked about again, in nervousness this time. Unsure of what environment he was in now, he was grateful that it appeared to be an early hour in a seldom traveled corner of a city. The few people he could see were still several blocks away, well outside the possibility of witnessing this scene and condemning him with only implications as evidence to damn him.

Slowly Miles accepted the preposterous, and remembered Data’s beloved quote, “when you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

“Using facial recognition, and DNA scan, hypothesize the identity of patient including deceased persons.”

“Processing…” the machine responded, and then Miles waited in silence. Finally, the tricorder mercifully gave an answer.

“Projection is complete based on parameters given, and a match has been identified with 98.4% certainty a Mr. Thomas C. Durant.”

“Fine, now, provide me with biographical data available- as relevant before the transporter accident today.” Miles instructed, catching his near error in specifications.

“Thomas Clark Durant,  born February 6, 1820, died October 5, 1885, was an American physician, businessman, and financier. He was vice-president of the Union Pacific Railroad UP in 1869 when it met with the Central Pacific railroad at Promontory Summit in Utah Territory. He created the financial structure which led to the Crédit Mobilier scandal….”

Miles knew the ripple effect of even one individual upon the timeline was not to be underestimated, especially over the span of so many centuries. But this was even worse; this man was clearly a great lever upon the timeline, and even if Miles could find a way back home, he could not go while this wrong stood in his wake.

Resolved to his duty, O’Brien looked down the street. The wagon was nearing, only about half-a-block away. Miles scrambled for his holographic-projector. Activating the tricorder’s scanning function, he ran the beam over the corpse. Quickly he linked the two devices and spoke out his instructions to the tricorder.

“Program parameters exceed memory capabilities of holographic-projector; please open space by deleting files if you still desire to run this program.” 

Faltering a moment, Miles’ eyes glistened with moisture as he pulled up the images of  Keiko, Molly, and Kirayoshi, knowing this might be the last time he saw them.

“Clear needed space on holographic-projector to facilitate, immediately.”

The devices hummed in his hands.

The man was only about fifty feet off, and Miles could see the glances in his direction. 

Running short on time Miles pulled a sonic hammer from his pack, grimaced, scrunching his eyes shut, and landed a blow on the dead man’s face. The single strike damaged the tissue and bones, sending blood splattering, and rendering his features indiscernible. 

Twenty-five feet.

“Program complete, standby for implementation.”

O’Brien gripped a cuff of his trousers and ripped upward in a furious motion. With the length of cloth in hand he fashioned a belt around his midsection and deposited the holographic-projector in the space between the makeshift bandoleer and his person.

Miles rose, adorned in futuristic uniform, his appearance even more jarring with his pants torn and his leg exposed, and a cloth tied around his middle.

“Engage.” He instructed the machine.

A light emitted from the holographic-projector, flickering over him momentarily, and then seamlessly engulfing him, giving him now the appearance of Thomas C. Durant, face, wardrobe, and all.

Miles cursed himself; he should have used the tricorder to assess the man’s vocal cords too, but it was too late for that now.

“Oh, sir, you there! I need your help! I came upon this man here in this sorry state. We must get him to a doc-” O’Brien stopped himself, remembering he was supposed to be a doctor now. 

“I believe he’s been killed. We need to alert the officials.” 

The man pulled the wagon to a halt, and leapt off to assist.




The day was spent, and so was Miles. He had faked his way through meetings and engagements Durant had previously made. Learning what he could from the tricorder’s database of 19th century railroading and history in what moments of solitude he could procure. He wondered how long the devices would hold out, and feared some circumstance that would reveal the illusion for what it was. He initiated a slow program to merge his and Durant’s images to hopefully grow into his own form over the course time. 

O’Brien knew he had much left to do, a lifetime left to do. Returning home was not only an impossible hurdle of time and technology, but too much stood left to be done here now to even create the future he desperately missed. Sitting on the hotel bed, his eyes red with tears, Miles rose, his will steeled once more this day, but this time for a mission of personal love.

Leaving the path Durant would have taken in life this evening, Miles found his way to the shopping district to execute his plan.




An hour after Miles had been scheduled for his business trip to work on some secretive, cutting-edge project, Keiko heard a chime sound from their door.

Expecting no one, Keiko checked the viewscreen. Standing there was Worf.

“Hello, Keiko O’Brien?”

“Worf! What are you doing here?”

“I am sorry for the intrusion, but I have been charged with a duty that I am honor bound to perform.”

Uneasy, Keiko nodded for him to continue.

Holding out a small parcel, wrapped ancient looking in brown paper and string, he said, “I received this package from Harvard Institution with a note from your husband, invoking the formula of Klingon death oaths, requiring me to deliver it to you at this time and day, and forbidding me from speaking of it to any one, even to him before now.”

Perplexed, Keiko took the package, just as another chime came from the door.

Standing there now, were two officers, in full dress uniform. Connecting the strange circumstances, a sense of dread flooded over her. Worf stood aside to allow her to pass; she let the officers in.

“Starfleet Command has entrusted me to express our deep regret that your husband, Miles O’Brien was killed in action outside Washington D.C., approximately an hour ago, in the course of experimental classified transporter technology testing…”

Keiko’s attention faded from the officer’s script, and re-focused upon the old package in her hand. As the man continued, she unbound the brittle string and peeled back the crumbling paper. Revealed in her hands was a pristine original edition of The Origin of Species. She carefully opened it and found it was signed by Charles Darwin. Between the pages, a sheet of old parchment stuck out. She pulled it free and opened it up.

In Miles barely legible script, My dearest Keiko,”  

Tears rolled down her face as she read of the accident, and the duty he now had to the world, and even her and their children, to remain and fix the gap that had been created. She read his words of deep affection, regrets, and admonitions for her to find love again. He told her to tell the children of his pride and love. He explained his donation to old Harvard with the promise they hold this package with instruction on when to send it to a Mr. Worf Wo’rIv, and where he could be found. Miles confessed his fears of the fights he’d have in the years ahead against indigenous Americans, outlaws, corrupt politicians, and rival business tycoons. He knew he must be victorious against them and preserve history for her and the children. She could hear the pain he must have been going through as he wrote this. She imagined he was probably several glasses deep in real-ale. As she reached the end of the letter, she could hear the strength she had loved in him, “I might have many enemies to face, but I promise to give them hell for you.”


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