Future Repeats Itself

“Future Repeats Itself”
By Bryan Williams
An Exciting Look At The Melbourne-A’s First Mission!

Chapter 1

Begin Captain’s Log, Stardate: 44767.3
I hereby take command of this fine new ship and her crew. We
will set out from McKinley Station shortly, and embark on a set of all new
missions and discoveries. This ship will make her predecessor proud, she will
make a fine addition to the fleet.

Newly promoted Captain Bryan Williams of the starship Melbourne,
walked out of the corridor and onto the turbolift. He had just met his chief
engineer, Lovat, a Bolian, and toured engineering. He hadn’t paid respects to
the bridge yet, and was saving the best for last.
He quickly thought of the ship that once carried this name, the
Melbourne that was destroyed at Wolf 359. He was a commander at the time.
He was serving on the Roosevelt, they were boarded, many of the crew were
captured, and right before his eyes, they were horribly transformed into those
ghastly Borg. He was fighting his way down the corridor, the ship shuddering
and falling apart all around him. He had made it from lieutenant all the way
up to commander and first officer. He fired his phaser again and saw the Borg
drone put up another shield. He quickly reset the phaser again and fired it,
hitting the Borg squarely on the chest and then a shower of sparks. The Borg
lay dead and he ran, and ran, making sure everyone was on the escape pods.
He quickly checked the sensors. Explosions were going off all around
him. He guarded his face. The Roosevelt’s cover ship had been destroyed. He
saw that the Melbourne, and the Saratoga were coming with phasers blasting,
trying to get there comrades out before their precious ship exploded. Futilely
changing phaser frequencies, trying to blast the tractor beam that was holding
the Roosevelt away. The Borg ship paid no attention and fired its cutting beam
at the crippled ship. Williams saw the saucer section explode on the monitor,
and main power was cut off line.
He started running again. Hearing screams of his crew mates as they
were violated, and put into a life full of pain. He hated to think what Captain
Picard was going through. Having to watch his own fleet being destroyed in
front of his eyes.
He stopped in front of a view port and saw the Melbourne erupt in a
glowing light. Jessica! Where was Jessica?! Jessica was his very good friend
all through the Academy, he had to find her. Almost all of the escape pods had
been launched. Another thunderous shake hit. Bryan fell against the
bulkhead. There wasn’t enough time! Besides, Jessica was probably already
on one of those pods. Oh God! What if she was already a Borg!
No time to think. He quickly got inside the cramped little pod. Six
people were already in there, they all relaxed at the sight of their commander.
He quickly ejected the pod, hoping no one was lost on the ship. Just as the
Saratoga exploded, a chunk of hull flew into the engineering section of the
Roosevelt, and then, the turbolift doors opened.
He shook his head and walked out. “Good morning, Captain,” said
Commander Coulon, the ship’s first officer.
“Good morning Commander. I shall be in my ready room.”
“Aye sir,” said the American Indian. Commander Mark Coulon was
about five foot ten, about one hundred and ninety, and sported a frock of black
hair that was neatly placed on the top of his head. First impressions of Mark
was good, at least from Bryan. He was glad that Mark was his Number One.
Bryan walked into the ready room. He glanced around. It was already
full of many items he had taken out of storage on Earth. His trombone neatly
standing in a corner, a model of the Roosevelt, his computer terminal on his
desk, the replicator, many pictures of space, nebula and such, and then, a large
picture of his ship emerging from an orbit of a purely blue planet, yellow
streaks of light spewing from the sun. He looked at his ship. Funny, he
thought, my ship. This is my ship! Her smooth lines, one of the many
Excelsior-class ships that were built during the almost seventy years of service.
She was an upgrade Excelsior-class ship, like the Enterprise-B. He looked at
the dark letters and numbers along her hull. They read:
U.S.S. Melbourne
NCC-62043-A
What a glorious name. He sat at his desk and touched the control
button that activated it. Surely Starfleet had made up a mission for this brand
new ship. And they had. A planetary survey in sector five-four-three, near the
Romulan Neutral Zone. Just then his door chimed. “Come,” he called.
The doors hissed open to reveal Jessica Classing. “Hello Captain,” she
said as she looked around. “Nice, I like it. Well, I checked my security
console, everything checks out, weapons and shields are all ready, as well as
communications.” Jessica was the Melbourne’s security officer.
“That’s good, we will be traveling along pretty close to the Neutral
Zone. I don’t want to be moth balled by a Romulan ship.” Said the Captain,
making it sound like he couldn’t trust Jessica.
“Now, now, Captain, you may out rank me, but, I still can intimidate
you, so don’t make me go to red alert and damage your pretty face.” She said
with a smile and a hint of sarcasm.
“Your relieved, Lieutenant Commander, don’t make me throw you in
the brig.” He said stressing the words just as she had, “Or I’ll have to come in
with regulations a firing.”
“Oh no! No regulations! Please Captain, I’ll be good.” She said,
getting on her knees and begging.
“Well, all right,” he said, as they both laughed. His door chimed again.
“Come in,” he said. Jessica took her place on the couch overlooking the view
port.
Just then a Benzite walked in, his air filter attached to his yellow
uniform. “Uh-I could come back, if this is a bad time, sir,”
“No, Commander, you weren’t interrupting anything, what do you
need?” said the captain, looking at Jessica and smiling.
“Uh, um, I-I. thought you would like to know, the last minute
modifications are complete, and we are ready to depart. And, of course,
welcome to the bridge,”
“Thank you Mendak, you are dismissed, Commander Classing, I
believe it is time for you to take you station,” said the captain, retaking his
command voice.
“Yessir,” the three officers walked out of the ready room and onto the
central nexus of his ship.
“All stations report ready,” he called, the thrill of command filled him
as he sat in the ‘big chair.’ Commander Classing took her tactical station,
which was behind the captain’s chair, a large console, that could be operated
by two people. Commander Coulon took his seat that was to the right of
Williams, the seat that was directly in front of the operations console, which
Mendak took whole-heartedly. The helm was, of course, and as on many
ships, to the front of the command area, Lieutenant Marvin, a tan-skinned
male, purely American, blond hair, and an average height, manned the station,
Captain Williams wouldn’t want anyone else piloting his ship than Benjamin
Marvin. The helm gave the bridge a ‘nice touch’ sort of motif. It curved
gracefully along the lower level of the bridge, a private little alcove, it was
more of a semi-circle, it incorporated navigation systems, the helm, warp and
impulse control and readouts (sort of like a backup engineering station),
sensors, and a backup communications console that could be reconfigured to
be a weapons console. The bridge was filled with workstations where any
crew member could work at. Up and to the right of the captain’s chair was a
rail that separated the tactile, operations, command area and helm from the
upper work areas. Included into the rail was a console that could be used with
a direct linkage to main engineering. There were also small benches to the
right of the captain for guests, or the doctor to sit on.
“Helm ready,” reported Marvin, his red uniform crisp and polished. He
toggled a few buttons to warm up the thrusters.
“Ops ready, sensors, computer, all ship board functions online.”
Reported Mendak, corresponding with the station’s control center for
departure.
“Tactical, security, and communications ready,” reported Jessica.
“Engineering ready, warp engines and impulse engines on stand by
mode,” came Lieutenant Commander Lovak’s voice. Lovack was another blue
alien. But this time he wasn’t a Benzite like Mendak, he was a Bolian.
“Sickbay ready,” came the soft voice of Doctor Hanson’s voice.
“Very good people,” said Captain Williams, pleased with his brand
new crew. “Miss Classing, would you please be so kind as to open a channel
to McKinley Station’s control center,”
The familiar, ‘hailing frequencies open’ sound emanated from
Classing’s console. “Channel open,” she said.
“Control, this is Melbourne requesting permission to depart,” said the
captain, really getting into the swing of things now.
“Good luck Melbourne I hope that we will see you again soon. It was
pleasure to build your ship for you,”
“Thank you, and we will see you soon, Melbourne out.” Said Williams,
a wide smile on his lips. The thought of having someone say thank you for
building his ship was special. If saying thank you was a good thing, then this
ship had been blessed even before she was commissioned. “Release all
mooring beams, one-quarter impulse power, and take us out,” Bryan had to
smile even wider until his face hurt. He, he, Captain (oh what a word captain)
Bryan Williams of the Federation Starship Melbourne was finally in command
after being the first officer of the Roosevelt for over seventeen years! He was
finally out in space, having his own ship to command. The emotion was
overwhelming. He saw the ship clear the dry dock that it had been cradled in
for over a year. What actually happened was, this ship was already being built
before the first Melbourne was destroyed. This ship was actually slated to be
the U.S.S. Del Rio, NCC-71331, but was changed from a Starfleet admiral who
wanted to keep Admiral J.P. Hanson in mind. Admiral Hanson was the man
who had commanded the first Melbourne to her doom. So, the name was
changed to Melbourne and registry changed to NCC-62043-A.
The Melbourne had some of the latest computers to come out of the
Daystrom Institute, and sported a new type of warp core that not only re-
crystallized the dilithium crystals, but refined them to make a more efficient
warp power regulator, a crystal that could almost generate its own power. It
also carried a highly charged form of fluxed plasma, plasma that had been
introduced to a new form of refining, one that made it so fluid and rich, that
the warp engines purred so softly, that it would lull you to sleep in minutes.
The Melbourne had 647 crew members, and 25 decks. It had a maximum
cruising speed of warp 9.877, and a type seven shield grid, the newest of the
line. So, in a way, the Melbourne had a lot of prototype technology on it.
Technology that would be soon spread to the new Intrepid Class starship,
slated to come out in 2370.
The Melbourne glided out of the dry-dock and into space. They
cruised at impulse out of the Terran System, and slid into warp six with a
streak of the ship and a bright light.

Chapter 2

Captain’s Log Supplemental:
We have cleared the Terran System and are on course for
Sector 543 for our first mission. After our mapping mission is completed, we
will set course for Ogden Two. I have yet to be filled in with the nature of our
mission, but I am very confident in Starfleet to give us a good mission that will
be challenging and educational.

Dr. Amber Hanson walked out of her sickbay office and into the bright
corridor. She was heading for the Observation Lounge, the Melbourne’s place
for relaxation, and a place that you could get a drink and chat with old friends.
But, all of Amber’s friends had been assigned to other ships, and her best
friend was now serving as a nurse on the Enterprise. Amber had applied for
the job, but when she saw that a spot for a Chief Medical Officer was needed
on the newly built U.S.S. Melbourne, she jumped at the chance. This ship’s
medical database was vast, the latest Starfleet issue of tools and facilities. She
was quite happy. She brushed her golden honey hair away from her shoulder
and headed for the turbolift, when she realized that she hadn’t paid her
respects to the captain. So, she altered her course for the bridge.
When she reached the nerve center of the ship, all was normal. She
asked an ensign where the captain was, and was told the ready room. She
walked over to the left side of the bridge and rang the bell. A simple “Come,”
admitted her in.
“Doctor Hanson, what a pleasure it is to see you, sit down please.
Would you like anything to drink?” asked the captain politely.
“Um, sure, how about a mint julep.” She said.
“A mint julep? I don’t usually see many people drinking those
anymore,”
“Well, I have spent the last two months at New Orleans, and there are
plenty of mint julep drinkers. I’ve grown to like them. And if you think that
ordering a mint julep is odd, your pink drink is considerably stranger. What
exactly is it?”
“Oh, I’ve been sampling the ship’s library of exotic alien drinks. This
one was made by the Ferengi, its called a sunrise surprise. It tastes like guava
juice with a hint of some strange Ferengi synthehol. Usually, I’d order a tonic
water with lime.”
“I see,” she said, taking the green liquid from the captain’s hand and
sitting in one of the plush, blue chairs.
“So Doctor, what brings you to my office?” asked the captain. He
didn’t know why, but he trusted this person more than his best friend.
“Oh just the usual ‘say hello to the captain because its the first mission’
sort of thing. I was on my way to the observation lounge, when I realized I
hadn’t seen you.”
“Well, thank you for stopping by. I was about to take a stroll to the
holodeck, would you care to join me?” asked the captain, hoping he could get
to know the doctor better.
“I’d love to,” she stood up and drank the rest of her julep and put it in
the replicator so it could be turned back into energy. The captain took her arm
and walked out of the ready room and into the turbolift.
“Deck eight,” said the captain. “So, what program would you like?”
asked the captain.
“I’ve always enjoyed my own program, but I don’t think its been put in
to the computer yet. What do you have?”
“Well, as you may or may not know, I play the trombone. So, I have a
bar setting, and I usually play along with them. There really isn’t any
interaction with much more than great jazz stars,”
“Well, I did play the saxophone when I was younger, but I stopped
playing that when I was fourteen.” Said the doctor, admittedly shunning her
face.
“Why don’t we try one that was already programmed by the
computer?” asked Bryan, he told himself that he needed to make more
programs that everybody liked, not just him, in case he got into one of these
predicaments again.
“Sure, we’ll check the computer when we get there.” The turbolift
stopped and Amber walked out, followed by Bryan. They reached the
holodeck control panel and Bryan asked for a listing of all programs. The little
console lit up. They both scanned the cosole with rapt attention.
“Computer, stop screen,” ordered Bryan, and then the little screen
stopped scrolling the programs. “Computer load the program, ‘Fire Pits of
Atrika Three.'” Said Bryan.
“Program complete, you may enter when ready,” said the computer’s
female voice.
“Fire Pits of Atrika Three?” asked Hanson, not knowing if she would
like it very much. “I don’t think sweltering heat is an idea of a good time.”
She said.
“I was there when I was just a little boy. When my dad’s ship, the
Java, I think it was, beamed down supplies to the colony, My Mom, him, and I
all beamed down to the surface. I must have only been at least five. I don’t
remember all of the details, but I do remember that it was one of the most
beautiful things I have ever seen. Trust me, you’ll love it. We all had to wear
some bulky environmental suits to go into the pits, but on the holodeck, you
can lower the temperature controls.”
“Okay, I’ll take your word for it,” she said.
“Enter,” said the captain. The doors opened and admitted them in.
They walked into some kind of locker room. Amber saw the bulky E-suits
Bryan was telling her about.
“Please put on your environmental suits for your protection, then after
you are done, please follow the lighted floor panels to the lobby.” Said the tour
computer’s voice. Bryan and Amber walked out of the locker room and into
the lobby. People were sitting on the couches and were looking outside the
large windows at the scorched red surface of Atrika Three.
“Hello, I am your tour guide-,” began the a holographic woman.
Bryan told the computer to delete the tour part of the program.
Suddenly, the people that were sitting on the couches, and the tour mistress all
disappeared. “Now we can go ahead of the crowd, and not be disturbed by
them.” He said. The pair walked over to a set of doors. One read
‘Administration,’ the other said ‘Launching Bay.’ Bryan touched the button
for ‘Launching Pad.’ The doors opened to show a regular elevator car. They
walked in and the car began its descent.
After a short ride, the elevator stopped. The doors opened to reveal a
large bay with little “hoppers.” Hoppers were a sort of car, if you will, that
took you across the valley to the fire caves. The couple walked over to car 23,
and Bryan pushed the touch-pad to open the air lock. The small glass shield
opened up. There were four seats per car, Bryan and Amber took the first two.
The large glass canopy came down and they heard the faint hiss of air as the
lock re-pressurized. Bryan touched the large green button and the automatic
piloting system came on-line.
The hopper zoomed out of the launching bay. In about five minutes
they came to an area that looked lie a huge lot of hoppers. The canopy opened
automatically, and the two stepped out. The ground was red and hot. The heat
slithered across their black boots. They walked into a small outcropping of
rocks and were immediately seated in a small rail car. The car started off and
the tour began. Now, the fire caves were a set of three, each one being more
spectacular than the last. After the tour was over, tourists could choose to take
the other tour to the volcanoes, but Bryan had been to the volcanoes, and it
wasn’t much fun.
The small rail car approached the first fire cave. “Computer, lower
temperature to 34 degrees Celsius, for every cave.” Said Bryan as the computer
beeped with his command. Usually, the temperature in the caves got up to at
least 80 degrees Celsius. Thirty four wasn’t that bad. Bryan heard the hissing
of the gasses and started to see an orange glow take place. All of a sudden, the
glow turned into a fiery blast, shooting outward. Yellow, orange and red
flames danced about the cave. The walls turned an orange hue, and the
skylight at the top of the cave spewed smoke. Bryan could see Amber react
with surprise, and she gasped. After the car left the first cave, Bryan could tell
that she would have a wonderful time.

After the tour was all over, the captain and the doctor walked out of the
holodeck doors and headed for Seven-Forward for some drinks.
“That was the most impressive fire show I have ever seen in my life.”
She said.
“Well, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I thought you would like it.” Said
Bryan as they rounded a corner. They entered the turbolift and Bryan ordered
it to deck seven. “So, what’s our mission after our mapping mission?” asked
Amber.
“I don’t know, Starfleet is keeping it secret. I think we’ll find out at
Ogden Two.”
“Well, if they’re are keeping it that secret, then it should be an exciting
one.”
“Yes, I hope so.” The lift stopped and they walked into the corridor.
They came up to a large set of double doors, beautiful doors. Bryan could tell
that it was pure oak. There were small, circular windows that had the Starfleet
insignia frosted on. The doors whooshed open. Bryan looked around at the
elegant lounge. It was a dark lounge, with the bar being in the left side of the
room, almost parallel to the doors. On the other side of the room was the other
set of doors, and throughout the room was tables. And the best aspect of the
room was the large semi-circumvented window at the front that showed the
stars streaking by.
Bryan walked up to the bar. A slim, bald headed Deltan was behind
the counter. “Hi, my name is Doria. You must be Captain Williams and
Doctor Hanson. Welcome to my lounge. What can I get for you?” she asked.
Bryan looked into her eyes and saw a beautiful glint in them. She was also
very tall. And quite attractive.
Bryan was nudged out of his trance by Amber, “Oh, um, I’ll have a
tonic water with lime, hold the gin.”
“Okay,” said Doria, “And for you?”
“I’ll have a glass of Andorian Gava Wine.”
“All right, I’ll have it brought to your table.” She quickly tapped a few
buttons and two drinks appeared on the replicator’s stage. She walked out
from behind the bar and to the table that was right in the middle of the window
where the two sat. She handed them their drinks and walked off.
“So, tell me, where were you before you got this assignment?” asked
Amber.
“Well, I was the first officer of the U.S.S. Roosevelt for eleven years,
right up to the day when she was destroyed by the Borg at Wolf 359.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Amber with regret.
“Don’t be, yes a lot of good people died, but what’s done is done. It
was sad, seeing my ship go up in a big ball of flames. But now, I have this
magnificent ship under my command. Where were you?”
“Well, I was serving at the hospital as the head nurse on Aster VI. I
was there straight out of Medical School. It was very uneventful, nothing
compared to being on a starship, risking your life, being out on the frontier.”
“Yes, it is quite exciting to think of all the adventures that we will
have. Personally, I think we’ll be a ship that will be known. Just like the
Enterprise is now.”
“I hope so.” She looked out the window. “Beautiful aren’t they?” she
said looking out at the stars.
I could get to liking her. Thought Williams. And the conversation went
on.

Chapter 3

THE NEXT MORNING, Commander Coulon looked at the face in the
mirror and said to himself, “I am the first officer of a ship, finally!” he put on
his red uniform and walked out into the corridor. He walked past several crew
men who had already been up since the wee hours of the morning. He politely
returned the gesture and walked to the nearest turbolift. He pushed the button
that summoned the lift to the deck he was on. He heard the lift stop at the door
and soon afterward, the doors hissed open. He saw Lieutenant Marvin.
“Good morning, Commander,” he said.
“Bridge,” said Coulon, “Good morning Mr. Marvin. Sleep well?”
“Yeah, these starship beds aren’t that bad. And this red uniform feels
good on me. Did you know that I was a science officer on the Naples until I
was promoted here? You know, once your in this red uniform, all the others
seem, well, boring, I guess.”
“Not boring, just well, just, well red just feels better.” Said Mark.
“Exactly!” said Marvin. The lift stopped and they walked out with
smiles on their faces. Mark said hello to Mendak and took his seat.
Lieutenant Marvin took his place at the helm, relieving a younger ensign.
“Good morning, commander,” said Captain Williams.
“Morning, Captain.” He replied. The ship was still cruising at warp
six, they were already past halfway there.
“We should be approaching Sector 543 in approximately nine hours,
captain.” Said Lieutenant Marvin.
“Thank you Lieutenant,”
Commander Classing’s board beeped at her and she pushed a few
buttons to see what it was. “Captain, incoming coded transmission from
Starfleet Command. In your ready room sir?” asked Jessica.
“Yes, thank you commander,” said Williams. He got out of his chair
and walked into his office.
He sat behind his desk. He took a second to make sure he looked all
right and pushed the button on his terminal. The Federation’s insignia bleeped
on. Then a lady’s face appeared on the screen. Bryan immediately recognized
her.
“Admiral Blackwell, what can I do for you?” he asked, quite perplexed.
Perplexed because the third in command of the Starfleet called him.
“Captain Williams, I hope your new ship hasn’t given you any
problems?”
“No, in fact, it has performed magnificently.”
“Good, good. Captain, are you aware with Sector 582?” she asked.
Bryan put a frown on, trying to think of what significance Sector 582
might have. “All I know is that it is neutral territory between the Federation
and the Romulan Empire.”
“Correct.” She said.
“Admiral, is something going on? Are you going to cancel our mission
to Sector 543?”
“Captain, please switch to your split-screen.” Said the admiral.
Bryan touched a few keys and the screen split in two, making the
admiral look a little more skinnier. All of a sudden a graphic popped up to
show a star chart. “Admiral, what is this?”
“The blue line represents the Federation, the green line represents the
border of the Romulan Empire. You see how our border opens up into
territory that we, the Federation and the Romulans claim?” Bryan nodded,
“There border is open as well, this means that the Romulans can fly in this
territory and not be blamed for entering the Federation, also, the Federation
doesn’t have any border buoys there to watch for Romulan activity.”
“Admiral, I fail to see the significance of this,” said Williams.
“Captain, on the planet Honed VII is a race that has been on the merge
into warp drive vessels for over fifty years, a long range sensor buoy picked up
an unidentified ship heading at warp speed out of the Honed System. I want
you to investigate.” The admiral had a look of concern on her face. The
graphic on the split screen changed to a satellite photo. “As you can see, those
green marks are a disturbance, one of the buoys picked this up, as you can see,
there is a star directly in the foreground, the gamma rays that the star emitted
showed a shadow like effect, we have positively identified it as a Romulan
Warbird. I want you to take the Melbourne to Honed VII and investigate the
matter with the Honedians, and see why the Romulans find it so important to
violate our territory just so they can get a look at this planet. This mission
should be eventful for you, be careful, I don’t want a brand new ship to be
destroyed on her maiden mission, Blackwell out.”
The split screen was restored to full, and the Admiral’s image was
replaced by the Federation logo, and a phrase that said, ‘End Transmission.’
Williams sat back in his chair and sighed, he could tell this mission was indeed
going to be eventful.

Jessica Classing looked up from her tactical board and saw Captain
Williams walking out of his ready room. He looked spaced out. His eyes were
just looking at the ground, and not moving. He was obviously thinking of
something. “Did the conversation go well?” she asked, a little shakily.
Bryan immediately looked at her, coming out of his trance and said,
“Oh, uh, yeah, um, I- um,” he walked over to her tactical board and hit the
comm button. “Captain to all senior officers, please meet in the conference
lounge.”
“Everything okay?” asked Jessica.
“Yeah, everything is fine. Why?” he asked, a little sarcastically.
“Liar,” she said as she was looking at his face, “I know that look to
well to be fooled, I’ve known you to long,”
“You’ll find out in the meeting, c’mon, let’s go.” And with that, they
walked into the lounge.

The conference lounge was decorated with various plants from various
worlds. There was a picture of the original Melbourne, facing the new
Melbourne in front of a fuchsia nebula, staring at each other face to face. The
original Melbourne had carbon scoring marks up and down her hull from the
fight with the Borg vessel. The new ship looked at it ominously, like it was
excepting the role as the new Melbourne. Captain Williams looked out at the
stars from the view port. The conference lounge was directly behind the main
bridge. Williams took his seat at the head of the table, to the port side of the
ship. Commander Coulon sat to his right, with Jessica Classing behind him.
Mendak sat behind her.
On the other row, to the captain’s left, sat Lieutenant Marvin,
Commander Lovak, and behind him Doctor Hanson.
“I’m sure you all can’t wait to hear what Admiral Blackwell told me.
There is a race, the Honedians, for use of a better name, have emerged on the
brink of warp drive. But, as there always has, and ever shall be, is a catch.
The Romulans know too and since Honed VII is in Federation territory, the
Romulans don’t have sensor nets or patrolling starships to worry about. We
are to go to Honed VII, make first contact, and ask the Honedians if they
would care to join the Federation. Of course, we will have the Romulans to
contend with. Questions?”
“Yes, Captain, what if the Honedians don’t want to join the Federation,
or what if they want to join the Romulan Empire?” asked Ben.
“Well, if they do not wish to join the Federation, then we will have no
choice but to vacate the area, if they wish to join the Romulans, there is the
possibility of drawing the Federation into war.”
“Why will it start a war?” he asked innocently.
“Because, Lieutenant, if the Romulans take it over, then the Federation
won’t let our space go to them. But of course the Romulans won’t care, and
they’ll fight for it. Question answered?” he said bluntly.
“Yessir,” said Marvin.
“Anymore questions?” he asked. Everyone shook their heads. “Well,
then, best of luck to us on our first, which promises to be an eventful one,
mission. Dismissed.” Everyone filed out of the room and onto the bridge.

Chapter 4

Captain’s Log, Stardate: 44787.6
The Melbourne has dropped out of warp on the far edge of the Honed
System. We are currently searching for any Romulan ships, or Honedian
ships. So far, we have found nothing. We are running under impulse power,
and are at yellow alert.

Captain Williams sat crossed-legged in his chair. He looked at the
almost still stars on the view screen. The Melbourne was slowly lumbering
closer to the seventh planet of the Honed System. It had been four hours since
they started their journey from the outer ring of the system. So far, nothing but
empty space. No Romulan ships, no Honedians, just space and a bunch of
planets.
Jessica’s panel beeped at her. “Sir, I am picking up a ship bearing one-
four-one mark seventy-two. It is of unknown design. I would guess that it is a
Honedian ship. Shall I hail them?” she asked.
Bryan watched the view screen. He saw a steel gray ship appear. It
had two warp nacelles tucked in close to its side. The body of the ship
elegantly sloped down towards the nose. There was a discernible bridge area
towards the back of the ship. He could also identify what looked like some
kind of weapons pods. Then there was a customary orange glow in the back of
the ship to identify the impulse engines. “No, lets see what they do.”
Jessica’s board beeped again. “They are scanning us. They have raised
their shields.” She said.
Not the perfect way to start out relations, I’m going to play it by ear.
Thought Bryan. “Miss Classing, lower our shields to show our good faith.”
Said Bryan. He saw the momentary blue flash on the view screen that
indicated that the shields were now off. “Mendak, do a sensor scan of them,”
ordered Williams.
“Aye sir,” he touched his board and stated what he found, “There is
approximately 500 life forms aboard. It looks like their warp capability is
warp seven point two. Those pods on the outer hull seem to be some kind of
torpedo launcher. I am also reading indications of some kind of pulse-drill
beam. Nitrogen oxygen mixture, apparently, they breathe the same air that we
do.”
“Thank you Mendak. All right, this has taken long enough.
Commander Classing, open hailing frequencies,”
All of a sudden, Jessica’s board beeped ferociously, “Captain, Romulan
Warbird de-cloaking off the Honedians flank, they have their weapons
charged.” Said Jessica with some excitement in her voice.
“Red alert, ready phasers! Hail the Romulans. Mr. Marvin, put us in
between the Romulan ship and the Honedian ship,” Said Williams. The bridge
automatically turned dark, with red alert lights blinking on, a low humming
klaxon was also apparent. The Melbourne moved in between the Honedian
ship and the Warbird. The massive green ship out sized the Melbourne by
many times.
“The Romulans are firing their disruptors onto the Honedian ship,” said
Mendak. All of a sudden the view screen blinked from a star field to the
bridge of the Romulan ship.
“Captain, if you do not depart in one minute I will have no choice but
to open fire upon you.”
“Excuse me, Commander?” said Bryan asking the Romulan his name.
“Commander D’Rem, of the Imperial Warbird Klidon.”
“I am Captain Bryan Williams of the Federation Starship Melbourne.
Excuse my bluntness, but you are in Federation territory. I believe that was my
line. Leave, or I’ll open fire upon you, and what’s worse, you’ll be facing a
charge of war. Leave now D’Rem.”
“Sorry Captain, but that ship that you are trying to protect is a ship that
destroyed one of our long range science vessels. We are at war with the
Joran.” So that was what their name was, the Joran.
“At war? Commander D’Rem-,”
Bryan’s words were cut off by Mendak. “Sir, a temporal rift is
forming, a ship is emerging.”
“Onscreen!” cried Bryan. D’Rem was replaced by a green cloud of
vapor and a blur of lights which looked like the running lights of a starship.
“Sensor blackout is subsiding, the ship is-,”
Bryan didn’t have to know what ship it was. The ship had bad burn
marks on her hull, a large portion of her saucer was sliced open, and it looked
like one of the nacelle’s was fluctuating. “What the hell?” said Bryan. The
ship he was looking at was his, the Melbourne.

“Report,” said Williams as he looked at his ship emerging from the
temporal rift.
“The ship appears to be in some sort of temporal flux.” Said Mendak,
“Possibly from going through the rift.” Williams and the rest of the bridge
crew watched as the other Melbourne flashed in and out of time. “The other
Melbourne is fluctuating in and out of our space-time continuum.” Said
Mendak, working his board.
“Hail them,” said Williams
“Aye sir,” said Classing. “On screen, Captain,”
“This is Captain Williams of the Federation Starship Melbourne. What
is going on here?” he asked, somewhat bewildered.
The screen flickered to show the bridge of the Melbourne, with fires
flaring, and Lieutenant Marvin slumped over in his chair, his neck broken.
Commanders Classing and Coulon were being carried off on stretchers.
“Captain Williams,” said Captain Williams, a gushing wound on his face,
losing too much blood to be on the bridge. Just shows how dedicated to my
ship I really am. Thought Williams. “You must destroy that Honedian ship
immediately,”
“Why?” asked Williams. “We are here on a peaceful First Contact
mission. We are not here to start a war.”
“No, you don’t understand….you started..ar..you..estroy.dian
ship..” The transmission was fading.
“Captain, we’re losing you,” said Williams, “Boost your signal gain.
Switch to 132 megahertz,”
“Its too late Captain,” said Mendak, “They have slipped out of our time
continuum.”
“Can you get him back?” asked Williams.
“Negative, not without further research of the matter,”
“He looked pretty bad, I just can’t dismiss him and his claim, I want
you and Lovak to start on a way to at least talk to him,”
“Aye sir,” said Mendak and headed for the turbolift.
“Captain, the Romulan ship is hailing us again,” said Commander
Classing.
“Tell them not now,” said Williams. He just imagined it. A smaller
Federation starship, telling a huge, battle-hungry Warbird to ‘knock-it-off.’
D’Rem must be furious now. “Actually, Commander, tell D’Rem to prepare
to beam over to the Melbourne. Lower the shields and power down weapons as
a show of good faith. Stand down red alert,” said Williams. The bridge
resumed its original lighting, the whole room becoming brighter.
“Commander D’Rem says that he will meet with you, but he wants to
bring along three security guards,” said Jessica.
“That’s okay, we’ll have security guards as well, I’ll be in transporter
room three,”
“Aye sir,”
“Commander Coulon, you come with me, Commander Classing, you
have the bridge.” Said Williams, smiling back at Jessica’s smile. “Your first
time in the ‘big chair?'” asked Williams.
“Exactly, but don’t worry, I won’t get your ship all banged up under my
watch, I know how you captains are, always worrying about their ship when
they aren’t on the bridge. Let me tell you something, I am just as good as you
are mister, now, get off the bridge and go greet our Romulan guests.”
“Yes, sir!” said Williams, chuckling all the way to the turbolift.

Williams and Coulon entered the transporter room. There was an
ensign on duty and said, “Ready for transport Captain, the Romulans have
lowered their shields,”
“Very well, energize,” just then, three security guards walked in.
On the transporter platform, four shapes took place. Then, their broad
shoulders took place, the mark of the Romulans. The blue hallow around them
disappeared, and one Romulan stepped forward, apparently Commander
D’Rem.
“Commander D’Rem, welcome aboard the USS Melbourne. This is
Commander Coulon, my first officer. Would you please follow me to the
conference lounge.”
“Of course, Captain. Allow me to introduce my first officer, Sub-
Commander Tarkus,” said D’Rem as Tarkus stepped forward. Captain
Williams, Commander Coulon, Commander D’Rem and Sub-Commander
Tarkus walked out of the transporter room and down the corridor, flanked by
two Romulan security guards and three Starfleet guards. Williams led them to
turbolift and said, “Observation lounge,” and the lift whisked them away.

The doors opened up to place them inside a corridor. They walked up
a ramp and another set of doors opened up to admit them into the colorful
conference lounge. Williams took his seat at the head of the table. All the
other officers followed suit. All the security guards stood behind their
respective captains.
“Commander D’Rem. The Melbourne was sent to this sector to make
First Contact with the Joran. With your aggressive arrival, that makes my
mission very difficult. First of all, how could the Romulan Empire be at war
with a race who has just made warp technology? Surely they couldn’t that
much of a threat to you.”
“Captain, I will not mince words. The Romulan Star Empire has been
in somewhat of a ‘hungry’ position. The Romulan Empire has tried for years
to get the better of the Federation. And each time, we have failed. Every time.
Well, except for once, and that was a glorious victory for us. But, we are tired
of losing everything.
“I have found over the three short years that we have had contact with
the Federation that you do not like to have wars. And its your almost equal
ability of cunning to that of us that keeps us from gaining a victory from you.
Well, Captain, the Romulan people like war. It is our heritage. Sector 582 as
you know is territory claimed by both the Romulan Empire and the Federation.
Well, we saw the Joran System as worthy of a war, so we started a total war of
attrition with the Joran. Hoping, that after we annihilated them, the Federation
would see what we are doing and start a war. That way, there would be no
treachery to be failed upon. See what I mean?”
“I do, and what a plan, if it ever did work. But, you underestimated the
Federation’s abilities, and now, the Melbourne is here. And now, there is a big
problem. I have a duplicate Melbourne that just disappeared from my sensors
that claim that the Federation is at war with the Joran. A war that looks like
we are losing. And I have a feeling that some how, the Romulans have a
strong connection with it. I want to know what your real plan is, and I want to
know it now.”
“Captain, you have no right to speak to me in that tone of voice. And
I’m not really afraid of your tiny ship. And like I said Captain, I just told you,
there is no treachery here, we want war.”
“That’s a pretty week justification for war though. Knowing you
Romulans, there is a hidden agenda. I feel it is in best interest to have a short
recess. I will call you when I am ready to talk again. Commander Coulon,”
said Williams, raising his voice to that tone of command, “Would you please
escort our Romulan guests to the transporter room?”
“Aye sir,” said Coulon as he got up and walked to the doors with the
Romulans in tow.
“A pleasure Captain,” said D’Rem.
“The pleasure was all mine,” said Williams, lying though his teeth.

Chapter 5

WILLIAMS WATCHED D’REM walk through the doors and let out a
breath. He touched his comm badge and pulled down his uniform tunic. The
communicator beeped telling him the channel was open and said, “Williams to
Commander Classing,”
“Classing here,”
“How’s my ship?”
“Just fine, what can I do for you?” she asked.
“Get me Admiral Blackwell on subspace, priority one,”
“Aye sir,” said Jessica with a bit of curiosity in her voice.
Williams tapped his comm-badge twice, once to close the channel, and
once to open another channel. He walked to the door opposite him. He
emerged into the corridor that lead to the bridge. “Williams to Mendak,” said
Bryan as he walked out of the corridor and onto the bridge.
“Mendak here,”
“Commander, how’s it coming?” he asked.
“We’ve made some progress sir. But we’re still going to need a lot
more time,”
“Well Commander, it looks like your time is going to be cut short,
double your efforts, put anybody on the project that you think would be useful,
notify me once you’re on to something. And hurry,” said Williams. Looks
like my prediction was right, he thought, there is going to be a war.

Williams walked into his ready room, its blue and gray hues welcoming
him. He took a seat in his plush blue chair and pushed the button to turn his
terminal on. A picture of Admiral Blackwell took place. She looked like she
had just been awakened from sleep.
“What is it Captain?” she asked, rubbing her eyes.
“Sorry to catch you in your sleep, Admiral, I forgot about what time it
was on Earth. But, I think that what I’m about to tell you is worth it. We have
found the Honedians, and their real name is the Joran. Anyway, that is beside
the point. When we arrived in Sector 582, we found a Joran ship. Then, a
Romulan Warbird de-cloaked in front of us. All of a sudden, it started to fire
upon the Joran ship. I hailed them and they said that the Romulans were at
war with them. But, this is even more extraordinary-,”
“Slow down Captain,” she said. “You’re telling me that the Romulans
are at war with the Joran, and they have just acquired warp technology? That’s
preposterous! I think that it is some more Romulan treachery.”
“Admiral, this is even more strange. A short while after the Romulans
started to fire upon the Joran ship, a temporal rift opened up, to reveal a
battered Melbourne. She looked pretty badly. Looked like she had been
through one hell of a fight. Then, she phased out of our space-time continuum.
“But, before she disappeared, I was able to make contact with Captain
Williams. He told me that the Federation was at war with the Joran in the
future. And that’s when the other Melbourne phased away.
“Shortly after, I asked Commander D’Rem, the commander of the
Romulan ship to come over to the Melbourne. Admiral, what I am about to say,
is-shocking to say the most. D’Rem told me that the Romulan Empire is tired
of losing to the Federation. So, they are not using treachery this time. They
are going to annihilate the Joran. And then D’Rem told me that since the
Federation would never stand for such genocide in our space, we would
respond with force and a war would be started.”
“Damn,” said Blackwell. “I would not take D’Rem’s statement that
there is no treachery as a lie. So, what are you going to do next?” she asked.
“I would take D’Rem’ statement that there is no treachery as a lie. So,
what are you going to do next?” she asked.
“Well, after D’Rem and his party left the Melbourne, I was going to
contact you and see what you said.”
“Captain, for now, I want you to investigate this incident, and when
you find any information about this, contact me. In the mean time, I’m
sending the USS Triumph, a Galaxy class ship to patrol the border of Sector
582. Call upon them if you need any help. Be careful Captain, the
Melbourne’s first mission should prove to be a difficult one, Blackwell out,”
the screen went out showing the all too calm insignia of the Federation.
“Damn! How can she just dismiss it like that?” asked Williams to no
one in particular. Williams got up and walked to the view port and looked out
at the steely coolness of space, and then the glowing green rift. He shook
himself from his reverie. He walked out onto the bridge. “Commander
Classing, report,”
Jessica turned her eyes away from her panel on the captain’s chair and
said, “Commander Mendak has over half of the engineering crew working on a
way to get the other Melbourne back. Commander D’Rem has been escorted to
quarters on deck eight.”
“Good, Admiral Blackwell is sending the Triumph to help us in patrol.
With all this going on, I have a plan forming in my head, and I think you’re the
perfect person to carry it out. Would you please join me for a drink?” he
asked.
“Why Captain. Isn’t that a bit un-called for under the circumstances?”
she asked.
“Well, I think I need some relaxation,” said Williams as he chuckled.
“What?” asked Jessica.
“Well, its funny. We’ve barely even begun our career out here and I
am already needing a vacation from my captaincy. What a position!” he said.
“Knowing you, you can get through anything. And besides, I’m always
game for a drink, c’mon.” she said as they entered the turbolift.

Williams looked at the doors of the turbolift as the elevator stopped.
The doors hissed open and he saw on the door across the corridor from him
that they were on deck seven section four. They had to walk four sections to
get to Seven-Forward. Oh well, a little walking would never hurt anyone.
When they reached the lounge, the found that it was full of crew
members. Williams and Classing walked up to Doria. “I’ll have some
drinking ale,” said Williams.
“And I think I’ll have a glass of Klingon Fire Wine.” Said Classing.
Williams looked at her in surprise.
“‘Klingon Fire Wine?'” asked Williams. “That’s quite different than
you’re regular poison.”
“I grew to like it when I was stationed on Hakoria, it was a Klingon
colony.”
“I never knew you served on a Klingon colony.” Said Williams.
“Yeah. It was right before I was posted on the Melbourne.”
“Huh. You know after we were split from each other after the LaSalle,
I never thought that we would ever see each other again. Then, when we were
posted together on the Roosevelt, I was overjoyed. Then Wolf 359 hit. I
thought that you had died. But there I saw you on one of the evac ships. Then
I totally lost track of you. But when I saw that there was a certain Lieutenant
Jessica Classing, looking for a job as a chief of security, I grabbed you and you
were promoted to Lieutenant Commander.” Said Williams, he then looked
down at his drink and his face became solemn.
“What?” she asked, lowering her head to his, trying to see what was
wrong with him.
“Well, when the Roosevelt was destroyed, I thought in my head that I
would never lose a ship again. But, now here I am, in command of this fine
ship,” he said, looking around his ship, “And then a temporal rift opens up and
I see a ship that is as good as destroyed. That made me think a lot. And now, I
am committed to not let things get that way. There’s a way Jessica. There has
to be a way to save the Melbourne and not plummet the Federation into a war.
And now,” said Bryan as he looked out at the stars, “I will do anything to stop
it, anything.”
“Well, like I said, Bryan Williams can get through anything. And if
you survived all those years on the Roosevelt, then I know you can survive
this.”
“Well, I hope you’re right.” Said Bryan.
“Of course I’m right, when have I ever been wrong?” she asked.
“Well, there was that time when we were flanked by some Cardassian
warships and you said that-,”
“Okay, okay, maybe once, but that’s all. So, what did she say?” asked
Classing.
“She said that I have to investigate the ‘incident’ and she’ll leave it in
my capable hands. No help from her, no advice. Well, I guess that’s what
admirals expect of captains, to make their own decisions. Well, I have to get
used to this, and I shouldn’t be giving myself a bad time because its my first
mission as a captain.”
“Sounds about right to me,” said Jessica.
“Right now, all I want to do is sit here and drink my drink. After that, I
think I’ll wait for Mendak to get done with his experiments on how to bring
the other Melbourne back.” Just then, as Williams took a sip of his ale, his
comm badge beeped.
“Mendak to Captain Williams,”
Williams put down his glass and reluctantly tapped his badge.
“Williams here,”
“Sir, I think we have something here. Would you please join us in
engineering,”
“On my way,” said Williams.
“So much for your relaxation,” said Jessica as the two walked out of
Seven-Forward.
“Really,” said Williams as he sighed.

When they reached engineering, Williams was astonished at all the
crew hurriedly walking about doing their duties. Williams looked at the heart
of his ship, the warp drive. Its pulsing blue lights, the low rumble it made. He
looked at Lovak’s office to his immediate right. The office had a glass
window looking out at the warp core. It had panels on the wall opposite the
window and a pull down console at the end. There was also a large ‘bench’ of
console’s where he found Lovak and Mendak working. He looked at the rest
of engineering. The ‘corridor’ he was in had a table with a schematic of the
ship and protruding screens. On the walls, there was more panels. On the left
side of the corridor, there was a large panel with a picture of the Melbourne’s
inside. And then there was the second level of engineering which was a glass
floor and a panel bench that was nestled in a corner. And then there was the
little boxes of computer nodes and a door that lead to some Jefferies Tubes.
And to add it sum it all up, there was bright lighting like on the bridge.
“Ah, Captain. I think you should take a look at this.” Said Lovak, his
blue skin shining in the light. He punched a few buttons to show a sensor
schematic of the rift. “This is the rift when the Melbourne flew through.”
“Yes, how was this rift made?” asked Williams.
“Well, sir, it looks like some type of proton build up over-saturated
space and a temporal rift opened up. I’d say that that other Melbourne was
actually trying to get here and warn us.”
“The war must be going pretty badly if Starfleet was desperate enough
to send a ship back through time to warn us. Anyway, how do we find the
other Melbourne?” asked Williams.
Lovak turned back to his console. He punched in a few more
commands. The schematic changed to show another schematic, this time
distorted and twisted, “And this is the rift after the Melbourne disappeared.
Look at all the temporal ‘pockets’ that have twisted themselves around so
tightly it drew in the other Melbourne so we couldn’t track it.
“But, Mendak and I have found a way to find the Melbourne. We
saturate the rift with anti-protons from the main deflector dish and
theoretically, one of those twisted pockets should come loose. But we have no
idea what pocket the Melbourne is in. So, it’ll take some time to unravel all of
them. In essence, we will be untwisting time.” said Lovak.
“Fascinating,” said Williams. “But is there any way to keep the
Melbourne here, in our continuum?”
“Yes, all we would have to do after we found the Melbourne, would be
to pull it out with a tractor beam.” Said Lovak, marveling at his work.
“How long would it take to get the main deflector ready?” asked
Williams.
“I’d say no more than an hour at most. However, we are going to have
to evacuate the entire forward section of the secondary hull, and the lower
three decks of the saucer section.” Said Mendak.
“Get on it. Commander Classing, would you please make the
necessary arrangements for the evacuation of those sections.” Said Williams.
“Aye sir,” said Classing as she walked away.
“I’ll be on the bridge if you need me.” Said Williams as he walked
away from Lovak’s office and down to the turbolift right beside the schematic
panel. He ordered it to take him to the bridge.

When Williams reached the bridge he found Commander Coulon in the
captain’s chair. “Good afternoon Commander,” said Williams. “Anything to
report?” asked Williams.
“Yes actually. The Romulan ship is being as quiet as a mouse, and the
Joran ship has headed back to Joran VII. It took quite a beating. And
Commander D’Rem is demanding to speak with you.”
“Demanding, huh?” asked Williams. “Where is he?”
“He’s waiting for you in the observation lounge.” Said Coulon.
“Well, I guess I’ll be in the observation lounge, you have the bridge,
notify me of anything,”
“Aye captain,” said Coulon as he sat back down. Williams couldn’t
wait to get in the lounge and listen to a fuming Romulan tongue lash him about
he kept him waiting. Not. Thought Williams.
He walked in to see D’Rem and Tarkus sitting down with angry looks
on their faces. “Captain Williams, I demand to know why I have been kept
waiting in your ship for over an hour! We are at war!”
“No you’re not,” said Williams.
“Excuse me?!” said D’Rem.
“D’Rem, do you actually expect me to hear you say that you’re at war
with the Joran? I can tell right now, you’re lying trough you teeth. Don’t give
me any of that ‘no treachery’ business. The whole way of the Romulans is
treachery. You live on it. So go ahead and leave. But let me warn you,” said
Williams, pointing a finger at D’Rem. Just then, his communicator beeped
and he answered it, “Williams here,” he said.
“Captain,” said Commander Coulon’s voice, “The Klidon has just sent
out a tight beam transmission.”
“Track it and keep me informed,” said Williams, “Williams out,”
Williams returned to his stern expression with D’Rem, “A tight beam
transmission huh? What could that be for? A possible call for more ships?
Well, whatever it is, I’m not going to worry about it until the time comes.”
Lied Williams. He does care about what it was. The Melbourne’s computer
had captured the transmission in time for it to analyze it and try to break it, that
transmission could be the ticket out of this mess. Williams again turned to
D’Rem and said “But let me warn you, if you go towards Joran VII, I will not
hesitate to open fire upon you, clear?” sad Williams.
“Very, although I don’t think you’re ship will be much of a threat.”
Said D’Rem. Williams couldn’t take this Romulan bad mouthing his ship like
that.
“Goodbye, D’Rem,” said Williams. He pointed to the security guards
to escort them to the bridge. “Whew,” said Williams.

Williams was on the bridge, waiting for Lovak to get done with his
anti-proton beam. D’Rem and his henchmen had beamed over to the Klidon
about fifteen minutes ago. The Klidon cloaked shortly thereafter. Williams
just bet that they were heading for Joran VII. Meanwhile, the computer was
still trying to break that Romulan transmission. Williams took a moment to
breathe. He drew in a breath from his nostrils and let it out through his mouth.
The Romulans were up to something, no matter what that sniveling D’Rem
said. Williams tapped the button on his command chair to open his captain’s
log. It said, “Recording.” Williams began his log. He smiled at the log of his
logs showing only three logs were recorded, making Williams think of how
many more there were going to be over the years. Then a grim thought came
to him. His smile faded immediately. What if the Melbourne was destroyed
with the upcoming war? He quickly pushed aside that thought and began his
log:

Captain’s Log, Stardate 44788.7
The Klidon has cloaked and has moved away. I have a feeling
that it went towards Joran VII. If it did, this war could start a lot faster than I
had first anticipated. If the Melbourne fires upon the Romulans, then the
Romulans will call for back up and the Federation will send their own fleet
and I will have started a war. I am formulating a plan to catch the Romulans
in the act, and hopefully it will work.
So far, Commanders Lovak and Mendak have worked diligently to get
the anti-proton beam ready. I am faced with two big mysteries, which I feel in
the long run will all come out to one mystery. And I know of one word that
can solve it: Romulans.

Lovak looked up from his console. He looked over at the warp engine
capacity. Good, it was up to 89%. All they needed to do was make the
engines go up to 100% and the anti-proton beam would be ready. He tapped
his comm badge, “Lovak to Mendak,”
“Mendak here,”
“How’s the reconfiguration going?”
“All right. We need a couple more minutes to reallocate the subspace
radio systems to the auxiliary system, and then we should be ready to go.”
“Good, the warp engine capacity is now up to 90%. I’d give it fifteen
more minutes.”
“Right, I’ll be up on the bridge when this is going on, can you handle
everything down here?”
“Sure! I’m not the chief engineer of a beautiful starship for nothing,
am I?”
“Gotcha! Good luck! Mendak out,” and the channel was closed.
“Lovak to Captain Williams,”
“Williams here,”
“Captain, we have another fifteen minutes until we’re ready to go.”
“Excellent Lovak! Do you have a minute to speak with me in private?”
“Of course sir, I’ll be right up,”
“Good, meet me in my ready room. Williams out,”
Lovak put Lieutenant Rogers in command of engineering. He then
headed for the turbolift.

Williams was sitting in his command chair when he put down the
PADD that had his schedule on it and headed for the ready room. The doors
hissed open to his tranquil office. A few moments later, Lovak entered the
room.
“Ah, Mr. Lovak. Come in please, sit down,” Lovak complied with the
request. “Mr. Lovak, as you may or may not know, the Romulans claim to be
at war with the Joran. I find that very disturbing. In fact, I have a feeling that
there is a larger problem here than we are lead to believe. That other
Melbourne says that the Federation is at war with the Joran. I also find this
disturbing. So, I am going to catch the Romulans in the act. I am going to
catch them doing their treachery before they even begin their attack on the
Federation.
“And I believe that they have some kind of military build up some
where around here. I am sending Commander Coulon and Commander
Classing in a shuttle to find anything out of the ordinary. But, of course the
Romulans have a cloaking device. Any way we can track them when they are
cloaked?”
“Well, we could give the shuttle some microtorpedoes. If they
detonated one of them in front of a Warbird, it should have some effect and
they would be able to detect it.”
“No, I’m expecting a fleet of Warbirds. I don’t just want to isolate one
and then go on for the next, that would take to long. Can you give me anything
else?” said Williams, rubbing his chin.
“Hmm, well, I suppose we could outfit the shuttle with a tachyon pulse.
That way, all it would have to do is send out one pulse and they could find
every ship there. Since cloaking devices run on tachyons, if we give it an
overflow of tachyons, then it should show up on the sensors.”
“Great, get on it,”
“Aye sir,” said Lovak as he ran out of his office in excitement. He’s
going to make on hell of an engineer. Thought Williams.
“Computer,” addressed Williams, it chirped, “Get Commander Coulon
and Commander Classing up here,”
“Acknowledged,” said the computer. A few moments later,
Commander Classing and Commander Coulon showed up in his ready room.
“Ah, good you’re here. I have a mission for the two of you.”
“Oh great,” said Classing.
“I think you’ll like this one. I want you two to take a shuttle to the far
side of this star system and track down a Romulan fleet.”
“Oh, that sounds easy,” said Classing sarcastically, “All we have to do
is find a fleet of Romulan ships, not to mention the cloaking device. How are
we going to get past that? And then we have to make it back here in one
piece! Well, hell Captain, why don’t you just send us in EV suits?!”
“Calm yourself Commander. Lovak is outfitting one of our shuttles
with a tachyon pulse that should render the Romulan cloaking device useless.
All you two have to do is find the Romulan fleet and come back to the
Melbourne.”
“Okay,” said Coulon, “But what if there isn’t any Romulan fleet?”
“Then there isn’t any Romulan fleet and I will have been wrong.”
“Oh, right sir,” said Coulon returning to his stature of calm.
“Good, you’ll leave as soon as Lovak is done outfitting the shuttle.
Dismissed. Oh, Commander Classing, would you please get me Captain
Myers of the Triumph?”
“Certainly sir,” she said as she walked out.
A few moments later, Captain Myers wrinkled old face appeared on the
terminal’s screen. “Captain Williams,” he said.
“Captain Myers. My crew and I are prepared to get the other Melbourne
back within the next hour or so. I also have reason to believe that there is a
Romulan invasion fleet somewhere in this system. As for that matter, I am
sending out a shuttlecraft to track them down. If my beliefs are correct, those
Romulans are going to want a fight. So, would you please come over here and
give the Melbourne some cover as we attempt to get the other Melbourne back?”
“Certainly, Captain. The Triumph will be there in ten minutes, Myers
out,”
Williams leaned back in his chair. He was finally going to catch the
Romulans with their breeches down. He remembered one time on the
Roosevelt, they were trying to capture a Romulan Warbird. Well, the
Romulans had tricked them that time and got away. A few months later, the
Roosevelt was in another deal with the Romulans. And they got away. Not
this time. This time, the Romulans would lose so badly, they would go into
another period of isolationism.

Chapter 6

DOWN IN THE Melbourne’s shuttle bay, Lovak and his team were
packing up their tools that they used to outfit the shuttle. The doors to the bay
opened admitting Commander Coulon and Commander Classing. They
walked up to him and said, “Is she ready?”
“Ready and waiting to catch some Romulans. I even took the time to
upgrade the shuttle’s phaser emitters, just in case, and we installed a few
electronic counter measures inside the shields to throw off any disruptor
blasts.”
“Great!” said Coulon. He and Classing walked into the shuttle. “Do
you want to pilot it, or should I?” he asked.
“I was never very good at piloting Type 7 shuttlecraft, I could
never get the controls for the pilot down right,” she said.
“Well, by the end of this mission, I’m sure you’ll know how to fly it
just fine. You take the copilot seat.” Said Coulon as he slid into the pilot’s
seat. Every time he got into a shuttle, he felt like he had the galaxy at his
fingertips. He loved that when he was aboard the Naples, he actually got to
pilot it. It was such an experience that he had taken a course in shuttle
operations. He punched in a few commands. “Shuttle pre-flight check. Warp
and impulse engines online. Sensors online, subspace radio online. Shields
standing by, phasers standing by, and our tachyon pulse is ready.”
Lovak walked up the ladder to the upper booth where the controls for
the door were. He opened the space doors. The large door at the end of the
bay opened, right after the atmospheric force field engaged, keeping the bay
pressurized while the shuttle left. Lovak wondered what it was like back in the
old days when they had to pressurize it and de-pressurize every time. He saw
the shuttle’s warp nacelles light up, a blue glow and a red nose. The shuttle
lifted off the bay’s floor, and was gliding toward the door. He heard it
penetrate the force field and exit into the stars. He smiled and closed the door.
He walked out and back up to engineering.

The shuttle exited the Melbourne and swung around to the front of the
ship, facing the saucer section, rounding the ventral side of the secondary hull,
then sliding up towards the saucer. Commander Coulon opened a channel to
the Melbourne.
“Shuttlecraft Pocahontas to Melbourne,”
“Melbourne here,” said Williams, in his command seat.
“We have cleared the ship,”
“Very well Commander, and good luck, Melbourne out.”

Commander Coulon took the shuttle to full impulse power. He raised
the shields and charged the phasers, and then, he readied the tachyon pulse.
And they went on.
About five minutes later, Coulon’s console beeped at him to tell him
that they were on the other side of the system. Right behind the sun. A
relatively ‘cool’ star. Didn’t give them much trouble on the way over, the heat
shields handled it quite nicely.
Jessica was bored. There was no Romulan fleet out here. Williams
had really blown the coop this time. I think he’s having delusions of grandeur,
his first mission as captain, and he’s and eager beaver and ready to please any
admiral. What a suck-up! She thought. She inhaled and then exhaled slowly.
“Well, are you ready to find some Romulans?” she asked sarcastically.
“Ready as I’ll ever be.” Said Coulon. “Engaging tachyon pulse.” The
pair heard a loud hum and then a loud CRACK! And they saw a blue ring of
tachyons shoot out from the ship, in a radius of several thousand kilometers.
“Well, if there are any Romulan ships, we should be picking them up by now.”
Said Coulon. They waited, and waited. Nothing. Not a ship. “Well. Maybe
we should move in closer. I was thinking if we don’t find any ships, we should
move just to the edge where the tachyon pulse should dissipate. What do you
think?” he asked.
“Sounds good to me,” she said.
“Is there something wrong Commander?” he asked, that authoritative
tone in his voice.
“Yes. There is no invasion fleet out here. We shouldn’t be out here
like a couple of lost Tibalian Dodo Birds. We should be back on the
Melbourne helping with the investigation into the disappearance of the other
Melbourne.”
“Well, Lieutenant Commander, this is very important to the mission. If
we find the Romulan fleet, the war will be stopped before its even started!”
“The other Melbourne said the Federation was at war with the Joran.
Not the Romulans. So, why are we worrying about the Romulans?”
“I don’t know, but Captain Williams has a very strong enigma that the
Romulans have a big connection to all this.” And the pulsing continued.

Captain Williams walked up to Mendak’s station to check on the status
of the main deflector. Everything looked good. They were up to 95%. Not
bad, only a few more minutes. A few more minutes until they found what was
really going on.

Lieutenant Commander Mendak looked at his plasma shunt. They
were almost finished. Just one more tweak to the EPS power tap. There. That
was it. They were ready. He tapped his comm badge, “Commander Mendak
to Captain Williams,”
“Williams here, I saw, we’re ready, report to the bridge.”
“Aye sir, I’m on my way,”
A few moments later Mendak was on the bridge, accompanied by
Lovak. “We’re in business, sir. The anti-proton blast will burn out the main
deflector. But we can repair it after we’re done.”
“Good job gentlemen! Very good,”
“Sir, the Triumph has arrived. She is taking a position to port.” Said
Lieutenant Marvin.
“On screen,” said Williams. The eerie temporal rift changed to show a
beautiful, gleaming white Galaxy class starship. Larger than the Melbourne by
many times. The only thing bigger on the Melbourne than on a Galaxy class
starship was her graceful warp nacelles. Everything else was small. “Very
well, tell the Triumph to stand by. We’re going to light up the rift. Mr.
Mendak, Mr. Lovak, the show’s all yours,”
“Energizing main deflector.” Said Mendak.
“Tapping warp power to redirected EPS manifolds. Hold on to your
seats, it could get bumpy. And, firing!” out in the cool dark calmness of space,
the Melbourne and the Triumph hung in space. But right in the Melbourne’s
main deflector, a charge was building up. And one of the beings inside of the
beautiful ship pushed a button that activated the powerful beam, powerful
enough to rip up a temporal rift that no one new much about. A blue beam of
fierce anti-protons lashed out from the ship called Melbourne. It punctured the
eerie green temporal rift, making a blue and green incandescence. It was quite
pretty in this empty portion of space. A festival of lights in midst of a black
ocean.
One twisted element of time was unraveled by the beam. It looked like
one of those science experiments that Williams remembered as a kid. One
time at a science fair, Billy Groves had made a water tornado, utilizing two
large test tubes. He would then grab the apparatus at the neck and twirl it
around, making a neat water show. That’s what it looked like on the screen,
but there was beautiful color added to it. Blues and greens merging together, a
rainbow that was so twisted, it needed a beam so powerful-a beam capable of
destroying a planet in no time-to unravel it. Quite an experience. Hues of
every color erupted through a shock wave when the beam hit the middle of the
‘twist’. Onto the next ‘twist’.
The Melbourne started to shake from the shock wave and the stress on
her powerful warp engines. “Shields to maximum,” said Williams. Another
and another ‘twist’ was liberated from its twisted hibernation. Each one
without a Melbourne. Finally, on the sixth temporal twist, they hit something
with a jarring impact.
“I’m picking up a signature which could be a ship,” said Mendak.
“Keep unraveling the twist until the Melbourne is free,” ordered
Williams.
“Aye sir, but our warp engines can’t take much more stress. I will have
to shut them down if they get within 99% of breach.” Said Lovak.
“Hold ’em together!” said Williams as the shaking got more intense.
“Warp engines at 88% of failure. Engines at 90%, 92%, 94%!”
“Hang on!” said Williams. A thunderous shake hit like a giant came up
to the Melbourne and punched her straight in the nose. Williams clung to his
seat. The jolting stopped and he returned to an upright position.
“Temporal integrity at 12%! And falling, a few more seconds!”
“Warp engines at 97%!”
“Temporal integrity at 9%, 6%, 4%, 1%, temporal twist has been
disrupted!” yelled Mendak over the noise of the bucking ship.
“Shutting down warp engines, and not a moment too soon!” said
Lovak. The whining of the anti-proton beam stopped and the blue line ceased
to exist.
“Hang on, picking up a severe gravimetric shock wave coming!” yelled
Mendak.
“Can you find the other the Melbourne?” asked Williams.
“Yes, I have it on sensors,” said Mendak.
“Lock tractor beam onto it,” said Williams. Hopefully we can pull it
out before the gravimetric wave pulls us in! thought Williams.
“Locking tractor beam!” said an excited Mendak.
A blue-green beam was emitted from the Melbourne’s connecting
‘neck’ to the saucer and secondary hulls on the port ventral. The beam pulsed
through the gravimetric wave, and went searing across to grab onto the other
Melbourne.
Just then, the shock wave hit the two starships. The mighty ships
pushed their impulse engines to the limits trying not to be sucked into the rift.
The Triumph’s impulse engines hadn’t been through as much turmoil as the
Melbourne’s engines had, so they had a firmer ground. But, all of a sudden, a
black streaked hulk of a ship emerged from the rift, undoubtedly the other
Melbourne. Just then, a huge gravimetric displacement wave swept through
space, ripping the Melbourne’s grip off the Melbourne. The Triumph with its
fresh systems locked on her tractor beam but with the same effect. The two
starships locked both of their tractor beams onto the other Melbourne, doubling
the force. It was like a giant tug of war and the mud pit was the temporal rift.
But the second burst of gravimetric waves was so fierce, the two starships let
go of their mighty grip and bobbed up and down, surfing the proverbial waves.
“Where in hell is this coming from?” asked Williams as one of the aft
panels exploded into sparks and a jolt shook so greatly most of the people fell
out of their seats.
“Structural integrity at 31% and dropping, we can’t take much more of
this!” yelled Mendak. Just then, a third gravimetric wave formed, this time,
sucking in the two Melbourne’s and the Triumph. The tug of war had been won
by whoever or whatever was on the other side of the rift, and the Melbourne
and the Triumph would soon find out what or who it was.

Chapter 7

ON ABOUT THE fourth time they had ‘pulsed’ the area, Commander
Coulon was beginning to share Classing’s opinions. But, orders were orders
and they would stay out here until they found something. And on the fifth
pulse, Commander Coulon had an idea that they would. But of course, he had
been feeling that since the first try.
The Pocahontas had arrived at the coordinates for the next pulsing.
Coulon powered up the pulse emitter and let it go. He saw the blue ring swim
around the shuttle and then cascade out into space. But directly in front of him
he saw a green flicker of light, then another and another. The sensors started
going crazy. They were calculating that there was fifty, no sixty, seventy-five
flickers out there. He focused a high density sensor beam toward those
‘flickers.’
“I’ll be damned,” said Coulon.
“What?” asked Classing.
“I think we found the Romulan fleet,” said Coulon. “Let’s try it out,
shall we?” Coulon switched his modified helm/tachyon console to weapons.
He powered up the shields and charged the phasers. He fired a phaser blast at
one of the ‘flickers’. The
‘flicker’ changed to a shimmer of green. It then coalesced into a crackling of
green energy. The crackling stopped and the wavy composure of a ship de-
cloaking appeared in the view port ahead of them. There, a great, big, huge,
Romulan Warbird de-cloaked. Right there, looking them in the face.
“Oh my-,” said Classing as she powered up her weapons board, so she
could take over weapons while Coulon took the helm. She was cut off when
another Warbird, and another, and another, another, again and again. Thirty
Warbirds in all. Then smaller ships started to de-cloak. This time it was forty-
four scout ships de-cloaked, extra weapon turrets added onto their hulls. Then
forty-one more science vessels with weapon turrets. Then another ship de-
cloaked that wasn’t Romulan. Coulon called upon the computer for an
identification, and it beeped back, “Joran Battlecruiser.”
“The Joran. How in the hell did they get into business with the
Romulans?” he asked.
“Well, the Romulans don’t have the same directives as us. Most
notably the Prime Directive. They don’t care about making them grow up
before they’re ready to.” She punched in a couple of commands into her board.
“Uh, huh,” she said, “I thought so.”
“You thought what?” asked Coulon as he was bring the Pocahontas
around to get back to the Melbourne.
“When we first encountered the Joran ship, I detected a sensor signal
that was faintly similar to Romulan design. I didn’t report it because what was
the chance that the Romulans had anything to do with the Joran’s ship
design?” said Classing, suddenly interested in the mission.
“Well, we better get our butts back to the Melbourne, and fast,” said
Coulon as he jammed the shuttle into full impulse. Just then, there was a
tachyon surge, a ship was de-cloaking. A Romulan Warbird de-cloaked in
front of them, with their backs to the shuttle, the Warbird then did a graceful
turn and met the shuttle face-on. Coulon did a fast ID check of the ship. It had
the same markings as the Klidon, D’Rem’s ship. Just then, his console beeped
at him, telling him that they were being hailed, it seemed they were going to
find out what this was all about, with a personal invitation from the Romulans.

Williams found himself on the floor of the bridge, he lifted his head,
and found he had a splitting headache. “Ohh,” he muttered. He looked around
his bridge. Vapor spewed from the bulkheads, making an eerie mist on the
bridge. A small fire occupied most of the upper consoles. Lieutenant Marvin
got up at the same time and touched his head, obviously the same headache as
Bryan had.
“You okay, Lieutenant?” asked Williams.
“Yes, sir,” he said as he picked up his chair and sat down and checked
on the status of the ship. “We’re in bad shape. We have hull breaches along
most of the ship. main and auxiliary power grids have been fused, fires
reported in engineering, casualties in the hundreds, sickbay is without power.
Weapons, shields, thrusters, warp drive, impulse, tractor beam, transporters,
almost all vital systems are off-line. Sensors are functioning at 37%.”
“How’s the Triumph?” asked Williams.
“They are in almost the same shape as we are,” said Marvin. “But with
more casualties, mounted close to 500,”
“That’s over half of her compliment!” said Williams. He looked at the
view screen, and all he saw was a star field. “Where’s the rift?” he asked.
“According to sensors, its still there. Captain, I think you should know
this. I am accounting for time, and apparently, we are three years ahead of
where we were, in the year 2370. This time line must be slightly ahead in time
than ours. The exact date is- hang on, I’m detecting a third ship, and a fourth,
a fifth. Captain, there is three other ships out there, one with almost the same
quantum frequency as us, I’d say that’s the other Melbourne.”
“On screen,” said Williams. The empty screen that was focused on
where the temporal rift was slipped over to a picture of the battered Melbourne,
looking even more battered after the ride back through the rift. Then there was
an Ambassador class ship, a Korolev class ship and a Miranda class ship.
Well, at least they were Federation starships. Wait a minute, Admiral
Blackwell said that the Melbourne and the Triumph were the only ships in the
region. And these ships had the looks of battle damage on them just like the
other Melbourne did. “Mr. Marvin, where are we?” he asked, bewildered.
“According to the computer, we are in Sector 582, but the question is,
what time are we in?” he said as he manipulated his console. “Captain, I’d say
that we are in the other Melbourne’s time line, like what happened to the
Enterprise about a year ago.”
“An alternate timeline, a timeline where the Federation is in a
disastrous war with the Joran. Identification on those ships,” said Williams.
Marvin scrutinized his board, punching in the commands with
frustration from the Melbourne’s shattered computer. “Computer identifies the
Ambassador as the USS Gandhi, NCC-26632, the Korolev as the USS Pavo,
NCC-5036-C and the Miranda as the USS Romeo, NCC-26489. All consistent
with starships in our timeline. Captain, the Gandhi is hailing us,”
“On screen,” said Williams.
The view of the battered ship was replaced by a captain’s rugged, war
torn face, it definitely showed. From the looks of it, this timeline had had its
share of wars. “I am Captain Gleeson of the Federation Flagship Gandhi.
Please identify yourself,”
“I am Captain Bryan Williams of the Federation starship Melbourne.
And the ship that is to my port is the Triumph, commanded by Captain Myers.
What happened to the Enterprise?” he asked.
“The Enterprise was destroyed by the Borg earlier this year,” said
Gleeson.
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that, Captain what is going on? How did we get
here?” asked Williams.
“We were trying to get the Melbourne out of the rift, when we detected
two other signatures pulling it away from us, so, we pulled harder and we got
three ships through here. As for what’s going on, I’ll tell you later,” Just then,
Marvin’s console beeped frantically at him.
“Captain, I’m picking up a ship de-cloaking, a Romulan Warbird!
They have their weapons powered and shields raised, and it looks like they
won’t take no for an answer!”
“Romulans? Why would they be in this war?” said Bryan. “Oh!” said
Williams as he put his hand to his forehead, “Damn! I was right! The
Romulans are behind all this!”
“They are probably reacting to our intrusion into their space,” said
Captain Gleeson.
“I thought that this sector was neutral,” said Williams.
“We lost it in the beginning of the war, c’mon, we have go to get out of
here, I’ll tell you everything later,” said Gleeson as the screen flickered off. It
returned to the picture of the Romeo, Pavo and Gandhi. The Gandhi was
turning about to get out of this section of space and back to Federation space.
The other two ships followed suit.
“All hands, battle stations! Mr. Marvin, get us out of here, best speed,”
The alert klaxons blared again and Marvin said, “Captain, we can only
maintain one quarter impulse, but not for long, we’ll be sitting ducks!”
“Just get us out of here!” said Williams, “Open a channel to the
Triumph.”
“Captain Williams,” said Myers.
“Captain, as I’m sure you know, the Romulans are out here, the Gandhi
is going to escort us back to Federation space, can you make it back under your
own power?”
“Yes, we’ll be limping with you, Myers out,” the screen changed to the
gliding Warbird. It started to fire upon the Triumph, the ship that was in the
last place of the line. Her shields glimmered with impact. It fired back with a
pathetic short of phaser energy, barely hurting the Warbird. Just then, the
Melbourne, the other Melbourne, banked around and started to fire off her
photon torpedoes. They hit the Romulan ship with acute accuracy. The
Warbird fired back, blowing most of the Melbourne’s port nacelle away.
Plasma leaked out of the support pylon, and then, an overloading starboard
nacelle let go of it fury and exploded. The graceful, long nacelle blew clean
off. Then the secondary hull collapsed into flames. Then the saucer bucked
off its interconnecting ‘neck’ and was sliced in half by a Romulan disruptor
beam. It then exploded in orange rage. The Melbourne was gone. No more.
No more Captain Williams, no more Commander Coulon, no more
Jessica.and no more Melbourne.
The Warbird turned its attention to the Triumph again. This time
letting go of its weapons onto the battered beauty. All of a sudden, the
Gandhi, Romeo and Pavo flew in with phasers blasting, and formed an
arrowhead. Their phasers sliced through the Warbird’s shields and blew
portions of it away. Then it sputtered into flames and turned away, convinced
it could not win the fight. The battle was over.for now.

Chapter 8

COMMANDER COULON PUT D’Rem onto the screen. The
Romulan’s face appeared.
“Commander Coulon, I’d like to know what you are doing out here
with a tachyon pulse.”
“I had orders to find you, D’Rem. The same person who said that there
was no invasion force on the way. Captain Williams’ suspicions were correct.
You were going to attack the Federation. And now, I have to go back and tell
him so he can get a fleet of ships out here and kick you back to your home,”
“Very good, Commander. But, I’m afraid that I cannot let you go back
to your ship. But I can let you go among the stars. Surrender now, or be
destroyed,”
Coulon punched the screen off with a scowl on his face. “Was that
such a good idea?” asked Jessica.
“Well, either way he is going to kill us. But I have a plan. Have you
ever flown warp speed through a solar system before?”
“No, but I’m smart enough to know not to do that because its very
dangerous. You could over-calculate and be blown to bits.”
“Well, hopefully we won’t be blown to bits. Here we go,” Coulon
pushed in his coordinates and pushed the ‘engage’ button.

The Klidon fired three disruptor bolts at the shuttle. The three green
death sentences flew at amazing speed, but the shuttle streaked away into warp
speed. The three bolts kept on flying through space.never hitting their target.

The shuttle automatically stopped right in front of the brown planet of
Joran. Commander Coulon lurched from the fast stop from warp speed. He
was thrown towards the console, and hit his head. He slumped unconscious.
Jessica leaned over and checked to see if he was all right. When she found
that he was unconscious, she almost cried. How was she supposed to fly this
shuttle? She wasn’t good at piloting shuttles. Well, there’s a first time for
everything. And all the while she was contemplating her dilemma, the planet
was growing ever larger through the view port. She turned her eyes away from
Coulon and looked at the planet. “Oh my-,” she said as she looked down at
her copilot’s console. All she had to do was find the manual control. There!
She found it! She quickly punched it in and the shuttle was all hers. She took
the ‘yoke’ a small, circular control that allowed the maneuvering of the shuttle.
She swung it up and to port.
“Whew!” she cried out loud. She had made it. She looked down at her
sensor board and found that the Pocahontas had come real close to bouncing
off the atmosphere and then into obliteration. The sensor board beeped loudly.
But she didn’t need to look at it to tell her what was there, three Joran
battlecruisers where right in front of her, just waiting to move in for the kill.
I’ve got to think fast! She thought. What do I do?! What do I do?! She
screamed in her head. She put her thumb on the middle of the yoke control
and slid it up, telling the shuttle’s computer to go ‘up’ if there was any up in
space. The indicator told her that she had gone Z+3 degrees. But, she was
now-instead of looking at the Battlecruisers in the nose, now looking at them
in the weapons pod. She slid it up to Z+9, well above the Joran ships. She
then swung it around to starboard, back towards the planet. She punched in the
impulse command and the tiny shuttle took off. She then engaged automatic
control. “Computer prepare for atmospheric re-entry.” She said.
“Ready,” said the computer’s voice.
“Engage,” the shuttle tipped its nose towards the planet and they were
entering the atmosphere. They dropped until a brown haze filled the view
port. Then a blue fizz of energy told her that the re-entry shields had engaged.
The re-entry shields were like a heat shield that protected them from burning
up during re-entry. They dropped and dropped some more until the ground
was visible.
She looked at her sensor board and told the sensors to look for a
secluded landing spot. That would be hard considering she re-entered the
atmosphere right above a large city. The sensor screen put up a map of the
city. There was tiny red dots strung throughout the city. Those red dots just
happened to be ionic cannons, and they were pointed at her! She slammed the
shuttle into full impulse. Just then, four white dots appeared on the screen,
and they were getting closer to her! They were enemy fighters! She took
evasive action. The shuttle’s computer swung the ship to port, and then to
starboard. A simple way of losing a lock. But not simple enough. One of the
fighters launched a plasma bolt toward the Pocahontas. It impacted the
shields, but the counter measures that Lovak had put into the Pocahontas’
shield system made the bolt turn off and head for the hills to the west. Lovak
had said that the counter measures wouldn’t last for long, but hopefully they
would last long enough for her to find a safe landing spot.
The four fighters ganged up on the shuttle and fired at will. Six of the
first plasma bolts shot out of the way from the counter measures. But the next
volley hit the shuttle’s shields straight on. She lurched forward as the
transporter panel in the back of the shuttle emitted a shower of sparks. Then a
white pulse of ions came screaming toward the shuttle, hitting the forward
shields. The shields wouldn’t be able to take much more of this. Just then,
one of the plasma bolts hit the ship. The automatic piloting system went off-
line. She was helpless, she wouldn’t be able to outrun this group of fighters.
When she put her thumb on the yoke. She pushed it over to port and the
shuttle complied. She made a circle and now she was behind the fighters. She
charged the phaser banks. Just then they started to break up, and head back for
the shuttle. She pushed the control yoke up and the shuttle lurched up and she
was now behind the fighters again, and the phasers were charged. She fired a
burst at the middle fighter. She saw it shields blare at the impact. And then
she fired at the one next to it.
The fighters broke up again and she was now the target. The sensors
registered a large building up ahead and to starboard. She turned the shuttle
towards the skyscraper. More and more plasma bolts hit the Pocahontas.
Right when she thought she was toast, she had arrived at the building. She
flew around it. Keeping the fighters busy, when she accidentally pushed her
thumb the wrong way and she head for the building itself! She was going to
crash! She got out of her trance of fear and jammed the yoke up. She was
now climbing the building. She suddenly turned to the right, and the fighter
that was chasing her turned with her. It fired again, just as she turned the
shuttle to port. Actually, she hit the yoke by mistake and sent it to port. A
mistake, but a mistake that saved her life.
She turned back towards the building. The other three fighters were
coming towards her at fast speed. Her heart started beating loudly and jumped
into her throat. She was dead. Right when she got an idea. She looked at the
distance she was at. About three kilometers away. She would wait until one.
Two, one! She slammed the shuttle upward, just as the three fighters opened
up a deadly barrage of plasma bolts, blowing their own fighter to pieces. She
climbed and climbed. She brought it down, hurtling towards the remaining
three fighters. Hopefully, the phasers were still charged. Closer, closer,
closer. She was right in front of the lead fighter. She fired the phasers with all
their might. Golden streaks of phasers shot out toward the fighter. Its shields
flashed green, then red, then finally white. The phasers pierced through the
fighter’s hull, blowing it to smithereens. Two down, two to go.
The last two lead her back to the skyscraper. They made her think
they were going to go right through it when they jutted up and she had barely
enough time to save the shuttle from destruction. She fired two shots of phaser
at them. Not much damage, but it would get them in the long run. She
concentrated her fire on the ship that was on the left. She fired and fired. Its
shields blared. She just wasn’t causing enough damage! She had to think, and
she had to think fast. She re-directed power from the shields to the impulse
engines. The shuttle’s impulse engines were now at 110% of normal. The
Pocahontas leaped ahead of the two fighters that were still scaling the
building’s wall. She leaked a bit of her warp plasma from the nacelles right
onto the fighter when it fired a plasma bolt. It erupted into a fiery blaze. But,
it still was with her. Its forward shields must have been strong enough to
protect it.
She reached the top of the skyscraper. I’m getting pretty good at this
piloting stuff! She thought. She looked out the port view port. There was
some construction going on on top of the building. Walkways and ladders,
steel girders and all the necessities of construction. She turned the shuttle into
it, just as the fighter she wanted turned with her. It fired plasma bolts at the
construction ceiling, trying to bring debris down on the shuttle. It worked, but
the shuttle’s shields held it away. She dodged falling debris, girders and
walkways that stuck out. Flying like an ace. Well I’m an expert now! She
thought. She dodged some more when she saw daylight at the end of the
construction, she was running out of room!
Suddenly, a brilliant idea popped into her head. Use the fighter’s own
offense against it! She targeted the phasers at the proposed position of the
fighter within a few seconds. Targeted. The phaser mounts on the nacelles
would have to make a wide arch. She was going to shoot backwards. All the
while dodging everything. She wanted the shot to be as accurate as it could be.
But she didn’t have the time. She fired the phaser. A yellow beam pierced
through the dim construction room. It arched back from the shuttle. Hitting
the ceiling, right as the fighter flew under it. Debris fell on the fighter. It
dropped down through the construction, bringing down girders and walkways
with it. At the bottom of the construction room, there was a large cutting
beam, shaped like a spear. The fighter dropped some more, and landed right
on the cutting beam. The spear shaped emitted pierced the fighter’s hull.
Then the fighter’s reactor breached, and the fighter exploded. Orange fire
plumed up. Cascaded in and out of the building. One more left.
The Pocahontas exited the construction room, which was about 137
floors above the ground. The shuttle crashed through the construction wall,
bits of debris shooting out with it, and then the flames of the fighter’s
explosion. But what comes around goes around. The last fighter arched up
toward the Pocahontas. Jessica had no idea what to do, right when she
remembered the tachyon pulse. She charged it up. It was ready to go. She
fired it. A blue ring was emitted from the shuttle. The section of the ring that
was at the back of the shuttle headed for the unsuspecting fighter. The tachyon
pulse met its prey, destroying it with blue fury. She was saved. She had had
enough of this planet. There was no safe place here. She took off back for the
cold blackness of space.

The shuttle had cleared Joran’s atmosphere. And, lucky for her, she
was on the other side of the planet from the Romulan/Joran fleet. She set
course for the position of the Melbourne.
When the Pocahontas arrived at the coordinates, all that was there was
empty space and the eerie temporal rift. “Great, now what am I supposed to
do?” she said. And all the while, the Romulan and Joran fleet was right on
there tail.

Chapter 9

WHAT A DAY. Thought Williams. First, we set out from McKinley
Station, all ready for our maiden mission, next we have a serious dilemma, and
finally, I find myself in a totally different time line. A time line that I don’t
think I like. For now, the Melbourne, Triumph, Gandhi, Romeo, and Pavo were
all cruising at impulse power. They hadn’t cleared Romulan territory yet, so
they were still on red alert. Out of all five ships, the Triumph had the most.
The Galaxy class ship design was made to be sturdy. But when it came up
against all of that gravimetric stress, barely any ship can boast about how they
weren’t damaged.
The Melbourne took major damage as well. The only reason why the
Triumph succeeded in most damage was because of all the casualties. Five
hundred people were injured, twenty three dead. Their doctor must have his or
her hands full. I wonder if I can offer any help. Thought Williams.
“Mr. Marvin, open a channel to the Triumph,” he said. A few moments
later, Captain Myers face was on the view screen, “Captain Myers. Now that
we are out of immediate danger, I would like to offer some assistance to your
medical crew,”
“Thank you very much, Captain. We have all of our medical team and
even some of our civilians with medical experience in sick bay, the
shuttlebays, and holodecks. Some help would be greatly appreciated.”
“Very well, I’ll send over all we can spare. Melbourne out. Williams to
Dr. Hanson,” he said as he tapped his comm badge.
“Hanson here, we’re a little busy. What do you need?” she asked.
“Doctor, do you have anybody available for transport over to the
Triumph for medical assistance?”
“I can spare maybe thirty of my medical crew, but we have a lot of
wounded here as well.”
“Thank you Doctor. The Triumph is overwhelmed with casualties.
Please notify me when the medical team is ready to go. Williams out.” He
tapped his comm badge again, “Williams to Commander Lovak,”
“Lovak here,” said the Bolian engineer, eighteen decks down.
“Commander, how’s the repairs to the transporters coming?”
“Well,” said Lovak as he picked up a PADD that had the transporter
repair estimates on it. “The main bio-filter is shot. It’ll take about thirty
minutes at present rate.”
“Then put double the people on it, I’m going to need to use it, and
soon.”
“I can put five more people on it, we’re busy trying to coax the warp
core into not breaching. With the five extra people it should take maybe ten,
fifteen minutes,”
“Good, keep up the good work Commander,”
“Aye sir, Lovak out.”
There, things getting back to normal. Williams checked his armchair
console. They were still two light years from Federation territory. That would
take an eternity to get there cruising at impulse. They had to get warp power
up, and fast. That Romulan ship might have told the Romulan high command
that there was a band of Federation starships in their space, and then the
Romulans would send a fleet for them. With the destruction of the Gandhi,
they would have crippled the Federation’s flagship, and then it would have to
go to another ship. Possibly a ship doesn’t fit the role very well. And that
could not happen. He opened a channel to the Gandhi.
“Melbourne to Gandhi,”
“Gandhi here, Captain Gleeson,”
“Captain Gleeson. Could you please talk to Starfleet Command and
tell them to bring a repair tug?”
“The closest help is the USS Extractor, which is six hours away, I’ll
order them here. That ship is outfitted to repair any ship in the fleet. It could
repair the damage to the Triumph in no time at all. Fixing a Galaxy class ship
should be a challenge for them. I don’t think they have ever had the chance to
fix on of those class of vessels. Starfleet doesn’t have any left.”
Williams was shocked at this. All the Galaxy class vessels destroyed.
All six. The Galaxy, the Yamato, the Enterprise, the Odyssey, the Triumph,
the Discovery. All six. All gone. And the only one left in this time line was
the Triumph, that didn’t even belong here. The leaders of the Federation
Starfleet. Destroyed without a second thought. “Very well Captain, Melbourne
out,”
Williams was appalled. All six of those glorious, mighty ships. The
Melbourne was a damned fine ship, and he loved her, but Galaxy class vessels
was like the big brothers to all the other ships. This war had to stop, and he
was going to stop at nothing to accomplish that task. Nothing.

About six hours later, the Extractor joined the small group. The
Extractor immediately started repairs to the Triumph and Melbourne. Within
two hours, the two mighty ships were ready. The Extractor got a call from the
USS Mazda, which lost a battle with five hungry Warbirds. Amazing. Thought
Williams. The Mazda was a fellow Excelsior class ship. Amazing that it
could even take on five Warbirds and live to tell about it.
The five ships leaped into warp. And now they could regroup and find
out what happened in this time line.

Jessica took the hypo spray from the med kit. After waiting an hour for
Commander Coulon to wake up, she got worried and was going to force him to
wake up. She had scanned him with a tricorder. He suffered from a major
concussion. She put the hypo to his neck and pushed the button to release the
medicine.
He stirred and growled in pain. “What a headache,” he said. He
looked up at her and smiled. “Where’s the Romulan fleet?” he asked.
“They don’t know we’re here yet, but they will soon. I tried to land on
the planet of Joran, in the process I found a band of fighters. Don’t worry,
they’re dead.”
“I’m impressed,” he said, “You actually piloted this ship?”
“Yep. And a damned good job I did of it too. But we have a more
pressing matter to attend to. The Melbourne and the Triumph is not here.”
Coulon sat up in his chair and looked concerned. “The sensors picked up
some gravimetric distortions, and a lot of ionic backwash. Let’s just say they
didn’t go in there without a fight,”
“Go in where?”
“The rift. I think they are on the other side. And we have to warn them
of the Romulan fleet. It would take us weeks to get to the nearest Starbase,
and not to mention to get to Federation space. At warp 2.75, this shuttle’s
maximum, it would take us three moths and sixteen days to get there. By then,
the war may have already been started. And we can’t send a message because
the Romulans may pick it up and delete it.”
“Well, then it looks like the only thing we can do is go through the rift.
We better start making modifications to the main deflector. Hopefully, we
won’t be tossed around like that.”

Three hours later, the modifications were complete. They were ready
to try.
“Okay, here goes nothing,” said Coulon. He charged the anti-proton
beam. It was ready. “Cross your fingers,” he said. He pushed the button and
the deadly beam again pierced the rift. “I’m picking up ionic residue coming
from that temporal twist, I’d say that’s the one they went through. Hold your
breath,” he fired up the shuttle’s tired impulse engines. Jessica had given
them a run for their money during the battle. The shuttle loomed closer and
closer. “Entering the event horizon.”
“Temporal signatures rising to critical. Engaging auxiliary power, we
made need it,” said Jessica. The Pocahontas plowed right into the cloud like
temporal twist.

Jessica woke up to find herself on the deck of the shuttle. Good, I’m
still alive. She thought. She looked over to where Mark was sprawled across
the floor. She put her hand on his back. He looked over to her and smiled.
His senses coming back to him, he quickly got up and sat down in his seat.
“We’re still in Sector 582, just in a different time line. And, I’m
picking up two ion trails that fit with the Melbourne. I’d say they found the
other Melbourne. I’m also picking up the Triumph’s, and three other trails, but
they are Federation ships.”
Jessica checked on her copilot console. She had switched the auxiliary
power on before they had entered the rift. Hopefully, that extra energy would
have charged the main power system back up to normal. Good, the auxiliary
power cells were totally drained, but the main power cells were charged like
the air surrounding a fountain emitting positive ions. And with main power
online, it meant that the warp engines still worked. “Warp engines still on
line. Why don’t we follow their ion trails? We may find them somewhere
down the road.”
“Gotcha. The computer has been damaged from our little trip, so I’ll
have to keep the course going manually. Other than that, we should be okay.”
“Tell me about manual control. After that battle with the Joran
fighters, I’m an ace pilot at manual control.” She looked down at the control
yoke and smiled. “Warp 2.75 standing by, we can keep this up for 36 hours,
then we’ll have to power down and travel at impulse. But, other than that,
we’re ready to go,”
“Engage!” said Coulon, acting like Captain Williams. The two of
them chuckled a bit. The Pocahontas revved up her warp engines. There was
a bright blue flash from the warp nacelles. Then there was the ever mystifying
time warp stretch, and then a bright flash, indicating that the shuttle had
entered warp drive.

A few moments later, the Pocahontas’ sensors detected some debris.
“Can you identify it?” asked Coulon.
“Yeah, I can. Just look,” said Jessica with a horrified look on her face.
She was looking not at her sensor console, but out at the view port. He
followed her gaze. He saw a piece of debris large enough to be recognized. It
was a piece of a warp nacelle. A warp nacelle inherent to only one type of
ship in Starfleet, a nacelle that belonged to an Excelsior class ship. The
Melbourne had been destroyed.
“I’m detecting weapons residue of Federation phasers and Romulan
disruptor bolts.” Said Coulon. He looked at Jessica again.
“They are all dead,” she said.
“C’mon!” encouraged Coulon, “It might’ve been the other Melbourne.
Let’s press on,” he navigated the Pocahontas out of the debris field an engaged
the warp engines again.
About three minutes later, they came to a point where another ion trail
was detected. “Another Federation starship. And I’m picking up five warp
signatures. I’d say that they made it to warp. I think we should keep going,
until the warp signature stops.”
“Okay,” said Classing.
“Okay. Let’s go. And don’t worry, they are fine, and so are we,” and
again, they were off.

The five starships dropped out of warp in the Altec System. Their
destination was Altec II. There was a space dock there where they could get
repairs done thoroughly. The Gandhi, Romeo, and Pavo slipped into a
stationary orbit. The Melbourne occupied one of the spidery looking space
docks. The large legs clamped down over the Melbourne, grabbing the ship in
a lock. The Triumph docked with the space dock that was right behind the
Melbourne. Captain Williams beamed down to the main city on Altec, the city
of Lansing. He met Captain Gleeson in one of the beautiful gardens on the
east side of the city. He sat down at a table and ordered a tonic water with
lime. Captain Gleeson joined him.
“So tell me about what has happened in the past year,” said Williams.
“Well, it all started with the Borg incursion. We lost 52 ships. The
Enterprise included. But the Enterprise was the ship destroyed the Borg ship.
Unfortunately, it was caught in one of the Borg ship’s tractor beams, and when
the Borg ship blew, it took the Enterprise with it. That ship will never be
forgotten.
Then there was a war with the Cardassians, a very brief war. A war
that destroyed almost half of the fleet. We lost the Triumph and Discovery in
that war. But, the war was won. Then this war with the Romulans started.
We only have 109 ships left. Defeat is inevitable. In the beginning of the war,
we lost the Odyssey, which was the new flagship. When she was destroyed,
they named the Galaxy the flagship. We just lost her last week. So, they
named the Gandhi the flag ship. Ambassador class ships are not meant to be
flagships anymore. Their glory days in Starfleet are over. All they are now are
the backbone of the fleet. And now, it is the Federation’s most heavily armed
warship. And yes, it is not classified as a starship anymore, but as a warship.
All of our ships are classified as warships now. With the loss of the Melbourne,
we have lost the Hasher Sector already. The Melbourne was assigned to it. The
Hasher Sector was a strategic sector too.
“Starfleet had the plans and the materials to make a line of all new
Galaxy class ships. But with the war, we needed to concentrate on smaller,
more cost effective ships. Ships we could build in a matter of months. Made
mostly of replicators. Then we put a lot of weapons on it and slap a name on it
and there you have it. So, we have a fleet mostly compromised of modified
Oberth class ships. Oberth class ships aren’t made to fight! They are made for
scientific research! Its ludicrous! I have suggested to Starfleet Command
more than once for surrender, but they keep saying that they want a chance,
and that they will exhaust every last possibility until they surrender.
“So, you see, we are in bad shape. With the arrival of two more ships,
we don’t know what to use you for but military service.”
“The Melbourne will find a way to stop this war, and go back home,
with the Triumph with us. This time line must not be continued to exist. We
have to figure out a way to stop this time line from unfolding. Stop this war
before it is even started! C’mon! We have planning to do!”
“Where are we going?” asked Gleeson.
“To the Melbourne. Williams to Melbourne,”
“Melbourne here,”
“Two to beam up,” the two captain’s disappeared in two columns of
blue mist.

Commander Coulon woke up on one of the back bunk’s of the shuttle.
What had awaken him was an alarm from the cockpit. He got up and sat down
in the chair. He checked what it was and found that the warp trail of the ships
had ended and an ion trail replaced it. That meant one thing, they had gone
into impulse. Coulon checked the starcharts. The system they were entering
was the Altec System.
He quickly dropped the shuttle out of warp drive. The beautiful
streaking stars slurred to a stop. The ion trail lead to Altec III. He quickly
went into the back of the shuttle to wake Classing. She arose and they both
walked out to the cockpit and saw the most beautiful sight they had seen for a
while, the Melbourne, then a gleaming white Galaxy class vessel right behind
it. The Triumph. They had made it!
Commander Coulon fumbled for the hail button, he finally found it and
stuttered, “Sh-shu-shuttlecraft Pocahontas to Melbourne,”
“Melbourne here Pocahontas. Welcome back, I’m surprised you find
us,” said Lieutenant Marvin’s voice.
“Lieutenant, forgive me, but the sound of your voice is the sweetest
thing we’ve heard in a while.”
“Well, we’re here, and I’m sure that Captain Williams will be eager to
here from you, cut your engines and I’ll bring you in with a tractor beam,”
“Very well, Pocahontas out,” and he closed the channel as the blue
green beam locked onto them. They were pulled around to the rear of the
Melbourne. They could see the shuttlebay doors opening to admit them in. The
tractor beam released them and they glided through the atmospheric force
field, and into the bay, then a soft thud and they were home.

Commander Coulon opened the door. He was greeted by the smiling
face of Commander Lovak.
“I see you brought her back in one piece,” he said.
“Oh no, Commander Classing brought her back in one piece, not me,”
Lovak looked at Jessica with surprise. He smiles and she said, “I think
I’ve grown attached to that shuttle,”
“Well, whenever you want to take it out on a spin, go ahead and go for
it.” he said as the shuttlebay doors closed, leaving the black-star-speckled sky
and blue planet behind. They walked out into the corridor. Commander
Classing and Coulon walked to the turbolift as Commander Lovak walked in
the other direction.

“Captain Gleeson, what is a way to stop this war? I mean for us to
actually travel back through the rift and get the Romulans-,” he was cut off by
his door chime, “Come,” he said.
Commander Coulon and Commander Classing walked through the
door and had the biggest smiles on their faces.
“You made it back! How did you find us?” cried Williams.
“Well, its going to take a while to explain-,” said Coulon as he sat
down, and began his long story.

After Coulon and Classing were finished with their report to Williams,
they exited through the door and down to their quarters. Jessica said to Coulon
as they entered the turbolift, “I think I need a drink,”
“So do I. Want to go to Seven-Forward?”
“Na. I’d much rather go to my quarters and take a bath. Thanks
anyway though. Perhaps later,”
“Perhaps,” said Coulon. Damn! He thought. Mark had noticed almost
every male crew member on the ship stopping their jobs to look at her. Jessica
Classing was a very attractive woman. And Mark didn’t blame them. Who
could not fall for that gorgeous face and lovely hair. And not to mention that
exquisite body. Well, maybe another time. And just as she vacated the
turbolift, he wondered how Captain Williams had averted her for so long.

Chapter 10

“I DIDN’T,” said Williams. The captain and his first officer were in
Seven-Forward, Captain Gleeson had beamed back over to the Gandhi to
discuss strategy with Starfleet Command. Commander Coulon had asked
Williams to meet him in the lounge. Without anything else to do, and bored of
trying to figure out the current mystery, he agreed to join him.
He reached the relaxation room and saw Coulon sitting at one of the far
tables. He joined him and ordered a drink. He asked what was up, and got the
question of, “How did you not fall for her?”
“What?!” cried Coulon, so loudly, that one of the couples at the other
table looked over at him. “How?”
“I secretly kept it from her. There was no way that I could. I mean,
just look at her. She’ll give you a case of Graladian goose bumps you’ll never
forget.”
“I know. It just seems she’s as cold as an icicle. I asked her to join me
for a drink and she didn’t look to enthusiastic. My God! Maybe its me!
Maybe I had something in my teeth, do I?” he said, opening his mouth and
leaning over the table for Williams to look.
“Now you’re overreacting,” said Williams. “Look, all I can tell you is
that Jessica Classing, for all the years I’ve known her, has never shown a keen
interest in men. I can remember three years ago, she liked an ensign on the
Roosevelt, and she came really close to making it with him. She got all the
way to the deck he was posted on, and turned back to the turbolift. And her
excuse for it was that it ‘Would not be right. I am a lieutenant, he is an ensign.
That would show a lack of ethics.’ And that was what she told me. So, good
luck if you wish to pursue a relationship with her. Look, I’ve got a lot of work
to do. Anytime, you want to talk though, go ahead and call me. I’ll be in my
ready room.” and with that, he walked out.
Commander Coulon took one last final sip of his drink. “Well hell,” he
said and walked out.

Captain Gleeson walked off the Melbourne’s transporter stage, and onto
the deck. There was an ensign waiting for him to escort to Captain William’s
ready room.
“This way sir,” said Ensign Keith Pollock. Ensign Pollock was fresh
from the academy and served as one of the bridge crew. He was posted here
by luck. He had looked at the list of positions available. He saw that there
were various jobs at starbases, and the ever-boring communications stations.
Outposts and small science vessels. And only a handful of starships. But, the
Melbourne was the only one that was a new ship. And he had wanted since his
first day at the Academy to contribute to building up a new ship’s reputation in
the fleet.
Even though his chances of getting a new ship were slim, he at least
hoped to be posted to a starship. But a new one was what he really wanted.
And when he saw the USS Melbourne on that list, he did everything he could to
get on her. And by pure luck, he got the Melbourne, while his buddy got the
communications station post that he had dreaded. He walked out of the
transporter room with Captain Gleeson and up to the lift. He delivered the
captain to the ready room and went back to his post. He loitered at the door to
the room for a while, hoping to hear at least one thing that might go on in
there. But, not to his surprise, he didn’t hear a thing. Oh well, back to
servicing the sensors.

Captain Williams sat back in his chair and welcomed Gleeson in. He
put on a serious face and said, “What did they say?”
“They have a plan. And its on the planet’s surface. We are to beam
down as soon as possible. And they said to bring an away team. Mine is
already assembled and on the planet. All we have to do is get yours ready and
go.”
“What are we doing on the planet’s surface with two away teams?”
“I don’t know. All I know is, Captain Webster, the commander of the
station has our orders. C’mon, we’re wasting time,”
“How many are we supposed to bring along on this little trip?” asked
Williams, a curious look on his face.
“Well, I’m bringing five. You can bring as many as you want,”
“What does your team consist of?” asked Williams, already knowing
the answer.
“All security, armed with type three phaser rifles and photon grenades.”
“Oh, how militaristic.” Said Williams, “No science, no medical, just
security?” said Williams a but blankly.
“Captain, I have a feeling that this mission is not some archaeological
expedition, this is going to be a task force strike against the Romulans and
Joran. That’s why I’m bringing along only security officers.”
“Well, let’s go pick my team.” Captain Williams got up and walked out
of the office. “Commander Coulon, Commander Classing, report to the
transporter room for an away mission. Ensign Pollock, report to the
transporter room, and bring a tricorder.”
Pollock straightened up and smiled broadly. This would mark his first
away mission since his training at the Academy. His blue shirt made him a
valuable addition to any team.
“Lieutenant Henley, Ensign Howard and Ensign Keebler, report to the
transporter room. I’ll meet you there shortly.” There. That was a good mix of
talents. Commander Coulon would be his liaison if anything happened, and he
would be a back up command officer if Gleeson or Williams got hurt.
Classing’s presence is obvious. Ensign Pollock is a fresh, good science
officer, Lieutenant Henley is an excellent command level officer, with training
in security as well as command. Ensign Howard was a good medic, and
Ensign Keebler was a technician that Lovak had mentioned to Williams once
before for outstanding work. And then there was Captain Williams. And
those two words are quite obvious.
“Lieutenant Marvin,” he said, turning towards the helm.
“Its your first time in command, you have the ship until I return. Move
the ship anywhere Starfleet tells you, and if they tell you to go to battle, you
go. And don’t let Mendak or Lovak bug you too much. And watch out for that
Doctor Hanson, she’s a handful at sometimes.”
“Yes sir!” he said and jumped up. He sat in the command seat and
relished every second of it. “Ohh,” he said in pleasure, “Nice chair!” Williams
and Gleeson smiled and the two of the walked onto a lift and were whisked
away to the transporter room.

When they reached there, they found the team all ready, attaching
phasers to their waste, and on the other side, putting tricorders. Ensign
Howard slid a med kit over her body, and affixed a phaser to her waste. The
security team was issued phaser rifles, as well as their own personal phaser,
and Ensign Keebler grabbed an engineering kit and stepped up to the
transporter platform. They were all ready to go. Williams, Gleeson, Coulon
and Classing stepped up to the platform and were beamed to the starbase’s
command area to talk with Captain Webster.
The remaining four stepped up and were beamed to an area right
outside the base. Ensign Pollock materialized in the midst of a large landing
bay of some kind. He looked around and saw the Gandhi’s team standing
around, talking with each other. They all turned toward the newcomers.
“Hi, I’m Ensign Pollock from the Melbourne,” he offered nicely. One
of the Gandhi’s team squatted down as if in a defensive position and sprawled
forward with his feet outstretched, and kicked Pollock right in the gut. Pollock
whimpered and fell backward.
“Never underestimate anyone. Do you hear me?! No one! Anyone
could be looking out for you and if you take one step, BAM!!! You’re a goner.
Or you could be talking to one of your best friends and when you get out of the
bar, he puts a phaser to your back and turns you into human dust before you
know it. Trust no one! Got that pretty boy?”
“Yeah, I got it, just don’t be so pushy, we’re on the same side here,”
said Pollock in a defensive manner.
All of a sudden, a red blur of light swooped past Pollock and head on
into his attacker. The attacker fell backwards, and the blur hit him squarely in
the jaw. “All right! That’s enough!” said Lieutenant Henley, putting her neck
out to show her commanding rank of lieutenant j.g. “If you want a fight, ask
the right people. Now, we are on the same side here. We don’t need to be
fighting ourselves when we have a whole damned empire of Romulans to
fight!”
“Who makes you the boss?” said the ensign that attacked Pollock.
“This does!” she said as she brushed away her red hair and pointed to
her rank pips.
“Oh! A big lieutenant are we?” said the ensign.
“Yes, and you better watch your tongue, ensign, or you might find
yourself on a freighter, on its way to Romulus, as Romulan stuffed sausage!
Now, the next two words I expect to hear from your squabbling, sorry excuse
for a mouth is ‘yes, sir,'” she said.
“Yes, sir,” said the ensign a little hotly.
“Good, now what is your name?” she said, never losing her stature.
Pollock thought, She’d be a great drill sergeant in the troop corps.
“Ensign Brandon Squires, sir. Sorry sir.” He said, now cowering from
Henley, even though she was at least two inches shorter than him.
“That’s better, now, let’s continue like civilized people, shall we?” and
from there on, there was no more problems from the Gandhi’s crew.

Chapter 11

CAPTAIN WILLIAMS SEATED himself in one of the nice chairs in
Webster’s office. Coulon and Classing stood behind him, while Captain
Gleeson sat in the other unoccupied chair.
“Ah, welcome to Starbase Altec. Starfleet has issued new orders for
you and your teams.” He began, but Williams cut him off.
“Excuse me. But do you know how the Joran have become such a
powerful foe? Even though they are brand new to the ways of life in space?”
“Yes I can, Captain. In fact, your mission needs a bit of background on
the Joran for you to succeed.
“The Joran are a race new to warp drive technology, yes. However, in
the beginning of the war when Starfleet Intelligence was still around, they sent
a team to Joran.
“The team found that the entire Joran culture is backed up by
Romulans. They projected that the Romulans have had contact with the Joran
for at least seventy five years.” Said Webster.
“How did the Romulans know about the Joran? And why did they take
them under their wing?” asked Williams.
“The Romulans found Joran, like I said, seventy five years ago. Joran,
even though it is basically a desert, has many resources. The Romulans were
not that strong of an empire seventy five years ago. They needed the resources
of this world. Under Joran’s dry lake beds, there is a type of mineral that when
introduced to a high band EM frequency, will crack. When this mineral
cracks, you have a stable base ingredient for making warp coils and disruptor
couplings.
“The Romulans relationship with the Joran grew and grew, and just
three years ago, the Romulans gave the Joran the gift of space flight. Fleets of
Joran ships were built. They were never detected by Federation sensors
because they were all cloaked. Then, the Joran wanted to build their own
interstellar empire. They asked the Romulans for assistance, and then moved
into Federation space. And then, a war was started.
“But, there was reports from the team that there was some kind of
strange signature emanating from the planet’s under ground facilities. They
never got that far.
“Three months ago, a cloaked Federation reconnaissance probe landed
on Joran and took intense sensor readings of the subterranean level of Joran.
“What it found was appalling to say the least. It found a machine,
emanating e-band particles throughout the planet. E-bands as you know can,
and have been used in the past by the Romulans for brainwashing. However,
the probe was discovered by the Joran and was then destroyed.
“The Federation never pursued another look at Joran because of large
battles being waged in other areas. We needed our resources centered on ship
repairs and planet rebuilding. We even started terraforming three planets close
to the Neutral Zone as outposts. But that was eventually stopped because it
was too much resources going into it. So, we have three, almost complete
planets sitting out there.
“And, on the planet of Dicon II, you will begin your mission. Before
the Federation stopped its terraforming expedition, we planted a spaceport
there, for passersby who needed some assistance. The spaceport is still in
operation. There are many freighters going into Romulan/Joran space that are
willing to book passage for anybody-even a Federation strike team-for a good
price. There are tickets in the high-warp shuttle that you will be taking for you
to show to the captain of the freighter.
“Now, Dicon II was declared a neutral planet by both the Federation
and the Romulans after we pulled out, so you won’t have to worry about any
trouble if you are spotted there.
“Your orders are to take the freighter to Joran, act like you are part of
the freighter’s crew. You will beam down with thirty crates of weapons. Now
of course, we can’t smuggle weapons to the Joran, and of course, we can’t
have twelve people say that they are there to help unload the weapons, that
would be suspicious. Three of you will be outside, buying time for everybody
else to pop out of our ‘weapons’ crates and take the cargo room. After that is
done, move onto the e-band emitter, figure out how it works, and determine its
use. If we are right, if it does brainwash the Joran, then al you have to do is
destroy it and the Romulan/Joran connection will stop. Our projections show
that within six months, the Joran will realize what the Romulans have done to
them, and turn against them. The Romulans will be tied up with their war with
the Joran, they’ll leave the Federation out of it.
“Once you stuff the emitter full of photon grenades, get the hell out of
there, and back to the cargo room, the freighter will be waiting for you, they’ll
beam you up, and then your coming home.
“Captain Williams, once this mission is over, you will be ordered to go
through Romulan/Joran space and enter the temporal rift, our latest
reconnaissance scans show that the rift is becoming unstable and may collapse
at any time, so all of you hurry. If you are successful in your mission, the war
will be over and we won’t have to worry about the Romulans anymore. Once
you get back to your own time, its your problem, we have got to rebuild the
Federation, and become the Federation we used to be. Good luck, and
Godspeed, dismissed.” And with that, the four of them walked out and were
beamed to the landing bay, where the rest of the team was.
“Everybody, you will be briefed about our mission once we are in the
shuttle. This is Captain Bryan Williams of the starship Melbourne, his first
officer Commander Coulon, and his chief of security, Lieutenant Commander
Classing. Now that that is over with, lets board our shuttle.” Said Captain
Gleeson.
All twelve of them boarded the shuttle, Lightning and took their seats.
The shuttle’s large warp nacelles were tucked under its belly. Williams
stepped inside the passenger/high warp shuttle. He looked up and saw that
there was a window above him, so he could look up. Everyone was on board
and seated. And seated comfortably. This alternate Federation might be war
torn, but they sure treated their strike teams nicely. There was a replicator
every two rows of seats. The two pilot took there seats in the cockpit and said
through the speakers, “Prepare for take off,” said the pilot.
“Main elevator engaged. Warp engines on line, impulse standing by.”
Said the copilot. “Launch door opened,”
The Lightning emerged from the depths of the landing bay. The large
launch door slid to the side, hiding itself inside the building. The elevator
platform escalated up and to a stop. The Lightning fired its retro rockets,
lifting it up, and pointed it towards the north. It took off, and up it went, into
the perilous depths of space.

“We have cleared the atmosphere,” said the pilot. “Setting course for
Dicon II, warp eight,” he said as he pushed the button to engage.
Williams saw the space to the side and above him warp around, and
then finally into streaking stars. He started the mission briefing for the others.
And then, he closed his eyes and thought, Here I am, a new captain. In this
timeline, I’m dead, and so is everyone else on my ship. Hell, I don’t even
belong here. I think that I am going to go on a simple mission for my first as
captain of a starship, and I have a mission to save a Federation that I barely
know. And who knows what’s going on in my own timeline. I have a feeling
that I may not be coming back, like I may be stuck here, in this place that
scares me, it scares me.and he drifted off to sleep, dreaming of why he was
on this mission.

Williams awoke in the shuttle, with someone nudging him in the
shoulder, silently saying to him, “Wake up,” he opened his eyes and saw the
pretty face of Jessica Classing. Ah, what a beautiful sight to wake up to. He
thought as he smiled at her. “Bryan, wake up, its time to beam down to the
surface. We have to save the Federation now, remember?”
“Oh, yeah, save the Federation, duh! How could I forget?” he said as
he chuckled at the thought.
“What?” she said, querying at his laughter.
“Oh, its just that you said ‘save the Federation’ like it was an everyday
job. C’mon let’s go, or they will start to get mad, and we wouldn’t want that.”
He said as he got up and stretched.
“Oh, of course not,” said Jessica as she giggled. They joined the ten
others in the back compartment of the shuttle, a compartment that was nothing
but transporters. Everyone was ready to go. Williams took a step up and
straightened his back, preparing for the tingling sensation of the transporter.
Jessica took the pad next to him, and he looked around and nodded at Captain
Gleeson and his team of commandos.
“Energize,” he said. And an instant later, he found himself in a bustling
spaceport, aliens of all kinds walking about with their own personal business.
Strange, almost fluent music, but still totally alien music filled the whole area.
He looked around and found an assay office, a hotel, a travel agency, a bar, a
restaurant, and various other stores. Then he saw a bright red sign that read,
“Loading Bays,” he pointed to the sign and the rest of his crew walked with
him. He quickly took a moment to look at his ticket and saw that the ship they
were looking for was a Dolarian freighter.
Great. Thought Williams, Starfleet has a whole galaxy full of
freighters to carry us to our destination, and the pick the Dolarians. It has
been rumored that their ships are held together with nothing but spit.
He looked at his ticket again and saw that it was for loading bay
seventeen. He pointed in the direction and his all to much standing out
Starfleet crew followed him. When they reached the loading bay, they were
greeted by the captain of the ship. His six arms outstretched, the stench of his
Dolarian fish sandwich, for which he had probably had for lunch, going right
up Williams’ nostrils. And then there was the customary purple coloring of
Dolarians. He lifted his snout to show his massive mouth and said in a low
voice, “Welcome to the cargo ship Freehoulia I am Captain Gorlia, please,
show me your tickets, and we can get going, oh, and before we get under way,
I’m going to need your password, please input it into this recorder device so
my ship’s computer can see if it is authentic.”
“This is Captain Bryan Williams, authorization, Williams, alpha, delta
592,” said Williams.
“This is Captain Joseph Gleeson, authorization, Gleeson, beta, 22, beta
gamma,” said Gleeson as he wrinkled his nose at the Dolarians’ stench.
Hopefully, the whole ship didn’t stink like this.
“Please wait here while I check your access codes,” said the Gorlia.
They waited patiently, and after a few moments, Gorlia returned and
said that it checked out. They boarded the creaky ship, all of them wrinkling
their noses at the stench.
At last, they reached the cargo bay, where they would be staying for
their journey to Joran. Captain Williams, Captain Gleeson and Commander
Coulon were the three who were going to be the off-loading crew, the other
nine got into the crates.
Once everyone was situated, Williams gave Gorlia the go ahead.
Gorlia wiggled his pig-like snout and went to the bridge of the Freehoulia.
The rumbling of the deck plates told Williams that the ship was taking off
from the planet’s surface. Once the rumbling stopped, he could tell they were
in space. Then he felt a surge which could only be the transition into warp
drive. The inertial damping fields on this ship must not be in the best
condition. And they waited all the way to Joran.

Chapter 12

LIEUTENANT MARVIN WAS in his quarters when he got a call from
the bridge notifying him that Captain Myers of the Triumph wished to speak
with him. “I’m on my way,” said he said as he zipped up his uniform tunic.
He walked out of his quarters and up to the observation lounge.
He had kind of made the observation lounge his personal office, it just
didn’t fell right to take the captain’s ready room while the captain wasn’t here.
He arrived at he lounge and pushed the button for the view screen. Captain
Myers face appeared.
“Lieutenant Marvin, I presume?” he said.
“Yes, I’m Lieutenant Marvin. What can I do for you Captain?” he said.
“Lieutenant,” began the captain, “I have reason to believe that your
captain, first officer and security chief, as well as the captain from the Gandhi
have been ordered on a strike mission to Joran. Now you know the
possibilities that they may not be coming back from this mission. And I
personally feel that it is a little pig headed of Starfleet to send Captain
Williams and his team on this mission. Its not our war! Let them send their
own people! Not some people from a different time line, for crying out loud!”
said Myers, his old, gray eyebrows wrinkled from the outburst.
“Captain, what are you proposing?” asked Marvin.
“You don’t miss much do you, Lieutenant?” said Myers with a
surprised look on his face.
“What do you mean?” asked Marvin.
“I mean, you can see what I’m going to do. Well then, go ahead. What
am I going to do?” asked Myers, clearly expecting an answer.
This must be some sort of test. A test to see how I will respond like a
captain would respond. He thought. “Well, I must say first that I clearly agree
with you. Starfleet had no business sending Captain Williams and the team
from the Melbourne on this mission. But, what I would do is take the Triumph
and Melbourne to Joran and get them out of there.
“But, captain, that may be a little ‘pig headed’ on our part as well. I
mean, we would be saving our people, but what about the war here? Are we
just going to let the Federation of this time line perish? From what Captain
Williams had told us, the Federation is losing the war. If we take Captain
Williams and the rest of the team, we may very well have signed the
Federation’s death sentence. So, we have got to get some rock solid evidence
to go and violate Romulan/Joran territory to save them.”
“Very good Lieutenant,” said Myers. “You’ve passed my test,” Aha!
Thought Marvin, I was right! “But we have to find out happened to Captain
Williams. And I have a feeling that they did go to Joran. I’m beaming down
to the planet’s surface to talk to Captain Webster. Perhaps he knows what’s
going on. I’ll contact you as soon as I return. Oh, by the way, how’s the
repairs to the Melbourne coming?”
“Oh, just fine, the weapons systems and all the hull breaches have been
repaired, we should be back in order within a few more hours. How’s the
Triumph?” he asked, equally curious.
“Oh, she’s doing just fine. We have ninety-seven dead, and almost all
the casualties have been taken care of. Everything else is doing fine as well.
We should be operational in a couple hours as well. I’ll contact you as soon as
I return from the planet’s surface. Myers out,” and he disappeared from the
screen.

Captain Myers walked down the corridors of the Triumph, the most
beautiful ship in the fleet. The fourth Galaxy class ship made, after the
Enterprise. The Triumph, unlike her three sisters had different corridors, a
different bridge, and a different layout. The Triumph was built as an
‘economic’ ship. Almost all of the systems that required EPS power taps to
power them were put closer to the warp core, so the construction team at
Utopia Planitia would not have to lay out a vast network of conduits for the
power taps. Making the main transporter rooms all the way down on deck 34.
Of course there were transporter rooms in the saucer section, but they were
only personnel transporters. Where the other Galaxy class ships had extensive
EPS conduits laid out, the Triumph used that extra space as extra computer
core memory, more lockers for the crew, and most of all, more room for
quarters and suites.
Most of the Triumph’s saucer section comprised of crew quarters,
science labs, sickbay and all he other wonders that starships have. Captain
Myers almost protested when he found out that almost all the major items to a
starship was located in the engineering section. But, he had gotten used to it,
and over the years he had some of the major systems switched to closer areas.
He finally emerged on deck 34 and entered the transporter room. He told the
ensign on duty to beam him to the starbase command center.
He heard the transporter warm up. Then he felt the soothing tingling
feeling, then a blue wash over his eyes of what seemed to him, dancing water,
then the blue wash faded and he found himself in one of the nicely decorated
corridors of Starbase Altec. He looked around and located a sign telling him
where everything was. It read:

Mess Hall>

Sickbay>

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