Star Trek: Phoenix-X – STO Literary Challenge #63 – Nightmare Anomaly

Summary: In the early 25th century, on an exploration mission into unknown space, the U.S.S. Phoenix-X stumbles upon and gets caught in an uncatalogued, unusual anomaly.

Author’s notes: This is my first entry, written in April 2014 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Literary Challenge #63.

Literary Challenge #63 Prompt: On an exploration mission into unknown space, you and your crew have stumbled upon and been caught in an uncatalogued, unusual anomaly that reaches into a theorized previously unknown layer of subspace that cannot be entered by physical matter. Exposure to this phenomena though has been causing hallucinations and nightmares to occur to your crewmen, with the exception of Photonics and Androids among your crew. Write a log of how your crew dealt with these nightmares, and how you either made this anomaly safe, or possibly closed this anomaly so it would harm no one else.

Literary Challenge #63
Nightmare Anomaly

The Prometheus-class U.S.S. Phoenix-X trekked through space. Captain Seifer had just finished a raquetball match on the Holodeck and was ready to start a new shift.

“Ah, that was perfect,” Seifer said as he took a seat. “Except, why was I being attacked by a skull-head guy with an axe?”

Kayl, at ops, turned to him, “Sir, the racquetball simulation has been programmed to make itself more interesting after thirty minutes of play.”

“Dammit. Why’d we’d let Felix’s nephew on board last week. He jack-in-the-boxed all the sports programs. He turned hoverball into hover-Horta,” Seifer clenched his fist. “Have we learned nothing of nephew’s after Janeway’s Q Junior?”

Before anyone could answer, the Phoenix-X was jolted with a powerful rush of energy and stopped in its tracks.

“Sensors indicate an unknown energy reading all around us. It’s nothing anyone’s encountered before!” Armond commented from tactical.

“Quite bold of you, Lieutenant Commander,” Seifer replied.

“Thank you, sir. It is Friday, after all. I think we can all agree that spirits are usually up more on this day of the week, and, thus, observations more freely made,” Armond turned to discuss.

“Dudes, can we focus here?” Kayl interjected.

Seifer pointed. “That is not Starfleet jargon! But I do like it. So, maybe?”

“Well, whatever you decide, the engines are offline,” Ensign Dan, at navigation remarked.

Seifer’s jaw dropped. “How dare you, Ensign? You’re relieved!”

“No, I mean, due to the unknown energy stuff,” Ensign Dan turned, exasperated.

The Captain then squinted his eyes and pointed. “Alright, you win this round. But I’m watching you…”

“Sir, I’m certain that with extensive study, we can learn more about this phenomenon, and determine a way out,” Armond turned again.

Seifer tapped his chin inquisitively. “Like, a couple minutes… an hour or so…?”

“Closer to a day,” Armond confirmed.

Captain Seifer dropped his arms in relief. “Oh, thank goodness. This has been the longest shift ever. I’m off to bed! You guys too. I don’t want you all to be grumpy-Denobulans in the morning. You remember how badly our Tykon’s Rift Memorial visit turned out?”

He shifted his pointing finger at each of them as he exited to the turbolift.

“Captian’s log, Stardate 87035.4; I had the worrrrrssstttttt dream last night. Why did I even go to bed during an obvious ship crisis? That is the dumbest thing any Starfleet officer can do! I just have to hope that my crew didn’t take the same action. Hold on, let me check the shift logs–  Dammit! We must be getting way too comfortable with being in danger. It is literally something that happens every week. 

“Anyway. I should digress. The question is, why must I digress? Can’t we Captain’s escalate for once? Why are we meant to be the level-headed, so-called role model? It’s a lot like that dream I had last night. I was phased-out of normal matter and everyone on the ship was ignoring me. Even someone named T’Pol. It was the worst copycat-episode ever. Luckily, though, it was all a dream– though, that did seem like a cop-out. 

“Ah, I see what I did there. I digressed without even knowing.”

Later, Captain Seifer entered the Bridge of the Phoenix-X. The ship was rumbling in an attempt to escape the alien energy that trapped it.

“I didn’t authorize this!” Seifer barked.

Chief engineer Kugo walked over and handed him a padd. “Actually, you did. Though, telling from the spelling and grammatical errors, you may have been sleep-commanding again.”

Captain Seifer picked up the padd and read it. “Make ship go. I am smart. Since when am I a Pakled?”

“Sir, I had, uh, the weirdest dream last night. Permission to transfer to the Enterprise-F after this? I hear Captain Shon is a real slave driver,” Armond inquired, hopefully.

Seifer snapped. “Denied! Just for that, you will all do double leisure duties on the Holodecks.”

“But I dreamt someone was drinking out of a straw connected to my brain!”

Doctor Lox then started scanning him. “You may have interphasic organism syndrome. The Borg analgesic cream works best for that.”

“We all had horrible dreams, sir. Mine was that I was floating in a green, cloudy void, yelling Where are you over and over again. Ugh. The repetitiveness gave me U.S.S. Bozeman Syndrome,” Kayl covered her face in horror.

Kugo activated a hover screen at the back of the Bridge, showing an image of the Phoenix-X trapped in an unseen energy. “The energy has reached into a theorized unknown layer of subspace I have deemed subspace-subspace, or subspace-extreme, or gravimetric-subspace.”

“So, what you’re saying is, we’re surrounded and trapped within a family of over-emotional two-dimensional lifeforms who exist in cosmic strings?” Seifer postulated.

Kugo deactivated. “No! And yes, that was my nightmare last night. It’s all Engineer’s nightmares– that, and being stuck in the Delta Quadrant for seven years without a uniform change.”

“Well, I think it’s obvious what the answer is here–” Seifer started. “Tachyons–”

“–Tachyons!” Kayl raised her hand, trying to be the first to say it.

Kugo interjected. “More precisely, an inverse tachyon pulse.”

“Right,” Armond nodded. “The only side-effect being that one Phoenix-X from the past and one Phoenix-X from the future will appear.”

Ensign Dan turned. “I didn’t even go to sleep last night and that skull-head guy came into my quarters. I think he’s loose on the ship.”

“Not now, Ensign Dan! We can only deal with one issue per week. There’s no room for good b-stories here, or on the Starship Voyager,” Kayl said.

The Phoenix-X fired an inverse tachyon pulse into the more dense area of the energy, causing two more Phoenix-X’s to appear. They were then hailed.

“This is Captain Cell of the Phoenix-X from 2390. What the hell? You’re Captain in the future??” Cell asked from the other ship.

Seifer shrugged. “Sorry about that.”

“Just– just don’t ruin the ship. That’s all. You know we still owe the Orions like fifteen more payments for fixing that moving-nacelle problem the Intrepid-class forced on us,” Cell said.

Seifer responded braggingly. “It’s down to twelve payments now.”

“Nice!” Cell said impressed. “Well, we’re going to disengage our tachyon pulse. We just wanted to see what would happen.”

He clicked off screen, but the Phoenix-X from the future clicked on. “This is Captain Ensign Dan from the year 2450! The Borg are everywhere. You have to help us!”

“Ew! No way you’re the Captain. Ugh. Disengage the pulse!” Seifer ordered Armond.

Suddenly the two other ships disappeared and the Phoenix-X of the present’s engines came back online.

“No offense, Ensign Dan, but we can’t let that future happen,” Seifer said.

Ensign Dan nodded. “I understand. But why’d I have two titles?”

“Now that we’re out of that mess, is anyone up for an all-nighter of poker? I know it’s morning, but I changed the internal chronometers to fix that,” Lox said.

Kayl stood up. “Fine. But you have to stop using Fizzbin cards. And someone needs to leave a warning beacon here.”

“We’re out of those. All I have are these drink coasters that project mini-EMH Mark I’s singing opera,” Armond held one up.

The EMH started singing. “I’ve been working on the railroad—”

“Oh, hell!” Seifer immediately knocked it to the floor and started stamping on it.

Armond shrugged. “We have fifty more. They were a gift from Admiral Tuvok.”

“Those’ll do fine, Armond. Thanks.” Seifer tried to catch his breath. “I just want to thank everyone for saving our lives,” he continued. “Being the twenty-fifth Phoenix-ship, we have a standard to uphold, and that standard is existence. Maybe a little more, but I don’t want to pressure you.”

Suddenly, Seifer woke up and found himself in Sickbay with the Doctor hovering over him.

“Uh! Was it all a dream?”

Lox shook his head. “No. You just fell unconscious during that speech. Turns out we forgot to leave the area after our engines came back online. We’re gone now. We’re mostly gone.”


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