“Temporal Quicksand” by George Silsby
First Officer’s log, Stardate 927877.76
The Scorpio has been sent by Starfinder to investigate a disturbing distress call from one of General Valkara’s Klingon fleet Bird of Preys, the IKS Kruge.
She was apparently tailing a mysterious unidentified ship near sector 543 by 21, Starfinder picked up a choppy transmission that suddenly cut out, but since Starfinder was busy repairing her warp nacelles after a skirmish with the Tholians two days ago, Captain ANN D has sent Scorpio to have a look.
I was tired, we had not had much sleep when the command to take off had occurred, such is the life of a Starfleet officer. Commander Austin was sitting in his command chair, I recognized that look on his face. It meant he was using his Borg implants linked to Scorpio’s systems to access and analyze the sensor readings and compare them to known cataloged data.
Austin was a handsome man for a Human, had I not already been taken, I may have flirted with him, I suppose it was my upbringing on Risa and growing up with the rather “free spirited” locals that my instincts have always been to go with my feelings. But as it were, I was quite happily married to my Vulcan Husband, Tuvar.
The mating telepathic bond created an intimacy unmatched by mere physical detail, something many who do not understand Vulcans would find surprising. Only distracted
by his features for a moment, I snapped out of it as a beep at my station indicated a very strange anomalous reading.
I was standing at Scorpio’s tactical station, located behind the command chair. I was First Officer, but I did double duty as her Tactical officer when needed as well. I was the only member of Scorpio’s 50 man crew that was not a formally assimilated then liberated ex Borg drone. I was chosen by Captain ANN D to be her XO because although he trusted Commander Austin and the experiment “theory” of syncing a “collective” Starfleet crew with Scorpio, he wanted an objective command officer to be on the bridge to make sure the crew were never “compromised” without realizing it together by unknown means.
“Commander Austin, sensors are picking up temporal distortions 129,000 kilometers ahead. This appears to be the last known position of the Klingon ship, her Ion trail from her impulse engines fades and distorts as sensors begin to ping off the temporal distortion field.”
“All stop, M’Rella.” Austin ordered our Caitian helmswoman. She brought Scorpio to a halt. M’Rella was a good friend of mine, but being a former Borg drone and a Caitian, her behavior sometimes well to use a Human term I picked up, “Creeped me out”. Whereas most Caitians exhibited Feline traits such as purring, growling, hissing, etc., M’Rella had her animal noises mix with occasional beeps and mechanical sounds from her exterior leftover Borg Implants.
Of all the Ex Borg crew, no two had the exact same details remaining of evidence of prior assimilation; some had ocular implants, some had prosthetic limbs, partial or full, some had small tubes protruding from various body parts to connect to some device that couldn’t be removed without causing more harm than good in reversing the process of assimilation.
“Raise temporal shields, better to be on the safe side.” Austin ordered, and I complied, raising our temporal shields. “Running a comparative analysis of the temporal field, we need to narrow down if it’s a rift, an anomaly, or what.” He informed us as he began again, running his synced mind to the sensors and database.
“Suggestion, sir?” I piped up. I had an idea. “Recommend we modify a probe with temporal shields, if we launch it in shielded, it should be able to send back telemetry if we match sensors to it’s shield frequency.”
Austin smiled and nodded, that approving smile that again a single woman version of myself would have gotten shivers from seeing. He was not an unattractive man, had I noted this? Oh yes, silly me. I began the modifications remotely to the probe after ordering an officer to equip a temporal shield emitter around a probe. It took about 30 minutes but she was ready to deploy.
“The modified probe is ready, sir.” I informed him. “launch”. He ordered. Off it went into the temporal field, we watched as it vanished when it crossed the threshold. Telemetry was coming in on my panel now, it was extremely strange. I began to compensate for the probe’s temporal shields, trying to sync the data sent to us as close to real time as possible.
“I think this telemetry is accurate, not sure if the time delay is showing right on our clocks though”. I reported. Temporal mechanics and quantum field science were not my forte.
“Sending it to sync to your network, sir”. I added. I watched as he did that thing again, that eye rapid flicker that i found amusingly cute that told me he was analyzing and processing like a machine. Albeit a cute machine. I really needed to see my husband after this mission. Bad Zatarra, bad! And if he was busy, a nice holodeck er..diversion..was in order as the next best thing.
“The Klingon ship is in there, they seem to be frozen in a temporal…trap? It seems as though this was created as some form of temporal “quicksand”, for lack of a better analogy. Someone planted it to either capture ships like flies to a spider web, or just cause chaos.” He explained.
“Sounds like it could be tied to this “temporal war” we were warned about, Commander.” I interjected as my professional opinion, which was really just a big guess. “Recommend we go in with temporal shields, extend them around the Klingons, and guide them out safely”.
“I like it. Let’s proceed”. he said. I nodded and he ordered M’Rella to take Scorpio slowly into the temporal “quicksand”. The temporal shields were holding, but we were shaking a bit roughly and the screens were flickering with static off and on, making readings difficult.
“Mrrrrooowl! This is not going to be fun to fly in.” M’Rella said sarcastically. “Steady and sure M’rella, you can do it.” Austin told her. With difficulty, we managed to cruise close to the Kruge, and I extended the temporal shields around her. She suddenly hailed us, and the female Klingon commander appeared on screen.
“This is Commander Katara of the Kruge. We are…grateful, for the assist. Now let us leave this trap and place warning buoys for our allies, Q’apla”.
Soon we were docked back with Starfinder and Austin had given us the green light to take some time off and relax for a while while we were back home.
Needless to say, I pounced my poor Vulcan husband who was lucky enough to be off duty and in our quarters when I got back. It’s a good thing Vulcans “get in the mood” when their mated bonds do, thanks to the telepathic rapport.
As we lay in each others arms many hours later, he had noticed in our shared telepathic state, images of Commander Austin., I had hoped he would not remember this. But…
“You must thank Commander Austin for…”inspiring” you, this night, my wife.” He said in his typical matter-of-fact cold, Vulcan way.
I laughed and winked at him.