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Between Worlds (Part One)

Posted on Mon Feb 11th, 2019 @ 11:19pm by Captain Sun Mei Xiang & Lieutenant Commander James Barnes

Mission: Points Of Light
Location: Seppala Station, Operations
Timeline: During the Into the Depths Post

[Seppala Station, Operations Center]

Mei was exhausted, but she had a found herself not being bothered for the first time since the evacuation started. She had found a side station in the center to take a seat, and nearly felt herself drifting off with having a moment of rest. She wasn't particularly happy with how things were going, and couldn't help but feel herself losing the battle with impatience, waiting for her away team's check in. Too soon, and they'd not have found anything. Too late, and she'd worry. So she busied herself in looking through the most recent reports from the situation, with power and atmosphere levels being her main concern.

James had used the internal sensors to locate the Captain, and was making his way back to the Operations Center. He stopped for a moment in the hallway, pulling up the tricorder and aiming it at himself. The orbs were disrupting his equilibrium with the space-time continuum, something very El-Aurians were very in tune with. It had translated as dizziness at first, and had thrown off his gait. Because of that, he had been sticking close to the walls in case he started to stumble again. Most importantly - he had become keenly aware of his self from the current timeline. The James stuck in a Romulan torture cell. The time distortions were beginning to affect his perceptions. He slid one hand along the wall, rubbing his eyes with the other as he waited what seemed an eternity for the door to open. He saw Mei sitting near a side station and started towards her.

"Captain, I need to discuss the orbs we've encountered," James said, walking across the bridge of the Akira towards his station as it made its way through the Chin'Toka system. "The platforms are appear to be gathering energy from one another and a central source. I may be able to locate the source," he said, sitting down next to a Starfleet Marine aboard a dropship as they descended through the clouds of Betazed during the war. Finally, he turned to Mei in Seppala, rubbing his eyes again.

"I'm sure that sounded weird but I think the orbs are having more of an effect on my physiology, Admiral Chlan."

Mei glanced behind her, half way expecting the Admiral to have decided to slip back action again with the civilians in trouble. But when he wasn't there, it began to click together in her mind what he meant. It worried her for a second, and she sat up a bit straighter. "Well, it did, yes." She said softly, standing up from her seat. "You aren't making a lot of sense." She waved a hand at the seat, and then decided to try something. She switched from speaking normally to trying to speak standard normally - rather than speaking mandarin and letting the universal translator do the heavy lifting. Of course, that brought on her accent, that little bit of Australian tinge that flavored her voice when speaking a bit more pronounced, "Have a seat, if you need it. You look like you're not completely with me." She smirked a bit, "Feels like you might need a sec. You think it has to do with the lights?"

James's head snapped to his left, looking at Mei as she wore some cheap Chinese garb in an ancient west brothel. "Captain," he paused, Seppala coming back into focus, "I'm not entirely here. The orbs are having some effect on the timeline. You may or may not know, but my people are sensitive to matters involving the spacetime continuum. These orbs are affecting it, and by extension me."

"I'm aware, but assumed it was more of a vague sense." She admitted after a second. Her mind tried to put that into perspective, but she didn't know how to, or what he was seeing. "We think its an artificial time pocket, or bubble, or something. We're not sure how or why, but it might explain why the fabric is... frayed." She explained, not sure if anyone had caught him up yet. "Can you explain how you aren't entirely here?" She asked softly.

"When I entered the operations center, I was aboard the bridge of the Akira, during the Dominion War. We were fighting in the Chin'toka System. When I sat, I flashed back to our insertion onto Betazed to meet up with the resistance," He paused, scratching his chin slightly, "I've also seen some weird...creatures, for lack of a better term. I can't describe them, but they've been getting clearer each successive time I see them. I think they're the ones in the time pocket, down on the planet."

"Creatures? Like the ones we might have contacted?" Mei adjusted, twisting her head up to one side after a few seconds thinking, "What was it Bayushi said? Or Anvers?" She was confused, and just shook her head. She couldn't remember any descriptions at the moment. "Doesn't matter, I guess. I'd love a description if you have one, but you're more important. What can I do to help? A shuttle as far away from the event as possible? Just somewhere comfortable?"

"I'm getting more details with each shift," James paused, "There's definitely something highly technological about them. Cybernetic, perhaps....I can't tell exactly yet," he furrowed his brow, opening his tricorder to scan himself again. "But definitely not the Borg."

He looked at Mei and managed a sympathetic smile. He could tell she seemed worried about him. "I'm not going anywhere, Captain. I've been tracking the effects on me and I think I can stabilize it."

"Cybernetic worries me either way." She admitted. She sighed and adjusted, taking a bit of a breather to try to get herself centered. "Then we should get you stabilized, and if we can find a safe way to get the information from the other times without losing you to them, I'm open to ideas. We need intelligence, though, I'm not sure I like getting it this way."

"Don't tell me you're getting gun shy, Mei," James was able to muster a chuckle, "Sometimes gathering intelligence can be dangerous."

"Operating on an Akira with help just a few hours away felt a lot different. Maybe I am being a little gun shy," She gave him a shake of her head and took a deep breath. "Fine, what's your proposal for stabilizing it? And go ahead and tell me how long Christine will be mad at me when I agree to it."

"I've cobbled together a chroniton modulator," James produced a small device that could be attached to his belt, "That should, in theory, stabilize some of the time surges I've been encountering. Or it could make the shifts fewer, but more pronounced." He grinned. "It's a dice roll. We're out here on the frontier, Mei, alone and without much help. Operating an Akira with help a few hours away is the minor leagues. They didn't send us out here because they doubted our ability to make these tough decisions."

"Right..." She spoke softly, "Fine, we'll set it up. We need to know what we can, and if you can get it stabilized to the right time, maybe we can find out what the hell is actually going on here." She crossed her arms, "And that sounds like something we can reverse if need be. But we do it safe. We find some where secluded and get a couple other crew members on hand just in case." She sighed, "Where do you want to try it?"

"I would initially say here," he paused, his vision blurring again for a moment, "Then maybe on the planet if it's successful?"

"Alright. Well, when you are ready," She spoke softly, "let's do this. Just let me know what you need from me, and any ideas you might have on how to get you back if something goes awry."

"I've started replicating the parts already," he scratched his chin, "If it goes haywire, I guess just turn it off. You might have to sedate me after. Hopefully it won't come to that."

[Unknown Time, Alien Bridge]

The room was well lit, with warm lights all about the stations. It was like a sunny morning in the room, which was very obviously a command center not unlike a Federation bridge. The panels were clearly advanced with the holographic systems that rose up from each, but they were incredibly alien. The controls seemed to be almost gel like, with slight movements of a hand in the gel drawing new images or changing the text on the field. The crew was varied - with many different species spread across the room. A few were completely alien, but a few were somewhat familiar. There were a couple Protectorate species, but perhaps most shocking was the Talaxian at a nearby console.

"Listener," It sounded like two voices came from the Talaxian's voice. "Say nothing - do not endanger the timeline." He adjusted and looked up, with another crew member of El Aurian descent both looking towards where James stood. "Though it is good to know our friends survived." The Talaxian smiled, and looked back to his console.

James jolted for a moment, almost as if he had been on the receiving end of a nasty electrical shock. He looked around, his vision still somewhat blurred and cloudy. He recognized nearly all of the races in the room, though he wasn't quite sure what they were all doing together in this command ship.

"Who are you? Endanger what timeline? Who are your friends?" he inquired hurriedly. He started walking towards one of the consoles. He had to see what was going on.

They could not answer or hear him, but it was clear they were aware of him - even trying to help. They began to speak about what they were doing. "Planet Ith Ver Xa Two Nine Six is progressing normally. No unusual readings from the temporal displacement fields." One of the crew spoke in that eerie two voiced monotone. "It looks like the molten core is providing ample power. Drones are beginning work to encourage the growth of the outer layer."

"Please bring it on screen for our guest," The Talaxian spoke again. The roof of the bridge like room flickered, and its top dome shifted to a view screen. Outside the ship, somewhere, was Golovin, but it was much different. It was still a growing planet, but it was engulfed by a swarm of drones. Below them the world moved swiftly, time passing incredibly quickly, as the planet below was visibly shifted to fit their needs. The Talaxian started to say something but then stopped suddenly. "I'm sorry," It paused for a moment, and looked at its console. "One of our drones has detected a sentient life form developing." He looked away. "Our theatrics must end. Please, feel free to walk the bridge and listen in. We will continue speaking as long as we know you are here. We wish you the best, old friend."

James raised his eyebrow for a moment as he watched the developments on the screen. "Who are you?" he asked again, walking around the bridge trying to decipher read outs and the various screens. "What are you doing here? Why are you terraforming this planet?" James found a screen showing a smaller image of the planet, but the writing on the screen was one he didn't recognize. He looked back over his shoulder at the various races assembled and it clicked. "I assume you all are not of the species you appear to be, but a representation. Where are you from?" he asked again. He felt himself starting to get dizzier and develop a headache.

The diverse species didn't seem to be able to actively respond to him - carefully moving about and continuing the work. They did seem somehow aware of his questions though, or he had been brought to the perfect time. It was impossible to really know. "Protectorate signals indicate a Rana cloaker has detected a second transwarp hub activating in the projected sector path."

"Have they confirmed its path?" The Talaxian asked quickly.

"No, but we're receiving a signal from Edasichia - they're recalling all ships. Borg ships are converging." Another crewmember spoke.

"We are Edasichian - we move as one." A few said, and the crew seemed to agree. One spoke up. "When we repulse this attack, we will return - and the planet will be suitable for uplifting, with a natural abundance of materials to make them excel at exploring the stars."

"And if we do not make it back?"

"The field will protect them until they are mature."

Edasichian......The name was familiar. It finally clicked to him. He remembered brief mentions of them - they had encountered the El-Aurians while the latter were exploring the galactic core. They had lost contact hundreds, maybe a thousand or so years prior. James pulled out his tricorder, scanning the command center he was in. He needed to figure a way to communicate with them. He tried sending a brief chroniton pulse to see if they would notice his presence.

It seemed to work, if only for a moment. It drew attention, but they seemed hesitant to respond to it. One finally spoke up, "It's time for us to leave, Listener." The voice spoke almost directly to him. "If you are here without one of us, it may mean we have failed. Time is more fragile than we think." The one speaking closest to him said softly, almost a hushed tone - but even so it was clear that the others could sense or hear the speaking, but did not agree with the choice to speak directly to the El-Aurian, or rather the pulse near him.

James raised an eyebrow, pulling out his tricorder. He started tapping commands quickly, then held up his chroniton stabilizer. He scanned it, comparing the readouts on the device itself to what the tricorder was reporting. There was a slight phase variance between the display on the stabilizer and what it was actually putting out. He made a couple of minute adjustments, narrowing his eyes as he tapped on the small keys. There was a bright flash, which caused him to shield his eyes with his forearm. He materialized on the Edasichian bridge.

Captain Sun Mei Xiang
Commanding Officer, USS Shanghai

Lt. Commander James Barnes
Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Shanghai-A

Edasichian Crew


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