12.12.15

ST Online 1

Sunrise

The Odyssey-class U.S.S. Valhalla sat out in deep space, extracting Iconian probes from its dented aft hull. Rear Admiral Cid took a seat in his command chair, on the Bridge, just as they were suddenly hailed.

"We've recently noticed that a star in an unexplored system near Ferenginar has become unstable. Find out why this star is suddenly dying, and make sure that it isn't going to be a threat to any nearby worlds or systems," came Fleet Admiral Jorel Quinn's sudden hail over the view screen.

Cid was taken aback the sudden appearance. "Whoa!? Don't do that! Ugh!"

When the screen clicked off, Lieutenant Tetsu turned from helm. "Confirmed; rather than stopping it entirely, we are to ensure any death and destruction is limited to the star system said horrors are to unavoidably happen in."

"Seems legit," Cid agreed, brushing his graying thin beard, thoughtfully. "Keeping our focus highly localized ensures reduced brain aches. Now, set a course for Deep Space 9!"

Commander Raje paused. "Why?"

"I just have this feeling that we should go there. Feelings are a thing, you know. It's a thing we humans get."

---

After picking up Cardassian Solar Scientist Tanora Zuval at Deep Space 9, the Valhalla set course for what they assumed was the unexplored system Admiral Quinn mentioned.

"We've arrived in-system," came Arkane's report as the ship dropped warp. "Still no indication of what's causing stellar decay."

Cid scoffed. "Well, we just got here. Calm down, Lieutenant."

The Valhalla flew forward several hundred kilometers and began scanning. Tanora reported, "Initial results don't make any sense. It's as if it... suddenly decided that it was no longer going to do hydrogen fusion, just heavier fusion processes."

"Oh, you Cardassians and your crazy imaginations! Ha!" Cid added before chuckling to himself. "Cardies. I don't mean that derogatory, by the way."

The Valhalla then flew for the next closest body in-system. Next to it, they discovered a micronebula. Arkane began reading an energy surge which suddenly turned into three Mesh Weaver ships!

"Tholians??" Arkane blurted. "What are they doing this far from the Assembly? Not to mention, they're somehow operating their ships with just two fingers on each hand??"

Cid stepped up. "Now's not the time for appendage-based speculation. Return the shooting of the things! Weapons, I mean."

Opening fire, the Mesh Weavers began circling and inflicting serious damage against the Odyssey-class vessel. Flashbacks to incessant Iconian battles rang through Cid's head. "Maintain shields! Return fire! And where is that raktajino I ordered?!?"

The Valhalla swung around and fired a multitude of phaser beams and quantum torpedoes into the Tholian ships. One ship exploded, then a simul-spread of eight Starfleet-issue torpedoes, shot out in close-range, blew the other two Mesh Weavers to pieces.

"Data's coming in now," Tanora returned to her console as the action died down. "Looks like there's some heavy ionization on the far side of the nebula. It's as if it's receiving some kind of reflected radiation from one of the gas giants."

Cid turned to the view screen. "Set a course for Ferenginar. I'd like to check that place out."

"It's not a map we can visit just yet," Tetsu reported. "I'll just make us go to that gas giant instead."

Cid nodded. Approaching the spectacular blue-hazed, asteroid-orbited, gas giant, Nova began reporting more of her incoming data. "We're reading a few metallic asteroids and some low-level radiation."

"Naturally occurring metal? Impossible!" Cid declared. "Oh, no, wait. I'm thinking of mettle. Now that takes Kirk-level resourcefulness starship Captains have been copycatting for centuries."

Tetsu brought the ship closer to one of the moons orbiting the gas giant. Upon scanning, Nova made a discovery. "Admiral, I'm picking up comm traffic! One of these moons is inhabited! I'm picking up a few low-power warp trails! A few!"

"If this is a warp-capable society, when we make First Contact we don't want to seem hostile," Cid detailed. "In fact, I may unintentionally do a Picard impression. If so, you are to act like that's normal."

Suddenly the screen clicked on, and an unknown alien woman, pink, bald, with slender, forehead ridges, addressed them. "This is Administrator Kuumaarke. Please provide identification."

"How are people doing that?? Oh, this is Admiral Cid of the U.S.S. Valhalla. I represent the United Federation of Planets in much the same way a Ferengi represents kyphosis sufferers."

Kuumaarke replied from her ship, "Welcome to Lukari. We have a solar probe ready that contains the booster module that needs to be fired into the star. Could your ship get a trajectory plot so that we can set a preprogrammed course?"

"We'll look into it," Cid replied. "Are six to eight weeks okay? Hah! Just a little Federation humor. You'll find more of that from us in future crises."

At that, Cid and Nova began plotting the trajectories, after which they transmitted the information to Kuumaarke. Seconds later, the mission was underway.

"It's gone to warp!" Kuumaarke reported. "The probe is arriving at the solar corona. Deploying chromodynamic booster..."

But there was no response, only confirmation of a hard and difficult truth.

"No effect," Kuumaarke's voice dropped. "It didn't work. Repeat. It didn't work."

Cid was hit with flashes of Iconian War failure: The assault on their people, Sela's fury, and wave after wave of Herald and solar probe attack.

"Thank you for trying to help," Kuumaarke hailed in defeat.

Before Kuumaarke, could continue, the screen cut out. "Sorry," Lieutenant Arkane said. "My finger slipped. That, and I couldn't take any more of her Debbie-downer negative attitude-- And I'm a Tellarite!"

"You did the right thing," Cid commended.

Arkane continued: "Sir, an unknown vessel is entering the system. Small, but... can't get a reading through its hull."

Seconds later, a grey-skinned man appeared on screen. "My name is Kal Dano. Looks like I've arrived at the perfect...... time?"

"Whoa!?" Cid jumped back, not expecting the screen to be on. "A time traveler??"

Kal Dano continued. "How'd you know? Anyway, I'm here to help with the problem with this star. I'm a scientist and stuff and things like that."

"Your timing is suspicious, and I need a reason to trust you-- like, what's your favourite Edge of Ettiquette song right now?" Cid asked.

Shaking his head, Kal explained, "If my plans were sinister, I'd just leave and let the star run its course. That I'm here and offering to help should be an indication of good faith."

"No deal! Surrender your tiny ship to the might of the Federation!" Cid ordered. But then he realized. "Wait. What use would we have with that weensy thing? Propping up bigger ships, I guess?"

Suddenly, the screen split to a double view, with Kuumaarke now on one side. "If you have some way to reverse this process, my people should be involved."

"Agreed. We should hear him out. Who's ordering him to surrender? I wasn't?" Cid looked side-to-side, defensively.

The pink woman conceded. "All right. I'm willing to do so, but it will take me a little while to get a shuttle out there."

"Why do you sound like I convinced you? It was your idea for you to be involved? Oh, and don't worry, we won't need a shuttle," Cid reassured. "That's all I'll say on that matter. Hopefully it's enough."

---

In a few minutes, Cid, Raje, Arkane, Nova, Chief Engineer Fuu and Kuumaarke all beamed into Kal's ship interior, a giant metallic-plated, circular room.

"Welcome aboard. I'm Kal Dano."

Cid glanced at him. "You did already introduced yourself," the Admiral reminded.

"You... you moved me here without crossing the intervening space!" Kuumaarke recognized, in shock. "You have quantum teleportation technology!"

Kal chuckled. "Yes. We call it a 'transporter'. It has a limited range, but it's useful for going from surface to ship-- Quicker on plot too."

"Impossible... this ship's interior is massive, even though it's no bigger than a shuttle," Kuumaarke peered around in even more shock.

Cid interrupted. "We're short on time, so no need to expl--"

"--My ship uses compacted subspace folds," Kal elaborated. "It's bigger on the inside."

The Admiral sighed. "Alright. So we're doing that, are we? Great."

"Don't be alarmed: this vessel is from the 31st century. I'm here to help."

Cid replied, "That explains too much. Also, you're over-poweredness is a little too much that now you can't even be taken seriously. I mean, I'll try, I guess. But it won't be authentic."

"I have some technology that can help. I need you to align this matix to match the star's original spectrum."

He threw up his hands. "You see what I mean. Never mind. I'll do the things."

"Sir," interrupted Fuu as Cid went to work on his task. "While scanning, I got some data on Kal Dano. He's a hybrid of human and Vulcan, with a small amount of DNA from the people of this world!"

Cid finished up. "That's creepy of you, Fuu. Really creepy."

Suddenly the ship came under attack, and several Tholians beamed in. Cid and his team quickly pulled out weapons and went to work at taking them down.

"Damn! My therapist said I wasn't supposed to get into fire-fights anymore!" Arkane complained as he counter-attacked. "Also, I have to start paying her?"

As Kal Dano prepared his device, Cid's crew took out the Tholians.

"In just a few minutes, it'll propagate a quantum waveshift that should correct the star's stalled fusion process."

Cid slung his rifle over his shoulder. "Perfect. But let this be a lesson to you; never try to help people. Are you doing this for your ego? Let's be honest here."

---

Returning to the Valhalla, the crew was suddenly ambushed by more Tholian ships. Cid took his seat at the Bridge.

"Give us the Tox Uthat", came a Tholian transmission.

Kal Dano provided commentary to the Valhalla. "Wonderful. Now the Tholians want my quantum phase inhibitor!"

"That's what that thing was this whole time?? There was a whole Picard episode, with the awkward swimsuit and the hairy chest and-- Ohhhh! Nevermind. I see what you're doing here."

Retuning fire, the Valhalla and Kal Dano's Timeship battled the Tholian vessels. A direct spread of quantum torpeodes to the lead enemy vessel, blew it to pieces. Kal Dano drilled a beam into the last Tholian Weaver until it blew as well.

He then turned his Timeship at the star and blasted a quantum waveshift at the Lukari star. In a bright flash of light, the star re-ignited.

"It's working!" Came the excitement of the Cardassian scientist, Tanora Zuval. "The spectral readings are off the charts!"

Raje was taken aback. "Whoa! Are you still here?"

"They're attacking our homeworld! Please, help us!" Came the hail and plea from Administrator Kuumaarke.

Cid stood up. "On our way. But you should really get your own warships. Well, look at me, lecturing you. Like Starfleet's without its flaws? We once infected the Changelings and made them all flakey and stuff. Heh, heh. Oh, good times."

Entering into battle, the Valhalla phasered and torpedoed Tholian Mesh Weaver after Mesh Weaver. Giant walls of energy webs nearly boxed the Odyssey-class ship into place, causing Cid to have even more flash backs to his time in the Iconian War.

"Ugggghh. So much purple?? The color scheme was way too much???" Cid grasped his head until he was grabbed by Raje.

SLAP! The Saurian hit his own superior officer across the face, in hopes of snapping him out of his self-indulgence. "Admiral, the Iconian War was necessary for peace and something to shoot at. Just like this situation, although, it may be less notable since we fought the Tholians before."

"You're right," Cid shook his head and regained his focus. "If we don't have things to shoot at, then how will our torpedo monthly quotas look? Plus, we make friends this way now. The flashy-flash impresses them."

The Valhalla turned and fired direct phaser beams at Tholian web joints, nullifying their threat. Ship after ship were then destroyed by continuing torpedo fire, including the cause of which by the help of Kal Dano's Timeship.

"Thanks for the help," came Kal Dano's hail as the debris settled into a space-spread motion. "But the Tholians managed to steal the Tox Uthat, a name that I'm going with all of a sudden. I suspect the Tholians destabilized the star so I would bring it here."

Cid slumped into his chair. "Dammit, Kal! Talk about incompetence. We'll have to get it back from them somehow."

"This is all to do with the Temporal Cold War. I'll be in touch."

After the screen cut out, Cid dropped his jaw. "Who the hell just blurts that out?? Talk about failing to keep the timeline safe, by just divulging time travel information. Clearly, he doesn't know what he's doing."

"Thank you for your help," Kuumaarke hailed, as it was finally her turn in the queue. "I wish I could ask you about your science, your trade, your society-- but I am sooo late for my report back home. I suppose we should alert Lukari that the world isn't ending now. Do you have any idea of the constant looting? It's crazy!"

The Admiral smiled. "First Contact with another species is one of our most import--"

"Didn't you hear what I said?? I have to go! Kuumaarke out!!"

When she returned to her planet, the Valhalla departed the star system. They were suddenly hailed by Admiral Quinn over long range communications.

"A First Contact is a significant event that I thought we'd never do again! Thanks for balancing us out after that massive Iconian War."

Cid sighed, rubbing the red cheek his first officer gave him. "Well, someone had to deal with it, I suppose. Just don't tag me as a classic case of post-traumatic stress disorder. That would just cause me even more stress!"

"Jean-Luc Picard!" blurted Quinn, breaking the flow of conversation. "Sorry. I'm dealing with my own psychological issues. Here, have a Quantum Phase Torpedo Mark XII."

After the screen cut out, for the third time, a chirp erupted from Arkane's console. "It says we have mail and there's an attachment?"

"More firearms, it seems. The fight isn't over; in fact, it's our lifestyle, and I suppose we'll have to accept that. Take us to our next mission, Tetsu. Something light-hearted, but serious about satisfying my expectations in impossible ways."

The human tapped at his controls. "Well, there's this whole thing with the Na'khul. I'm sure that'll be a simple one-off with no continuing annoyance over and over again?"

"Sounds good. Engage, to the freewill of time itself!"

The Valhalla jumped to warp, to what may be an unwitting partaking of the universe's ultimate play of temporal shenanigans. It'll all make sense in the end. Maybe.