20.4.17

Annual 1-4

Unofficial Literary Challenge Annual #4: Lost to Time

The Pathfinder-class with Discovery-class pylons U.S.S. Ragnarok dropped warp in space and approached a lone planet. Captain Oroku Seifer, Science officer Moggs and Doctor Cetra beamed down to examine the source of a mysterious message.

"Well, this place appears barren," Cetra said, looking around at the near-desert-like planet. "How could anything originate from nothing?"

Moggs began scanning the area with his tricorder. "That's the very same question scholars have been asking about the universe for eons and will be for eons to come."

"First of all, that's a grim out-look on discovery and learning about ourselves in general, and, second, I was clearly referring to the voided situation at hand," countered Cetra. "Tangents are you just trying to sound smart."

The Caitian science officer shrugged. "I don't have to 'try' anything."

"Gentlemen, ladies," the Captain interjected. "What if we simulated a tachyon scan with our tricorders, in case the device this message came from is cloaked?"

Moggs began the alterations on his device. "Sir, you do know you're a tactical officer, right? You should not know of these things."

"Hey, my symbiont affords me several previous lifetimes of experience and a strange morning sickness not related to anything relevant at all," Seifer replied.

Cetra glanced at him. "You know you should probably have your Doctor look at that?"

"You're my Doctor!" Seifer said.

Suddenly, the bombardment of Moggs' tricorder emissions knocked a non-corporeal floating head, out of mid-air, next to them.

"Who dares to awaken the mighty Alazard, eighth Ruler of the Thasian Order!?" the green, translucent head echoed.

Everyone jumped back in shock, and then Seifer stepped forward to introduce himself. "Greetings, fearsome, floating brain-cage, I am Captain Seifer of the Federation Starship Ragnarok, responding to a message we received over subspace, originating from right here."

"Huh? You mean this message?" Alazard asked.

In a single second, the message played back for everyone, emanating from the head itself: "Come to Quark's, Quark's is fun, come right now, don't walk - run!"

"Yeah; that. We thought he may have opened up another bar here, and were hoping to get some Cait-nip," admitted Lieutenant Commander Moggs. "It's medicinal, and for some other Science officer Caitian. Yeah, that's the ticket. Yeah."

Cetra nodded in agreement. "Also, the tune is quite catchy, albeit short. The idea of running is quite much. Is accelerated pace still a thing?"

"UGH! That incessant jingle has been stuck in my head for 39 years! Ever since I was passing by your precious Deep Space 9 and overheard it, I have been haunted by its musical power and now its taken control of me!"

Seifer scratched his head. "So, you've unintentionally manifested your thoughts as a subspace message?"

"Yes, and I have exiled myself from my kind because of it! At first, I believed it to be all good in fun, but I soon discovered the viral nature of melody and its invasive ability to affect all parts of my non-corporeal brain!"

Cetra scanned the entity with her tricorder. "In a sense, it's thrown you out-of-whack. That's a new Starfleet medical term, by the way."

"Giant bulbous cranium, is there any point at which you were able to forget said instrumentals?" Moggs asked, out of pure, Federation-driven, hard-core, intense curiosity. Ugh!

"In fact, when you knocked me out of hiding with your simulated tachyon scan, I became completely absorbed with a persistent and damaging ringing."

Seifer snapped his fingers. "That's it! We just bombard you with more of those, and you'll forget the whole Quark thing immediately. It's a long shot, but an unpleasant encounter associated with the mental infection may force your subconscious into burying that dark-eye-shadowed Ferengi finally and forever."

"What makes you think you know anything about the neuroscience of Thasians?"

The Captain shrugged. "Well, you do appear as giant heads."

"Good enough for me! Make it happen and such and so. Oh, and if I don't make it back, tell Glorborsoborch I hate her. It's an inside joke; she'll get it. Though, she may not respond similarly to you."

Moggs then took out his tricorder and began its particle flow. The intensity of the simulated tachyons began to ring in Alazard's head, causing the transparent green noggin to shake artificially and then violently.

"AAAAaaahhhh!!! Kahn never even met Chekov!!! Agggg!!!!"

The Science officer looked over to his comrades for guidance. "Should we stop?"

"Meh," Seifer shrugged. "I kind of want to see if he'll explode."

Suddenly, the tricorder's reserve programmable particle stream bled dry, ending the assault on the copious being. His sanity reformed and he turned to the crew.

"You failed at attempting to detonate me!" Alazard argued. "But, I believe the sounds inside my consciousness have ended. Now all I can think about are NX-01 Enterprise plot holes. Soooo many plot holes."

Suddenly, a crowd of people began to appear all around them, as well as a giant city in the backdrop. The crew was then approached by the leader. "Greetings, I am Yun and we are a Bajoran colony who left Bajor to worship Alazard as we had grown tiresome of the Prophets and their holy wars with the Pah'Wraiths. Unfortunately, this guy had other things going on and accidentally locked us in hiding."

"Aren't you just substituting one religious following for another? At what point does interchangeable faith become a fallacy in and of itself?" Seifer asked, confused.

Yun shrugged. "Those are all good questions, probably, but deities who are also aliens to outsiders is our ketracel white and we need to find a new one STAT!"

"Oh," Seifer replied. "Well, good luck. Have you tried the Medusans? I don't know much about them, being a non-Human, but they apparently share a name in Earth Greek mythology. Can't go wrong with that."

Alazard was taken aback. "Dude! No. I dated a Medusan once. They are so clingy and low quality effect-wise. Well, you'll see. —Alazard out!" And then he disappeared.

"Thank you, Captain," Yun said as his people turned to go back toward their city. "If you're ever in the area again, maybe you can check in on us from time to time."

Oroku Seifer smiled. "I'd like that, whoever you are, wherever this is." Then he tapped his commbadge. "Seifer to Ragnarok. Three to beam up, and have all records of this place completely wiped from our systems and memories. Nothing here went to plan."

"Hey!" argued Yun.

The Captain then noticed him. "Oh, sorry. I didn't realize you were still here. We'll miss you." And then he turned back to his communiqué. "Ragnarok, are you still on comms? Have a salvo of quantum torpedoes ready to launch into their deserts so we can initiate nuclear winter and never have to see this surface again."

"What!?" Yun contended.

Seifer jumped, not expecting him. "Ah! Again? Are you ever going to go home? Never mind. We were just on our way out. Good luck. Oh, and Yun, all my hopes," he said empathetically, just before the Away Team was beamed out.

The Bajoran then turned and nervously began the long walk back to the city.