Annual 1-5

Unofficial Literary Challenge Annual #5: From Hell's Heart...

The Pathfinder-class with Discovery-class pylons U.S.S. Ragnarok was running repairs at Starbase 157, while Captain Oroku Seifer sat diligently at his command chair.

"Sooooo, why are we still operating this listening post on the edge of Klingon space if we're allies with them now? Huh?" asked Lieutenant Edwards from her helm station.

Seifer shrugged. "Starfleet still wants intel just in case they ever turn on us again. I mean, we've been in so many wars with the Klingons it's almost nostalgic. Oh, to shoot them again."

"I wonder what they're up to right now?" pondered Aramaki who curiously tapped into the listening post's frequencies.

Next, the voice of Torg resonated throughout the Bridge, continuing on a conversation without knowledge of surveillance. "And, so, I stabbed that whiny little brat in the chest! It really was coming with how he was the most annoying Klingon ever." 

Then Aramaki switched the channel again, bringing in a separate unawares conversation led by Captain Kagran. "Now that the Federation is on our side, they will join with us to destroy every Tribble! My decision-making knows no bounds!"

In one last change, a distress signal suddenly came through, with a female voice. "To whomever hears this, our ship is dead in the water— Space water, that is. We need your help before we start eating each other, as is the protocol for grouped-Humans in isolation."

"That one sounds follow-up-ish," Captain Seifer said, standing up. "We should do that."

Moggs turned from his science station. "But what about our responsibilities here? Surely we should acknowledge that we're abandoning them?"

"The who and the what now? Delete the current mission! Engage!" Seifer announced whilst pointing enthusiastically toward the view screen.


Later, the Ragnarok dropped warp in the Kunara System, where a starship was crippled near orbit of a class Y planet.

"Captain, Kunara Prime is home to a Tholian minefield, which is why the ship was damaged in the first place, and your ship has just detected a Tholian scouting party heading towards the system on patrol," described Aramaki.

Seifer looked at him. "Why did you say 'your ship'? Are you copying and pasting your dialogue? And, Kunara Prime? Surely, you mean Nukara Prime?"

"Nope. And, as for my describetization: It's the parameters of the setting. I'm just trying to be as accurate as possible," he countered.

The Captain nodded. "Fine. But accuracy begets tedium; whatever that means. Tractor beam the crippled Reliant-class starship to the surface to escape detection so we can think fast on how we plan to get everyone out of newly annexed Tholian space— Damn! Now I'm doing it."

"Sir," started Moggs as the Ragnarok tractor-beamed the other Federation starship down to the red, hot surface, "I think you mean Miranda-class, do you not?"

Seifer blinked, confused, as the two vessels were now out of sensor range of the enemy. "Wait. I don't recognize this ship at all? Computer, enhance!"

"Calculating!" the computer shouted as the pixelized image of a Starfleet vessel, landed on the dirt, became clearer.

Tomsin worked his operations controls. "Resolution now at 74 DPI."

"You're relieved, Tomsin! Clearly we need an upgrade. Also, that vessel doesn't look like one of ours? Its nacelles are hull-covered tubes?" Seifer examined. "It's registering as a Mayflower-type! I've never heard of that!"

Suddenly, the viewscreen switched to a hail from the other vessel. "That is because we're not from your universe, sir," said the officer in a yellow shirt from across the way. "I am Captain Allana Montoyez of the Kelvin-timeline 23rd century Federation starship Dynex. We were investigating the strange anomalies in this place when those same anomalies sent us careening through dimensions into your Prime-timeline!"

"That's a hell of an explanation and awareness of timelines for a difference in nacelles, but that doesn't explain how you heard what I said before you hailed me," said Seifer.

But then Moggs interrupted with the much needed-to-know stakes for all to consider. "Captain! The gravity and atmosphere on this Demon-class planet is far too high for the Dynex and will be crushed, cooked and choked out alive if we don't get out of here soon. On the other hand, I project three hours waiting-time for the Tholian's to pass through this system without incident, unless you want them to swarm?"

"I would like them to swarm. Just to see that happen," answered Seifer. "Are you saying I would never enjoy the visuals of swarming ships? How randomized their flight patterns would be. Glorious!"

Then Montoyez interrupted from the view screen. "If you'll indulge us, Captain, perhaps you could direct us to the space-time anomaly so that we can be sent back to our action-packed, corridor-running, lens-flare timeline for more high-octane adventures. Seriously, this place is so dreary by comparison."

"Uh, first of all, we destroy ships on the daily. I've murdered millions in self-defense. Secondly, your intersection here has already caused a split of a new timeline," stated Seifer. "In fact, everything we do causes new timelines in an infinite multiverse."

Montoyez grumbled. "Preposterous! There are only two timelines: Yours and mine; and perhaps mirror versions of each. Then there's your Destiny timeline, now that I consider it. If you're wondering how I know of all this, our 23rd century computers are far more advanced than your 25th century ones."

"Wait a second. According to our scans, you calculate stardates by including the year in them? That's madness!" Seifer claimed while checking a console.

The other officer stood in defiance. "At least the stardates in our time aren't all over the place! Fire everything!"

"Both your societies are equally insipid!" Interrupted a Tholian voice. Before the officers could act, a Tholian Orb Weaver, the originator of the voice, flew in, followed by two more, blasting tetryon beams at them on the surface. "Your high-octane transmissions were detectable even by us!"

Aramaki and Edwards immediately started the Ragnarok back on return firing and launching off the ground. The Dynex followed suit, taking off, but instead their phasers popped like mini torpedo blasts.

"Even your weapons are messed up! Ugh," complained Seifer. "And why are there anomalies in this area anyway? It seems highly irregular for space in general."

Moggs replied, "The Tholian Assembly is often involved with multiple dimensions in spacetime. It was reported they installed outposts in a universe completely full of tribble. They called it Tribble Space."

"Yeah, um, that one I've been to," answered Seifer as he subsequently saw the Dynex blow an Orb Weaver to pieces before heading itself back towards the space-time fluxuation that brought them here in the first place.

Edwards popped up. "Pursue? Pursue?"

"Not if it means we get sent to their maddening alternate reality!" recoiled Seifer before shivering, uncontrollably. "Ugh, tribbles. Perhaps the idea we're constantly recreating new timelines is a bad one. What else could be there? Let's just have what's existing exist and hope it remains extra-dimensional."

The Ragnarok covered the Dynex as the Mayflower-type ship disappeared through its space-time portal. Then, Aramaki and Edwards coordinated quantum torpedo fire with range, taking out the last two attacking Orb Weaver ships whilst exiting the atmosphere back into space.

"Well, everything is back to normal," Seifer declared, taking a seat in his chair. "The lesson here being that what comes from our actions should remain localized to our timeline and in order to facilitate it as our responsibility."

The Caitian science officer asked, "Is that what alternate-you would say as well?"

"Funny, Mr. Moggs," Seifer shot him a knowing look. "Now, Aramaki, mark this mission as complete and delete it from our records. A universe where their 23rd century technology is more advanced than ours? Not on my watch."

The tactical officer confirmed, "Information has been purged, sir."

"Does anyone want to head to the shipyards and check out the Miranda/Reliant-class ships? Could be educational and satisfying nacelle-wise," the Captain offered. "Done! Engage!"