Star Trek: Andromeda

Yesterday’s Yesterday


Part 1    Regathering

Data & Geordi meet

Andromeda identifies anomaly

Data & Geordi go through anomaly

Andromeda takes on Data & Geordi

Data and Geordi are introduced to Andromeda’s systems

Data and Geordi are briefed on the current situation

Parts are brought back for Andromeda repairs

Part 2    The New Friend

The Meet

The Greet

The Question


In two minds

Part 3    Wherewithal

Solving the Riddle

Solving the Dilemma


(All titles and character names are copyright their respective owners. The story (c) 2023 Collin Brendemuehl. All rights reserved.This is but a casual attempt to write something that I’ve never tried before. I attempted to be faithful to the characters as they behaved and spoke per their original television characters.)

Part 1: Regathering

At Data’s office at Oxford University

Geordi: Data, may I come in?

Data:     Certainly, Geordi. What brings you this way?

Geordi: Well, a couple of things. First, I wanted to see how you were adjusting to being back now that androids are no longer under restriction.

Data:     I’m doing quite well. My one adjustment Is the use of contractions. On the one had a lot of people expect me to not use them. But others seem more comfortable when I use them. I’m struggling with a balance

Geordi: I think you found the problem without knowing it, Data. You can’t please everyone. Just do what you’re comfortable with.

Data:     Hmmm. Good insight. Thank you, Geordi.

Geordi: And Data … I’ve been thinking about a trip out to DS4. It’s been abandoned for a long time and it’s the perfect setting. I’m working on a scene for my next novel and I’d like to get the layout and feel just right. So I was wondering if you’d like to come along since you’ve never been there. We’d be gone about a week.

Data: I could do that. Let me arrange a TA for the next week’s lectures. I can be ready later today.

Geordi: Perfect! I’ve secured a ride on the Endeavor to DS9 and a shuttle from there. I’ll contact you in the middle of the afternoon.

Data: I’ll look forward to it. What is your goal for this trip, Geordi?

Geordi: There are things that I just cannot simulate in a holodeck. The feel of the hum of the station. The creaking of aged metal. The odors of age. All of that is something to experience.

Data: It sounds like you have been reading Dickens. This can be my learning experience as well.

Geordi: Perfect. I’ll meet you at the station at, say 2:00?

Data: That should work.


On the bridge of the Andromeda Ascendant

Romy: (looking at front view screen) Captain … what’s do you make of that?

Hunt: Isn’t that what I should be asking you. Andromeda … analyze it.

Andromeda: I can tell you what it is but not why it is. It is a time distortion that seems to have appeared randomly. I can find nothing on it. Like the Route of Ages it has no apparent depth or mass, yet it is there. I cannot even see through to the other side to know when it came from.

Hunt: Harper, take us to a safe distance. Let’s get a closer look at it.

Harper: Ok, boss. But not too close. We don’t want to get sucked into that thing.

So tell me, boss, we expecting visitors?

Hunt: I sure hope not. But not sense in not being ready while we’re here.


On the Federation shuttle

Geordi: Data, if you’ll keep an eye on long-range sensors, I’d like to know if there are any other ships we need to be aware of.

Data: Will do. … Long range sensors are not showing any other ships but there is an anomaly at 5M kilometers off port.

Geordi: What kind of anomaly, Data?

Data: It appears to be a space-time disruption. And it appears to be a manufactured phenomenon rather than a natural one.

Geordi: I have had more than enough of space-time disruptions. They’ve been nothing but trouble.

Data: Agreed. But it seems we’re not going to be able to avoid this one. It is pulling the shuttle in.

Geordi: Then push the thrusters to 150%!

Data: Already done. But there appears to be nothing we can do to escape its pull.

Geordi: Well, I hope whoever is calling is has good intentions. Can you put out a message to Starfleet to avoid this area?

Data: Getting the message out now. … Here we go. (Shutter enters the anomaly)


On the bridge of the Andromeda Ascendant

Andromeda: Captain, something is coming through. Not enough data to determine either intent or composition.

Hunt: Then we’ll just want and see. In the mean time load all weapons bays. Just in case.

Andromeda: Done.

(Shuttle exits anomaly)

Hunt: Let’s see what we have here …

Harper: Oh, man. What a piece of history!

Hunt: You know what thing is, Harper?

Andromeda: Captain … it’s an unarmed shuttle containing approximately two passengers.

Hunt: Approximately?

Harper: I know what it is. It’s probably 10,000 years old. It’s an antique that belongs in a museum.

Hunt: Can we make contact with it?

Andromeda: Attempting to open a channel. But their technology is so … old. We only have voice.

Hunt: Attention shuttle.  We have a shuttle bay open for you if you would like to come aboard.



Interacting with shuttle crew

Geordi: Do you understand that language, data? The universal translator isn’t able to convert it.

Data: I do not. With a little more time and material I will be able to decipher it. But it seems they are simply making contact.

Geordi (to Hunt): Attention vessel. Can you understand our language. We’re having some problems with yours.

Andromeda: They’re speaking old earth English. I will adjust.

Hunt (repeating): Attention, shuttle. We have a shuttle bay open for you if you would like to come aboard.

Geordi: Nice to hear a language we can understand. We could just beam over.

Harper: No, no! Don’t do that. When you get aboard I’ll tell you why. But please, please do not use that old transporter system.

Geordi: Ooooo kkkkkk. I think I see your shuttle bay lights Looks like plenty of space. Data, take us in.

Hunt: Excellent. I’ll meet you there.


In the Andromeda Ascendant shuttle bay:

[Geordi & Data exit the shuttle, greeted by Hunt, Harper, and Romy.]

Geordi: Captain?

Hunt: That’s me.

Geordi: Permission to come aboard.

Hunt: Granted, and welcome. It’s always nice to hear the old conventions again. (snide look at Harper)

Harper: For what they’re worth. (under his breath)

Geordi: I’m Commander Geordi Laforge of the United Federation of Planets and this is Commander Data.

Romy: You are an … android?

Data: That is correct. And you are …

Romy: I am a warship.

Data: Hmmm.

Hunt: Gentlemen, what brings you here?

Geordi: That anomaly you saw us exit … it pulled us in. And it appears to be a manufactured anomaly.

Hunt: The mystery of that is what Mr. Harper is going to solve as soon as he can.

Harper: I’m on it, boss.

Geordi: So you’re the ship’s engineer, Mr. Harper?

Harper: Just call me Seamus. Ya, that’s what I do.

Geordi: Seamus it is. I spent about a couple decades as an engineer. But I’ve never seen a ship like this.

Harper: I’ll give you a tour … if it’s ok with Dylan?

Hunt: Yes, but later. I think we all need to sit around a table and figure this thing out.

Geordi: Agreed.

Hunt: Romy … will you first find some temporary quarters for Mr. Laforge and Mr. Data? We can meet in about, oh, an hour.

Romy: Can do, Dylan.

Geordi: Thank you, Captain. That will be fine.

Hunt: And Harper … I need you to set up for Laforge and Data a flexy on dealing with time-space anomalies.

Harper: Will do, boss.


Geordi and Data walking with Romy

Geordi: This is quite a ship. What is its crew complement?

Romy: The ship at full capacity carries just over 4,000 crew members, plus about 1,000 androids that I manage for utility tasks.

Geordi: That’s about twice the crew of the Galaxy-class ships where I worked. But I’m not seeing any crew around.

Romy: Right now we are operating with a reduced crew.

Geordi: And that would be how many?

Romy: Five.

Geordi: You operate a ship this large with a crew of five plus some androids?

Romy: That is correct.

Geordi: Amazing. But there’s only three here now.

Romy: The other three, Beka, Trance, and Rhade, are out scouting for parts.

Data: The configuration of this vessel coincides with the structure of a ship that was encountered by the Titan. It was called the Shrike.

Romy: You are correct. But that is something I will leave for Captain Hunt to discuss with you.

Romy: Here are your quarters. The doors are keyed to your person and your speech.

Data: Thank you but I require no quarters. I anticipate that this stay will be brief.

Romy: Perhaps. But we do not know how brief the stay will be. Let me know how you recharge.

Data:     I will, thank you.

Geordi: (interrupting) Thank you, Romy. Data, we need to talk.


Hunt walking to conference room speaking to Andromeda

Hunt: Andromeda, tell me about these people.

Andromeda: They came from more than 10,000 years ago, from the old Federation, before the first fall of civilization and before the formation of the first Commonwealth.

Hunt: So they have no idea where they are or when they are. Correct?

Andromeda: I anticipate that Laforge has some idea because of the anomaly but Data has probably approximated something close to when but he is definitely not even close to the where.

Hunt: Good. We need to keep them safe for the time being and get them home. In the mean time

Andromeda: Shall I prepare a report for them?

Hunt: Yes. But leave out the history of the Federation and the commonwealth. A time leap is one thing and conveying too much history is quite another.

Andromeda: I will do just that.

Hunt: Do you think they’ve told us everything?

Andromeda: I don’t detect anything in them to indicate lying or withholding. But they are curious, which is to be expected.

Hunt: Good. Let’s keep them curious. We don’t want to give too much.


Data with Geordi

Geordi: Data, what happened?

Data: I can tell you something but not much. The stars are not what we would think. We are most definitely in another galaxy. But whether we travelled to the future, that I cannot determine. The advanced technology could be that of another galaxy or of ours in the very distant future. I have no way to be certain. But what I do know is that they know Earth English. That tells me Earth still has an important place in the universe.

Geordi: Can you estimate anything?

Data: There is not enough information available for a time estimate. If this technology is from our galaxy then perhaps several thousand years in the future. But since we are not in our galaxy … even that is merely speculative.

Geordi: I guess we can only work with what we have.

Geordi: I would like to spend some time with that Seamus Harper. The name is so earth-like. It makes me think that we are with humans in another galaxy, but at a time unknown.

Data: That is a reasonable conclusion.

Geordi: Have you figured out Romy yet?

Data: Romy is definitely a highly advanced android, capable of far more that am I.

Geordi: The important question is, can we trust them

Data:     That has yet to be determined. But right now they’ve given us no cause for distrust. The did not fire on us. Against a ship of this magnitude we would not have stood a chance.


In conference: Hunt, Geordi, Data, Romy, Harper

Hunt: The first thing I want to do is answer your most basic questions: Harper is human, from earth. I am human but with some advantages from living on a heavy-gravity planet with heavy-gravity ancestors. Romy is an android that Mr. Harper built. And I know you have even more questions. I can answer some of them but definitely not all of them.

Hunt: Harper, give them the flexies.

Geordi: (examining the flexy data) So … we have travelled more than 10,000 years into the future and we are in another galaxy?

Hunt: That’s right. And our goal is to help you get back to where and when you belong.

Geordi: That’s our goal as well. But that goes without saying.

Harper: Data – you don’t often use contractions. I can fix that …

Data: I’m sorry, Mr. Harper, but I don’t need fixed.

Harper: Ok I can enhance you. Like Romy. Well, not exactly like Romy. But you get…

Hunt: Harper … maybe later.

Geordi: Can you tell me why we weren’t allowed to use our transporter to come aboard?

Hunt: Two reasons. The first is that your shuttle if left alone would have been fodder for scavengers. And if that happened you would likely never get home. I will let Harper explain the other reason.

Harper: Ok, do you remember the first time you used the transporter?

Geordi: Of course.

Harper: That tingling sensation you felt when being disassembled the first time?

Geordi: Of course. It only happens the first time. One gets used to it after that.

Harper: Not really. That tingling was actually you dying.

Geordi: What?

Harper: You see, by using the, and dare I say ancient, Heisenberg approach you estimate matter as energy between two points instead of actually moving energy and matter between two points. That means you are only a copy of you. That’s why we stopped using transporters several millennia ago. And every transport diminishes “you” at some subatomic level. You don’t have the technology to detect it, but we do. The only way to actually move “you” is with a tesseract. And that we haven’t perfected yet. But I’m getting close.

Geordi: And I supposed you don’t use warp drive any more, either.

Romy: Historical records indicate several instances of spatial disruptions when travelling faster than warp 8.5.

Geordi: Of course. That’s known in my time. I was on the Enterprise when it started.

Romy: Warp travel in general created those problems and warp travel ceased about the same time as transporters were abandoned. The universe proved too fragile for the technology of your era.

Geordi: Then how do you get to other galaxies? Even at our best of warp 15 it would require thousands of years.

Harper: I’ve got this one, too, Romy. We use slip stream. Your era has just discovered it. But your ships aren’t built for it. The design can’t handle the stresses or the nuances of navigation. Think of it as a macro version of your old string theory of matter. Some of those strings are really big and a curved shape can travel them.

Geordi: That accounts for your shape, then. It can ride these strings.  Amazing. You’re right, our ships tried and always failed.

Romy: And that communication glitch when we first made contact. That happened because your translation equipment was incompatible with our communication system. Our systems needed to unblock your channels and provide you with our “common” language to Earth Dnglish in advance. Instead of reading our brain patters you now have our entire vocabulary added to yours.

Harper: There’s that and I do speak the old Earth English.

Hunt: There will be more time for more updates over the next few days. It will probably take us that long to find a way home for the two of you. Right now we have a mission and the two of you can either help or help. Given your backgrounds I think you know enough to not get in the way.

Hunt: Mr. Harper … can you use either of these to continue your tune-up work?

Harper: I’d love to have … either of them.  Mostly I’d like to take Data apart.

Data: I can’t let you do that, Mr. Harper.

Harper: Cool. Sounds just like an old movie. Then Laforge … you can help me.

Geordi: I’m afraid I might be in the way.

Harper: Nonsense. You’re going to like learning these systems.

Hunt: Romy, can you make use of Mr. Data?

Romy: I’m certain that some adjunct tasks can be assigned to his core processors.

Data: Adjunct?

Romy: These are different times.

Data: Ok.

Geordi: Before we leave, what’s this mission?

Hunt: It’s a relief mission. Generally, they’re no big deal. But the universe is far more unpredictable than in your times.

Geordi: And by unpredictable you mean hostile. Right?

Hunt: That’s right. It’s never easy.

Hunt: Romy, you can take Mr. Data to the bridge while Harper has Mr. Laforge assist with his work. Ok, folks, let’s go.


Harper and Laforge working on a circuit.

Harper: This is where we adjust the engine ion flow. Can you hand me that wrench over there?

Geordi: Wrench? This? I’ve only seen these in museums.

Harper: This is something that’s changed. In your day you built complex tools to adjust simple systems. These days we build complex systems and try to use simple tools to adjust those complex systems. And we can monitor them directly. Hand me that cord over there. (plugs in data port connection to system for a few seconds, then unplugs)

Geordi: You connect your mind directly to the ship?

Harper: Yup. That’s how we fine-tune. But the rest, that’s done with wrenches and such. Sometimes a meter. A twist here and there and everything hums along smoothly.

Geordi: I have no idea what these circuits do. I think I see relays and switches.

Harper: You’re also seeing part of Andromeda’s mind. These days the whole ship is an intelligent being. Romy, the Andromeda screen, and the Andromeda hologram, they’re all part of the ship. It is all one being with an avatar.

Geordi: So … all your ships have avatars? Do they run the ships?

Harper: You ain’t met Trance yet. And no, the captain runs the ship. The AI is designed with a commitment to protect the captain and the ship even at its own expense.

Harper: And I built Romy and one other avatar who’s not here right now. Doyle is something else. I can do something for your eyes, too.

Geordi: Oh, you noticed those.

Harper: Couldn’t miss them. I take it they pick up the visual spectrum of humans, plus some more.

Geordi: That’s right. But let me think about it, OK?

Harper: Sure thing, Geordi. Next, I’ll show you how the ship runs.

Geordi: So,I take it you don’t use dilithium?

Harper: Dilithium? That went out millennia ago. These days we just scoop up stellar material in a star’s outer corona and use controlled fusion reactions. It’s easier to manage and a heck of a lot more convenient.


Hunt, Romy, and Data on the bridge

Data: This is impressive. But your view screens do not default to a forward view.

Romy: That’s correct. With ships this size and powerful it is more important to have a dimensional representation of who and what is around us, not just what is in front of us.

Data: This mission, can tell me about it.

Romy: We are transporting some refugees between planets. There was a war and a subsequent famine. Because of the war the soil needs enough work that too many will die unless we move them to a world ready for living.

Data: And the dangers you spoke of?

Romy: I’ll let the captain tell you about those.

Hunt: From another universe came something called the Magog. They are ruthless feeders and kill everything and everyone for food. Most of them have been eliminated but a number of roving bands remain and we have to deal with them whenever they’re encountered.

Data: Have you found a way to close the dimension that they came from?

Hunt: No, they don’t come from another dimension. They come from another universe. Each universe contains multiple dimensions. Romy can download that information to you at a later time.

Data:     How is the difference defined?

Andromeda:      The dimensions within each universe inherit something from the parent dimension. But the universes are all unique. So far we have found no relationship between them.

Data: (nods)

Hunt: In the mean time we are preparing the ship for a possible battle with the Magog. That’s what Harper and Mr. Laforge should be doing right now.


Harper and Laforge in Harper’s lab

Geordi: What is it you need me for, anyway? You are perfectly capable at working on these systems and my knowledge is centuries behind yours.

Harper: I need you because we have lost some of the past. We don’t use transporters but there are times when they might be necessary to deal with attacks.

Geordi: You mean … use them as weapons?

Harper: As much as it pains me, yes. Take a look at your flexy and scroll to the Magog video. You’ll see what I mean.

Geordi: (scrolls through flexy and looks at video clips of Magog actions. Looks fearful)

Geordi: We never faced anything like this. The Borg and the Q continuum, as bad as they were, at least they had some semblance of moral imperative.

Harper: The Borg? The continuum? They died off centuries ago. Q told you they were immortal but they weren’t. Just really powerful. And the Borg … once you got their ablative shielding it didn’t take long to rid the Milky Way of them. About a century.

Geordi: We never did learn what galaxy they came from.

Harper: That’s right. You were stuck in your own galaxy. These days we can go between galaxies in a few hours and across a galaxy in minutes or a few hours with slip stream. Even their trans-warp conduits were nothing by comparison.

A couple centuries ago some Nietzschean scientists sent a probe to all known galaxies by way of slipstream to map it. Life only exists in three galaxies despite how many, many galaxies there are.

Anyway, the Borg took over a fourth galaxy and ravaged it. But after destroying the Borg that galaxy is now devoid of life. It is just now being repopulated with new settlements.

Geordi: So, the Borg and the Q continuum are gone but now there’s the Magog.

Harper: (interrupting) And you do NOT want to know that story. The images you saw were just a taste.

Geordi: I’ll go along with that. So … where do we begin?

Harper: Ok, I know of the Heisenberg principles but have never worked with them. They’ve been abandoned for millennia. You need to teach me how to build an old-fashioned transporter that we can use to defend against the Magog.

Geordi: I can do that but what you get may not be everything you need. And after that you can show me were we stand with tesseract technology. Maybe I can fix things in our time.

Harper: Ok … let’s finish this and then get to engineering. Right now I’m adjusting the anti-matter flow valve. Sometimes it sticks. Hand me that wrench. The big one on the right.

Geordi: Here you go.

Geordi: So, what happened to the Federation anyway?

Harper: Well, Dylan, doesn’t want me to talk about it, but here goes. The Federation lasted most of a thousand years. But it died under its own weight. It was naïve about everyone having the same goals for existing peacefully. But that’s not how the universe works.

Geordi: And this commonwealth has been around for ten millennia now?

Harper: Not really. It’s had its ups and downs. Hand me that small wrench behind you.

Harper: The commonwealth was also naïve. It was not naïve about nature but was naïve by giving too much trust. We let enemies in that we knew were enemies but believed they might change.


Rhade, Trance, and Beka land in shuttle bay, exit Eureka Maru

Beka: Ok, who left this piece of garbage here. I almost crushed it coming in, if it weren’t so small.

Rhade: Like you landing was that precise.

Beka: Back off, cupcake.

Rhade: I told you never to call me that.

Beka: Dylan, we’re back. I hear you need help. And it looks like you have company.


Hunt: Come up to the bridge. I want to introduce you to some people.

Hunt: Harper, bring yourself and Mr. Laforge to the bridge.

Harper: Will do, mon capitan. Be right there.


Everyone on the bridge

Hunt: Right now we have Harper and Mr. Laforge working on new weaponry to defend against the Magog and, Romy, you have Mr. Data doing what?

Romy: Mr. Data …

Data: (interrupting) Just Data

Romy: Data is being familiarized with modern military tactics. The biggest thing to add to his knowledge is the ship’s maneuverability, along with weaponry.

Hunt: Data, why don’t you give me a rundown and comparison of our systems to yours.

Data: Our weapons systems were based on straight-line beams and straight shots. It required that the target be in a straight line ahead before locking on. But your canons have guided weaponry. They take longer to reach the target but are more accurate.

In terms of maneuverability, our ships had to turn along a radius but the Andromeda Ascendant …

Romy: Just Andromeda is fine.

Data: As you wish. Andromeda can rotate on a central axis as well, making for efficiency in all areas.

Data: Tell me … Is the ship a person?

Harper: The avatar, Romy, is treated as a person with rights. The ship, Andromeda, is treated as a personal being but not as a person. The existence of the avatar is the line between them.

Hunt: Both the ship and the avatar were built with a commitment to its captain and the principles of the Systems Commonwealth.

Hunt: Data … do you possess the technical designs for a transporter?

Data: I do. Geordi … am I free to release them?

Geordi: Let’s go ahead.

Hunt: Romy … can you work with Harper, Data, and Laforge to construct several transporters?

Geordi: Several? I don’t know that there’s time.

Hunt: Oh, I suspect that Romy and Data can get the job done. With you and Harper helping it should go quickly.

Andromeda … have you spotted any Magog ships in the area yet?

Andromeda (hologram): Not yet. A number of them have been spotted in the outlying regions but none are in range for an attack over the next few days.

Hunt: Ok. We know things can change rapidly.

Beka … what did the three of you find for components?

Beka: We went searching through Earth’s debris and found a lot of good parts. Some very old and some of recent Nietzschean design.

Geordi: Wait … Earth’s debris?

Hunt: It’s a long story involving another universe.

Geordi: (lowers and shakes head sadly.)

Beka: Anyway, we have a load in the cargo bay that should be of interest.

Hunt: Why don’t you, Rhade, Data, Romy, and Laforge go sort through the parts. See what you can use. I need to speak with Trance.

(Everyone leaves but Hunt & Trance)


Hunt alone on the bridge

Hunt:     OK, Andromeda, what do you think?

Andromeda: I can find no physiological evidence of them lying to us or having ulterior motives. What ‘s left is if someone is using them to get to us

Hunt: Do you think two minds of their caliber represent any threat to us, to you?

Andromeda: It is possible. They are both quite intelligent even though they came from another age. If you like I can secure my core with an emulation layer to prevent any deep access.

Hunt: Sounds like a good idea. But the more important question is who opened that hole and why. Until we can answer that question our guests might be stuck here.

I’m going to the cargo bay to see what Beka has for us. You go ahead with your security measures.

Andromeda: Aye aye, Captain.


Everyone in the cargo bay

(Parts are laid out on the deck being sorted through)

Rhade:  Dylan, it looks like we got everything that we needed plus some things we can trade for more parts in the future.

Hunt:     What did you have in mind?

Rhade:  These converters, we got more than we needed. But they didn’t have the neural nodes that Harper wants for upgrading Andromeda. Even if we make a bargain trade, we got them cheap enough that getting the nodes should be a breeze.

Hunt:     Harper … what are you planning to do to Andromeda?

Harper: Well, boss, it’s like this. She took some damage in the last Magog attack. That still needs fixed. Plus adding a little processing horsepower couldn’t hurt. And I promise that Andromeda will not go off-line when I run diagnostics.

Hunt:     I have no doubt. Hmpf.

Geordi: (to Data) I understand the function of these parts. But how they operate, that’s out of my league.

Data:     It’s like Mr. Harper said – they make complex machines that are managed with simple tools. We have separate power modules and relays. These units contain a combination of modules and relays. What a two-meter-long panel held on the Enterprise now fits in the size of a – what – volleyball.

Romy:   You’re close. Really close. These modules also include subprocessors and a number of interface components. One of these units accomplishes about ten percent of your era’s systems, maybe 10 would equal one of your larger ships.

Data:     Impressive. Tell me, how were these systems developed?

Hunt:     Remember when we talked about defeating the Borg? Well, they’re not the only ones able to assimilate technology. But we did not adopt their methods.

Mr. Harper … if you could get to work on the upgrades.

Hunt:     Romy, let’s go to the bridge.


Hunt and Romy walking to bridge

Romy:   Captain … I have a concern.

Hunt:     And that would be?

Romy:   Are we corrupting the timeline by passing on this technology?

Hunt:     We might be. But take a look in your database. When was slipstream drive perfected?

Romy:   About 11,000 years ago. Oh, I see.

Hunt:     That’s right. This is the timeline we want.

Romy:   You’re assuming this is the right timeline.

Hunt:     Are you certain it isn’t?

Romy:   Well, no, that’s an unanswerable dilemma.

Hunt:     Exactly. So I’m going to move to maintain this timeline lest the Nietzscheans and Magog do even more damage than they already have.

Romy:   That, captain, is a workable hypothesis.

Part 2: The New Challenge

Everyone on the bridge

Hunt:     Mr. Harper … How is progress coming on creating a temporal anomaly to send these two back to their own time?

Harper: Eh, so-so. Geordi knows a fair amount about temporal mechanics but when it comes to creating one, that’s another story, boss.

Data:     If I may, Captain, it appears that the anomaly was created somewhere close to this time and not in our time. Someone or some thing is your context brought us here for reasons unknown.

Hunt:     That was my assessment as well.

Beka, Rhade … anything to add?

Beka & Rhade:  no, nothing (mumbling)

Hunt:     Trance. I’ve got a funny felling that there’s something you’re not volunteering.

Trance: What makes you say that?

Hunt:     History. Like about a hundred time.

Trance: I can’t tell you anything specific …

Hunt:     You rarely do.

Trance: … but what I can tell you is that something new is coming.

Hunt:     Well, that was a lot of help.

Mr. Laforge, what do you have.

Geordi: About all I have is the analysis of our shuttle that shows the anomaly being manufactdured.

Hunt:     Any idea how to replicate it?

Geordi: We’re only getting started. It’s been two weeks now and we’re just starting to build a system to do it on a small scale.

Hunt:     How about this: Romy … Is there anything you can do to speed up the process for these gentlemen?

Romy:   I’m happy to give them some extra hands. Unloading the supplies and refugees can be handled by my drones.

Hunt:     Then make it so.

Andromeda:      Captain, I’m picking up another one of those anomalies.

Hunt:     Everyone, take your stations. Rhade, take the helm. Laforge and Data, I’d like you to stay and analyze the situation.

Geordi: We can do that, Captain.

Rhade:  Evasive maneuvers, Captain?

Hunt:     But of course. Get us away from this as fast as you can. Are you able to open a slip-stream portal?

Rhade:  I could if we weren’t so close to this anomaly. And there’s something exiting it.

Hunt:     Andromeda, analysis.

Andromeda:      It’s a person, captain.

Hunt:     Explain.

Andromeda:      It’s a person in an EV suit who needs our immediate assistance.

Hunt:     Will the grappling hooks work safely?

Andromeda:      They will. I’ll bring the person into cargo bay 7.

Geordi: You use hooks and cables instead of a tractor beam?

Romy:   Yes. They take a lot less power, stretch for miles, and can be directed with ease.

Geordi: So, again, simple tools for massively complex systems.

Romy:   Precisely.

Hunt:     Beka, you have the con. I’d like Laforge to come with me to meet our guest. Trance, you come, too, in case any medical assistance is required.


In cargo bay 7

Hunt:     Is our guest alive?

Trance: He is. Let me get his helmet off.

Guest:  Hello, everyone. Geordi? Is that really you?

Geordi: Q? Not again.

Q:           I’m not the same Q that you knew. But the prediction of my demise is greatly exaggerated.

Geordi: Captain … if you are able to get away from Q, the faster the better.

Q:           Oh, do be such a spoil-sport Laforge. We’re going to have so much fun.

Hunt:     I’ve heard stories about the Q beings and they’re not always pleasant.

Geordi: Ok, Q. We’re tired of your games and your manipulation. And according to the captain here the continuum was wiped out millennia ago.

Q:           You forget, Laforge, that we move around time. All we had to do was go ahead and see if there were any problem and then move when we felt it convenient. Oh, the continuum exists. Differently, but it’s there.

Data:     What are your expectations, Q?

Q:           Data, my mechanical friend. You’ve become almost human. The emotions are there but not the body. You’ve become just like Jean Luc!

Hunt:     Ok, hold on. I need to catch up a bit. First, what are you doing on my ship?

Q:           This one’s an impatient one. But I hear you’re immortal, too.

Geordi: Immortal?

Hunt:     Long story.

But you’ve not answered my question – what’s you name? Q?

Q:           We all call ourselves Q. It’s the convenient thing to do.

I’m here to do what the continuum has been doing since before humanity or any other species here came to be. We test you.

Geordi: You toy with us.

Q:           Tomato, tomato.

Trance: Some of my fellow avatars manage stars around the continuum.  Think of them as very owerful buffoons.

Q:           Trance, Trance, Trance. I don’t think we ever met.  But I’ll have to come up with a plan for you, too.

Hunt:     Rhade, Trance, Beka – I’d like the three of you to go to the bridge. It’s time we pick up the next back of refugees.

Rhade & Beka:   On our way.

Hunt:     So … you think of us as your toys.

Q:           Not toys. More like pets. But you find me quite benevolent.

And you next adventure is about to begin. (disappears)

Hunt:     What does he mean by “adventure?”

Data:     Q took the crew of the Enterprise on a number of adventures, not the least of which was confronting the Borg. Q would bother the most sophisticated and simplest of species for his own pleasure.

Hunt:     And Q comes back when?

Data:     Q comes back whenever he fells like it and at the most inopportune times.

Hunt:     Harper. Will you take these two to engineering and see what you can come up with to stop this Q character. If anything. And Trance, come with me to the bridge.

Harper. Aye, aye, Dylan.


Harper, Data, Geordi going to engineering

Data:     I note that there is a lack of decorum in your ranks.

Harper: Of course there is. Or isn’t. Whatever. But know what? His formal crew, when he has one, still salutes.

Geordi: Salutes? In our day we were more like a navy where there was a verbal response but no saluting.

Harper: Well, we’re more like an army where there is saluting.

Andromeda:      What Harper and Geordi have said is largely true. This is a warship, and for good reason. There’s nothing more to explore. All that is left is to see what is there. It’s all been mapped out and what is missed is largely out of personal choice of where to go and not go.

Geordi: Then you must have some data on Q and the continuum. Where and how they exist seems to be the fundamental question here.

Andromeda:      I will put together a report for all of you.


Harper, Data, Geordi in engineering

Geordi: Seamus – I’ve never seen the written language that’s on your equipment and tools. Data, can you translate it?

Data:     I’ve been working on that this whole time. It hints of old Earth Phoenician cuneiform, but not quite.

Harper: That’s right. There’s a species called the Perseids. Really smart. Like me. Anyway, it’s their written language. The old Commonwealth adapted speech to it and voila!

Anyway, what did the Q do to you?

Geordi: Q brought us the Borg from another galaxy. And all the time just being a nuisance. If history holds true, today is just the beginning.

And if I were writing this story in one of my novels it would be called “derivative” before anyone even opened it up.

Harper: Come here, Data. I want to show the two of you my tesseract machine.

Oh, and I’ve read all your novels. Especially that last one about “deep space” something or other.

Geordi: I’ve not written that one yet. That’s where we were headed when all this started.

Harper:                 Oops. Lips zipped.

Geordi: You actually have a working tesseract model?

Harper: Well, sort of. You see, others have perfected it but we had to destroy their lab in a battle. I’ve got it working, well, sort of.

I’ve got the time movement part down but always seem to mess up with object cohesion.

Data:     You move objects through time?

Harper: All the time. Here, watch this watermelon … I’ll send it back five seconds.

(Harper repeats his exploding watermelon/time-travel test)

Geordi: That’s amazing. Sort of.

Harper: In its own way, I guess.

Data:     Geordi, shall I download this technology? It would be a valuable and potential replacement for transporters.

Geordi: Let me think about that for a while. We do have tesseract technology in our time, but nothing like this.

Seamus … can’t you use the tesseract as a weapon like you might the transporter?

Harper: Unfortunately not. The tesseract always has an exit point. What goes in comes out. But not so with the transporter.

Geordi: Gotcha.

Harper: Now we get to the pinch. Data, can you download the Heisenberg transporter technology into my engineering systems? Andromeda will help you. And you need a direct interface like mine, I can …

Geordi: I think we’ll forego that interface. If you gave him one it would have no place in our time. That would be a temporal prime directive issue.

Harper: Prime, schmime. We’ve done that before, too. Everything always works out.

Geordi: You’re pretty laissez faire about the whole thing.

Harper: Of course I am. That’s why we’re all here.

And for my next surprise, I started working on a larger tesseract that can send you home.

Data:     Geordi, this is not very comforting

Harper: Oh, don’t worry. I did send the captain, Dylan, once. But just once. Still working on some of the kinks.

Geordi: I’m still hesitant.


Hunt, Rhade, Beka, Trance, Romy on bridge

Hunt:     Have got the next set of refugees and supplies loaded yet?

Romy:   The task is nearly finished, Captain. The people have been given quarters and drones are finishing the supplies now.


Hunt:     Thank you, Romy.

Beka … Take slipstream to our destination. But first let’s get Laforge and Data up to show them how slipstream works

Andromeda:      Paging them now, Captain.

Hunt:     While they’re coming, Andromeda, have you found anything of concern for the return trip?

Andromeda:      Nothing. Like the say, the skys are clear.

Hunt:     This is looking too easy. And things are never easy.

Geordi and Data enter

Hunt:     Guys, it’s time to demonstrate slipstream travel for you. Hold onto something. Beka, let’s go.

Beka:     On our way.

Geordi: This is quite the method of travel. A little rough, though. But why doesn’t Andromeda just guide the ship?

Hunt:     No android or AI can navigate slipstream. No matter the reflexes, and androids have far better reflexes than we do, there is something intuitive about both the ride and the exit that belongs to biological beings. Think of it as a mix of senses and intuition.

Data:     With your permission I would be interested in trying it sometime.

Beka:     Oh, no. You’re not half of Romy and she can only navigate it for a few seconds before having to exit.

Hunt:     That’s right. I’d be concerned for the ship and the rest of us. An even Trance, who is different from all the rest of us, has had a lot of trouble with it.

Geordi: Trance isn’t humanoid.

Hunt:     Trans is something else. Most of she is my eyes into the future. If this Q character had noticed her then his exist might not have been so quiet.

Geordi: She’s that powerful?

Hunt:     No. But she’s that knowledgeable. And knowing the future is threating to anyone who wants to keep secrets.

Geordi: Ok. Well, I’m going to retire for the night. Data, let’s go talk.

Geordi and Data leave

Beka:     Who are these guys?

Hunt:     They unwilling time travelers. Right now they’re galactic hitch-hikers.

Beka:     I wonder what Andromeda’s assessment of them is so far.

Andromeda:      So far, they’ve behaved themselves. They came from a time that was not so cut-throat as ours. That civility has protected both them and us. They are not spying or even collecting random pieces of technological artifacts for a potential return. Any technology they may return with should prove inconsequential


The next morning, Data & Geordi

Geordi: Data, we’ve been here two days now. Have you and Seamus made any progress on a possible return.

Data:     Minimal. I cannot tell if Mr. Harper is avoiding the task or if he is distracted by something else.

Geordi: From what we saw of the Magog, I can understand his hesitancy.

Data:     That seems a fair assessment.

Geordi: I wonder if there is anything I can do to speed up the process. I’m going to spend the day in engineering and see what can be done.

Data:     And I will be with either Andromeda or Romy working on the transporter designs.

And, Geordi, I’ve notices a high level of distrust by the captain. Have you?

Geordi: Who could miss it? He does need to take care of his ship. Is there something else you’ve seen?

Data:     Yes. In my interfacing with Andromeda I’ve noticed a layer of protection in the system. It’s a shield designed to keep me from going too deep.

Geordi: It’s probably best that you don’t attempt to breech  that layer. Andromeda’s systems are way more complex than yours. And you know the ship would detect an intrusion.

Hunt: (paging) Gordi and Data, could you come to my conference room?

Geordi: Sure thing. We’ll be right there.

After arriving

Hunt:     Andromeda has informed me that Data here has been poking around the system. He hasn’t breeched security but has been looking for holes. That’s not something I can tolerate on my ship.

Data:     To the contrary, Captain. I was only looking for the limits of the access you granted.

Hunt:     That may be, but from this point on I can no longer allow you into our systems.

Geordi: Wait a minute. Has Andromeda downloaded Data’s tables into the ship.

Andromeda:      I downloaded from Data the designs of the transporter along with its history.

Geordi: So, you breached Data’s privacy? You went beyond what was agreed upon?

Andromeda:      Only as would be necessary to recreate a transporter.

Geordi: Then I guess we know where we stand.

Data, let’s go conference on this.

                Geordi and Data leave for Geordi’s room


Hunt:     Andormeda … explain. Now.

Andromeda:      Yes, Captain, I took the prerogative of accessing Data’s records. What I did not do was violate Data’s personality and core processing system that define Data’s personality.

Hunt:     Then perhaps you had better explain yourself to them, personally.

Romy, are you getting this?

Romy:   Affirmative, Captain. Would you like me to do it sooner or later?

Hunt:     I think sooner is better than later. Let’s not let this thing fester.

Romy:   Understood. I will head that way now.


Geordi and Data in Data’s quarters

Geordi: Can you believe the nerve of Andromeda? I mean, who does she think she is, accessing your systems without permission.

Data:     I agree the intrusion was unwarranted. But …

Romy:   May I come in, guys?

Geordi: I’m not sure. What’s at stake this time?

Romy:   That’s understandable. I would like to explain further.

Geordi: Not sure it would do any good, but come in and give it a try.

Romy:   What Andromeda did was wrong. But what Andromeda did was limited to the agreement. The ship’s AI acted on the agreement but failed to secure permission. In these times with the amount of data that gets exchanged the question of timing is no longer material. We neglected to note that in your day timing requires the courtesy of permissions. For that I apologize.

Geordi: Data, what do you think?

Data:     That is consistent with how my systems were accessed. Romy, if the Andromeda AI could maintain the convention of permissions with us and anyone else from our time then we could avoid these conflicts.

Romy:   That goes without saying.

I am curious about your relationship with this Q. What does Q do that upsets you so?

Geordi: Q is like a thorn on a branch that constantly pricks you as you walk past it. You think you’re past it but it blows by again and makes you stop and look one more time.

Romy:   So … any idea of what this Q has planned?

Geordi: It could be anyting. At one point we faced a moral challenge. Another time was about survival against the Borg. There was even a test of courage that forced our captain to surrender his personal initiative to Q. He even planted a person on the crew who was unknowingly a Q.  So it could be anything.


Hunt in engineering with Harper

Hunt:     Well, Mr. Harper, how goes it?

Harper: Pretty well. I’ve been able to convert the principles of the Heisenberg transporter to a hand-held device. What this gun does is converts the target to energy and then absorbs said energy into its own power cell. In other words, it recovers 90% of what it expends to power itself. Instead of a few hundred shots like we get from our plasma rifles this small baby will give us thousands of shots. And if I put it into a rifle with a larger power cell, probably a million or so shots.

Hunt:     That’s awesome. But let’s not demonstrate it quite yet.

Harper: Ok, boss, but it does have one weakness.

Hunt:     Don’t tell me.

Harper: But I need to.

Hunt:     Ok, tell me.

Harper: It can’t be fired at an energy source. Not even an electrical conduit. If it hits one the feedback could make it explode. You know, like the Abyss.

Hunt:     Not good. But at least the Abyss is gone. Can you fix it?

Harper: Working on it.  Probably a couple more days.

Hunt:     I hope that’s fast enough.

Romy, meet me on the bridge.

Beka, Rhade, are you on the bridge.

Rhade:  We are, Dylan.

Hunt:     Good. I’ll be there shortly.

Geordi and Data, will you join us?

Geordi: We will be there shortly.

Crew gathered on the bridge

Hunt:     Ok everyone. It’s time I give you a rundown on the activities of the past couple of days. Laforge, Data, and Harper, with Romy’s help, have been developing a weapon to finally defeat the Magog.

Rhade:  That easy?

Hunt:     Yes, I believe it will be that easy.

Rhade:  So … why the need for a conference.

Hunt:     Because at this point I believe we have violated the sensibilities of the old Federation. These people are explorers first and warriors second. We need to understand that as we head into the next phase of this project. I trust they understand that there are very few explorers and that the universe has degenerated into warring tribes. It will never be at peace.

Geordi: I think we get the picture.

Hunt:     Good. I’d like Rhade and Beka to give you and Data flying lessons in our slip fighters. Rhade can equip them with tactical training systems.

Geordi: So … you don’t have a holodeck?

Hunt:     Nope. Too many opportunities to make things artificial. Artificial success costs real-world lives. And this way, with no transporters, you have to get it right. The best pilots always do.

Rhade & Beka … can you take these two out for a training run or two? Spend the afternoon familiarizing them with the systems. I’m certain they’ll figure it out quick enough.

Data:     Are you asking us to be your soldiers?

Hunt:     That, yes, and I am asking you to be prepared to survive in order to return to your own time.

Andromeda … Where are we on the relocation process?

Andromeda:      Captain, we have three runs remaining. So about five days of work.

Hunt:     Where’s Trance? I haven’t seen her for a while

Andromeda:      Trance chose to stay behind on the last drop-off. She thought it useful to help people acclimate to the new environment.

Hunt:     I wish she’d tell me when she’d going off on her own.

Andromeda:      Has a decision of Trance ever worked out badly for us?

Hunt:     No, but some of them have made everyone very uncomfortable. I’ll have a talk with her when she gets back.

Is there any pressing need that we need to get back today for the next refugee load?

Andromeda:      We are expected, but it is not a tight schedule.

Q appears

Q:           Captain Hunt. Guess what?

Hunt:     What, Q? What do you have up your sleeve.

Q:           All sorts of things. An ace. Maybe even a rabbit. But for you, something that you never imagined.

Hunt:     Right. Like I’ve not seen it all after the Route of Ages and the Abyss. Tell me, are you from this universe or another like the Abyss?

Q:           Ta, ta, Captain. All in good time. Today you die and tomorrow you live. Think about it. But don’t think too hard. I’ll be back after the test. Pass or fail.

Q vanishes

Hunt:     Mr. Larforge, I really need to see you now. Could you come to the bridge.

Geordi: Can do. After I land this slip fighter. Can Andromeda assist me with the landing sequence? I think Data has it figured out but I’m just a little hesitant.

Hunt:     That’s good. You know your limit and how to exceed it next time..

Geordi: And that’s a good thought for the young, but I’m no spring chicken.

Hunt:     Andromeda, will you take Laforge’s controls and bring him in?

Andromeda:      Done. Geordi will be on the bridge in a few minutes.

Hunt:     In the mean time the other three should come in. I think this might interest them, too.

Harper, that means you, too.

Andromeda:      Captain, there’s an incident among the refugees. A fight has broken out on your basketball court.

Hunt:     I’ll head right down there. Romy, join me.

Romy:   Affirmative, Captain.

Hunt:     Laforge and Data should join us, but at a distance. This is how future diplomacy works.


Hunt, Romy, Geordi, and Data at court

Hunt:     Ok, break it up. I said break it up! Why don’t people listen?

Hunt and Romy force the parties apart

Hunt:     Ok, what’s going on here?

Person 1:             See those people? They’re not supposed to be here!

Person 2:             We’ve as much right to be here as you!

Hunt:     Ok, stop this and, you, tell me why they’re not supposed to be here!

Person 1:             They were never on our planet! Their people came from the next system over.

Person 2:             That’s nonsense. Our families have been here for millennia!

Hunt:     This should take me about one minute to figure out.

Andromeda, what do you have?

Andromeda:      Captain, this is odd. We are on the first planet in the system but we seem to be in two places at one time.

Hunt:     Of all the things we’ve experienced, this makes the least sense of anything.

Laforge, Data, you have anything.

Data:     My records show nothing like this.

Geordi: Same here.

Hunt:     Okkkkkk. Andromeda, what do long range sensors show?

Andromeda:      They show … us, or me, in both systems

Q appears

Q:           Time again, mon capitan! This is your dilemma to solve. And solving it will a something about you, your crew and your character. Because the test never ends.

Geordi: Well, Q, you’re not setting up a medieval star chamber. This time.

Q:           Did I tell you I like the gray hair? Maybe you should grow a beard like Riker. So distinguished.

Geordi: Enough, Q.

Q:           Let me put it this way: You need to put things together. If you don’t you’ll always be in two minds. Maybe more if you’re not careful.

Ta ta for now.

Hunt:     Ok, I want all command personnel to the bridge. Laforge, Data, we will probably need your help.

And you people, stop fighting. You’ll all be taken care of.

End part 2


Part 3 Wherewithal

On the bridge

Hunt:     Andromeda, have you got anything else?

Andromeda:      Nothing yet, Captain.

Data:     If I may, Captain, this type of Q dilemma is often more a puzzle than a moral or military conflict. Q will bring those later. Right now Q is looking at your thought patterns.

Hunt:     And that means …

Data:     That means we need to look at the times when the ship apparently split apart to exist in two places and one place, all at the same time.

Andromeda:      Data, I’m sure you see the problem here. This is about two problems, not one. On the one hand I’m in two places at once. On the other hand I’m two places in one ship, a place where two locations intersect. In other words, I am a locus of X, Y, and Z coordinates.

Hunt:     Anyone have a solution? Anyone?

Geordi: Data and I will work on it with Andromeda, if that’s ok.

Hunt:     That’s a start. Go for it.

Beka:     With your permission, Dylan, I’d like to do a little experiment with the ship’s location. Rhade can help.

Rhade:  I can help?

Beka:     Sure think, bucko. I’d like to take the Maru around the region to check for more anomalies.

Hunt:     Permission granted. But … first send out a probe.  No sense in splitting up the Maru and the crew. Andromeda and work with you on that.

Harper. Harper!

Harper: Here, boss.

Hunt:     Harper. You and Andromeda get to work on the tesseract machine. Let’s see if that can solve the problem.

Harper: Got it. But why can’t Romy come with me?

Hunt:     Because I need Romy with me to interview the refugees. Maybe the answer lies with them.


Geordi, Data, Andromeda remain on bridge

Geordi: Andromeda, can you tell if the crew on this ship in the distant location is behaving in exactly the same manner?

Andromeda:      I cannot set up a communication link with the ship remotely because it is both there and not there.

Data:     Then I would suggest that the locus for this problem is not that the ship, you, are in both locations, but that the locations are somehow linked at a point in between, or shared in common.

Geordi: That makes perfect sense.

Andromeda:      Agreed. What I will do now is test communication between the two sites and triangulate our position.

I have it. But you are not going to like it.

Geordi: Not going to like …. What?


Hunt and Romy with refugees

Hunt:     Did any of you see anything odd when you came on board?

Person 3:             Not odd, no. People do act strange when they’re relocating. But there was something about the ship.

Hunt:     Like what?

Person 4:             Nobody got hurt or anything but the ship seemed to change color or something like it was going out of phase. I thought maybe it was something with the lighting so I didn’t say anything.

Andromeda:      Captain. It appears that we are close to the all forces nullification point.

Romy:   That is correct, Captain. The locations that we are at in both locations is both real, because people are boarding the ship, and mirrors, because the ship really is not in either place.


Back on the bridge, Harper joins

Data:     Can you explain that to me, Andromeda?

Andromeda:      We call it a point but it is not a fixed point. It is the convergence of the gravitational forces of all the galaxies in the universe. There are, in fact, many of these points throughout the universe. We know enough to keep away from them.

Geordi: So … what … matter and energy do what?

Harper: It’s where matter and energy go to die. It’s the black hole of black holes, so to speak.

Rhade:  Andromeda, what happens if the ship moves?

Andromeda:      If the ship moves here at the nullification point then the refugees cannot board.

Hunt reaches the bridge

Hunt:     Andromeda. Alternatives.

Andromeda:      It seems now the best alternative is to remain motionless. But we have only about 12 hours until we are pulled into the nullification point.

Hunt:     Beka. I could really use something tactical right about now.

Beka:     I don’t like being stuck, either. But we can’t sacrifice the refugees.

Hunt:     Laforge and Harper. Got something creative up your engineering sleeves?

Geordi: I’m wondering if Harper’s tesseract has something to do with time and space displacements.

Hunt:     Harper!

Harper: Honest, boss. I limited the testing to the watermelon like we did a couple years ago.

Hunt:     And you remember what happened then, don’t you?

Harper: Ya, and I fixed it, too. So there!

Hunt:     Harper, Laforge, Data, and Romy – could you please go to engineering and see what you can figure out. Do the tests you need. But call me before experimenting, please!

Harper: Will do. Come on, folks.


Engineering – Harper, Romy, Data, Geordi

Data:     What sort of measuring devices do you have to space-time displacements?

Romy:   Like you, we can identify a displacement but we can’t trace it back in time.

Geordi: Let’s try something more old-school. Let’s try the ship’s log. When was the problem identified?

Romy:   According to my logs the problem began right when we reached the first planet for the last load of refugees.

Geordi: Did anything else happen on the ship at about the same time?

Romy:   That’s the same time that Harper ran his tesseract watermelon experiment for you.

Harper: No, no, no, no, no. I bend space and time but I don’t split space and time.

Romy:   Apparently you do now.

Harper: Oh, boy. Dylan’s going to kill me.

Geordi: Well, we know the cause. Now let’s work on the solution.


On the Bridge

Hunt:     Beka. If we can move the ship just slightly how will it affect the refugees?

Beka:     If the ship moves the loading areas move. And that’s not safe.

Hunt:     Ok. Then let’s start with a pause in load and shut down all boarding. Let’s do it.

Beka:     Done. The message has gone out. It will take about 15 minutes for the crowds to clear for the move.

Hunt:     Rhade. Can you move the loading areas once they’re clear?

Rhade:  There’s a problem with that. Both will pull away simultaneously. Everything, including releasing the docking clamps, will need to be done in perfect unison. Andromeda will need to take care of that timing. And I can pilot the ship from the two location. I think.

Hunt:     You have to be the least confident Nietzean I’ve ever met.

Andromeda:      Here’s the dilemma. When we pull away from the loading dock we move closer to the nullification point. And when we do that we lose the ship and all on board.

Hunt:     Any progress in engineering.

Andromeda:      Nothing working yet, Captain. But it appears the team is on track.

Hunt:     OK, Q, what do you want?


In Engineering

Harper: I think I’ve got it. What if we, err I, just reverse what I did before?

Romy:   Maybe …

Data:     If you configure the sender to be the receiver.

Harper: I get ya. We don’t reverse the process. We reverse the processors! Hey, you’re a great antique.

Romy:   (to Data) At least he didn’t call you an “artifact.”

Harper: Now, Romy, you know that wasn’t me.

Romy:   I know. But it’s fun to pull your chain.

Data:     Geordi, do you see what we’re talking about?

Geordi: I understand the concept. But the implementation is going to be tricky. How do we turn a transmitter into a receiver?

Data:     This isn’t a machine change. It is a process change. Remember the watermelon appeared and exploded before it was sent? What we need to do is have the receiver refuse the melon and send it back to the sender.

Harper: I don’t know about this.

Romy:   Harper is right. This space-time change is going to affect more than just the melon. Every refugee that came onboard will have to be unloaded.

Geordi: Right now we’re only talking about logistical questions. But Q always inserts a moral dilemma. I’m not seeing it.

Data:     If we unload all of the refugees we run the risk of death for hundreds of them as the stations will be overcrowded with those preparing to load for the final runs.

Geordi: Now that’s more like Q.

Harper: I got it! Let’s reload the refugees and launch both reflections back to this location. That should re-integrate them.

Data:     That’s a big maybe. How does your tesseract fit into this?

Harper: Now that’s the hard part. I think all I need to do is turn it on. It can be unpredictable. Since that’s all I did last time that’s all I should have to do this time.


Romy:   Captain, Harper has a solution that we should try.

Hunt:     Do you really think Harper’s plan will work?

Romy:   I predict a 95 percent chance of success.

Hunt:     And it’s that other 5 percent that has me worried.

Seems like Q’s puzzles aren’t so difficult after all.

Q appears with Hunt on bridge

Q:           O, captain, my captain. Do you really think this puzzle is what I had in mind. Your people did this all by themselves. What you’re going to be judged by is the fruit of what you do.

Hunt:     Another riddle. I might have known.

Q:           This is no riddle Hunt. This is a predictable result. Look at what you’re doing and respond accordingly. But you won’t be the judge. I will.

Ta ta!

Hunt:     I do wish he would stop doing that.

I want everyone on the bridge! Now!

Everyone assembled on the bridge

Hunt:     Ok, give me a report. What is going on with these relocations? Are there any problems.

Oh, and how is this reintegration going.

Romy:   Right now the ship’s mirror images are headed toward the nullification point. I would recommend that Harper go back to engineering to monitor the process.

Harper: On my way, now on my way back. See y’all later.

Rhade:  The clan relationships are working out, for the most part. There’s some predictable and minor conflicts but nothing of significance.

Beka:     The planetary environments seem stable. They’re different but nothing people can’t adapt to.

Hunt:     Is Trance ever coming back?

Trance: (running in) Here I am! Here I am!

Hunt:     What have you got, Trance?

Trance: I’m not sure.

Hunt:     That’s no surprise. What aren’t you sure about?

Trance: I think the star is dying.

Hunt:     Dying?

Geordi: I’ve not detected any changes in the start’s output. How about you, Data?

Data:     Neither have I, Geordi. Spectral output has been consistent.

Harper: That’s because you don’t understand stars.

Geordi: What’s there to understand? It’s a mass of fusion reactions.

Tance:   You see, it’s like this …

Hunt:     Later, Trance. Right now we need to know what’s going on with this star.

Trance: That’s what’s weird. She isn’t certain about these refugees. The future doesn’t look good.

Hunt:     What doesn’t look good?

Andromeda: (interrupting)          Captain, the final reassimilation of the mirror is taking place now.

(Mirrors merge together)

Hunt:     Andromeda, get us out of here. And Harper, turn off that dang machine! It causes nothing but trouble.

Harper: Done, boss.

Data:     I’m not seeing anything wrong with the star but there’s something about the second planet in the system that seems unusual. Andromeda, if I may, are you detecting anything?

Andromeda:      The planet is experiencing some internal issues.

Hunt:     Issues? Like it’s sick or like it needs a therapist?

Geordi: (to Data) Ok, Data, this is getting really weird.

Andromeda:      Not exactly. There’s something inside the planet that needs investigated.

Hunt:     Then Romy and I will go. Beka, you have the con. Rhad, you’re on tactical, just in case. Trance, you continue to monitor the situation. Laforge and Data, with me.


On the planet at the regional governor’s office

Hunt:     Hello. Governor.

Governor:           The name is Sam.

Hunt:     Ok, Same. Call me Dylan. We’re here to see what is going on with this planet.

Governor:           Something is going on. There are areas where crops grow well and there are places where crops exceed all expectations. There’s no place where they don’t grow. The odd part is we can’t find any difference in the soils or solar influence.

Hunt:     We could start with soil samples. But I suspect you’ve already done that.

Governor:           We have. We’ve gone down 20 meters. Far enough to find any issues. But apparently the situation has nothing to do with the soil. I think there’s something about the planet that needs investigation.

Geordi: This reminds me of my first mission on the Enterprise. We were at Farpoint station where an alien entity had been captured by a governing authority. We needed to let that entity loose in order to avoid Q’s judgement.

Hunt:     Ok. Then tell me, Sam, it the planet alive?

Governor: We’ve even tested that. It seems to be an ordinary rock revolving around an ordinary sun.

Hunt: (Paging)   Trance, do you have anything more for me on this dying planet?

Trance: (speaking) I do. The planet’s avatar is not afraid if dying now, but is afraid of dying in the future. The choice is ours.

Hunt:     So, it sounds like something we do or don’t do. Nothing like second-guessing.

Data:     Captain. Can we just meet with the planet’s avatar?

Hunt:     Now that’s a suggestion that makes sense.

Trance, can we meet with the avatar?

Trance: I will ask. But right now he is too frightened

Andromeda:      (paging) Captain. There is a Magog ship approaching. It is about 1 light-hour away. What are your orders?

Hunt:     Beka, what is your assessment?

Beka:     It’s a small scout ship but with enough Magog to do plenty of damage. I’m going to talk to Harper about his new Heisenberg weapon.

Hunt:     Agreed. Mr. Harper, is it ready yet?

Harper: It is ready but not tested.

Hunt:     Well, then, test it on the Magog. There’s no time like the present.

Harper: I’ll have it installed in ten minutes and ready to fire.

Hunt:     Good.

The rest of us will head back up now.

Geordi: Do you think this is such a good idea?

Hunt:     With the Magog you can’t even lose a battle.

Geordi: Gotcha


On Andromeda bridge

Beka:     Is it ready, Harper?

Harper: It’s ready. Time to give it a shot.

Beka:     Rhade, target the scout ship’s engines first. Let’s see what we’ve got going here.

Rhade:  Firing.

(shot takes out engines and keeps going)

Harper: Did you see that? The beam just keeps on going. Where’s it headed?

(Hunt and the rest enter the bridge)

Beka: All yours, Dylan.

Hunt:     Thank you, Beka.

Now, where is that beam headed?

Rhade:  Fortunately it is only travelling at light speed. And it is headed out of the galaxy. But it is not losing cohesion. It will continue through the universe and destroy anything in its path.

Harper: And as the universe bends the beam it will consume the whole universe. After a few trillion years. Unless we stop it.

Hunt:     Another Harper experiment gone bad. Why am I not surprised?

Data:     Captain. The way to stop the Heisenberg effect is to introduce what is effectively an anti-Heisenberg element.

Geordi: You mean … put something in its path that is basically the same, so it cancels out?

Data:     That’s correct. We launch another Heisenberg beam at it so that it cancels out.

Hunt:     Andromeda. Is your targeting capable of that.

Andromeda:      It is. We just need to get in front of it.

Hunt: Let’s do that. But first, Rhade, fire torpedoes and take out those Magog.

Rhade:  Firing. Target destroyed.

Hunt:     Ok, Beka, get us in front of that beam.

(ship maneuvers in front of the beam)

Hunt:     Andromea, target acquired?

Andromeda:      Targe acquired.

Hunt:     Rhade, fire when ready.

Rhade:  Firing. Heisenberg beam destroyed.

Hunt:     Excellent.

Now down to today’s business. Harper, dismantle that weapon. It looks like there’s nothing redeemable in implementing Heisenberg’s principles. All we know is that they work. Just not for good.

(Q appears)

Q:           Bravo, Captain. You saved the planet. You even saved the universe. But what shall I do with you?

Hunt:     You do know that I’m Paradine, right?

Q:           Oh, I’m fully aware. But are you? You know that you’re immortal. But do you know what else you are? Hints pop up from time to time but there’s so much more.

And you’ve passed a moral compass test. More tests are coming. You’ll want to be ready.

And as for you two, Larforge and Data, time to go home.

Geordi: You brought us here just for this test?

Q:           Sort of. I just thought it might be fun. I could have sent you back any time.

Geordi: Like some great and powerful wizard, huh.

Q:           Exactly. Thank you and good bye all.


(Geordi & Data on shuttle, in their own time, before going through the anomaly)

Data:     Geordi, I’m detecting an anomaly off port.

Now sensors show nothing.

Geordi: What was it?

Data:     Sensors indicated it to be a time-space rift that opened and closed quickly.

Geordi: I’m glad it’s gone. Those things are nothing but trouble.

Have you ever learned pinochle? You might even enjoy it more than poker.