Chapter 2: Not in Kansas
I do not own the series or characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Stargate SG-1, or Star Trek. This story is a work of fiction written for fun and not for profit. It is only allowed to be posted on tthfanfic.org.
Ship of the Line: Sovereign
Chapter 2: Not in Kansas
Xander let out a groan as consciousness slowly returned to him. His head was hurting worse than a three-day bender on Risa (and for the life of him he couldn’t at that precise moment figure out just how he knew what a three-day bender on Risa felt like) and the nearby sound of someone tapping away on something sounded like a chorus of drums in his ears.
“Urgh.” He articulately bit out. “Turn down the sound will you?”
He slowly pushed himself up into a sitting position, discovering that he was not, as he had assumed, sleeping in his own bed or on the couch at Willow’s house. Blinking to get the dust out of his eyes he glanced around him and then froze in shock.This is impossible. I must still be asleep, dreaming somehow, because there is no way I could really be in the medical bay of a Starfleet vessel.
“Ah, so you’re finally awake.” A cultured and measured voice spoke from his left, a voice that sounded familiar to him.
Xander turned his head and in doing so caught sight of six more vaguely familiar figures laying on biobeds just as he was. Beyond them he could see a balding Starfleet medical officer, one who Xander immediately recognized upon his turning around.
“Tell me Captain, are you feeling any after effects of the dimensional displacement?”
Xander’s mind was still fighting to come to terms with the fact that he was currently sitting on a biobed in the sickbay of a Starfleet vessel-The Enterprise NCC-1701-E.
A vaguely familiar voice interjected into his head.
-looking at a walking, talking Emergency Medical Hologram.
“My head feels like I just went ten rounds with a Klingon.” He finally said, not really confident to say or ask anything else while his head still hurt so much. And just where had that odd voice come from?
“Ah, easily remedied. Just one moment.” The EMH strode over to one wall and quickly returned with a hypospray. Xander let out only a tiny wince in reaction to the injection, followed by a sigh as the pain in his head immediately began to lessen.
“Ah, thanks Doc, that was just what I needed.”
Stretching and shaking out his arms and legs a bit, his mind already clearing as the pain receded, he looked around the sickbay once more. He began to take in the details, and as he did so began to realize that he was having flashes of memory and insight that were distinctly not his own.
It was, as his mind had filled in, the medical bay of his ship, the NCC-1701-E Enterprise, pride of Starfleet. At a glance all systems appeared to be intact and working, no signs of any combat, and from an outward glance the sickbay at least appeared to be fully stock. Turning his attention to the other biobeds he began to take stock of just who was on board with him.Why am I not more freaked out by the fact that I still FEEL like I am Jean Luc Picard?
Xander asked himself.
On the nearest bed he could easily recognize Cordelia, still dressed like Lieutenant B’Elanna Torres of the USS Voyager. Reaching out with one hand he felt her forehead softly, testing for any signs of fever. As he did so he was surprised to discover that the forehead ridges were apparently not glue-attached plastic props, but actually bone ridges beneath the skin. Xander blanched as his mind processed the data it already had.I’m on board the Enterprise, Check. I apparently still have the memories of Jean Luc Picard at his peak, Check. Cordelia has apparently retained at least part of the physical differences between a human and a part-Klingon, Check. I am SOOOO dead for convincing her to wear that costume to honor our bet, CHECK!!
Moving onward with his observations in order to keep his panic down he moved on to the next figure down the line, peripherally aware of the EMH waiting for his attention. In the biobed next to Cordy lay a familiar figure, one who made him chuckle. Jonathon was one of the geeks, part of the crowd he and Jesse used to hang with. He had fond memories of summer days spent traipsing through the woods around Sunnydale ‘hunting’ Orcs and Goblins, and of evenings spent playing Dungeons and Dragons in his parents’ basement. He noted that Jonno was wearing the rank pips of a Commander, and that his skin was pale and had an odd tint to it. Xander resisted the urge to gasp when he realized that Jonno must have gone as Data for Halloween, and a brief touch of his skin confirmed the texture was certainly not human, although it was obviously intended to mimic human skin.
Sighing as things just got stranger and stranger he moved on. The occupants of the next two beds surprised him. In the first was stuffy never-seen-not-wearing-tweed Rupert Giles wearing the rank insignia of a Commander and a Command staff uniform. It was the beard though that gave it away. In the second was their computer teacher, Jenny Calendar. She was dressed as Deanna Troi, and Xander immediately realized that she must have been the one to get the G-man to dress as he had. Xander ran through his memories of the night before, finally processing that something Hellmouthy had occurred to somehow transform them INTO their costumes, and apparently some of the effects were permanent. Xander had to suppress a laugh at the thought of Rupert Giles as Commander William Riker.
Moving forward while praying that Mrs. Calendar would NOT receive the empathic and telepathic abilities of a Betazoid (heaven forbid she should ever catch hints of some of the fantasies he’d had about her in class) he checked on the final two occupants of the room who were not currently conscious and/or a holographic life-form.
First was someone he vaguely recognized, a short blond-haired teen wearing a Lieutenant’s uniform. It took him a few minutes to place him, both his costume and who he was. Obviously this was the one who his memories of the night before, and his own memories of watching Star Trek Voyager with Jesse and Willow, said must be Tom Paris. Finally he realized why he recognized the teenager himself, he was Oz the base guitarist for one of the local bands that played the Bronze frequently. What was it again? Koalas Ate my Candy? No, that didn’t sound right.
Shrugging Xander turned his gaze to the final figure, and his heart broke. Of everyone in his life, no one had ever been his friend or loved him so unconditionally as had the young girl laying in the bed before him. Of everyone in his life, there was no one more pure, or who more deserved a safe normal life than she did. Of everyone in his life, there was no one else he would have willingly given his own life to keep safe from absolutely anything Hellmouthy.
“I’m sorry Dawn Patrol.” He whispered. “Whatever’s going on, you’re caught up in all this, and I just know this is my fault.”
Xander blamed himself for it because he was the one who had come up with the idea of going as Star Trek characters for Halloween. Cordelia had lost a bet to him and thus had to wear whatever costume he bought her from Ethan’s, thus why she had been dressed as B’Elanna Torres the night before. Jenny had overheard his plans and complimented them, and had told him very clearly that she was going to try to get some Star Trek costumes for herself and Giles. Jonno had always been a Trekkie, and when he had overhead Xander’s plans he had merely asked him which ship, era and crew he was selecting his costume from. And Dawnie…
“Xander…?” The petite blonde-turned-red-head asked sleepily as consciousness slowly returned to her.
Kneeling besides the biobed Xander put a comforting hand on her shoulder, keeping her from sitting up.
“Don’t get up too fast, if my wake up was any indicator you probably have a headache the side of Texas right now.” He said softly.
Dawn slowly and painfully nodded her head, immediately laying back down.
“Doctor-“ Xander started to say but the EMH was already at Dawn’s side with a hypospray.
“Already on it, Captain.” Carefully he administered the injection, and a small part of Xander swelled in pride that Dawn Patrol barely showed any sign of a reaction. Within moments the tense lines of her forehead smoothed as her pain eased. Slowly she opened her eyes and looked up at Xander, then at the unfamiliar surroundings around him.
“Where are we Xander?” Dawn asked as she sat up slowly, looking around at the strange room. It took a few moments, but Xander couldn’t help but smile at the wide-eyed look of recognition as it flitted across Dawn’s features.
“Oh my god we’re on the Enterprise!!!” She squealed, suddenly leaning forward and pulling Xander into a hug. “This is so COOL!!!!”
Unfortunately as much as Xander appreciated the hug, it also unfortunately reminded him that Dawn patrol was Buffy’s younger sister, and at fourteen years old on her way to becoming a beautiful and distracting young woman. He carefully extricated himself from her grasp at the sound of groans behind him and stood back up. He felt Dawn grasp his hand for support and squeezed it gently while they both watched the EMH hurry to his other patients, giving them each an injection of the pain killer and helping them sit up.
Suddenly Xander realized that Jonno wasn’t moving and realized that he really had been turned into Data…meaning that he was probably shut down. Sighing he released Dawn’s hand and walked back over to Jonno’s biobed. Rolling him slightly he reached behind him and triggered the controls to reactivate him. A few seconds later Jonno’s eyes blinked open and he sat up. The short teen sat there quietly for a long moment before speaking.
“Well, this is certainly…an experience.” He looked in a mixture of fear and wonder at his hands. “I seem to…no longer be human.”
Suddenly Jonno grinned and spoke loudly.
“Man is Andrew going to be jealous!”
Xander let out a sigh of relief that he hadn’t been aware he had been holding. Despite being turned into Data somehow, Jonno was still himself in there, geeky tendencies and emotions included.
“You know Jonno, that we aren’t going to be able to tell Andrew about this. I mean, I know he’s fun to play D&D with, but he totally has that insane mad-scientist potential vibe going for him, and the LAST thing we need is to let him have access to 24th century technology and hardware. With our luck he’d probably overload the warp core and destroy the ship within an hour of setting foot on board.
Jonno went silent for a long moment. Xander knew that it was a short time for any human, but obviously Jonno’s newly positronic brain was processing and analyzing a ton of data in that long gap.
“Ok, I see your point. Doesn’t change the fact that we are on the Enterprise. This is so COOL!!!!” He said, unknowingly echoing Dawn’s earlier exclamation and causing the younger girl to giggle.
“Ugh.” Cordelia said, causing Xander to look over at where the disheveled but somehow still gorgeous young woman was sitting up. She felt her forehead then froze in panic before turning and glaring at him. “Harris, what the hell did you do to me?!”
Xander held up his hands placatingly.
“I did nothing Cordelia. We had a bet, you lost, you wore the costume I chose for you, one I selected that would still suit you I might add, and then something Hellmouthy happened and apparently we got turned into our costumes. I have no idea how it happened, or why it ended, only that apparently when it did the Enterprise remain real…and we remain altered, at least physically.”
Xander cocked his head to one side and then chuckled.
“Well, there’s also the fact that I appear to have all of Jean Luc Picard’s memories, skills and knowledge along with apparently perfect recall of what I have access to. I figure that whatever happened to make these changes permanent left the echo of their minds and experiences behind.”
“But that’s neither here nor there. We are currently on board the Enterprise, I’m hoping still in Earth’s orbit, and I figure the medical bay is NOT the place to have this discussion.”
Turning to where a slightly groggy but attentive trio of Giles, Jenny and Oz and a smiling and excited Dawn were giving him their full potential he nodded and continued.
“I figure that as it is-“ He glanced quickly at a nearby monitor. “Currently about six thirty local time, I figure that we should migrate to my ready room, replicate some breakfast, and figure out what to do next. There is a refresher unit here in the sickbay-“ Xander noted that Dawn hopped off her biobed and walked over to a nearby wall, triggering a panel to open the refresher unit. “-that you can use if you need to relieve yourselves or to freshen up. Jonno, you remain here until everyone is ready and then bring them up to my ready room. Try not to take more than a half hour if you can. Anyone who doesn’t need to use the refresher immediately can come with me now.”
Xander turned to the EMH and observed him.
“Unlike the rest of us, you were conscious, look exactly like Robert Picardo. I’m guessing that means you weren’t someone transformed by their costume, but were created by whatever incident transformed us and created the Enterprise here in orbit.”
“I’m also guessing by your mobile emitter-“ Xander pointed at the device clipped to the EMH’s uniform. “That you are the Voyager’s EMH not the one installed inboard the Enterprise.”
The Doctor filed away the name Robert Picardo to look up when he had the spare processing cycles and nodded.
“That would be the case. I am relieved that at least one member of my former crew appears to be amongst those you…dressed as. It will make it easier I suppose to adapt to life on a new ship.”
“Now, if you’re here, does that mean you replaced the inboard EMH, or is it still in the databanks?”
“The inboard EMH is still installed and is currently offline, although it is one of the Mk II models who I can tell you from experience are quite annoying. I installed myself to new sectors of the ship’s mainframe when I discovered the presence of an inboard EMH. It was safer than relying on my Mobile Emitter.” The Doctor replied calmly. “There is also a backup EMH Mk I and an EMH diagnostic program in the databanks.”
Xander nodded again.
“And, if you don’t mind my asking, what is the last thing you remember from before you appeared in Sunnydale?”
The Doctor replied with a bit less calm or certainty.
“The last thing I remember the crew was preparing to rush a Borg facility…to use a Borg Transwarp conduit to get back to the Alpha Quadrant. We had been led to the facility by the…future Admiral Janeway, and she sacrificed herself so we could reach the correct Transwarp conduit.”
Xander nodded and smiled.
“Good, that means that you have potentially the maximum skill, experience and knowledge we could hope for, and…” Xander let the word hang for a moment, his grin widening. “…that means you also have the ECH protocols installed as well.”
Xander smiled as the refresher opened and a cleaner but still bouncing and bubbly Dawn Summers stepped back out. She had apparently found a white doctor’s lab coat while inside and had slipped it on over her science division uniform.
Xander just chuckled, inside hiding the wince as he saw Dawn’s look.Buffy told me she found Dawn writing ‘Mrs. Dawn Harris’ in her diary last week. If any of Beverley’s essence influences her towards me further I’m so going to hell.
Deciding that discretion was the better part of valor Xander turned and exited the sickbay, calling for the Doctor and anyone else who was ready to follow him. Only an enthusiastic Dawn followed, with a frantic and angry Cordelia rushing to take her place in the refresher unit.
On board USAF Galaxy En-route to the Kennedy Space Center
Not for the first time that morning Sam looked across the open bay of the transport plane carrying SGs -1, -2, and -3 to the Kennedy Space Center for ‘training’ and launch preparation at where her commanding officer, Colonel Jack O’Niell, lay dead asleep and snoring.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get used to how easily he can sleep on these things.” She said aloud, earning a snort from the nearby Major Feretti.
“I’ve known the Colonel for twenty years Captain, and I’m still amazed every time he passes out on a military transport plane. Even worse, he ALWAYS wakes up energized and ready to go. I don’t know what it is about these things, but they just seem to refresh him in a way that can’t be explained by science.” Feretti said. “Of course, I’m thankful he’s getting some sleep. Despite his knee you can bet your ass that he’ll be on board the Columbia with you unless the Doc reports that her further tests showed a dangerous problem. He’s one of the best we have, and he’s a friend of the President’s.”
Sam chuckled and looked further down the plane where a queasy looking Daniel was desperately trying to get some sleep. The absence of their fourth teammate caused Sam to reflect and inwardly pray that Teal’c’s warning to General Hammond didn’t come to pass. She REALLY didn’t want to die in orbit of her own planet because someone made a mistake and started an interstellar incident.
Deck 1, Captain’s Ready Room, USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E, 0715 Hours
Xander sat in his chair sipping a mug of Tea, Earl Grey, Hot while he waited for the final stragglers to shuffle in. He had spent the last forty minutes discussing logistics with the Doctor while Dawn happily dug into a huge plate of bacon and eggs provided by the replicator. Dawn admitted that she wished it had applewood smoked bacon in the memory banks, but Xander suspected that the wood needed to make said variety of bacon had probably not survived to the twenty fourth century, hence its absence from the computer.
He of course had his own complaints with the replicator system. When he had first arrived in his ready room, spending the first five minutes just staring out the window as the Earth’s curve fell away before him, he had decided to try some of Captain Picard’s favorite tea with his favorite any-time snack. Unfortunately, when he asked the replicator for a Twinkie it instead produced a plate of what appeared to be boiled eyeballs in some sort of puree. He had immediately dumped it into the reclamator and then took a closer look at the replicator’s controls. He soon figured out the dilemma.
Apparently his beloved Twinkies had not survived the Eugenics Wars, and no one had ever managed to replicate the formula or manufacturing process. What the databanks DID have was T’wing-eeh, a Klingon dish that was apparently pronounced eerily similar to his favorite dish. The first thing he did was reprogram the replicator so that one had to ask for KLINGON T’wing-eehs in order to get that dish. The second was to order his tea to sooth his nerves. The third was to vow to scan a Twinkie into the replicator’s databanks as soon as possible.
He looked up from where he was reading a PADD and going over his ship’s status as the door from the bridge opened up. Cordelia was at the front of the group as she led Jenny, Jonno and Giles into the room. Oz followed a few moments later, his mind focused on the PADD he was rapidly typing away at in his hand. Xander wondered what he was up to but set it aside for a moment as he motioned towards the replicator.
“Everyone, get yourselves something to eat from the replicator. I checked the databanks earlier and it has a pretty decent selection of dishes, although some cuisines from our day did not apparently survive to the twenty fourth century in that universe. I know how to add dishes to the databanks for the replicators though, so once we figure out what’s going on and deal with things we can make plans to purchase, or make, any dishes we want to add to the system and program them in.”
The group grumbled but walked over to the replicator, all but Jonno who took a step towards it before pausing and then taking a seat at the table, frowning.
“You know, I just realized, I won’t be able to eat anything anymore.”
Xander blinked and then realized that Jonno was right, wincing in sympathy.
“Ouch man, that really sucks. But hey, don’t the benefits at least outweigh that negative? I mean, you’ll live for a long time; you’re smarter and think faster than any human. You get to be on a spaceship man. And don’t think I haven’t heard you and Andrew debate the pros and cons of becoming an artificial life form like Data.”
Jonno chuckled and smiled slightly in remembrance of the discussion in question.
“Thanks Xander, that cheered me up a little.” He said. Xander merely raised his mug of tea in salute before taking a long sip of it.
Slowly the others took seats around the table until all eight seats were occupied. Dawn sat to Xander’s left, giving her a view of space out the window. Past her Jonno had taken the next seat, followed by Cordelia and Jenny. To Xander’s right sat the Doctor, with whom he had been discussing the ship’s status, and beyond him Oz and Giles had taken seats. Everyone who could eat now had food and drink before them and Xander motioned for them to begin eating.
“I’ll talk while you guys eat, then we can discuss our situation once everyone has filled their bellies.”
He got rumbles of approval to this and took a few moments to gather his thoughts before beginning.
“So, the Doctor and I have spent the last half hour going through system reports from the ship and analyzing our situation. Now, keeping in mind the fact that we were altered by something Hellmouthy but are still ourselves, at least to some degree, I’d have to say that the likelihood of this being the actual Enterprise is pretty low. That means that there are not likely to be any missing crew members trapped somewhere in the system that we can’t detect them, and pretty much no chance that anyone is going to come across from another dimension looking for a stolen ship. That said, while it may not be THE actual Enterprise, it might as well be. Near as we can tell, whatever spell copied the entire ship, including personal effects in quarters, down to the subatomic level. For all intents and purposes, this is the USS Enterprise
NCC-1701-E, and given the memories and physical alterations we have undergone we, ladies and gentlemen, are in fact the crew of THIS Enterprise
Xander looked around, analyzing the reactions that this announcement produced. He noticed the easy acceptance of Oz, Jonno’s faint smile, Dawn’s nearly-bouncing smile, Cordelia’s frown, and the Doctor’s resigned sigh. Jenny looked a bit conflicted, and Giles just looked resigned to his fate.
“Jenny?” Xander asked as he realized why she was looking that way. “Are you feeling okay?”
Jenny shook her head.
“No, I’m not. I’m…I’m not sure what I’m feeling, I’ve got so many different and conflicting emotions running through my mind.”
Xander sighed and nodded, afraid of that.
“Ok, Jenny, you know you’re part Betazoid now thanks to whatever happened. For now, just try to clear your mind, imagine that you are sitting in a clearing, where the sun is shining down from above and the only sound is the wind and your own thoughts. Just focus on this and try to ignore everything else.”
It took a minute but slowly Jenny’s face eased and she smiled faintly.
“Thank you, Captain.” She said, not realizing how she addressed him. “That…that helps a lot. I just hope that the memories from Deana will help me control these powers better.”
“You’re welcome, Jenny. Now, Jenny just demonstrated for us one of the points I feel need to be made. We have all been altered by this spell, some more than others. Yes, we have memories not our own that we can draw upon, but we also have altered physical anatomies and physiologies. Jonno here is an android. He is not even a tiny bit biological anymore. He is a purely technological life form, with a mind beyond that of any human. Jenny is part Betazoid, meaning that the has a high level of projective and receptive empathy, coupled with limited telepathic abilities. This means that she can read the emotions of people, and if she can draw on Deana’s experience she will be able to tell when a person is lying to her or not. Of course, there are some species who’s brain physiology and structure are just too different for her to read, but they are few and far between. Cordelia, your body is physically stronger and more durable than a normal human’s. You get many of the benefits of a Klingon, without most of the negative aesthetic characteristics.”
Xander pointed towards her forehead and she glowered at him.
“The ridges are far less pronounced than they would be on a full Klingon, and far more attractive. Even with that, it IS possible to surgically remove them, although there is no guarantee that there won’t be a faint mark left from the surgery, and their presence allows you to head-butt an opponent and come out the victor.”
Xander smirked as she paused, both at being told he thought they were attractive and at the thought of being able to win a head-butt.
“Giles, Oz and I all went as humans, but humans from the 24th century who had been raised and undergone vaccinations and medical procedures from a more advanced society. I don’t know if we are necessarily smarter than normal, though my ability to recall things has definitely improved, but we have all the knowledge of three ranking officers on some of Starfleet’s more advanced ships. Giles has the memories of William Riker from when he was supposed to take command of his own vessel as a Captain. I have the memories of Captain Picard from the same time period. Jonno has the memories from Data to about the same point in time as well. I’m presuming, Cordelia, that both you and Oz have your memories from just before the end of the series for Voyager, same as the Doctor.”
Cordelia glanced at Oz for a moment before looking away and blushing. Considering who the pair had gone as Xander was pretty certain that was confirmation of his suspicion. Oz’s slight nod merely affirmed this.
“This means that they have a lot of knowledge of alien technology and science that Starfleet has never encountered before, as well as experience with a similar, albeit smaller, ship to our own.”
Xander leaned forward and crossed his hands beneath his chin.
“Now, given the fact we need at least some time away from the public eye to deal with our changes, especially those of us who might accidentally hurt someone if we don’t learn to control our strength, I figure that we should at least spend the next two days here on board the ship. We can go over its systems, make sure everything is running smoothly, and check over our inventory to see how well stocked we are. Worst case scenario, given what I’ve seen in the computer so far, we have a fully functional, Warp capable Federation starship, a crew of eight, and enough supplies to support ourselves on board, presuming we limit energy consumption in out of use areas and don’t go to Warp too often, for at least two years. Best case scenario, we have the necessary hardware on board to set up automatic mining and refining facilities on asteroids or moons of this system to gather dilithium and other required materials, as well as either pre-built industrial replicators or at least the schematics and patterns to replicate the components and construct them.”
Xander paused as everyone took that in, some more reluctantly than others, using the memories of their counterparts to help them understand what he was saying.
“Now, just from a basic analysis of the status of the ship I am pleased to report that I’ve discovered the following. We currently have on board or docked in their appropriate slots the Captain’s Yacht named Cousteau
, the special multipurpose shuttle Argo
, two Danube
-class Runabouts currently unnamed, two Type 11 Shuttlecraft, and…” Xander let his voice trail off as he drew out the surprise. “…one Delta Flyer.”
Xander smirked at the sudden grin that graced Oz’s features.
“What that means is that alongside our wondrous near seven hundred meter long Sovereign
-class starship, we have two standard shuttlecraft, one capable of carrying and deploying a ground vehicle of moderate size, a more richly appointed vehicle for diplomatic missions, two larger craft capable of operating independently for a limited period of time and at distance while supporting a small crew, and one awesome piece of Delta Quadrant engineering.”
Xander nodded his head to Cordelia and Oz.
“One which Cordelia and Oz’s counterparts, by the way, designed and built along with the help of Seven-of-Nine.”
Oz mock bowed and Cordelia blushed in surprise as she realized she actually felt proud of that fact.
“Now, Xander said as he noticed that most of the group had finished eating their breakfast.”
“What I propose is that each of you replicate a PADD and use it to go over the ship, study whatever you want, whatever your memories lead you to, just get a feel for her design, her capabilities and systems. Discuss anything that you think of. We’ll spend the morning doing that, have lunch, then split into pairs to explore the ship and check anything we determine is important.”
With that said Xander motioned toward the replicator and then turned his PADD back on. After a few more minutes going through inventory lists that may or may not be accurate he had a thought.We’re on the Enterprise, but there is no Federation, no Starfleet. This is OUR ship. I’m definitely keeping the name, but I can rename the smaller craft. And we don’t have to stick to the ‘current’ uniform if we don’t want to. As cool as it is, I’d rather do something a little more…us, something that will make us stand out. After all, this is no longer the Federation starship
Enterprise, this is the, hmmm, let’s say the Terran starship
Enterprise. Yeah, that sounds good.
Xander directed his PADD towards a database of uniform designs, both past, present and proposed. Slowly he began filtering through the options, debating the pros and cons and making a short list of options.
Around the table the others began a similar process, including the Doctor. Xander had informed him privately before everyone else arrived that he considered him as much a member of the crew as any biological member, and that he would have a vote in any major decisions that he tasked to the group as a whole.
Kennedy Space Center, 1123 Hours
Colonel Jack O’Niell walked out of the showers in the preparation room for the facility wet and with a towel wrapped around his waist. He was humming the classic Star Trek theme, even though he knew it wasn’t exactly the right one to associate with the ship currently in orbit, and had a bounce in his step as he walked over to his assigned locker and grabbed a second towel, beginning to dry himself off.
Around the room the gathered members of SGs -1, -2, and -3 were drying off and getting ready for the final selection tests before being assigned to either the launch of the Columbia
scheduled for that evening or the in rush launch of the Endeavour
schedule to follow up in two days.
For the initial launch the Columbia
was going to be carrying a special module that had been developed in secret as soon as the Pentagon had learned of the possible existence of hostile alien life with the Abydos mission. It consisted of a small umbilical attached to the shuttle enabling access via an internal airlock to the cargo bay, and then a system to extend a ribbed and reinforced umbilical to a spacecraft, designed to seal around an airlock on the vessel and seal the internal atmosphere of the umbilical. It was designed so that if it was required to board a derelict vessel, opening the airlock or cutting their way in would not result in a loss of internal atmosphere. It also served a dual purpose of being able to be ejected and firing additional thrusters aimed towards the derelict vessel to push away from it in the event of an attempt by a hostile element to gain access to the shuttle via the umbilical.
While the modules carried various scientific equipment and a small armory, they were still limited by the crew capacity of the shuttle carrying it. With a maximum capacity of eleven in the case of an emergency mission, they were loading both shuttles up to the max. The shuttle would have the mission commander, pilot, and three mission specialists trained to operate the module to connect to the orbiting vessel and provide support to the lead scientist for the mission. They were then adding a six man team to each shuttle. The first was going to contain Daniel and Sam, along with four SGC personnel. The second would have a NASA engineer along with the remaining five SGC personnel. This arrangement ensured that if anything went wrong with the first mission they didn’t put all their eggs in one basket and had both qualified soldiers and scientists ready.
Silently Jack sent a prayer to Q, if he was out there, for things to NOT go wrong.
Deck 1, Captain’s Ready Room, USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E, 1245 Hours
As the morning had worn on the eight had broken into groups for various discussions, changing seats as needed to facilitate their discussions and investigations. Currently Xander and Cordelia sat at the head of the table, both hunkered over a trio of PADDs and discussing something in whispered terms. Dawn sat nearby as well, still energized by being on board the Enterprise and not yet freaking out over the realization that her mother and sister have no idea where she is or what has happened to her, and had given her opinion on their discussion a time or two.
The table was littered with PADDs and the remains from six lunches and a variety of drink containers. It would have been dirty, but the presence of a reclamator in the room meant that most of the finished dishes and leftovers had been recycled by the ship.
Finally he and Cordelia finished their discussion, saving their work to the databanks before shutting down two of the PADDs. Xander quickly pulled up a diagram of the ship’s schematics on the third PADD and cleared his throat.
“Ok, I think we’ve gone over enough now to start laying out a basic plan.” He said, hitting a few commands on his PADD. A moment later everyone’s PADDs beeped to report a received file. “I feel that the best thing we can do is take the next five hours or so to take a closer look at specific systems and areas of the ship. I’ve marked out some of the more important areas and things to check-on, and a rough schedule for it. I’ve left plenty of time in the schedule both to account for any issues, allow you time to tangent or investigate anything that catches your eyes, and to just take a break and eat a snack.”
Xander watched as everyone took a look at the schematics, noticing the three different ‘paths’ marked out on them.
“I’ve decided that Jonno and the Doctor can remain up here on the bridge, since their artificial systems allow them to process data at speeds far beyond us biological. They can go through a lot of system data far faster than we can, and I’ve already given them both a set of assignments to finish while they analyze the databanks, including preparing a couple programs for the replicators, and beginning analysis of our on-board holographic capabilities, both emitter locations and software. I had an idea on how to get some extra crew, but I first need to know what our capabilities and options are in that regards.”
Xander nodded toward his PADD.
“As you can see I’ve laid out three different assignments. This is because until we are certain there is no threat or undetected damage on board I want us to use the buddy system, no one goes anywhere alone. Cordelia and Oz, you’re main job as you can see is to check our primary weapons array, Main Engineering, and the engines. Giles, Jenny, I want you to check over the crew quarters, medical bays and the main science labs. Dawn and I are going to check on all of our smaller craft and activate their systems. That way we can link them to the main computer so that Jonno and the Doctor can analyze their systems more directly to check for any problems.”
Xander stood up and the others quickly followed.
“Meet back here by six o’clock and we’ll discuss what we’ve found over dinner. Don’t hesitate to use your com badges and ask if you have any questions. As we all know, our memories from our counterparts have been growing more clear and easier to access all morning. I don’t want you messing around with anything dangerous, but I think it’s safe to say that at the rate we are going any of us would be able to do any task on board the ship that our counterparts were trained or able to do. Dismissed.”
Xander blinked in surprise as everyone save him and Dawn filed out of the room. Dawn was looking at him appraisingly and he was just staring in shock. Finally he spoke.
“Yes?” Dawn replied.
“I think its official. I may not have been born a Picard, but I’ve definitely inherited a LOT more of Jean Luc’s traits and mannerisms than I thought. I may not be Jean Luc Picard, but I am DEFINITELY Captain Picard.”
Dawn just giggled and grabbed his arm, dragging him towards the door.
“Come on Captain, we have a Captain’s Yacht to inspect.”
Xander groaned as he realized that he had signed him up to double check the status of sixteen different starships.
Kennedy Space Center, 1555 Hours
As she gazed up at the form of the Space Shuttle Columbia
sitting on the launch pad Sam felt a sense of pride. She was finally achieving her dream, and even though it paled in comparison to traveling to other planets via a stable wormhole, and she STILL wouldn’t be able to tell her dad the truth about why she finally got to go on a shuttle mission, it still marked the achievement of a life-long dream.
A cough from behind her caused her to turn around, her eyes widening in surprise as she saw her dad standing there in full military dress.
“Dad!” She exclaimed, walking over and embracing him in a hug. “It’s so good to see you. What are you doing here?”
“Can’t an old soldier come and see his daughter off on the biggest day of her life?” He asked with a smile on his face. “You’re going into space Sam, on what may be the most important shuttle mission to date.”
“So you…know what’s going on?” She asked carefully, not giving anything away in case he had been told a cover story.
“If by that you mean I know that there is an object in orbit that appeared out of nowhere and looks like the Enterprise from Star Trek, then yes I know what’s going on. The mission commander is an old friend of mine and when he heard that you had been selected to head the boarding team he got me clearance and a flight down here immediately.”
Sam let out a breath.Ok, so Dad knows the ship is there, but he doesn’t know about the SGC. Ok, I’ve got to watch what I say around him.
“I’m not in command of the boarding team, not exactly. I’m the chief scientist and engineer for the operation, my CO is actually the one in charge of the team.”
“Ah yes, Colonel O’Niell. I met him a few years back after he got his, god who can remember how many with a career like his, purple heart. Never did learn HOW he got it, was probably a highly classified mission that won’t see the light of day for fifty years. Good guy, though why someone assigned to desk duty studying, what was it you study again?”
Sam chuckled as she reported the cover story that had been drilled into her upon being assigned to the Stargate Program.
“Deep Space Radar Telemetry, Dad. Colonel O’Niell isn’t actually as stupid as he likes to make people think he is, and despite his deep hatred for all things paperwork he does a brilliant job as the 2IC for the project. It was actually our systems that first detected the ship when it appeared in orbit, and its because of our research that we know it simply appeared there rather than approaching at high speed and stopping almost instantly.”
Jacob Carter chuckled and replied.
“Well, at least they are recognizing your talents Sam. They pulled this mission together in twenty four hours, and authorized you to lead the scientific part of the mission without going through the normal training.”
Sam smiled and hugged him again as she saw Colonel O’Niell poke his head out of the conference room being used for their mission briefing and waved her over.
“It’s good to see you Dad. I need to go now, Colonel O’Niell’s waving me over. I have to get to the mission briefing, we are running on a pretty compressed schedule here.”
Jacob Carter hugged her back before letting her go.
“Okay Kiddo. Take care of yourself up there and come home safely. I’ll be waiting for you.”
Sam smiled and ran down the hall and into the conference room, the door swinging shut behind her. General Jacob Carter chuckled and then turned to observe the shuttle on the launch pad.
“My daughter, the astronaut. I always knew you could do it, Kiddo.”
Deck 1, Captain’s Ready Room, USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E, 1800 Hours
Xander smiled as the last of his impromptu crew entered the Ready Room and took their seats at the table. He and Dawn had returned from their inspection of the various shuttles and small craft carried by the Enterprise, confirming their presence on board as well as their operational status, over an hour before. Dawn had been excited by the plusher decorations of the Captain’s Yacht Cousteau
, while Xander had liked the sleek and efficient design and layout of the Delta Flyers. It had always been his favorite craft from any Star Trek series, and even the Picard in him had to admire the engineering, lines and performance of the craft. Xander briefly considered taking it out for a test flight, but decided against it. It was bad enough that he hadn’t realized until halfway through their investigation that the Enterprise was probably visible from Earth, he didn’t need to add to the potential confusion ground-side by flying around in a craft capable of outrunning and outmaneuvering the fastest nuclear missiles in the US arsenal and capable of delivering crippling weaponry directly to Washington DC. Better to wait a while and figure out what to do rather than accidentally start a war.
Once everyone had taken their seats, looking in curiosity at the sealed metal-topped containers set on the table before them, he finally spoke.
“Ok, now that everyone is back we can begin, but first I want you to go ahead and open your dinners. Dawn and I finished our inspection with an hour to spare, and deciding that replicator food would probably get old over time we went down to the Officer’s Mess and took a look in the galley. There were enough real food supplies available, including fresh tomatoes kept in stasis, so Dawn and I decided to cook dinner instead.”
Xander smiled at the gasps and smiles of delight on everyone’s faces as they removed the lids and beheld the meal he can concocted. Jonno looked on with a bit of regret while the Doctor watched indifferently.
“My dad may be home-grown American trailer trash of the most potent vintage, by my mother was raised true Sicilian, and she taught me a thing or two about making good Italian food.”
Xander smiled as he removed the lid of his own container, breathing in the heady and delicious smell. With Dawn’s assistance he had made a delicious five cheese lasagna, rich with garlic and sauce made from fresh tomatoes. He had steamed some fresh vegetables to go on the side and had cooked a loaf of Italian bread and baked a whole clove of garlic to spread on it. The bread and the garlic sat on a tray in the center of the table after he had removed the lid and everyone looked at it hungrily.
“So go ahead and get your drink of choice from the replicator and dig in. We’ll discuss our finding after everyone’s had a chance to eat some of this delicious meal.”
Everyone smiled, even Jonno, and those capable of consuming food made their way to the replicator. Within short order everyone was seated once more and digging heartily into their delicious meal.
It was over thirty minutes before another word was spoken, everyone too engrossed in savoring the delicious meal. When everyone had slowed or stopped eating Xander set his fork aside and finally began speaking.
“Ok, now that everyone is nice and full we can begin.” He pulled his PADD out and transmitted a copy of its data to everyone else. “If you’ll look at your PADDs, I’ve just transmitted copies of the start-up tests and systems checks we did on our on board craft. I’ve decided that the Delta Flyer type craft will be assigned in our records the class name of Paris
-class Runabout in honor of its primary designer. Any future copies that we construct will be named after cities instead, but I feel that it is important to honor the crew that managed to survive seven years in the Delta Quadrant before successfully returning home. As such, I propose that we rename the first of our two Delta Flyers the Voyager.
Are there any objections to this?”
A round of shaken heads was his only reply and Xander scrolled his PADD’s display further before continuing.
"For the second Paris
-class Runabout sitting in our shuttle bay-"
There were some gasps of surprise from the Voyager crew at having a second Delta Flyer on board.
"-I feel that we should leave it registered as THE Delta Flyer
as it is currently listed in our registry."
When all he got were nods of agreement he continued.
“Ok, next order of business. The Captain’s Yacht Cousteau
and the multipurpose Shuttle Argo
are both in working order with no faults or damage. We’ll eventually want to run full systems and flight tests to be sure they are fully functional, but that can wait until we’ve dealt with the more immediate issues. I am going to leave them named as they are, they are fitting names and I see no reason to change them.”
He scrolled the PADD’s screen once more.
“Moving on, the four Type 11 shuttlecraft we have on board have designated names, but I'd rather we name them ourselves. I am open to any suggestions you might have for them.”
There was silence for a moment as everyone looked thoughtful before Jonno spoke up.
“We could name one of them the Millennium Falcon.”
Nearly everyone in the small room groaned, save for Jonno and Xander himself.
Xander grinned at Jonno before replying.
“I’m sorry Jonno, but I’m going to have to veto that, NOT-“ He interrupted Jonno when he tried to respond with a complaint. “-because it isn’t a good name, but because I’d rather save that name for if we can build a bigger craft more worthy of the name. Naming a Type 11 Shuttle the Millennium Falcon would be like calling a Citroen a luxury yacht.”
Dawn spoke up next.
“Um, we could name two of them Terra and Luna, after the Earth and the Moon.” She said hesitantly.
Xander thought for a second and smiled.
“You know, I kind of like that idea. Are there any objections?”
Jonno grumbled slightly about Millennium Falcon still being a better name but everyone else agreed with Dawn’s suggestion. Xander quickly made some notations on his PADD.
"Any suggestions for the other two?"
Jenny was the one who spoke up this time.
"Well, we named two after our planet and it's moon, perhaps we could name the other two off another planet and moon from the system?"
Xander looked thoughtful.
"We could name the other two Ares and Deimos." Oz spoke up, drawing attention to the usually quiet young man.
Xander nodded and made a few notes on his PADD.
“Ok, our four Type 11 Shuttles are now registered as the Terra, Luna, Ares, and Deimos. When we get a chance, after we’ve decided what to do about ship markings and registry, we’ll redo the painted registry on their hulls.”
He scrolled down his PADD again.
“In addition to those we also have two type-8 personal shuttles, two type-9 personal shuttles, four type-10 cargo shuttles, and two type-18 shuttle pods. At the moment I don't see a name to alter any of their registries, we'll save that until we figure out what to do about this ship. perhaps we can rename the older shuttle models after cities on Earth or now-destroyed cities from history."
Xander paused to take a sip of his drink.
"The last order of business for the smaller craft are the two Danube
-class Runabouts. Traditionally, at least as far as we see in the show, Runabouts are all named after rivers on Earth. I propose that we name our current pair of Runabouts the Amazon
and the Nile
. They are two of the biggest and longest rivers on the planet, visible from orbit. It seems fitting that our first two Runabouts bear their names.”
When he asked for any objections everyone was in accord. With his and Dawn’s investigations covered he addressed Cordy and Oz next, asking them what they had determined from their visit to the primary Engineering sections of the ship.
The group spent the next hour discussing their investigations, including Jonno’s analysis of the on board inventory and systems checks. According to Jonno only a step-by-step inventory of the cargo bays and storage rooms could confirm that the inventory lists were correct, but a quick check he and the Doctor had made of some storage rooms near the bridge had confirmed a 100% accuracy for the inventory logs for those rooms. Finally Giles and Jenny, the last to go, finished their explanation of what they had observed about the crew quarters.
“As near as we can tell, all personal effects of crew members were duplicated along with the ship. It is our recommendation that we leave them alone for now until we figure out for sure what to do about this ship and our transformations. If we decide to stay on board the ship and keep it-“ Giles said, noting the determined look on Xander’s face when he brought up even the remote possibility of giving up the ship to someone else. “-then we will want to go room by room and gather the personal effects, transferring them to an unused cargo bay or conference room. We can sort them, determine what to put in storage, what anyone of us might want, and put the rest in the matter recyclers.”
Giles paused and went to wipe his glasses before remembering that he hadn’t needed them after waking up.
“It is our recommendation that those of us who’s counterparts were on board this vessel use their quarters for the night. In the event that we do keep the ship we can evaluate quarters and decide whether we want to change quarters or not before any other crew come on board.”
Xander was apparently the only one to notice that behind the beard Giles was blushing slightly. Xander knew that at this point in time Deana Troi and William Riker we just about to be married, if not having just had the wedding. Obviously their counterparts’ relationship was helping him and Jenny build their own relationship.
“For those of you whose counterparts came from the Voyager, um, Cordelia and Oz, Jenny and I marked off a pair of quarters that belonged to higher ranking officers that you can use for the night. They are larger than either of your quarters on the Voyager are likely to have been, and in Oz’s case it is of a higher ranking officer than his counterpart was. Cordelia, we’re assigning you the quarters of a female member of the Engineering staff. It’s not the Chief Engineers quarters, but as Geordie couldn’t really see in the same spectrums as we do his quarters are a little…aesthetically unpleasing for someone like you. We can always redecorate them another day if you choose to remain on board, but for now they probably wouldn’t suit you. Oz, we’ve assigned you quarters of a Lieutenant Commander, one who Riker remembers tended to take the night shift during normal ship operation. We figured they should be comfortable enough until we can work out what to do.”
When there were no objections Xander spoke up.
“Very well then. Seeing as it’s nearly eight o’clock, I motion that we all head to our quarters and get some sleep. We’ve had a long day and could use some rest. We’ll meet back in my ready room at eight tomorrow morning and we’ll continue our plans. Go ahead and eat breakfast in your quarters, or one of the observation rooms, or wherever, just make sure you clean up after yourselves before meeting here. Giles, Jenny, since you two picked quarters for Cordelia and Oz I’d like you to lead them to them. Everyone else can remember where their quarters are, I hope, and if not the ship can direct us to them.”
Xander turned towards Jonno and the Doctor.
“Now, I know you two don’t require sleep, but I don’t want to impose on you just because you aren’t biologically human. However, with limited crew I do need to ask that at least one of you remain on duty on the bridge overnight, keeping a watch for any possible collisions or threats.”
Jonno and the Doctor both nodded.
“No problem Xander.” Jonno replied. “I’d be happy to do so. It’ll give me time to continue running system checks. I’ll even try to tap into the Internet and see if I can’t download the complete series for Star Trek.”
“No.” Xander immediately replied. “You can go through the databanks, and you can set the system to record any broadcast signals in the system, but do not under any circumstances access the Internet or communications networks. Until we decide what to do I don’t want to risk causing any problems.”
“No buts. Once we figure out the full extent of our situation, then we can set up some remote up-links to gather data on an isolated server that can be scanned and cleaned of any viruses, not before.”
Xander grinned at Jonno.
“Besides, when we finally do it I want to have a system set up so that we can easily start converting some of the best episodes and movies into holoprograms.”
Xander saw Jonno’s eyes light up at this and laughed before turning to face the Doctor.
“And you Doctor.”
The Doctor looked up from where he had been staring contemplatively out the window.
“Oh, I think I’ll help Commander Jonno here keep watch on the bridge. I figure I’ll continue integrating the on board medical database with my own, as well as updating it with my Delta Squadron medical experience. This way both the EMH Mk II and myself will be as up to date on medical procedures as possible.”
“Very well. How are you settling in as part of the Enterprise’s crew.”
“Quite well in fact.” The Doctor replied. “After seven years with the same crew, it will be refreshing to spend time serving with some new people. I am grateful that you are treating me as a crew member and not a tool.”
“Of course. As I explained, everything you experienced was just a television series here, and I watched you develop into the man you’ve become. Speaking of that, even though there will be a command officer on the bridge, I authorize you to activate the ECH protocols for now, Lieutenant Commander rank. Unless a situation arises where we are all incapacitated and you need to take command of the ship you have a permanent Lieutenant Commander rank in addition to your role as Chief Medical Officer.”
The Doctor looked flabbergasted before standing up with pride.
“As you command, Captain. It is an honor, and I promise to serve this ship and crew to the best of my abilities.”
Xander smiled as the Doctor walked out of the ready room, his uniform already altering as he activated the ECH protocols, changing from science-blue to command-red.
Xander smiled and stood himself, finally exiting the room and heading towards the Captain’s Quarters down on Deck 9, whistling the original Star Trek theme as he went.
Kennedy Space Center, 2200 Hours
Captain Samantha Carter let out a breath she hadn’t been aware she had been holding as she settled into her seat on board the Columbia
. She was currently lying on her back on the seat while support personnel helped the rest of the mission team get strapped in. Finally being strapped into the shuttle it finally hit home.
Samantha Carter, genius astrophysicist who figured out how to power the Stargate successfully, who had traveled to many alien worlds, was finally, truly going into SPACE.
“Hey, does anybody have a pen or marker? I want to write ‘Kilroy was here’ on the hull of that ship in orbit when we reach it.”
And she was bringing the USAF King of Snark with her.
Deck 9, Captain’s Quarters, USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E, 0200 Hours
“Captain, we appear to have a situation.”
Jonno’s voice echoed loudly in the dimly lit room, dragging Xander from the sweet embrace of Morpheus.
“Urgh.” Xander grunted as he rolled over in bed, grabbing his com badge off his nightstand. “Computer, Lights, half illumination.”
Xander sat up and shook his head clear of cobwebs as the lighting of the room doubled. It was still soft and low enough to not hurt his eyes.
“Yes Jonno, what is it?” He asked after activating his com badge.
“Captain, ship’s sensors have detected the launch of a space shuttle from the Kennedy Space Center. Extrapolation of their current trajectory indicates a 92.3% chance they are on course to our present location.”
Xander groaned and rubbed his forehead. He had hoped to at least have another few days before having to deal with this sort of decision.
“What’s their ETA?” He asked, holding his breath.
“Presuming they maintain their current course and speed I estimate their arrival in approximately one hour.”
Xander let out the breath, relieved that they at least had time to prepare a response.
“Ok Jonno, I’m on my way to the bridge. I want you to pull up anything the historical databanks have on the capabilities of NASA’s orbiters, including the maximum potential crew we might be facing here. Wait five minutes and then wake the others and order them into uniform and to the bridge.”
Xander turned off his com badge and headed to his refresher unit, taking a quick sonic shower before slipping into a newly replicated uniform.
“The things I do for my planet.” He muttered as he slipped out into the hallway and headed for the turbolifts.
Ten minutes later Xander was seated in the Captain’s chair on his bridge, reading over the data that Jonno had correlated for him while Jonno and the Doctor ran systems analysis and primed the impulse engines, shields, and phaser banks in anticipation of Xander’s possible decisions. Xander barely noticed when the turbolift doors hissed open to let a bleary-eyed and sleepy Dawn onto the bridge. Without even thinking the younger girl walked around the tactical stations and took a seat at the main science station.
Xander continued to run possible scenarios through his head, drawing upon Picard’s expertise and knowledge of his ship, while the rest of his small screw slowly filtered in.
Finally, twenty minutes after Jonno had woken him up to warn him about the approaching space Shuttle, he looked up and spoke.
“Jonno, you said last night that our Enterprise has holoemitters in areas beyond just the holodecks, right?”
“That is correct Captain, but they are currently only covering Main Engineering, the two Medical Bays and the bridge.”
Xander nodded absentmindedly.
“Hmmm….still would be of use.” He mumbled to himself.
After a few moments of everyone waiting for his response he spoke up.
“Ok, here is the situation people. We have a NASA space shuttle, carrying an unknown crew complement and payload, on an intercept course with our current location. Given that they sent up a shuttle instead of a nuclear-tipped missile I’d say it’s a safe bet that they are either trying to make contact with us or board us.”
“Actually Captain, our sensors have been able to determine eleven life-signs on board the shuttle.” Jonno interrupted. “The payload is unknown, but we detect no sign of nuclear radiation beyond that expected from the normal operation of such a craft. It is unlikely that they are carrying nuclear weapons of any kind. Considering that a minimum of two crew are required to operate the Shuttle, it would be safe to assume that as many as 9 of those on board the craft are intended as a boarding party.”
Xander looked thoughtful at this before continuing.
“Ok, if they are pushing the crew to the maximum then I believe it is safe to assume that they intend to board us. That said, I’d personally not end up killing a dozen innocent Americans just because their superiors decided to send them to try to take our vessel, nor do I wish to alienate us from our own world.” He said, glancing down at the display built into his chair. “That said, Doctor, Jonno, I’d like you to go through the holographic databanks and see what we have to work with in regards to full hologram programmed copies of Starfleet Engineers and officers, preferably tactical officers. If we can activate some of them it will free up our, ahem, admittedly limited crew resources.”
Xander looked up and let his gaze travel around the room, taking in his full crew. As he realized that all of them, some reluctantly, appeared committed to this ship even if they had not yet realized it themselves he felt a sense of pride well up. These were his people, his crew, and he would protect them.
“We have two options as I see it. Option one is that activate the engines and move away from the planet. Given our limited numbers, I would recommend at least moving to the dark side of the moon, if not warping out of the system and then coming back in hiding behind Jupiter. Option two is to spend the next half hour preparing the ship and preparing…a show, a reception for our uninvited guests. We can prepare to deal with them attempting to board the ship, prepare for either a hostile incursion or merely a curious attempt. We haven’t exactly responded to any of the attempts to communicate to us that Jonno has detected, so they may just be being cautious by coming in person. Given our position in the skies over sunny California, they are probably worried about getting us out of sight before too many people spot us.”
Xander smirked and looked at his crew.
“Show of hands, who here is for tucking our tails between our legs and running? Remember, if we do so we will DEFINITELY have to disappear for a while, and could cause us some major problems in the long run.”
No one raised their hands, and everyone showed a look of determination on their faces. Xander couldn’t help but smile.
“Very well then, it’s decided. Now, here is what we are going to do. Jonno and the Doctor are going to activate and brief any holographic crew mates that may be required to ensure we have functional crew for Main Engineering and for the Bridge. I want to put on a show and the best way to do that is to have a show of force here on the bridge.”
Xander thought for a moment before adding. “Better make sure that anyone selected for the Bridge are not someone that would be recognized by any fans of the shows or movies.”
The Doctor nodded in acknowledgment.
“Utilize the modified uniform design that Cordelia and I selected yesterday. Also, initiate replication of the appropriate uniforms for all current crew. Doctor, that includes altering your holomatrix with it as well. We won’t be using the same uniform as Picard’s crew, we’ll use a modified design that I feel looks a bit cooler, and will provide a bit better show for our…guests.”
He turned to Giles.
“Commander, I want you and Jenny to head to the nearest armory and get out phaser rifles for eight people. Make sure that they are encoded so only the eight of us can utilize them. In case the shit hits the fan I want to ensure that they can’t take and use our weapons against us. Bring two here to the bridge so that Jonno and I can conceal them out of sight. That way we can grab them easily if the shit hits the fan, but they aren’t visible if our guests come quietly.”
He paused before continuing.
“They will most likely try to gain access via an external airlock. Doctor, I want you to prepare the system to lock the inner door of whichever one they choose open and activate a containment field. Jonno will then transport Giles, Jenny, Oz, Cordelia and you to the site. You will all be armed and in the new uniforms. When they breach the airlock they will be greeted by the sight of a pair of Starfleet officers with Phaser rifles aimed directly at them. In the event that they choose to make a hostile reaction then you will have the remaining three off to the sides able to provide cover fire. One call on your badges and we will transport the offenders into open space and activate the impulse engines. If they come quietly, I want you to bring only two aboard, while ordering the remainder back onto their shuttle. You will leave two of you to watch the airlock just in case, while the remaining three will escort our guests to the bridge.”
Xander turned to face Dawn and Jonno.
“Jonno, you are going to remain here on the bridge. I want you to maintain transporter locks on everyone at all times, and be prepared to teleport hostiles outside the ship and our crew to safety in the event of an emergency. Dawn, you are going to remain here on the bridge as well. You will take Counselor Jenny’s-” Xander had to resist the urge to laugh at Jenny’s blush “-seat. I want you to use a PADD to maintain a direct eye on the sensor readings from their shuttle. Jenny, I want you to be one of the trio to return with our guests. Keep your senses focused on them if you are comfortable doing so, your ability to sense their emotions and if they are lying or not will be immensely important.”
Xander sighed before continuing.
“This is earlier than I had anticipated doing this, but we discussed the generalities of this last night. The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E is officially in service, Captain Alexander Lavelle Picard commanding. You know your assignments, make it so.”
Xander sighed again as everyone hurried to carry out their assignments in the short time remaining before the shuttle reached them. Standing he walked into his ready room to change into the new uniform.
USS Enterprise, External Airlock, Columbia Umbilical
Samantha Carter moved slowly inside her space suit as she carefully followed the instructions she had taped to the inside of the visor. She had to resist the urge to shake her head in shock that Mission Control had contacted them when they were ten minutes out from the target to inform them that they had gotten instructions on exactly how to open one of the airlocks via the external manual release from a Star Trek fan-site of all places.
She was comforted by the fact that Jack floated behind her in the umbilical with a Zat held firmly in hand, and that two members of SG-2 were behind him, both likewise equipped with Zats in the event that they encountered a hostile force or a dangerous life form.
Sighing as she heard Jack for umpteenth time ask if anyone else was wondering if they’d find Borg on board when they opened the airlock she pulled back on the pair of levels making up the handle before beginning to slowly rotate them. After about thirty seconds she had gotten them rotated 180 degrees. Pushing them both in she could see the hiss of released atmosphere from the obviously higher-pressured airlock around the sides before the door began to slide outwards towards her. She pulled back and floated in the umbilical while the door opened to reveal the airlock’s interior.
However, instead of the darkened interior she had expected the airlock was brightly lit, with near-floodlight level beams directed at them from the interior. She had only a few moments to realize what that meant before the lights dropped to normal levels. The interior of the airlock was revealed and Sam realized that the inner door was already open. A faint shimmering in the air belied the presence of some sort of containment field, beyond which she could see a pair of young adults, likely no more than teenagers, wearing an unfamiliar uniform with the very familiar delta symbol and holding what were quite obviously Phaser Rifles.
The uniforms consisted of some sort of material that looked like it was made of small flexible panels rather than the familiar smooth and presumably soft material that she was familiar with from the movies. The pants were black with stripes down the outsides of them, gold for the young woman with the forehead ridges and red for the young blond man. The top of the uniform had a gold collar for the woman and a red collar for the man, with yellow shoulder panels, two yellow panels along their sides set into a larger black section, a central ‘Y’ that was in a soft blue or silver shade, and black stripes down the outsides of the blue-silver arms to where the color of their cuffs matched their collars. A silver delta, presumably a com badge, was attached to their left breasts but it was larger and of a different design than she remembered from the movies.
Looking up into their eyes she found a pair of determined faces, and instantly knew that if she didn’t choose her next words very carefully then things could likely go to hell in a hand basket very quickly.
“Would it help if we said we come in peace?” She heard Jack say from behind her. Turning around slowly and resisting the urge to groan, inwardly thanking whatever deity was watching over them that the duo hadn’t shot them yet, she found Jack collapsing the Zat, dropping it in the zero-g of the umbilical, and raising his hands non-threateningly above his head.
After a few moments of silence Jack noticed that both of the apparent Starfleet officers loosened up as the men behind him both followed his example.
“Um, so I guess this is the point where I should be saying take us to your leader?”
For anyone reading this, the Columbia was scheduled for a mission launch on November 19th 1997. It was close enough that, given how quickly we have seen them pull together shuttle missions in the show (such as when Anubis first attacked Earth) that I am justifying them rushing the shuttle into launch shape in 24 hours. The actual historical mission involved microgravity experiments and two EVAs. In addition they also put into orbit the SPARTAN 201-04 unit, a space craft analyzing the outer layers of the sun’s atmosphere and corona. Just a little bit of space exploration history there for you.
The new uniform was selected and modified from a specific uniform used in Star Trek Online. If you want to see an image of it look up the Sierra 5 Uniform variant. The uniform that Xander and Cordelia selected is basically that, with the addition of division stripes down the sides of the pants, black stripes down the outside of the arms, and changing the two side blue panels of the torso to black.A Message from ElvenkingC:
Cry Havoc and let slip the targs of war.