Limis Vircona was brought seven centuries into the future to prevent being captured by Gul Hadar. Jonas Grabowski, a half human, one-quarter Bajoran, one quarter Trill agent charge with policing the timeline brought her to the thirty-first century hoping to prevent history from being altered. Instead, he caused the damage he was attempting to avert.
In this resulting alternate timeline, Bajor was in ruins, possibly because the Federation Alliance lost the Dominion War and Bajor soon fell. In any case, Limis had no way of getting back to her own time period. What was once one of Bajor’s oldest cities was now covered in rubble. Of course, Grabowski and his organization should not have existed.
“If history has been altered,” Limis said to Grabowski, “then wouldn’t your ‘watchdog’ group have been affected.”
“It’s not that simple,” Grabowski replied. “Several instances of time travel involved the travelers noticing even the minutest of changes.”
“You’ve said enough. I promised myself when I joined the service that I wouldn’t get caught up in one of the paradoxes.”
Grabowski appeared oblivious to that last remark as he walked around in a panic. “It’s not here,” he gasped. “It was just here.”
“What?” Limis asked impatiently.
“A monument of Bajor’s entry into the Federation.”
“So Bajor will join the Federation eventually?”
Grabowski did not respond while staring dejectedly.
“Fine. Keep your missing monument to yourself.”
Limis shuddered to think that this could happen to her home planet in the next seven hundred years. But since she did not belong in this century to begin with, she could hardly empathize with Grabowski’s sense of loss.
Near the horizon line stood a large building closely resembling an old Earth museum. Both Limis and Grabowski recognized this ancient structure that was still standing for over ten millennia. “At least the library is still here,” Grabowski observed.
“I know of it,” Limis replied. “It has some of Bajor’s greatest writings dating back several hundred millennia.”
“Hopefully, we can find something on paper with everything stored electronically.”
“You mean you got rid of all the books?”
“Our most important writings that survived the last seven centuries are still in book form.”
The two of them ascended up the front stairs and walked slowly into the large structure. Inside the library were bookshelves two stories high. They were filled with old damaged books, most of them with the binding torn off. Many other books were in big piles throughout the building.
“They’re all books,” Grabowski aghastly observed.
“And some of them should tell us what happened to the last seven hundred years.” Limis snapped. “We appear to have plenty of time.”
A group of Cardassian and Jem’Hadar soldiers held phaser rifles to the bridge crew. Both a Jem’Hadar and a Cardassian were each pushing buttons at conn, ops, and tactical to make sense of the controls.
First Ruaf’izod momentarily vacated the helm to report to Hadar. “We’re on course to take us deeper into the Patch,” he told the Cardassian gul. “We can only manage half impulse, so that could pose a problem if enemy ships follow us.”
“It will have to do until we can get back to Dominion territory,” Hadar replied while visually surveying the dark bridge. “In the meantime, try turning on some lights. Surely that’s not a huge drag on ship’s power.”
“So, this was all to seize this ship,” Morrison observed.
“Starfleet’s talent for stating the obvious has no end,” Hadar retorted
“What about Captain Limis’s son?” Kozar demanded.
“Why do you care?” Hadar asked. “You were never very happy with her getting this command.”
“I’m a parent myself.”
“He was never with us. He was a shape-shifter in disguise.”
To a Cardassian, the ends always justified the means. But to a Jem’Hadar, this particular means was completely unacceptable. All the Jem’Hadar on the bridge glared at Hadar.
“You threatened the life of a Founder to get their attention?” Ruaf’izod growled.
“He went along with it,” Hadar insisted.
“Even so, if you had actually killed a Founder, you would be dead as well.”
Glinn Perrek entered the bridge from the port turbolift. He was in charge of rounding up the crew and having them locked up in quarters. He had just completed the task and was reporting back to the bridge.
“We have the crew in lockdown in their quarters and the cargo bays,” Perrek reported. “No sign of the Bajoran. Search teams did find a residual chroniton signature in that turbolift.”
Perrek handed Hadar a padd containing the relevant information. Hadar read it to see that those chroniton emissions were indicative of time travel. “What do you make of this?” he asked Kozar, showing the padd.
“I wouldn’t know,” Kozar lied.
Hadar looked around to give nods to the Jem’Hadar and Cardassian guards. “Secure the rest in quarters,” he ordered. “And leave Kozar in the ready room. Anyone who resists, kill them.”
The Starfleet crew on the bridge compliantly sauntered off armed escort. The capture crew and their guards filed into both turbolifts.
Perrek walked to the operations station when the comm panel chimed. “Incoming message from the Vorta,” he reported to Hadar.
“On screen,” Hadar answered.
Yelgrun was activating his eyepiece headset when his image appeared on the viewscreen. An unseen Jem’Hadar reported on the Dominion that contact with the Lambda Paz
had been established.
“Hadar, Ruaf’izod, I see you’ve secured the ship,” the Vorta said with a hint of sarcasm. He was uncertain about involving the Cardassians after their experimental orbital weapon platforms failed to hold the Chin’toka System
. After all, Hadar only seemed interested in quenching his thirst for revenge.
“I must object to how the Founder was used in this operation,” Ruaf’izod interjected.
“Keep your place, First,” Yelgrun snapped. “We should never question the wisdom of our gods. Gul Hadar, how long will you need to make repairs?”
“I’m uncertain,” Hadar replied. “We do have another problem. “Captain Limis is unaccounted for.”
“Then have the Jem’Hadar search the ship again,” Yelgrun scowled. “Our mission is to learn about the ship you just captured, not to quench your petty thirst for vengeance.
“Might I suggest a group of the lowest
ranking crewmembers to lend a hand. We don’t want a repeat of the Defiant
“I will keep that in mind,” Hadar muttered. “Screen off.” Those last words calmed the urge he felt to want to throttle both the Vorta and his Founder.
Tor Vot entered the hailing message to his benefactor from the 29th Century for the third time. The individual who provided this Sindareen information dealer with tactical data to pass on to the Dominion still did not answer. He was fired by Gul Hadar for failing to deliver Limis, but Tor Vot refused to give up after his future benefactor promised him a source of wealth.
“He may still be angry with you,” Tor Vot’s lieutenant Jovithran suggested.
“Nevertheless,” Tor Vot replied. “I need instructions. I will not throw away this once in a lifetime opportunity so easily. I can still do what was asked of me even if that Cardassian does not want my help.”
Tor Vot sent the hailing message again with no answer. He hit the console in frustration. “No matter,” he growled. To Jovithran, he said, “Set course to intercept Lambda Paz
. I will have that cormaline one way or another.”
Limis and Grabowski had searched the central library on Bajor for several hours. Limis had taken a liking to the texts of the planet’s distant past, so Grabowski had to keep reminding her of needing to make sense of the more recent past. As tempted as she was to learn the outcome of the Dominion War, she did not wish to know if Bajor was one of the casualties of the war.
Grabowski looked through the Federation records on the shelf behind where Limis was standing. “Everything looks about right until the 24th century,” he observed aloud. “But after the Dominion War, nothing looks right.”
“A lot of people were involved in the Dominion War,” Limis replied.
“We didn’t bring a lot of people here. Just you.”
Limis then snuck a peek at a book relating to the near future as Grabowski passed by her to another set of shelves. “The Typhon Pact
?” she read aloud.
“You don’t want to read that,” Grabowski firmly replied.
Limis shelved the book and followed Grabowski. “Are you saying I had a major role in the outcome of the war?” she curiously inquired.
“I wouldn’t go that far. But you have a major impact in post-war Cardassian politics.”
Limis quietly contemplated the irony of that statement. She was suddenly overcome by a bright light. She was still in the library, but an eerie glow filled the room. Grabowski was still present, but so were Commander Kozar and Gul Hadar.
“You have a destiny to fulfill,” Grabowski stated.
“I kind of figured that,” Limis replied.
“But you have broken the rules of linear time,” Kozar added.
“It wasn’t exactly my decision,” Limis insisted, not considering why Kozar and Hadar were now present with her and Grabowski. Then it hit her. “Wait, you’re the wormhole aliens.”
“You must find that which transcends linear time,” the Prophet in the form of Hadar proclaimed.
“And how do I do that?” Limis demanded. She knew these beings never gave a straight answer, but where was the harm in trying?
“She is a non-believer,” the Grabowski Prophet announced, “but her skepticism will one day diminish.”
The scene quickly faded, and she was back in the real world where the real Grabowski touched her shoulder. “Captain, are you all right?” he asked.
“We have to find the Orb of Time
,” Limis answered. “It’s here on Bajor.”