In the aftermath of that unseemly visitation they all knew that their shuttle bay was a potential echo chamber of panic and gloom waiting to happen, whereafter the next words spake would frame the entire context of their mission home… “That thing is probably a bomb. Space it.” Ransom points at the temporally foreign ship like it was a wort with a foot of hair growing out of it. The blonde man of action directs an Ensign, Lainie, a bright kid who’s going to be Admiral before she’s 35, to push that Janeway woman’s ride out the back door before it Trojan horses their lives into a world of hurt… Is Lainie missing an ear? Good lord, why the hell isn’t she in sickbay? Its damn fantastic how this crew, his crew is keeping it together, raising to the occasion despite how Equinox half wrecked itself in transit that it’s almost a betrayal. Although thankfully the Structural integrity held, so did the artificial gravity, his people were hurt, but with the exception of the few poor bastards too close to exploding consoles, the physical vectors he’d observed so far didn’t seem much more invasive than falling off a bicycle. Honestly, if someone had just gotten ahead of the curve said “brace for impact” or “crash positions” before everything went ass over tea kettle it’s likely not one of these fine people would have even gotten worse than a graze.
“I want 5 light hours between us and that SOB because the least interesting thing it could do is explode.”
He was light millennia from Earth.
And because of this Janeway person playing god, he can’t even get a gold medal for planting the flag in virgin land the most damn distant.
Although it’s not like he was guaranteed a place in the history books
The Captain had to grudgingly admit that Picard had gone to another galaxy for 20 minutes, and that some of the Frenchman’s crew had even gone to the Delta Quadrant before them for a different 20 minutes. Perspective on the matter proved that he was not yet were no man had gone before, but he was bloody close, and if they didn’t find their way home to tell that they had found themselves so entirely starlost, it doesn’t quite count as exploration on the way back more so than cocking up in two directions.
Space was bad enough.
Time was trying to kick his ass as well.
But Ransom wasn’t going to be intimidated by the space time continuum.
He had a legacy to live up to.
Half your crew will be dead in a week?
Maybe she was lying?
The only way to avoid… Prophecy
? What hell damn bloody century is this Ransom ponders with contempt: Prophecy? The only way to change the future contention of a bad road laid before them is to resist his instincts and do the exact opposite of whatsoever he as a Starfleet Officer and human being would think is the most wise course of action to save his crew and bring them all home… Bring them all home? Oh hell, that’s unthinkable. Isn’t it? The crew would mutiny. But in truth the irrational thought dancing in his mind is nothing no starship Captain would attempt without barricading himself in the armory first steeled for a dirty mutiny.
Ensign Lainie Andrews had one end under Janeway’s shuttlecraft with an antigravity trolley. Ransom lolls up beside her and puts his shoulder in behind to help his junior Officer with the chore he had just assigned her. It was purely symbolic, the ship literally weighed nothing. But extensively they all had to work together, there was no reason in separating himself from the crew so extremely that they can’t see him as an approachable human being, and besides, if Janeway had some ace up her sleeve that relied on a close proximity to this ship he wanted it the hell off his own as fast as possible, hell
… Change the ships prefix codes Rudy, everyone in the future can look up this historical ships prefix codes in their home library computer, he knew the detonation codes for April’s Enterprise, he’d best change them quick if Janeway hasn’t already.
‘You signed up to see the universe right?”
‘I suppose so.”
It was only 20 feet, but this hunk of duranium probably weighed 80 tons, so they had be worried about a small amount of inertia and momentum that the trolley wouldn’t completely compensate for just to avoid accidentally throwing Shuttles through lode baring bulkheads, so you had to be very careful.
“Earth is 70 years away.”
“I’m sure we can cut a few years off around the margins Captain.”
“Or add a few years.”
“Right now my first instinct is to go home where it safe. To find the Federation and all our Star Bases where we can be assured of a good meal, ready supplies and maintenance. Where our families are, or where we thought we would get around to finding families… But if that’s 70 years away, what difference does it make it if home is 90 years away than 70.”
“But it isn’t. It’s 70 years.”
“We can’t possibly constantly sustain Warp Seven for 70 years Andrews. The Federation is more likely a hundred years away to a Nova Class Star Ship. Equinox has its advantages, but frankly a century long odyssey bisecting the galaxy is most likely not one of them, and if the ship can’t make a 100 year long journey, then it can just as easily not make a 200 year long journey.”
“I don’t entirely understand what you are saying sir.”
Janeway’s shuttle crosses the threshold, it’s nose breaks through the force field membrane that acted as an air lock between space and everyone on the ship that enjoying breathing. One more stern push and the whole thing is discarded into the heavens like yesterdays trash, not that trash is a definable concept in the 24th century since everything, and I do mean everything is recompiled into the ships replication consolidation mass. Space is disgusting.
“And good riddance!” Ransom bellows, shaking his fist at the first of the million and one threats against his continued existence to float off.
The two of them are looking out at gods canvas, albeit an unknown masterpiece, but they’re familiar with the style and its part of a collection of similarly themed works, a lot of black with trillions of white spots. Although the force field does (figuratively) blueshift the entire vista, but then looking at space without some sort of prophylactic their eye balls would explode. Space is dangerous.
“Sir, I don’t entirely understand what you’re saying.”
“This is an opportunity. I choose to look at this as an opportunity. We’re out as far as almost any other human being before us, prepared to encounter the limits of this galaxy, and we have two clear choices, to turn tail and run home to mommy, or see what the hell else is out there next if we keep going. I think we should keep going. We owe it to ourselves and science to go all the way. We’re just 5 years away from the Galactic Barrier; don’t you want to see that? Scan the hell out of it? Find out what makes it ticks, why it’s there? This ship isn’t fast enough to get home before most of us start replicating suicide pills, just because, short of a friendly wormhole, we’ll never see Earth again with young eyes, it doesn’t mean that the border to the Federation isn’t coming, that every backward boondock alien out here in the Delta Quadrant isn’t going to sign up in the next ever so long that even if we’re heading in the opposite direction of Earth that in hundred years from now, this here is Federation Space, fourth dimensionally speaking we’re already home, and it’s mildly racist to think otherwise.”
“If that’s true Captain, they why don’t we just slingshot around a sun and go to the local Federation Embassy that’s on a near by planet?”
“That’s an amazing suggestion Ensign.”
“Hell if they don’t have transwarp beaming licked then we’d certainly have someone that can tow us home in a couple hours with some incredible future engines.”
“If time travel wasn’t horribly illegal I’d say that you’re full of good ideas.”
“I’m not sure if it is Sir?
“Because if our visitor it’a pretty clear that we are now in a divergent time line, so all bets are off. We’re not really “us” so it doesn’t matter if we become complex temporal conundrums because someone, somewhere, probably from a ship called “Enterprise” is already horrified that their time line has been demolished and they’re on task to destroy us to get themselves home, but we have a right to defend ourselves and a duty to figure out how exactly to do that.”
“Pessimistically grim Andrews.”
“I find that the more frightening I am, the more covers I am allowed to steal at night in bed.”
“We try to go home, we die.”
“Janeway made that much clear. I have ears.”
“You said “ears”. Count them.”
For a second there, Andrews doesn’t care about rank. She thinks about popping him one in the nose.
“You should really go to sick bay Lainie, get that sorted out.”
“The EMH is an ass. He shot me up with pain killers then told me to come back in a week once he’d finished dealing with the crew who had real problems.
“What about Doctor Kline?”
“Oh god.” Ransom wonders if he’ll have the capabilities to ever smile again.
“It’s all right sir.”
“Janeway could have stopped this. She wilfully chose to allow this to happen to us.”
“She’s from the future. She knew who was going to live, who was going to die, and because of that foreknowledge she appeared here, now, to collect and use us at our most vulnerable no matter the consequences that lead us here to where she could make use of my ship and this crew because she needed us to be in a delicate state where she could play hero and… I oughta hang that unconscionable tourist from the yard arm for treating us like toys.”
“Yeah, screw her.”
“Screw Admiral Janeway.”
“Screw Admiral Janeway to hell.”
“ … “
“feel any better Sir?”
“Not in the slightest.”
"I've actually never seen the Galactic Barrier before."
"You get too close and it turns you into a god."
"What if you're already a god sir?"
"What are you on?"
"Morphenolog. Strong stuff. It helps me forget that there’s a hole in the side of my head where my ear should be.""
"Are you going to remember this conversation?"
"Probably not sir."