Thursday, January 22, 2015

Star Trek: Switchback

Captain Charles Wagner leaned forward in his chair and looked at the view screen hoping to catch a glimpse of something that would tell him the shuttle was out there but just not detected by the sensors yet.  Ensign Carson glanced at the screen and then back into his side navigation computer.  He saw nothing either.  Wagner spun in his chair, stood up, pulled down the front of his yellow shirt and walked to the rail beside the science station.  "Anything?" he asked or perhaps demanded more from his science officer.

Lt. Commander Susan Daniels turned from her station.  Her blond hair, not in the regulation bun since she was called for the emergency form sleep, fell gently down onto her shoulder.  She still had managed to slip into her blue uniform top and the new pants Star Fleet female officers were now wearing.  "Nothing sir.  It's as if they were there and then they were gone.  No wreckage, no residue, nothing."

"Captain.  We're receiving a transmission sir from the Enterprise."  Lt. Jason Cartwalls voice shook with excitement.  Everyone in Star Fleet knew the Enterprise.  By now the ship was on route home from the five-year mission, and the stories abound about the legendary Kirk and his crew.  Cartwalls was just expressing the same excitement everyone on the bridge of the science vessel felt.  

Wagner nodded toward the main screen, his only order needed to indicate that the communication should be put through.  A ripple came over the screen for a moment before the crew of the Galveston was face-to-face, even through the distance, with the full bridge of a Constitution Class Starship known as Enterprise and her Captain, James T. Kirk.  Kirk smiled, "Captain Wagner.  Good to meet you finally.  I've heard a lot of fine things about the Galveston."

"Captain Kirk.  The honor is ours.  We've heard a lot about you and the Enterprise crew as well." Wagner sat down in his chair as he faced Kirk.  "We're looking for a shuttle right now Captain, so I don't mean to cut you off but we have a little...."

"It wouldn't be the shuttle Avery would it?" Kirk was smiling.  "It seems we have picked them up here in our sector."

"That's impossible," interjected Daniels before she thought and quickly closed her mouth. 

"Not entirely, Lt. Commander," came the voice that every science officer in the fleet knew almost by heart.  Commander Spock.  The first Vulcan to serve in Star Fleet and the legendary first officer of the Enterprise.  "We could say it is impossible, if it were not for the fact that the Avery and her crew are here with us on the Enterprise."  

Wagner stood up from his chair.  "Well Kirk, if that were true...." he broke off, suddenly feeling dizzy, almost faint.  He grabbed the edge of his chair for a moment and cut a sharp look at the screen.  He noticed that Kirk seemed to have the same expression on his face.  "Captain Kirk.  Something is happening.  I think we should cut transmission....."

His voice cut out as he fell into darkness for a moment.  Seconds later he was on the floor looking up at Doctor Careway.  She smiled down at him.  "You gave us a scare there Captain.  You were talking with the Galveston and then you just fell out.  

Wagner stood up and looked around the bridge.  It was larger, filled with more people.  He knew two things immediately for sure.  He was not on the Galveston anymore and he was now on a Constitution Class Starship.  He glanced toward the door where he saw the ship's dedication plaque.  He sucked in a quick gasp of air as he read it.  'U.S.S. Enterprise'.  

He quickly looked back at the screen and saw the face of James Kirk on the bridge of he Galveston.  "I'm glad you're alright Captain," came the voice of Kirk.  "We just wanted to contact you on your way home from your five year mission and say it's a honor to talk with you and wish you the best of luck."  Kirk nodded and smiled one last time before adding, "Galveston out."

Wagner looked around the bridge and caught the stare of Daniels from her station.  "This isn't right," he murmured under his breath, almost a whisper, but more of a silent communication between first officer and captain.  Daniels only nodded slowly before cutting a glance that told Wagner to look around. 

Wagner glanced around the bridge and noticed that all his officers were here on the Enterprise.  He further noticed that with the exception of himself and Daniels, they all seemed very comfortable in their work.  It was as if they had been here for years.  He moved toward the turbo life.  "Lt. Cartwells.  You have the bridge.  Daniels.  You're with me."

After the two had stepped into the silence of the turbo life, Daniels turned to Wagner, "Captain what is going on?"

Wagner shook his head and pulled down at the front of his command shirt.  He quickly glanced down and noticed that he wore the emblem of the Enterprise on his shirt.  He had heard like everyone else that the symbol was going to become regulation use for all ships after the Enterprise had used it, but he knew this had not happened yet.  "I have no idea.  Somehow you, me and the entire crew of the Galveston just traded places with the legendary Enterprise crew and we seem to be the only ones to notice."


Wagner and Daniels slipped quietly into the Captain's quarters.  Wagner glanced around quickly, "Constitution class ships do have larger quarters."

Daniels pulled up the screen and scanned the records.  "My God," she said, half standing up before leaning back to look at the tabletop screen.  "All the logs indicate that we went on the missions!  It's as if history has been rewritten completely."

Wagner quickly turned the screen and accessed his own logs.  He scanned through them one-by-one as a flood of memories came into his head.  He could see each mission, each lost crew member, each victory.  He saw it all as his mind raced back to life in Iowa as a child, his first thoughts of going to space, his first time to see Star Fleet Academy.  Admiral Pike....he paused, Admiral Pike was in a chair...no on a planet now...wait conflicting memories from yet another time line.  Pike was dead, killed by someone called Khan, but that can't be...Khan didn't come along until long after Pike was in the chair.  He grabbed his head by the temples, obviously hurting from the flood of memories.

"What?  What's wrong Captain?" Daniels placed her hand on the shoulder of the man she had known and respected so long.  She could tell he was in distress and confused.

"So much running through my mind.  I think I'm even seeing another timeline altogether.  But one thing is for sure," he lowered his hands from the sides of his head to the desk.  "This is right.  We are right where we belong.  Whatever happened, that area of space returned us to our original time line."

Just then the com link on the table blinked.  "Captain Wagner.  You have an incoming transmission from the Galveston.  Captain Kirk and Commander Spock would like to speak to you on a secure channel sir."

Wagner shot a glance to Daniels.  He mouthed slowly, "Do you think they know too?"  She only shook her head while raising her shoulders in a shrug.  "Put it through here," said Wagner.

In a moment Kirk's face materialized on the screen.  Close by stood Commander Spock.  Kirk smiled, "Captain Wagner.  I must admit, I had no idea you were the son of the legendary Biologist James Kirk....or maybe his name was Wagner....from Alabama."

Wagner could feel the blood from his face seem to drain.  He stumbled out the words "And you grew up in Iowa."

Spock looked at Kirk before raising one eyebrow as he glanced at the screen.  "It would seem as if we all share memories going back to our childhood and that we all share the same memories since we...or rather you....ran into the Temporal Switch at our current coordinates."

"The problem is," Kirk continued.  "We have no idea which or what timeline is real.  It could be that you are Captain of the Enterprise, or it could be that I am.  Our crews have switched, although we can not account for some of ours due to the number difference and ship size, but either way something is wrong."

"Records have us being right where we belong," said Daniels.

"You are correct, and both ships have had a fair share of missions, although we are just starting out on an extended journey and you have completed your five year tour. " said Spock.

"So, which line is right?  They all feel right to me," said Wagner.

Spock sighed for a moment.  "I have reason to believe that we may have been at this position before in the past.  I believe that the temporal switch threw us into different places approximately five and half years ago.  From theories based on these phenomenon, they are believed to correct errors in time."

"You're saying that it switched us, then we went through our missions and now it is confusing us, or even switched us again somehow?" asked Daniels.

"Commander, I'm saying that the switch has set the time line correct.  Captain Wagner, you are the Captain of the Enterprise and you have been since Captain Pike.  Your first officer has been Commander Daniels and you two are known throughout the galaxy along with the missions of the U.S.S. Enterprise.  History, has been set to the correct setting."