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Cptn Swain

A Trip Through History

 Constance d'Aubigné glanced over to the co-pilot seat of the shuttlecraft Arion.  Asher Swain fiddled pensively with the box of datachips Rhan had given to him before he left.  Though she’d been on the Excalibur for almost two years, she’d had very little direct interaction with the man. Which was, she thought, rather strange given his reported attitude. Not that she entirely minded the absence of a personal relationship. In truth, she preferred a bit of distance between herself and those who reported to her. It just seemed cleaner. 

“On approach to the Enterprise,” she said, moving her hands over the console. “Clearance from flight ops to land.”

“I’ve seen Ambassador-classes before,” he replied, looking out the window. “But I don’t think I ever thought I’d see this Ambassador-class.”

“Alphy -- my brother -- served on the Mandela. I visited him a few times. They don’t make them like her anymore.”

Asher nodded. The Arion continued her approach before touching down with near pinpoint accuracy. Constance smirked as Asher reminded her again of the protocols that Commander Hawthrone had insisted they followed. She was to stay on the shuttle and avoid unnecessary contact with the Enterprise crew until Asher was ready to return to Excalibur. Under no circumstances was she to allow them aboard her shuttle. 

“So you want me to space them or?”  Asher frowned, but she gave him an apologetic reply and his mood lightened. He checked his uniform one last time before disembarking. 

Captain Rachael Garrett was waiting for him, attended on either side by her own executive officer Samir al-Halak and their chief science officer Tholav.  Garrett wasn’t as tall as Asher had expected. She welcomed him aboard, and after the perfunctory introductions, suggested they adjourn to a nearby lounge.  Tholav would join them, later, she said. al-Halak excused himself to return to the bridge to coordinate gathering the list of supplies from the Excalibur.   

The lounge was little bigger than Asher’s ready room, but it was well appointed and comfortable enough. Tea service was waiting. “Unless you’d prefer coffee,” she said, pouring hot water into a cup. “But I’ve never been much of a fan.”

Grinning widely, he nodded. “Same actually.”

“Well then, this is an Andorian blend. Thalov introduced me to it when we first met back on the Ghandi. It’s got a bit of a kick.”

While they waited for their tea to steep, Asher settled in across from Garrett. He would be lying if he said he didn’t feel a sense of school-boy excitement to be aboard the Enterprise-C. Still, he also couldn’t help but to feel a profound sense of guilt knowing what fate would befall the woman making him tea in a few years when on sleepy Sunday afternoon, her ship responded to a distress call from the Klingon outpost on Narendra III. 

 He forced a smile as she offered him milk. “So, I am guessing it is a rather interesting story about how your ship got here?”

“Well, I am not sure my crew would call it that, but I suppose.”

She smirked. “How are they are?”

“We’ve been through a lot in the last few weeks, they’re tired but they’re good. I think every Captain thinks that, but they are.”

Nodding she took a sip of tea, and motioned for him to continue.  He explained that they’d been returning to starbase following a diplomatic mission in the sector and had received a distress call. The irony of their somewhat intertwined fates loomed ever present in his mind, but he continued. “That’s where things got weird.”

“You said it was from a Kaedwani freighter?”

He nodded. “Yeah, on the edge of Tamaran space. They said they were under attack, well as near as we could make out. It was pretty garbled.  When we arrived, we were the first ones there -- at least from our perspective.”

Rachel lifted a brow, but took a drink of tea instead of asking another question as Asher continued to unwind the events of the last few weeks. “We managed to calm them down,” he said of the Kaedwani and Tamaran captains, “and we agreed to launch a joint investigation led by the Romulans and us.

“By then we’d started to notice malfunctions and unusual biological effects.” 

“Unusual biological effects?”

“It was strange, crew remembers were reporting old wounds healing or in some cases reopening. Our science and medical team suspected the high levels of chroniton radiation were at fault, but we couldn’t confirm it until we brought the wreckage aboard.”

Rachel was listening intently and had largely forgotten her tea.  “We discovered,” he continued, “that the molecular structures of the freighter’s hull were starting to regress to earlier temporal states but before we could hypothesize further, the Kaedwani cruiser started to lose containment. They ejected their core and well... what happened next is pretty conjectural.”

Remembering that Rachel wasn’t a science junkie, like himself, he considered how to explain what happened. Even for an astrophysicist, he found it all a bit strange. “We think when the core exploded, that it caused a temporal inversion -- a rip in space-time -- that caused the destruction of the freighter.  The result was a sort of, temporal eruption. We got caught in its wake and somehow ended up in the past.”

Taking that all in Rachel leaned back in her chair, drumming her fingers. “Well, I guess that would explain what’s going on with the moon...”

Sheepishly, Asher sighed. “Well not uh... not exactly.”


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