The ship turned then with a stretch and the distant flash as the ship vanished into warp, The mission to Starbase 19 was a routine pick up and resupply of a nearby colony, nothing the shakedown cruise couldn’t handle, although this was Alex’s first command, he had spent the better part of the last four years working on the Explorer project, this of course meant the U.S.S Argyle had lost her Chief Engineer a decision not welcomed by his former Captain. Alex had wondered if perhaps been given command of the Explorer was his former Captains idea of a bad joke.
“Incoming subspace transmission sir” The young woman at Ops announced in a bright tone, bright enough in fact to catch Alex with quite a start
“On screen” He finally managed after a moment or two
The view screen moved from the flaky stars to that of an older man, mid 40’s one would have placed, a balding head of brown hair and quite the smile on his face.
“How’s the new command going? Enjoying life in the big chair Captain?” The man said jovially
“Actually it’s only Commander and I’m assuming this was your idea?” Alex replied firmly
“Oh do come now Alex, who better to command the premier new ship of the fleet than her designer? Besides no one knows that ship better than you do Alex, no one is more capable then you”
“Biased opinion I believe Admiral, but I do thank you for this opportunity”
“Well what can I say life isn’t the same once they take you from the big chair, life just isn’t as fun as an Admiral I want to be out there with you, which reminds me, you will be receiving a new passenger at Starbase 19, so I hope your ship is ready for inspection”
“You sir?” Alex replied cautiously
“Of course Alex, who else, I want to see first hand my life’s work” The admiral replied with a smile.
“Wouldn’t say life’s work Admiral, but yes quite a substantial time serving under you sir”
“10 years I believe ever since you were an Ensign” The Admiral replied
“Second assignment sir, so this would be my fourth” Alex contemplated that for a moment “Fifth if you include the time I spent in dry dock developing the Explorer project”
“Five it is then” The Admiral laughed then his voice dropped finally getting to the point of his call “Alex they don’t trust your work, they believe the ship is over powered for a ship of it’s size that you focused too hard on the transwarp systems without giving too much real thought to ship and system design, they are looking for an excuse to leave the Explorer in dry dock” He sighed softly “That’s why I wanted them to put you in command you’ve earned it and you’ve worked for it, plus if you run into trouble out there, you’re the best man to find a solution with the least risk to the ship or her crew”
Alex breathed in thought and then nodded “We’ll get her through Admiral don’t worry on that I have a great crew here and on top of that I have three of the designers on board working out the last few kinks, we’ll get her to Starbase 19 and then to the colony all in one piece”
“And the transwarp?” The admiral asked in a stoic tone
“It got the Phoenix home” Alex replied in a very matter of fact tone
“Yes you did Alex; you got us all home in one piece” The Admiral replied “Right good luck Alex, I’ll see you in a day or so”
“Admiral Aicheck thank you” Alex replied
“Aicheck out” With that the screen flashed the United Federation of Planets logo and then settled back to the stars flashing past
Alex settled back to watching the stars as they flashed past, strange how they looked so different out here, he remembered been the USS Phoenix’s Helm Officer and how he’d watch the stars as they flashed past, it seemed so majestic, he smiled then turned his attention the to the rest of the bridge crew in silent contemplation, the bridge was such a different place to the constant throng of engineering, As an Engineer you always had to be doing something, this of course was true for the bridge there just seemed to be less of a need to, or perhaps that’s just because he had now made the rank of Capta00in.
He smiled and then let his eyes dance over his display screen which now displayed the senor readings in rapid succession, as a helm officer he understood the majority of it. He paused as he looked then hit the button to hold the display as he glanced up and back
“I’m detecting high neutrino levels here anyone else seeing this” He asked
“Yes sir” Replied the science station,
“All stop, bring us about, let the port sensor grid get a good look at it” Alex replied
The ship came to a stop as it turned slowly then halted, Alex looked at the read out then back to the science station, the stout officer looking to him then diverting her eyes looking at the screens, not even raisin her head as she made her assessment.
“It’s a class two temporal vortex”
“Back us off Grey” He snapped “Now”
The ship slowly turned but before it was able to complete the manoeuvre, there was a flash and she vanished from the stars, Alex hit the ground hard his hands sprawling out underneath him, he groaned as he covered his head to avoid another panel as it exploded, the Red alert klaxons droning to life in a quick moment.
“REPORT!” He barked into his comm. badge angrily
He groaned as he tried to collect himself the pushed himself to his knees as he looked to the view screen the stars looking fresh and yet there which at least meant they were in one piece. He pulled himself back into his seat and hit the intercom
“Engineering report” He snapped
“We’re in one piece sir, all be it damaged, as long as we don’t get jumped out here we’ll be fine, it’ll take a while to make an assessment or get things back up, but we’re ok” Replied a voice
“Ok get damage teams out where they’re needed” Alex replied
“Aye Sir” The voice replied
Alex closed the inter comm link and then eyed his console which was dead and providing no information to him at all. Alex pulled himself to his feet and moved to the Science station. His eyes looked over the details slowly then he looked to his officer.
“Any ideas?” He asked
“We we’re pulled in Sir, and I think we have gone back in time, it may take a while to find out where we are but I’m working on it” She replied
“Thanks McConner let me know as soon as you have something” He replied, she nodded in reply as she moved off.
“Unidentified vessel, this is the USS Phoenix, please identify yourselves, if you do not respond we will open fire” A voice came over the comm.
“What the?!” Alex snapped wheeling on his heel in shock as he glanced to his Ops officer
“Federation Sir, USS Phoenix NCC 8143” Trinner replied, her face looking as stunned as Alex.
“Oh …” Alex said and stopped just as quickly. “This can’t be good, open a channel”
“Captain I advise you to be careful in what you say, if that is indeed the former USS Phoenix, we must be careful in what we impart to them” His Tactical Officer stated in a rather matter of fact tone, a surly looking Klingon.
“Thanks K’Teth” Alex replied as the comm beeped an open line
“This is Commander Alex McGuinley of the … Explorer class starship, we are here on a mission of piece and mean you no harm” He said a rather unnerved tone to his voice
“I am Captain Lucas Allans; may we assist you in any way?” The voice sounded uncertain and Alex suspected they weren’t believing his story.
“No we just blew a few plasma conduits, well be fine” Alex replied
“I’m detecting a federation signature with you, can you confirm this?”
“Can we get a visual?” Alex asked
The image on the view screen shifted the dark haired man in a gold Starfleet uniform now stood looking at them Alex looked up and sighed softly. He knew they’d have to give something more than they had been giving the Phoenix crew.
“We are Federation, but we ran into a Temporal Vortex and well here we are, I’m sorry Captain but the Temporal Prime Directive, prohibits us from giving you too much information, you understand?” Alex stated
“Of course, our Chief Engineer is prepared to beam aboard and give you help if needed?” Captain Allans replied
“It’d be appreciated Captain” Alex replied
“Very well” Allans replied
Alex nodded and the link disconnected as he sat back into his chair and breathed firmly, his head raced at the prospect of been trapped back in time.
“2290, or there about sir” McConner finally added to the conversation
“80 years back, give or take” Alex replied
“Yes sir” She replied
The hail of gold announced the arrival of the USS Phoenix’s Chief Engineer, she stood around 6 foot tall, long dark hair and grey eyes as Alex looked to her a smile curled his lips, a quick glance at her pips enabled him to determine her rank.
“Welcome Lieutenant Commander” He stated
“Thank you Commander ….” Her voice trailed off
“McGuinley, Alex McGuinley” Alex added to her thoughts “Deck 16 is Engineering, Lieutenant Markson is my Chief Engineer, and he’ll fill you in on what’s going on”
Alex nodded and then returned his attention to the engineering panel on the wall, as he began to re route power grids and attempt to restore power to the ships systems. The system beeped in argument at Alex’s attempts to bypass key systems. He simply growled and re-entered his access codes to override the lock outs. Another beep in argument, causing Alex to growl dangerously at the panels.
The lights flickered, then the all too familiar whirl as some of the main systems came back online all be it reluctantly. Alex breathed gently then returned is attention to the view screen. His eyes noting how the stars seemed to be, just a little brighter.
“Ok now we won’t look so easy to shoot at” Alex mused quietly