Disclaimer: The Ferengi, er, the Borg, I mean Paramount/Viacom own the names of characters, places and all that other spiffy stuff we see and hear and drool over (like Seven... mmm, yummy!) on Star Trek. They say as much in the credits, and on their website, and on the packaging of the videos, and... I digress... No copyright and/or trademark infringement intended. I retain all rights to the story and to any original characters.
Out of Time
It was August 27, 2310, by the Terran calendar. Not that it had much meaning along the Gorn/Federation border, hundreds of light- years from Earth, but Lieutenant Dan Phillips liked to keep time by that system, despite that it didn't account for the relativistic effects of superluminal travel.
Phillips walked down the corridor of the Excelsior-class Starship Challenger, his shift in the science lab having just ended. He noticed a familiar face a few meters ahead.
"Sir!" Phillips excliamed. "Captain Stern!"
Captain Jason Stern turned. He smiled upon recognizing Phillips, the only son of his former commanding officer aboard the now- decommissioned USS Merrimac.
"Good morning, Dan," Stern said. "What's going on?"
"I got a letter from my dad and T'Maril," Phillips said. "He sends his regards."
"How are they doing?" Stern asked as they both walked toward the turbolift.
"Pretty good," Phillips said. "I'd like to thank you for taking me aboard, sir. I realize I'm only TDY, but--"
"Dan," Stern interrupted, "you're Jack Phillips' son. Plus, you're a good scientist. So you're only here a few months; I'll get some work out of you yet."
"I won't disappoint you," Phillips said.
"I'll hold you to that," Stern said. He stepped into the turbolift, but Phillips had other business on that deck. "I'll see you later." Suddenly, the ship shook. The alert klaxon sounded.
"Captain to the Bridge," a voice sounded over the ship's speakers.
"Damn," Stern muttered, stepping away from the lift's doors. "Bridge." The doors closed behind him. Moments later, Stern stepped out of the lift and onto the Bridge of the Challenger.
"Status," Stern said.
"A Gorn ship just decloaked at bearing 167 mark 38," said Lieutenant Clark Bowman from the Tactical station.
"Since when do the Gorn have cloaking technology?" Stern asked rhetorically as he took his seat at the heart of the Bridge. "Hailing frequencies."
"Open, sir," the communications officer said.
"Gorn vessel," Stern said, "this is Captain Jason Stern of the Federation Starship Challenger. Your firing upon us could be construed as an act of war. Please return to your side of the border peacefully, and we can hope to avoid that."
The ship rocked again, taking another volley of torpedoes.
"Damage report," Stern said.
"The first attack caught us completely by surprise," Bowman said. "We've lost power on decks three and four, long-range communications are off-line, sensors are down and shields are at forty-five percent."
"Weapons?" Stern asked as another volley shook the ship.
"Phasers at fifty - correction, forty-three percent," Bowman said. "Torpedo bays not responding. Shields down to thirty percent."
"Propulsion?" Stern asked, desperately turning to his chief engineer, who had been on the Bridge during the initial attack.
"I can give you warp two," she said.
"Do it," Stern ordered. "Set course for anywhere but here."
"Engaging warp drive," the helmsman said. Suddenly, there was a massive explosion. Bulkheads were ripped apart and thrown asunder.
The communications officer, gravely injured, looked at the carnage on the Bridge. Most of the crew died in the initial explosion, including Captain Stern, whose body was mangled between the deck, his chair and a jagged chunk of the bulkhead above it.
"This is the Federation Starship Challenger," the communications officer said. "We are need of assistance. Does anyone read?" He keyed the message for repeat transmission, then collapsed to the deck, unconscious.
Three hours later and several decks down, Phillips found himself looking into the eyes of a young asian human in an odd-looking black jumpsuit with yellow shoulders and an insignia reminiscent of the Starfleet arrowhead on his chest.
"Are you all right?" the man asked. "I'm Ensign Harry Kim, from the Starship Voyager. I'm here to help."
"I-I'm OK," Phillips said. "I think my arm's broken, though."
"I'll get you and the others beamed over to Voyager as soon as possible," Kim said.
"Chakotay to away team," a voice said. "Status report."
Kim tapped the odd-looking arrowhead. "Kim here," he said. "I've found four more survivors on Deck Four, sir."
A moment later, the voice returned. "Ensign Kim," the voice said, "beam back to the Voyager with the survivors, and inform the captain of our status."
"Aye, sir," Kim said. He tapped his insignia - apparently some kind of compact communicator - again and said, "Kim to Voyager. Five to beam directly to Sickbay."
Phillips couldn't believe it. Settling into the couch in his quarters aboard Voyager a few days after the final destruction of the Challenger, he tried to come to terms with the fact that it was now 2375, sixty-five years into what he considered the future.
Time travel and temporal physics were nothing new to him - he'd read about them constantly and had even met some time travellers himself - but he'd never actually been a time traveller until now.
He'd checked the computers, hoping to find some information about his parents, but that level of detail just wasn't stored in Voyager's computers, for nothing so much as a lack of storage space. If they were still alive, they'd be about 122 years old. He didn't think the odds were that good.
Phillips wondered what other run-ins the ship had had with time travel, secretly hoping it wasn't as thick a record as that of the original Enterprise. Only one log entry came to his attention: Voyager had been inadvertently pulled to Earth in the year 1996 by a timeship from the future, which apparently caused both ships to be caught in a causality loop. From her log entries, Captain Janeway was fairly certain she'd destroyed the loop, but Phillips wasn't sure.
Janeway made it plain she didn't enjoy temporal mechanics in her log entries. Phillips, on the other hand, relished it. He saw potentialities of that excursion to the past that Janeway didn't, and he was becoming concerned.
Phillips checked his chronometer, and was surprised at how much time had passed. He went to his room and pulled out his swimsuit and a loose-fitting, button-front shirt. After changing, he made his way to the holodeck, where the Talaxian cook and morale officer, Neelix, had prepared a luau to bring the Voyager and Challenger crews together.
As he stepped into the corridor, Phillips mused that he really wasn't a member of the Challenger crew, but that didn't seem to matter anymore.
"I don't care what you meant, Doctor," Janeway said to the ship's holographic doctor, obviously upset. "In the future, use a little more thought." Janeway paused, to let her words sink in. "In the meantime, I think you owe a certain couple an apology, mister."
Janeway turned and walked over to her table, where she had been talking to Dr. Danielle Marcus and Commander Chakotay. Phillips approached the table hesitantly.
"Excuse me, captain," he said. "I'm Lieutenant Dan Phillips."
"Hello, lieutenant," Janeway said. "You've been assigned to work with Seven of Nine in Astrometrics, right?" Phillips nodded. "Is there something I can do for you?"
"I realize I've only been aboard a few days," Phillips began, "but I'd like to speak with you about the incident with the timeship, in which Voyager was transported to 1996 Earth."
"What's on your mind, lieutenant?" Janeway asked.
"I believe that you may not have sealed the rift of causality as thoroughly as you'd believed," Phillips said.
"This sounds technical," Janeway said. "Maybe we could discuss it later."
"Perhaps," Phillips said. "I should inform you that I was only aboard the Challenger as a temporary duty rotation. My permanent posting was on Earth, in the Starfleet Division of Temporal Investigations."
Janeway blanched. "I see."
"I'll need to interview you," Phillips said, "and the other members of the crew who interacted with Earth's twentiety-century inhabitants. It can wait until tomorrow, however. After all, what is time, really?"
"Why didn't you tell us you were with Temporal Investigations when you first came aboard?" Janeway asked Phillips in her Ready Room the next day.
"Most people don't seem to like timecops," Phillips said, "so it's not exactly something I go around advertising. Until I reviewed Voyager's database, I had no idea you'd need me to act as one, either."
"So what's the problem?" Janeway asked. "As far as I can tell, the damage to the timeline has been minimized."
"True, it does appear to be a predestination paradox," Phillips admitted. "However, despite the fact that the Braxton who returned you to the twenty-fourth century had no knowledge of you or your timeline, it still exists nonetheless."
"I don't follow," Janeway said.
"You're thinking too linearly," Phillips explained. "OK, say you've got someone in six different, parallel timelines. They all travel to a point in history that exists before their timelines diverged."
"So you'd have six versions of the same person," Janeway said, beginning to understand. "So that Braxton..."
"Was the same Braxton as was left behind on the Earth of 1996," Phillips finished, "but from a parallel timeline. They both travelled to 1996, which was on the same root of their branches, which probably haven't diverged yet, linearly speaking."
"OK, now I'm getting a headache," Janeway said. "What's the problem?"
"Braxton-one," Phillips said, slightly exasperated, "the one who pulled you into the past to begin with and spent thirty years on the streets of twentieth-century Southern California, is still there. Or was. Meanwhile, Braxton-two, the one who returned you to your proper point in space-time, had no memory of those events because he was from another branch of the timestream. He didn't know the other him was on Earth, so he left himself there!"
"And he's been dead for four centuries, then," Janeway said. "Again, what's the problem?"
"A man with knowledge of the twenty-ninth century is marooned in the twentieth," Phillips said. "Even the slightest slip on his part could unravel the entire fabric of our history. What I intend to accomplish with these interviews is to compile a report on any other possible factors your crew may have introduced into history. When that report is given to Temporal Investigations upon our return, a mop-up team can be dispatched to correct any problems I may uncover. That's why we're called Temporal Investigations."
"Marla," Phillips said as he approached Crewman Marla Gilmore, late of the Starship Equinox, in Voyager's Mess Hall the morning after the wedding of Harry Kim and Seven of Nine.
"Hi, Dan," Gilmore said.
"Mind if I join you?" Phillips asked, indicating the empty seat opposite Gilmore at her table.
"So, have you decided where you're going to spend your shore leave yet?" Phillips asked, keying a PADD he'd brought into the Mess Hall with him.
"I don't know," Gilmore said. "There's so many places to choose from."
"Well," Phillips said, handing the PADD to Gilmore, "how's this: a ski resort in the tallest mountain chain on the planet. Apparently, the view is breathtaking, and the skiing's pretty good, too."
"Sounds nice," Gilmore said. "Who else is going?"
"Nobody I know of," Phillips said. "Would you care to join me?"
"Are you asking me out?" Gilmore asked, arching an eyebrow.
"I guess so," Phillips said.
"Do I really need to list what I like about you?"
"Humor me," Gilmore said, leaning in on the table so that she was a few inches closer to Phillips.
"All right," Phillips said. "You're smart, you're attractive, and you're the only woman on this ship I can talk to about temporal theory without the inconvenience of headaches."
"You smooth talker, you," Gilmore said, grinning.
"So, what do you say?"
"I'd love to go with you," Gilmore said.
"This view is breathtaking," Phillips said to Gilmore after they'd settled into their room in the resort. He looked at Gilmore. "The mountains look pretty good, too."
"Trying to score brownie points?" Gilmore asked.
"Do you like brownies? I can replicate some for you."
"Oh, you do that," Gilmore said, wrapping her arms around him suggestively.
"I've been meaning to ask you," Phillips said, "since when are you and Seven friends?"
"About a month, now," Gilmore said. "And you can thank Harry. I never had much to do with her, because I thought she was arrogant and stand-offish. Turns out, she didn't have much to do with me because I scared her."
"You?" Phillips asked, surprised. "How did you scare the big, bad Borg?"
"The first time we met," Gilmore explained, "I knocked her out on the Equinox. Let's just say that what Ransom did to her wasn't pleasant. Because of what happened, she was afraid to be around me. I guess she's really still just a girl, in some ways, hiding behind her Borg mask."
"How'd Harry come into all of this?" Phillips asked.
"About a month ago, he got the two of us together," Gilmore said. "He told us that we'd be great friends, if we could just get past what happened between us when we first met. It seems he was right; we get along pretty well, although she seemed a tad... possessive of Harry at first."
"Like she was afraid I'd try to steal Harry," Gilmore said. "So, what's this you were saying about skiing?"
"Well, take a look around," Phillips said. "This place is perfect for it."
"I wouldn't know," Gilmore admitted. "I've never skied before."
"I guess I'll have to teach you," Phillips said.
"I can't wait," Gilmore said, grinning.
Phillips materialized on the transporter pad in Starfleet Headquarters, San Francisco, nearly a week after Voyager had returned to Earth.
"Lieutenant Phillips," a man in civilian clothing said, extending his hand, "I'm agent Wayne Anderson, of the Federation Department of Temporal Investigations."
Phillips shook Anderson's proffered hand as the two stepped into the corridor.
"I was expecting to be met by someone from the Starfleet division," Phillips said.
"You've missed a lot," Anderson explained. "The Starfleet division was disbanded in 2348. The civilian arm of DTI has kept watch over time-travel since then."
"So," Phillips asked, "what's left for me? Do I resign from Starfleet to stay in DTI, or do I give up DTI to stay in Starfleet?"
"Which do you prefer?" Anderson asked.
"Neither, frankly," Phillips said. "I enjoy the work DTI offers, but I also like the opportunities I've had with Starfleet."
"Well, you don't have to decide now," Anderson said. "You've still got to give your AAR to the director."
"AAR?" Phillips asked. "As in 'After-Action Report,' or is that something else?" Anderson cocked an eyebrow at him. "I just want to make sure we're on the same page, here."
"You're doing fine for someone who's lost sixty-five years," Anderson said as they stepped into a waiting hovercar.
"What do you think I should do, Marla?" Phillips asked his girlfriend, Marla Gilmore, after he had beamed back up to Voyager. "Should I stay here, or resign and take a position with the civilian Temporal Investigations?"
"I don't know," Gilmore said. "I'm not sure I'm the right person to ask. Have you found anything on your family?"
"Yeah," Phillips said. "My dad died about thirty years ago, and my mom was killed in an explosion during a firefight on the Enterprise-B about sixty years ago."
"I'm sorry," Gilmore said.
"I also found out my dad remarried," Phillips said. "I've got two half-siblings in their sixties, now."
"That's got to be weird," Gilmore said.
"Tell me about it," Phillips said.
"Are you going to meet them?" Gilmore asked. "They are your family, after all."
"They'll be here tomorrow," Phillips said. "So will my stepmother."
"I'd love to meet them," Gilmore said.
Phillips and Gilmore stood in Voyager's shuttlebay as the small vessel carrying Phillips' family landed. Several moments later, the ramp on the vessel - Vulcan in design, Phillips noted - extended and the hatch opened.
T'Maril stepped out of the small vessel, followed by two other Vulcans, one a dark-haired man and the other a blonde woman. Both had more than a passing similarity to Phillips himself.
Phillips extended his hand in the traditional Vulcan salute. "Peace and long life, T'Maril," he said.
T'Maril came up to Phillips and embraced him, startling both him and Gilmore. "I never thought I'd see you again, Dan," T'Maril said.
"I take it they're my siblings," Phillips said, indicating the other former occupants of the now-dormant vessel.
"Yes," T'Maril said. "T'Jenna, Solvek, come here. I'd like you to meet your... older brother, Lieutenant Daniel Phillips.
"You look just like our father," T'Jenna said.
"So do you," Phillips said, taking T'Jenna's hand. "Not too many blonde Vulcans, last I checked."
"This is," Solvek said, searching for the right word, "unusual. You are objectively older than us, yet your temporal displacement results in your subjective age being half that of ours."
"Aren't you going to introduce us?" T'Maril asked, indicating Gilmore.
"Oh, of course," Phillips said. "Everyone, this is my girlfriend, Ensign Marla Gilmore."
"Hi," Gilmore said.
"Marla, my problem is solved!" Phillips exclaimed as he beamed back aboard Voyager a week later.
"Back up," Gilmore said. "I missed something here."
"I just got out of a meeting with the director of Temporal Investigations," Phillips said. "He's agreed to give me reserve status with DTI, so I can stay here with you and still be a part of DTI, called upon as needed."
"Wow," Gilmore said. "So, are you still going to be working in the Astrometrics Lab?"
"Probably," Phillips said. "I need to inform the captain of my new status, first."
"Well, when you're done," Gilmore said, "stop by my quarters. I've got a surprise for you."
Four months later, Voyager's part in the ongoing survey of the Dyson's Sphere was complete, and the ship sat docked at Starbase Deep Space Nine, having just experienced an unexpected run-in with the still-mysterious Nexus energy ribbon.
Dr. Danielle Marcus, a Challenger survivor and granddaughter of James T. Kirk, had essentially resurrected her famous grandfather from the dead, bringing him once more from the Nexus. Of course, since this was a temporal displacement case and Phillips was the only operative in the region, he was required to interview both Kirk and Marcus and determine any possible damage to the timeline.
"Captain, doctor," Phillips said as Kirk and Marcus entered the Conference Room adjacent to Voyager's Bridge.
"Lieutenant," Kirk said cautiously.
"Sir," Phillips said, "I'm aware you don't like Temporal Investigations. I'll try to make this as painless as possible."
"That's a first," Kirk said.
"When you disappeared from the Enterprise-B," Phillips asked Kirk, "what do you remember?"
"I was in deflector control," Kirk said. "The bulkhead in front of me disappeared, and suddenly I was outside my home on Earth, chopping wood. A few moments later, I was approached by Picard. We debated my participation in the situation on Veridian III for a while before I finally realized that nothing in the Nexus was real. I agreed to leave with him, but part of me remained in the Nexus.
"What seemed like a few months to me passed," Kirk continued, "when I met Danielle. I wasn't convinced I'd leave the Nexus, but I agreed to try anyhow. Next thing I knew, I was on the shuttle with Danielle at the same moment she beamed herself into the Nexus to begin with."
"You have no memory of the events on Veridian III?" Phillips asked.
"None," Kirk said. "I'm glad, from the stories I've heard."
"Doctor," Phillips said, "would you give me your impressions of the Nexus?"
"Time doesn't exist there," Marcus said. "Everyone who has ever entered - and ever will enter - it is there, always has been there, and always will be there. There's nothing physical inside it; everything is in your mind."
"Therefore," Phillips dictated, concluding his report, "it is my belief that, the unique temporal nature of the Nexus aside, James Kirk's entry and subsequent exits from the phenomenon have occurred on a relatively linear track and pose no danger to the integrity of the timestream."
Phillips pressed a button, ending the recording. He keyed the system to transfer the report into a text file, then sent both to the office of Temporal Investigations on Earth.
"So, you really think that?" Marla Gilmore asked Phillips from behind, startling him.
"Huh? Of course," Phillips said. "How long have you been standing there?"
"About a minute," Gilmore said, leaning against the door jamb. "Long enough to hear more about temporal mechanics than most cadets."
"Well," Phillips said, "it is my job, and I do enjoy it."
"I can see that," Gilmore said. "So, are you ready yet?"
"Ready for what?" Phillips asked.
"Ready for our date," Gilmore said. "We're supposed to be having dinner at one of the restaurants on DS9, remember?"
"I'm sorry!" Phillips exclaimed. "I got so caught up with this report, I completely forgot!"
"I'll let it slide," Gilmore said, then added, " this time."
cast news |
recent additions |
index by author |
archivist's challenge | archivist's bookshelf | crew manifest | character/actor bios | life on board
ranks and insignia | science | stardates | the maquis | stellar cartography | reader reviews
submission guidelines | fanfic FAQ | links | message board | guestbook | webring
search | feedback | banners | awards | acknowledgements | site survey