Chapter 1 – The Throwback
"Hoshi, I'd like the intercom. And I'd like for you to make a recording for everyone, and send it to everyone. The night shift deserves to hear this first-hand," Captain Archer said.
"Yes, sir," she fiddled with some controls at her station. "Go ahead."
"All hands, this is the captain," Jonathan said. "The full enormity of our situation is becoming clear. It appears that a Kovaalan impulse manifold created a particle wake. The subspace corridor was thereby destabilized. The resulting time shift has caused us to be thrown back to," he glanced at Chief Engineer Tripp Tucker for confirmation, "2037."
Tripp nodded. Jonathan continued. "I know, when we all woke up this morning, it was 2154. And none of us dreamed that we would, suddenly, have hit a date that comes before the birth of all of our great-grandparents."
He coughed a little. "I can't tell any of you how to feel. I can't even begin to think of how this will psychologically affect all of us over, over time. There isn't exactly any sort of precedent for this."
He shifted in his seat, feeling horribly uncomfortable about what he had to say next. "The senior staff will convene in an hour to determine whether, under any circumstances, we can return to Earth, or contact our allies. This is before First Contact with Vulcan. I don't imagine I need to draw anyone a diagram, but we should leave our options open. Thank you."
He motioned to Hoshi to cut the transmission, and she did. "Tell all of the department heads to come to the meeting," he said, "this means I want to see a representative from every area. Hayes from the MACOs, Shelby will represent Botany even though it's a one-woman department. Get Chef in, to represent Food Service. I don't want to hear later that someone felt their department wasn't represented. I'll be in my Ready Room. Tripp, you have the Bridge."
He left abruptly, and the rest of them looked at each other, a little anxiously. Hoshi recovered and started sending out the meeting invitations.
In the kitchen, a PADD dinged. Sous-chef Lili O'Day looked over. "Huh, it's not me."
Chef Will Slocum was already looking at his PADD. "I, uh, I'm being included in that meeting the captain mentioned. Let's put together a small spread of coffee and tea and the leftover sweet rolls. And I guess you'll have to start dinner without me."
"What do you want me to make, Will?"
"Uh, something comforting."
"Mac and cheese? And maybe a vegan chopped salad as an alternative?"
"Sounds good," he said, "I have no idea when we'll be done. There's no end time listed."
"I'll, uh, if I don't see you in an hour," Lili said, "I'll come in and see if I can collect the cart and the dirty dishes."
"Okay. We'll probably need a break by then."
In the gym, the MACOs had all stopped with their drill in order to listen to Captain Archer. Major Jay Hayes was checking his own PADD. "I, uh, I'll be in that meeting. Cole, lead everyone in simulation number five. Then a run, uh, ten laps around the perimeter."
"And then what, sir?" she asked.
"You can break for the day," he said, distracted.
They were setting up the refreshments when Lieutenant Malcolm Reed arrived. "Are those made with dairy?" he asked as soon as he saw the sweet rolls.
"There's a little milk and butter in the dough, but not too much," Lili said.
"Oh." He looked a little disappointed.
"We're having mac and cheese tonight," she said, "you can get dairy in then."
"Oh!" The light dawned. Lili leaned over near Malcolm as the others were starting to arrive. "I'm also making a vegan chopped salad. I can, uh, roast a little chicken on the side for you to have with it. But, uh, keep it on the QT. Otherwise, everyone'll want some, and I'm making dinner by myself and I won't be able to accommodate them."
He smiled at her tentatively. "They'll have to torture me to get that information."
Lili nodded conspiratorially and left.
"All right, everybody here?" Captain Archer asked. Shelby Pike and Major Hayes were still getting refreshments, but everyone else was already settled in. "I'll just dive right in without preliminaries," Jonathan began, "I don't have to tell anyone here that this situation is critical. It's also unprecedented. So I am open to any and all suggestions. Let's start with our current situation and anticipated needs."
Shelby raised her hand. They all stared at her, so she put it down quickly. "Uh, sorry, I've never been to one of these meetings before. I was, uh, we have good food crop supplies but they aren't unlimited."
"What about the replicators?" Jonathan asked.
"We can do what we can to maintain 'em," Tripp said, "and maybe even figure out how to program in more variety. I can maybe put one of the more junior engineers on that."
"I, uh," Chef Slocum looked almost as uncomfortable as Shelby did, "I could have Lili work with your engineer, to make sure the flavors and textures were right."
"That might not cover everything, sir," Shelby said, "We may start to run out of things."
"Let's make working on the replicators a priority," Jonathan said, "Tripp, assign your man to it as one hundred percent of his time."
"Sir," Malcolm said, "There also aren't an infinite number of torpedoes. We may need to do some trading in order to obtain alloys and the like."
"T'Pol, we can't work with Earth or Vulcan. Do you have any suggestions on who we can work with?"
"It may be best to investigate working with independent merchants, rather than with government officials, in order to try to avoid being mentioned in any culture's official historical records," the Vulcan replied.
"I may need to replenish my supply of experimental animals the same way," Doctor Phlox said.
"Is there anything else that might become an immediate need?" Jonathan asked.
"We may need all kinds of equipment, like plasma injectors and the like. Trade's probably engineering's best option," Tripp said. "I doubt we'll be able to get anything we wouldn't have to modify pretty extensively."
"Right. Now let's talk about getting out of this predicament. Any ideas?" the captain asked. There were too many immediate needs, and the list was already long and oppressive. Perhaps this would be a way to add some good news to the mix?
"We've tried reversing course, but that doesn't seem to matter," said Travis Mayweather, the pilot.
"Conditions have apparently changed too much," T'Pol stated.
"Can we try to contact Daniels?" Hoshi asked, referring to a time traveler who had visited earlier.
"You and I could go into his old quarters," Tripp offered, "and see if there's anything that resembles a transmitter."
"Malcolm, assist with that," Jonathan said. Malcolm nodded. "Any other ideas?"
The room was quiet. "Okay," Jonathan said, "let's talk about how we're going to handle things if we can't get out of this."
"Returning to Earth or Vulcan would contaminate both cultures," T'Pol said.
"Isn't that only if the entire ship goes?" Major Hayes asked. "Couldn't Commander T'Pol go to Vulcan by herself? Or we could send a few people to Earth if we needed to, they'd, uh, they'd have to lay low, and not make waves. But we could do it if we really needed supplies, right?"
"How would we hide the ship?" Hoshi asked.
"Use the transporter," Hayes said.
"The range isn't that great," Tripp pointed out.
They all thought for a moment. "What if someone was beamed over to a more remote human outpost? Like, I dunno, Jupiter Station," Travis suggested.
"Does Jupiter Station even exist?" Tripp asked.
Hoshi clicked around on her PADD. She shook her head. "And before you even ask, we're a good thirty-plus years from the establishment of the Martian colonies, too."
"Lunar colony?" Jonathan asked.
"A little over twenty years from now," Shelby said, looking up from her PADD, eyes shining a little.
"You still might be able to go to Vulcan," Hayes said to T'Pol.
"Be that as it may," Jonathan said, "if we can't get out of this, we are going to be stuck here for a long time."
"I cannot put enough of the crew into stasis," Phlox said, "and certainly not for over a century."
"What are you saying, Doctor?" Jonathan asked.
The door swished open. It was Lili. "Oh, sorry!" she said, "I came to get the dirty dishes." She began gathering the plates.
"Well?" Jonathan prompted.
"This generation," the Denobulan said, "with the possible exception of T'Pol, will not make it back to 2154. The Enterprise will have to be manned by our descendants."
Everyone stopped and stared, even Lili. She finally said to Major Hayes, "Are you done with your cup?"
"Huh?" He drained the dregs. "Oh, uh, yeah, here you go."
That seemed to snap the captain out of it. "I'll tell the crew. We, uh, over a century is a lot of time together. Morale will be key."
"We should revive Movie Night," Hoshi suggested.
"It should, uh," Lili interjected, "if I may, sir, it should be moved to either Friday or Saturday nights. For, uh, for Date Night."
"What if people don't want to go to a movie?" Travis asked.
"Maybe we could make other entertainments available," Hoshi offered.
"Like what?" Chef Slocum asked.
"We could take suggestions," Hoshi said, "Maybe you and Lili here could teach a cooking class. Or, or we could have a 5K race around the Gym or something."
"We'll have a Morale Committee. You can be in charge of it if you like, Hoshi," Jonathan said.
"Will you do it with me?" she asked Lili as the dishes were cleared.
"Sure. I bet Chip would do it, too. Major, would anyone from the MACOs be interested?"
"Huh. Maybe Susie Money. I'll get back to Hoshi on that."
"So we have the semblance of a plan," Jonathan said, "Dismissed."
Chef followed Lili out. "They're going to see if they can program more food varieties into the replicator. I kind of volunteered you to help with that."
"Oh. Huh, well, that's okay. I guess I'll be busy. It'll take my mind off things."
As they walked back into the kitchen, all Lili could think of was how much was suddenly on her plate. And – a generational ship! How the heck was that gonna work?
Jonathan Archer's Personal log, January fourteenth, 2154. I think.
I have told the crew that things are, well, things aren't great. I have done that much. But that's gotta be the understatement of the century. It's more than that, and we all know it. Tomorrow, or in a few days, I suspect, I will need to make the most important speech of my career as a captain. I have no idea how I'll do. Wish me luck.