Pacing up and down before the shuttlecraft which was destined to be destroyed, Cadet Robert Spencer waited impatiently for clearance to take off from the flight controller in the booth above the shuttle. He knew that he had done his job as requested by Neral and his temporal agents, now all he could do was to hope that they received his message in the distant future and put their plan into motion or he would become nothing more then debris, scattered across the north Atlantic, or perhaps if by some miracle he found a way to survive the explosion, he would be stranded in his own past.
Finally, the moment came when a Starfleet Officer he instantly recognised walked towards him with his hand held out before him as he spoke.
"Cadet Spencer? I am Matt Decker, I believe that you are my pilot for today?"
"Umm, yes sir. I've heard a lot about you sir, it's a real pleasure Captain Decker" Spencer replied politely, as he shock the man's hand.
"There has been a change in your flight plan Cadet, Captain Pike has been reassigned… Therefore I have been ordered to assume Command of the USS Yorktown, his former ship. I assume that you have been trained in Starship landing procedures?"
"Ahh, yes Captain. I am fully versed in the protocols and I have previously made several successful landings on the hanger deck of a moving Starship, manually sir" He replied, almost bragging.
"That is not standard procedure cadet, very impressive. Well, when you are ready Cadet…"
"Understood Captain, after you sir" Spencer replied as he motioned towards the open hatch.
Pre-flight tests had already been performed by the Cadet prior to the Captain's arrival as Decker sat in the seat next to the pilot's chair followed seconds later by the Cadet himself after sealing the hatch and programming the flight path into the shuttles computer as the yard-master called out over the speakers in the craft.
"Shuttlecraft twelve, you are clear to launch. Stay on your flight path until further instructed"
"Understood Sir. Thrusters active at one half power, once clear… one quarter impulse power"
Slowly lifting off of the ground, the shuttle left the hanger bay backwards before turning to port and moving away from the Academy grounds while the impulse engines at the rear began to slowly power up, pushing the craft through the air at a slowly accelerating rate.
"I must admit Captain, I was shocked to see that my flight plan had been altered. Doesn't a Starship captain arrive on his vessel from Starfleet Command?"
"Usually Cadet however, I was visiting a family member before my assignment" Decker said as he looked up from his tablet orders before him.
"Your son I believe? A second year Cadet if I am not mistaken?"
"That he is, do you know him Mister Spencer?"
"No sir, but I know of him. I believe that he has a bright future with Starfleet. He is a credit to you Captain, you should be proud"
"That I am Cadet. Tell me son, have you ever been onboard a Constitution Class Starship?"
"No sir, however my Shuttlecraft operations training was primarily onboard an Asia Class Starship, a somewhat similar design to the new Constitution Class… just not as advanced, from what I hear anyway"
"That they are, some say that the Constitution is the natural progression of that design… what do you think son?"
"Permission to speak freely captain?" He said politely, before continuing anyway. "The Asia class is old and will become obsolete very shortly sir, although based on a similar design, the two are nothing alike. I believe that sooner or later, the Asia Class will be recalled and reconfigured into Constitution class schematics effectively boosting the size of the fleet from the projected twelve vessels"
"You seem to speak your mind Cadet, I like that" Decker said with a smile.
"Thank you sir…"
"I looked over your file this morning when I heard that you where my pilot, I saw your assessment of the K-M Test, unusual assessment. Why?"
"Why not sir? I was right when I said that Klingons don't take prisoners. Recent conflicts have displayed that. What the hell?"
Instantly looking down at the control display before him, he saw that the shuttlecraft was experiencing something unusual as it begun to accelerate almost out of control. Struggling to control the vessel, his past command experiences instantly kicked in as he looked back at the captain and spoke with the full authority of a Starship Captain, something which surprised the man at his side.
"We're accelerating out of control, I can't slow her down, but for the moment, I have flight control. Communications are off-line. Get to the hatch and stand by to open it… You're going to have to bail out"
"At this speed and altitude?" Decker said with shock.
"Just shut up, and do as I say before this thing rips itself apart. I'm going to try to stall the shuttlecraft by nosing up while continuing along our course… bail out and call for your ship to beam you out. If I am right, this shuttle will drop like a stone, I'll try an ditch her over the north Atlantic"
"Cadet!" Decker said harshly.
"Do as I say… forty-five seconds Captain. Good Luck! Your ship should be able to beam you out before you hit the surface of the ocean"
Looking up at the captain as he stood from his seat, an icy cold look appeared over Spencer's face as he nodded slightly before Decker walked towards the hatch and opened it in mid flight. Using every ounce of his training, the shuttlecraft obeyed his commands as the nose of the shuttle pulled up slowly, fighting against the stress while the hull began to groan and scream with an almost deafening sound. Looking back at the Captain, he nodded once more as he nodded in return. Reaching for the communicator on his belt, he spoke quickly into the unit while the shuttlecraft stalled in mid-air and begun to drop.
"CADET, WHAT ABOUT YOU?" Decker yelled.
"We're still over a populated area… Trust me sir! GO NOW!"
Leaping out of the shuttlecraft, Decker disappeared into the cloud coverage as the shuttlecraft fell from the skies. Fighting the enormous g-forces on his body, he jettisoned the rear impulse engine while the main section of the hull, fell from the skies away from the engine pod which exploded. Entering into clear space, he looked out of the window and saw the Captain disappear in a transporter haze.
"Anytime Neral!" He said aloud. "Neral, now would be a good time. Ahh shit!"
From the corners of the hull of the shuttlecraft, the reaction control thrusters began to fire rapidly as he fought to control the rapidly falling vessel. It was minor miracle as he got the shuttlecraft under some form of control, if only slowing the decent as it approached the surface of the north Atlantic ocean. Struggling to his feet, Spencer staggered towards the open hatch and watched as the surface of the ocean rushed back at high speeds as it appeared to get closer until mere inches from the surface, he leapt out of the doomed shuttlecraft and impacted the water hard as the last thing that he remembered was the feeling of a transporter beam catching him as he bounced off the surface.
An explosion of light and sound filled his senses as he instantly regained consciousness and slowly the sound of a soft female voice called out to a shadow he could barely make out.
"Captain, he is awake"
"Neral?" Spencer said weakly.
Slowly his vision became clear as he looked up and saw Captain Decker walking towards him with a smile on his face as he spoke.
"That was the stupidest thing I have ever seen Cadet, you're lucky to be alive"
"We tracked your uncontrolled decent, we had a lock on you, but you bailed out. Lucky, my transporter chief was fast enough to catch you"
"Where am I?" He said slowly.
"Starfleet Medical. You where badly injured when you hit the surface of the Atlantic, you are one lucky bastard Spencer" Decker replied with a large smile on his face. "We recovered the shuttle debris this morning, we still have no idea what happened"
"I-I can't move"
"Easy Cadet, easy. You broke your legs and arms, several ribs are fractured and your spine is broken… you are very lucky to be alive" The Doctor replied with a smile on her face.
"Really? I feel great"
"That's the medication Spencer. Starfleet wants to give you a commendation for your actions…"
"Tell whatever Admiral said, to shove it up his ass sideways" He said with a smile on his face.
"That would be the Medication talking captain" The Doctor said with a smile.
"No Doc, that's me talking. I don't care about any… commendations"
"Well, regardless Cadet. You have a place on my ship as soon as you are ready. Just call me son…"
"I… may consider that Captain, thank you sir. If you wouldn't mind… I'd like to be alone for awhile?"
"Of course Cadet. I'll be waiting on your call. Doctor, get him anything he needs…"
Six Months Later…
Trapped in his own damaged younger body, Robert Spencer completed his final year at the Academy from the hospital after undergoing many surgeries to heal his extensive wounds. Due to his injuries, he had almost become something of a recluse to the other cadets as his final grades had slipped below the halfway mark in his class as anger had overtaken him. Finally leaving Starfleet Medical, Robert Spencer had resigned from Starfleet with his graduation speech to a shocked crowd after searching the historical database.
Walking by the aide of a cane, he stood before a small marble headstone as tears flowed down his face as he read the inscription before him, after clearing away centuries of growth and dirt.
Sarah Elizabeth Western.
Born: August 18 1996
Died: September 18 2074
Loving Wife, Mother and Grandmother.
"I know that you don't know who I am, but we shared something amazing. I did everything for you, I was hoping that in someway… you felt that you knew me Sarah. I did it, I put things right. Kirk will go on as Captain of the Enterprise. It won't be easy for him, but he'll have the life he was supposed to…"
"And he did…" A voice called out from behind him.
Slowly turning with the aide of the walking cane, a female figure approached him with a smile as his face illuminated at who he saw before him.
"Kirk became, perhaps the most important man in Starfleet history. His legacy lived on… hello Rob, it's been a long time"
"Sarah?" He said slowly.
"It worked Rob, your plan, it worked" Walking towards him, she held him tight as he replied.
"How, I mean… why did it take so long to come back?"
"A lot has happened since you left Rob, more then you know. History played out as it should, and I stayed as I was while… she continued with her life" Sarah said as she looked at her own headstone and shivered. "Neral contacted the Commission back on Earth and explained everything, it took years to get the authority to come back for you, a real hero… you should have heard him go to bat for you before his superiors"
"Years, how long has it been?" He said slowly.
"Six years Rob. During which time… he trained me himself. You are looking at Lieutenant Sarah Tate of the Timeship Enterprise, unofficially of course…"
"Six years? Then…"
"She's beautiful Rob, and Emma is waiting to meet her father. I've come back for you, are you ready… to come home?" Sarah replied with a large smile.
"I am. But the commission?"
"They saw what you did, they saw everything. You'll need retraining… it's not easy Rob, trust me on that one. After which, they have an assignment for us. I know about your injuries, a few days, you won't even notice. But first, do you mind if we move from here? This is giving me the creeps, stood over my own grave"
"Of course. But one question, if I return…"
"You'll be you, as you are now. 21 years old…" Se said with a large smile.
"I had to ask"
"The Commission was less then happy that I am still around, and you for that fact. They called me a temporal paradox. You should have died during that crash… but, history recorded that on this date after resigning from Starfleet, you visited this site and disappeared. Your shuttle will be discovered in four hours along with your cane. Take my hand Rob, let me take you home"
August 3rd 2272
Location: Sol System, Earth.
Office of Rear Admiral James T. Kirk.
Redesigning of what would eventually be a new Starship had been proceeding ahead of schedule even though the new warp nacelle struts where to be delivered three months late due to an oversight which had required a complete redesign of the entire structure. Rather then the original configuration, a new warp theory discovery had called for a more swept back design to the support columns. The new design had originally called for a more radical angle for the housing with a longer structure to hold the vital warp nacelle in place, away from the main engineering section of the vessel. However, a recent breakthrough by the chief designing team had allowed for more elegant design which would follow the smoother lines of the new vessel itself, bringing the nacelles once again closer to the ship itself.
Since his recent promotion to Rear Admiral, James T. Kirk had served as the Chief of Operations for Starfleet as a part a key figurehead for Starfleet itself. Since the triumphant return of the Starship Enterprise from her deep space assignment, a complete shake-up of the entire command structure had been called for after a scandal which had almost cost Starfleet its role within the Federation. The key factor in the new command structure was the redesign and future relaunched of the most famous ship in the fleet, USS Enterprise NCC-1701 and the promotion of the entire crew including James T. Kirk himself. With all of the personal appearances and tours of the Enterprise behind them, the crew concentrated on rebuilding the pride of the Federation under the watchful eye of Kirk himself. Although his promotion had taken place in a very public way, his removal from the centre seat of the Enterprise had deeply effected the man if not for his hand selected replacement as Captain of the Enterprise, a man he knew well. Captain Willard Decker, son of the late Commodore Mathew Decker.
Although his office had been located in Starfleet Command, much of his work had been completed in the orbital facility close by the deconstruction of his former command. From the window of what had become his unofficial office, it appeared as a little more of his former ship had disappeared by the day. From his last view of his pride and glory, all that remained of the once gallant ship was the Engineering section and half of the angled neck which once supported the saucer section of the ship herself. Before he left the orbital complex, he watched through the old style telescope as the navigational deflector dish had been removed carefully by engineering staff. It was still unknown as to what would happen to the parts of the vessel which had been removed, although the original bridge module itself had been carefully taken apart and reassembled in the Smithsonian Institute on Earth as a part of a huge public display of which he had been constantly asked to open for the public and subsequently turned down numerous times.
The night had passed slowly by as he listened to the communications channels assigned to the deconstruction crews as occasionally a slight smile echoed over his face as he heard the unmistakably angry voice of his former Chief Engineer, yelling at the crews who where not performing their tasks. Finally at 0115hours, he packed up his work for the night and left his office for his home. Awaking in the night with a startled look in his eyes, he stood quickly as the sounds of a Starship's engines broke his sleep. Leaping onto his feet, he reached for a robe off of the chair next to his bed and wrapped it around his body before his eyes adjusted to the light and shock overcame him.
"Where am I?" He said instantly to himself.
It was a room he recognised instantly as he paced the small cabin like room. Laughing slightly to himself, he nodded at what he thought was a practical joke by Doctor McCoy, his former chief medical officer who had since retired from Starfleet to take up a private practise in his home town.
"Nice work Bones!" He laughed aloud. "I see you saved my old quarters, must have been working on this for awhile"
Stepping towards the door which once led into a corridor of the ship, he expected to see Doctor McCoy and a number of his former crewmates on the opposite side of the door, laughing and applauding him. But as the doors slid open, he saw nothing but the walls facing his quarters and long and winding empty corridors on either side.
"I didn't give you enough credit Bones, this is good. Pay back is going to be a bitch though"
Dressing in the only clothes he could find in his quarters, his former Starfleet Captain's green wrap around tunic, trousers and boots. Kirk walked through the corridors slowly until he approached a turbolift.
"Alright Bones, This is getting annoying" He said to himself.
Stepping into the turbolift, he thought about how he could gain revenge on his friend for this joke as perhaps he had been somehow transported, in the night onto another Constitution Class ship which was in orbit over Earth, a vessel which was about to undergo the same rebuild as the Enterprise herself. Calling for the bridge, the turbolift moved along the saucer section from deck five towards deck one before the doors finally opened and he stepped onto the bridge as the brass dedication plaque of the ship caught his eye.
San Francisco, Calif.
It was known to everyone that each ship had its own personality, sounds and smells, even the Captain's chair was uniquely designed as no two chairs where the same. Slowly walking towards the chair, he sat down slowly as he looked around the bridge, puzzled by what he was now experiencing.
"What the hell is going on?" He said to himself slowly.
"You're not dreaming Jim, you're actually here back on the bridge" A voice called from behind him.
Leaping from the chair, he whipped himself around as he saw a man stood before him with a smile on his face in the once empty bridge.
"Who are you. Did you bring me here?"
"Yes Jim, I did. Don't you recognise me old friend?" The man said slowly. "I know it's been a long time for us both, but I've been allowed to come back one last time"
"I know who you appear to be, but that's not possible…" Kirk said harshly.
"Ohh trust me Jim, it is me. Rob Spencer… I brought you here, because this is where you most feel comfortable. I have a lot to tell you old friend, and not much time to say it"
"Spencer? Where have you been the last twenty years? You don't look a day over 30"
"Let's just say that I was transferred by a higher power. I still work for the Federation, just not as you know it. You're actually back on the bridge of the Enterprise Jim, six hours before she was to be shut down for her refit. A few months ago from your perspective. Strange seeing the bridge like this, isn't it? Practically devoid of life. You know this was once my ship?"
"What are you talking about?" Kirk said with confusion.
"What happened at the Academy Jim, the shuttle flight…"
"What?" He replied instantly.
"Humour me, what happened?"
"You… took the flight, the engine failed… You where with Matt Decker, he bailed out while you flew the shuttle to a safe location before your injury…"
"The second time around, yes. The first time, you where on that shuttle… I got so badly drunk at Jack's party, I couldn't fly… so you took the flight in my place. The engine exploded, killing you in the process. I went on to command the Enterprise as her captain… I was later recruited by, someone else to stop you from piloting that shuttle as history had begun to change badly for all"
"Are you insane?" Kirk laughed.
"I thought I was… remember the last time you saw me before the flight? I gave you that answer. I had already taken that class, I knew the answers, answers that I gave you Jim. My time is running short here Jim, soon you'll wake up in your bed back on earth in your current time. You can never tell anyone about this, for the rest of your life. Do you understand me?"
"No, I have no idea what you are talking about" Kirk growled.
"Think Jim, think…"
"Rob, your time is almost up" A soft female voice called out from his direction.
"My people are going to bring me back soon. Listen to me old friend, avoid time travel at all costs. And let go of your guilt about what happened to me. I have a wife and daughter where I now come from, I am happy"
"Where is that?" Kirk said as he held back his own laughter.
"Avoid time travel Kirk… I'll be watching you, we all are. You are far to important to the future of the federation to mess around. I don't want to have to stop you Kirk, but my new superiors will send me to do that if needed"
"Good bye Jim, if all goes as it should. This will be the last time we meet"
Awaking instantly in his bed back on earth, he looked around quickly as his disorientation passed quickly. Smiling slightly to himself as he looked around, he passed off the experience as if it was a dream until he threw off the bed covers and stood slowly as he rubbed the back of his head. Confusion echoed through him as he looked down at himself and saw that he was wearing the green wraparound uniform from his former command. Instantly leaping to his feet in shock, confusion once again echoed over his face as looked around his bedroom and saw a bottle of what appeared to be Scotch Whiskey on his bedside table with a note. Remember, R.S.