Well, after all the time I made you wait for chapter 3, I decided to work on chapter 4 while I was unable to access the internet.
Disclaimer: I don't own Star Trek, or, at least I didn't last time I checked.
Captain's combat log, unknown stardate. We have had an unusual encounter in the Badlands, what appears to be a copy of our own ship, but more unusual than that is the way that the crew acts.
I have always learned that glory comes through conquest, but these people believe in exploration. In my situation, where I have been switched with their captain, I must learn more about the Federation before I can even make it back to my own ship, I have to figure out how this happened.
THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
"Much like Alice, we must now
Travel through the looking glass.
What lies beyond is the greatest mystery of all."
"Captain Covaks, your orders," Kada says, looking at Mirror Rachel, who is standing there blinking, looking at the image of the I.S.S. Constance. "Captain, are you okay?"
"I'm fine, stand down weapons," Mirror Rachel says, an order she never expected to give when facing an enemy, but this was a different type of situation.
"Captain, are you sure?" Ivark asks.
"Don't question my decisions, stand down weapons," Mirror Rachel snaps as Ivark grumbles, turning off the weapons. "Hail them, Mr. Ivark."
"Getting a response," Ivark says, and the image of Rachel appears on the screen, there is of course no obvious difference between the two of them.
"Captain, what's going on?" Kada asks, looking between the two Rachels on the screen and on the bridge.
"I am Captain Rachel Covaks of the Terran Empire warship I.S.S. Constance," Rachel says, she had to keep up the ruse that she was a Terran Captain. "You are impeding on space claimed in the name of the Terran Empire, you will leave this system immediately."
"The Badlands are neutral space, the Terran Empire has no buisness in this space," Kada says, Mirror Rachel isn't entirely sure what to do in this situation. "You will explain your purpose in our space."
"We where drawn into your universe by a quantum anomaly," Rachel says, she was only guessing of course, but it made sense to her. "Our Warp Drive has been damaged, we will get underway as soon as the repairs are done."
"Captain Covaks, we have to get this ship out of here," Ivark says.
"No, not yet, we're going to stay here as long as possible," Mirror Rachel says, she wanted to get back to her ship, even if that meant making peace with the Federation, temporarily. "We will stay here for as long as you need."
"Thank you Captain, I will try to make our stay here as short as possible," Rachel says, and the viewscreen shuts off.
"Captain Covaks, are you sure this is our best course of action?" Mirror Kada asks, directing the quesiton towards Rachel. "The Federation is an admitted enemy of the Terran Empire, the Emperor himself has decreed that..."
"The Emperor isn't here," Rachel says. "We are on our own as long as we are here, and my decision is final."
"Yes, captain..." Kada says, and exchanges glances with the other officers on the bridge.
"I will be in my ready room, you have the bridge Commander," Rachel says, and walks off of the bridge and into the Ready Room next door to the bridge.
"Computer, keep a close eye on Captain Covaks," Mirror Kada says. "Authorization Drash Zeta-Pi-Omega."
"Authorization accepted," the computer says.
"Commander, are you sure this is a good idea?" Mirror Ivark says. "She is our captain, we probably should trust her judgement."
"Sometimes, you just have to trust your gut," Kada says.
"Computer, access personnel files, Captain Rachel Covaks," Rachel says, accessing the information on the computer in the Ready Room.
"Accessing," the Computer says, and the file pulls up, showing the image of Rachel in the rather revealing female uniform for the Terran Empire. "Rachel Covaks is an officer in the Imperial Starfleet, she is the hero of numerous battles with the Klingon-Cardassian alliance, having re-taken 37% of the territory lost by the occupation, in addition to another 7% of territory that was held by the Alliance, and 5% of previously unclaimed territory. She has been personally commended by Emperor Charles Teron, and is now serving on board the I.S.S. Constance as the Captain."
"A conquerer, so that's what's become of me in this universe," Rachel says, and continues to read through the information on her Mirror Universe counterpart, when she finishes she changes tactics. "Computer, access historical logs pretaining to the Terran Empire, dating back to its origin."
"Accessing," the computer says, and the information pops up onto the screen, and a chill runs down Rachel's spine. This was the first time that a Federation captain had access to this information, a lot of questions would be answered, questions that had plagued the Federation since the first encounter with the Terran Empire, and it was time to get some answers as she begins to read.
Back on the U.S.S. Constance, Mirror Rachel is doing the same thing, going over the information on Rachel. "An explorer, ha, the only great people are conquerers," Mirror Rachel says, laughing to herself as she goes over the information, and the buzz of someone wanting to come in is heard. "Come in."
Kada walks in, the Bajoran stands at attention. "Captain, permission to speak freely," Kada says.
"Permission granted," Mirror Rachel says, looking Kada up and down, in the Mirror Universe the Bajorans where part of the Klingon-Cardassian alliance, with a few exceptions such as her First Officer. The Bajorans where usually considered enemies of the Empire, but because of the loyalty of the Drash family gave Kada a chance to serve as the First Officer.
"Captain, I believe that we are making a mistake by staying here," Kada says. "The Terran Empire has proven to be a dangerous adversary in the past, despite the fact that they where on the decline after the conquering, but if they are capable of building a Galaxy-class, they are improving their weaponry."
"The Terran Empire is certainly improving their tech," Mirror Rachel says, looking over the scans of the I.S.S. Constance, our two ships are nearly identical, and equally matched. The one advantage they have is that they're newer since the Terran Galaxy-class was more recently constructed."
"The I.S.S. Constance is built for war, not for exploration," Kada says. "I think we'd have better luck taking on a Romulan warbird than against our counterpart. She is a warship, I don't think we can stand up to her, and you know it, why delay our departure?"
"Call it a curiousity, we have never really had the chance to be this close to the Terran Empire," Mirror Rachel says. "A chance to learn more about them, something that we should not simply pass up."
"If you say so, Captain," Kada says, but still is a little apprehensive about the idea.
On the I.S.S. Constance, Mirror Kada is also questioning Rachel's decision to stay close to the Federation ship. She has called a meeting of the Senior Staff, short of Rachel of course, there is very little difference betwen the two, only Kassadae is different, by some strange variation in the universe Kassadae is a Vulcan.
"Commander, are you sure about this?" Mirror Ivark asks.
"Captain Covaks is a hero of the Empire, the Emperor will question our decision to mutiny against her," Mirror Kassadae says. "I fail to see the logic of your idea, the Emperor will have our heads for this."
"If we can give the Empire a foothold in this reality, the Empire will forget all about our mutiny," Mirror Kada says. "We could even surpass that fool O'Brien in Imperial Starfleet, we must act now or we will never get this chance again."
"The Captain's cover story about an anomaly is holding, but eventually they will figure out that we've developed technology to travel between our universes," Mirror Syre says.
"O'Brien is no doubt waiting for us to return to Imperial space," Mirror Kada says. "We should have known it wouldn't be as simple as the proposal stated, the Quantum Singularity Drive works, but there seems to be a number of bugs still in the system."
"Such as the electrical surge that hit the ship and jumped to the U.S.S. Constance," Mirror Lora says. "We are still attempting to explain what happened."
"The only thing we'd have going for us in a mutiny is that Covaks and O'Brien are bitter rivals, they're both after that new position as Fleet Commander," Mirror Kada says. "Maybe the pressure's finally gotten to her."
"I disagree," Mirror Reana says. "Captain Covaks tends to thrive under pressure, she's not one to buckle this easily. No, I think we're looking in the wrong place, we have to consider the possibility that the electrical charge had some sort of effect on the Captain, this is still an experimental technology."
"Lieutenent Heinrichs, is there any possibility that the Quantum Drive could have done something to the Captain?" Mirror Kada asks.
"Its possible," Mirror Lora admits. "There are a lot of anomalies in this region of space, its possible our Quantum Singularity might have intercected with one to cause something."
"I don't buy it," Mirror Kada says. "But, we have to consider all possibilities, I think that as a precaution, we should at least keep the Captain in the brig. Ivark, have your security teams arrest the Captain, I will deal with her personally."
"Yes Commander," Mirror Ivark says, and gets up.
Back in her ready room, Rachel has been looking over the information she gained from the computer, and she had to admit it frightened her. The Terran Empire had been around for much longer than anyone had known or even suspected, in fact it had started as the Roman Empire, but something had happened. Exactly what had been lost to history, but while the Roman Empire had declined and eventually fell in Rachel's universe, they had thrived in this other universe, spreading their influence across Europe and Asia. By the 1600's, they had conquered the world, taking the name Terran Empire.
The Terran Empire had gone through minor rebellions, the United States had even existed at one point to a small degree. By the point that their Zefram Cochrane had built the Phoenix, the Empire was undergoing reforms that some people considered foolish, similar to later reforms under Spock. Cochrane had used stolen Vulcan technology to secure a position within the Terran Government, returning it to its more agressive and opressive ways.
She is brought back to her senses by a beeping sound, signifying a secure transmission is coming, from the USS Constance.
"Computer, put the transmission on screen," Rachel says, and the image of Mirror Rachel's face appears on the screen.
"Captain Covaks, lets drop the pretense here, an error in the Quantum Sigularity Drive on board my ship has caused us to switch places," Mirror Rachel says. "I appologize for this inconvenience, but it seems that if we want to get anything done, then we will have to work together."
"I doubt that our crews will ever agree to that," Rachel says. "The Federation and the Terran Emire have never been on the best of terms, to say the least."
"Captain, at this point you and I have no choice," Mirror Rachel says. "We both want the same thing, to return to our ships, and I must report back to the Empire. I will give you whatever intelligence you need, but you must be careful, my crew has likely figured out that I am not myself, they will likely be sending a security team to deal with you."
"Thank you, Captain," Rachel says.
"Our ships are not entirely identical, there is a Jefferies tube in my Ready Room," Mirror Rachel says.
"Thank you," Rachel says, and the transmission cuts off, just as the buzz of the door is heard. She opens the Jefferies tube, and closes it up, she needed to get out of here fast, and to avoid the sensors.
A minute later, a security team led by Mirror Ivark breaks in, the Xindi growls, pressing his commbadge. "Commander Drash, we've lost her."
Mirror Rachel at the same time is examining a model of the HMS Erebus, the model of the 19th century sailing vessel in all of its splendor, before she sank of course. Mirror Rachel is having a hard time understanding her counterpart's fascination with ancient sailing and exploration ships, in her universe the Erebus had been a warship, Franklin had been on a mission of conquest. Explorers where weak, warriors where the one's that made a difference, she had proven that to herself over and over again, but then why did all this have such an impact on her? As she is pondering this, the door buzzes.
"Come in," Mirror Rachel says, standing up straight, as the door opens and Reana comes in. "Counselor, how may I be of service to you?"
"Captain, the crew has been worried about you," Reana says, taking a seat. "Ever since we encountered the ISS Constance, you've been acting very strange."
"I'm sorry, this just has me unnerved," Mirror Rachel says, moving behind the desk and looking out the window at the stars. "I have, read the files on the Terran Empire, its rather bizarre really. How they can be so similar to our universe, our history, and yet be so different."
"Some people in my field have compared it to an old psychology method, Freud's Id and Ego," Reana says. "Most of Freud's theories have been dismissed of course, but in times like this, its not unusual for us to go back to the old theories."
"Well, I appreciate your psychological opinion on the difference between two universes, but what else do you need?" Mirror Rachel asks.
"I appologize captain," Reana says. "I was simply stating my professional opinion, if past encounters with this, Mirror Universe is any indication, we will be in for a fight."
"Mirror Universe?" Mirror Rachel asks.
"Oh, one of my instructors called it that," Reana says. "He had a fascination with it, considered it an opportunity to study Freudian theory. He saw this, alternate universe as a mirror reflection of our own, not a perfect one of course, but he saw the metaphor as, adequate."
"Mirror Universe, I kind of like the sound of that," Mirror Rachel says. "Remind me, next chance we get to recommend that to be used on a more permanent basis."
"Captain, I appologize, but we need to get back on the subject at hand," Reana says. "I am not an Empath, but I can tell that there is something on your mind."
I can't tell her the truth, she'd think I was crazy, Mirror Rachel thinks. "Sorry, its just all this stress, first the True Way, and now the Terran Empire."
"Yes, that's understandable," Reana says. "Also, the Maquis that we rescued are wanting answers about whether or not they can stay."
"Yes, the Maquis," Mirror Rachel says.
Kada walks into cargo hold 2, where the Maquis where being held. She needed to discuss some matters with Joshua, she had her own concerns about what was going on, and the Maquis where something familiar.
"Commander Drash," Joshua says, standing at attention when Kada enters the cargo bay. "Is everything okay?"
"Mr. Riker, I'm not going to lie to you, we have a problem on our hands," Kada says, and fills the Maquis in on the situation with the ISS Constance.
"So, the Captain has been acting weird," Joshua says thoughtfully. "The Cardassians where reporting some weird readings, probes of unknown origin. Its possible that they where early tests done by this Terran Empire, but I wonder why the Badlands."
"Probably didn't think anyone would be crazy enough to have a base in the Badlands," Kada comments. "The Terran Empire probably chose this place to test their new method of getting into Federation space."
"The Terran Empire, my father knew about it," Joshua says. "The USS Enterprise encountered it some years ago."
"Yeah, and there was some encounters when Sisko was in command of Deep Space 9," Kada says. "They are a force to be reckoned with, we really should have run when we identified the ship."
"The captain must have had some sort of reason," Joshua says.
"Yeah, but I have to admit, I'm not sure what that reason could have been," Kada says. "The Constance is a tough old girl, but we can only assume that the ISS Constance is newer, and more powerful than ours."
Back on the ISS Constance, Rachel is crawling through a jefferies tube. She had managed to steal a phaser rifle before the Terran Empire security officers got into the armory, and was preparing to get into Sick Bay, she needed to mask her signature from the sensors of the ship.
Lets see, there's an old Maquis trick, I remember reading about it in the Voyager's logs, Suder used it, Rachel thinks, getting ready to move into Sick Bay, forcing it open, firing at the Terran medical officers, as Mirror Kassadae walks in, raising her arms.
"Captain, what are you..." Kassadae starts to say.
"Long story, just give me a Thoron generator, and I'll be on my way," Rachel says, and the Vulcan fumbles with some devices, tossing a cylinder to Rachel, and she backs up through the Jefferies Tube, she figures she should say something to make it sound like she was her Terran Empire counterpart. "Doctor, if you tell any of this to the rest of the crew, I will personally hunt you down and kill you, very, very slowly."
"Captain, I never believed the others..." Mirror Kassadae says.
"I'm sure you didn't," Rachel says, closing the tube, she activates the Thoron generator quickly as she goes through the jefferies tube.
Mirror Kada bursts through the doors of the Sick Bay, holding a phaser. "Doctor Kassade, what happened?"
"I'm sorry, false alarm, everything is fine," Mirror Kassadae says, as Kada groans.
"Scan for the Captain," Mirror Kada says, as a security officer scans for Rachel.
"Nothing," the officer says.
"Damn, she's still somewhere on the ship, come on," Mirror Kada says, and the Terran Empire officers leave.
"Computer, show results of scan," Mirror Kassadae says, sitting down at a terminal, she pulls up information on a scan she had started on Rachel, and the results where, interesting. "That's not possible, then she, isn't the captain..."
Rachel groans as she continues to make her way through the ship, the Thoron generator would keep her safe for awhile. She had learned many tactics from the Maquis, while her family had never served in the Maquis, she had a professional respect for the freedom fighters, and had learned quickly. The Thoron would keep her protected from the scanners, and she would have to move carefully.
"Captain Covaks, can you hear me?" The voice of Mirror Kassadae is heard over Rachel's communicator.
"Doctor, don't you know that you could give me away like this?" Rachel replies. "I will have your..."
"You can drop the charade, I know you're the captain of the USS Constance," Mirror Kassadae says. "I am going to do my best to attempt to keep the rest of the officers from finding you."
"Doctor, why are you doing this?" Rachel asks.
"The Terran Empire is a corrupt and dangerous government," Kassadae says. "Many years ago, Spock attempted to reform the Empire into the Federation. The result was that the Empire was conquered by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance, but there are still Vulcans and others in the Empire that want to bring the Empire more towards the ideals of the Federation."
"So, you want to change the mission of the Terran Empire," Rachel says. "To explore and bring peace instead of conquer."
"That is our goal, but there is a strong presence in the Imperial Starfleet that would rather keep us to the ideals of the ancient Terran Empire," Mirror Kassadae says. "And the strongest voice against it is James O'Brien,"
"O'Brien, as in the Transporter Chief on the Enterprise-D?" Rachel asks, figuring the name was probably not a coincidience.
"Yes, James O'Brien is the son of his Terran Empire counterpart," Mirror Kassadae says. "And Captain O'Brien is in the running for the commander-in-chief of Imperial Starfleet, and his only real competition is you, or more specifically the other you."
"Wonderful, I'm in the body of a warlord who is in the running for the head of one of the most dangerous enemies the Federation has," Rachel says. "Doctor, exactly how did you know that I wasn't your Captain?"
"Your neural pattern is different than that of the Terran Empire Rachel Covaks," Mirror Kassadae says. "I had the computer run a scan on you before I entered Sick Bay, I appologize for the subterfuge, but I had to be sure it was really you."
"Can you get in contact with my ship?" Rachel asks.
"I could try to contact my counterpart," Mirror Kassadae says. "She may be easier to convince than other members of your crew."
Rachel pauses, Kassadae being a Romulan was less logical than her Mirror Universe Counterpart, but she supposed it could work. "Very well, go ahead and do that."
"I will communicate with you as soon as I have word," Mirror Kassadae says.
Back on board the USS Constance, Kassadae is in Sick Bay, running experiments and tests, her computer activates.
"Okay, that's weird, a secure transmission?" Kassadae says, activating it, and the image of Mirror Kassadae appears on the screen. "You're..."
"Yes, Doctor Kassadae, I am you," Mirror Kassadae says. "Or more specifically, I am your counterpart in the Terran Empire. I must explain this to you, my scans have proven that as a sort of bizarre twist, our two captains seem to have switched bodies."
"Is that possible?" Kassadae asks.
"Logic states that the event was the result of an error in our Quantum Singularity Drive," Mirror Kassadae says. "Our Lieutenant Heinrichs suggests that it the anomalies in the Badlands may have interfered."
"Is there any other way that we can fix this?" Kassadae asks. "I mean, technically we could just switch captains, but I wouldn't want to explain this to Starfleet."
"Nor would I to the Imperial Starfleet," Mirror Kassadae says. "Perhaps, if we could use the transporters..."
"Then maybe their neural patterns would return to their normal form," Kassadae finishes for her Mirror counterpart. "I must say, you are not what I expected."
"Nor are you, the Romulans have stayed out of the galactic stage in my universe, I did not expect my counterpart to be a Romulan," Mirror Kassadae says.
"Nor did I expect you to be a Vulcan," Kassadae adds. "I will see if I can convince the crew to this plan, but it will not be easy."
"You have the easy job," Mirror Kassadae says. "There aren't enough members of the crew loyal to the cause on this ship, I will have to keep the others occupied long enough for you to get the Captain transported."
"I will do my best," Kassadae says. "I think Chief Barnes has a crush on me, it'll be easy enough to get him to allow me to access the transporters."
"I will make contact with your captain and tell her the plan," Kassadae says, and makes the Vulcan hand salute. "Doctor, live long and prosper."
"This is outragious, how is she able to evade our scans?" Mirror Kada says, slamming her fist down on the captain's chair's armrest.
"I'm sorry Commander, but all we're picking up is a slight Thoron leak in the Jefferies tubes," Mirror Ivark says. "Its not necessarily a threat to us."
"A Thoron leak?" Mirror Kada asks, shaking her head, her parents hadn't served in the Maquis, so she had no knowledge of the tactic. "Its nothing, keep scanning for her, she has to be here somewhere."
"Yes, and we will continue to search for her," Mirror Syre says. "The Captain has lost her mind if you ask me, if there wasn't something wrong, then she wouldn't be running."
"I agree," Mirror Kada says.
In the cargo bay, two security officers are standing around, guarding the cargo bay.
"Hey, do you ever wonder why we're here?" One of them asks the other.
"That's one of life's great mysteries isn't it, why are we here?" The other asks. "Is it some, cosmic coincidence, or are the Gods really up there, with a plan for us and stuff? I don't know, but it keeps me up at night."
"What, I mean why are we here, guarding this cargo bay?" The first officer says.
"Uh, I don't know," the second officer says.
"What was that stuff about the Gods?" the first asks.
"Oh, nothing," the second replies, and the Jefferies tube opens up, and a phaser shot wings the first officer, who duck behind a pair of crates as Rachel moves behind others, a firefight ensues
"Commander, we've found the captain, she's in Cargo Bay 1," the first officer reports.
"Hold her there, we're on our way," Mirror Kada says, Rachel mutters curses about the Terran efficiency.
"I am your Captain, I want you to stop firing on me!" Rachel shouts, firing at the officers.
"We have our orders, we will take you into custody!" The second officer says, as Rachel throws a crate at them, and ducks out of the Jefferies tube again.
"Commander, we've lost her again," the officers say into their commbadge.
Kassadae continues to work through information as Mirror Rachel comes into Sick Bay.
"Doctor, you wanted to see me?" Mirror Rachel asks.
"Captain, I've had an interesting conversation with my counterpart on the ISS Constance," Kassadae says, catching Mirror Rachel off guard. "We know that you are not the captain of this vessel, but the captain of the Terran Empire vessel."
"How did you know that?" Mirror Rachel asks.
"Your neural patterns don't match," Kassadae says, showing readings of the two Rachel's neural patterns.
"Very interesting," Mirror Rachel says. "Yes, I am the captain of the ISS Constance, I have been trying to return to my ship."
"We have a plan," Kassadae says. "We will transport both of you and place you into the buffers, which may return your neural patterns to normal."
"Can we get the other Captain to agree to this?" Mirror Rachel asks, getting a nod from Kassadae. "And your crew?"
"They have agreed to help," Kassadae says. "Don't worry, it'll all be okay."
Back on board the ISS Constance, Mirror Kada is pacing on the bridge, she's not in the best of moods. "Forget all this, Lieutenant Ivark, lock weapons on the Federation ship," she says.
"Commander?" Mirror Ivark asks.
"Just do it!" Mirror Kada commands.
"Weapons locked," Mirror Ivark says.
"Belay that order!" Rachel says, storming onto the bridge, drawing her phaser rifle, she had to keep the act up just a little longer. "I am in command of this ship, I should have you all thrown in the brig and court martialed after we return to the Empire for this mutiny!"
"Captain, I..." Mirror Kada says, and Rachel vanishes in a pillar of light, and a few moments later, Mirror Rachel is in her place. "Captain, what happened?"
"It doesn't matter," Mirror Rachel says, sitting down in the Captain's chair. "Hail the USS Constance."
"They are responding," Mirror Ivark says, and the image of Rachel appears on the viewscreen.
"It seems we're back to where we started," Mirror Rachel says.
"Yes, now what will you do?" Rachel asks her Mirror counterpart.
"Bridge to Lieutenant Heinrichs, return us home," Mirror Rachel says, and the ISS Constance jumps through a singularity.
"Is it all over?" Kada asks, as they watch the Terran Empire vessel go away.
"For now," Rachel says. "Helm, set course for the Mylata system, Warp 7."
"Mylata system?" Kada asks.
"Its on the edge of known space," Rachel says. "Its in the Gamma Orionis sector.
"Gamma Orionis, are you saying that..." Ivark says.
"Yes, that's right, we're going after the Undine," Rachel says.
We recieved a secure transmission from Starfleet before the incident with the Terran Empire. We have to target the Undine, the notorious species 8472 that is a threat to everyone in the Alpha Quadrant.
It will take several days for us to get there, and in the meantime, I will spend some time to myself.
After a bit of a wait, I have finished chapter 4.
Next chapter, en-route to the Mylata system, Rachel takes some time to relax on the holodeck. As you can probably guess, this won't go too well, so wait for chapter 5, "Vicious Cabaret."