Episode 002 – Times Destiny (Part Two)

Pen Name: Stringyfellow

The Merrimac was cruising slowly towards Franquila having departed from Starbase Epsilon Piper Four three days earlier. Captain Delany sat in his Ready room, thinking as he made his log entry:

"Captain's Log, Star date 45133.1"

"Once again this log entry has been classified, made secure so that if anything happens to us, Starfleet will have a permanent record of what we were trying to achieve. The USS Hetrick has set of on the mapping mission that we were undertaking. Our records of the maps that we had constructed have been transferred over to them. We have also provided details of our Warp signature and they have supplied us with theirs. Hopefully operating on the others signatures will dispel any doubts that either starship has diverged from it's current assignment. What would Starfleet think if they knew that we were going to cross over the Neutral Zone in a Science vessel? This ship is not designed for combat. I can only hope that we can accomplish our mission using subterfuge. That being said, I have to rely on Lieutenant Hawkins' knowledge with Romulan society, culture, technology and battle strategies to allow us to complete this. I can only hope that he knows what he is doing as our lives may depend on how good he is or how good he thinks he is. Right now, he is in a meeting with Commander Savok and Lieutenant Galloway, whose wife we believe is a prisoner on the planet Franquila, discussing strategies. This is one meeting that I intend to be in on, as the knowledge will give us a chance of saving the Merrimac, should it come to that." With his long entry complete, secure in his personal database locked by encryption code, he left for the Conference lounge.

In the Conference lounge were Commander Savok, Lieutenant Galloway and Lieutenant Hawkins. They were in the final stages of discussing the rescue mission when Captain Delany entered. He sat down in one of the chairs to listen to the remainder of the discussion. Anything that he had missed he would be briefed about at the end of the meeting by his Vulcan First Officer who would also be leading the mission, it was at this point that Savok was addressing the other two officers, both who were on temporary assignment to the USS Merrimac.

"The most important thing is to keep the deception of the Merrimac appearing as a Romulan Vessel. The longer they fail to detect us, the greater our chance of success."

"Agreed Commander Savok," spoke Lieutenant Hawkins.

"What we need is for the Chief Engineer to ensure that the Warp Engines produce a harmonic signature that makes us look Romulan from a long distance."

"The Warp signature can be altered, but it will not pass closer inspection should they want to look us over. What happens if they try to make contact?" asked Mike.

"I'll be on the Bridge. Should they wish to contact us, we do it on audio and I will speak with them."

"You will speak with to them Lieutenant?" asked Mike, slightly shocked by this.

"Ever since I joined Starfleet, I have studied as much as I could about the Romulans; their use of equipment, spoken languages and dialects, written text, weapons systems. Every little scrap of information that I could get hold of, by hook or by crook, I took it and studied it."

"What else will we need to do?" asked Savok, who as First officer wanted to make sure that every contingency had been taken into account.

"The tricky point is going to be hiding the Merrimac once we get to Franquila. How do we hide a ship?" asked Scott, looking directly as Paul who had yet to mention anything in the meeting. Paul himself had his mind pre-occupied on his wife. This was the closest he had ever got to or thought he would get to see or even rescue Katherine Galloway.

"Well Lieutenant?" asked Captain Delany.

"Sir?" said Paul, shook out of his thoughts by the Captain speaking to him,

"How do we hide the Merrimac when get to Franquila?"

Paul thought for a moment. "Without the use of a cloaking device, we can't. All we could do is an old trick of putting the ship in a direct orbit above the planets magnetic pole. The pole might mask our presence, might."

"The Away team will need to be kept to a minimum. Only necessary personnel," added Savok after a moments thought. "Naturally I will lead the Away team. Lieutenant Hawkins, you will monitor the situation from the Bridge, as Romulan and Vulcan technology will not be that much different from each other-"

"You couldn't be further from the truth even if an Romulan Torpedo struck you directly and you considered it to be a Vulcan Probe. Ever since the Romulans separated themselves from Vulcan society, they have done everything possible to make certain that they cannot be directly linked to you," interrupted Scott who slid a PADD across the Conference room table. "Read that. If you do it successfully, then I will stay with the Ship. If you can't, then I'm on the Away team."

Savok picked up the PADD and looked it over, his frown deepening as he concentrated on the PADD.

"Well?" prompted Scott.

Savok looked directly at Scott, back to the PADD and finally back to Scott, "It reads that you will be needed for the mission after all."

Scott looked Savok directly in the face and slowly smiled; a smile that had an edge of cockiness about it. Mike saw the look and made a mental note to keep an eye on Lieutenant Hawkins, as he might be more bravado than experienced with the Romulans. Mike knew he was a good judge of character but now he had a doubt about this officer, however he also knew he needed him for this mission. He decided to re-evaluate this officer once the mission had been completed.

Paul spoke up dragging Mike out of his thoughts, "I need to be on it as well."

"I fail to understand what possible experience you could offer to the team?" spoke Savok.

Paul looked him up too, "Katherine is my wife. I will be able to tell how she is-"

"Are you medically trained?" interrupted Savok.

"No, but I know my wife, she will respond to me," answered Paul rather sharply.

"Lieutenant, emotional attachment might not be the best trait to have on this mission," informed Mike to Lieutenant Galloway.

"If that is the case, why did you allow me to transfer over? She will respond to me. All we need to know is, if she is okay to be beamed onto the ship. When we joined the academy, we all got basic medical training, including how to use Medical Tricorders. She might consider your presence a trick by the Romulans; I will be able to reassure her and get her to come with us."

"Very well Lieutenant, you've made your case. Commander, will you need anyone else?"

"Lieutenant Hawkins will be able to double up as Security due to his Tactical training. Lieutenant Galloway will suffice for engineering options should we require them, however I would prefer to have a qualified doctor with us. They will do a better job for assessing Lieutenant Commander Galloway, no offence Lieutenant," spoke Savok as he looked to Paul.

"None taken."

"Any preference?" asked Mike.

"Ensign Jones should suffice. His training will be more than adequate. I would rather keep the number of senior officers to a minimum on this mission should it fail."

"Agreed Commander," addressed Mike to his First Officer. He turned and looked at the old antique clock he had on the wall, "Well gentlemen, it appears that we have five hours before we enter the Neutral Zone. Lieutenant Hawkins, I suggest you accompany Lieutenant Galloway down to Engineering. Provide them with the necessary information on Romulan Shield harmonics to make us look as authentic as possible."

"Aye sir," replied Scott as both he and Paul left the Conference lounge. Commander Savok stayed in the lounge with the Captain.

"You have something you wish to ask Commander?"

"Sir, with respect, Starfleet doesn't know about this mission, does it?"

"No Commander it doesn't. If Starfleet did, they would never authorize this cause of action."

"You do understand that I would be in my rights to relieve you of command for acting erratically and provoking an interstellar war with the Romulans by entering the Neutral Zone."

"So what is stopping you Commander? You would be neglect in your duties if you didn't."

"We have known each other a long time. I have never known you to take an action without either a logical reason or an extremely high chance of success. This course of action appears to have neither."

"If I were to tell you the reasons, you would have me medically sectioned," replied Mike, brushing his hand through his hair as he contemplated informing his First Officer; a Vulcan who only knows logic, his reasons for this; the voice that he kept hearing, the voice that had now gone quiet.

"What if Commander, this war with the Bajorans could have been prevented? What if this timeline was somehow faulty?"

"By that reasoning Sir, no one would know. From that point of view, all other timelines could also be incorrect. Logically, you could not correct the timeline."

"Couldn't I?" asked Mike.

Commander Savok looked over his Commanding Officer; assessing whether his Captain had indeed lost his mind or if he actually believed that he could change this timeline. "If I might ask, how do you know?"

"What if they were entities that knew but maybe couldn't interact directly? Maybe they need us interact for them."

"Then they might use us to change the timeline for the worse as well Sir. Had that thought not occurred to you?"

Mike turned to look at his Vulcan First Officer; they had indeed been through a lot together but Savok had never been able to grasp this human ability to take great leaps of faith when logic dictated otherwise. On the occasions that a leap of faith was required, it had always worked and that surprised Savok every time, as logically these leaps of faith should never have worked. The odds were always against them, they went against every logical conclusion that Savok had evaluated would happen but still seemed to succeed.

Mike needed Savok to take a leap of faith now. "If they were wanting the timeline altering, to make it worse, then why ask us to rescue someone?"

"Logically, because it means we will violate the treaty we have with the Romulans by crossing the Neutral Zone and starting an interstellar war."

"Savok, I need you to take the biggest leap of faith that you can with this."

"Sir, this isn't a logical course of action."

"If it was a logical course of action, then the Romulans would be expecting us to violate the Neutral Zone; as it stands since this isn't a logical course of action, the Romulans would not be looking for a Federation Ship crossing the Neutral Zone, therefore logically, we have a greater chance of success by their lack of action."

Savok looked at him, evaluating the words and logic behind his Captain's words and actions, "I shall have the Away team ready for when we enter orbit around Franquila Sir."

With that said, he left the room onto the Bridge. Mike himself stayed in the Conference Lounge gazing out at the stars, thinking to himself of how he would cope should the worse happen, should they fail in their mission and all of them be captured or killed.

How would he cope knowing that he had condemned his crew to being prisoners of the Romulans.

"The Merrimac will not be lost to the Romulans, that is not her fate. Save her, save us," spoke the static voice, as if hearing his concerns over his crew and his ship.

Lieutenant Hawkins leaned against the wall of the Turbo lift as it approached Engineering; Lieutenant Galloway was looking at him, sizing him up. Finally he couldn't hold back any longer and spoke to Scott, "What exactly was on that PADD that made Savok change his mind?"

Scott slowly smiled, "I wrote it myself in Romulan. It more or less called Savok an illogical hob goblin."

"You put that on the PADD? If he had been able to read that, you could have been stopped from going onto the Away team."

"True. I gambled that he couldn't."

"Gambled?" asked Paul, who slowly started putting the pieces of this together, "You still think this is a theory. You think this is a game? You want to test your skills in this regardless of whether she's there or not?"

Scott for his part looked taken back by this. "What makes you think or even say that?"

"I can read you. I'm an Empath and right now you are an open book to me."

He approached Scott and grabbed the front of his uniform, "You screw this up and I'll make you pay for it with your very existence. You don't play games with the life of my wife."

The Turbo lift stopped in Engineering and Scott quickly separated himself from Paul, "I'm not playing a game. She's there. I heard a voice whilst we were on the Station, telling me to rescue her, to save her. The stakes are too high in this to play it as a game. I'm going down there with Savok with just one aim, to rescue your wife. The games I play, I never lose."

With that said, he exited the lift and turned towards the main Engineering Console where Chief Jackson Bartel was working.

"Savok has sent me down to liaise with you over changing the Shield Harmonics and Warp Signature to emit Romulan Energy pulses from them. We need to disguise the Ship to appear to be a Romulan Scout vessel. It's the closest I can come up with that matches our size."

"Very well, I will need to see the Harmonic Frequencies. Lieutenant Galloway, I will need you up by the main Deflector Control room. From their you can help recalibrate our systems."

"Aye Chief," spoke Paul as he turned to leave for the main Deflector Array. He locked eyes with Scott and only this time instead of them showing signs of anger, there was pleading in them, as if he was telling Scott not to screw this up.

On the Bridge of the Merrimac, Captain Delany sat in his Command chair waiting to give the command to switch frequencies. Lieutenant Commander Farrar spoke up from her station, "Thirty minutes until we cross the Neutral Zone at current speed."

"Thank you Meredith. Engineering now!" he ordered to the open intercom.

The Merrimac came to a full stop, shut down and then restarted back up at impulse speed. "Sir we are now emitting energy pulses on Romulan settings, as provided by Lieutenant Hawkins. Estimate Franquila in fifteen hours, thirty seven minutes present speed," informed Ensign Kalar.

"Good. Savok, your team has a ten-hour rest period. I suggest you use it. Lieutenant Hawkins, this rest period includes you. I need you rested as well; should any Romulan Vessels start to get close to us, then we will notify you to the Bridge immediately."

"Aye Captain, I understand."

"Good. Ten hours isn't long, you might not get that long to rest. Take what rest time you can." Mike stood up and spoke, "Lieutenant Farrar, I want you to take the Bridge for the next five hours, I will then relieve you for you to get a rest bite before we arrive at Franquila."

"Aye Captain," she responded as she stepped down to take command of the Merrimac.

The rest period was cut short by six hours with a sudden jolt to the Ship. Captain Delany woke with a start, "Bridge, this is the Captain. Report."

"Captain," responded Lieutenant Commander Farrar, "It looks like we crossed into the path of a temporal wake."

"Temporal wake?" asked Mike as he got himself dressed, "Why didn't the Sensors detect it?"

"We didn't expect to come across anything like this. It could be a single phenomenon, like a temporal string. We had no way to detect it."

"Could it present a problem for us?"

"Not that we think, however if the Romulans come across one, they might send a ship or two to investigate it. That could then lead them to detect and investigate us."

"That we will deal with if the need arises. Get Commander Savok to work with Chief Engineer Bartel. We need them to come up with a way to detect these temporal strings."

"What if we can't detect them?"

"Then we will just have to hope and prey that we don't come across any more."

"Understood Captain, I will contact Commander Savok immediate-"

Before Lieutenant Commander Farrar could finish, the Red Alert siren sounded out loud. "Commander, what's going on?"

"The Red Alert has been triggered by a distress call from a Federation Starship."

As Mike continued the conversation, he was already out of his cabin and on his way to the Bridge, though before he asked his next question his mind already told him the answer, "Which ship has sent out the distress call?"

"It is coming from the USS Hetrick. We have an audio signal coming through from them."

Mike quickly tapped his communicator and requested the Transporter Chief to beam him direct to the Bridge. Mike appeared in a shimmer of light and continued, "I want the Audio signal on the speakers now, record it though."

"This is Kel Aniyan, leader of the New Bajoran Military Intelligence. We have seized control of the Federation Vessel Hetrick. We decided to check to see how the mapping mission was proceeding only to find that the Federation had laid a trap for us by leaving a Battle Cruiser waiting for us. The ploy failed! The crew is now dead and we have discovered your new plan of forming an alliance with the Romulans in an attempt to overpower us. You will never succeed in this. Be warned we will make it to the rendezvous at the planet Franquila before you manage to sign any new treaty. This is now an act of war that has been declared against us. And all the Federation worlds and ships will pay. Captain Delany, if you can hear this, your treachery has undone all the good work that your diplomats spent years trying to achieve. The blood of Captain Beverly Gordon is now on your hands."

All the crew officers on the Bridge were now looking directly at the Captain, trying to work out what he had done. They knew that they had changed mission, but they thought the Federation had authorized it. Now apparently they hadn't.

Mike sat down for a moment in his chair; trying to work out how the hell does he correct something like this?

Ensign Kalar spoke up from his station, "Sir, is it true? Are we on a way to sign a treaty with the Romulans? We are heading to Franquila, the co-ordinates match to where we are heading."

Mike looked up at his Ensign. So this was how it started, one person speaking out, rumors spreading round the ship; he had to stop this head on.

Mike looked up to Meredith and spoke to her, "Intraship Communications. Now hear this, we are currently on a rescue mission to the planet Franquila. This is to rescue a member of Starfleet who has been held captive. We are not trying to sign a treaty with the Romulans, however we are now at war with the Bajorans. If our mission succeeds, then the War with the Bajorans will end, if we fail…well, I have no need to mention what will happen if we fail."

"Captain, was that wise?" asked Scott, who had apparently arrived on the Bridge along with Commander Savok and Lieutenant Galloway.

"Gentlemen, I'm glad that you are here. I regret to inform you that the Hetrick has been lost to the Bajorans. We are out of time for the rescue."

"NO!" shouted out Paul.

"Ensign, increase speed," ordered Scott.

"What the hell do you think you are doing Lieutenant?"

"Sir, we cannot give up. You can lock me up for this but I've heard a static type of voice, which I can't explain, telling me to rescue her. We have to try."

Mike looked at Scott, "You've heard the voice as well?"

"Sir," spoke Paul, "I've heard the voice too. Whatever this is, we have to follow this through now, for the sake of the Hetrick. If the Hetrick failed to stop the Bajorans, then we don't have a chance against them. Our only hope now is to try to make it to Franquila before the Bajorans."

Commander Savok who until this point had been quiet spoke up as well, "Logically, we cannot win in a firefight with the Bajorans. They know where we are heading; our only option now is to make it to Franquila before they do. If the mission succeeds, then all of this could potentially change. If we fail, we end up like Captain Gordon. You asked me to make a leap of faith, then I guess now is the time to blindly step into the unknown."

Mike knew where Savok was coming from; this was their only option now with the loss of Captain Gordon and the Crew of the Hetrick. Both Scott and Paul seemed to be holding up with the news of the loss of their previous ship. Mike turned towards his Ensign and confirmed Scott's order; now time was against them.

The planet Franquila was located near the Romulan Federation border. On it was a prison camp, used to hold captured enemies of the Romulan Empire.

The prison camp was not heavily protected. After all any prison camp would always be deep in enemy territory, not located near the border. It was designed that way to make it less obvious so it would never be located. No warships orbited it; if they did it would become obvious what it was. It was why it had never been located, why no one knew of its existence. Currently Franquila's Chief Interrogator was conducting another interrogation on prisoner zero one nine eight five three. This prisoner had a good level of self-preservation. She had survived for three years here, in the hope that somehow her husband would not have given up on her, that he would one day rescue her.

As each day went by though, slowly she started to wonder, had he given her up for dead? All the other prisoners who had survived that day when the Genesis was lost had slowly but surely given in to the inevitable. They knew there was no hope. Each day, the interrogator would throw her a lifeline for killing herself. Each day she resisted the temptation for the quick exit, the quick end but for how much longer could she resist?

Surely after a month they would have launched a rescue mission? When the Romulan vessel took her and other members of the crew, it flew deep into Romulan space however once it knew it was out of sensor range, it changed course for Franquila. That way no one would ever know how close the prisoners were to actually being able to be rescued.

"You have not eaten your meal prisoner. We could always force you to, however no matter. You will still be interrogated."

For the last few months, he never asked her any questions; he would just physically beat her and threaten to violate her. So far, he hadn't but she feared that one day he would.

Right now she wanted an end to it. She knew that a rescue was not going to happen and she needed a way to end it.

The Chief interrogator looked her over, smiled and spoke, "Looks like today is the day. I can see it in your face, you want out, you want to end it. It's not that easy, you've got to earn the right to end it. Let's see if you can," and with that, he entered her cell.

The Merrimac successfully made it to the planet Franquila without detection by the Romulans; it seemed that the Warp signature emissions that were emanating from the USS Merrimac had done their job of convincing any potential ships that they were Romulan. Ensign Kalor had also done an excellent job in piloting the Ship into the system, dropping out of warp almost above the planet, bringing the Ship into a vertical drop high above the planet's pole to enter a polar object, at the advice of Lieutenant Hawkins.

Captain Delany was impressed by both the tactical approach and the skill of his Helmsman. Now that they had made orbit, they would have to get in quick, rescue Katherine, if indeed she was there and get back to the ship and out of the system before the Bajorans arrived.

On the Transporter platform were Commander Savok, Lieutenant Hawkins, Lieutenant Galloway and Ensign Jones, who had his Medical kit ready.

Savok had programmed his Tricorder to scan for Katherine's bio signature.

Paul also had a Tricorder in case they needed to scan for life signs. Scott had the only phaser set to heavy stun, in case it was needed. The intercom sounded out, "Away team, we have entered orbit. There is a single Installation on the northern continent. We have sent the co-ordinates down to you. Chief, energize."

The Away team disappeared from the Transporter platform and rematerialized outside of the building that had been detected from orbit.

Scott quickly pushed Ensign Jones to the ground and signaled for Savok and Paul to drop to the ground. Two Romulan guards were patrolling the outside of the building. It looked like they might not have been spotted, but then again.

It looked like Paul hadn't got down quick enough as the guards were approaching his location where Savok was hiding as well. If they were to be captured, then that would mean that the Merrimac would be discovered in orbit. That would throw the rescue mission out.

Scott only had one chance; he leapt out of hiding and fired directly at the first Romulan, rolling back on to the ground and coming back up in a new line of sight to drop the second Romulan just as the first had hit the ground.

"Commander, are you okay?" asked Lieutenant Hawkins.

"I am fine; thanks in many ways to your quick reactions."

"Hurry, search the guards for an access key for the Installation. It might be quicker than trying to hack their control panel."

"A logical suggestion," confirmed Savok.

Sure enough the second centurion guard had an access key to the Installation.

"It could be possible that there might be more Romulan Centurions inside. We need to know how many. Paul, can you check to see how many are inside?"

Paul's hand flew over the controls and he started scanning. "The Tricorder cannot penetrate the inside of the building. We need something more powerful."

Commander Savok tapped his Communicator, "This is Savok, I need a scan on the Installation for Romulan life signs."

"If we scan, it could allow the Installation to detect us."

"The Installation could be detecting this transmission."

"Understood, we detect three more Romulan life signs inside the Installation. There are a further two outside, however they are grouped together and not moving, located five meters south west of your position."

Scott smiled, "That's the two guards on the outside that I took out."

"What about human life signs?" Paul asked.

"We are only detecting one at this point in time. If this is a Romulan prison camp, then I would hazard a guess that they are due more prisoners shortly," spoke Meredith through the Communicator back to Paul.

Scott looked to Paul, Gary then Savok, who advised them all to make a move towards the entrance of the Installation.

Kel Aniyan sat in the centre seat of her Flagship, 'The Vengeful prophet', pleased with how her mission had gone so far. Her decision to pay an unexpected visit to the Federation ship USS Merrimac had paid off more than she had expected. The Federation Ship, USS Hetrick had been there in its place. Its Captain, some woman named Beverly Gordon had tried to reason with them.

Kel had liked Captain Gordon. She was a Captain who had her own ship, just like Kel. She was in charge of her own destiny, just like Kel, but unlike Kel, this Captain Gordon has tried to reason with her, to explain their purpose of why they were undertaking the mapping mission of the Merrimac. When she explained that the Merrimac had gone into the Romulan Neutral Zone to correct the time line by rescuing a prisoner, she knew she had to stop the Merrimac and she wasn't about to let this Federation Starship stand in her way, so she opened fire with the superior weapons at her disposal and obliterated the Hetrick.

There was no way she was going to let the Merrimac change the timeline, what would have happened to Bajor if the Bajorans hadn't overthrown the Cardassians? The Cardassians had been wiped out in their failed attempt at invading Bajor, Kel was now determined to make sure that the timeline stayed the way it was, if that meant declaring war against the Federation, then so be it. Right now, her flagship was almost upon Franquila and the future of the Bajorans was now in her hands. All she had to do was destroy the Merrimac and her people's destiny would be assured.

Having used the Centurions access key to enter the Installation, Gary Jones was able to use his Tricorder to home in onto Katherine's location. However first and foremost they would have to locate the remaining two Romulan guards. With only four guards based at the Installation, Savok surmised that they would probably be located in the main rest quarters. Savok's assumption was correct, fore sleeping on the bunks were both Centurions. Ensign Jones loaded his hypospray with hydrochloroform; he carefully entered into the chamber and injected the first Centurion with the hypospray, who fell completely unconscious.

The second centurion however was not as fortunate, as he was only partially asleep and heard the hiss of the hypospray and quickly leapt off his bunk, dived for his disruptor but failed as Lieutenant Hawkins phaser felled him.

"That Lieutenant was a mistake."

"We have two guards unconscious outside, one under thanks to Ensign Jones and that one now unconscious as well. How was that a mistake?"

"With the noise of your phaser, you have probably alerted the remaining Romulan. Since these are only guards, I would hypothesize that he or she will have heard it and would now be on alert for us. Our chances of rescuing Katherine safely have now been reduced."

Paul looked from Savok to Scott and back again, "Then lets get to her before they reduce further."

He quickly activated his Tricorder and started on a run to find his wife. Gary, Savok and Scott started to run after him with Savok drawing level, "What do you intend to do when you find her?"

"Rescue her?"

"And how do you intend to do that? Now is not the time for irrational actions."

"The logical course of action would to have been to never have started on this in the first place, but since we are here, we play it minute by minute."

"You intend to formulate a plan as we encounter each situation Lieutenant?"

"Do you have anything better?"

Before Savok could answer, Paul's Tricorder started to beep loudly, signaling that the person they were looking for was close by. Unfortunately, so too was the Romulan Interrogator.

The USS Merrimac was caught completely by surprise. The transmission that they had made to Commander Savok had allowed 'The Vengeful Prophet' to locate the ship and they fired upon her straight away, striking down on the primary hull, blowing away the airlock doors on Deck Sixteen. The sudden strike and loss of pressure sent all the Bridge crew flying all over. Mike quickly shouted out, "Red alert, shields up!"

"Shields are going up but they are only at eighty percent power. Weapon systems are coming on line," responded Meredith Farrar, who had managed to get herself back to her feet as well and was already in the process of getting the shields up.

"Locate that ship? Is it Romulan?"

Ensign Kalar at the Helm was the first to locate it. "Bajoran Vessel directly above us, Vandren Class. It's the Vengeful Prophet, the Flagship of the Bajorans."

"That's Kel Aniyan's ship. If she took out the Hetrick," confirmed Meredith.

"I know, you don't have to finish that thought. Where is she now?"

"It's turning to make another run on us," replied Kalar, "bearing two seven six mark zero three five."

"It's locking weapons on the Engineering section," Meredith reported as she tried to increase the Shield strength to that location.

"Evasive manoeuvres. Break orbit. Get us out of here."

Kalar, as an Andorian was quick to respond to the instructions, however because Kel had fought and won against the Cardassians, she was quicker. Just as the Merrimac was breaking orbit, the Disruptors of the Vengeful Prophet struck home and caused serious damage to the Engineering section.

The Ship started to list.

Back at the Installation, Paul, Savok, Scott and Gary had located the prison cell that held Katherine. Scott entered the room first and he soon went flying back out as the Romulan Interrogator struck him down.

Paul entered, saw the burly Romulan and moved backwards out of the room. Just as the Romulan left the room to seize Paul, Savok reached out and used the Vulcan nerve pinch to take out the final opponent.

Gary got Scott back onto his feet. "Are you okay sir?" he asked.

Scott rubbed his hand on his jaw, looked at Paul and replied, "I'm used to it."

"Gentlemen, if we are done with the banter, the Romulan will not stay down for long, due to his physical similarity with Vulcans. I suggest that we locate Lieutenant Commander Galloway and proceed back to the ship."

Upon Commander Savok's instruction, all of the Away team proceeded into the room indicated by the Tricorder. As they entered, they noticed that Katherine was lying on the floor of her cell, battered and bruised, the Chief Interrogator having enjoyed beating her once again to almost within an inch of her life.

Gary stepped over to the field and ran his Tricorder at her and reported that she was still alive, just barely.

Savok ordered Paul to get the Entrance field down on the cell.

Once it was down, Gary got closer to her to check her out. "She's weak. We need to get her out of here now."

Gary reached for her but she slowly moved away from him.

Paul moved over to the cell, "Katherine, it's me, it's Paul, your husband."

"Paul?" she replied looking up at him, but not really recognizing.

"It's me Katherine. We've come here to rescue you."

Savok touched his communicator, "Savok to Merrimac, standby to beam five up."

What Savok heard was not reassuring, "Commander Savok I presume,"

"To whom am I speaking?"

"This is Kel Aniyan, of the Bajoran Military intelligence. You will surrender yourselves immediately, otherwise I shall start to execute your fellow crew members, starting with the Captain, who as we speak is on his hands and knees before me."

Savok looked to Paul who shook his head. Scott, who was standing by the entrance with his phaser aimed at the fallen interrogator shouted into them, "He's coming round. We don't have time to waste. Keep an eye on that!" he instructed Gary as he passed the phaser to him.

He moved into the cell, "We've got to get her out of here now."

Scott reached out to grab Katherine, to get her out of there. They touched, they screamed out together and then…

…Chaos erupted!

Another volley of Torpedoes struck the Ship. "Shields have almost gone. I'm dropping the blast shields," reported Kel Aniyan from Tactical.

Mike, who found himself kneeling on the floor quickly shouted, "Ensign, seize her."

"Sir?" asked Ensign Fain, the Chief Helmsman.

Mike looked at his Helmsman, wondering why a Ferengi had replaced his Andorian helmsman. It was at that point that he also noticed that the Bridge was distinctly different to the one he was on. Disorientated, he maneuvered to his chair; as he did so, he glanced up at his captor Kel Aniyan. She was wearing the traditional yellow and black uniform of a Starfleet Security Officer.

"Where's Savok?" he asked out loud.

"He's on the planet below. We only have a matter of minutes before the Romulans get more ships here. I'm targeting the nearest ship."

Captain Delany got to his feet and tapped his communicator, "Savok, this is the Captain. Status report."

"Captain," spoke Katherine, "We cannot beam up straight away, Lieutenant Commander Galloway is currently treating Lieutenant Hawkins."

"The timeline has been corrected" spoke the static voice.

Panic ensued the Captain as he asked, "Where's my First Officer?"

"I'm here Sir, but Lieutenant Hawkins needs stabilizing. We need to get him back to the ship," continued Katherine.

"The time line has been corrected, save him," continued the voice.

"No, Commander Savok is my First Officer. Why is an Engineer treating my Tactical Chief?"

"Captain, this is Paul. Lieutenant Hawkins, I believe is in temporal shock. Katherine reached out to get him and he suddenly screamed out. We need to get him to Sickbay now."

"What does Ensign Jones think?"

Paul looked at Ensign Jones, who shook his head as if to say, why am I being asked?

Paul rather than trying to debate this just humored the Captain, "Our Engineer concurs."

"Sir, we need an immediate beam up before Scott gets worse," spoke Savok as he helped guard the door.

"Transporter room, lock onto them and energize," ordered Mike, still trying to get his head round what was happening.

Nothing made sense.

His captor was now helping to defend the ship against Romulans, who had appeared out of nowhere. One of his Engineers was now looking after his Tactical Chief, his First Officer was not his First Officer apparently, this just didn't make sense, but he couldn't worry about that now, he had the Romulans to take care of.

"Get our tactical situation on screen," ordered Mike, now trying to get hold of the situation.

On the screen he could see two Romulan Warbirds surrounding his vessel.

"Options?" he asked and was surprised to hear Kel provide them for him.

"Transporter room confirms we have everyone on board. Recommend we fire a burst of torpedoes in front of the lead Romulan vessel. Detonate them by remote control and it will provide a chance to get the Revelation out of Romulan space if we jump straight to warp."

"Do it," ordered Mike.

Kel's fingers deftly worked the console and launched the torpedoes; Fain monitored the Torpedo trajectory and the moment they detonated, he engaged the Warp Drive.

"Sensors show that we are not being pursued," advised Savok from the Operations Console. Mike stared at him for a few moments, then looked to his right to see who he guessed to be Katherine Galloway.

He saw that she had three gold pips on her collar, indicating that she was a full Commander.

"Saved her you did, the time line has been corrected," continued the voice.

"You have the Bridge Commander," he notified her as he stepped into his Ready room.

He heard the voice once again telling him that the time line had been corrected so why did nothing make sense? He sat down at his desk and placed his head in his hands. What on earth had happened? What had happened to his ship and crew? The person who he had risked his ship for was now sat down next to him, oblivious to having once been imprisoned by the Romulans. All the crew seemed wrong but somehow right. He touched the Communication button on his desk; at least he knew where that was, "Computer, current crew of the USS Merrimac."

The computer responded but not with the answer that he was expecting. "The Crew of the USS Merrimac separated three years ago, when the USS Merrimac was destroyed whilst saving a Bajoran Transport vessel that was under the command of Kel Aniyan."

Mike pressed the computer for more information, "Then what ship am I on? Who are my senior officers?"

"You are the Commanding Officer of the Prototype USS Revelation, Fleet Registry November X-ray seven four zero six one. Crew compliment of one thousand and sixty three Officers. First Officer Commander Katherine Malloy, Operations Chief and Second Officer Commander Savok, Chief Engineering Officer Lieutenant Commander Jackson Bartel, Chief Medical Officer Lieutenant Commander Paul Galloway, Chief Security Officer Lieutenant Kel Aniyan, Chief-"

"Ok Computer I've heard enough," interrupted Mike. He brought up his service record of the USS Revelation and noticed that he had only been in command for little under a year.

"The time line has been corrected, the timeline made redundant, after effects you will feel, saved him you did, save us you have and will, your final destiny still awaits," spoke the voice.

'Save him?' thought Mike but who had he saved? 'Lieutenant Hawkins was injured. What if it was never Galloway but Hawkins he had been trying to save?'

"Computer, service record of Lieutenant Scott Hawkins."

The computer answered and confirmed what he feared, "Lieutenant Hawkins, graduated Starfleet Academy ninth in his class. First and only posting USS Genesis, for five years. Last known position, Deputy Chief Engineer, USS Genesis. Current status: missing, presumed dead due to the loss of the USS Genesis three years ago."

Mike covered his face as he slowly started to piece together his ship, his crew and what had just happened. 'He'd risked his ship and crew for a lowly Lieutenant.'

Mike checked the computer for classified log entries and found one; he accessed it and read what he had written and what he had written should have been impossible.

"Captains Personal Log,

Stardate 45131.8, I am making this log entry secure. I have recently been hearing a voice in my head; I think I am the only one who is hearing it. I have seen images; a ship that I don't recognize yet is familiar, a planet that I don't recognize, a male who I think I once considered as an Engineering Officer for my ship. These images are just some of the things that I cannot figure out their meaning. The voices have mentioned something about this timeline being wrong. Should I take it that I am not supposed to be here, that I am not supposed to be Captain of the USS Revelation or even supposed to be a Captain? The phrases, the words I cannot remember now; maybe I imagined it. Maybe I am going mad and should have Dr Paul Galloway check me out. God knows? I've currently set the Revelation on a course to rendezvous with the USS Darkheart; her crew has one member who used to be on the USS Genesis. She was one of its Science Officer's. I am hoping that she can help shed some light on this? What is the significance of this officer to her? How does he fit into this equation? What is it about this dead man that has compelled me to abandon my current mission on what is possibly a wild goose chase? Commander Malloy has so far indulged me in this, however my current actions are making her question my judgment in this matter. She knows what we are doing can risk the fragile treaty we hold with the Romulans. I have been in communication contact with Captain Beverly Gordon of the USS Darkheart. I've not been able to tell her too much; how would it sound what I'd tell her about this voice that I have been hearing? All I've asked, which she has granted me is to meet this Security Officer. If maybe she can confirm that the person who I have seen in my mind is this missing Deputy Chief Engineer, then I might have a lead as to what to do, where to go. She might even know what the planet is that I have seen. I have too many questions and not enough answers for this puzzle. All I know is that if I am wrong on any of this, then Starfleet could potentially strip me off my command, due to the violation of the treaty with the Romulans."

Captain Delany stopped the log entry. He had heard enough to convince him of what they had done. "Computer, current status of Captain Beverly Gordon's ship."

"The USS Darkheart is currently mapping the Alarnmous Cluster; the previous assignment of the USS Revelation."

Well, at least he knew that she and her crew, her ship were still alive. "Computer, have we had any recent crew transfers?"

"Negative. Only new person onboard is Lieutenant Hawkins."

Mike sat back in his chair, his eyes now feeling heavy with the weight of what he had done.

The door chimed.

"Enter," he addressed the door and Commander Malloy entered along with Paul Galloway.

"To what do I owe this visit? A report on the Away mission?"

Commander Katherine Malloy sat down along with Lieutenant Commander Galloway. Katherine was the first to speak, "Sir, I have just got the damage report from Engineering along with the casualty report."

"Casualties?" asked Mike.

"Yes Sir. We lost twenty personnel in the encounter with the Romulans, including Chief Engineer Bartel. Lieutenant David Piper is currently running Engineering. A plasma manifold that the Chief was trying to save erupted in his face. Dr Hadruis Pel tried to save him, but was unsuccessful."

"I might have been able to if I hadn't been on the planet," echoed Paul, "but that being said, Lieutenant Hawkins is still in the Medical Bay. I've had to sedate him. His physical state shouldn't be a problem. Counselor Rochelle Smith however has concerns for his mental state. With the last three years of imprisonment that he has gone through, will he even be able to resume a career in the fleet. She doesn't know how he will be once he comes round, how he will adjust. She has said that she will work with him but she doesn't know if the damage that he received at the hands of the Romulans has been too extensive. She has never dealt with anything like this, no one has."

"Thank you for your report. Dismissed."

Paul got up and left the Ready room, back down to the Medical to check in with his patient.

Katherine stayed behind, "Sir, can I speak off the record."

Mike sat back in his chair, intent on what his First Officer had to say, "By all means."

"Sir, I never questioned you when we took on this mission. I remember you telling me that I had to take a leap of faith. I did. Do you know what the conclusion is to my leap of faith?"

"No, Commander but I'm sure you will tell me."

"Aye Sir, I will. The pay off was not worth the price we paid. We lost one of the best Engineers in the fleet and for what? A lowly Lieutenant, who might or might not be any good to us. No Sir, the price we paid for this was too high. Sometimes the leaps just aren't worth it."

"What Commander, if it had been you that we had gone to rescue instead?"

"I'd have hoped you'd have left me. No One officer is worth the risk or the price we paid."

"Commander," spoke Mike as he got up and moved round towards her, "I'd have risked everything to rescue you. Remember, we are all at risk from the moment that we are born. We are at risk when we put on this uniform; we are at risk with every decision that we make, if we weren't then we wouldn't be where we are today. No, our destiny would never be in our hands, it would not be for us to choose."

"I hope you are right Sir, about all of this," spoke Katherine as she made her way back to the Bridge, "I hope you are right about him," she finished as she left.

The door closed behind her and Mike sat down behind his desk.

"It's our Final Destiny," he replied, echoing the voice that spoke the exact same words to him that he'd just said to her after she'd gone, "It's our Final Destiny."