I should be dead. The last thing I saw or felt was my car slamming against another wreck on the highway, then what felt like a donkey kicked me in the back barely moments later and the world vanished. It would only be later that I puzzled out that I had been in a chain accident and that I really wanted to thank that kind farmer for not monitoring the lands next to the highway for fire more thoroughly. The smoke hanging over the highway had been so thick I hadn't seen a thing beyond my windshield; I had had barely a second to comprehend this and the danger, before the accident occurred.
I was, however, clearly not dead. I was now lying propped against the hard alloyed wall of a long corridor of some kind. It was deserted and there was this odd background humming or thrumming sound that I could feel in the air and through the wall against my back. I put all this in the back of my mind by carefully moving my extremities and examining myself for injuries.
Amazingly, I felt fine. I was sure I would at least have a high degree of whiplash, given that I was wearing my safety belt and I had felt my neck and upper back jar from the impact.
I carefully stood, using the wall for support at first, then feeling no balance issues, let go and walked back and forth on the spot. Yeah, no problems there. I was wearing my typical cargo pants and a white shirt with the Linkin Park logo on it, acquired at a recent concert of theirs I had attended. I shoved my hands into my pockets and found my smart phone but no wallet. No signal on the former.
I turned my attention to my surroundings and its familiarity struck me, but I just couldn't place it. It did have a distinct sci fi vibe. Was I dead? Was this my personal heaven? Purgotary? I had been in a car accident, then oblivion, now I was here.
Not having anything better to do, I did a quick 'eeny meeny miny moe' to determine which direction to go, turned left and just began walking.
There was a slight 'gothic' vibe to the design around me, with the lighting somewhat dark, though the carpeting was nice. I finally passed a door. There was no handle, only a keypad with a truly odd touch screen design – with green and light pink buttons. The language on the display was none I recognized, though simple ergonomics would mean you want the biggest button to be the door control. I tapped the button and satisfying beep sounded before the door opened with a hissing motorized sound.
The room beyond was empty, about the size of your average apartment that could hold a family of three.
Oh and there were large oval rounded windows that looked out into space.
Complete with starfield and...
Then it happened and it finally allowed to place where I was. Through the window far in the distance but still well within visual range it blossomed like an energetic sapphire space flower on fast forward.
The radiating energies and stuff that looked like a well spring of gas that would infinitely flow forth, from which emerged a ship that I could just barely make out.
The Bajoran wormhole really was impressive.
I'm on Deep Space Nine.
I'm on Deep...SPACE frakking NINE.
I pinch myself.
No, wormhole still there, which flashed closed in a near instant.
Oh, why am I suddenly looking at the ceiling?
Then I think nothing as unthinking oblivion claims me.
I couldn't believe I fain... passed out in an entirely manly way. I'm not that kind of person; I'm a firm B-type personality, easy going, and it takes a lot to get me angry or any kind of emotional extreme. I guess that is when it hit me that I was in the freaking Star Trek Universe (and I'm an ardent sci-fi fan and Trekkie, though I think cosplay and conventions are taking it too far – I watch the movies, series and reruns, play the games, debate stuff online, but that's it).
I wake up to find myself in what seems to be one of the beds in the DS9's Infirmary, it's a bit difficult to make out everything as my glasses seem to be missing and... why in God's Creation would they dress me in those awful blue medical outfits? Did I need surgery? I pat myself down, nothing odd and again I felt perfectly fine, I sat up to scan the area for my glasses.
My search is interrupted when a blurry person enters the ward and as... she gets within range of my shortsighted eyes I see my first alien... a Bajoran female nurse.
"You're awake. Good," she smiled at me and I had to admit that she was rather hot. She opened a Medical Tricorder and waved its wand in my direction. The famous bit of tech had me eyeing the device intently. "I'm just giving you a routine scan."
It was decidedly not just the blinking flashing prop from the show fixed on a single screen. The small screen was fully animated and flashing between imagery of my innards that made an MRI look crude and spitting out medical analyses in Bajoran text, which I obviously couldn't read. The interface on the flap and sides of the screen was touch sensitive and contextual. Cool. Though as I saw her work, with the thing I couldn't help but feel it was a rather clumsy OS in comparison to my AndroidOS smartphone.
"Is there a reason for this?" I pulled at the medical gown for effect.
"Standard procedure for a full physical and you are in medical isolation due to your lack of certain common immunities. We are waiting for your informed consent before we give you an immunization regimen."
"Consider it given," I said quickly, not wanting to get space flu or some other exotic bug.
"I shall inform Doctor Bashir," she smiled again, "Please don't try to leave the bed as there is a medical grade isolation field surrounding it."
Naturally I couldn't resist testing this and wasn't disappointed when my finger encountered a bluish force field that flared into visibility at the edge of the bed. Cool. The field even seemed somewhat malleable, I could probably step through it with enough effort, so it wasn't imprisoning me, but it was filtering air and keeping bugs out. The nurse left the ward but I paid her little mind.
I stopped playing with the force field when a male figure entered and when he came close enough to be in clear view...
This was Julian Bashir all right, and judging from his blue shouldered uniform, I was in the early seasons of DS9. I'd need more to nail it down exactly, but I was both inwardly relieved and horrified. I was at the focal point and nexus at which the fate of the galaxy was going to be decided, the looming spectre of the Dominion War and the hundreds of millions deaths that would come about. Honestly, what deluded ROB (though I know all too well who it is, and no, I'm not going to even think his name) thought it would be a good idea to put me here. I couldn't drown in my own despair as Doctor Bashir started speaking...
"Hello Keiran, my name is Doctor Bashir. I've been treating you ever since you were brought in by Security."
"Er hi," I said as a sense of unreality washed over me like an ocean wave. "Security?"
"Yes, they found you unconscious in the quarters that were going to be assigned to a visiting Vedek from Bajor."
I blinked as I struggled to decide how to react. Should I appear knowledgeable or clueless or maybe enigmatic... from a certain point of view I was a Time Traveler or to be more accurate a Dimensional traveller. I sure as hell didn't live through any Eugenics War, and my car accident had occurred in December 2012.
"I hope I'm not in any trouble?"
"None, as far as I'm aware, though Constable Odo is rather perturbed that you somehow eluded his security sweeps."
"Then assure the good Constable that I have no intention of a repeat performance."
"I'm sure he'd be pleased to hear that," Bashir smiled. He walked over to a high tech cart of sorts that he wheeled over and began pushing buttons on its integral touchscreens. He pulled out a hypospray and slotted it into a port. The cart beeped and he pulled the hypo away. "All right, this is the broad spectrum immune booster."
I nodded at him and the field parted open slits to allow his arms passage to my neck. There was a cold sensation then a brief ticklish tingling that went with the hiss of the hypo doing its job.
"There we go. It'll take a day or so before you can be released from isolation. Now I couldn't help but notice your short-sightedness. Not a very common thing at your age to still have."
I knew that vision problems were still around in Kirk's time, as he was allergic to Retinax – which was some form of treatment for the eyes which corrected the problem.
"Anything you can do on that front will be very appreciated," I said emphatically. I had been wearing glasses and contacts alternately since I was in Grade 5, to be rid of both would be a blessing.
"A simple course of Retinax Six is all it will take." He went back to the high tech cart and not a minute later the Retinax was in my body. "Based on the factor of correction that will be needed you need to return for four more treatments spaced a week apart. In the meantime I can replicate contacts for you to wear."
The replicator was not in the ward itself so Bashir left and when he came back it was with a small case containing a pair of contacts. I was a bit out of practice putting them in but it came back to me and I was rewarded with perfect vision of the infirmary around me. I marvelled at the lenses, I didn't feel them at all on my eyes.
Bashir now looked somewhat more serious, "Now I have to tell you that there are some questions that both Constable Odo and Commander Sisko, the senior officer in charge of this station, have for you."
"Yeah, yeah, they can ask away, speaking of which, how did you know my name?"
"It was written on the label of the shirt you were wearing."
I nodded in acceptance, of course Mr Secret Superior Intellect would spot that. Both Sisko and Odo wouldn't be able to see me for another few hours, so I requested some reading from Bashir. I got a PADD about the size of Tablet from my time, like the Tricorder, it was far from the static prop of the show – it had direct wireless access to the public Federation database and interstellar network. Bashir had to help me with the GUI quite a few times, again it felt very clumsy and there was no finger pattern recognition such as two fingers splitting across the screen letting you zoom in. It also let me determine the exact date – June 6th, 2369, or Stardate 46428.87 And it was just a month after the discovery of the Bajoran Wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant.
The first thing I accessed was the history timelines and books, with preference to Oxford and Cambridge as sources. I knew I was probably waving a massive red flag to anyone keeping a digital eye on me, but it was important to know when I was exactly in reference to important events because of the Butterfly Effect.
My specific focus was on the past sixty to eighty years – essentially the time before 'TNG' and after the signing of the Khitomer Accords. It was the period of time where the Federation entered a great expansion phase and finally 'settled' into the massive juggernaut polity we saw in TNG and DS9.
It was rapidly evident that I'd need a lot more time than just a few hours to study the topic, but I did get the bare bones at least. I also inquired into the similarly ill explored Earth Romulan War of 2155 to 2161, as it essentially was the crucible that gave birth to the Federation.
I was barely halfway through the generally accepted causes of that War when my reading was interrupted when I got visitors.
Commander Benjamin Lafayette Sisko and Constable Odo I expected, but I was surprised to see Lieutenant Jadzia Dax, and Ops Chief Miles O'Brien also enter. Of course, my brain instantly turned to mush in the presence of the decidedly beautiful and hot Jadzia – it was one thing seeing her on the small screen, totally another in person. Of course, this was not the time and place to be drooling, and the commanding presence of Sisko steered my mind back on track.
"I am Commander Benjamin Sisko, Commanding Officer of Deep Space Nine..." he went on to do introductions for everyone, that I won't bother repeating. "And for the record you are?"
"Keiran Swan, pleasure to meet you," I replied carefully.
"Understand that you aren't being accused of a crime but there are some questions that must be addressed to my satisfaction before we let you go."
I was rather surprised at that. They were letting me go?
"Why are you letting me go? You've clearly scanned me to determine how I got on your station undetected. Those scans would've revealed anomalies, which would lead to further scans... such as the most basic quantum dating scan on my atomic structure, not to mention its resonance relative to the rest of the universe. This would reveal that I am not only 'old' but also not really from this Universe."
I enjoyed their similarly surprised faces before Sisko shook his head, "We don't confine people just because they're from another universe Mr Swan."
Given the mirror universe shenanigans that would ensue in the future that was a policy that would change.
"Phew," I sighed in relief. "Then I should also inform you that I have no idea how I got here. I certainly did not set out to cross universes when I woke up this morning."
"Can you tell us what you were doing before you woke up on the station?" Dax piped up, her eyes looked plainly fascinated.
"Driving a land vehicle on an Earth that is very different than the one you have or had," I pointed at the PADD about in reference. It hit me then that while I was in a universe that I had dreamed about and was fascinated with, I was essentially the ultimate stranger. I would never see my parents, family or extended family again. It was a metaphorical blow to my heart as hard as the car accident. It was only with effort that I swallowed the extreme desolation I felt. I would probably break down later in private but not now. "There was an accident, I was hit twice and I blacked out... I thought I had died, and then I woke up here."
"Nothing odd happened before that?" O'Brian asked gruffly.
"Nothing I would term as such that would give rise to me suddenly appearing in another universe, Mr O'Brian."
"Chief," Sisko prompted. Ö'Brian stepped forward and placed my smart phone next to the table. "It was the only technology we could find on you so we had to have it analyzed."
"It's primitive compared to your stuff, no doubt."
"That may be, but the operating system and user interface is the most intuitive I've ever seen for something that isn't voice controlled."
The bells of opportunity were ringing in my head but I put it aside to focus on immediate matters. "Commander Sisko, I find myself in need of a new home. Any official options you can arrange for me would be very appreciated."
Sisko nodded his bearing sympathetic, "I'll see what I can do."
"My own preference would be to somehow remain on this station, I have a feeling that wormhole out there has, if not the means to get me home, at least will give me some answers."
"Don't get your hopes up, Mr Swan, the Prophets or 'wormhole aliens' are extremely vague..." and that's when Sisko spaced out. Ah, that's not good, speak of the devils... the Prophets were speaking to him.
His crew was quick to notice and it wasn't moments later that Bashir was there running a medical tricorder over him. "What the hell?" the Doctor exclaimed at the readings.
Sisko blinked and intelligence returned to his features. He focused on me with intensity. "I...the Prophets spoke to me... they implied that you're needed here...they told me to say to you, 'Prepare for the swarm, much that would be otherwise lost can be preserved.'"