Captain’s Log, Stardate 092918
Having barely escaped our encounter at Farpoint Bronson, we set a course for Federation space. As we departed, our antimatter clones watched with interest, their minds calculating, conspiring, but what?
Our impulse engines humming just outside the far edges of known space, I called for the crew to prepare for warp. Hatches sealed, gear stowed, our scientific instruments retrieved from the planet surface, I gave the order.
Warning lights lit the console.
A silky, feminine voice said, “Stop engines, immediately.”
The accompanying beep had already sent our science officer running to hide beneath a table in ten forward. (There are reasons why Starfleet couldn’t recommend him as security officer. Loud alarms, hissing pneumatics, and phaser fire make him skittish…)
I hesitated. Per Starfleet regulations, it might be necessary to toss myself out of the Captain’s chair any second. A safety maneuver, or so I’d been told, given the lack of restraints on the seats, you were best off on the floor when the photon torpedoes started flying.
“No, really, the console says, ‘Stop Engines'” said the voice once more. So close. Right over my shoulder…
My First Officer stared at me expectantly.
“Right. Taking the engines offline,” I said.
There we were, adrift in No Man’s Land. Had our evil clones sabotaged the ship? We’d had no contact with them, afraid of what the collision of our particles with theirs might cause. That mystery would have to wait until we’d diagnosed the problem.
“First, meet me in the engine room.”
“First? That’s what you’re going to call me?”
“How about Number One?”
“That’s been done. And it’s kinda weird. Why not just use my name.”
“Pretty sure that’s a violation of Starfleet Regulation 57, section A which states that ‘All crew members are to be given proper respect through rank or title,’ followed by an exclusionary clause which mentions some guy named Wil Wheaton, and ‘any known alias thereof.'”
“Fine, can we just fix the engines?”
Soon we were both staring down on the massive engine from the gantry.
“Is that all you’ve got?” she asked.
“Well, this, uh, fluid receptacle is at this line. So is that one.”
“Hey, Starfleet didn’t have the budget for an engineer. I just,you know, Captain things around.”
“Maybe check the oil?”
“This is a highly advanced star ship designed to pierce the veil of the deep reaches of space and explore distant worlds. Don’t you think they’d have invented a better means of…”
My First Officer’s finger tapped impatiently on a yellow cap labeled “oil”.
“Right,” I said, pulling on the cap. “Probably imported from Tau Lacertae IX. I hear the Gorn have started drilling in their ancestral burial grounds.”
As I spoke, I continued to pull, and pull. The dipstick reeled, never stopping. It was as though an extra-dimensional space enclosed this precious Gorn oil. Finally, I was able to read the levels.
“Systems check,” I reported
Our investigation continued throughout the morning, neither I nor my First Officer having a clue as to the extent of the sabotage. Without the necessary training, the Scottish brogue, or a banana clip on my face, I had no way to tell what the problem was. But the damning specter of intentional sabotage only grew in my mind.
We had to leave. There was no question. Our antimatter counterparts had deliberately sabotaged our ship. If we didn’t escape their influence now, we’d be locked in combat with them for all eternity.
“Bring the engines online. We’re leaving.”
“But the warning…”
“We’ll have to risk it. This is sabotage. Those antimatter clones, they’re up to something!”
Once more we fired up the engines. Once more the warning flashed followed by the same voice (which this time sounded more annoyed than silky.) I stared at the instrument panel, hoping beyond hope that Discovery would give us a clue – any sign as to what ailed her.
“Wait!” I said as the warning message cycled. Numbers appeared. Voltage ratings. “I know what this is!” I took the engines offline and dashed outside, heading for the large compartment beside the engines. “We learned about this in Starfleet from service records of the Enterprise. It shouldn’t happen. I mean, Scotty and Spock fixed this when they saved the whales and all.”
“What are you even talking about?”
I flung back the hatch. “Our dilthium. It’s begun to decrsytalize.”