Digital Refresh

Chapter 01

Somewhere in the ever shrinking Galaxy, the U.S.S. Saratoga headed back toward Earth.

After spending six months out and trying to find what caused the Federation to lose contact with so many member worlds, the crew are weary; not only from being sent out after returning from a long mission, but also the lack of any shore leave. Now they are returning, desperately in need of time with their families to be able to cope with their findings. Their story begins in berth twelve of Terra Main.

With a flick of the wrist and a tired look on his face, the Captain addressed the crew. "Attention all Hands, prepare to disembark the ship in two hours. Command Staff and Department Heads report to the officer’s lounge in thirty minutes. Thank You, that is all." Nicky noticed the looks from his bridge crew.

Once the channel closes for the ship wide communication, Nicky looked up to everyone turned to him with a question on their faces. 'Oh the joy's of being a ships captain', Nicky thought to himself. While the internal battle continues to tell the bridge crew continues, he decides to just simply tell them not to worry.

"Alright, stop with the looks, we will make it through this, but I need everyone to continue on task so we can discuss this." said a stressed Nicky, then he noticed Annika, it's not over yet he thought to himself. "Once everyone has finished their duties and we are docked then you can join me in the ready room."

Annika noticed his tactic for what it was; a distraction. Turning in her chair with a disgruntled, yet amused smile on her face, "Captain, may I have a word with you?"

Nicky knew it was inevitable to hide information from Annika. He tried to keep from smiling while looking directly at her. "Commander Hanson, that will need to wait until the ship is fully docked and the other departments are ready for the meeting."

Annika raised her left eyebrow, while a slight grin appeared on her face, "Captain, I believe now would be in our best interest."

Nicky threw his hands up in defeat, "As you would say, 'Resistance is Futile'." He noticed Annika looked as if she was going to attempt to harm him, "After you Commander."

As they began to walk to the turbo lift, Nicky looked at his bridge crew. He estimated ten minutes until they were ready to leave the bridge.

As they walked in to the lounge, Nicky locked the door and found himself a comfortable chair. He took a moment to compose himself; he knew he was about to be asked for information about the meeting. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, "Go ahead and speak your mind Annika."

Annika, for the most part, looked at her friend with compassion in her eyes, and steel in her voice. "Captain, what is going on? And remember, I know when you lie!"

With an almost believable hurt tone Nicky responded, "Holograms, never lie. We might try to hide the truth, but never lie." After a few seconds he added, "Annika, did you process any of the data we collected on our mission?"

"Why, yes Captain, I did." Annika responded as if her integrity was in question.

Nicky glanced at her. "Were you able put together what is going on, and why we have lost contact with countless worlds and races?"

"Yes, Captain I did." Annika huffed.

"Then brief me with your findings." Nicky responded firmly.

"Captain, I ran a few theories from my experience as a Borg drone, and well, it would appear as if space is crumbling apart around us. Yet, that is as much investigation as I performed." While, she was trying to look all serious, the smile still appeared.

With a chuckle Nicky asked, "Did we get a little preoccupied with our Hubby who is onboard?"

Nicky stood and nodded, he understood exactly how this long time friend felt. Once he arrived at the door, and entered the unlock code, the room flooded with concerned faces; troubled as if they knew this was bad news.

Nicky gestured them to enter with his hand, "Let’s drop with formality. Come in and find a seat. Those in relationships, if you would be comfortable calling your partner to join us, then please do so. Especially since the information I have will not be pleasant." With that said, Nicky sat back down while his staff, no that’s not right, his friends called for either their partners or close friends.

Once everyone was there in attendance Nicky began the most difficult briefing he ever presented. He looked at each person in the room while he spoke, eyes moving from one person to the next, "Let’s just cut to the chase, all the information has been processed from our ship and the others who were assigned this task. This galaxy, or dimension, and everything in it will be entirely gone in less than eight months. With this being said, Starfleet has recalled all starships home so everyone can spend time with their families until the end. I made a request for this ship to continue on its quest to try to find a way to attempt to stop what is going on with this dimension crumbling. I feel as if this crew is my family; anyone who wishes to stay on Earth will be allowed to disembark the ship and allowed to stay planet side with no obligation to this ship. However, if you feel the same way I do, then you are more than welcome to stay aboard the ship with our family."

The first person to raise a hand, of course, was B’elana, "Captain, what about any family, or friends we have on Earth? Could they also come along?"

Nicky, while looking rather old simply smiled, "If you want to bring someone aboard please contact me and I will try and find a place for them. But remember, there is a chance we will be a skeleton crew, barely able to run this ship."

Tom looked around the room tears streaming down his face " I know my father will not come with us, but I feel like I am home here and if it is required when we leave out I will work any duty station required if we leave as a skeleton crew."

Looking around the room Marky lets his comments go "I don't think you will need to pull double duties Tom, nor will this be a skeleton crew. Families like this tend to not split up or run from danger. They pull together, put all there secrets on the table and stand their ground as danger approaches."

Then everyone turned back to Marky when he looked like he was having a heart attack, in reality his private medical channel was active "Dammit, Marky you came close to telling this crew about us. Devaintre is trying to keep Shay from deleting your matrix right now. Do you think we need to bring the Captain in to the loop? Do you trust Nicky with your matrix?"

Marky, suddenly notices everyone looking at him " sorry everyone I left a project running and I need to go check on it ". And with a flash Marky was gone.

Walking down the corridor of Starfleet Headquarters, Nicky has the feeling of unease. There is nothing like wanting to talk to an Admiral on vidlink just to be told to meet them in confrence room fourteen at Starfleet Headquarters. Upon arriving Nicky rings the door chime just to have the door open to a full room of Admirals, and their assistants. Admiral Janeway looks up "Hello, Nicky we have been waiting for you."

"Well hello Admiral Janeway, I thought we were going to have a private chat?" Nicky says just a little pissed and flustered.

"Calm down Nicky, I wanted to approve your request however We have a request of our own." Janeway says while rubbing her temples.

Slightly calmer Nicky asks "What request do you have?" he asks while attempting to put a name with every face he looks at.

"It's like this, we believe there is no fix for what is happening. We have decided to allow you and your crew the opportunity to search for a way out of this galaxy, that being said; we will be sending you with a memory core of our history, in case you escape so you have all the knowledge needed to learn from it. Also we will be boosting your rank to Admiral on your file. This will ensure you have access to all data stored on this memory core. " with a small grin, Admiral Janeway turns around other Admiral's. " Gentlemen, now is the time for laying it all on the table and let the pieces land where they may. "

As Nicky looked around the room his eyes fell on someone he had met in his past, but this person was wearing an Admiral rank and yet he was not the normal Admiral uniform.

Admiral Chandler looked to Nicky "Don't ask, but here if you ever find you don't have access to something due to S31 Rank, use this file." Chandler grinned and walked away just to be beamed out a few feet away from Nicky.


Holodeck Meeting

While officer Chris Raytroy stands outside Holodeck one checking to see no one is watching, he asked for security access to Talismand Interface then enters the Holodeck. Although anyone walking by would only see the program 'Classic Roller Coasters' running. Chris looked around and noticed everyone else was not there yet. Which is odd considering they all are Holograms. Chris grabs the nearest chair and sits down thinking 'I hope they decide to bring Nicky into the loop, and I hope Shay is going to listen to him' looking over at the sound of a materialization he noticed Hal and Devaintre's arrival.

With a bemused expression Chris asked " Alright where is Marky at?" while looking at these two acting as father and son.

With a sad expression Devaintre looked at Chris " Shay tried to delete his program, he will be here shortly after the computer verifies his recompile." then thinking to himself ' its a good thing we started backing up Marky on the hour otherwise ', " Chris, we will start once Marky are here and Shay."

"Why would he delete Marky?" Chris asked from his seat with his face in his palms. "Doesn't he understand deleting the ships doctor would cause a storm of questions and problems?"

"While I'm sure he knows it would cause problems, he would also enjoy being able to take care of the problems. Remember his current programming does not include a set of ethical subroutines." Devaintre, stated a little more than irate. "So before anyone thinks of trying to remove Shay remember he is not in control considering due to his lack of those key subroutines"

By this time Hal was pacing back and forth. "Look no one is removing my brother with out removing me first!" with Hal's defense made and the last of it said in a loud roaring yell.

Next to arrive near them was Marky and Shay both apologizing to each other like old friends. Although everyone there could tell Marky was shaking like a leaf. Shay of course knew Marky was afraid and enjoyed the fact he was afraid. Shay was of the belief if everyone was afraid of him then they would not mess with him or try anything cute.

"Well now that we are all here, Let's get started." Hal stated with an amused grin.

Hal turned to Marky," So Marky do you trust Nicky enough to bring him in to the fold? And do you think he would possibly accept all of us with out any issues?" running his hand through his hair and then looks to Shay, " Do you think he will take Shay the way he is and understand why he is so unique."

"Well Nicky will understand Shay a lot more than you expect considering at one point someone tampered with his programming and removed his ethical subroutines. Further more to guess what Nicky will do is beyond me considering he had his program encrypted to prevent tampering from happening again." Marky stated while keeping his eyes looking at the table. "If it were my choice alone then he would be here discussing it with us."

"Marky, while pulling files for this new crew and all the extra people aboard, my choice is like yours. Bring him in to the mix." Chris leaned over and gave Marky a hug knowing he was truly shaken up after having his matrix deleted and restored in one day.

Devaintre and Hal just looked at one another, then with a nod Devaintre spoke."Hal and myself had this discussion last nite the fact of the matter is we want Nicky involved." Devaintre looked at Shay " Well Shay what do you think?"

"We shall invite him in to join us if only so we can see how he will respond." Shay continues to sand his finger nails.

As everyone nodded in agreement, Hal's voice rang out "Nicky is returning to the ship he will be paged here one he is on board."

As the transporter beam clears Nicky starts for the exit just to hear "Captain Nicky to Holodeck 1 " Thinking to himself 'What the hell I just got back on board who the hell needs me and who voice paged me?'

As he approached the holodeck he noticed there was a program running and although Classic Roller Coaster was not a program he would delight in he still turned to enter. Except the doors remained closed while he inspected them with his face. "Computer open holodeck one."

< Captain, you must first enter your security clearance before you may enter > Hal said with a child like quality.

"Computer recognize Captain E. Nicholus U.S.S. Saratoga" Nicky was perplexed the ship had never asked him in the past years for a security clearance and now it wanted one to enter the Roller Coaster program?

< Identy Verified Please enter, and sorry for the door inspection Captain. > Hal giggled out.

Once Nicky entered he spotted Marky and one of the officers from the science labs, and three others he did not recognize.

Chris stood up smiling at the confused looking Captain. "Welcome Captain, let me introduce you to some old friends of mine. This is Hal, you just met him in the corridor. This is Devaintre please excuse his sense of humor. And this young man is Shay."

"Shay, you were the crew member who was working in the science labs correcting a power system glitch." Nicky stated, even though he could not find him in the crew logs.

"Ok, I would like to know whats going on here and really this is not my best day." Nicky said with a get on with it tone.

Hal stood up and looked at Nicky,

Several minutes had passed and now Nicky was staring at a blank terminal. Tons of questions rolling through his mind. He turned toward Shay first "Shay, I don't know how you have continued to operate with the amount of pain you must be holding inside, considering when the ethical subroutine is gone you still feel the emotions of all descisions made. If you ever want to talk to me about it just come see me. Also if you will allow me I know a few holo programmers on board who could help create those missing subroutines for you." tears were rolling down Nicky's face as he looked around at the other Project Talismand members.

Shay smiled and then the smile faded,"Although you accept me there is one problem your rank is not S31 and you do not have the credentials to have access to fix my issue."

'Hmm, I wonder if this file will work?' Nicky asked Hal "Hal would you open the file stored on this memory chip."

"Nicky, according to this memory chip you have full access to all current and passed S31 Projects and also the ability to modify or edit them." Hal nearly screamed the last part due to thinking of the benefits of them.

"Captain, we have loaded the memory units from Starfleet Command on board," Stated one of the new crew members who recently transferred aboard the ship.

"Very well Lieutenant Myers?" Nicky questioned because he had never met this new crew member before, but remembered looking at his file earlier that morning.

"That is correct, sir." Lieutenant Myers nodded and continued on with his duties.

 

While looking the data pad over, Nicky noticed there were a few unfamiliar arrivals in the shuttle bay, yet he understood it was his decision, in the end, to invite families aboard and allow a few transfers to his ship. He glanced over to the new crew member, "Lieutenant Myers, please contact me when everything is loaded."

"Aye Sir," the lieutenant answered with a smile. He watched the Captain as he walked away. Carl Myers sighed with relief when the Captain didn’t ask more questions about the cargo; which he personally ordered to be delivered from Headquarters.

While inspecting all the cargo containers he noticed there seemed to be quite a few extra passengers arriving via shuttle and transporters for this trip; almost like a family packing up the RV for a summer time trip.


Arrival on Terra Main from Civilian Transport

After checking the computer terminal for a list of ships docked at Terra Main, Noland decided it would be best to sneak aboard the USS Saratoga, since the terminal listed them running on a skeleton crew. He thought to himself, ’Avoiding Detection with a skeleton crew should be easy.’ Before he logged off of the terminal Noland cleared all the history from it while implanting a virus to wipe any trace of his existence from the computer system once he had left the ship he was on.

He checked to see if the coast was clear in the hall and started to make his way out of the small vacant room. As he started to walk down the corridor Noland was stopped by a crew member and he fought to keep the panic in check.

"Hello there, where are you parents or party at?" The crew member asked as he smiled down at the boy.

‘Great, I'm caught,’ Noland thought. Trying to remain he calm he smiled, "They are back in the cabin, my grandmother is waiting on Terra Main for me."

Ensign Matthews looks a little shocked, "Well, just be careful, Terra Main is a huge place where people tend to get lost often. "

"Thank you, for your concern, but I will be fine." Sweating bullets, Noland turned and walked to the umbilical to Terra Main. He mumbled to himself, "That was too close."

Noland entered Terra Main and noticed he was at berth five and needed to make it to berth twelve and had only one hour to do so. Frightened he would not make it in time he walked up to a Starfleet officer, "Excuse me Ma’am? Somehow I was separated from my group and I'm afraid I might be left here."

As the Commander turned around, she looked Noland over and scanned him. She noticed something wasn’t right and with a shrug decided to ask later. "You poor thing what ship are you heading to?"

Taking a breath and bracing himself Noland answered, "Berth twelve, USS Saratoga." He used his best smile as he hoped this lady with Borg looking implants wouldn’t figure him out and report him.

Annika smiled, even though she knew this boy was lying to her, "Follow me and I will make sure we make it to the ship."

Annika turned and started to walk, she stopped and looked back, raising an eyebrow, "are you coming or do you need help with your luggage?."

She thought to herself, ‘maybe I should have said Resistance is Futile and picked him up, since he is moving so slow and looking around like a fugitive hiding from the law.’

Once they made it to the ship, Annika asked, "After all this walking you have neglected to tell me your name." She smiled down at the boy as she continued, "Of course, it was bad manners of me to forget to tell you I am Commander Annika Hansen, of the Science Department, USS Saratoga."

Panicking, Noland stuttered out, "I’m sorry, my name is Jeremy Wilson." All the while hoping she didn’t stop or report him.

"Please come this way, I know where your cabin is located," Annika smiled and thought to herself, ‘I will have to fill Nicky in on this, and I will probably get one hell of an ass chewing.’

She looked back to the boy, raided an eyebrow, "Come on, this way."

As they entered the room Annika stated as she looked at the boy, "Look, I know you are Noland Vickers. I know you ran away because your parent passed in a mining accident. But I also know why you do not wish to return to your grandparents, so please drop the act. Beside, you can stay here while I notify the Captain that you are on board and that I have assigned you a room."

Noland’s mouth dropped open, eyes wide in shock he asked, "Why are you doing this? Why help me and risk getting in trouble for it?"

Noland, wanted to run away, yet he was curious as to why she would help him. Then he got suspicious and squinted his eyes at her, "What requirements do you have for me to stay here?"

"Good question Noland. First, you will attend school in the crew mess with all the other children and teenagers onboard. Second, you will be required to eat with the command staff." Smiling, Annika thought about how much she missed having a youngster she could help take care of.

Noland thought for a second then nodded, "I think I can handle those requirements, but what will the Captain say?" He wrung his hands together and hoped this was not just a setup to send him back to his grandparents.

"Currently, worrying about what the Captain will say does you no good." Annika smiled down at the boy and she thought to herself, ‘I think I have been around Harry too much, oh well.’

She started to walk to the door, "Remain here and do not leave until I have returned."

"Okay, it’s not like I have any choice in the matter." Noland backhandedly replied with a slightly noticeable grin.

"You do have a choice, to comply or not comply. However, I would suggest you stay here and live in comfort instead of living in cargo bays, vacant rooms, jeffries tubes, and other non comfortable spaces."

Noland watched as Annika left and was trying to figure out how she knew all of his hiding places. "I think I better stay put in here, than to suffer the wrath of Annika!"


Twenty minutes later officers lounge

While he stared out at the wall of Terra Main from the large portal of the officer’s lounge, Nicky heard the familiar hiss of the door opening as someone entered the room. Turning around he took note of the mischievous and serious look on Annika’s face. "Well Annika, what brings you this way and don’t say the view?"

The blank stare he received told Nicky this must be serious. "Nicky, I found a lost boy today on Terra Main. The story he told me was he had family aboard and he was afraid he would be left behind."

‘This must be a long story,’ Nicky thought to himself as he nodded for her to continue.

"Yet, his real name is Noland Vickers. I recognized him from a photo a few weeks back, then confirmed it when I scanned him. He really has no one to take care of him. Of course, he has grandparents, whom want him to be their servant. So, I brought him on board and assigned him a room." Annika swallowed nervously as she finished telling the Captain what she did.

"As I said earlier today the more the merrier; I figured you would not have brought him here if he wasn’t in trouble or danger." Nicky paused and looked right at his friend, "However, he is your responsibility, which means you are assigned as his temporary guardian and I will notify his grandparents he was found once we have cleared our solar system."

Nicky sighed, he couldn’t help but chuckle to himself because he knew his program was never written to pull off these kinds of stunts. He smiled, "If that’s all Annika, please bring the boy to the bridge; at least he can watch us leave Terra Main."

Annika turned to exit the lounge, only to be stopped by young Noland standing in front of her, smiling up at her like the cat that ate the canary. Noland innocently asked, "So, which way to the bridge?" Noland couldn’t help but notice that the Captain appeared to be trying to stifle a laugh as Annika raised her eyebrow at his question.

< Noland, are you alright? >, Hal said after Nicky asked him to check on the young boy.

"First who are you and second to answer your question the answer would be confused." Noland said trying to find where this voice came from.

< I am a voice inside of your head, I am the AI on this ship > Hal stated with a snicker.

Noland rolled his Eyes " Starfleet doesn't have AI's yet"

< Haha, Hate to tell you my program has been active for over twenty years, but you are right most Starfleet ships don't have AI's they have VI's and this ship has both, plus a few more surprises.> Hal, now giggling uncontrollably.

"Hal how can you be an AI when you sound like someone my age?" Noland shyly challenged.

< Well lets just call it the digital refresh effect, my program doesn't age quite as much as a person and I always prefer to be able to see all sides of the box, inside and out just because I don't want to be a stuffy old program. > Hal explained with an ever present smile you could hear in his voice.


Almost seven months later

Walking in to the Burger Hut with a bemused face, Harry looked around at the purple walls littered with posters, tables with at least an inch of lacquer over them, and artificial trees littered with strands of blinking lights. While his eyes were adjusting to a lower lighting level than he was accustomed to he was jarred from his thoughts as a random song was blasted from the speakers that hung from the walls. As music from over three hundred years ago rattled the bulk heads, Harry turned and hollered across the room, "Reg, can you please turn the sound down before the walls start to crack."

While flipping burgers and doing an imitation of a person dancing with a rabid squirrel in his shorts, Reg stopped and looked out in the room, "Oh, sorry Harry, I didn't realize it was too loud."

He reached to turn the volume down and mumbled under his breath, "or your too old," Giggling to himself Reg turned back around and asked, "What can I get for you Mr. Kim?"

"Reg, what song is that?" Harry shook his head to try to stabilize his hearing.

A look of disbelief flashed across Reginald’s face, "Mr. Kim, I’m surprised at your inability to remember classics like The Talking Heads and Road to No Where."

Reg turned the volume down a little more then turned back to Harry and asked, "So what brings you to the Burger Hut?"

"Honestly, I just wanted to talk." Harry stopped to compose himself, while looking at the floor. "Reg, I have taken a liking to someone on the ship and I would like to ask the person out but..."

"Well, who is the lucky person?" Reg asked as he grinned at Harry. He hoped that maybe Harry had found someone he could connect with.

Harry swallowed hard, as he tried to keep from tasting stomach acid and hold onto what little courage he had, "Reg, would you be mad if I said it was you?"

"No, I'm not upset, but there is such a difference in age." Reg looked down and saw someone’s order burning on the grill. He rushed over to save the order and didn’t notice Harry turn and leave.

Reg turned to continue talking to Harry and noticed he wasn’t there. "Well, how do you like that? When I am done here I have to find Harry and explain everything." Reg continued to talk to himself as he paced between tables and checked on a few customers that were there.


Meanwhile in Club 99

"Leslie, we finally have everything Starfleet Command sent us compiled" Tom said looking at his pad. "If you are ready, I will activate the program."

"Tom, I’m ready to see all our work completed." Leslie bubbled with excitement as a young man appeared before them.

"Hello, I am Eric. M.H. Nicholus. Where am I?" The young boy asked Tom and Leslie.

Tom smiled while Leslie cried,. "Hi Eric, I’m Tom Paris and this is Leslie Nicholus, or you could call her mom. You are on the USS Saratoga inside Club 99."

"Hi mom, where is dad?" Eric asked with a twinkle in his eyes.

Leslie reached out and pulled the boy to her, "Oh honey, he is on the bridge right now. But how about at sixteen hundred hours we go up and see him?" Leslie asked as she was ready to surprise her husband of seven years. They could not have traditional children since he was a hologram and she was human. Still, she had hoped for the day she could present her son to him.

"Tom, it’s almost time for your shift to start and I don’t want Nicky asking you what took so long getting to the bridge." Leslie smiled while she kept playing with Eric’s hair.

Captains Log: Captain E Nicholus

The events of the past three years have troubled me deeply. It appears our Universe is crumbling, for lack of better words. We have lost all of the other member worlds of the Federation. Five minutes ago I received an urgent communication from Earth. How am I going to tell the crew that the Earth is gone now? But then again, we have been expecting it to happen. Three years ago, Starfleet began sending ships out to discover why we lost touch with a number of Star bases and worlds. I can’t help but remember when I took command of this ship and I was allowed to pick my crew. The whole crew believes in miracles and considering voyagers past events and our home world’s strange history, I can only hope for a miracle.

End Log

Nicky pressed the comm., "Captain to all hands. I have some tragic news. I have received news from Earth. Earth has met its fate and is gone. I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news," Nicky ended the transemission and sighed. He couldn’t help but but wish he was a doctor again; it was easier being a doctor!

As the Captain fell into his chair Annika turned and informed him, "Sir, my calculations show we will be crushed in approx thirty minutes."

Nicky smacked his forehead and looked over at Annika, "Why didn’t you tell me before I told the crew about the Earth?"

Annika turned to look at Nicky with the most perplexed and dumbfounded look, "Forgive me Captain, I didn’t know as a Science Officer I was also meant to be a mind reader!"

Nicky looked around the bridge as every crew member was just about on the floor in laughter. "Well, Annika, just keep them laughing till the end."

Annika still looked a little flustered, "Captain, I think you need to see the Doctor, you seem to think I am a comedian now."

Nicky, looked around the bridge again, "Tom you have the bridge, and from the looks of it, the helm too."

Captains Log: SD 68700.44 Captain E Nicholus

"It seems our universe will be gone in less than twenty five minutes. Our home planet is gone, and soon so shall our ship. I just keep thinking back to when this crew became a family. After hand picking the crew and removing those crew members whom were backstabbers, cheats, and liars I believe we all have the same views and the same goals; to help those who need it.

Interestingly enough, everyone on this ship has wished the same thing about our history. In the year 2284 a group called Clan Short was formed and ultimately the Clan tried to help children in need. But unfortunately, they and Ambassador Sarek were hunted down and killed off by a radical terroristic group called the FCC. Nothing good came from the Death of Clan Short. Starfleet was in a bad positionas half of Starfleet was FCC controlled and the other half was sympathetic to Clan Short. War broke out for a seven long years, and with somewhat good results considering the loss of life. The FCC were either shipped to prison planets or killed for crimes against humanity. Often times, I have overheard the crew wish they had been there to defend the clan, others wish they were part of the clan. My crew will die, my program shall be gone and what good do we have to show for ourselves? Just wishes, dammit if there was a way I would go and help out Clan Short."

End Log

Just as Nicky finished his log the intercom burst to life, "Damintz to Nicky. Captain, you called?"

Nicky looked at the intercom, "No Damintz, I was recording a log and said Dammit!"

"Oh, you need to turn the intercom auto page off then or every time you say Dammit you will get me."

Nicky rolled eyes and thougth, ‘I love my crew to death but sometimes I think they all have studied sarcasm, that or it's time to skin Hal alive.’ "Thanks Damintz."

After thinking it over a few minutes, Nicky muttered to himself, "There’s no place like home, there’s no place like Clan Short, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like Clan Short,"

Then there was a loud deafening crack and a blinding flash, "Well Captain, I have heard your request and I have decided to help you and your delightful crew."

Nicky was shocked to see an old friend, "Q, your still around? I thought all of the other civilizations were gone? What are you thinking?"

Q just shrugged, "Well Captain, I think you’re looking rather bald. But let’s talk about the present. I am willing to send you and your ship to another dimension and another time. However, Captain, I cannot guarantee everyone will make it to safety or unharmed."

While the captain was pacing the room he stopped to look at the picture of his crew and family, "Q, I don’t want to lose even one of them, but as Spock said long ago, ‘the good of the many outweighs the good of the few or the one’. I know I wanted to be in command but, damn the choices get more and more difficult."

Q filled in the Captain of his plans.

Nicky stopped pacing and looked at his friend, "Q, do I have enough time to tell the crew?"

With another loud crack, a vintage red countdown clock appeared on the wall, "It looks like you have three minutes to prep for the journey, dear Captain."

Nicky nodded and turned to walk out of his cabin and headed straight for the Bridge.

As the turbo lift stopped Nicky and a young crew member walked on to the bridge. When the crew noticed the Captain on deck all conversation stopped, "Attention crew, we are about to attempt to leave our dimension and journey to the dimension called Alpha Prime. We have been offered this attempt by Quaz of Q and I have determined it is in our best interest to take advantage of this offer; since our world is gone and we are about to be die ourselves."

Nicky pressed the comm and restated what he had just said to everyone on the ship. After giving more order to his crew he pressed the comm again, "Captain to all Hands. Brace for Impact!"

He hoped that his old ship would hold together long enough to save his crew as he gave his final orders, " Helm, take us to warp factor 9.2. Straight ahead there is a worm hole, shields up and Tom, keep our course true."

Nicky turned slightly blue as he attempted to still his fears, "Engage."

While in the realm of spirits Denezrawl explains to the Q before him " you will need to find Franklin A. Burgess and his Friend Zackary Byron it is crucial they be found. They are part of four Mandates which have been passed down for you to carry out Q" Denezrawl smiles at his old friend.

Q snaps out "What am I a cross dimensional taxi service? The Q do not work for anyone we are a high race!" Glaring at Denezrawl.

"Well if you would like to be able to return to your universe then you must have them and the others with you or your fate will be theirs. You will die here and it will be your end" Denezrawl smiled like the cat whom ate the birdy.

"So you mean to say my life can come to an end in this universe?" Q said with a look of shock and fear.

Denezrawl grins 'Hmm he just figured it out', "yes, your life can end here if you fail to follow the mandate"!

Q looks at the four mandates and can't believe he must pick up a complete ship load of people. He is to find this child and his boyfriend. Then to top it off he needs to deliver them and make them able to live in this universe they are being delivered too. 'Argh, why me and what did I do to piss him off' Q thinks to himself.


Planet Earth: Unknown Hidden Universe

After returning home Zackary found the house a mess. "Mom... Barbie..."

Zackary walked over to the fireplace, he grabbed a poker and started to worry if his father had found them again. As he walked in to the kitchen he was startled to find his mother's lifeless body. Just as he turned around to run everything went dark.

Zackary felt someone slapping his face and hear someone yell, "Come on you little shit wake up. What, you didn't think I wouldn't find your gay ass here? Well, guess again, you and Debra should have never messed with me."

Just as Zackary started to wake up, he was almost knocked back in to unconsciousness by his father. "Now why would I let you go Zackary? You sent me to jail for killing your boyfriend, do you really think I'm going to let it go?"

Taking a moment to let the fog clear from his mind Zackary asked, "Why did you kill my mother? And where is Barbie?" As the tears began to flow, "Why did you k.. ki... kill Martin?"

Enraged to be asked such stupid, trivial questions Billy hauled back and knocked the hell out of his son. "Well, what did you want me to do, tell your nice boyfriend I wanted to see my son married to a nice woman not playing hide the sausage with another boy?"

Billy, mad with rage and fury grabbed his son by his hair, lifted him up from the chair, and punched Zackary for the third time. "No son from my family will ever be gay."

He looked down at his son's bruised and battered face and snorted, "Your mother stood up for you and for her betrayal to me, I killed her. Your sister is an innocent in this mess you caused me. I sent her to a friend of mine for safe keeping. Oh, and don't worry, you won't ever be seeing her again."

Flashback Nine months earlier

Young, Zackary D. Byron was running from his abusive father. His father had chased him from the home of his boyfriend to their home. Zackary was screaming at the top of his lungs, "no daddy. No daddy stop!"

Billy Byron was enraged. "I am going to beat the gay out of you boy!" he shouted as he chased after his son. When he caught Zackary he ignored his son’s pleas for him to stop and just started to beat on him until Zackary fell unconscious to the floor.

Zackary woke up to his worst nightmare. Laying on the living room floor, right in front of him, was what was left of his boyfriend; who had been beaten, stabbed and was lying, bleeding and broken on the floor. "NO... Why did you do it? We weren't hurting anyone?"

Zackary started to crawl to his dearest and closest friend, Martin. It apparently wasn't a very smart move as his father began a stream of vulgarities and violently started kicking and stomping him in the ribs. Zackary curled up trying to protect his already battered and beaten body.

The beating stopped and there was the loud sound of a shotgun going off. Billy started inspecting his chest and found he was bleeding from his side. As Billy fell he could see his wife standing over him with the double barrel shotgun; ready for him to move. Everything faded to black.

End Flashback and return to the Byron's Kitchen

"What are you going to do to me Dad?" Zackary asked while he hoped to live to see tomorrow.

"Zackary, does it really matter what I’m planning to do, considering you will be dead soon? Besides, it would take all the surprise away."

As Zackary watched his dad lift the sledge hammer up slowly, he knew this was the end. Tears fell down his face, fear and sorrow showed in his emotions as he whispered, "Dad, I’m sorry I’m not what you expected as a son, but this isn’t what you want to do, is it?

Just as Billy was beginning his downward stroke with the sledge hammer a bright flaming ball of fire struck with such force it knocked the sledge hammer out of his hands.

"I don’t think it would be wise for you to attempt to hurt him anymore or you will find out what true pain is." A young boy calmly stated.

As Billy picked himself up from the floor he noticed a blue haired kid standing in the entrance to the kitchen. He glared at the boy for interrupting his plans.

Zackary turned and spotted Franklin. "No, Franklin, he will kill you to. I don’t want to have another friend killed by him."

"He will have a difficult time trying to kill me." Franklin barked out with a voice full of power and authority.

Standing still, Franklin watched as the creep, known as his friends father, picked himself up from the ground. At the same time Franklin was sensing all of Zackary’s injuries. While he knew Zackary was fading fast due to internal injuries, he could not justify killing this evil man before him. The cost for such an aggressive move could be extreme and yet it could also be seen as keeping a balance in nature. "If you make one step toward Zackary or do anything other than leave this house, I will stop you from ever hurting anyone again."

Billy got an evil grin on his face,"Be careful kid you are too young to use a spell with that kind of power." He knew that a young and untrained warlock could kill themselves with such a spell. Thinking that this would be easy he started to move, "Here I come kid, get ready to met your maker."

With a loud, deafening crack, a bolt of lightning struck Billy with such force he was slammed through the kitchen wall and into the backyard. A look of shock briefly crossed Billy’s face when the blot hit him.

Zackary looked at Franklin just in time to see his hair darken slightly and his demeanor almost seemed to darken for a split second. Then Zackary couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer and let go to the sleep that beckoned him.

"So is that all you have kid" Billy snarled at the young warlock. "Why don't you try this on for size" with that said Billy picked up the kitchen bench seat and threw it with an extreme amount of power at Franklin.

Franklin dodged the bench and tired from the amount of energy used threw the collection of knives at Billy using his mind, and as he guided each one to there target he knew without a doubt he would pay for his actions. Because of his attempting to kill this evil man.

Looking down at the man before him, one thought struck him. He knew this evil man before him had once been a child like him or Zackary and wondered what could have caused him to become evil. He simply wished he knew so he could change it or prey for his change.

As Franklin started walking toward Zackary he noticed his friend was no longer awake and felt he was slipping from this realm of living to non living. "No! You will not die. I will not let you." The young warlock screamed into the air as he looked at his friend dying before him.

"Powers that be, you must help me to save him," Franklin pleaded as tears poured from his gray with yellow highlighted eyes.

Franklin reached down to hold his friend. As he held him in his arms, he cried, "I cannot lose him, I will not lose him." The air started to blow through the house like a mini tornado was about to form.

"I will give everything I am to save him, please save him." Franklin pleaded as he held Zackary in his arms as the wind continued to blow around them.

Franklin could hear his young Bangle Tiger cub mewing in the doorway. The cubs cries grew strong and matched Fanklin’s pleas.

"Meww, Mewwww, Grrr." Sparkles began to channel as much energy as Franklin thought was possible. She felt an unimaginable source of power coursing through her link with Franklin.

Franklin turned tear dreanched, pleading eyes to his cub, "Sparkles, we must save him. I can feel he is meant for something which is hidden from me."

Sparkle’s understood, but sometimes her pet just didn’t understand how things worked. She glared at him with golden eyes that shined with determination, "Grr, Hsss, Rwwwl, Grrll, Mwww, Grrwwwl".

The mini tornado surrounded and then pulled Franklin and Zackary and Franklin’s white cat inside it's maw and with a crack of thunder they are all gone.

As the mini tornado envelops them Franklin notice's a shadow of someone in the distance of the vortex. After telling Sparkles to stay and watch Zackary, he walks up to this shadowy person. "Who are you? Will Zackary be ok? Where are we?" Franklin starts asking questions.

The shadow starts to become clearer to see. "I am Q, Yes, In an inter-dimensional vortex making our way to another set of people who are being transported to another universe" Smiling Q then adds "Does this answer your questions?".


Cargo Bay Two: Naomi and Noland weekly inventory

"Noland, why do you have to act like this is your least favorite assignment to do?" Naomi asked Noland. She hoped he would open back up. She was really concerned about him since he barley held a conversation longer than two or three word sentences. She couldn’t get him to tell her why he stopped talking six months out after leaving Tera Main.

Noland glanced over at her, "Why?" he asked, with not even a shred of emotion on his face.

"You really care?" Noland asked with a shrug. He hurt inside, yet couldn’t understand why these people cared. His grandparents sure didn’t. His parents loved him but they were killed in an accident, or so he was told.

"Please talk to me Noland, if there’s something wrong please let me help." Naomi looked at him, pleading with her eyes. She was hopeful that today that he would listen to her.

All of a sudden the intercoms in the room blared, "Captain to all hands. Brace for Impact."

"Noland, come over here. We will be safer if we are braced for impact." A frantic Naomi stated. She hoped he would listen as she started to move so she wouldn’t have to retrieve him.

Noland started moving toward her and noticed a swirling vortex above Naomi. He shouted in shock, "Naomi, look out!"

Just before she could move out of the way the bodies of two young boys fell to the deck, followed by a tiger cub. The cub looked non to thrilled to be there and let out a growl.

Naomi carefully reached out to check to see if the boys had a pulse. She glanced at the cub and softly spoke as she moved, "Please, let this tiger cub know I am trying to help."

After she checked the boys she called for help from the EMH. "Naomi Wildman to EMH, we have a medical emergency in cargo bay two"

Within seconds the distinctive chatter of the EMH could be heard in the cargo bay. "Please state the Nature of the Medical Emergency," Marky stated matter-of-factly as he looked around. He spotted the cub and shouted, "This is a Starship not a Circus Ship! Who let the Tiger out?"

For the first time in a month Noland spoke up to get his attention. "Dammit Marky, wake up!" He shouted and then pointed, "there are two kids on the deck plate and they look dead. Could you take your digital head out of your ass and help them, please?"

Noland started to get up, he looked and asked, "Where is a util cart when you need one? We need to get them to the medical bay."

"I apologize for my comment’s Noland. Let’s beam all of them to sick bay." Marky nodded towards the boys and the cub. Shorty after he spoke the cargo bay was empty and everyone showed up in the sick bay.


Sickbay ten seconds later

"Nurse, help me get both of these boys to a biobed." Marky ordered loud enough to wake the dead.

Noland turned in time to see Bradley walk up and pick each boy up without help. But then again, for someone Bradley’s size it was easy; considering he stood over seven feet tall and was nothing but muscle. "Marky, the second boy appears to be in a state of change, his readings are all over the place."

"Bradley, this one is stable. Although, if I find out who is responsible for all of this damage they will be beamed into space." Marky growled as he shook like a leaf on a tree during a tornado.

"Marky, I have placed the young boy with blue hair into assisted sleep. No one should have to go through the pain he is currently. I have also numbed his pain receptors in hopes he will not feel all the changes he is going through." Bradley spoke while tears ran down his face.

"Bradley, are you alright?" Noland asked while giving him a hug.

Sniffling he spoke, "He looks just like my nephew who decided to stay on earth, well except for the hair."

Before the conversation could continue the ship began jerking and rattling as if though they had damaged something. Shortly after the emergency lights came on and washed the sick bay in a sickly red glow.


Club 99, as the lights go red and the music stops

As Eric looked around at the scene before him in confusion, he decided to check to see if everything was alright on the bridge, "Computer what is the current status of the bridge crew?"

< Voice Command not recognized,> spewed out the twenty year old computer.

"Computer override Gamma nine three seven Charlie nine five." Eric shyly grinned to no one in particular.

< Voice Command accepted. > the computer paused and then began again with a start. < Current status of Bridge Crew; Unconscious. >

"Current status of Captain?" Eric asked with dread in his voice.

< Captain offline >, was the cold response of the computer.

Eric quickly walked to the exit and made his way to the bridge.


Bridge two minutes later

As Eric walked on to the bridge, he quoted off to the computer, "forty six percent damage on the bridge." As he looked around some more he requested, "Computer, Transfer command of ship to me." He hoped he didn’t have to force the computer as he waited for it to respond.

< Permission granted, Captain Eric MH Nicholus >

He frowned, perplexed by the computer’s acceptance of his taking command, yet if needed he knew the necessary commands to force it. Shaking his head he asked,"Computer, what is the status of the ship?"

< Warp drive offline, impulse engines barely functional, port nacel strut fractured, shields offline, communications assembly offline. >

"Sensors?" Eric asked as he hoped for a miracle.

< Sensors are functioning at limited capacity. >

"Computer, is there any place in sensor range where we can effect repairs?" Eric asked. While waiting for the response, it started to sink in that the bridge was full of unconscious children. When he first took command, he hadn’t accepted what his eyes saw.

< There appears to be a nebula at the edge of sensor range, we could effect repairs there and be hidden from any unfriendly ships sensors. >, The computer droned onward.

"That works," Eric spoke to no one in particular.

Eric walked over to the helm, laid in the course and engaged it. Once he had the course set he began to check the bridge crew or what appeared to be children on the bridge. "Computer, balance the power out for Medical, life support, and engineering." Eric knew the ship could do it, compared to whether it would do or not was an annoyance every Captain felt towards their ship.

< Command Acknowledged. >

Eric stopped when he found an android among the children that were scattered around the bridge. "Computer, identify the android in front of me?"

 <Captain E Nicholus, USS Saratoga, also known as Nicky, Starfleet android design series Mark One, software version 1.045.32 beta, released August, 5th, 2391.>

"Computer, how many holograms are onboard this ship?" A slightly scared Eric asked the computer.

< Captain, holographic technology currently is not stable enough to use; therefore there are currently no holographic devices on this ship. >

"What the hell?" Eric yelled. "Computer, if there are no holograms then tell me what I am?"

< You are the Captain, > the computer almost giggled out.

Eric smacked his head and growled at the computer. "Smart ass, am I human or what?"

< You are the newest revision of Starfleet android or positronic life form, Revision 2.78B.96C. You were programmed to function as Engineering Repair Information Command Medical Helper or Eric for short. >


Authors Notes: I figured this would be a proper stopping point since there are a lot of new characters running around and besides I am new at writing stories. So while comments are wanted and desired, please no extreme criticisms. Thanks Brynmor.