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The Omen

Posted on Oct 08, 2018 @ 12:59am by Captain Michael Turlogh Kane

Mission: The Uncertainty Principle


(Continued from "Too Far, Too Fast")

Location: USS Phoenix, crippled in space
Stardate: [2.18]1007.1700
Scene: Captain's ready room - deck 1, saucer section -> main bridge

Michael Turlogh Kane picked himself up from the floor, clambering to his feet using the edge of his desk. There was a pain on the right side of his head, a dull ache along his cheekbone that started to ripple out across his face. The deckplate beneath his feet felt slanted, like the ship had listed slightly to port, and as he recovered his senses fully, he remembered where he was and what he was doing before the sudden, awful wracking that had flung him to the ground.

Sidney Bartlett, the new Chief Medical Officer, was standing between Kane and the ready room's viewport. The older Human man had been slammed up against the wall, and was rubbing his left shoulder with his right hand, but seemed otherwise unhurt. Kane looked over his shoulder, out into the vast starfield, but could see nothing. Whatever the Phoenix had hit was not visible from this side of the ship.

The other occupant of the ready room - the new Flight Control Officer, a Vulcan named Sotaar - was standing by the ready room door, attempting to get it open, but the door was not moving. The thin-limbed Vulcan was attempting to access the control panel, and glanced back over his shoulder to see Kane get to his feet.

He had been interviewing them both. There had been a rash of transfers while the Phoenix was docked at Utopia Planitia. Thomas Vukovic, Aerdan Jos, and Cade Foster - to name a few - had disembarked, and these two men - Bartlett and Sotaar - had come aboard in their place. They had reported to his ready room scant minutes ago, just as Dr. Eden had begun her transwarp conduit experiment. As memory returned, Kane felt his stomach lurch - that reckless woman had bungled her experiment somehow. Now the ship was in danger.

"Ready room to bridge!" said the Vulcan into the air. "Bridge, come in!"

Nothing happened. The light in the ceiling flickered, and the screen on Kane's desktop terminal switched itself on and off. The darkness of space loomed up against the viewport.

"Are you alright, Captain?" Doctor Bartlett stepped forward and maneuvered Kane back into his seat. "You bumped your head on the wall." The man's soft fingertips ran smoothly over Kane's face, checking for contusions.

Sotaar turned around and faced them both. "I think there has been a partial failure of the main computer," he said. He closed his dark eyes and inhaled deeply, like he was centering himself, before opening them again and looking around. "There appear to be no other exits from this room."

Kane followed the Vulcan's gaze. His ready room was a spartan affair, functional and not decorated. There was a desk, a chair, a couch, and a replicator. No need for anything else, he had always thought, even if that did leave a lot of empty floor space. The last thing that he wanted was people to feel comfortable in front of him - after all, a ready room was where subordinates reported to the captain for a dressing down. "There are no other exits, Lieutenant," he said, gesturing for Sotaar to pick up the desktop computer terminal from the ground. "Check if we're still online."

Bartlett drew back and stepped away from Kane. The man nodded, seemingly satisfied. "Nothing broken, but you have a bump forming on your right temple. Don't strain yourself - this is the last place I want you to bring on a concussion."

Kane gave the older man a warning look as Sotaar lifted the terminal back up onto the desk and tried to access it. After a few minutes, the Vulcan raised an eyebrow. "The connection to the main computer is spotty. The ship is stationary in space. Several major systems are offline, including sensors, propulsion, and communications. Internal power is scattered."

"What happened to us?" asked Kane.

Bartlett rested his hand on the desk. "Well, we were all having a nice three-way conversation. Our backgrounds, previous service - that sort of thing. Then - wallop! Some kind of an impact."

"Without further access to the main computer, I cannot be any more specific," stated Sotaar. "I suggest we focus our efforts on recontacting the bridge."

Kane nodded. The dull pain from where he had bumped his head had spread across the whole side of his face now. His tongue and jaw felt heavy, and he rubbed his cheek, looking up at Doctor Bartlett in askance...


A crack appeared in the viewport behind Doctor Bartlett. It was a sudden, unexpected thing - one moment the viewport was smooth, featureless transparisteel, the next there was a jagged line three feet long inching its way up and across the window, like a needle leading a thread through an open wound.

Kane watched the crack with a sense of growing dread. If the transparisteel shattered, all three of them would be exposed to the exterior vacuum. The pressure differential would suck them out into space, where their limbs would kick and jerk hard enough to break and their mouths would try to take great gulps of the air that was not there. Their subdermal tissue would swell up like a balloon as all the water in their cells vapourised, and then they would all pass out for the final time.

That was no way to die. He opened his mouth to warn Bartlett, but he couldn't speak. His chest felt tight, like he was waking from a nightmare, and he couldn't move his limbs. Kane watched in horror as the crack expanded -

- with a shattering of the transparisteel, a quarter of the viewport disintegrated, sending shards of faux glass in all directions. Kane and Sotaar clung to the desk as all the air rushed out of the ready room in a gale of wind, but Doctor Bartlett was not so lucky. He was lifted bodily off his feet, slammed up against the wall again, and dragged toward the jagged broken quarter of the viewport. He gasped heavily as the air around him thinned out and disappeared.

Kane dared not let go of the table, which itself was starting to move. The desktop computer terminal suddenly took off, whipping through the air, and smashed right into Doctor Bartlett's face, demolishing his nose and exploding his right eye. The blood that splattered out from the wound was immediately sucked into space, and both of Bartlett's legs, being inexorably dragged backward, stood at the lip of the abyss.

Through his ruined face, Bartlett reached out one of his gentle hands. "Captain...." he croaked. "Captain..."



Doctor Bartlett was looking into his eyes again. Kane refocused, feeling a blur in his senses clear again. He blinked rapidly, wondering what the hell was happening to him.

"Captain Kane!" said Doctor Bartlett again. He glanced at Sotaar. "I think he might be concussed."

"Get away from the window!" Kane blurted out. He got to his feet, taking Bartlett's forearm and bodily dragging him away from the viewport. He gestured to the other side of the room, by the malfunctioning door. "Both of you, move over there!"

Sotaar moved to the door, and Kane pushed Bartlett ahead of him, gesturing to the Vulcan. "Get that door open, Lieutenant!"

Bartlett was still trying to be helpful. "Captain, you need to sit down - "

Kane reached up with his fists and started hammering on the door. "Get us out of here!" he bellowed, hoping that someone on the bridge could hear him. Beside him, Sotaar wrenched the control panel off the wall and peered inside.

Bartlett looked behind them. He gasped in shock and pointed at the viewport. Kane followed the line of his finger to where a long crack had appeared in the transparisteel, a crack that was slowly spreading out in all directions like a spiderweb.

"Lieutenant..." said Kane.

"Working on it, sir," said Sotaar calmly. The Vulcan had pulled out an isolinear chip and, amid a sputtering and sparking of some connecting fibre optics, was working to bypass the locking mechanism.

"Get us out of here!" yelled Bartlett, turning on his heel and pounding on the door with his fists. Muffled voices from the other side answered him, but Bartlett didn't let up.

"Lieutenant," said Kane, gritting his teeth. The crack seemed worse on the bottom right corner of the viewport. If the window gave way there, the whole bottom right quarter of the viewport might give way, venting the atmosphere from the room and putting them all in mortal danger.

He had seen all this a few moment ago, he was sure of it. It was a bizarre experience. Something that had not happened yet was fresh in his memory. How this was even possible, he wasn't sure, but there was no time to dwell on it. If they didn't get out of this room in the next few seconds, they were all dead men.

Sotaar muttered something to himself and quickly re-inserted the isolinear chip. He gave something inside the control panel and tug, and the door hissed halfway open, revealing the startled face of Jake Crichton on the other side. All four men put their hands to the gap, dragging the door wide enough for first Bartlett, then Sotaar, to slip through. For a horrible moment, Kane was sure the window was going to explode behind him, but the others held the gap open long for him to stagger through into the bridge. Jake, Sotaar, and Bartlett all let go at the same time, and the door shot closed with a thump just as the ready room viewport shattered into a thousand pieces.

Kane looked around, too bleary to take everything in just yet. He felt Bartlett's arm under his shoulders, holding him up, leading him to the nearest chair. Still groggy, he tried to motion to Jake to carry on, but his arm would not lift up.

He closed his eyes and resigned himself to rest, however brief it was, as voices raised around him.


NRPG: Kane is not the only one having strange experiences aboard the ship right now...

Jerome McKee
the Soul of Michael Turlogh Kane
Commanding Officer

"He speaks an infinite deal of nothing!"
- Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", Act 1, Scene 1.117



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