|Star Trek: Phoenix - Disconnected (S1 E6).|
|Written by Andy Davenport|
The Rogers family appeared to their neighbours and anyone who knew them as any other normal family. At exactly 8 every weekday morning, like clockwork Bill Rogers would start up his classic Buick hovercar, and reverse out his driveway whilst heading in the general direction of his workplace. Always arriving in plenty of time to report for duty, he would commence his shift piloting the civilian air tram along the regular route he was assigned to. His Monday to Friday shift would end with him dropping off his last passengers for shift end at 14.00. Half an hour later, the ocean blue Buick would pull into the driveway at home. You could set your clock by him, and the nosiest of neighbours in the street usually did.
Martha Rogers; house-proud wife and lynchpin of the family would head out of the house at 8.30 every weekday morning, making her work on foot. The nearness of the infant nursery would deem it incredibly lazy to take a car, bus or taxi. At exactly 13.00, her four hour shift would be concluded, and she would make her way home.
The Phoenix was rolling like a ship in a storm as it drifted without power and control. Kirsty and Sodak were shoved from wall to wall as the ship continued to roll from left to right. The emergency red lighting bathed the battered, ruptured corridor in a crimson hue. Loose overhead cables threatened to snag their necks as they made their way to the escape pods as quick as their bruised bodies would allow. If it wasn’t ruptured pipes spraying out hot gasses, or loose deck plating ready to give way at the slightest foot pressure. As they rounded the corner, the hatches to the pods lay open, beckoning an occupant to enter. Salvation was at hand as Sodak encouraged Kirsty to summon the strength to cover the last remaining yards. Distant rumblings inside the ship and out grew in volume and appeared to be getting closer. “We haven’t got much time;” shouted the Vulcan over the increasing din. Before they entered their respective one person escape vehicles, Sodak raised his hand in the Vulcan salute, placed it onto Kirsty’s hand that returned the salutation, and uttered the word; “Remember.” He then grasped her passionately as they kissed for what seemed like an eternity, and then parted. The ramps automatically raised into their locking position as the launching sequence swiftly activated once interior sensors recognised occupancy of the craft. Kirsty felt a sharp jolt followed by a downward lurch as explosive bolts detonated, separating the pod from the Phoenix. Sodak never felt the customary jolt or heard the sounds that they had come to expect should an emergency escape situation occur. It was a mandatory part of Starfleet training, which would be performed during the Academy years aboard a training vessel. Glancing at the control panel and navigational display, it seemed that the pod was still attached to the ship. As he tapped the touch sensitive LCARS display, the connecting points of the vehicle were flashing red. The explosive bolts of the pod had fused with the hull, failing to detonate. As he activated information on the navidisplay showing the impending supernova, he whispered; “Remember.”
Klix found himself in a diagnostic booth. Apart from a control panel with flashing lights on the wall, to which the booth was connected to, the room was pitch black. He ascertained though that wherever he was, somehow he didn’t think he was in any immediate danger. After all, why would he be placed in a booth that seemed to be checking that all his systems were functioning within normal parameters? This was definitely not the act of a hostile, or a captor. He found himself pondering the great machine he had been transported from prior to finding himself in his current location.The platform was siphoning off the excess energy of the Athena Sirius star, to slow down the process of it eventually becoming a supernova. His thought processes deduced that it could have only delayed the inevitable, not prevented it. Therefore, if the machine was built to protect the inhabitants to give them enough time to evacuate, the question remained were those who had built it still around. He noticed a movement in front of the booth. It was as if the blackness was shimmering and coalescing into some kind of shape or form. Then his eyes were overwhelmed with the familiarity of what was taking shape. A walking, talking machine, just like him, except there were of course differences enough to show that the machine was an individual. He, (which seemed a fitting description to Klix), walked towards the booth, albeit slowly. In his hand, he gripped a metal support which seemed to double as an extra leg. Klix searched his memory banks for an appropriate description, and found that his counterpart sported what was commonly known as a walking stick, indicating frailty. Answering Klix’s thought processes; he filled him in on the missing pieces. “The station you are now residing on will generate a shield to contain and compress the resulting explosion. Then it would dissipate and evaporate any remains, where i would then put in its place an artificial star.” Klix’s counterpart spoke in a raspy voice, indicating another aspect of age. “Yes, i can read your thoughts. In fact i can read everyone’s thoughts who visit here. To which it won’t be long before the others arrive.” The old machine started to cough, which the sound itself gave off a metallic resonance. The leg which seemed the weakest due to the walking stick providing support, started to emit a low grinding noise, followed by a sharp pop as a green, viscous liquid seeped out of his knee plating. The leakage swiftly stopped as the machine’s redundant backup systems, similar to a healing process, kicked in and started to heal the rupture. “Damn pipes. My legs ain’t what they used to be”, he muttered. The diagnostic booth emitted a series of clicks and beeps as several of the red lights on the holding clasps around Klix’s torso changed to green. The locks and restraints released him whilst all the connectors and tubules retracted. It seemed that whatever cycle the machine had Klix under was now complete. As he walked out of the booth, he gestured to the old machine to get into the booth himself as Klix could see that he was way overdue for a once over. “He....he....he....cough....cough....there was a time when i was like the others and regularly attended the maintenance booths. I kept the routine up when they all left so i would stay in optimum condition and functioning within normal specifications. But then after hearing nothing from the others as millennia passed, it became clear to me that the golden glow of near immortality had faded to a dull ember....” Klix interrupted as the many questions swirled around his mind and threatened to overload him. “Others?....Who are the others?....Are they like you?....Like me?....Am i you and you i?....Where am i?....” “STOP!” A panel opened in the side of the old machine’s head as a cable snaked out, seeking a connection. Without commanding it, a similar panel opened on Klix, which the snaking cable clicked into as it went inside to attach to a connecting port. Klix saw it all, as his eyes randomly twitched in movement from side to side, as if he was at the stage of sleep where rapid eye movement occurs. Yet his eyelids were wide open. The old machine just stared ahead, his eyes fixated on Klix as the memory transfer took place. As he saw the images, and read the thoughts, Klix and the old one began speaking in tandem.
As the brilliant white glare seemed to fade, Sharon lowered her hand which had been protecting her eyes. She was immediately puzzled as she was no longer sat amidst the wreckage of the gutted bridge of the Phoenix, but on a hilltop with a solitary tree providing shade from a sun that seemed familiar in its light pink glow. The hill overlooked a small village, whilst in the distance, tall spires and structures seemed to indicate a vast metropolis brushing against the clouds. She thought to herself that if this was meant to be her own personal afterlife, then it wasn’t exactly what she had always believed it to be. She had expected long lost loved ones, and deceased relatives would be there to greet her as she crossed over, whilst some gentle omnipotent being would be supervising her transition. This was far from how she had dreamt it would be, and the unfamiliarity of the situation was unsettling. She was abruptly startled by the wailing of a baby as a bald woman sat under the shade of a tree that was uncannily similar to a weeping willow. Looking slightly distraught as the woman tried to pacify the child, Sharon put the woman’s expression down to something that most mothers were familiar with; a child that couldn’t communicate its complaints and expected the parent to naturally have an understanding of the problem. As the woman gently rocked the bay back and forth in her arms, whilst humming a song, the wails subsided as the infant nuzzled against its mothers chest. The young mother clearly couldn’t see Sharon, as she walked towards her, and it was clear to Sharon that she was merely a spectator, not a participant. The hairless woman suddenly looked up and it appeared as if she was staring at Sharon, but was actually just admiring the hilltop view as a gentle breeze slightly whipped through the branches. As she looked back down adoringly into the eyes of the baby, a trickle of tears gently cascaded down her cheeks, whilst the child made the occasional burbling sound. As the baby nuzzled to find a comfort spot, it left a patch of drool on her mother’s grey Starfleet blouse. A bald elder woman suddenly appeared and stretched out her arms in a beckoning fashion, whilst the young mother rose expertly cradling the baby. Kissing the child on her forehead, the young mother uttered; “You will always be a child of many worlds and many hearts.” The elder woman now cradled the baby, who didn’t seem at all disturbed by the passing from one to another. “You are doing the right thing. A starship is no place for a child.” Surrounded by a column of glittery lights that emitted a slight shrill sound, the mother disappeared, as the column changed to a bright white glare as it engulfed her, and then Sharon.
“....I am Onyx....Guardian of Athena Sirius....at a time when it seemed the universe was heading for turmoil and chaos, and not unfolding as it should, we dispersed to observe, protect, and intervene when dictated....even spatial phenomena that had been designated as part of the natural evolution of the galaxy would be observed....Malyx was present at the Vulcan Time Of Awakening....Krix was present when the Andorians leapt to the stars....I was present at the Tarsus Gate, as the Nimbin star bathed the construct with its warm, shimmering glow, enveloping the eggs in the Horsen hatchery to be born....I was present at the first mating of the once sworn nemesis, the Horain and the Taahn, which subsequently led to the egg laying of a new silicone based hybrid; the Horta....I was present on Crayos when the first rains in a century came, yet as he liquid cascaded from the skies, it made no sound, even as the droplets impacted the ground....the overcrowded, noisy world was silenced, and for the first time in a century, the inhabitants truly discovered the meaning of the phrase, silence is golden....I was present....Phylos Prime....the genocide of angels....you know us as the Firstborn....the first races know us as Primaxians....the Vulcans called us Logicans....Why are you here?....Because it is meant to be....you are meant to be here....Where is here?....A metallic sphere the size of a sun....with the power of a hundred suns....in subspace....The others?....your surviving crew members of course!....Commence complete mind transfer....”
The last memory that Rez experienced was hitting his head hard on the tactical console. He didn’t even experience the pain as he was knocked unconscious almost instantaneously. Yet now, as he stood upright and conscious, he felt no pain. As he adjusted to his whereabouts, it was plain as day that he was no longer aboard the Phoenix. He was definitely on some kind of starship though, that much he could be certain of, and although the displays and readouts had an air of familiarity, the answer to his location wasn’t forthcoming. The interior of the room itself was filled with what appeared to be medical equipment and surgical apparatus. There were two people in the room, and although he could see them, they couldn’t see him. It was then that he was witnessing a violent altercation between his despised former Captain, Matthew Dougherty, and the former Son’a leader. At this point in time, Dougherty was an Admiral and overseeing operations on the joint Federation/Son’a duck blind mission. The squabble had taken a turn for the worse and had become more physical, as it looked as though the Starfleet veteran fared worse than his strong Son’a nemesis. As Ahdar Ru’afo’s hands tightened around the Admiral’s throat whilst placing him in a skin stretching cradle, it felt as though to Rez it was his very own hands strangling Dougherty. It was then that Rez felt he was no longer a spectator, but a participant....the murderous participant. The attending medical drone, to all intents and purposes, carried out the programming of Onyx to the letter, as it almost completed repairs to Rez’s broken body. The droid had deduced it was time to revive the human, and take to Onyx, who was gathering the remaining humans he had managed to save before their destruction of their vessel. The medical drone hadn’t accounted for its patient awaking in a blind rage, leaping off the biobed in its direction and clutching at the drones metallic throat with murderous intent. In his barely conscious state, Rez didn’t hear or acknowledge the medics warning of his dangerously high blood pressure. In his mind, Rez continued the grisly practice of murder most horrid.
The mind transfer wasn’t only a gift, but as far as Onyx was concerned, Klix inheritance and right. For many years, Klix had not known his background or purpose. Even when the Dominion surrendered all that they had annexed, including Exo III, his former residence where he was found inanimate, he was still none the wiser to who he was. Onyx had filled him in, but due to the many questions pondered, leading to so many more questions generated by Klix’s mind, Onyx decided it would be more efficient to initiate a mind transfer. Klix discovered he belonged to an ancient race of humanoid like machines, although purely mechanical. Onyx was one of the Guardians left behind to protect the Sirians, as they were known as then. Athena Sirius was home to the Kelnar; a religious race completely opposing anything technological, and the Gavvadar; a race that embraced technology. His task had been to prevent their destruction, which would ultimately be caused by the Athena Sirius star eventually coming to the end of its natural life and going supernova. The star would still go supernova, but Onyx had a plan to deal with the impending disaster, with little repercussions, whilst the sphere he resided in for many years would take the stars place as the systems new sun. The sphere had the energy to generate the power of a sun infinitely and eternally. The Gavvadar and the Kelnar were one of the last remaining first races of the galaxy, and would ultimately band together under their ancient name of the Sirians. It had been foreseen that the mutual discovery of peace between their species would give rise to their prominence as peace would be found in a tempestuous part of the quadrant. Onyx had not only answered all of Klix’s questions, and imported knowledge of his ancestors, but he had also transferred the sum total of his lifetime’s knowledge, spanning the known galaxy. When Onyx had announced the completion of the transfer, the cables attached to Klix’s head retracted, as the glow from Onyx’s eyes faded as he collapsed backwards to the floor. As Klix composed himself he rushed to Onyx’s aid, only to discover he had deactivated himself, permanently. Klix then knew what was expected as he gathered the others in preparation for escape as Onyx’s plan was about to come to fruition. As Klix made his way out of the chamber and into the pure white corridors, in an attempt to gather the survivors of the Phoenix, the sphere exited subspace into normal space, and began to absorb the supernova. Energy discharges crackled across the chrome surface as a million year old plan started to unfold.
Simon found himself in a white room, with no seams to show where the walls met the ceiling. There were no windows and although the room was brilliantly lit, there was no discernible light source, artificial or otherwise. He was the sole occupant of the room, and wondered too if he was the sole survivor, if he had survived at all. Although he felt as alive as he normally felt, and had noticed that he no longer wore any scorch marks or bruises, he felt a modicum of uncertainty. For all he knew, he could be well and truly dead, and now residing in non corporeal form, otherwise known as a ghost.He could be in heaven, or hell, or even worse, in purgatory. Either way, the uncertainty was a source of great discomfort. Even if he was alive, the future wouldn’t be rosy, he thought, as he would go down in Starfleet infamy. The Phoenix was barely weeks out of drydock, and it was certain to him that it had been destroyed. He had hoped that the crew had fared better than the ship, and had escaped by any means necessary. The ear defect that had plagued him months earlier appeared to be returning as he noticed the first signs of the troublesome irritation. The signs were similar to the low whistling of a breeze, but then the whistling became more pronounced and started to sound very similar to whispering. Like a slug to the head, voices appeared at volume as Simon clutched his ears and dropped to the floor.
It was the closes thing he could imagine to hell, but he knew that he had sworn an oath to heal the sick. That was exactly what he was going to do as he moved from bed to bed, tending to the injured officers of the late U.S.S. Phoenix. But there were those who he couldn’t heal, which it was then up to him to try his best and make their last moments as comfortable as possible. The brilliant white room was vast, and adorned with advanced alien medical and scientific equipment. State of the art biobeds with touchscreen, multitasking displays, multitudes of trolleys and cabinets with synthetic and organic medicines, and a huge number of different types of medical droids filled the vast space. Although technology wasn’t his favourite assistant and preferred method of practicing method, he found himself impressed at what was at his disposal. One of the biobed alarms shrieked as a droid beckoned for the doctors attention. A Klingon engineer appeared to be going into some kind of arrest as his body convulsed and bucked against the restraints that barely held him in place. Upon closer examination, Kurt could see that the veins on the side of the Klingons temples were swelling and turning blue. Immediately picking up a hypospray to dull the pain, as he continued to scan with a tricorder, his expression was one of concern for his patient. The convulsions stopped as the Klingon looked right into Doctor Coey’s eyes as the arm restraints finally snapped under the strain. Bringing his hands up and placing them on Kurt’s head, he roared his final words; “Walk with me Kahless. Roar with me Kahless. Let them know i am coming.” His hands suddenly dropped as his body went still; the monitor confirmed his suspicions by displaying a constant flatline where there was once a heartbeat. Knowing full well the proud tradition of Klingons, he shook his head. “I don’t believe this!” He held open the engineers eyes with his fingers whilst throwing back his head and roaring. Doctor Kurt Coey announced to Sto-Vo-Kor know that Ensign Wrax was due for imminent arrival.
Rez didn’t even feel or notice his hands bleeding as in his minds eye, he had firm hold of a human throat, yet in reality he was trying to strangle a machine. As the maniacal grin covered his face, Rez was startled out of his murderous reverie as Klix blasted through the walls with sheer strength. He couldn’t quite fathom what compelled him to barrel through the wall, apart from an overwhelming urge that he hadn’t felt for a long time, and that was to help someone in distress. Yet there were two in distress; his friend and colleague, but also a sentient machine created by his own kind. Klix pounded over to where the two lay tussling, grabbed Rez by the collar of his tattered uniform, and threw him off the droid. Klix quickly checked over the medidrone, then went over to Rez, who was now in a sitting position. Rez started to shake as he gazed at his hands before him, which were stained with a mixture of his own blood from cuts and lubricant from the drone. “I....i....was....t....t....trying to kill the medical robot yet....yet....in my mind....it was someone else....what have i done?” Klix tried to reassure Rez as quickly and tactfully as possible while at the same time being mindful that time was running out to put Onyx’s plan into action. It was clear that Rez was going into shock and as Klix explained their situation, it seemed to give the security and tactical officer something to focus on. The room around them suddenly started to flicker as it changed from its brilliant whiteness to what seemed like a room full of holographic emitters.
Thanks to the Doctor’s gifted medical expertise, Andy and the surviving crew were well on the road to recovery. Although it was also down to the assistance of the highly advanced technology at his disposal as well as the medical robots, that made the initial task at hand more manageable. As the most senior officer on scene. Andy had felt it was his duty to help as best as he could by going from bed to bed, talking to the crew, and providing reassurance where he could. But as far as he was concerned, he had seen far too much death , and for those that couldn’t be saved, he tried his best to comfort them during their last moments. The loss of the Rhaanderite twins Nake and Labe had hit him the hardest, and he knew that their deaths would resonate throughout the crew for a long time to come. The burns to their body and internal injuries had been irreparable, even with the medicines and equipment Doctor Coey had to hand. They had been fine officers and he envisioned a time when they would be passing down their experiences typical of their species. He vowed to himself that as soon as they got a new ship, if they got a new ship, that he would ensure the bodies were taken to Rhaandar, and received a traditional customary burial. Wherever they were at this point in time didn’t even enter into the equation as he tried to focus on the future, and getting out of the place that they were currently in. As all the officers and himself dematerialised, his last thought prior to that moment was that staying put just wasn’t an option.
The cacophony of voices threatened to overwhelm his mind and as he clutched his ears, the pain was unlike anything he had ever experienced. In the chaos and madness of the vocal onslaught, like in the eye of a tornado, Simon managed to find the calm centre of the storm. From what the Captain could gather, the crew were being transported from their respective locations to a gigantic empty room, whilst he sense that there seemed to be a tremendous surge of energy building up from somewhere. It was then that Klix stood out in his mind amidst everyone. “....Captain, it’s happening....the ship is ready....you have to leave....the ship is ready....you have to leave....” Before Simon could respond, he dematerialised.
The whole of the surviving crew were together in the vast chamber. This one was unlike the others and just resembled, as Simon thought, a giant hangar deck of a space station. As he looked at the remainder of the crew, he felt disappointed with himself. Although he was following orders and couldn’t predict the outcome of the mission, as per each mission order, he still felt that he had failed all those who had put faith in him. As he was about to address them, their thoughts came into his mind. Sharon; “You haven’t failed us....you were flying into an unknown situation....” Rez; “....something any Starfleet flag officer....” Kurt; “....or any officer in general faces pretty much all the time. As a Doctor, i face battles against unknown diseases and ailments on a daily basis....” Klix; “....the unknown situation you have flown into now becomes a known situation you are about to fly out of....” With that comment, Klix raised his arms with his hands outstretched as if he was reaching towards something. His metallic hands began to emit a pulsating glow that grew in intensity with each pulse. Unseen doors seemed to open in the ceiling as a platform lowered slowly, whilst through thought Klix explained everything. Simon had quickly grown accustomed to communication by thought, and although he had felt at times like he never really had been close to any officers or crew he had lead, for the first time in his career he didn’t feel disconnected. Connection was a sensation and experience that he felt was highly underrated. The thoughts all ceased as silence descended, caused by all eyes focusing on the slowly lowering platform. Atop, resting on landing struts was up to now what had been thought destroyed. Klix broke the silence; “Although the vessel looks like the Phoenix, it is a facsimile. However, it has the same technological specifications and requirements to get you home, and away from here....fast.” Klix was speaking in a tone and manner that unnerved the Captain somewhat. “Klix, you are speaking like you aren’t coming with us....” “Captain. I finally know who i am. I know my purpose. I know my place in the universe. I know my destiny. Goodbye. I wish you all well.” With a flash of light, the crew were no longer in the hangar, and aboard the lookalike Phoenix, as it streaked out of the Athena Sirius system at high warp, subsequently jumping to slipstream velocities. Klix had come home and was at peace as he, the Guardian Of Athena Sirius, brought an age old plan to fruition, as the spheres transformation became complete. As the artificial sun became the newest additional light to a universe of lights, the brightest enigma that Simon had ever know ceased to be, as he and the others noticed the absence of his mind and the sensation of his permanence.
As the ship streaked through the stars on its automated slipstream trajectory for Earth, Simon could still make out the thoughts of the crew, and vice versa. Mostly there seemed to be a collective fear of what to expect upon arrival at Earth. The ship could not be deviated from its course and only essential systems could be accessed. The ships computer was in charge and the crew were just along for the ride, it seemed. The bridge crew just sat or stood at their usual stations, inactive and unsure what to do with themselves. The rest of the crew were in their quarters, as there wasn’t any need for anyone to be doing their usual duties. Automation was taking care of practically everything, which left the crew feeling redundant. The thoughts seemed to be getting weaker, and less distinct, as slowly but surely, they faded to a whisper, then ultimately nothing. Once more Simon felt disconnected, but vowed to himself that he had learnt a lesson and would get to know his colleagues and crew better, starting immediately. There was a noticeable thought that he hadn’t picked up during the experience from one of the senior officers, who wasn’t present on the bridge. Before he knew it, he had arrived outside Counsellor Walker’s quarters, as if he journeyed there on auto pilot. It took several taps of the door chime before the command was issued for the door to be opened. The normally beautifully lit and airy office was bathed in darkness, with the only noise permeating the silence being the sobbing of Kirsty, as she sat in a foetal position in a corner. “Sodak....he’s gone....do not grieve....my time has come....” She repeated the sentence between sobs and he catching of her breath, as Simon sat with her in the darkness.
Elsewhere in the universe, a council of supreme beings had convened in a hastily arranged emergency briefing. They had arrived by their usual mode of travel; the snapping of fingers followed by a flash of light taking them wherever or whenever they chose. The council leader spoke in earnest to get proceedings moving. “I was conversing with the Guardian Of Forever on Planet Gateway, when it was he who made me aware of the latest disaster caused by one of our fellow beings, once more tarnishing our reputation.” One of the members spoke up; “I hope this is worthy of our attention as it has interrupted my chess game with Trelane, in the quarter finals of the Universe Master Chess Tournament.” The others followed suit by issuing their own complaints of being disturbed in the midst of something they deemed equally as important. The leader snapped his fingers as their mouths were sealed, to which they retorted by snapping their own fingers to unseal them. “Amanda Rogers has left a trail of disaster in her wake, culminating in her own suicide. She had been under the guiding hand of one of our own, who in turn had put themselves under an obligation of duty of care towards her.” The rest of the members began muttering amongst one another. The mutterings though, were audible enough that one way or another, they meant the same. Curious as to who had failed the Continuum in their responsibility, the leader answered the members; “I summon Q.”