Gotta Get Back In Time
Sojourners of Time
Location: Ema'harai Chamber 1
Timeline: Mission Day 8 at 1900
[Ema'harai Chamber 1]
[The City of Megrethon]
[MD 8: 1900 Hours]
Debbie Gless shuffled into the chamber, still clad in her diner attire. She’d just completed a work shift before beaming down and didn’t bother with changing given how close to the start time it’d been. A small PADD protruded from the pocket of her apron, its stylus tucked behind her right ear, and her vest was festooned with a variety of pins with witty — and some rather crude — sayings on them. A wig of undeniably purple, fly-away curls crowned her head, accessorized with bubble gum-pink hoops that dangled and swayed from the woman’s earlobes as she took her seat.
“You really think this’ll work?” she clucked, looking at Timmoz. The young Orion had been invited upon entry by their Talbeethian host — who stood at the fore of the room patiently waiting for everyone to arrive — to participate with her in the Ema'harai ritual. Debbie, however, was quite unaware of this invitation, knowingly only that Emni had selected two groups to beam down to witness the ritual. And thus, as usual, the woman stuck her foot directly into her mouth: “Sounds a little crazy if you ask me. Going back in time but phased? I can’t even imagine. Who do you think will be crazy enough to volunteer?”
The Talbeethian, Ti, hummed a low tune by the door while he watched the first alpha quadrant strangers from a distance. He turned as a shadow touched the doorway and he smiled a greeting to the next to arrive. He looked forward to an interesting day.
The Verdant One smiled cryptically in his cheek, eyeing the ship’s surrogate Kaheedi. His hands folded in front of his uniform, fingers clasped, he swayed slightly forward. “Someone as crazy as you think Kaheedi,” he announced in his playful mumble. He re-folded his arms over his chest and rolled his shoulders to somehow look more… presentable. Orion-proud. He’d tied his normally orbish frizz back into a tight knot. It seemed to add a notion of angular, exotic severity to his face.
Andrew peered into the chamber and was relieved to see that Timmoz and Debbie were already there. He'd been excited when he was offered the opportunity to witness the alien ritual but he intended to let other, more experienced, people do the talking and that would have been hard if he'd gotten there first. Taking a little extra time to shower and smarten up his appearance had appeared to do the trick.
"Good evening," he smiled as he approached the group. "I hope I haven't been keeping you waiting."
Timmoz cocked an eyebrow up and smiled at the civilian scientist, with bemused calm. “They’re still….” Timmoz gestured long fingers in a roll of uncurl and curl at the Talbeethian Ti. “Humming along.”
Irynya wasn't far behind Andrew, stepping into the small room and taking it in with one quick sweep. She was dressed in civilian clothes, having been off duty prior to this adventure. A longish warm green tunic that was belted at the waist over black leggings matched the dangling green earrings she wore. Her ja'risia had been freshly applied though she had kept her hair in its familiar long ponytail, trailing down her front over her shoulder. She settled into the seat on the other side of Timmoz with a grin and nod to everyone as she settled. "Did I miss anything?" she asked.
Timmoz leaned to her with a waft of Orion pheromone and a spicy, woodsy scent as cover. “The Talbeethian’s…” he gestured again to Ti rhythmic hum, “Doing that. My guess is centering.”
Irynya grinned toothily at the Orion, not missing the scent and popping her eyebrows at him with a chuckle. "Centering looks about right," she said as she took in their host.
Andrew smiled a warm greeting at Irynya when her gaze met his. In this unfamiliar situation, he was glad to be with two people he knew well. The Orion was still a bit of an enigma to him, but he suspected that may be on purpose.
Mothim arrived in the chamber wearing his regular uniform. The Aurelian was no fan of the alien concept of clothing, so he rarely attempted to wear other sorts of outfits. Instead he pulled the corners of his beak up in a grin, looking at the small group of people in the room.
At the door, Ti nodded to a colleague who brought a tray of tea for him. Gathering the tray and adjusting his loose robes at the same time, he brought the drinks to his guests. "Please, have some," he said to the group.
"So it's you, eh?" Debbie huffed up like a hen, staring down a beak of her own at Timmoz. "Well baby, color me not surprised. I hope the experience is as fascinating as it sounds." Pride at the young man being the one to experiment with the ritual shone through her eyes. It was then that she turned to regard Andrew and Irynya, smiling at them with all the warmth of the world. "Welcome," she said, glad to see both of them. "It's no karaoke," she smirked at the pair, "but I hear this should be pretty neat."
Irynya giggled. Of course Debbie had heard of their singing adventures. "I don't know," she said with a wink, "If we're following Timmoz I hear he's an excellent dancer. Music may yet be involved."
"We can only hope," the older woman smirked back. Suddenly tea was being offered, though the color wasn't exactly typical. Looking at Ti, Debbie offered a demure head nod and said, "Thank you so much." And with a sip of the alien beverage, she turned to spy Mothim -- a man she'd not formally had the pleasure of meeting yet. "Hello there," she offered, gesturing to an open seat nearby. "I'm Debbie," she said by way of introduction.
"I'm Mothim," the Aurelian nodded in introduction, then took the proffered seat. "It is good to meet you, Debbie." The scientist wondered, for a moment, what the karaoke reference was about, but he decided to ignore it. If it was important, it would come up again later.
The Orion too nodded once at the Aurelian.
"Do we expect any more arrivals?" Ti asked. Space for seating was running low, but he wasn't one to presume full occupancy. Some people enjoyed exploring their past with a large audience. Others were far more private.
A small, tired-looking female Antican slipped into the room and took a seat. The woman wore Lieutenant pips. Once again she wondered how this could be happening. She had always been an engineer. She had been a tinkerer. She applied for the Assistant Chief Engineering position on a lark. She never thought she would actually get it. And then she did. And when she got to the Sojourner, she found out that the Chief Engineer was on assignment at the station, making her the Acting Chief Engineer.
How could she do this? She had no experience with this. And now, did this mean that she had to be "on duty" all the time? She would have to make a point to clarify this with the XO. Worse, the mission was going to discuss time travel. It was out of her specialty. Make a ship go, fine! But this?! And the strain upon the engines! Were they mad?!
Irynya perked up, looking around the room. She had, perhaps, been the nosy one of the group, but she'd bothered to ask who was in her group when Emni extended the invitation to her. "This should be everyone," she said with a quick glance at everyone.
"Then we shall start," Ti said. He lifted two fingers and gestured through the group to ask, "Whose past will we be exploring?"
The long and lanky Orion swayed forward. His hands were clasped in front of his waist, an ever-bemused smile on his face. Timmoz spoke, "I volunteered." He uttered. A surreptitious glance he tossed back to Debbie and his smile ticked up again.
Ti cracked his knuckles before tapping instructions into the band around his wrist, then asked, "When will we be exploring?"
This time the Orion was more pensive. For all the volunteering he'd done to be a good diplomat in the face of his Tahedrin, when it came to the times in his life he wanted to share and re-live... well that was quite a different vat of a lhoatat. "Hmm," he oscillated in his throat in thought. Fingers snatched at the springy band around his wrist. He pulled on it and snapped it back. His first Tatharoc match? No. The V'draysh wouldn't need to see that. Time on Qualor? Well if they wanted to go to the den that was Qualor, they could just go to Qualor. Maybe Botchok. He longed to see Botchok. But it still stung.
He didn't know why he said it. Perhaps it was like water- the easiest path. An impulse. Timmoz spoke. "Thirteen years ago." His eyes closed and he heard the sound of the alert siren in his memory. He smelled the tang of metallic smoke.
"Aww, no baby Timmoz?" Debbie chuckled out the question, only half-serious. Seeing the green-skinned officer as a small child would no doubt be cute but the woman wondered what happened 13 years prior that Timmoz wanted to explore. Her eyes drifted back to Ti, spying the Guide manipulating the technology wrapped around his wrist as Timmoz spoke. Looking around the room, she wondered what machinery was built into the chamber to facilitate the ritual that was about to take place. From what she could see, the space seemed designed much like a holodeck, though in amphitheater form.
Ti glanced at the lady who had spoken, his magenta eyes were disapproving but he quickly returned his attention to Timmoz. "Come, stand with me," he instructed. "You may feel a tingling sensation as we travel. It will be similar to your own transporter technology. Also keep in mind, we will always be safe. We will see your past but we cannot interact with it or change it in any way. Now," Ti gestured over his wrist and then, with palms spread wide, focused his attention on the negative space between his fingers. "Thirteen years ago... Breathe in and close your eyes. I want you to concentrate on the exact event in your mind. Breathe out and let your shoulders relax. Remember your surroundings from that day. Breathe in and feel the weight of your arms as it melts away and you slide into the past..."
Ti paused, feeling the transport activating as the tech grabbed the memories. "Breathe out and when you are ready, open your eyes."
The first redolent tang was smell- it grew from waft to wave: the bowel undertones of nebular methane mixing with stale oxygen. Cloying, waxy peat came next- like it permeated the bulkheads- with a touch of lilac. The ozonous tickle of gunpowder or burnt meant, as vacuum leeched at alloy impurities. Timmoz remembered more clearly than he did in any dream.
The Klingons had called it Chargh'vor-chal. It was a ruined, dingy stone dislodged of its setting, floating worn, discarded and lopsided in the heavy azure swirl of gases. Timmoz remembered: they detected it on scanners. They'd lost the Thunderchild in a pocket of volatile gas. But the close quarters of their shuttle escape was starting to press in on the fragile toxic masculinity within. Finding the derelict had felt almost... oasis-like... in the claustrophobia of the shuttle.
As the lowest in rank, Te'imouzh Bilati had been the first out the airlock. He was this coal mines canary. Through Timmoz's eyes he remembered staring down that trapezoidal wall, dark and eerie, with the shuttered port hatch clenched behind him. Red panels flashed next to him in Klingonese. He knew enough. Che'ut: "breathing pressure." Another flashed yellow, marked as "Nge'." Restore. When he punched it there was a hiss. Loud thunk.... thunk.... thunk. Red glowing grates appeared along the axis of the corridor. "Huch ngup..... Huch ngup." A gruff voice said, insulated by Timmoz's memory of his helmet. Lower power mode. "che'wI SeQ'."' Reactor Failure.
"Siqqash! Report!" Timmoz was startled at the voice of his brother. His eyes opened and he looked at Ti.
Irynya's eyes widened as the scene distilled. She knew they were seeing the scene as Timmoz had and by the surroundings he had chosen a memory that couldn't possibly have taken place since he joined Starfleet. No, she was certain this was a much younger version of her friend. She glanced from side to side, feeling the absence of the man in the empty space next to her. She would have liked to have reached out and touched him. Confirmed his presence in light of the odd sensation of seeing his past. The sound rushed in on the heels of the visual and in that moment she felt the immersion of the memory. The red glow against the warning tones of Klingonese.
Mothim's feathers ruffled out in fear and instinctual anger when he found himself viewing a dark, cramped corridor. Aurelians were naturally claustrophobic. Federation ships were bad enough, but they were well lit, rounded, had some concept of open space. This industrial, dark, angular room was everything that Mothim hated about corridors. If he had one respite, it was the fact that his thick feathers insulated him from the cold.
Margarar sniffed the air. It was thin. And worse, there was something off about the reactor. She could hear the instability with the timing. And yet, part of her knew that she was not really there. The darkness was not as much of an issue for her. But the smells and sounds were disquieting and unsettled her stomach. "How is this possible?" she uttered from the back in a soft, uncomfortable voice.
A young version of Timmoz's voice crackled over the speakers. "The reactor's depleted. All it has left is some auxiliary power. in the industry deck batteries" Timmoz's mouth formed a grim line. "What do you want me to do?"
The sigh on the other end of the comm was harsh. "Activate the life support," Timruc said decisively, tersely. "We're coming aboard. Make sure you deactivate the automated defenses, Boy. It's a bokka Klingon station, they'll have them," The voice warned. The channel cut.
The teenage Timmoz sneered and grunted under his breath, "I know it's a bokka Klingon station. Booskafetch." His fingers angrily punched at blinking Klingon keys.
It came from all around. It was not a sound from Timmoz's projected timescape, however: not something that was part of the illusory world being generated around the Starfleet onlookers. No, the intense whine that suddenly permeated the entire amphitheater was, indeed, something else -- something not planned on at all. The grid-lines of the holographic generators installed in the walls of the theater became visible, flashing arcs of energy that splashed from one projector to another, causing them to burn out and fail. This resulted in sections of the holographic environs melting back into darkness, leaving whole sections of the recreation missing until -- one-by-one -- all of the panels had failed.
Left in total darkness, Debbie looked around without effect, stretching her arms out in various directions to find her companions. Was that Irynya's arm? Or one of Mothim's wings? The sensation was hard to discern without the benefit of sight to aid her brain in deciphering the input coming from her touch sense. "What the hell is happening?" the matronly woman croaked out, trying to be heard over the wailing whine that continued to sound. She thought she heard a response from someone but she couldn't make it out over the incessant thrum that positively vibrated her whole body. Debbie felt as if the whine was going to drive her out of her own mind if it didn't stop soon.
And then something else happened. Light was beginning to suffuse the area again, only this time it didn't come from any holographic projectors. Cold, blue lumens flared into existence all around the group of Starfleet officers, sweeping them up into an azure embrace. With a dazzling flash of white, Debbie felt herself dis-incorporated vis-à-vis a transporter, though she hadn't stepped onto any kind of transporter pad or called the Sojo for emergency beam out. Was someone on the ship being proactive and pulling them out of some kind of emergency?
No. As the light died down around the group, it became apparent that it was not, in fact, the Sojo beaming them out. Debbie fell on her ass -- not having been standing when the transport happened -- and looked up from the harsh deck beneath her. Modern-day Timmoz and Ti stood nearby, looking at the group who most definitely should not be visible to them and yet were there all the same. And looking around as she stood back up, Debbie was utterly dismayed to see the walls of the Klingon base around them. No longer was she just a spectator: whatever had happened, she -- and the others -- were now direct participants in this little time travel field trip.
"What just happened?!" she demanded, hawkish eyes darting directly to Ti.
Ti's mouth held a very distinctive and universal "O" of "Oh, shit, what just happened." He had the sense of mind to shake himself off right away and referred to his wrist band while explaining, "That should not have happened. This should not be happening." His command paths, they were missing and he desperately worked with the band.
Timmoz moved to help the Kaheedi up. She felt solid enough to him, real enough. So they weren't dead. But the fright on his face had betrayed- even momentarily- his Cluros. "If anyone sees a skinny man with a big belly demanding Meridor..." He began and drifted off. The loud clank and hiss behind them all came with a hum and thrum. He looked with a wary stare at the alien, "What should not have happened?"
The boy-Timmoz, still breathing in his suit, unlatched his helmet face and swiveled it down. His eyes clenched shut and his lips stiff to hold in a breath, he finally breathed out. And he coughed. "Tu xoquaan booska...." He said, while the look on his young face as if someone had waved something rotten under his nose. "What's that smell?"
Ti paused, the rank smell identified first by the ghost of the past made it to his olfactory receptors and the pause turned to absolute disgust. "What is that smell?" he asked as well. But then he answered the question from Timmoz, "This process takes only two of us back through your memories and projects the scene for others to observe. We don't see them, they don't see us... but that's not what's happening and I am... confounded. This has never happened before..." his words drifted as the rank smell intensified to the point he could taste it as well.
"Dead Taarg," Timmoz said as he lowered himself to stare into his own, younger visage. He waved his hand before the youth's lime-colored, nauseated face. "With the lingering scent of Klingon. He certainly doesn't see us now." Timmoz eyed the youth's bald scalp and the metal spike-studs that lined vertically up his forehead. Timmoz fingered his head, "Hmm. Kind of miss those actually."
"Dead Taarg, at the very least," came a mellifluous voice- the kind one would expect to have either as a cult leader or a motivational speaker. Timmozs-in-stereo turned at the voice. The youth beamed, the adult Orion looked... almost sad- until he tilted his mouth in a wry way as a replacement. The being was an immensely fat Farian in Pakled garb. "I don't suppose you have ever smelled Klingon before, Te'imouzh," the Farian added with a flourish of gloved fingers, "They're a fragrant species, much like yourselves. But you get used to it."
The adult Timmoz's gaze darkened and went distant beyond the immediate scene while he kept a Cluros smile. "Nimruc...." A hefty Tah'e Bull of an Orion- a wall of powerful and brandished muscle- swayed into the corridor space. Timmoz looked back at Ti. "And you say they can't hear us or see us? Pity."
Irynya had held her own counsel as everything unfolded, climbing to her feet quickly, but also crossing her arms over her chest, eyes wide and face white -- a sign of just how unsettled she was by the things that they were experiencing. A pit of panic had formed in the pit of her stomach and she was working hard to quell it, but grounding didn't seem to work. Not when what was real was entirely unclear.
"You say pity," Debbie piped up again, watching events unfold, "I say 'Thank goodness.' Wouldn't want him," she eyed the Orion who was built like a brick shithouse, "coming after me. No thank you," the woman shook her head. "So if I'm understanding this correctly, your machinery," her eyes flicked to Ti, "went on the fritz and sent us all back here? Can't you just fiddle with that doo-dad," Debbie pointed to the bracelet on Ti's wrist, "and zap us back the future?"
The resultant look on Ti's face told them everything. The answer, it seemed, was a very resounding "No."
=/\= A joint post by... =/\=
Proprietor, Debbie's Diner
Assistant Chief Engineer
Chief Science Officer
Doctor Andrew Munro
Chief Flight Control Officer
Lieutenant JG Irynya
Assistant Chief Flight Controller
Ti the Talebeethian Guide (NPC'd by Hebe)