Author: Alan Decker
by Alan Decker
Captain Alexander Rydell paced the bridge as the Secondprize sailed smoothly over the chaos below. Just a couple more minutes and everything would be fine.
“The storms are intensifying, sir,” Lieutenant Hawkins reported.
“Rydell to away team.”
“Go ahead, sir,” Commander Travis Dillon’s voice said. Between the static and the atmospheric distortions, he sounded a quadrant away.
“Status report,” Rydell said.
“We’re fine. Jaroch has located the data recorder in the probe’s wreckage, and we’re just about ready to beam up.”
“Good. We’ll be waiting. Secondprize out.”
“He sounds tense,” Dillon said, turning to Lieutenant Commander Jaroch who was leaning over the probe wreckage.
“Is that your expert diagnosis, oh great king of relaxation?” Jaroch said.
“So do you,” Dillon said. Jaroch freed that last section of the recorder and pulled it out of the wreckage.
“Seeing as how a well-shielded Starfleet probe was decimated by the atmospheric storms surrounding this planet, I believe that I have every right to be tense. If it were not for the scientific value the probe’s readings contain, I much prefer to be safely on the Secondprize.”
“You mean we could die down here?” Dillon asked.
“Did you pay any attention at the mission briefing?”
“Yes. But I missed the possible death part.”
“Funny. I would have thought that you would find that minor detail just a bit important.”
“Rydell to away team,” their commbadges barked suddenly.
“Are you ready yet?”
“Yes, sir,” Jaroch said. “You may beam us up at any time.”
“And please make it quick,” Dillon added, looking around nervously at the landscape which had suddenly taken on a sinister dimension.
Lieutenant Monica Vaughn could tell she was staring too hard at the transporter console. The little blue dots representing Commander Dillon and Lieutenant Commander Jaroch had multiplied. She shook her head and resolved the four dots back into two. Vaughn hoped they wanted to beam up soon. This constant vigilance was giving her a headache.
“Rydell to transporter room.” Finally.
“Beam up the away team.”
“Energizing now, sir,” she said, activating the console. The warning signal on the transporter console started flashing wildly. On the transporter pad, the beam activated then scattered away into nothingness. A metal box clattered to the floor of the pad.
“Are they aboard?” Rydell’s voice said. Vaughn checked her console. Dillon and Jaroch weren’t on the planet’s surface. And they definitely weren’t in the transporter room.
“Uh…we may have a minor problem,” Vaughn said.
“What kind of problem, Lieutenant?” Rydell demanded.
“I can’t find Dillon or Jaroch,” she replied. The comm was silent for a few moments.
“I’m on my way. Rydell out.”
Vaughn took a deep breath and leaned up against the back wall of the transporter room. She was in for it now, and flirting with the captain like she usually did wasn’t going to get her out of this one.
“Where are we?” Dillon asked, looking around.
“I have no idea,” Jaroch replied. The room they had materialized in was bare except for a set of red doors at the far end. The walls were just a plain metallic grey with no hints of decoration. Jaroch pulled out his tricorder and started scanning.
“I’m detecting a single life-form beyond the doors,” he said. Dillon drew his phaser and walked cautiously toward them.
“Is this wise?” Jaroch asked.
“Well, I’m open to suggestions, but I don’t think standing around here is going to do us much good,” Dillon said.
“You have no idea how much pain you cause me on the rare occasions that you say something intelligent.” Jaroch followed Dillon up to the doors. They opened them and peered out. The doors led to the outdoors, and the building they were in sat on the banks of a large body of water. The whole scene was surprisingly Earth-like. A woman in black pants and a gold coat carrying a briefcase was standing on the building’s steps like she was waiting for someone. She turned towards Jaroch and Dillon, spotting them. A large smile spread across her face as she approached them.
“You’ve been inside already? Wonderful,” she said warmly. “Well, what do you think? It’s perfect, isn’t it?”
“Perfect?” Dillon asked.
“I know,” she said. “But we at Century Twenty-three only sell the best.” Jaroch noticed a very familiar bridge off to his left extending across the body of water. He looked at the building again, understanding where he was.
“Uh…” Dillon began.
“It is most perfect,” Jaroch said quickly. “We will take it.”
“Wonderful,” the woman said, opening her briefcase and pulling out and extremely ancient style of padd. “Just sign here.” He pushed a light pen at Dillon. Dillon looked at Jaroch confused.
“Go ahead, sir,” Jaroch said. Dillon shrugged and signed the padd.
“Thank you very much,” the woman said. She shook Dillon and Jaroch’s hands and walked off.
“What’d I miss?” Dillon asked. Jaroch pointed at the bridge. Dillon looked and his eyes bulged outward. “That’s…”
“The Golden Gate Bridge,” Jaroch finished.
“We’re back in San Francisco.”
“No, we are in an exact duplicate,” Jaroch said.
“Please shut up. I was kidding. Yes, this is San Francisco,” Jaroch said. “And you just bought the first building used as Starfleet Headquarters. Congratulations. You are now one of Starfleet’s founding fathers.”
“I have just, against my better judgement, given you immense historical significance, and all you can say is wow?”
“I have no idea what happened, sir,” Vaughn said after Rydell had arrived in the transporter room with Lieutenant Patricia Hawkins. “I was able to get the probe’s data recorder, but Dillon and Jaroch just vanished. It must have been the atmospheric distortions.”
“There’s no trace of them at all?” Hawkins asked.
“No. I’m sorry, Patricia,” Vaughn said. “I know that you and…”
“Drop it,” Hawkins said angrily. She fell silent. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you,” she said softly.
“It’s alright,” Vaughn said. “I just feel awful.”
“I know you did your best,” Rydell said. “Let me know if you discover anything.” He turned to walk out. Suddenly, the transporter activated. Vaughn stared down at her console in shock. She hadn’t even touched it.
On the transporter pad, two beams cascaded down, then dissipated.
“What the hell?” Vaughn said.
“Is that what happened before?” Rydell asked.
“Yes, but I didn’t do anything this time.” Hawkins just stared blankly at the pad.
“Are you alright, Lieutenant?” Rydell asked, putting a hand on her shoulder.
“I thought I saw Travis and Jaroch for a second,” Hawkins said.
Dillon and Jaroch hadn’t expected to be suddenly grabbed by a transporter beam. They were even less prepared to be dumped in the middle of a street. They looked around at the brick buildings lining the narrow road they were standing in. Dillon turned to Jaroch.
“Before you ask, I do not know,” Jaroch said. They heard a rumbling in the distance, and it was growing louder. “I do not know what that is either.”
Several people came running around the corner towards Dillon and Jaroch.
“Vamos, Trekkies! Vamos!” they shouted.
“Well, that’s Spanish,” Dillon said. “But what’s a Trekkie?”
“Again, I do not know,” Jaroch said. More people ran past, then a whole hoard more rushed by all shouting “vamos!” A second later, Dillon and Jaroch saw what they were shouting about.
Six angry bulls rounded the corner at full speed. Jaroch and Dillon screamed.
“Run!” Dillon shouted and took off.
“No kidding!” Jaroch responded, following right behind him.
Dillon and Jaroch ran for their very lives, dodging back and forth, but the bulls stayed behind them.
“What kind of place is this?” Dillon said.
“You tell me. It is your planet, human,” Jaroch replied. The bulls were getting closer.
“Could Hawkins have actually seen them?” Rydell asked.
“It’s possible, but that would mean we still have a lock on them,” Vaughn replied. “And all of my readouts say we don’t.”
“Can you check the log on that last beam?” Hawkins asked. “Won’t it say if there was someone in there?”
“It’s worth a shot, I guess,” Vaughn said. She didn’t get a chance to check. The transporter suddenly activated again.
“There they are!” Hawkins shouted, pointing at the indistinct figures in the beams. “It’s them!” An instant later, the beam vanished.
“Was it them?” Rydell asked.
“I think so,” Vaughn said, checking her console. “I still don’t have a lock on them, but the logs say there were two people in that last transport.”
“Well then, we’ll just have to be ready next time,” Rydell said.
Dillon and Jaroch almost tripped when they rematerialized. It took them a second to realize that they had been whisked away from the mortal danger they were in and deposited somewhere else.
Now they were in a shower. Fortunately, it was unoccupied.
“We may still be in the past,” Jaroch said, looking at the faucet head. “Either that, or we are on a planet that has not developed sonic cleaning devices.” Dillon pulled the shower curtain open. They were in a small bathroom. All of the furnishings were white, and a mirror hung on the left wall. A door was directly in front of them. Jaroch pulled out his tricorder and started scanning.
“Any clue as to where we are?” Dillon asked.
“Besides the obvious fact that we are in a bathroom, no. There are two life-forms nearby, though, and one of them is heading this way.” Dillon pulled the shower curtain shut.
A moment later, he and Jaroch heard the door open. They could see the silhouette of a figure enter and turn on the sink.
“This is not good,” Dillon whispered. Jaroch shot him an evil glare. The sink turned off. A second later, the shower curtain was pulled open. Jaroch and Dillon were faced with a naked man who looked an awful lot like Alexander Rydell. The man started screaming. So did Jaroch and Dillon.
“What’s wrong, Alex?” a voice shouted from out of the room. The man stopped screaming and ran to the door.
“They’re here, Travis! Remember I told you I dreamt I was on Star Trek. Well, they’re here. They’re in our shower!”
Jaroch and Dillon looked at each other in a panic. This would definitely not be good for the Prime Directive. They felt the transporter grab them not a moment too soon.
Alexander Rydell, twentieth century college student, turned around and saw that the shower was empty. His roommate, Travis Dillon walked in.
“There’s nobody there,” Travis said.
“It’s late. Get a shower. We’ve got class tomorrow.” Travis walked back into the bedroom. Alexander sighed and turned on the water.
“It’s happening again,” Hawkins said.
“I’m on it!” Vaughn replied. She frantically worked the transporter controls as the two beams appeared again. She boosted power to all the systems and started to manually modulate the confinement beam. It was a battle every step of the way, but gradually Vaughn was able to adjust the system enough to pull in the beams. Slowly, Dillon and Jaroch materialized on the transporter pad. Dillon fell to the floor and started kissing the pad.
“Oh thank you, thank you, thank you,” he said.
“Good work, Vaughn,” Rydell said. He turned to Dillon and Jaroch. “Are you two alright?”
“We’re fine, sir,” Jaroch said.
“Oh thank you, thank you, thank you,” Dillon said, kissing the floor.
“Jaroch, if you feel like doing that, you can come kiss me,” Vaughn said smiling.
“Maybe later,” Jaroch said.
“OK I’ll see you in my quarters at nine. Dress appropriately,” Vaughn replied. “A robe should be sufficient.” For a moment, she almost thought she saw Jaroch blush.