“Another Apocalypse Driver?” I yelped when Sheela finished her story. “There can’t be two! Lacey said it would be catastrophic!”
“I have a feeling Heather doesn’t care,” mused Emily. “She’s now bent on bringing life down with her!”
“Doesn’t care about what?” asked a voice. It was Lacey. She was still in her student uniform, as she decided, but her petticoats and ascot were purple. “I wasn’t here for the story, what’s going on?”
“Heather just took a part to make another Apocalypse Driver,” I answered.
“What?!” yelped Lacey. “She can’t do that! What part did she take?!”
“Some quarter-circle from your old home,” answered Ben.
“No, not that!” wailed Lacey. “That’s part of the Apocalypse Weapon Dial! The circle on my belt buckle! That universe, because of hair-raising, deadly scenarios, hides the one for Death Scythe!”
“What could she want with it?!” I asked.
“If I were a betting girl,” answered Lacey, “to get a body.”
“Do you have any ideas where the other Weapon Dial parts are?” asked Emily.
“Indeed, I do,” replied Lacey. “The belt itself is in Dimension G-0-D-Z-1-L-L-4, a bunch of giant monsters run around in that one.” My eyes went wide and I gave a big, fat grin. If I got the naming convention of dimensions down, the belt is in…
“Godzilla’s dimension?!” I squealed. “EEEEEEEEE!!!!”
“I’m that big of a fan too,” chuckled Lacey. “Continuing, the War part is in Sludgiona’s current home, the Pestilence part is in the retro video game dimension, and the Famine part is in 8-4-C-K-T-0-T-H-3-F-U-T-U-R-3.” I then formed a plan.
“X-PO,” I directed, “fire up the Rider chance for Back to the Future. We have four dimensions to strike at. Lacey and I will go to Godzilla’s home, Xiomara and Emmanuel are going back to work with the Ghostbusters, Livia and Hiroki are heading into the game world, and the next two rider team will go back to the future.”
“A little sting operation?” chuckled X-PO. “All right! All Riders, to the Gateway room!” Everyone assembled in the Gateway room and I told them the situation. I assigned teams and X-PO set up the Rider Chance for Back to the Future. The hands rotated. “And the Riders are…Haitao!”
“Yes!” cheered Haitao.
“ACE!” called Joshua.
“All right,” I muttered. “Anyone have studs?”
“Studs?” asked Reinrassic.
“They are the main currency here,” explained Rook. “They are little discs that come in either silver, gold, blue, or purple.”
“Oh, these things!” said Reinrassic. He drew out a bag. The studs inside totaled 275,000, making our total 2,972,000. “Have you spent any of them?!” asked Reinrassic.
“There’s nothing TO spend them on,” sighed Joshua.
“All right, everyone,” I called, “If we could step away from our finances at the moment, I want everyone properly trained up and rested for the mission tomorrow. If Vortech decides to attack the dimensions for more Foundation Elements while we try and stop Heather, I want to be ready.”
“I recommend you take one of us with you,” suggested Batman.
“You raise a good point!” I called. “Batman, you’re with me and Lacey. Wyldstyle, you’re going with Joshua and Haitao. Gandalf, you need to go with Livia and Hiroki. Hongo-san, I want you with Emmanuel and Xiomara.”
“Nice!” cheered Wyldstyle. “I kind of liked that dimension!”
“In that specific time period, maybe,” mused Haitao. “Wait until you see Hill Valley in 1955 and 1985.”
“Yes, lovely areas to visit,” called a voice. It had a slight English accent. We whirled around to see a man in a white coat with epaulets, a cane, and a cybernetic right hand. I got ready to fight, but Gwen stopped me.
“Professor Paradox!” yelped Ben.
“You know this man?” asked Reinrassic.
“Ah, Ben!” called Professor Paradox. “And we’re on Vorton, too! So, the Vortech Wars are in full swing! How’s Klawjektor working out for you?”
“Who?” asked Ben.
“Klawjektor!” insisted Professor Paradox. “You were supposed to have unlocked him a while ago! Or, is my Chrono Navigator running fast?”
“What are you doing here?” asked Rook.
“Oh, just travelling the multiverse,” answered Paradox. “Bumped into the Doctor, by the way. How he gets around with that scarf is beyond me.”
“What scarf?” I asked.
“The Doctor wore a ridiculously long scarf in his fourth incarnation,” explained Michael.
“So, what, you’re a universe traveler?” I asked.
“After a fashion,” mused Professor Paradox. He held up his robot arm. “My Chrono Navigator is the multiverse’s GPS.”
“And the whole thing happened in the 50’s,” muttered Richard.
“Professor Paradox and the U.S. Military were working on a Time Travel experiment,” explained Emily. “Something went awry, and the professor was flung into the Event Horizon. He spent…oh, I don’t know…thousands of years in there. He didn’t eat, sleep, age, nor went to the bathroom. He just existed. Of course, he did the only logical thing and went bananas, that’s putting it mildly, yes, but became bored with that after a few millennia, went sane, and learned.”
“I now have complete understanding of the Space-Time continuum and can go anywhere and anywhen I want, within reason,” continued Professor Paradox.
“So, why are you here?” I asked.
“Just needed to ask a question,” replied Paradox. “You haven’t seen a pair of twin girls yet, about yea high?” He reached up to his chin. Everyone was confused. “No? I must be thinking of another moment. Ta-ta!” He then seemed to teleport away.
“Time travelers,” muttered Batman, “always seem to go loony in some way.”
“We’ll discuss that later,” I remarked. “For now, we need to train and rest up.”
“What do you want the rest of us to do?” asked Turretorg.
“Keep the defenses on standby in case Hiro decides to come knocking,” I directed. “I need us ready for him too.”
“All counter measures will be prepared,” promised Reinrassic.
“You intend to stay?” I asked.
“This requires Atasian Technology,” replied Reinrassic. “And I will provide it. I require the use of your communications terminal.” We allowed access and Reinrassic spoke in growls.
“I never heard the Atasian language,” remarked Max.
“I did, when I changed their DNA,” answered Ben. Reinrassic finished and turned to us.
“My planet, Augstaka, needs a portal to send the fleet,” he reported. I gave the go-ahead and Atasian ships flew into Vorton’s orbit. More growls came over the comms. “Fleet Admiral Asoorma requests to be beamed down,” requested Reinrassic.
“Your mom’s a Fleet Admiral?!” gulped Ben.
“Correct,” confirmed Reinrassic. “As such, she is my First Lieutenant in Military matters.”
“She’s free to come on down,” I granted. Reinrassic relayed my approval and a blue, female Atasian beamed into the Gateway room.
“Home looks a lot more civilized than when I last saw it,” sighed the Atasian woman. Asoorma, if I got Sheela’s story right. “Ah, Ben. I understand YOU had a helping hand in it,” remarked Asoorma. “Now that I see the full scale of your help,” she held her hand out. Ben shook it. “Thank you for saving my people, Ben Tennyson.”
“No biggy,” assured Ben.
“Are you the one in charge?” asked Asoorma.
“No, that would be Megumi, there,” replied Ben as he pointed to me.
“Queen Megumi Hishikawa, at your service,” I introduced. “Walk with me, I’ll brief you on the situation while your son addresses the Atasian troops.” I led Asoorma away as the rest moved to get themselves ready.
“Admiral’s Log: Stardate 53159.932. I had just received word that an anomaly was making frequent appearances in orbit above New Unity, a colony founded after final events with Data’s brother, Lore, had taken place. I am concerned that the inhabitants of New Unity, freed Borg Drones, would be under attack by their former Collective, but Hugh, the leader of the colony, and personal friend of mine, said that the Borg do not deal with generating these types of anomalies. The new Enterprise H is on its way to the Colony and will be entering orbit shortly. End Log.” The computer chimed that it finished recording what I said. I got up from my chair, moving towards the door. This Enterprise is certainly…flashier…than the one I commanded. I made my way to the bridge. I was hoping to not get caught, but someone said, “Admiral on the bridge!” Everyone stood to attention.
“At ease,” I assured. I noticed the Captain’s chair was empty. “Whereabouts is Captain Sh’Kar?”
“In the Captain’s Ready Room, sir,” replied the Helmsman, a Caitian man.
“Thank you,” I said. One thing I WILL say, the Captain’s Ready Room is not all different from what I’m used to, just behind the bridge instead of beside it. I chimed my presence.
“Enter,” boomed an Alto voice. The door slid open and I saw Captain Sh’Kar, daughter of Nor’theen. The Klingon woman stood when she saw me. “Admiral Picard,” she noticed. “I was unaware you would be coming here.”
“Just a small visit,” I assured Sh’Kar as I sat in the chair across from her. She sat back down. “How’s the ship getting on for you?”
“So far, it’s going well for the crew,” replied Sh’Kar. “Many of them would have sold their soul to be on a ship named Enterprise.”
“What about you?” I asked. Sh’Kar then understood.
“I will admit,” she sighed, “this is nerve-wracking. However, the crew doesn’t need to know that.”
“Most of the crew,” I suggested. “It helps to have an inner circle.”
“I suppose,” muttered Sh’Kar. Her Klingon values made her a bit guarded, but Worf recommended her highly. The Communications chime then came on.
“Sareth to Captain,” called a man’s voice. I nodded.
“Go ahead, Sareth,” boomed Sh’Kar.
“We are approaching New Unity,” reported Sareth.
“On my way,” replied Sh’Kar. We left the Ready Room and entered the bridge. She took her place at the Captain’s chair while I stood by Sareth, a middle-aged Vulcan and head of security. “Hail them,” ordered Sh’Kar.
“Hailing frequencies opened,” confirmed Sareth.
“This is Captain Sh’Kar of the Enterprise,” boomed Sh’Kar. “We are responding to a request for Federation help from this planet.” The viewscreen changed to show a young man strapped in by metal, wires, and tubing, the classic Borg Drone look. Normally, I would have flashbacks of when I was in such a condition, but this was a friendly face.
“And we are glad to see that our request was answered,” replied the Borg. “I am Hugh, leader of New Unity. We are glad to see a Federation ship, especially one with the name of Enterprise.”
“And we are glad we’re among friends,” answered Sh’Kar.
“I see that Picard is here as well,” cheered Hugh. “Good to see you again!”
“And you, old friend,” I replied. “I trust politics do not bore you?”
“No, I have fresh challenges every day,” chuckled Hugh. “Would you please come down? I would like to discuss this in person.”
“I see no problem with that,” I mused.
“Neither do I,” remarked Sh’Kar. “Send us the preferred coordinates and we’ll meet you there.” Hugh sent over the coordinates and ended communications “You two, with me and the Admiral. Transporter room 2,” Sh’Kar ordered two ensigns. We made our way to the transporter room and stood on the transporter pads. “Energize,” ordered Sh’Kar. The operator set the controls and beamed us to Hugh’s office. Hugh greeted us with handshakes all around.
“You look great, Cap…Admiral Picard! A Starfleet Admiral?” he realized.
“Things have changed when we last met,” I replied. “This is Captain Sh’Kar of the starship Enterprise H.”
“Pleasure to meet you, Captain,” greeted Hugh.
“The pleasure is mine,” reciprocated Sh’Kar. “Forgive me if I sound short, but I understand that there is a frequent anomaly?”
“No need to ask forgiveness,” assured Hugh. “We would like this matter dealt with as quickly as possible. If you would follow me.” Hugh led us out of his office and into the city that made up the Capital of New Unity. It was…intriguing…to see Borg acting as they did before assimilation. Still, there wasn’t an aura of menace that usually comes with the Borg. “As you can see, in the years since our last encounter with the Federation,” reported Hugh, “we’ve learned to work as individuals and as a group. It has sprouted a new civilization, your charter, if memory serves.”
“Yes, indeed,” I replied. All of a sudden, a blue hole appeared in front of us. “And THAT!” I said.
“That’s the anomaly that plagues us!” exclaimed Hugh. The Borg nearby were clearly scared.
“I don’t understand,” muttered Sh’Kar. “When you contacted Starfleet, you said it was in orbit.”
“It WAS,” replied Hugh. “This is the first time it’s ever been on the planet.” At that point, something seemed to go through. It looked like a man. I feared the worst.
“Q, if this is your doing…” I growled, wishing it weren’t. That was when the figure tossed a man through. The man that was tossed was the same member of the Q Continuum I frequently encounter. He appeared to be in a lot of pain.
“Picard…run!” croaked Q.
“Oh, how the mighty have fallen!” laughed the figure. It stepped out of the hole as it closed. The figure was a man made of…well…space. He was made of the blackness of space with stars studding his body. He clapped eyes on me. “Ah, Captain Picard!”
“Admiral,” I corrected. “Are you the one behind the blue holes appearing above New Unity?!”
“I am,” replied the man. “I am Lord Vortech, future ruler of the multiverse and master of Hypertime.”
“You are also terrorizing these people,” snarled Sh’Kar.
“I’m sorry, bumpy head, who are you?” asked Vortech.
“I am Captain Sh’Kar of the U.S.S Enterprise H,” said Sh’Kar, bristling.
“Ah, a new ship to carry the Foundation Element of this universe!” cheered Vortech.
“Picard,” gasped Q, “don’t let him take the ship!”
“Foundation Element?” I asked. “Multiverse? Hypertime?”
“I’m sure you understand the concept of parallel worlds?” asked Vortech.
“The Federation HAS had encounters with alternate universe versions of ourselves,” replied Sh’Kar.
“Splendid, a frame of reference,” mused Vortech. “Hypertime is like time, only it moves and flows like a river, branching off into tributaries, sometimes rejoining the main line. And, with each universe, there is something holding it together, like the foundation of a building, hence, Foundation Element. The name, Enterprise, is one such Foundation Element. This particular Element can transfer from ship to ship, but still carries the spirit of your universe, your charter. And I WILL have that ship! Terrorizing these mere playthings was needed to get you here!”
“You have committed an act of aggression on a warp-capable civilization and an ally of the United Federation of Planets!” I snarled. “If you do not cease your activities…” My threat was cut short as multiple smaller holes spat out various crew members!
“Ah, that went faster than I anticipated,” mused Vortech. He then activated a device, allowing a viewscreen to come up. The man he was talking to was in some sort of black armor and large helmet. He was on the bridge! “Ambassador Hell, I trust everyone is off the ship?” asked Vortech.
“Indeed, sir,” called the man. “Every single inhabitant of this vessel is now on the planet. The Enterprise is ours. All we need is a way back.”
“I’ll be up there shortly,” answered Vortech. “Is Engineering taken?”
“The entire ship is ours,” reported Ambassador Hell.
“Get off of my ship!” boomed Sh’Kar.
“Or what?” asked Ambassador Hell. “You’ll fight me?”
“I’m giving you the choice to get off my ship of your own free will,” growled Sh’Kar.
“Careful,” I warned.
“Why would I do that?” asked Ambassador Hell.
“So you don’t die in the explosion,” replied Sh’Kar. “I refuse to let Federation technology fall into enemy hands!”
“What explosion?” asked Ambassador Hell. Sh’Kar looked at me, revealing her intent. So new, yet so determined.
“Computer, this is Captain Sh’Kar of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Destruct Sequence 1, Code 1, 1-A,” she ordered.
“Vocal patterns not recognized,” reported the computer.
“What?!” roared Sh’Kar.
“Did you really think I wouldn’t block vocal access to the ship?!” asked Ambassador Hell.
“Splendid! Beam me up!” called Vortech. Vortech was beamed up and appeared next to Ambassador Hell. “I know you don’t have the capability to do so, but do NOT attempt to follow me. I have more power than Q over there.” We then saw the Enterprise leave through a large portal. Sh’Kar howled, the totality of her anger reverberating across the planet. Someone is playing a larger game, someone that terrifies people like Q.