EPISODE 3.24 - “SET IN STONE”
written by Travis Cannon
The U.S.S. Pioneer drifted through space on impulse engines. Directly in front of the Pioneer was the Federation Science Station McCoy Twelve. The science station floated silently in the borders of the Beta Nebula - a bluish gray haze that glowed in the darkness of space. The station, itself, was a neutral gray. It had a spherical center, which was the nexus of the whole station. Six extension protruded from the spherical nexus like arms. At the end of each “arm” was another sphere shaped compartment. Each of the six compartments had different services that each provided.
Captain Benjamin Kelsoe was standing behind Ensign Eric Zimmer looking at the view screen.
Captain’s Log - Supplementary:
After all these years of hearing about the legendary McCoy Twelve and the scientists that work aboard her, I am finally going to step foot inside. I can only wonder about the strange and exotic things that I will find. The crew - their almost as giddy as I am, but I think they can hide it better. Dr. Braga is looking forward to our small stop, as well. Dr. Philip Eyota is the Chief of Operations on McCoy Twelve. Dr. Eyota is somewhat of a scientific idealist, who tended to make some up standing Federation scientist a little edgy. Personally, I’m curious to find out what Dr. Eyota has been up to out here.
Kelsoe patted Zimmer on the shoulder.
“Nice and easy, Ensign,” Kelsoe said with a grin. He turned around. “Open a channel.”
“Channel opened,” Ensign Tracy Carson said from her station.
“To McCoy Twelve,” Kelsoe said. “This is the Federation Starship Pioneer, arriving ahead! of schedule to give the station is annual maintenance checkup.”
Kelsoe paused to wait for a reply.
“McCoy Twelve, do you read?” Kelsoe said.
He was now being a little worried. He turned and looked up at Tracy.
“Are they hearing us?” Kelsoe inquired.
“Yes,” Tracy said. “The communications are working find, either they’ve shut down, or they just are not replying.”
Kelsoe turned to Dr. Chase Braga, who was standing near the entrance of the turbo-lift.
“Any thoughts?” Kelsoe asked, noticing Braga’s expression.
“Well,” Braga shrugged. “Dr. Eyota is known as a bit of an eccentric.”
“Yes, I know that,” Kelsoe nodded. “But this is standard Federation procedure. Why should he ignore our hails?”
Braxis turned around from his station.
“If I may speak,” Braxis said, and then not waiting for a reply continued. “Dr. Philip Eyota is also known for his theories that involved components that were considered forbidden by the Federation. Most of his published work involved the lack of realism and logic.”
“That is true,” Braga nodded.
Kelsoe turned from Braxis to Braga.
“Can one of you elaborate on that, please?”
Both Braga and Braxis opened their mouths at the same time. The both gestured for the other to go. But Braxis insisted the Braga continue - after all, it is hard to argue with a Vulcan.
“You may proceed, Doctor.”
“From what I’ve read, Dr. Eyota was very much interested in subspace weapon designs,” Braga said. “However do to the unpredictable results of such a design the Federation banned subspace weaponry.”
“Yes, I remember when that happened,” Kelsoe said. “I watched the official statements made by the Federation Science Board. If I am correct, after his pro-sub-space weapons campaign, Dr. Eyota was discharged from the Federation Science Board of Directors.”
“Correct, sir,” Braxis nodded.
“From what I’ve heard,” Braga said. “After he was discharged he was assigned to McCoy Twelve. According to rumors back when I was still back home, Dr. Eyota had begun theorizing about using that same technology that is used to make subspace weapons to do experiments with time.”
“That is correct,” Braxis nodded. “Dr. Eyota theorized that a new type of travel could be created using the subspace technology involving time. He was attempting to come up with a replacement for warp drives.”
“Precisely,” Braga said. “Back home, some people think that he had achieved phase one, which was taking a Jump, as he called it, from McCoy Twelve to Deep Space Five.”
“Did he do the Jump, himself?” Burt inquired, getting interested in their conversation.
“No,” Braga said. “According to some pretty reliable sources, a tricorder took the first Jump.”
“And this was successful?” Kelsoe asked.
“Yes,” Braga said. “Phase two was going to involve having a human take a Jump. No one really knows if he did go to phase two.”
There was a sudden flash of white light and suddenly Q appeared next to Braga. Braga starred at him.
“Oh goodie!” Q said, clapping his hands, looking at Braga. “A new crew member. What happened to the old one?”
“Who are...?” Braga began to ask.
“Oh, pardon my manner,” Q said. “Perhaps you’ve heard of me, Q, well its short for Q.”
“What the hell do you want Q!?” Kelsoe shouted.
“Ah, Captain,” Q said and beginning to walk around the bridge. “I was merely listening in on your conversation - oh where are my manners.” Q took Tracy’s hand. “Madam officer,” he said as he kissed her hand. Craig stepped out from behind her office. Q straightened his back. “Ah! Angry are we? No need to be. I find you bipedal creatures disgusting. Except for of course for Kathie, tell me our his Admiral Kathie.”
“None of your business Q,” Kelsoe said stepping up to face Q. “Now tell me, what are you doing here?”
“Me!?” Q said, holding his hands against his chest defensively. “Are you accusing little old me of getting in the way? I merely was listening in on your interesting conversation about Dr. Philip J. Eyota. Curious man, indeed.”
Q put his hands on his hips.
“Hasn’t it occurred to you that the station hasn’t returned any communication you’ve sent?” Q said. “I mean you do you have brains right.” Q tapped Tuff’s head. Tuff gave him a mean look. “Sorry - just illustrating me point.” Q gave a short laugh. “Well, I’ll leave you guys on that thought. I’ll see you soon!” Q winked.
“What?” Burt said.
Q snapped his fingers and in a flash he was gone.
“Captain,” Tuff said, now back at his station. “I suggest we raise shields. I don’t like that Q, but he has a point, we’ve received no reply.”
Kelsoe nodded. “Do it.”
Tuff made the appropriate command and the shields were raised. Kelsoe took Burt over to the side.
“I agree with Rob, and Q is right. We need to find out why we’re not getting any response,” Kelsoe said.
“Maybe we should send an away team over,” Burt said.
“Any body in mind?” Kelsoe asked with a grin.
“Me, Tuff, and Dr. Braga,” Burt said. “Nothing fancy. Just find out what’s over there.”
“I admire your courage, Connor,” Kelsoe said. “But I think I will be safer to use our sensors to scan the station.”
“You’re the captain,” Burt said.
Kelsoe stepped away from their little conference.
“Mr. Zimmer, take us in scanning distance,” Kelsoe said.
“Aye, sir.” Zimmer punched in the command.
Kelsoe walked over to Craig’s station.
“Craig,” Kelsoe said. “Scan the station.”
“Yes, sir,” Craig said, and looked down at his console as he typed on it. His eyebrows narrowed. “Uh, sir, I can get any readings. There is some sort of force field that his surrounding the station.”
Kelsoe turned around and looked at the view screen.
“Rob,” Kelsoe said. “Target the less important part of the station and fire phasers.”
“Captain?” Tuff inquired, confused.
“Do it, Commander,” Kelsoe said, firmly.
“Aye, sir,” Tuff said. “Firing phasers.”
They watched as the phaser beam shot out and was deflected by the station’s force field.
“Captain,” Craig said, ready to report his readings. “I’m reading no change in the integrity of the station’s force field. Whatever kind it his, its strong.”
There was a flash of white light a Q was standing next to Craig in the same uniform Craig had on. “Hello!? You bipedal creatures are so amusing.” Q snapped his fingers and with a flash of white light Q was now dressed in a Starfleet Captain’s uniform. He stepped out from behind Craig’s station. “I think I shall stay in this form for a while - after all there needs to be a handsome looking humanoid onboard this quaint little ship.”
“So you’re going to help us,” Burt said.
Q stepped around Burt, pushing him aside.
“In a way, yes,” Q said with a wicked grin. He sat down in Burt’s seat. “Woo! This seat is most comfortable.” Q looked around. “This shall be my seat, from where I can throw little insult left and right at you Commander.”
“I’m so very touched, Q,” Burt said sarcastically.
“Why! You’re welcome!” Q said with a smile.
“All right,” Kelsoe said, glancing a Q for a moment and then back at Burt. “I don’t think we’ll be able to beam a team over.”
“Wo! Teacher! Pick me! Pick me!” Q said with his hand raised.
Kelsoe rolled his eyes with frustration. “What is it, Q?”
“I’m the only omnipotent being,” Q said. “Oh, I guess that means I’m also the only one who can take you through that force field. And then shut it down.”
Q made a sad puppy dog face.
“So you want to help, Q, is that it?” Kelsoe said.
“No, not really,” Q said standing up. “I’m just bored.”
“Well, we were going to send Burt, Craig and Braga over,” Kelsoe said. “You think you can manage that?”
“Uh, Captain,” Burt said. “Do you think we can trust him?”
The was a flash of light and Q was now standing between Kelsoe and Burt. He placed his arms around their shoulder, as if they were old academy buddies.
“Now, now, Connor,” Q said. “I’m no meany. I just like to have fun.”
“I need an insurance that you won’t make us appear in space,” Burt said.
“Now what purpose would it serve me to kill my entertainment,” Q said, with a betrayed expression on his face. “Even if watching you asphyxiate in outer space would be entertainment, but then you would be dead, and you wouldn’t be able to provide me with anymore humorous bipedal behavior. Now that would just be a bad audience.”
“All right,” Burt said. “We’ll see what you can do.”
“My pleasure, Commander!” Q said saluting Burt with a dazzling with smile. “Let’s go!” Q snapped his fingers.
The next thing Burt knew, he was standing in the main nexus of the station. Tuff and Braga stood behind him. Q, of course was there, too. Except he was leaning against the wall acting as if transferring them over was tiring.
“Cut the act, Q,” Burt said.
“Ah! I thought I was pretty good - didn’t you?” Q said. “You did consider acting as a child, right? But you couldn’t compete with holodeck creators, who were better than you.”
“Yeah, whatever,” Burt said. He turned around and looked over a Tuff and Braga. They were both looking at wall. “What is it?”
“Commander?” Tuff said. “Did you not notice the wall?”
“Huh?” Burt said, spinning on his heals to face the wall.
“Ah, yes, the wall!” Q said. There was a flash and Q appeared next to Tuff looking like Sherlock Holmes. He took his pipe out of his mouth and rolled back on his heals. “Great deduction, Watson!” The white light flashed again and Q was back in his original place, leaning against wall.
Burt squinted at the wall. And then he realized what he was looking at.
“My God,” Burt said softly.
“Huh?” Q said. Then looked at the wall he was leaning against. “Oh yes, the wall. I almost forgot.”
“It’s stone,” Burt said.
“Yes it is,” Q said. “In fact - look around.”
They all turned and glanced around the room - the chairs, tables, consoles, equipment - it was all stone. It was smooth and flat, as if man had carved this stones to the shape of an object. It was rough and jagged. Braga took his tricorder out and scanned the nearest chair. His eyebrows narrowed.
“Curious,” Braga said.
“What?” Burt said, walking over to Braga.
“This is really natural stone,” Braga said.
“Then what is it?” Tuff asked.
“Dust that as harden over time and turned into stone,” Braga said.
“Brilliant, my good doctor,” Q said, holding up his fist in triumph. “Let’s celebrate.”
Q snapped his fingers and suddenly they were all siting around a poker table with cards in one hand and a cigar in the other.
“Q?” Braga said frustrated. “We’re working here!”
“Oh!” Q said, haughty. “Far be it from me from trying to have a little fun. You guys certainly need more fun. Just enjoy it.”
“Oh, all right,” Q said and snapped his fingers.
They were now back in the space station’s central nexus.
“If you don’t mind, I’d like to go and have a little fun,” Q said.
“No problem,” Burt said, waving his hand. “Go have some fun.”
“Thank you... mother,” Q said and then snapped his fingers.
“Oh, thank God he’s gone,” Braga said.
“Yeah, but for how long?” Tuff pondered aloud.
“So this is all dust,” Burt said, feeling the rough edge of the table.
“Yes,” Braga said pretty much.
Burt stepped away from the table and walked over to one of the doors that lead out of the nexus. He ran his fingers along the center divide of it. And then looked back at his companions.
“There’s a hallway behind it, sir,” Tuff said, looking down at his tricorder.
“Is there anyway for us to get through?” Burt inquired.
Tuff took his phaser out of its holster.
“Step back, sir,” Tuff said.
Burt willing need. Tuff aimed and fired the phaser, running down the center divide - from top to bottom. When he finished he place the phaser back in the holster and stepped up to the door. He lifted his foot and kicked the door. The door, crumbled like weaken stone would and a dark hallway, which lead out of the spherical center and into one of the small extensions. Tuff nodded towards the darkness to Burt.
“Care to go first?” Tuff said.
As they walked down the hallway, Dr. Braga scanned the way ahead. He looked over his shoulder at Tuff, who was taking up the rear. Burt in the lead had stopped, waiting for Braga and Tuff to catch up with him.
“There’s definitely a room up ahead,” Braga said. “I’m reading a force field in that room. At this distance I can detect anything more.”
“Do you think its anything that Q has created?” Burt asked.
“I don’t think so,” Braga said, looking at his tricorder. “The force field appears to be the same as the one surrounding the station.”
Burt nodded. “Let’s continue then. We might be able to find a way to shut the force field off.”
They continued down the dark hallway, the small spot of blue light - coming for the force field - was getting bigger. Braga continued to make scans.
“Any life signs?” Burt inquired.
“No, none,” Braga said, holding his tricorder at arms length.
“Just the same, I’d like to be cautious,” Tuff said, drawing his phaser from his holster.
“All right,” Burt said. “Just for safety.”
They precede down the hallway until they enter the room. Braga slowly surveys the room, with his tricorder out in front of him. They see the force field surrounding a computer network in the center of the room. Braga approaches the force field. He places his tricorder inches from the hazy blue force field.
“This is differently the same kind of force field,” Braga said.
“Notice the computers,” Burt said. “They have been made into stone.”
Suddenly a noise comes from behind the bulky computer consoles.
“What’s that!?” Burt said.
Tuff raises his phaser to the force field. From behind the bulky computers, still behind the force field, a man appears - dressed in Federation science uniforms. He has black hair, that his graying on the sides. His beard is bushy and unkempt. Braga is the only one who is able to identify the man.
“Dr. Eyota...,” Braga manages to mutter.
“Quiet right,” Eyota says in a brisk English accent.
Tuff lowers his phaser, and Burt stepped forward.
“I am Commander Connor Burt, First Officer of the Federation Starship Pioneer,” Burt said. “We’ve come for you station’s annual checkup with Starfleet.”
“Oh, is it that time of year?” Eyota said, he appeared to be somewhat distracted.
“What’s the matter?” Braga inquired.
“Nothing, nothing,” Eyota said. “Nothing at all... who are you?”
“Dr. Chase Braga, Chief Medical Officer of the Pioneer,” Braga said.
“And you?” Eyota said, pointing to Tuff.
“Commander Robert Tuff, Chief of Security,” Tuff said in a beat.
“Aye,” Eyota nodded. “All from the Pioneer, eh? Well, sorry, but the station’s in no shape for the annual make over Starfleet does.”
“We can see that,” Burt said. “And we want some questions answered.”
“I can’t, not right now,” Eyota said, he held up his arms. “I’m kind of busy.”
“Busy or not, its thanks to Starfleet that you have even been able to do your experiments,” Burt said. “Now, lower the force field.”
“Commander Burt, maybe you did not hear me clearly,” Eyota said. “I cannot.”
“Why, Dr. Eyota?” Burt inquired.
“You have all noticed that everything on the station has become stone? Yes?” Eyota said, waiting for their nods. “Phase Two was skipped over to see if a station could make the Jump. And it need, but it got lost in time.”
“Lost in time?” Braga muttered between his lips.
“Something had gone wrong with the quantum flux and the station was sent through time,” Eyota said. “I, however, stayed behind protect by this force field. By the time I was able to get a lock on the station and bring it back it was too late.”
“What about the others onboard the station?” Tuff asked.
“Guinea Pigs,” Eyota said. “They sacrifices themselves for the advancement of science.”
“Ah, no, no, no! Shame on you,”said Q, who had just appear beside Burt. “Let me correct your statement,” and then in Eyota’s voice Q said, “I used sacrifices them for my on personal pride.”
“Outrageous!” Eyota said.
“Then why don’t you lower the force field and have you’re violent bipedal why with me. Ha! Not in the mood?”
“Not now Q!” Burt said, moving his arm in front of Q.
“Like you’re arm could stop me,” Q said under his breath.
“Dr. Eyota, why can’t you lower the force field?” Burt inquired.
“If I lower the force field, I believe I will die,” Eyota said.
Q stood in the back, next to Tuff, with his arms crossing his chest, very must upset. Tuff ignored Q and turned back to Eyota.
“Is there any way for us to lower the force field around the station?” Tuff inquired.
“I don’t think so,” Eyota said. “You should go back the way you came. I’m impress that you were able to get through the force field.”
“Thank you,” Q said, nodding from the back. “It was I, you know, who brought them here.”
“Yes,” Burt said. “Speaking of that, what’s the real reason you’re here?”
“Real reason?” Q said, acting confused. “I was bored, and you bipeds sure know how to have some good old fashion fun!”
“The real reason, Q!” Burt said.
Q shook his head.
“I have already explained myself to your Captain, no need to explain it to you,” Q said.
“I think I know why he’s here,” Eyota said.
Burt spun around on his heels, “Really, Dr. Eyota? Please, explain.”
“My experiments with time and subspace technology,” Eyota said.
Q pointed at Eyota and smiled.
“Precisely,” Q said. “You’re lack in brain power made up in being worried. There was a reason that your bipedal government banned subspace weapons. Subspace technology is to unpredictable. Tell me Doctor, how many tests did you do with the tricorder before you decided to jump to experimenting with the station?”
“One, just one,” Eyota said.
“Ha! Not enough testing with that tricorder did not so you the unpredictability of your newly found technology!” Q said. “Beside being unpredictable, subspace technology also creates a subspace terror, which occurred after your mindless Jump with this station. And what happened! Huh? Because of your bipedal self-fantasy of having yourself restored to your former position in your silly Federation, you destroyed several races on the verge of creating warp technology. The Continuum could no longer stop and watch as the entire universe is destroyed because of one individuals narcissistic thinking. So I have come, on behalf of the Continuum to put an end to these silly and futile experiments.”
“I cannot let that happen!” Eyota said.
“Oh, but you can, and you will,” Q said with a smile. “You might not know who I am as well as you fellow colleagues. How long has it been since you’ve spoken with Starfleet? A long time, huh? You probably have never heard of me. Jean-Luc hasn’t spread the word to everyone, I’m afraid. Well, no matter, let me introduce myself, I am Q, omnipotent being, handsome, and all around swell guy.”
“He can do what he’s saying he can do,” Braga said.
“And let me say this, Dr. Eyota,” Q said, stepping forward. “That force field can be shut down, and it will not effect you - even though your death would be greatly appreciated.”
“That’s enough, Q!” Burt said. “Dr. Eyota is a member of the Federation and well be tried by our laws, not yours.”
“Oh, very well!” Q said and snapped his fingers.
They were all, including Dr. Eyota, now in the Pioneer’s conference room. Q gestured for them to sit down. And sat himself down in the Captain’s chair.
“Captain Kelsoe will be coming in....,” Q paused. “Now!”
The door opened and Kelsoe stepped in with Braxis by his side.
“Q,” Kelsoe said, not the least bit surprised. “I see that you’ve brought Dr. Eyota back with you.”
“I couldn’t help myself, Captain,” Q said, standing up and offering the chair to Kelsoe.
Kelsoe sat down. Q snapped his figures and Burt disappeared and reappeared in a new seat. Q smiled and sat down in Burt’s spot. Burt was obversely a little ticked off, but he didn’t let it show.
“Now, explain what is the problem here?” Kelsoe said, folding his hands together on the table.
“Nothing, I little Continuum help can’t fix,” Q said.
“Commander Burt, what is the problem?” Kelsoe said, ignoring Q.
“It appears that Dr. Eyota has become a threat to the universe,” Burt said. “His subspace transporter has had a side effect.”
“Which is?” Kelsoe inquired.
“A creates a subspace terror, that apparently has killed some pre-warp civilization,” Burt said.
“Now if that doesn’t violate your Prime Directive, then I don’t not what it does,” Q said, and then off to the side. “What a silly directive it is, too.”
Kelsoe continued to ignore Q. He turned to Dr. Eyota.
“His this true?” Kelsoe asked.
“Yes,” Eyota said. “I knew it created a subspace terror. But I don’t care! That subspace technology is my ticket back to Federation Sciences!”
“Dr. Eyota?!” Braga said shocked.
“Why are you so shocked!?” Eyota said. “This Q fellow has been right about me right from the off! Everyone knows that subspace technology is too dangerous to be dealt with, why do you think the Federation banned subspace weapons. After Phase One, Starfleet backed down. They decided it was to risky.”
“How?” Braga asked. “From what I’ve heard that tricorder’s Jump was successfully.”
“Aye, it was,” Eyota said. “But the readings it brought back were too unstable for any humanoid body to sustain a Jump. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me! I was going to become famous for creating the new system of travel. No more worrying about pockets of space with no subspace thanks to other experiments. I would become the father of the future.”
“And in the process murdered your fellow scientist,” Braga said. “You were not the man I thought you were.”
“What did you think I was?”
“A brilliant man, who put the safety of the Federation above all else,” Braga said. “A man who would never kill to advance his own goals.”
“That was me,” Eyota said. “A long time ago. But the Federation turned its back on me, and so had human kind. I am alone. And shall never go home.”
“I’m afraid you will go home, Dr. Eyota,” Kelsoe said standing. “And stand trial for violated of Federation accords and murder. Commander Tuff, place him under custody and lock him in the brig.”
“Aye, Captain,” Tuff said take his phaser out of its holster and then walking over to Eyota. Tuff grabbed Eyota by the arm.
“I will find some way to continue my work, Captain,” Eyota said. “I guarantee that!”
“Take him away,” Kelsoe said.
Tuff nodded and lead Eyota out of the conference room. Kelsoe sat down and looked over at Q.
“I applaud you, Captain,” Q said. “And from a Q that is a big compliment.”
“Captain,” Braxis said. “I suggest we destroy the station.”
“Ah,” Q said. “The Vulcan’s never ceases to amaze me with how logical they are.”
“Then you agree?” Kelsoe asked.
“Of course,” Q said. “Why did you think I would allow myself to be placed among bipeds? I wasn’t bored, however, sometime I may be bored and pop in to say hi.”
Q snapped his fingers and he was gone. Kelsoe stood up and looked over at Braxis.
“Destroy that space station,” Kelsoe said. “Then set a course for Deep Space Five so that we can hand Dr. Eyota over to the appropriate authorities.”
Braxis stood up. “Yes, Captain.” And left.
Kelsoe stepped over to the big window on one side of the conference room and looked out. Both Burt and Braga joined him at the window and soon they saw the explosion of the space station. Kelsoe looked over at Braga’s expression.
“Don’t let him effect what you think of yourself, Chase,” Kelsoe said. “You said it yourself, Eyota is an eccentric person. He could never fit in with anyone, no matter how hard he tried. You, on the other hand, have fit in really nicely here on the Pioneer, and I expect great things to come.”
“Thank you, sir,” Braga said. “That means a lot coming from you.”
All three of them stood there and looked out the window as the Pioneer moved away from the Beta Nebula and set a course for Deep Space Five.