EPISODE 4.31 - “THE NOTHINGNESS”
written by Travis Cannon
Captain Victor Mandrake and Commander Spencer Sterling have been court marshaled and been dealt with appropriately by the Federation Council. A special Federation agent, Dr. Lucus Kesar, has temporarily joined our crew for a trip to Alkanden Outpost Five. His mission, classified. Even Admiral Dutton’s admitted to me that he has no clue what Kesar’s mission is. All I know is that I am to transport him to Alkanden Outpost Five. We left Deep Space Five twelve days ago and will soon be passing Kobal.
The starship Pioneer float gracefully pass the beautiful sphere that was Kobal. But the ship has to continue on much to the disappointment of the crew, who were looking forward to some shore leave. Starfleet Command had given them a mission. And that was to transport Dr. Lucus Kesar to Alkanden Outpost Five, which was located not that far from the planet of Nawnow. With almost a dozen days under way most of the crew have gotten use to seeing the odd Dr. Kesar wondering the halls muttering to himself. Kesar, himself, was a strange looking fellow.
Kesar was a Wismaga, who’s species were always a nomadic people, until they colonized a desert planet, Liccus XII, and over the course of 600 years had changed the surface of the planet to a lush paradise. And there they sat for fifty thousands years with no outside contact. Soon the Wismaga lost all knowledge of being a nomadic people, losing most of the meaning behind their religion. So their theology was soon lost in time, only some having kept the old teachings. Not to long ago, Liccus XII was discovered by the Federation, and the USS Independence, commanded by Barbara Hessman, made first contact. And now the Wismaga have grown into a will respected race - and sometimes highly annoying - member of the Federation. But what do Wismagas look like? They are human height, mainly five feet and ten inches. Kesar has prided himself with being five feet and fifteen inches tall. For a Wismaga he is unusually tall. His face resembles that of a human, except his mouth and nose look more like a chimpanzee’s than a human. Surrounding his face, like a lion’s mane, his light brown hair. His arms, legs, and presumedly the rest of his body is covered in the same brown hair, or fur, which some have been known to call it. The Wismagas’ hands and feet a similar to humans, except for the amount of hair that grow on them.
That is Dr. Lucus Kesar. And his mission is unknown, though many of the crew have tried to pry it out of him. Kesar’s specialty is also unknown, but some, like Ensign Zimmer and Commander Burt, have spread around the idea that it is in annoying human beings. Captain Kelsoe, on the other hand, does not find Kesar’s annoyance funny. He finds it out right frustrating.
Presently Captain Benjamin Kelsoe is on his way to sickbay.
Kelsoe yawned. He had not gotten much sleep over the pass couple of days. Dr. Lucus Kesar’s constant midnight walks have caused some problems, thought at the moment, Kesar was the last thing Kelsoe wanted on his mind. They were nearing the end of their twelfth day in space, and it was oh twenty-three hundred hours - Eleven o’clock. The only thing Kelsoe wanted to do was sleep. But he found that very hard, because he had a pounding headache. Kelsoe wondered down the corridors of deck two until he found the turbo-lift. He then quickly got in. The computer buzzed. Kelsoe moaned and placed his hand on his head.
“Deck Four,” Kelsoe managed to say.
The computer hummed and chirped in response, causing Kelsoe more discomfort. The turbo-lift zoomed down to Deck Four, and the doors opened with a soft hum, and Kelsoe came stumbling out. He walked down the corridors to the entrance of sickbay. He quickly walked in. The majority of the lights were dimmed, making it hard to see.
“Doc!” Kelsoe shouted.
“Doc!” Kelsoe shouted again.
Kelsoe heard some one move. His eyes darted around and eventually he made out a figure standing up in one of the corner. He heard a voice speak.
“Computer,” said the voice. “Raise lights to normal.”
The was a soft chirp, which made Kelsoe grimace, and the lights raised to normal level. Kelsoe found himself face to face with a bald blue Bolian.
“Oh, Dr. Rhell,” Kelsoe said. “Where’s Dr. Braga?”
Rhell looked at Kelsoe for a moment, studying him. “Dr. Braga is sleeping, Captain. I have the night shift.”
“Oh,” Kelsoe nodded. “Dr. Calvin?”
“Sleeping, too, sir,” Rhell said, taking a step forward. “May I help you, Captain?”
“Well, yes,” Kelsoe said. “I’ve got a terrible headache.”
“Come and sit,” Rhell said gesture towards one of the bio-beds.
Kelsoe slowly walked over to the closest one. Dr. Rhell walked over to the medical station and picked up a medical tricorder. Kelsoe slowly climbed onto the bed and sat, waiting for Rhell to come over. Eventually the round-faced Bolian made his way over to the Captain.
“How long, exactly, have you been experiencing these headaches, sir?” Rhell inquired, as he began his scans with the medical tricorder.
“Almost twelve days now,” Kelsoe said.
Rhell chuckled. “That’s almost as long as Dr. Kesar has been aboard.”
“Exactly,” Kelsoe said.
“Getting you frustrate, huh, sir?”
“Yes, a lot,” Kelsoe said. “I need something that can help me sleep.”
Rhell closed the medical tricorder and placed it back with the other instruments. He picked up a hyprospray and programed it.
“I’ll just give you a mild sedative,” Rhell said. “That should help you with sleeping. The headache, well, your body will have to take care of that. But I think a nice long sleep should do you some good.”
Rhell placed the head of the hyprospray against Kelsoe neck and injected the medicine. The only sound was a puffing sound. Rhell removed the hyprospray and placed it back down on the table. Kelsoe stretched his neck and rubbed the spot where the hyprospray had been injected with right hand.
“Thanks, Dr. Rhell,” Kelsoe said.
“No problem, Captain,” Rhell said. “If you need help to get sleep, I suggest coming here at twenty-one hundred hours. It will give you a longer nights rest.”
Kelsoe nodded. “Well do.”
And with that, Captain Kelsoe left sickbay and made his way back to quarters, where he crawled into bed and fell fast asleep.
Captain Benjamin Kelsoe awoke to red flashing lights. At first he did not know what was going on, but once he was able to wake up some more he knew the he was required on the bridge. Kelsoe jumped out of his bed and quickly put on his uniform. He then ran out the door and froze.
His eyes were wide with terror. He was looking at nothing. It was standing in a vast emptiness, and not like the emptiness of space. There was literally nothing around him. No floor, no walls, and no flashing red lights. Kelsoe turned around and stepped back into his room. He looked curiously about. Q? he thought.
“Alright, Q, the game’s up,” Kelsoe said. “Come on out.”
Nothing happened. Kelsoe walked over to the replicator.
“Computer,” Kelsoe said. “Coffee. Black.”
Nothing. Kelsoe stamped his foot and looked around. What the hell was going on. He tapped his commbadge.
“Captain Kelsoe to the bridge,” Kelsoe said. No response. “This is Captain Kelsoe, does anyone read me?” He received no response, again.
Then Kelsoe looked out the window and saw the blackness of...
Kelsoe opened his eyes. He yawned, and sat up. He looked around. He was in his quarters, laying in his bed. He looked around. There were no flash red lights, and not signs of anything out of the ordinary. Kelsoe moved his legs over the side of the bed and sat up. He rubbed his face in his hands, and then stood, stretching and yawning. He attempted scratched his back.
The computer chirped is response. Kelsoe found himself relieved to hear the chirp, and his headache was gone!
“What is the time?”
“Five hundred hours,” was the computer’s response.
Kelsoe smiled. He hadn’t gotten up this earlier, this refreshed. I have to remember to thank Dr. Rhell, Kelsoe thought as he slowly walked towards his bathroom. As Kelsoe went through his morning routine, his mind meandered to the dream he had had. That was sure a weird dream, he thought as a washed his face in the sonic shower. He then began to debate with himself if he should stop by the counselor’s officer and talk with her about it. Eventually he talked himself out of it, just saying to himself that it was just a dream and to stop putting too much into it.
Kelsoe’s day official started at six hundred hours, by which time he was in his ready room going over early reports and having a cup of coffee. Today was no different. Kelsoe skimmed through reports on his desk, most of them were complaints of Dr. Lucus Kesar “disturbing the peace”. Commander Tuff’s report said that he was awaken almost ten different times during the night because of Kesar. Kelsoe began to wonder if Wisgamas ever slept. But Kesar was protected by his diplomatic status as a Federation agent. Kelsoe began to feel his headache coming back. He was beginning to wish he had not awaken so earlier from his strange dream.
There was a chirp at the door. Kelsoe looked up.
“Come in,” he said.
The doors slide open and Commander Robert Tuff walked in, followed by Dr. Lucus Kesar. Kelsoe put the data pad down. So much for a good day, he thought. Kesar was snapping at Tuff in his high pitched voice.
“You have no right to accuse me of anything, Commander!” Kesar said, pointing and shaking his finger at Tuff, who was ignoring him.
Kelsoe waited until Kesar was finished snapping at Tuff.
“Report,” Kelsoe said.
“We are leaving the Kobal System,” Tuff said. “We’ve picked up a couple of So’ja battleships shifting around the neutral zone.”
“Anything out of the ordinary?” Kelsoe inquired.
“Not that I can tell,” Tuff said.
“Not the you can tell!?” Kesar was fuming.
Kelsoe took a deep breath and turned to look at Kesar.
“Do you have anything to add, Dr. Kesar?” Kelsoe inquired, wishing he had not asked the question.
“As a matter of fact, yes!” Kesar said, rubbing his hands and stepping forward. “As a special representative of the Federation, I formally recommend to you, and your security officer, that you pay more attention to the So’ja that you are doing right now.”
“And why is that?” Tuff inquired. “With all do respect, Dr. Kesar, but we have dealt with the So’ja many more times than you have.”
“Militarily, yes,” Kesar said in his high pitched voice. “But diplomatically, no.”
“Wait a second, Dr. Kesar,” Kelsoe said holding up his hand. “Are you implying that Starfleet is trying to start a war?”
“No, not at all,” squeaked Kesar. “Am saying it. Because of all the little engagements you have had with the So’ja, Captain Kelsoe, you have created almost a tension which will be really hard for the Federation envoy to clean up when peace has finally reached the table talks.”
“There are no table talks,” Kelsoe said. “The So’ja Coalition has out right said that they want nothing to do with the Federation.”
“You see! This is what I’m talking about,” Kesar said. “You are unwilling to compromise. This is why we are flirting with disaster by having a military ship out here in the Oralian sector. It would have been a lot better if the Clark had not been recalled and replaced with the Pioneer.”
“The Clark was not recalled,” Tuff said angrily. “The So’ja destroyed her.”
“Makes no difference how the transfer was,” Kesar said, brushing off Tuff’s comment. “The point is that Starfleet, in its infinite wisdom, saw it fit to replace a science vessel with a war ship.”
“Dr. Kesar,” Kelsoe interjected. “Now you have crossed the line. The Pioneer is not a ship of war. We are an ship of exploration and discovery.”
“A ship of discovery, eh?” Kesar said. “When was the last time that this very ship was engaged in combat, huh?” Kelsoe could not bring himself to respond. “Ah, I thought so. The Federation is sick and tired with having a ship out here angering the very people who once were our allies.”
“Alley under a different banner,” Kelsoe said. “That was the So’ja Republic. It hasn’t been around for over two years now. What we have now is the So’ja Coalition.”
“The Coalition will want peace,” Kesar said. “If we withdrawal from the Oralian Sector.”
“We can’t do that,” Kelsoe said.
“Oh, and why not?”
“We have Federation members and allies here,” Kelsoe said.
“The Tulop, for one,” Tuff said.
Kelsoe nodded. “Yes. The Tulop are a member of the Federation. We cannot abandon them.”
“Yes, yes,” Kesar agreed. “However, do not the Tulop have better technology that we.”
“Well, yes,” Kelsoe admitted.
“Look,” Kesar said, lowering his voice. “I am not suggesting that we abandon our friends here. I’m just trying to point out that if we do not watch ourselves better than before... we will see troubled skies before long. A storm is brewing, Captain Kelsoe, and it’s coming from Ka’al.”
The room became silent. After a minute, Kesar bowed his head and left. Kelsoe let out a sigh and looked up at Tuff.
“Is this what he has been doing, Rob?” Kelsoe inquired.
Tuff nodded slowly. “He’s upsetting a lot of the crew. Moral is going down. We need to get him off this ship.”
“What do you think?” Kelsoe inquired, picking up another data pad. “About the So’ja that is?”
“I would not say it in front of him,” Tuff said. “But he’s right. The So’ja Coalition may be planning something. What I told you earlier while Dr. Kesar was here, was a falsity. The So’ja activity along the borders has increased. And sensors have noticed an increase in the number of ships.”
Kelsoe leaned back in his chair, and turned his head to look out the window. He nodded slowly.
“Yes,” he said. “Something’s not quiet right.” He leaned forward. “I’m going to tell you something, Rob, that I’m telling you in confidence.”
“You can trust me, sir.”
“Last night,” Kelsoe said. “I had a dream. I woke up in my bed and the ship was on red alert. No one had contacted me or anything. I got up, quickly got dressed and ran out of my room into... nothing.”
“Yes,” Kelsoe said. “It was just a big emptiness of nothing.”
“I had a similar dream, sir,” Tuff said. “In fact, Ensign Soto mentioned to me that he, too, had dream like that. A dream of nothingness.”
Kelsoe’s eyes widen.
“Do you know how many crew members have had this dream?” Kelsoe said, interested in the number.
“No,” Tuff said. “But I can check with Counselor Sawyer.”
“Do it,” Kelsoe nodded.
Tuff nodded, and left. Kelsoe picked up his coffee cup and sipped from it. He leaned back, thinking about this nothingness that was in his dream.
Commander Connor Burt was sitting on the bridge, watching Ensign Eric Zimmer guide the ship towards the Alkanden outpost. Burt turned and looked over at Braxis, who was studying some data at his station. Behind Burt both Commander Tuff and Lieutenant Norman Craig were working at their stations. Burt turned his attention back to the view screen, and the stars zooming pass the ship, as the Pioneer went along at warp factor nine towards the alien outpost of the Alkanden. Suddenly, Burt noticed something strange on the view screen. In the direct center of the screen the stars had stopped appearing. It was total blackness.
“Braxis?” Burt said.
Braxis turned from his station and looked towards the view screen, immediately knowing that something was wrong. He turned back to his station.
“Scanning, Commander,” Braxis said.
“Norm,” Burt said, standing. “Go to yellow alert.”
“Aye, sir,” Craig said, pushing a button, and some of the lights in the room turned to yellow.
“Tracy,” Burt said. “Get the Captain.”
Tracy nodded and turned to her station. “Captain Kelsoe to the bridge.”
Kelsoe’s ready room doors opened and Captain Benjamin Kelsoe stepped out. He walked down into the center of the bridge, staring at the screen.
“What in God’s name is that?” he muttered.
“Braxis’ checking it out, sir,” Burt said.
Kelsoe turned and walked up towards Braxis. He stepped up next to Braxis and looked down at the monitor on the console. The monitor was showing an unusual wave formation, the likes of which Kelsoe had never seen.
“What is it, Braxis?” Kelsoe inquired.
“Something unusual, Captain,” Braxis said, turning to look at Kelsoe.
Kelsoe turned and looked back at the screen as the blackness got larger. He stepped down until he was behind Zimmer. He placed his right hand on Zimmer’s shoulder.
“Looks like nothing,” Kelsoe said, and then paused. “Let’s stop, Mr. Zimmer”
“Aye, sir,” Zimmer said as he typed in the appropriate commands on his station.
Kelsoe watched as the stars slowed on the view screen and eventually came to a complete stop. He turned and looked up at Tuff, who nodded.
“Strange, Captain,” Tuff said.
“Norman,” Kelsoe said. “Are you picking up any lifeforms or ship patterns from within that?”
Craig looked down at his station and then back up. “None, sir,” he said.
“Tracy?” Kelsoe said. “Any audio transmissions of any kind?”
Tracy listen for a while on her earphone and then returned her attention to the Captain.
“No, Captain,” Tracy said. “As far as I can tell it perfectly silent. Almost seems to be without any sound whatsoever.”
Kelsoe turned around and looked over at Braxis, the vulcan.
“Recommendations, Mr. Braxis?” Kelsoe asked.
“I am curious, Captain,” Braxis said. “But that does not warrant going into that which we no nothing of.”
“Sure, that’s what it is,” Burt said. “Nothing.”
“What do you think, Connor?” Kelsoe inquired.
“As I just said, Captain,” Burt said. “The things nothing. No audio transmissions, no ships, no lifeforms, nothing. I think it’s just a big thing of nothingness. Its probably just harmless. I don’t know why I called for yellow alert, sir. Norm, take us off of yellow, will you.”
Craig obeyed and the lights returned to normal. Kelsoe stood rooted in the center of the bridge, his eyes transfixed on the screen. Was this the very nothingness in his dream? If it was, why did he dream about, and why had two other people had similar dreams. That reminded him about what he asked of Commander Tuff. He turned on his heals to face the Commander.
“Rob,” Kelsoe said. “About the question I asked earlier?”
“More than half, sir,” was Tuff’s response.
Kelsoe nodded and turned back to the screen. This nothingness obviously had something important to do with it, otherwise why would the majority of the crew have a dream about it. Kelsoe turned and stepped over to his chair and sat down. Burt stood in front of him, watching his every moves.
“Mr. Zimmer,” Kelsoe said. “Proceed, impulse.”
“Aye, sir,” Zimmer said, pressing the buttons.
The ship moved forward towards the nothingness. Burt sat down in his chair next to Kelsoe’s. Kelsoe turned and looked Burt in the eyes.
“I hope I know what I’m doing,” he said.
“Don’t worry about it, Captain,” Burt said. “It’s probably just nothing.”
Burt gave a soft chuckle and then returned his gaze towards the screen in silence. Obviously Burt had become a little never, too. Soon they were upon the edges of the nothingness. Zimmer turned around and stared at Kelsoe.
“Go on, Mr. Zimmer,” Kelsoe said.
Zimmer turned back to his control station and pressed the buttons. The ship entered the nothingness and nothing happened. They went deeper into the black nothingness and still nothing. Eventually, Captain Kelsoe started to relax.
“Alright,” Kelsoe said standing up. “Go to warp factor nine, Mr. Zimmer. Let’s get to Alkanden Outpost Five as soon as possible.”
“Aye, sir,” Zimmer said. “Increasing acceleration to warp nine, sir.”
The screen showed no proof of their movement.
“Are we moving?” Burt inquired.
“From all my instruments, yes, Commander,” Zimmer said.
“Okay,” Burt said, and then sat down.
Kelsoe turned and gave a sigh of relief.
“I’ll be in my ready room if anybody needs me.”
“What’s our present position, Ensign Zimmer?” Burt inquired, staring at the blank screen.
“Three and half, seven, sir,” Zimmer replied.
“Okay... wait a minute,” Burt said, confused. “Shouldn’t Velos be in sight? Brax?”
Commander Braxis turned around from station to look at Burt.
“If our coordinates are indeed three and half, seven,” Braxis said.
“Well? What about sensors?” Burt inquired. “What do they read?”
“Nothing, Commander,” Braxis reported.
“Tracy? Anything out there?” Burt inquired, as he became more worried with each response from the crew.
“Nothing, Commander,” Tracy said.
“I think you should contact the Captain, Tracy,” Burt said.
“Aye, sir,” Tracy said with a quick nod. “Captain Kelsoe to the bridge.”
Just as Tracy finished her sentence, Captain Kelsoe came out of his ready room. Burt stood as Kelsoe stormed down to the center of the bridge.
“What the hell is happening?” Kelsoe inquired. “By my calculations we should be passing Velos by now.”
Burt nodded. “Just as I concluded, sir.”
Kelsoe stood in thought for a while. It took him under a minute to make up his mind. He turned to Ensign Zimmer.
“Take us out of warp, Mr. Zimmer,” Kelsoe said. “Stop the ship at our current position.”
“Aye, sir,” Zimmer said.
The view screen did not show the action.
“Are we stopped?” Kelsoe asked.
“According to the sensor we are, sir,” Zimmer responded.
“Okay,” Kelsoe said, turning to Braxis. “Commander, where the hell are we?”
“Apparently we are still in the nothingness, Captain,” Braxis said.
“Nothingness?” Kelsoe said. “Its something not nothing!”
“It is a paradox, sir,” Braxis said. “Something that does exist, but by existing contradicts itself. Thus making it nonexistent.”
“For something that doesn’t exist it sure as hell as got my attention,” Kelsoe said.
“Alright... Mr. Zimmer, what are the exact coordinates in which we entered this... this paradox, as Mr. Braxis calls it?” Kelsoe inquired.
Zimmer checked his sensor longs. “Six, four,” Zimmer replied.
“And we are now at...?”
“Are you absolutely positive?” Kelsoe inquired.
“That’s what the sensors are telling me, Captain,” Zimmer said.
Kelsoe shrugged his shoulders and slapped his hands along the sides of his legs. This was all he needed - more frustration. He hoped to God that this was not one of Q’s twisted little fantasies. But he would be more at ease if it was, because then he would be able to negotiate his why out of this. However Q did not appear to gloat over how wickedly clever his scheme had been. Kelsoe turned and looked at Burt.
“I have no idea what to do,” he said softly so that only Burt could here.
Burt gave a nod and responded, “Trapped in nothingness.”
Both stood there in thought, while the rest of the bridge crew’s eyes stared fixed on the two officers. Eventually, Burt leaned closer to Kelsoe and whispered an idea.
“Maybe we should send Braxis down to the science lab to figure this thing out,” Burt suggest.
Kelsoe nodded. It was start, after all it was better than doing anything. Kelsoe stepped back from Burt and turned towards Braxis.
“Commander Braxis,” Kelsoe said. “I want you and Lieutenant Craig to go down to the science lab. Try to find out what it is that we are dealing with.”
Braxis nodded, and got up. Craig and him met at the turbo-lift and left the bridge. Kelsoe turned around and looked at everyone else.
“That goes for anyone else,” he said. “Any and all ideas are welcomed.”
Kelsoe turned to Burt.
“I want a senior staff meeting in five hours,” Kelsoe said.
“Aye,” Burt said with a nod.
Kelsoe then left the bridge for the comfort of his ready room. But he would find no comfort there, because now he had the task of searching the Federation database for any records about paradoxes such as these. He loathed the prospect of staring at the small screen in his ready room, but he knew it could not be helped.
Commander Braxis stood at the center console in the science laboratory. In front of him was a big view screen, which showed projections and figures that he was walking out on the console. Braxis had assigned Lieutenant Ricardo Kimball, the Chief of Laboratory Operations, to work the newly installed scientific scanning equipment that was originally designed to scan through denise clouds of gas, like the Great Rift Barrier. So far Braxis was not pleased with the results of his countless tests. His job became even harder when Commander Burt walked through the door followed by none other than Dr. Lucus Kesar. Kesar was complaining in his high pitched voice:
“I demand to know what is going on!” Kesar was saying. “Why have we stopped?! And where have all the stars gone!?”
“Look, Dr. Kesar,” Burt said, turning to face the hairy doctor. “We have encountered something that is... well... nothing.”
“Nothing!” exclaimed Kesar. “Well nothing has better be something! There is no such thing that nothing can exist, that much is clear. If you have nothing, than you have nothing. It is a physical improbability for something to exist when it does not.”
“What about paradoxes, Doctor?” Braxis interjected.
“Paradoxes!” hooted Kesar. “Ridiculous. I have never seen a paradox in my life.”
“But you have, Doctor,” Braxis said. “In fact you are in one right now.”
“See!” Burt said, pointing at Braxis. “You can’t argue with a vulcan with this one.”
“Perhaps not,” Kesar said. “But I can still argue with you, Commander.”
“Gez whiz, Doc,” Burt said. “Everything has been explained. We’re working on a way out. We’ll get you to your destination.”
“You better hope you do,” Kesar puffed, he was obviously trying to hide some of his anger.
And with that Kesar left the laboratory, much to the relief of Commander Burt and Lieutenant Kimball in the corner of the room. After Burt gave a sigh of relief he turned to face Braxis.
“Anything yet?” Burt inquired.
“I’m afraid not, Commander,” Braxis said. “Our sensors are just useless here.”
“Any suggestion on how to change that?” Burt inquired.
“I’ve been thinking it over, with Lieutenant Kimball,” Braxis said.
Kimball turned around when he heard his name. Kimball had been in
“Well, sir, I was thinking that we might try an older form of scanning, called radio waves,” Kimball said.
“Radio?” Burt said. “Isn’t that sound?”
“It is the way that humans transmitted sounds in the later half of the twentieth century,” Braxis said.
Burt turned to Braxis. “What do you think?”
“I concur with Lieutenant Kimball,” Braxis said. “Many animals, including some on your home planet, use radio waves to see. It might be plausible.”
“Alright,” Burt said. “Captain wants a meeting at thirteen hundred hours. You can give your suggestion to him then.”
“Yes, Commander,” Braxis said, nodding.
And with that Burt gave a nod in reply and left. Commander Braxis turned back to his console.
“Let us test out these radio waves,” Braxis said.
“Alright,” Kelsoe said as he sat down in the conference room. “What do we got?”
Joanna leaned forward and began to speak.
“I was thinking that the first thing we really need to do is figure out what it is that we are dealing with,” Joanna said. “We know that this is some sort of paradox that no one has ever encountered before. I think we should set a buoy down at this location, and then go to warp.”
“For what purpose, Joanna?” Burt inquired. “Are we just going to leave a peace of our technology just floating around in here or...?”
“We’ll find out why our sensors say that we are around Velos,” Joanna said. “What I think we’ll discover is that we are going around in circles, like a loop, but I sensor cannot tell that because there is nothing out there to help us navigate.”
“I concur with Lieutenant Commander Withrome,” Braxis said. “It is a logical plan.”
Kelsoe nodded. “That’s pretty much what Captain Picard did when the Enterprise fell into a similar situation. Do we have any betazoid aboard?”
“One, sir,” Burt said. “Ensign Willis, sir.”
“He’s sick right now,” Braga said. “I doubt he’ll be of any assistance in his condition.”
“We could try sending a shuttle pod out in front of us,” Tuff said. “The Pioneer could follow it.”
“We may risk the pilot of the shuttle,” Braxis said, raising one eye brow and looking at Tuff.
“Yeah,” Kelsoe nodded. “Sorry, Rob, that’s just too risk.”
Tuff nodded. “Just a thought, sir.”
“Captain,” Braxis said. “Lieutenant Kimball and I have been attempting to use radio waves instead of our present sensor to get some sort of dimension of this phenomena.”
“Have you had any success?” Kelsoe inquired.
“Not at the moment, Captain,” Braxis said. “Logical dictates that we must continue with our efforts if we are to escape the phenomenon.”
“Okay, this is all good,” Kelsoe said, showing a little more cheerfulness than before. “Anyone else?”
“The radio waves, sir?” Tracy said. “That got me thinking. Radio waves are sound waves... and I know I said that I couldn’t hear anything, but, just maybe, there are sounds so quiet that the transmitter cannot read them.”
“What would we need to do to hear them?” Kelsoe inquired.
“Increasing power to the deflector should do it,” Tracy answered.
“That would do it, sir,” Craig said. “Increasing the power to the deflector dish will boost the receivers ability to read sounds.”
Kelsoe said. “Okay. Dismiss.”
Everyone, except Kelsoe and Burt, got up and left. Kelsoe was holding his head in his hands, his fingers pressing against his forehead. He exhaled.
“What do you think I should do, Connor?” Kelsoe asked.
“It’s hard to say, Captain,” Burt said shifting in his chair. “I think both Joanna and Tracy are going in the right direction. You know... maybe there’s just something out there that we just can’t see.”
“It’s like we’re as blind as a bat,” Kelsoe said.
Burt nodded. “Yes, sir,” Burt agreed. “Blind as a bat out of hell.”
“Blind as a bat!?” Kelsoe said with some excitement. “That’s it!”
“Remember what Braxis said about radio waves?” Kelsoe asked.
“Yes, about using them instead of our current sensor system,” Burt said with a nod.
“Well if this thing is anything like I think it is, then it has got to have something blocking the outside world,” Kelsoe said. “That stars can’t be seen. This nothingness could almost be describe like a black bag, and we’re in the bag. If anything, it’ll give us a point of reference.”
“Yeah, but Brax said that Kimball and him hadn’t gotten anywhere yet,” Burt said. “Why do you think he concurred with Joanna’s idea?”
“He’s on to something, Connor,” Kelsoe said. “I can feel it.”
“Vulcan’s are always on to something, Captain,” Burt said. “All you’ve got to know is when to listen to your first officer.”
“Alright, Commander,” Kelsoe said. “What should we do?”
“Test out Joanna’s plan, then Tracy’s,” Burt said. “If those don’t show any results we’ll have Braxis work harder on the radio wave thing.”
Captain Kelsoe and Commander Burt walk out on the bridge, and Kelsoe almost turns on his heels and walk right back the way he came. Dr. Lucus Kesar was standing right there waiting for him.
“Captain,” piped the furry doctor. “I demand to know what is going on! Why have we stopped!”
“Look at the damn screen you fuzz ball!” Burt shouted.
Kesar’s mouth dropped. His eyes became extremely wide as he eyed Burt.
“How dare you!” Kesar said. “Do you have any idea how much influence I have with the Federation council! I can have you locked away for that!”
“Dr. Kesar,” Kelsoe said, getting in-between them. “Calm yourself, and look at the view screen.”
Kesar huff and puffed in his own awkward way, but eventually listened and turned. He stared at it in silence.
“Well?” Burt inquired.
“Is that thing on?” Kesar inquired turning towards Kelsoe.
“Dr. Kesar, I can assure you that it most certainly is,” Kelsoe said. “We’ve become trapped in some sort of... well... nothingness.”
“Nothingness,” hooted Kesar. “Preposterous! Nothing cannot existed... that would... would make it a paradox.”
“That’s what it is, Dr. Kesar,” Burt said, a little calmer. “A paradox.”
“So what is the matter?” Kesar inquired.
“We’re trapped,” Kelsoe said.
“Trapped!” snapped Dr. Kesar. “You have to get me out of here! I am on a very important mission for the Federation.
“Our mission, Dr. Kesar is to explore the unknown, the unexplained. That’s what this thing is,” Kelsoe said calmly. “And I can assure you that I will not stop until I have an answer.”
“I assume you refer to getting us out?” Kesar asked, regaining his composure.
“That’s what we’re working on,” Kelsoe said. “Just a few moments ago, I had a meeting with my senior staff where we discussed ideas to work on. We some pretty good ideas and we are about to carry them out. But for the moment, I’d suggest that you stay off the bridge... we have a lot of work to do.”
“Crewman,” Kelsoe called to one of the bridge crewmen. “Well you accompany Dr. Kesar to the mess hall and get him something to drink.”
“Yes, Captain. This way, Dr. Kesar.”
Kesar followed the crewman to the turbo-lift. When Kesar was gone Kelsoe stepped down into the center of the bridge with Burt right behind.
“Alright people, listen up,” Kelsoe said. “This is what we are going to do: First we’re going to drop the buoy and go to warp. Then we are going to boost the deflectors power and find out whether or not there are any sound that our regular receivers aren’t picking up. Alright! Let’s see what happens!”
Kelsoe stepped into the direct center of the bridge, and Burt took his seat. Kelsoe turned to face Craig.
“Deploy the buoy,” Kelsoe ordered.
Craig pressed a button on the console at his station.
“Buoy away, sir,” Craig said. “Anchoring it fifty yards of the bow.”
Kelsoe nodded. “Mr. Zimmer, warp factor five.”
“Warp five, aye sir,” Zimmer said, typing in the command.
“Keep the sensors on the buoy, Norm,” Kelsoe said.
“Aye, sir,” Craig said. “We’re moving away from it.”
Kelsoe turned around, stepped over to his chair and sat down. “Keep talking, Norm.”
“Sensors still reading buoy,” Craig said.
“According to internal instruments we should be passing Velos,” Zimmer announced.
“Sir,” Craig said, a little confused. “We’re approaching the buoy.”
“On screen,” Kelsoe said standing up.
The view screen flashed and it showed the Starfleet buoy hovering in the blackness. It was the only thing of color in the entire blackness of this nothingness.
“Fine,” Kelsoe said nodding. “We now know that we can’t escape this place by any conventional means.”
“Transport the buoy back in, Mr. Craig,” Burt said.
“Aye,” Craig said. “Transporting. Buoy's back in cargo bay two.”
Kelsoe turned to face Tracy.
“Alright Tracy,” he said. “It’s your turn.”
Tracy gave a weak smile. Kelsoe turned to Craig.
“Raise the deflector dish’s power,” Kelsoe said. “Let’s ee if we can get any different readings out of the receivers.”
“Raising the deflector’s power,” Craig said. “Is that enough, Tracy?”
Tracy was monitoring her console. She looked up and shook her head, signaling that she need more power. Craig turned back to his station and made some more adjustments. He looked back up at Tracy. Tracy’s attention was focused on her station. She squinted at the small monitor at her station. It was a flat green line. She pressed a button and the screen magnified the image. The thin flat green line became thicker. She pressed the magnify button again, and that’s where she stopped. Tracy turned from her station to face the captain.
“Captain, I’m defiantly picking up something,” she said. “But whatever it is its very quiet.”
“Can you raise the volume?” Kelsoe inquired.
“I might be able to, hold on,” she spun back to the station and pressed some buttons. In a couple seconds the green line was no longer straight but a continual moving and bending line. She turned back to the captain. “Go it.”
The speakers hummed with a strange alien noise. There was a variation of clicking noises, followed by some hoots. Kelsoe turned and stared at Tracy, looking for an explanation. Along with the clicks and hoots was a low screaming sound.
“What the hell is that?” Burt burst out.
“It sounds like some sort of language,” Tracy said, turning to her station. “I’m recording this.”
“Sure of a strange sounding language if you ask me,” Burt said. “Bunch of hoots and clicks.”
“Every species has a different language, Commander,” Tracy said. “The key is to find the syntax... this isn’t like any language we’ve encountered.”
“What does it sound like to you?” Kelsoe inquired.
“If you’re asking for my best guess, Captain,” Tracy said. “I think there are two of them. There are some hoots and clicking overlapping. There are defiantly two. I think they’re arguing about something.”
“Yeah, but what about?” Burt said.
“Us,” Kelsoe said with a shrug.
Kelsoe then gave Tracy the signal to cut the speakers, and the sounds disappeared completely. Kelsoe slowly stepped back over to his chair, and sat down. He looked around the bridge and everyone. Tuff was leaning forward a bit.
“Captain,” Tuff said. “I just got an idea.”
“Yes, what is it?” Kelsoe asked, standing up and turning to face Tuff.
“I was just think about how we have two... creatures, I guess... talking with one another,” Tuff said. “If they have to you communication signals to communicate then one must be in a ship and another, well, somewhere else.”
Kelsoe slowly walked up the bridge to Tuff’s station.
“What exactly are you suggesting?” Kelsoe inquired.
“By shifting our sensors are alternating frequencies, more specifically at the exact frequency as those communication signals,” Tuff explain. “We might, just might, be able to locate the source of the signal.”
“What’s the probability of picking up the signal?” Kelsoe asked.
“I’d say five to one,” Tuff said.
Kelsoe nodded, thinking it over. Burt was now standing close by. Kelsoe’s eyes drifted over to Burt.
“What do you think, Commander?” Kelsoe inquired.
“What have we got to loss, sir?” Burt said.
Braxis stood up from his station.
“The Commander’s suggestion is most ingenious,” Braxis said. “I concur with Commander Tuff. The probability is five to one, but I believe that logic dictates that we at least make an attempt.”
Kelsoe smiled, almost laughed, but what able to control himself. He turned back to Tuff. And nodded.
“Do it,” Kelsoe said.
Tuff smiled. “Yes sir!”
Commander Tuff then turned his attention to his console. Tuff worked for about ten minutes before he could get the sensors to perform the operation that he was asking of them. Kelsoe stood not far away, waiting for Tuff to complete his task. Tuff looked up from his station after the computer had checked all the data he had just put in.
“It’s ready,” Tuff said. “Awaiting your command, Captain.”
“Beginning scan,” Tuff reported. Tuff pressed the command buttons and the monitor on his console lit up. “The computer’s beginning to shift the sensor frequencies.”
“Tracy,” Kelsoe said. “Send that communication frequency to Tuff’s station.”
Tracy did as she was told.
“Receiving the frequency,” Tuff narrated. “Plugging it into the rotation.”
“Let’s see if something shows up,” Burt said.
Tuff paused. He pushed a button. A small smile began to form on his face. Kelsoe stepped forward, Burt right behind.
“Yes!?” Kelsoe said.
“What is it?!” Burt said after a beat.
“I’m picking up something,” Tuff said with a small smile. “However its very faint. It could be a sensor ghost.”
“Braxis?” Kelsoe said. “That radio wave system that you and Ensign Kimball have been working on...”
“Activate it,” Kelsoe said.
“What are you thinking, Captain?” Burt asked, walking up behind Kelsoe.
“Just a hunch, Connor,” Kelsoe said.
“Activating the radio wave sensors, Captain,” Braxis said.
“Rob,” Kelsoe said. “I want you to us the radio wave sensors, instead of our normal sensors.”
“Aye, Captain,” Tuff said. “Transferring scans to radio wave sensors... I’m getting something, sir. It appears to be... yes... it is a colony of some sort. And I’m receiving some sort of outline.”
“An outline of what?” Kelsoe inquired.
“Off the nothingness, I believe,” Tuff said.
“On screen,” Kelsoe said, turning to look at the view screen.
The screen flashed on and showed something that looked liked a lake of black in the middle of a cluster of stars. In the center of the lake shaped object was a circle that was flashing red.
“That’s what him picking up,” Tuff said.
“Captain,” Zimmer said. “The computer is reading the data and incorporating it with the rest of our navigation map. I’m getting a reading on our coordinates.”
Kelsoe stepped down into the center of the bridge.
“Read it to me, Mr. Zimmer,” Kelsoe said.
“Six, five in a half,” Zimmer said.
Kelsoe looked up at the screen as a blue dot was added. The blue dot was in the upper left hand corner of the lake shaped object. Kelsoe stepped forward.
“And that’s where we are?” he inquired.
“I believe so, sir,” Zimmer said.
“It appears that we have the dimensions of this nothingness,” Braxis said.
“Recommendations?” Kelsoe asked. “Connor?”
“Let’s head to that colony, sir,” Burt said. “Find out what this thing is. Maybe they’ll be kind enough to help us out.”
“I agree,” Tuff said. “I’m not picking up any strong weapon presence from the colony. They could be peaceful.”
“Okay,” Kelsoe said with a nod. “Mr. Zimmer, set a course, engage at full impulse.”
“Aye, sir,” Zimmer said.
Kelsoe turned his back to the view screen and slowly walked back to his chair and sat down. He leaned back and looked over at Burt, who was over at the science station talking with Braxis. The radio waves had worked. They knew their location and how big this nothingness really was. With all that knowledge, and maybe a little help from this colonist, they might just be able to escape and continue on with their mission to deliver Dr. Lucus Kesar to the Alkanden outpost.
“Sir, we’ve reached the colony,” Zimmer announced.
“On screen.” Kelsoe stood up as the image on the screen flashed to that of a desolate moon.
“Is this it?” Burt inquired.
“Yes,” Tuff said, with a nod.
“Magnify,” Kelsoe said.
Craig pressed a button and the image doubled in size. They could now make out a small colony on the surface of the moon. Kelsoe turned to face Braxis.
“Reading anything?” Kelsoe inquired.
“Curious, sir, I am not.”
Kelsoe nodded. “Tracy, hail them.”
As soon as Tracy finished her sentence the bridge lights immediately turned red. And the computer began speaking.
“Intruder Alert. Intruder Alert.”
Kelsoe turned wildly around to face Tuff.
“Picking up several intruders, plus many more,” Tuff said. “I don’t get it. It is almost like they’re appearing out of no where.”
Suddenly a pale grey creature appeared in the center of the bridge, and was immediately followed by two more. One in front of the turbo-lift doors and the other in front of the conference room doors. Tuff grabbed his phaser, aimed, and fired. He aimed perfectly except the creature vanished and then reappeared next to Tuff. It quickly overpowered him. Craig drew his phaser out and fired towards the creature, but he was knocked over by a creature that just appeared next to him. Kelsoe turned to grab a phaser but he was held tightly around the waist suddenly. One of the creatures had appeared right next to him and had grabbed him before he could move. Kelsoe noticed how the creatures arms were able to wrap around him like rope. The phase “resistance is futile” popped into his mind. The bridge crew was quickly overwhelmed by the beings, and we immediately transported, if that what you could call it, into one of the brig cells with the force field all head up and in place. The creatures then disappeared and reappeared on the other side of the force field.
Kelsoe maneuvered his way around the crewmen to the force field threshold so that he could view his captors. He stared blankly at these odd pale grey creatures. Upon their heads was short white hair. Kelsoe scanned the aliens’ bodies. He noticed that their hands had two fingers and two thumbs. Their feet only had four toes - exhibiting two big toes and two smaller ones in the middle. They wore a greenish skin tight jumpsuit that was obviously very flexible. Kelsoe stared out at them. Then he noticed their black eyes, and thought of the nothingness, and how dark it was. The creature closest to him blinked. Kelsoe was almost shocked by that the lids were sideways, like an alligator
He opened his mouth to speak, but nothing came out, because at that exact moment the doors to the room opened and a tall thin alien, dressed like the rest, stepped in. He stood roughly five feet and eight inches high. The alien stared at Kelsoe for a while.
“So these are the puppet masters of the So’ja Republic,” snarled the alien.
“I am Captain Benjamin Kelsoe of the Federation starship Pioneer,” Kelsoe said. “Who are you? And what do you want?”
“Who am I!?” laughed the alien. “You are not in a position to ask question, Captain. But I will introduce myself. I am Kunock of the Camelyon Colony, and you my friend are not where you a supposed to be.”
“We got trapped,” Kelsoe said.
“Trapped?! Indeed!” chuckled Kunock. “The So’ja Republic’s alley getting trapped in our only means of protection from the harmful pollutants that So’ja civilization creates. I don’t think so. We know all about your Federation’s alliance with the criminal So’ja Republic.”
“The So’ja Republic does not exist anymore,” Kelsoe said. “The So’ja Coalition as raised in its place, and we are not allies with the Coalition.”
“What proof do I have of this?” Kunock inquired. “None. You are allies with the So’ja, and therefore an enemy to our colony.”
“You must listen,” Kelsoe said.
Kelsoe stopped and turned around. The crewmen parted and he saw Dr. Lucus Kesar staring at him.
“Captain,” Kesar said. “May I be allowed to speak.”
Kelsoe inhaled. He did not know if it was wise, but he eventually nodded.
“Thank you,” Kesar said with a nod. He then stepped forward. “Kunock, is it?”
The alien nodded.
“Well, Kunock,” Kesar said. “I am Dr. Lucus Kesar, I represent the Federation. And I can assure you that we in no means meant to intrude upon your colony. You see, Captain Kelsoe and his fine crew, were just taking me to an Alkanden outpost.”
“Alkanden?” Kunock said.
“Have you head of them?” Kesar inquired.
“Yes,” Kunock said. “Trustworthy people, they are.”
“Yes,” Kesar said, nodding. “And they would only deal with other trusting people, right?”
“Yes,” Kunock said. “They would. But I fail to see your point. Please make it.”
“We are not enemies,” Kesar said. “You and I. Captain Kelsoe and you. The Federation and the... um... Camelyon. We would rather be friends.”
Kunock thought upon this for a while.
“Then why are you here?” Kunock inquired.
“As Captain Kelsoe said we got trapped in this vacuum, of a I assume your design,” Kesar said, raising his hands defensively. “But not on purpose. All we want to know is how to get out, so that we may continue on our journey.”
Kunock thought upon this.
“All you want to do is leave?” Kunock inquired.
“Yes,” Kesar said nodding.
“Very well,” Kunock said. “And leave you shall.”
Suddenly Kelsoe and the rest of the bridge crew found themselves back on the bridge, including Dr. Kesar. Burt turned wildly around in circles. Tuff was slow to put his phaser back, and Kelsoe stood in the center of the bridge in shock. Then, without any warning the ship began to move. And within a couple of second the view screen was showing stars. Then, with as little warning as the ship’s movement, Kunock appeared beside Kelsoe.
“Captain Kelsoe,” Kunock said. “I will like to apologize for your hostile acts. We did not know about the change in politics in the sector. As is self evident, we have been out of contact for a long time. We are members of the Camelyon race. However, be warned, their are others like us... in the Rift... that are not as reasonable. The Kai call us the Rift Ghost... the So’ja... grey monsters. We are not monsters, Captain, but colonist. Who were merely seeking refuse from the disastrous pollutants that the So’ja Republic dumped on our colony. It is true that they had no knowledge of us being there, as you had no knowledge of our existence. And that is how we would like it to remain, Captain. So please, erase all data in your computer banks that may lead others to find our colony. We have transported you outside of our borders, close to the humanoid world of Velos. May the solar winds carry you well.”
And with that, Kunock just disappeared. Kelsoe did as he was told and had all the data in the computers about the Camelyons to be erased, saved his personal log. Kelsoe then turned to face Dr. Kesar.
“Dr. Kesar,” Kelsoe said. “I don’t know what to say... you save the ship.”
“It was nothing, Captain,” Kesar chirped. “I just ask that you take me to the Alkanden outpost with no delay.”
“Consider it done,” Kelsoe said.
“Much appreciated,” Kesar said, who then left the bridge. Kelsoe walked back to his chair and sat down.
“Mr. Zimmer, set course for Alkanden Outpost five.”
“Setting course,” Zimmer said.
Kelsoe looked over at Burt.
“Maybe Kesar isn’t that bad...,” Burt said, who then paused and thought about it. “Nay.”
Kelsoe gave a soft smile.
“Course laid in, sir,” Zimmer called back from his helm station.
Kelsoe turned to look up at the view screen.
“Maximum warp, Mr. Zimmer. Engage.”