Episode 102: “The Road to Hell” (Part 1 of 3)
Written by “Krenim”
Published December 13, 2003
Gorei slumped in his throne, tapping his fingers on his armrests. “You gentlemen disappoint me.”
Cowering before the Vaadwaur leader were his top generals. Gorei got up, started pacing in front of his throne, and continued ranting. “It’s been almost a year, and none of you morons have found the Earth yet! What do I pay you people for?”
One of the generals answered, “You don’t pay us.”
“Oh yeah. I forgot we don’t use money.”
“We use money. You just don’t pay us.”
“Well, I’m sure that’s because you’re all useless! Find me the Earth now!”
Before the generals could flee in terror, the throne room began shaking. Gorei shouted, “What’s going on?”
Everyone ran to the window to see what was the matter. The shaking got steadily worse, and then something whizzed by in the sky. Something huge. Something round.
It was the Earth.
As it flew by into another subspace corridor, one of the generals pointed at it. “There it is.”
Gorei rolled his eyes at the general. “What are you idiots waiting for! Follow that planet!!!”
“Captain’s Log: Scorpius has completed work on the new subspace drive and has installed it on the Relativity. We’re just about ready to go looking for Earth... Except for one small thing.”
On the Excelsior’s bridge, Sulu clung to his chair as everyone tried to pull him off of it. “It’s mine! Do you hear me? Mine!”
Ducane shouted back, “Get a hold of yourself! Your ship will still be here when we get back!”
“No, it won’t! Every time we leave this ship alone, it gets stolen again!”
“It won’t get stolen again. Last episode was the final Excelsior battle, remember?”
“Well... Okay. But if we get back and my ship is gone, I’m blaming all of you!”
A few minutes later, they arrived on the Relativity bridge, where Scorpius was waiting for them. Braxton sat down in his seat. “So, has this new subspace drive been tested?”
Scorpius replied, “No, it hasn’t.”
“Then how do we know it’s going to work?”
“There’s not enough time left in the series for it to not work.”
“Good enough for me! Activate the drive!”
The drive powered up, and the Relativity vanished from normal space. It reappeared in a subspace corridor. Braxton cheered. “Finally! Now all we have to do is find the Earth and return it to its proper place in space.”
Everyone sighed. Ducane said, “Yeah, but we’re just one ship. The Vaadwaur have been searching the corridor network with thousands of ships, and they still haven’t found it...”
The Earth continued to zip through the corridors, only now there was a massive armada of Vaadwaur ships tailing it some distance behind. Gorei, aboard his flagship, was personally leading the chase. “I want every ship we’ve got in here chasing this planet!”
One of Gorei’s generals asked, “Every ship? But what about conquering the Federation?”
“If we capture the Earth, we can blackmail the Federation into surrendering! Don’t you remember what I was trying to do back in the season premiere? And can’t we go any faster? It’s taking forever to catch up with that thing!”
A short time later, Braxton and his crew were already getting bored. Braxton sighed. “Still no sign of Earth?”
Dax shook her head.
“Where the heck are we now, anyway?”
“Assuming I have the Cochrane values of the corridors correct, I think we’re near the center of the Beta Quadrant.”
”Beta Quadrant? There’s a Beta Quadrant?”
Before Dax could start explaining the quadrant system, the ship started shaking horribly. Braxton shouted, “What’s going on? Is there something wrong with the subspace drive?”
“No, there’s nothing wrong with the drive. I’m reading massive gravimetric disruptions coming from directly aft!”
“Aft... That’s behind us, right?”
The oncoming orange swirls of the subspace corridor were replaced with receding orange swirls. However, there was something small in the center of the swirls. Braxton squinted at the screen. “What is that? Is it a Vaadwaur ship?”
“I don’t think so, sir. It would have to be something much more massive to create these disruptions.”
The object slowly got bigger. Its shape and size were soon clear. Braxton got closer to the viewscreen and pointed. “You know what? I think we’ve found Earth!”
“That’s the good news, sir. The bad news is that, at its current velocity, the Earth will crash into us and kill us all.”
“That’s a bad thing, right?”
“Increase speed to match Earth’s.”
Sulu punched a few buttons. “I think that’ll do it, but with subspace fluctuations, it’ll be tough to keep this speed up.”
Then Dax said, “Sir, we’re receiving a transmission from the Earth.”
Braxton grinned. “Cool! Onscreen!”
The Federation President appeared on the main viewscreen. “Braxton? Is that you?”
“It is indeed, Your Federationness.”
“Uh... Yeah. So are you here to rescue us?”
“You betcha! We’ve got the leading expert on wormholes and subspace phenomena right here!” And with that, Braxton grabbed Scorpius and pulled him next to him.
Scorpius scowled. “Don’t touch me.”
Braxton laughed. “You’re so funny, Scorpius!”
The Federation President interrupted. “How soon can you get us out of here?”
Scorpius thought for a few seconds, then answered, “A couple of hours, assuming I have the resources of the entire planet at my disposal.”
“We might not have a few hours. I’m patching you into the feed coming from the other side of the planet...”
The Federation President was replaced by a view of the subspace corridors from the other side of the Earth. In the distance, a whole bunch of small dots were following the planet. The Federation President explained. “They showed up a little while ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the entire Vaadwaur fleet after us.”
“They’ll be within weapons range in approximately 90 minutes. But we now have an advantage. They don’t know that you’re here, since the gravimetric disruptions obscure their sensors. Land near Starfleet Command and get started on getting us out of here immediately.”
“Understood, Your Supreme Presidentialness.”
Several minutes later, our heroes stood in front of the Relativity, which was on top of the smoking wreckage of what used to be Starfleet Academy. Ducane sighed. “Way to go, Sulu...”
“I told you I was having trouble with the subspace fluctuations! And that’s Captain Sulu!”
The Federation President came running up with a whole horde of Starfleet officers. “Good, you’re here! These are the best engineers we’ve got, so put them to good use. The future of the entire planet is at stake...”
Will the Earth escape from subspace?
Will the Excelsior get stolen again?
Will Gorei ever find good help?
What is Braxton’s first name?
For the answers to some of these questions, stay tuned for part 2 of the series finale...
Episode 103: “Hell on Earth”