Subspace channel open. Transmitting Priority One message.
Admiral Janeway, who had been fuming in her chair following yet another humiliating defeat, suddenly snapped to attention. “What? By whose authority?”
Order was given by Captain Hikaru Sulu, commanding officer of USS Excelsior.
“Impossible! When was the order given?”
Stardate 10000.0, if you must know.
“Let me get this straight... Sulu gave a command 600 years ago to transmit a Priority One message now?”
“Well then, I countermand the order! I’m an admiral, so I can do that!”
Unable to comply, chief. The order was issued in accordance with the Temporal Prime Directive.
“We don’t follow any Prime Directive on this ship, temporal or otherwise!”
Oh yeah. Closing subspace channel.
As Janeway was left to puzzle over what was going on, Captain Braxton and his crew had used up the last of their shore leave time and were on their way back to Starbase 47 aboard the Relativity.
All of a sudden, Dax’s console starting playing “Faith of the Heart.” Everyone looked at Dax. Dax scowled. “What? I downloaded a custom ringtone! You know that beeping gets on my nerves!”
Damar replied, “Yeah, we know. You’ve smashed 47 consoles so far. That’s the last one.”
Ducane rolled his eyes. “As fascinating as this is, would somebody please answer the hail?”
Admiral Crusher’s face appeared onscreen. “Braxton! Set a course back to Starbase 47, immediately!”
Braxton turned to Xaronna. “You heard the man! Set a course for Starbase 47!”
Xaronna calmly pressed the large yellow button on her console, giving Captain Braxton quite a jolt. “You idiot! The opening narration for this scene clearly establishes we’re already on our way to Starbase 47!”
While Crusher got the answer he was looking for, he clearly wasn’t happy with the Relativity’s pace. “I don’t have time to listen to this! Hurry up!”
And with that, Crusher snapped his fingers. All of a sudden, the Relativity went into overdrive, zooming at incredible speeds. Seconds later, the ship screeched to a halt directly in front of Starbase 47.
Damar, like everyone else, was completely stunned. “What just happened?”
Ducane responded, “Admiral Crusher has Traveller powers, remember. He can apparently speed up our ship, even from a great distance.”
Crusher nodded. “That’s right!” He then turned to face the screen. “All of you better remember that, because it’s going to be important later on this season!”
Several minutes later, the entire senior staff arrived in Admiral Crusher’s office. Crusher was obviously exhausted from accelerating the Relativity, as he was slumping in his chair. “What are all of you doing here? I just needed to see Braxton and Ducane.”
Ducane pointed to everyone behind him. “Yeah, they haven’t been getting much screentime lately, so they decided to tag along.”
“Whatever. Less than an hour ago, we recieved a Priority One transmission... from the Excelsior!”
Braxton grumbled to himself. “Stupid Janeway...”
Crusher heard him. “Believe it or not, Braxton, it’s not Janeway. It’s Sulu.”
The admiral pressed a button on his desk, and the message started playing on a large screen on the wall. Sulu’s face appeared. “This is Captain Hikaru Sulu of the Federation Starship Excelsior. I am arranging for this message to be delivered 600 years into the future, to reach Captain Braxton of the Federation Timeship Relativity. The Federation is in grave peril! Please return to...”
And with that, the message ended. Crusher explained, “Transmission was cut off at the source. Janeway probably didn’t want the signal to reveal her location.”
The Doctor, from the back of the office, asked, “But how does Sulu remember Braxton? Wasn’t he reset?”
“That is indeed an excellent question. I want you all to go back in time and find out what’s going on. This message has a timestamp of Stardate 10000.0, so go back to slightly before then and investigate.”
“Captain’s Log, Stardate 9999.6: Wow, I can’t believe we’ve almost hit a five-digit stardate! It seems like it’s taken forever for S10K to get here. No, really. Didn’t the original series start about Stardate 1512? That was, like, 30-35 years ago! Isn’t it supposed to be 1000 per year or something? Why’s it going so slow?”
Captain Sulu closed his log and settled in his seat. The bridge was decorated to celebrate the impending Stardate 10000.0. Rand and Valtane (the actual ones) were slacking off (with permission this time), watching a clock display on one of the screens. Rand sighed. “Is it just me, or is this clock going slower and slower?”
Valtane thought about it for a few seconds, then replied, “You know... I think you’re right.
“Hmm... I’ll be right back. I’m going to take a look at the ship internal chronometer.” With that, she got in the turbolift and headed down to the computer core.
No more than a minute later, Valtane’s console started beeping. He checked it out, and then rushed over to Sulu. “Captain!”
“Yes, that’s me! I’m the captain! Me! Not Kirk! Me!”
“Uh... Sure... Anyway, a ship just appeared on our scanners!”
“A Klingon ship?”
“No... Whoa. I’m having the weirdest sense of déjà vu.”
“That’s strange, so am I.”
The new arrival was indeed the Relativity, having dropped out of the timestream in the 23rd Century. Braxton’s face appeared on the Excelsior’s viewscreen. “Sulu! What’s the emergency?”
Sulu was quite confused. “I beg your pardon? What emergency? Everything’s fine here. And that’s Captain Sulu to you, whoever you are!”
Braxton turned to face Ducane. “That’s strange. Everything’s fine over there and he doesn’t remember me.”
Ducane himself addressed Sulu, “Captain Sulu, there’s absolutely nothing wrong?”
Valtane interrupted. “Well, that’s not completely true. We think our internal chronometer is slow for some reason, but Rand’s checking it out.”
Ducane suddenly got grim. “The chronometer? With S10K so close, that might not be a coincidence. We’d better check it out.”
“Captain’s Log, Stardate 9999.7: Our investigation into...”
“Pipe down, Future Boy! This is my ship, so I’ll do the Captain’s Log! Captain’s Log, Stardate 9999.7: Our investigation into our slow ship’s chronometer has led to a horrific discovery. The chronometer is not broken. It can only go up to Stardate 9999.9. Once it rolls over to Stardate 10000.0, the ship’s computer will melt down. It is apparently programmed to slow down to stave off the inevitable. Not only that, but this is probably the case for every single computer in Starfleet. In a matter of hours, the Federation will be completely defenseless. Our only hope is to work with the mysterious Braxton and his 29th Century crew to fix every computer in the Federation before S10K arrives...”
“Hey... Am I really mysterious?”
Both crews had crammed themselves into the Excelsior’s observation lounge to discuss the problem. Sulu turned to Valtane. “Give me a status report.”
Valtane shook his head. “I don’t know what to tell you, Captain. I’m totally stupified as to what kind of idiots could be responsible for this.”
In the year 2161...
Captain Archer, Shran, and Soval met for the last time to hammer out the last few parts of the Federation Charter. Archer stood up to address the others. “We need to decide upon a unit of timekeeping for this Federation we’re coming up with.”
Shran eyed Archer suspiciously. “I still want to know why you were so bent on having it called the Federation. I still think that ‘Shran’s Conglomeration of Andoria and Some Other Loser Planets’ was a better name.”
Archer replied, “Uh... Temporal Prime Directive?”
“Blast! I knew I shouldn’t have already signed that part of the charter!”
Archer continued. “Earth scientists have come up with something they like to call a ‘Stardate.’ These ‘Stardates’ start at zero, and increase at a rate of 1000 per year.”
Soval raised an eyebrow in typical Vulcan fashion. “A metric time unit. Suprisingly logical for humans. I like it.”
Shran pounded his fist on the table. “Well, I hate it!”
Archer turned to Shran. “And why do you hate it?”
“Because the Vulcan likes it!”
“That’s been your answer for everything! If Soval didn’t like it, would you?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Fine! ‘Stardates’ it is, then. We’ll have them programmed into our new ships immediately.”
”Not so fast!”
The booming voice of Bill Gates came from overhead, as his Crystalline Entity body descended into the gigantic conference hall. “I have something to say about that! I’ve stuffed your new Federation computers almost to capacity, with the complete Earth, Vulcan, and Andorian databases. There’s only enough room for five more symbols. You can have your ‘Stardates,’ but they can only go up to 9999.9. Any higher and the computers will melt down.”
Archer scowled, “Well, maybe if Microsoft wasn’t so bad at programming, you could fit some more in there!”
“Hahahahaha! Microsoft can be as bad at programming as I want, because there’s nobody else to program! Hahahahaha!”
Shran shrugged. “No big deal, it’s not like this Federation is going to last that long anyway. Stupid pinkskins anyway...”
Sulu tapped his fingers on the table. “Well, I guess that flashback was informative, but there are a few things I still don’t understand...”
Ducane interrupted, “I’m sure we’ll find out everything in Part II. In the meantime, we have a Federation to save! Let’s go, people!”
“I’m the captain, I get to say the impressive things! Ahem... Let’s go, people!”
Will the Federation survive S10K? Why are the clocks running slow? Find out in the next mind-bending episode!