On the last episode of Series ?, there was a really big continuity lesson that I’m sure nobody bothered to read, followed by the beginnings of an alternate-universe story in which Q never revealed the existence of the Plah D’Viz. The Excelsior is set to return to the 23rd Century, the Relativity crew is assigned to a Pakled garbage scow, and Captain Braxton stuns everyone by selecting — of his own free will — to have Wesley Crusher replace Captain Sulu! We now rejoin the story as Braxton is relieved of his command...
Our heroes (minus Captain Braxton) gathered in one of Starbase 47’s observation decks, waiting for their new ship to arrive. After a while, Ducane got tired of waiting and turned to the Doctor. “How’s the captain doing?”
The Doctor stopped sucking face with Kes long enough to answer. “Unfortunately, the emotional strain of his impending paradox is ripping his mind to shreds. He’s been sent to the Federation Funny Farm for better treatment.”
“Federation Funny Farm? I would think we would have a more politically correct name for a mental health institute than that...”
“Unfortunately, the head of Starfleet Medical also happens to be a huge alliteration buff.”
Ducane was about to comment on the idiocy involved in that when he was interrupted by Dax. “Is that our ship?”
Sure enough, there was a ship moving towards the designated docking port. Damar scowled. “I don’t believe this...”
Ducane asked, “What?”
“Not only is it not a new ship design, it’s the Merchantman again! Just look! The SFX people didn’t even bother to modify it this time! Do you have any idea how much hate mail the fans are going to write about this?”
Yar asked, “Can we even fit the entire crew on that thing? And speaking of the entire crew, have we figured out what to do about The Boy yet?”
Ducane sighed. “Unfortunately not. Braxton made the choice before the Doctor relieved him of command, and Picard is having too much fun at our expense to countermand him. He’s due to arrive later today.”
“Can’t we just rig up some kind of autopilot? After all, we live in the 29th Century.”
Dax answered that one. “Believe me, I already thought of that, but this is a Pakled ship. We’ll be lucky if the computer can add two and two, let alone handle an autopilot.”
Ducane mulled this for a few seconds, and then said, “This is a Pakled ship. I’ve got a hunch that’ll work to our advantage. Come on, let’s go check out the ship before The Boy shows up.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the galaxy and in a deep layer of subspace, the evil Vaadwaur leader Gorei had been summoned to the temporal chamber to consult with his mysterious benefactor, Future Guy. “What are your orders, sir?”
Future Guy replied, “Ready the fleet. Today is the day you retake the Delta Quadrant.”
“But weren’t we going to wait until halfway through the season to start the war?”
“Yes, but since the Plah D’Viz mini-arc doesn’t exist in this timeline, we can go ahead and start it now.”
“Of course, master. Shall I also give the order to break the Excelsior crew out of prison?”
“We needn’t bother. Most of them will be sent back to the 23rd Century before your ship can get to them.”
“Your call, chief, but... If we’re not going to spring them, what do we do with him?”
On cue, Zo’or poked his head onscreen and smiled stupidly.
Future Guy coldly replied, “Send him back to where you found him.”
Zo’or’s smile was quickly replaced with a look of sheer terror. Even Gorei looked uneasy. “But... Isn’t that kinda... Evil?”
“Of course it’s evil, you fool! We’re villains! Now, I have other temporal matters to attend to.”
Future Guy vanished, and Gorei motioned for the guards to grab Zo’or. Zo’or, being the lame guy he was, attempted pathetically to run away, but he was caught seconds later and hauled away...
Also meanwhile, Captain Braxton was being forced to attend a group therapy session in the temporal illness wing of the Federation Funny Farm...
Dr. Wykoff began the session. “Let’s all introduce ourselves and talk about why we’re here, starting to my left.”
The man sitting between Braxton and Wykoff stood up. “Hi, I’m Berlinghoff Rasmussen and I’m a temporal kleptomaniac.”
Everyone replied, “Hi, Berlinghoff!” Well, everyone except for Braxton, whose mouth was full of pretzels he got from the snack table.
Rasmussen looked at the pretzels. “Mmm... pretzels.”
Another version of Rasmussen then ran into the room, stole Braxton’s pretzels, and then ran out.
Wykoff turned to Rasmussen. “Berlinghoff, you were wearing those clothes yesterday. Did you travel forward in time and steal Albert’s pretzels?”
“Uh... No. I invented pretzels.”
“Never mind. How about you, Albert?”
Braxton stood. “My name is Albert Braxton, and before we go any farther, I have to ask... What are you doing here? I so totally thought you were just a figment of Sisko’s imagination.”
Onboard the newly-designated Relativity-H, Ducane led the rest of the senior staff to the bridge. He quickly made his way to the conn station. “Aha! I thought so!”
He pointed to the console, which had only two buttons on it: “Go” and “Not Go.”
Sulu smiled. “Shoulda known that Pakleds would have a really simple piloting system. Well, at least you guys can ditch The Boy.”
Picard’s voice came over the comm. “Picard to Sulu.”
“That’s Captain Sulu!”
“Actually, since we’re about to wipe your memory of the last few years anyway, I decided to demote you to Ensign for the remainder of your stay in the 29th Century just to shut you up. Now report to Starbase 47’s sickbay.”
Ducane’s eyes went wide. “You mean we actually get a few minutes without Sulu prattling on and on about his rank? It’s a miracle!”
Sulu obviously did not find the humor in the situation, as he fumed silently as he was escorted by his soon-to-be-former crewmates to Starbase 47’s sickbay. Once there, he said his goodbyes to everyone. After his memories were erased, the unconscious Sulu was beamed aboard the Excelsior, which had all of the improvements it had acquired during the last few years stripped from it.
Watching from another observation deck, the Relativity crew watched as the Excelsior’s time travel capabilities were remotely activated, sending it back to the 23rd Century where it belonged. After a few seconds of tears, Ducane said, “Alright, time to scram before The Boy shows up.”
The next day, word spread across the galaxy that the Vaadwaur had returned, bent on conquering the Delta Quadrant they controlled almost 1,000 years prior. The Federation did its best to defend itself, but in many cases it was simply no match for the invaders.
The crew of the Relativity-H, staffing one of the most pathetic ships in the galaxy, was not important enough to receive orders from Starfleet. Nor did the crew request any, lest they attract unwanted attention and be forced to take Wesley Crusher aboard. They spent most of their time cleaning the ship (which still smelled like a garbage scow) and avoiding battles whenever possible.
That is, until several weeks later...
Ducane stormed onto the Relativity’s bridge with a PADD in his hand. “I just found out that the Vaadwaur have launched an offensive into Sector Grid S4.”
This stunned the senior staff. Dax was the first to reply. “But that’s in the Beta Quadrant.”
“Indeed. Starfleet now believes that the Vaadwaur are going to push through the Beta Quadrant to Earth to force the Federation to surrender.”
Yar looked quite depressed. “So what are we supposed to do about it? This ship’s weapons can’t even blow up a small asteroid...”
“That’s true, but it is not my intention to join the fleet. It is my intention that we initiate a rescue mission. As you may be aware, the Federation Funny Farm is in Sector Grid S4, and thus Captain Braxton is in mortal peril. We have to save him.”
The senior staff went silent. After a few seconds, Kes stood up. “Let’s do it.”
No one else had to say a word.
At the Federation Funny Farm, Dr. Wykoff was checking in on Braxton. Unfortunately, despite the best treatment the Federation could muster, the knowledge of the paradox was taking its toll on Braxton’s mind. Barely able to think about anything else but the timeloop, he had withdrawn into himself.
Wykoff was interrupted when Ducane (wearing a Starfleet medical uniform and a false mustache) approached. “Hello, I’m Dr. Notadoctor. I’ve received permission to transfer Captain Braxton to my facility for an experimental treatment.”
Wykoff eyed Ducane suspiciously. “I’ve heard nothing of transferring this patient.”
“I beg your pardon, but are you prone to blackouts?”
Ducane whipped out a phaser and stunned Wykoff. “Well, now you are. Ducane to Relativity. I’ve got Braxton. Two to beam up.”
The war continued to go poorly for the Federation. In less than two weeks, the Vaadwaur had used their subspace corridors to launch a sneak attack on Earth. With the Federation’s capital now occupied by the enemy, surrender was now inevitable.
Ducane, still the acting commanding officer, was beside himself. He, along with his crew, felt powerless to anything as they were dodging both Vaadwaur and Federation forces.
Xaronna stepped into Ducane’s office. “Sir, Damar wanted me to hand you these engineering reports.”
Ducane quietly replied, “Thank you.”
“Don’t worry, sir. We’ll get out of this somehow.”
“I don’t see how. Our future looks bleak.”
“Past, present, and future... My people believe they are as one. With such a bright past, the future cannot be hopeless.”
Ducane pondered Xaronna’s words even after she left. “Past, present, and future...”
Ducane rose from his seat and walked onto the bridge. “I’ve got a plan.”
By this time, Admiral Janeway had become quite stir crazy in her cell in the Federation Maximum Security Prison. Although security was not as tight as it used to be since many personnel had been reassigned to the warfront, she was still quite tightly locked away.
As in the normal timeline, the evil former crew of the formerly evil Excelsior had been incarcerated in the adjoining cells. However, without Rand and Valtane to drive her bananas, Janeway had gotten along far better with them.
The Relativity crew (with Braxton in tow) snuck down the corridor, but were spotted by Janeway. “Well well well... If it isn’t Braxton and his goons!”
Ducane shot a death glare back at Janeway that rivaled even her own. “I’m afraid the captain doesn’t have time to deal with you right now, Janeway.”
“Oh really? And when exactly will he have time to deal with me?”
“Funny you should ask that...”
The Relativity crew continued on their way, leaving Janeway quite confused. “What do you mean by that?”
At the end of the corridor was a door. A very familiar-looking door. Dax read the label on it. “Top Secret Temporal Weapons of Mass Destruction?”
Ducane opened the door and rummaged through the superweapons contained therein. Eventually, he found the specific device he was looking for. A very familiar-looking device. It was a temporal disruptor. “Now all we need to do is make it to a temporal transporter.”
The crew exited the room, but were spotted by a security guard. “Halt!”
Ducane quickly led the crew to a temporal transporter room. “Seal the doors.”
Yar whipped out a phaser rifle, and proceeded to weld the doors shut. Dax hacked into the door controls, and quickly overrode them.
Ducane quickly shoved the temporal disruptor and temporal transporter remote into Braxton’s hands. “Sir, you’ve got to listen to me! Who is responsible for everything that’s happened to you?”
Braxton struggled to come out of his confusion. “Jane... Janeway.”
“Yes, sir! Janeway! You have to take this temporal disruptor and destroy Voyager before Janeway and her crew release the Vaadwaur from stasis! Do you understand?”
Braxton obviously did not understand.
Ducane realized he had to simplify things. “Then just remember these three words: ‘Voyager go boom.’ Say it with me now. ‘Voyager go boom.’”
”Voyager go boom.”
”VOYAGER GO BOOM!”
“Perfect. Dax, set temporal coordinates!”
Dax worked feverishly even as more Starfleet reinforcements attempted to batter the door down. “Since Janeway released the Vaadwaur in Voyager’s Season 6, I’m setting coordinates for Season 5.”
Ducane directed Braxton onto the transporter pad. “Good hunting, sir. Energize.”
Braxton disappeared in a flash of blue light.
Kes asked, “Are you sure this was the right thing to do, helping the time loop along like that?”
Ducane solemnly nodded. “It had to be him. The rest of us would have hesitated to do what had to be done. He’ll seek Janeway’s destruction at all costs, although I doubt he understands the real reason why...”
And then “Relativity” happened. Kinda.
When Q had finished watching the entirety of the time loop, he snapped his fingers and disappeared in a flash of light.
He reappeared in a seat next to Captain Braxton and another version of himself, back on the Excelsior. “Hi, Q!”
“Well, I’ve watched the entire time loop.”
“Well, it’s funny for a while, but starting about two episodes ago, it gets less funny.”
“Too bad. Funny is good.”
And with that, the second Q vanished.
Q thought for a second. “Tell you what... If you snap out of this little mood you’re in and have a little fun with me, I’ll see what I can do about this whole nasty paradox thing, hmm?”
After tormenting Braxton and his crew for a while, Q was true to his word and revealed the existence of the Plah D’Viz. After leaving the Excelsior, he remembered something. “Maybe I should have warned them that using that thing will attract some rather unpleasant attention in a few years... Oh well...”
As the explosive season finale draws near, it’s time for yet another recap!