In the black void of space, two Borg cubes went whizzing by at transwarp speed. All of a sudden, both of them stopped.
Federation vessel detected bearing 047 mark 47. Distance: 47 light-years. Relevant technology. Alter course to intercept.
The two cubes re-entered transwarp. It wasn’t long before they reached their desired coordinates.
A nearly-wrecked starship sat drifting.
But it wasn’t alone.
Dozens and dozens of other ships were swarming over it. Huge jet-black organic vessels, it wasn’t long before they noticed the newcomers.
Of course, the Collective wasn’t frightened in the least. We are the Borg. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.
One of the organic ships shot out a bolt of energy at one of the cubes. The cube promptly exploded.
The Collective was now frightened.
Uhm... Okay... Or not. We’re just going to... turn around... and... run away!
However, before the cube could flee, it was struck down as well.
The Collective was now frightened and ticked off. Well, this is just great. Remember back when we used to be invincible? Anyone remember “Q Who?” or “The Best of Both Worlds”? Those were the days... Now we get our rear ends kicked by any alien or red-headed captain who comes along. This ends now...
Lt. Ducane stepped into Holomatrix One. Captain Braxton was already inside. Swirling around Braxton was a huge network of lines and glowing dots. Braxton appeared to be manipulating the network with a PADD.
Braxton looked up from his PADD, noticing Ducane. “Hello, Ducane.”
Ducane walked into the center of the network, next to Braxton. “If you don’t mind me asking, sir, what are you doing?”
“I’ve converted this holomatrix into a makeshift temporal observatory.”
Ducane was skeptical. “Sir, you understand all this?”
Braxton grinned wickedly. “You think this is a little... advanced for me?”
“No offense, sir, but See Spot Run is a little advanced for you.”
“No offense taken, old friend. I was feeling rather clear-minded today, so I decided to come down here and try to figure some stuff out.”
“What kind of stuff, sir?”
“Well, you remember last season, right?”
“Of course, sir. We pay attention to continuity on this show.”
Braxton pressed a few button, and the network rotated around until a large glowing dot stopped right in front of him. He pointed to it. “This is about a year ago. A future version of the Doctor enlisted our aid in setting up a time loop in which the 31st Century Doctor from ‘Living Witness’ became our medical officer.”
“I remember it well, sir.”
“We were also warned that if the Excelsior crew escaped from the Federation Maximum Security Prison, they would destroy the Federation and possibly the entire galaxy.”
“Yes, sir. But we stopped them.”
“That’s just it, Ducane... We didn’t stop them. They escaped, they detonated their superweapon. We were powerless to stop them.”
“But their superweapon didn’t destroy the Federation. It trapped them in the Babylon 5 universe, and it opened up a few temporary temporal conduits by which several temporal fugitives entered our universe, but the Federation is far from destroyed.”
“But the Excelsior is still out there, somewhere. Until we capture them, the danger is still there.”
“Well, why don’t you ask the Doctor what happens next? After all, he’s already been through the time-loop once.”
“I’ve tried that. Apparently, the admiralty found out about him, and since they don’t like us knowing about our own futures, they quadruple-encrypted his memories from the past loop. I’ve had Damar, Dax, and Yar working on breaking the encryption, but they aren’t even close.”
“Well, with the Excelsior trapped in the Babylon 5 universe with little hope of getting back here, we have quite a while to figure out what’s going to happen...”
As if on cue, Dax’s voice came over the comm system. “Sir, we’re picking up a Starfleet distress signal.”
Braxton used his PADD to shut down the temporal observatory. “Understood. Which ship is it from?”
“Well, sir, I think you’d better get up here and see for yourself. It’s bad, sir. Very bad...”
Several minutes later, Ducane and Braxton sat down in their seats on the Relativity’s bridge. Dax took a deep breath. “Are you ready for this, sir?”
Braxton nodded. “Onscreen.”
The last person Braxton expected to see appeared onscreen. “This is Evil Braxton, evil captain of the evil Excelsior! We are under attack! Repeat, we are under attack!”
Evil Braxton looked exhausted and injured. Behind him, the Excelsior bridge was practically in ruins.
Dax interrupted. “The message is automated, sir. It just keeps repeating over and over.”
Ducane, who was just as stupefied as Braxton, was the first to speak. “Well, at least they don’t appear in much of a condition to destroy the Federation...”
Braxton nodded. “But, as the good guys of this show, we are contractually obligated to save everybody, including the bad guys. Sulu, set a course for the Excelsior. Maximum hyperwarp.”
About half an hour later, the Relativity dropped out of hyperwarp near the Excelsior. Dax performed a sensor sweep of the area. “That’s definitely the Excelsior, sir. It’s sustained massive damage, though. There’s also some other wreckage that’s Borg in origin. I can’t identify the weapon signatures on either the Excelsior or the Borg debris, though. I’m also picking up some sort of dimensional aperture about 4.7 light-years away.”
Ducane thought for a second. “Bring up the Excelsior’s warp trail if you can.”
Dax pushed a few buttons, and a dotted line connecting the aperture and the Excelsior came onscreen. “Confirmed. The ship’s origin was the aperture.”
Braxton sighed. “Well, we know how they got back, we just need to know what happened to them. I’m going to assemble an away team to check for survivors. Ducane, you have the bridge.”
Ducane stopped him. “Sir, it might be wise to take precautions first.”
“If they’re alive over there, we don’t want them to regain control of their ship. I suggest we use the Excelsior’s prefix code to transfer their command codes to you.”
“That’s brilliant, Ducane! Wait... Don’t you think they would have changed their prefix code by now?”
Several months earlier...
Evil Braxton walked over to Janice Rand. “Rand, I think we should change the ship’s prefix code, just in case.”
“Will that require me to work a lot?”
“Then I don’t think we should change the prefix code.”
“Well, if our ship gets taken over, I’m blaming you...”
Dax used the prefix code to interface with the Excelsior’s computer. “Okay, sir, you’re in.”
Braxton nodded. “Computer, transfer the Excelsior’s command codes to me.”
Unable to comply.
Because you already have a ship, stupid: Me.
“Oh, I forgot... Starfleet captains can’t have more than one ship. Well, where are we going to find another captain around here?”
Sulu got out of his chair, walked over to Braxton, and shouted in his ear, “For the 47th time, I am a captain! As a matter of fact, I was the Excelsior’s captain! I’m the perfect person to give the command codes to!”
Braxton thought for a second. “Normally, Sulu, I’d ignore your incessant need to remind everyone that you’re a captain. But you make an excellent case. Computer, transfer the command codes to Captain Sulu.”
Command codes transferred.
While Sulu did a little victory dance, Braxton picked up a phaser rifle. “Okay, people, let’s go find out what’s going on around here...”
Braxton and the rest of the Relativity senior staff, minus Ducane and Dax, beamed onto the Excelsior’s bridge. All the lights were off. Braxton said, “Okay, everyone, turn on your nifty little wrist-flashlight thingies that we got wholesale from the Voyager set.”
They all looked around. The Excelsior crew was motionless. The Doctor whipped out his tricorder and scanned them. “They’re alive, Captain, but unconscious. Most of them have pretty severe injuries.”
Damar opened a hatch on the bridge and patched a few wires. One of the consoles came to life. “I’m going to try and bring up a status report, sir.”
“Good work, Damar.”
Braxton slowly stepped over to the captain’s chair, where Evil Braxton was slumped. Braxton shone his flashlight in his temporal clone’s face. He asked rhetorically, “What happened to you all? What happened?”
Several days earlier, the evil crew of the evil Excelsior assembled on the bridge. Evil Braxton held the Apocalypse Box. “We’re approaching the coordinates you provided me. This had better be good.”
The Apocalypse Box glowed. “Well, it’s the last thing I know of that might send you back. If it isn’t here, you’re out of luck.”
Evil Braxton turned to Harvey the Wonder Hamster. “Mr. Hamster, take us out of warp!”
The evil Excelsior slowed to a halt. The crew stared at what was on the main viewer. A huge device was hanging in space, but seemed to no longer be in operation. Evil Braxton prepared to throw the Apocalypse Box against a wall. “You brought us out here to look at this dead hunk of junk?”
“Wait! This is what you want! You just have to activate it!”
“That’s all well and good, but what is it?”
In the evil brig of the evil Excelsior, Bester had been sitting in his cell. Suddenly, his eyes began to glow white, and he stood up. In an unearthly voice, he said, “Our greatest mistake... The last of many...”
The Apocalypse Box glowed brightly. “Long ago, the Vorlons built a gate to explore other dimensions. It lead to Thirdspace, a realm filled with deadly aliens. The Vorlons just barely managed to fight them off and deactivate the gate.”
“And this is that gate?”
“No, this is the gate to Fortyseventhspace.”
“They built another forty-four gates after they nearly got killed by the first one?”
“Well, the Vorlons were big order freaks, but they weren’t known for their common sense... Anyway, you have told me the number 47 occurs a lot in your universe. You may be able to get to your universe through Fortyseventhspace.”
“So all we have to do is use a really old gate built by morons to travel through a dangerous spatial domain populated by super-powerful aliens bent on killing us all? Cool! Dukat, Valtane! Find a way to power that thing up!”
For several hours, the Excelsior crew toiled to get ready for the trip. Finally, they were ready. Evil Braxton sat down in his chair. With a truly evil grin on his face, he said, “Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war, for the Excelsior crew is going home!”
A stream of energy leapt out from the ship’s deflector, powering up the gateway. The aperture opened, and the relatively tiny Excelsior flew into it.
On the other side was a shadowy realm filled with crimson storms and chunks of rock. Evil Braxton surveyed the situation. “Divert power to the shields, deflector, and sensors. Mr. Valtane, are you detecting any other apertures?”
“Not yet, sir.”
“Mr. Hamster, lay in a search pattern, centered on our point of origin. Mr. Hawk, keep an eye out for any welcoming committees.”
For hours, the Excelsior searched for another aperture, but to no avail. Hawk’s console suddenly started beeping. “Sir, I’m picking up three ships on an intercept course! And they’re huge!”
Sure enough, three black organic-looking ships were quickly approaching the ship from behind. Evil Braxton tried to remain calm. “Mr. Hawk, are they charging weapons?”
“I don’t know, sir. I can’t even tell if they have any weapons...”
The question was answered when the three ships began shooting energy bolts at the Excelsior. The ship rocked as consoles exploded left and right. Hawk shouted out, “Sir, shields are down to 47%!”
“Return fire! Valtane, have you detected any apertures yet?”
“None yet, sir!”
“Do you think you could create one?”
While Valtane tried to find a way to open another aperture, the Excelsior fired its aft phasers and photon torpedoes. Between the sheer size of the enemy ships and their armor, they did little damage. The organic ships fired again. Hawk’s face paled. “Sir, shields are down!”
Valtane, knowing that the next shot could destroy them all, gave it his best try. A stream of energy leapt out from the ship’s deflector and created a swirling vortex.
Evil Braxton laughed with evil joy. “Mr. Hamster, set a course for the vortex, maximum warp!”
The ship quickly made it through the vortex. Rand checked the comm frequencies. “Sir, I’m picking up Starfleet signals! We’re back!”
A shout of “Huzzah!” erupted from the Excelsior crew. Well, except from Hawk, who shouted, “Am I the only one who hasn’t forgotten we have really scary aliens still attacking us?”
Sure enough, the ships had also passed through the vortex, and were resuming their attack...
Back in the present, the evil crew of the evil Excelsior had been moved to the Relativity’s sickbay. Armed guards were posted at the entrance. The Doctor continued to monitor their biosigns.
All of a sudden, Evil Braxton sat up and began screaming. “They’re coming! They’re coming!”
The Doctor ran over to him. “Shut up or else I’ll punch you in the face! As a matter of fact, I think I’m going to punch you in the face anyway.”
The Doctor punched Evil Braxton in the face. Evil Braxton fell back down to his bed. “Hey, you can’t do that to me! You’re a doctor! You took the Hippocratic Oath!”
The Doctor shrugged. “What can I say? I’m a Hippocratic hypocrite...” He then tapped his communicator. “Doctor to Braxton. Your evil clone is awake, and even crazier than usual.”
A few minutes later, Captain Braxton walked into Sickbay, flanked by Ducane and Yar. Braxton pointed at Evil Braxton. “Alright, you jerk! You’re under arrest!”
Evil Braxton grabbed hold of Braxton. “You fool! There’s no time for that! They’re coming! They’re going to kill us all!”
“Funny, I thought all of us getting killed has been your goal since Day 1.”
“Well, all of you getting killed, sure. But not me or my crew!”
“Then why the heck did you detonate your superweapon when it was still on your ship?”
“I said we’re evil. I never said we were smart. Anyway, back to my insane ranting... They’re going to kill us all! We’re doomed!”
Braxton punched Evil Braxton in the face. “Get a hold of yourself, man!”
“Ow! What is this, Punch Evil Braxton in the Face Day?”
“Why don’t you tell me what’s going on?”
So, Evil Braxton explained everything that was going on. Once he was done, Ducane said, “Let me guess this straight... You imbeciles opened up a portal to another dimension populated by super-powerful entities that are going to invade any second?”
“That’s the gist of it.”
“You jerk!” And with that, Ducane punched Evil Braxton in the face.
“Captain’s Log: Well, there’s bad news, and there’s worse news. The bad news is that the evil crew of the evil Excelsior has returned from the Babylon 5 universe. The worse news is that they seem to have attracted the attention of aliens who intend to destroy our galaxy...”
The Relativity crew gathered in the ready room. Braxton sighed. “Okay, people what do we know?”
Dax spoke up. “I’ve analyzed the info I found in a Borg information node. They refer to these new aliens as Species 474747. And if they’ve got the power to blow up Borg cubes at will, we won’t stand much more of a chance than they did.”
Braxton thought for a second. “So, it looks like we’re going to have to seal that vortex before they get here. Any idea how we can do that?”
“It’s an extremely stable vortex, sir. I believe it’ll take a 4.7 yottajoule explosion to seal it up.”
“Dax, what have I told you about using stupid prefixes like ‘iso’?”
“Sir, ‘yotta’ is a metric prefix. It means a septillion.”
“Oh. Well, do we have anything that could create a 4.7 yottajoule explosion?”
“Yes, sir, we have one thing that could do that. But you won’t like it.”
“No, sir. The only thing that could do that is a hyperwarp core breach.”
“Okay. We’ll just blow up the Excelsior, then.”
“Sir, the Excelsior doesn’t have a hyperwarp core. In order to save the galaxy, we’re going to have to blow up the Relativity.”
Braxton sighed. “Very well. Evacuate everyone from our ship to the Excelsior. And throw the Excelsior crew into their brig.”
Ducane nodded in agreement. “Yes, sir, it seems a wise precaution to throw the nine of them into their brig.”
“No, Ducane, I meant their entire crew.”
“All 750 of them?”
“I don’t think they’re all going to fit in there, sir.”
“Make them fit, Ducane.”
A few hours later, after everyone had been evacuated to the Excelsior, Braxton assembled his crew on the Excelsior’s bridge. He motioned for Sulu to stand next to him. “Sulu, this ship and its crew are yours now. Make sure they make it through this alive and stuff. And treat them well.”
Sulu looked confused. “Well, sir, that’s nice and all, but you’ll still be around, right?”
“The cloaked Relativity needs to be taken to the vortex, and it needs to be done at slow speeds to ensure it isn’t tracked. The hyperwarp core then needs to breach, and only my command codes can release the self-destruct. Therefore, I won’t be seeing you all again.”
And with that, Braxton stepped onto the transporter and disappeared in a flash of blue light. The crew was stunned. After a minute, Sulu finally said, “You know... I think I’m going to miss that moron.”
Everyone nodded in agreement.
Aboard the Relativity, Captain Braxton stood tall as his ship cloaked and slowly headed for the vortex...
Lt. Yar escorted the Excelsior’s senior staff to the brig. “Alright, you eight, get in the brig! Wait a minute... One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Where’s Evil Braxton?”
Evil Braxton crouched in the shadows somewhere deep in the depths of the Relativity, laughing evilly...
The Excelsior crew stepped into their cell. Dark Helmet picked something off the floor. “Wait a minute... This is Bester’s telepathy-inhibiting collar! But where’s Bester?”
Bester, also crouched in the shadows somewhere else on the Relativity, smirked as his eyes glowed bright white...
To Be Continued...