Alrighty, folks, here’s the deal. Starting with this episode, you’re going to need to know a lot of the backstory to understand what’s going on. If you’re a new reader, or a longtime reader that simply can’t remember what’s been going on, it probably would be in your best interests to read the entire series.
“But Krenim,” you say, “I don’t have time to read the entire series.”
No problem. Here’s a listing of episodes that are particularly important to review. They won’t explain everything, but you should at least get the gist of the Braxton Time Loop.
- Episode 1: “When Tribbles Attack, Part I”
- Episode 2: “When Tribbles Attack, Part II
- Episode 3: “When Tribbles Attack, Part III”
- Episode 4: “When Tribbles Attack, Part IV”
Series premiere. Introduces many of the main characters, most importantly Captain Braxton and the Braxton Bunch.
- Episode 6: “A Recruiting We Will Go, Part I”
- Episode 7: “A Recruiting We Will Go, Part II”
- Episode 8: “A Recruiting We Will Go, Part III”
Introduces just about everyone else. The Braxton Bunch take control of the Excelsior.
Integration of the Braxton Bunch into Evil Braxton.
- Episode 24: “The Fire In Which We Burn, Part I
- Episode 25: “The Fire In Which We Burn, Part II”
- Episode 26: “The Fire In Which We Burn, Part III”
Season 1 finale. Evil Braxton escapes from prison, kidnaps Captain Braxton, and tries to destroy the galaxy.
Evil Braxton’s whereabouts since the Season 1 finale are revealed.
Return of the Excelsior to the Star Trek universe. Evil Braxton explains to Captain Braxton the true nature of their time loop. Death of Evil Braxton.
Q intervenes by revealing the existence of the Plah D’Viz, an alien artifact that can break the time loop.
Captain Braxton and his crew find the Plah D’Viz. Much more of the time loop is revealed, including the reason for Braxton’s temporal psychosis, and the reason why the Braxton Bunch were sent back in time. The Plah D’Viz is activated, and the time loop is broken.
- Episode 105: “Adrasteia, Part I”
- Episode 106: “Adrasteia, Part II”
- Episode 107: “Adrasteia, Part III”
First appearance of the Progeny and their plans to restore the time loop.
The Progeny gather the last of the information they need by studying the kidnapped Braxton and Janeway.
There, that should do it. You should be all caught up.
One last comment before you start reading this episode: No, the Progeny have not restored the time loop. Yet. The “Flipside” two-parter is simply an alternate-universe story to give everybody a glimpse into why it is so important that they not do so.
After being released from the Excelsior’s sickbay, the overly depressed Captain Braxton made his way to the empty Mess Hall, where he slumped down in one of the chairs with a plate of food. He picked up a piece of French toast and began talking into it. “Captain’s Log: It’s yet another miserable day aboard the Excelsior. Life stinks. Wait a minute... This isn’t my log, this is my french toast! Now I have to start all over again...”
What Braxton’s senses (which were subpar even for human) failed to detect was that he was, in fact, not alone in the Mess Hall. The omnipotent superbeing known as Q was reclining on the ceiling, watching the hapless Starfleet officer attempt to use his breakfast as a recording device. Of course, by this time Q was quite used to Braxton’s demonstrations of his extreme stupidity, but that was not why Q was watching this sequence of events more intently than usual.
Q watched himself flash into existence in the seat next to Braxton. “Hi there!”
If the Q in the seat observed his future self on the ceiling, he gave no indication. Perhaps the future Q’s invisibility was so complete that not even his past self could see him. Perhaps the past Q was so aware of time and space that he already knew what the future Q was doing there. In any case, the Q in the seat was quite irate that his 24th Century outfit was out of style. “Well, that’s just great! Starfleet changes uniforms so often that it’s hard to keep up!”
A flash of light later, the past Q was wearing a 29th century captain’s uniform, matching the one worn by the future Q. Braxton seemed less than impressed. “Let me guess... You’re Q, right?”
“And you’re Captain Braxton!”
“I’d tell you to get off my ship, but it’s not my ship.”
“But this is your series, right?”
“But it’s not your ship?”
“You’re depressing, you know that?”
“Yeah, I know that. Why don’t you go bother someone else?”
“No no no. Jean-Luc told me to bother Kathy, and Kathy told me to bother you. I’m tired of hopping around. I’m bothering you.”
“Oh, now don’t be so glum... Why don’t you tell ol’ Q what the matter is?”
“I’ve got this whole paradox thing going where I’m destined to become an evil villain.”
“Really? I’ve got to see this...”
And with that, the Q in the seat vanished in another flash of light. Of course, the Q on the ceiling had known this was coming, since he had already experienced this.
You see, the Q that had been talking to Captain Braxton had transported himself through time and space to the moment Braxton observed the destruction of Sol System aboard the Aeon, and began observing the entire paradox from the beginning. Eventually, time progressed back to the point Q had originally left from, and the Q that was in the seat was now the Q on the ceiling.
Confused? Well, what were you expecting from an episode with Q in it?
Q continued to observe Braxton, who was quite possibly the first Starfleet captain to become mildly irate over the fact that Q had actually left. “Q? Hello?”
After a while, Braxton ate his french toast and left the room, with Q following after him on the ceiling, invisible to all.
A short time later, Braxton had related the events that had just transpired to the rest of the senior staff. Ducane scratched his head in confusion. “Wow. He left? Just like that?”
Braxton nodded. “Yup.”
“That’s gotta be a record for a Starfleet captain getting Q to leave.”
Sulu mumbled something under his breath while he was obviously fuming in his captain’s chair.
Kes rolled her eyes. “What now?”
“It’s something. Wait, I bet I can guess. You’re actually ticked off that Q came to bother him and not you on your ship?”
“No, that’s not it at all! Well, okay, that is it. I am the Captain after all!”
Damar sighed and headed for the turbolift. “If anybody needs me, I’ll be in my quarters.”
Ducane looked crossly at the chief engineer. “Where do you think you’re going? We’re in the middle of an important conversation!”
“Pfft. Nothing any of us do matters anyway.”
“Don’t be so down, Damar.”
“Huh? Oh, I’m not down. Haven’t any of you read the script for this episode? This is an alternate timeline. Nothing we do matters.”
Yar got a big evil grin on her face. “Alternate timeline? Well, you know what they say... What happens in the alternate timeline stays in the alternate timeline! It’s a free license for non sequiturs!”
Ducane tried to get the conversation back on track. “In any case, we need to focus on the situation at hand. We have a brig full of evil former crewmembers of the formerly evil Excelsior, so we need to get back to Starbase 47...”
Meanwhile, down in the Excelsior’s brig, tempers were flaring. Valtane shouted, “Well, maybe if your helmet wasn’t so big, I’d be able to move my knee out of Hawk’s nose!”
Dark Helmet fired back, “Well, if Yoda’s ears weren’t so big, I could move my helmet!”
Eventually, the Excelsior arrived back at Starbase 47. After the escape attempt was thwarted by Galvatron, Ducane took over the task of unpacking the rest of the bad guys from their cells.
Ducane nodded to one of the nameless security officers. “Lower the forcefield.”
One second later, about a hundred people came tumbling out of one of the detention cells, moaning and complaining.
Ducane grumbled himself. “And where the heck is Yar? As head of security, she should be here helping me!”
On cue, Yar came rolling by on a unicycle while juggling several balls. “You called, boss?”
“I think you’re taking far too many liberties with this whole alternate timeline thing.”
“Pfft. This is nothing. Kes and the Doctor have been doing nothing but making out in Sickbay. I guess they’re taking the opportunity to finally resolve that unrequited romance from the first few seasons of Voyager.”
“Funny how we never deal with that, isn’t it?”
“I guess. See you later, boss!” And with that, Yar rolled away.
A nameless Starfleet aide wheeled Admiral Picard down the hallway a minute later. “Ducane! How are things going down here?”
“We’ve almost unpacked all the sardines... uh... bad guys. And Yar’s rolling around on a unicycle.”
“Funny how she was a member of my crew whose death profoundly affected me and I’ve never acknowledged the fact that it turns out she’s actually alive after all these centuries, isn’t it?”
“Anyway, I wanted to speak with you about Braxton. I hear he’s becoming more and more belligerent.”
“Yes, he is. Fortunately, it’s easy to get him out of the way.”
Somewhere on Starbase 47, Captain Braxton was yelling profusely at a potato with a “Ducane” nametag pinned on it. “You listen to me when I’m talking to you, Ducane!”
“Be that as it may, I may have to do something if you can’t fix him soon.”
“Like what? You’ve been trying to get him fired anyway all this time, and you keep failing miserably!”
“Uh... Silence! Anyway, once you’re done unpacking the villains, assemble your crew. Without a ship, we have to decide what to do with your crew...”
The next day, the entire crew of the Relativity assembled at Starbase 47’s Assembly Hall. The disembodied head of Admiral Picard was wheeled in on a cart. Picard began speaking. “First of all, I would like to congratulate you all. You all did a fine job during the Fortyseventhspace incident. That includes Captain Braxton, who, if I didn’t know any better, actually acted in a competent manner.”
Everyone cheered. Well, except for Captain Braxton, who was still yelling at the potato. After the applause quieted down, Picard began again.
“However, there are a few things to be taken care of. The first is the timeline itself. The Excelsior must be returned to the 23rd Century, where it is meant to be. After we strip off that crazy Shadow hull off of it, we’re going to remove all trace of the ship’s time traveling and do an engramatic purge of all of the Excelsior’s original crew. That means Sulu, Rand, Valtane, and all the others will return to the 23rd Century with no clue of what has transpired.”
Everyone but Sulu cheered. Sulu stood up. “Wait a minute... That stinks! I don’t want to go back! If I go back, that means I won’t be on this show anymore! I’ll go back to being relegated to Star Trek conventions! You can’t do this to me!”
“And what if I don’t?”
“I’ll force you to watch ‘These Are the Voyages...’!”
”Noooooooooooooooo! Wait, has that even aired yet?”
“No, but I managed to go back to 2005 and pick up a copy.”
“That doesn’t even make sense!”
“Guards! Go show Captain Sulu the episode.”
And so Sulu was dragged away kicking and screaming.
Picard resumed his speech. “As for the rest of you, there’s still the matter of the temporal fugitives unleashed upon our timeline by that temporal shockwave. You’ve only caught a few of them this past season.”
Braxton, whose attention had finally been diverted from Ducane’s decoy, interrupted this time. “Uh, sir?”
“Yes, what is it, Braxton?”
“We don’t have a ship.”
“Don’t worry. I’ve already taken care of that! It just so happens that the Federation just got a really good deal on a used Pakled garbage-hauling vessel. I’ve already taken the liberty of designating it the Relativity-H and transferring all of you to it. And now, to add insult to injury, I have someone here who wants to laugh at your expense...”
The Klingon Korax then entered the room. “I didn’t mean to say the Relativity should be hauling garbage. I meant to say it should be hauled away as garbage! Bwahahahahaha!”
At which point Galvatron, still on the station, busted down the door to the Assembly Hall and thwacked Korax upside the head. “Nobody laughs maniacally except for me! Bwahahahahaha!”
Braxton again interrupted the ensuing chaos. “Admiral, we have another problem! If Sulu’s leaving, who’s going to pilot our ship?”
Admiral Picard’s evil grin got a whole lot more evil. And a whole lot more grinnier. “I’m going to give you a choice. I can either give you Adam from the episode ‘The Way to Eden’...”
“You mean the guy who only says ‘Herbert’ over and over?”
“The very same. You can either have him... or Wesley Crusher!”
“We’ll take Wesley Crusher.”
The entire Assembly Hall suddenly became perfectly quiet. Even Galvatron stopped beating on Korax and just glared at Braxton.
Admiral Picard’s eyes became the size of saucers. And by that, I mean the saucer sections of most starships. “What? What?! I knew you were a grossly incompetent imbecile, but this?!?! Nobody ever chooses Wesley Crusher! ever!!!!”
The Doctor stopped making out with Kes long enough to say, “As his Chief Medical Officer, I hereby declare Captain Braxton completely insane and relieve him of command!”
Braxton relieved of command? The crew assigned to a garbage scow? More pointless alternate timeline hijinks to come!