“Eleventh Hour”

Stardate 74386.2.3; May 21, 2397

 

Episode 58

 

 

 

 

Prologue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sensors bleeped, and suddenly, component 3EJ-916Q appeared on the screen before Binax.  He blinked his lone bloodshot eye and studied the newfound component for a long moment, unsure if the sensors were providing accurate data; in all of his time observing the temporal matrix, he had never observed a component so far into the future.  Thus, Binax knew it was either a sensor glitch, or incredibly good luck.  For his part, he certainly hoped it was the latter of the two cases.  Master would be pleased…

 

But before he brought component 3EJ-916Q to Master’s attention, Binax had to be certain it was not a glitch.  His long, branch-like fingers carefully danced over the control interface, extracting the necessary data from the temporal core—but to his chagrin, the component was so far into the future that the majority of the readings were fragmented and heavily distorted by the temporal continuum.  They were useless.

 

Not ready to give up just yet, Binax craned his long, fragile neck, looking over his shoulder and glared the temporal manifold behind him.  If he could increase sensor resolution, he felt confident it could better study component 3EJ-916Q.  Slowly, Binax came about and lumbered to the lanky quadruped standing near the manifold.  Her eye lingered on the computer display for only a moment before turning to Binax.

 

State your purpose, she promptly demanded, her terse words echoing throughout Binax’ mind.

 

We must increase sensor resolution, he said.  Component 3EJ-916Q is nearly out of sensor range, and I am having difficulty studying it.

 

Understood.  She swiftly placed her hands on the manifold, working the controls until she nodded her head.  Work complete.  Resolution has been enhanced by 6.62 percent.

 

Binax blinked.  Insufficient, he exclaimed.  He needed at least a fifteen percent enhancement to adequately study component 3EJ-916Q.

 

If the component is significant, I will make attempt to make further enhancements.  And then she turned away, making it clear to Binax that she would answer no more questions until he gave her reason to do so.

 

Thus, Binax retreated to his station and returned his attention to the enigmatic component.  The 6.62 percent had improved his ability to probe the object slightly—but the change was so nominal that Binax doubted the fifteen percent he had hoping for would have made any difference.  He would have to summon Master now, and hope to receive authorization to launch a temporal probe.  It was the only way he would be able to further study component 3EJ-916Q—and given all this tumult, Binax certainly hoped the component was significant enough to warrant a temporal incursion. 

 

Master, he summoned, looking across the drab brownish-green facility in the general direction of the massive Yelss lurking in the forward section.

 

He immediately looked up from his workstation and craned his thick neck nearly 180 degrees until his eye glared curiously at Binax.  What?

 

Component 3EJ-916Q requires your attention, said Binax.

 

Master nodded, and lumbered to the aft section as quickly as his four legs would carry him.  Significance?

 

The component is located near the end of the known temporal continuum, explained Binax, gesturing to the computer screen beside him.  I suggest we launch a temporal probe for further investigation.

 

Master carefully observed the data for himself, gently stroking his the flap of loose skin on his throat as he did so.  Proceed.

 

 

 

As far as Axar was concerned, the Entrox was one of the most beautiful sights in the universe.  For that matter, it was one of the few sights in the universe, making it that much harder to refute his previous statement.  It was a sleek, agile vessel capable of traversing millions of light years in the blink of an eye, opening vast interspatial fissures into the unknown, peering into the complexities of the space/time continuum, and so much more.  

 

It was that so much more that made Axar’s heart race with excitement, for not even he knew the Entrox’s maximum potential.  Nobody knew.  And that was what made serving on the vessel a constant adventure. 

 

Suddenly, a muted bleeping noise pulsed throughout the command chamber, and Axar snapped out of his quiet reverie.  “What is it?” he inquired, looking to Rinix, his first officer.

 

Rinix was seated at the only workstation in the command chamber, a large, semi-circular apse just in front of the command chair.  The configuration was a classic design that spanned millennia—and with good reason.  It was certainly efficient, allowing easy access to all the controls.  Still, Axar preferred to work with a more expansive three-dimensional grid that displayed every last function on the ship.  It was complex and confusing, but it made Axar drool with awe.

 

Rinix, however, was not awed by the sights before him, and quickly delved into the sensor data.  “We are being probed by a Yelss vessel, Rishara’aa class.”

 

Yelss.  Axar recognized the name, and immediately linked it with trouble.  “Timeframe?” he demanded.

 

“The year 2397.”

 

 “Primitive,” said Axar.  He was immediately curious as to how these aliens were able to probe so far into the future, and for a moment, he considered investigating.  But then better judgment kicked in. “Destroy the probe.”

 

Rinix nodded, and swiftly tapped at the controls before him.  Moments later, the entire control interface vanished, the console grew slightly larger, and more complex, and a new tactical interface flitted to life before Rinix.  He swiftly tapped at the controls, and moments later, the command chamber’s walls dissolved, giving Axar an unobstructed view of the goings on outside the ship.

 

For a moment, all was quiet, but as Rinix continued to peck away at the controls, a faint peach-colored hue began to emanate from the ship’s forward section.  It lingered for a long moment, gradually gaining intensity until it exploded into a ragged beam of vivid light, plowing into the gaping maw of a swirling vortex.  But then, just as quickly as it appeared, it all vanished, and again, there was nothing.

 

“Probe destroyed,” Rinix announced seconds later.

 

A smile fell upon Axar’s face.  “Good,” he said.  “Monitor the vessel and—”

 

Suddenly, the Entrox did something that it had never before done—it began to shake.  Axar’s eyes went wide, and he immediately moved to grab the arms of his chair—but they were gone.  He concentrated his thoughts for a short moment, and seconds later, two sturdy arms manifested themselves on the chair.  Axar nodded approvingly and grabbed hold.  “Now what?” he demanded.

 

“I do not know,” admitted Rinix.  “The computer is even—”

 

A massive azure explosion swiftly engulfed the entire vessel…

 

 

 

Something was wrong.  As Binax gazed at his sensors, he was certain of that, and little more, save the fact that Master was not pleased.

 

The ship was constantly shaking, bulkheads groaned, and fiery sparks rained down from the ceiling.  Deadly tendrils of vivid blue energy wrapped themselves around the temporal core; the female that adjusted the sensor resolution for Binax had been vaporized by one of them.  Her haunting cries for help still echoed inside Binax’s mind…

 

What is wrong?  Master’s mood was rapidly deteriorating.  His bulky fists were tightly clenched; he clearly wanted to take some decisive action, but knew not what to do—nor did Binax.  His every last attempt to analyze the temporal core had failed, and now… now… It did not matter.

 

Binax closed his eyes just as a massive azure explosion burst through the temporal core.  It rapidly spewed forth a wicked cloud of death and destruction…

 

 

 

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