Star Trek: Defiant

"Alternatives" - Part Four

Written by Eric L. Busby

"That is how we have come to be on your vessel your Ladyship." Jennifer Matute said. She and Legion we being covered with a weapon held by a Borg security guard named Knight. Her Ladyship Sidra Rioghnach of the Imperial Warship Defiant sat upon her command thrown and listened to the story with interest.

"What do you think?" She asked turning to her first officer. Lady Tala Aubrey looked at the pair whom had appeared in a flash of light down in the engine room of the Defiant less than a hour ago. The half Vulcan, half Kazon turned back to Sidra.

"I would tend to believe them," Tala said, "Lord Ja'Lut has gone over the strange object that brought them here. He believes it does indeed open doorways to other realms." Sidra sat back in her thrown for a moment. Then she waved Knight away. The Borg bowed and walked off to his station at the aft end of the bridge.

"Welcome to our reality," Sidra said, "How may we make your stay more enjoyable?"

"You can give us the Temporal Quantum Unit back!" Legion demanded. Jen glared at him.

"My apologies for the behavior of my companion your Ladyship," Jen said, "He is somewhat worried. Without our devise we have no way of returning to our universe."

"I understand," Sidra said, "It shall be returned to you at once." She snapped her fingers and a flurry of active began which would no dought return the TQU to Legion and Jen soon.

"You must join us for dinner tonight," Sidra said, "It is rare that we have guest such as yourselves."

"Thank you but we should get back to our own universe." Legion began to say.

"I insist that you stay," Sidra said in a voice that made it clear she would not take no for an answer, "You may return to your own reality soon enough."

"In that case, we would be happy to stay for dinner." Jen said. A moment later the doorway at the back of the bridge opened and in walked Lord Ja'Lut. The burley Romulan carried the TQU in his hands which he quickly gave over to Legion. Legion looked the unit over for any signs of damage. Once he was satisfied that it was in working condition he looked over the control. He smiled at Jen.

"Its calibrated," He said, "Our next jump will get us home."

* * *

Dinner was composed of a dishes from throughout the Emporium. Over dinner Jen and Legion learned that this reality was under the ruler ship of the Thanos Empire, which not only spanned the Alpha quadrant. But also the Beta, Delta and Gamma quadrants of the galaxy. The center of power was the Kazon homeworld in the Delta quadrant. It was vast and old, having been in place for over seven hundred Earth years. The Empire had devised a means of traveling from one end of the galaxy to the other in a very short period of time. They used a drive known as Slide Warp. But they kept the details of how this worked to themselves.

"Fascinating," Jen said having heard all of this. She had not drunken or eaten anything. But then Changling never had to eat or drink. Legion on the other hand had helped himself to just about ever dish available. Tala and her husband Ja'Lut sat on opposite side of him. Knight stood guard at the doorway to the dinning hall. All were dressed in what looked to be royal clothing with fine jewelry.

"Yes, the Empire is a noble thing," Sidra said, "Through it we have found a peace that has never been known before it rose up." She smiled and took a sip of her wine, "But you have told us little of your own reality."

Jen sighed, "Its a sad story really," She said, "We were once a proud Federation of world united together. However a plague of nanites has turned the Federation into a wasteland in recent months."

"Nanites?" Sidra said in surprise, "How did they do this?"

"They were built to defend us against the Borg," Jen said looking at Knight were he stood. The Borg guard however made no expression that he had even heard her, "However they got out of control and infected just about everything."

"How sad." Sidra said.

"It sounds like something similar to what happened to the Empire about a hundred years ago," Ja'Lut said, "We once found ourselves at war with a force known as the Swarm. We had also built nanites to defend ourselves. For a time they got out of our control and infected everything around them."

"What did you do about it?" Jen asked.

"We found a number of methods to deal with them, such as energy beams that disrupted their working and so on. But these were very slow and the nanites were gaining ground," Ja'Lut said, "Then we found a way to deal with them all at once. We sent out a system wide signal that reprogrammed all of the nanites."

"Reprogrammed?" Jen questioned in surprise.

"Yes," Ja'Lut said, "We could not save the poor souls who had been killed by them sadly. But once we were finished with the reprogramming the nanites were able to repair a great deal of the damage they had done to the ships and worlds they had infected."

"Perhaps we can use this in our own universe," Jen said to Ja'Lut, "Do you still remember how they reprogrammed the nanites?"

"Not off hand," Ja'Lut said, "But it should be in the historical data bases," Ja'Lut stood up and bowed to Sidra, "With your permission Ladyship, I would like to try and find those files."

"But of course." Sidra said. Jen stood up and followed him out. Legion however went right on eating.

* * *

It took a few hours to dig up the file they needed. But once Ja'Lut found it he had copied the program to an isolinear chip which he gave to Jen. Jen held the chip in her hands like it was pure gold. She looked up at Ja'Lut.

"Thank you," She said, "You may have given my universe back its life."

"The honor is to serve." Ja'Lut said with a smiled. A short time later a small group had gathered in the dinning hall. Legion held the TQU in his hands and had programmed it for their own universe. Jen held onto the isolinear ship. She looked at Sidra, Tala and Ja'Lut. She smiled at them.

"Thank you again," She said, "For everything."

"I hope the information will be of help." Sidra said, "Now that you have a means to move between realties. Perhaps we shall see one another again one day."

"I would like that." Jen said. Legion looked up from the controls of the TQU.

"Its all set." He said and a humming noise rose from the unit.

"Goodbye." Jen said to the group and she and Legion vanished in a flash of light. Sidra smiled and turned to Ja'Lut.

"Did you place the homing beckon as I asked?" Sidra asked. Ja'Lut nodded his head.

"Yes," He said, "Its will track them back to their own universe. I also have made a copy of their devise. Once hooked into our ships systems we can send our fleets across to other universes as well.

"Good," Sidra said, "Then one day after they have rid themselves of their nanite problem. The Empire shall come to their realm and take it for them."

"In its weaken state, their Federation will never be able stand against us." Tala said.

"And the Thanos Empire shall grow." Ja'Lut said.

* * *

There was a flash of light and Jen and Legion found themselves back in the security office on their own Defiant, "We made it!" Jen said in happy surprise.

"Was there ever any dought?" Legion joked. Jen hugged him.

"I have to get to the captain with this," Jen said holding up the isolinear chip, "This could save us all."

"Let hope so." Legion said putting the TQU down on the work table. He frowned.

"What is it?" Jen asked him.

"I don't know," He said, "We have just seen a number of other universes. All of which were different from our own. It just make me see how unique each one us is from one another. I just wonder how different my life might have been had I been born in one of those other universes."

"Their will always be paths to walk that will shape us into who we are Legion," Jen said, "Not all of them are good. Not all of them are bad. But one thing I do know. There are always alternatives."

Legion smiled at Jen, "Shall we see the captain?" He asked, "We have some important news for him after all."

Jen smiled back and the two of them left the office.

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