The Engineer and the Time Lady 1. Alpha Unknown Planet The small starship was in trouble. It had defeated the other ship, but it was out of control, entering the atmosphere of an M-Class planet at a rather steep angle. The crash landing was going to be terrible. Some time later. The ship was still, especially in the main computer room. The red-alert was still flashing there. “Warning! Estimated time to total system failure: 1 day 18 hours.” An alert tone sounded. Twice. “Initiating Starship Preservation Protocol.” Then there was a hum. “Activating Emergency Engineering Hologram Alpha.” The hologram of a female engineer appeared. “Please state the nature of the Engineering Emergency.” “Approximately 10 standard years ago; USS Baffin NCC 90401 crash-landed on an unknown M-Class planet. The Starship Preservation Protocol has been initiated,” the computer reported. “Understood,” the engineering hologram stated. A screen activated on the side of the computer core. Emergency fuel cells for the computer core are very low. Reinitialise the Warp Core. That was only the first of a long list of tasks that needed to be performed. “Computer, run a level 5 diagnostic on the holoprojectors between the Computer Core and Engineering.” “Affirmative,” the computer said. A minute later, the diagnostic was complete. “... Holoprojectors are functional.” The hologram nodded and then moved to leave the computer core. She stopped outside of Engineering. “Computer, run a level 5 diagnostic on the holoprojectors in Engineering.” The holoprojectors were functional, so she entered. The emergency lighting was on, giving the room a sombre appearance. The hologram briefly wondered why Starfleet would program their holograms with such recognition subroutines. She shook her head and went to the powerless core. She checked the fuel (the antimatter and deuterium) levels. Both fuels would last for a very long time. She was ready to restart the core. “Computer; activate Emergency Engineering Hologram Beta.” The Core re-start required two officers. “Affirmative.” There was another hum. “Please state the nature of the Engineering Emergency.” Emergency Hologram Beta was based on a male engineer. “The Starship Preservation Protocol has been initiated,” Alpha said. “Confirmed,” Beta said. He went to the Dilithium Chamber and opened it. “We need to check the crystals,” he said. Alpha nodded and they went to work. She started by scanning the crystals in the chamber... They quickly found that those had cracked in the crash, so they had to replace them with some of the spares. Fortunately there was many of those left, and hardly any of them had cracked. “75% spare crystals are still available.” “Crystal is aligned,” Alpha reported. “Confirmed,” Beta said. “Closing chamber.” The chamber closed. “Checking matter injectors.” “Checking antimatter injectors.” “Matter injectors ready.” “Antimatter injectors ready.” “We're ready,” Alpha stated. “Initiating cold-restart sequence.” The deuterium and anti-deuterium began to flow from the storage pods to the reaction chamber and the core powered up. “Reaction is stable,” Beta stated. “Holding at 0.05% reaction rate,” Beta said. “Good,” Alpha said. 'So far, so good,' she thought. “Monitor the core, while I check the bridge systems.” That was next on the Starship Preservation Protocol check list. A minute later, Alpha entered the bridge, and saw that only the operations console was operating. None of the lighting was on. “Computer, emergency lights.” The lights came on. She then saw a skeleton sitting in the Command Chair. She suspected that it was Commander Emerson, who was listed as Commander of the Baffin. 'I need to check the systems first,” she thought. “Computer run level five diagnostic on bridge systems.” “Affirmative. Results in five minutes.” “Understood,” Alpha said. Even so, she began to scan the bridge with her tricorder. “Diagnostic complete. Command systems are functional. Operations and Engineering consoles are functional. Helm is offline.” “Understood,” Alpha said. The diagnostic matched the tricorder scan. She scanned the helm again. It had blown out during the crash. It was going to be a long repair. Twelve hours later, the helm was repaired. 'Of course, there's nowhere to go,' Alpha thought. The ship was still planetbound. There was still much to do. “Computer, status of Bridge.” “Bridge systems are 100% functional. Determine the status of crew.” “Computer: run diagnostic on internal sensors.” “Affirmative...” “Diagnostic complete. Internal sensors are offline in the Shuttle Bay, bathysphere bays, the holodecks, crew quarters and torpedo bays,” the computer reported. “Noted,” Alpha said. “Scan other areas for crew lifesigns.” “Affirmative. No crew lifesigns detected.” Alpha approached the Shuttle Bay along the starboard corridor. She had scanned the other areas where the internal sensors were offline with a tricorder. No lifesigns had been detected. Not surprising given the length of time since the crash. The Shuttle Bay door opened, and the tone Alpha had selected to indicate holoprojector functionality sounded. She saw that the crash had sent the shuttles out of their parked positions. She was going to have to repair them too. She walked around the bay, scanning with the tricorder. The crew wasn't there. She had noted, however, that one of the escape pods was missing, so maybe some of them were still alive (no matter how unlikely that was). Alpha returned to the Bridge and uploaded the tricorder data to the command console. “Internal scan complete,” the computer reported. “Crew death still unconfirmed. Take Remains to sickbay.” “Computer, Activate Emergency Medical Hologram.” The Mark 9 EMH, resembling a young female Vulcan appeared. “Please state the nature of the medical emergency.” “Not an emergency,” Alpha said. “The Starship Preservation Protocol has been activated.” “Emergency Engineering Hologram Alpha?” the EMH asked. “Yes,” Alpha answered. “Of course.” “I have brought remains from the Bridge to sickbay.” “I shall scan them,” the EMH said. “Confirmed,” the EMH stated. “The remains are of Commander Theodore James Emerson.” Alpha took the PADD from the EMH. “But then, that wasn't in doubt.” “You know what to do,” the EMH said. “I just wanted to repair the ship,” Alpha groused as she left the sickbay through the starboard door, towards the Bridge. The EMH sighed. “Computer, deactivate EMH.” Alpha entered the Bridge and placed the PADD on the command console. “Deceased status of Commander Theodore James Emerson confirmed.” “Confirmed,” Alpha said. She input a sequence of numbers on the command console. “Code Sequence confirmed. Command of Baffin NCC 90401 is transferred to Emergency Engineering Hologram Alpha.” Alpha was conflicted. She either had no time, or all the time in the world. She decided to indulge herself and sat in the command chair. She had repaired the viewscreen earlier, but she wasn't sure that the external sensors were working. All she could see through the window was the night sky. “Forward view,” she commanded. “Affirmative,” the computer responded. The screen then showed a forest at night time. “A forest,” she considered. But exploration would have to wait. The ship still needed repairs. … Alpha looked in the Jeffries Tube. She found the problem: There was corrosion where water had leaked in through micro-fractures in the hull. She scanned the corroded area with the tricorder. “Good thing there are spares,” she murmured. And that she had brought the spares with her. Half an hour later, the corroded parts had been replaced, but there were still other sensors offline... … “External sensors online,” the computer reported. “Good,” Alpha said. She closed the panel and headed back to the Bridge. Alpha entered the Bridge, and initiated a full scan. “Scan will take 10 minutes,” the computer reported. Alpha sat in the command chair. “Cool.” “Scan complete.” “Report,” Alpha commanded. “Planet M-13425 is far beyond Federation Space,” the computer reported. 'Great!' Alpha thought, as the viewscreen filled with data. However, two lines caught her attention. She read them again. DIVERGENT QUANTUM SIGNATURE DETECTED! Priority, return ship to home universe! 'Terrific!' Alpha thought. She knew one thing, a long journey was ahead of her. But first, she was going to have to go through the crew's logs.