The Stars Be My Destiny
Location: USS Victory, Deck 1, Captain's Lab
Tags: Chronal criminal
"Time may change me, but I can't change time"
~David Bowie, Changes
The wall of calculations was extensive, with many parts crossed out and redrawn, some simply struck out, and some circled. It covered the full wall of what had been the Captain's ready room, then wrapped around to the aft wall, then continued on the viewing wall made of transparent aluminum. It was evident that it had been a considerable problem, and it would take a genius or a madman to understand the calculations and computations.
Fiona McCray was a bit of both.
As she looked over what might appear to be insane scribblings, she recognized some data, not others, but it eventually became clear what was being constructed here. True to her word, Char was working to figure it all out. They had won their freedom from Starfleet, and now with time and resources, she had spent the night devoting herself to what was apparently her first priority- fulfilling her promise to the diminutive Scot to try to get them back where they belonged, so that she would not miss twenty years of her family's lives and put them through the heartbreak that her death had caused them.
Fiona looked over the scattered scribblings and raised an eyebrow "What's all this then?" she queried.
Pinching the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger, Charybdis sighed and waved her free hand absently at the wall of calculations. "Oh, you know... detailed quantum mechanics. The Enterprise accomplished it with a slingshot effect around the sun, wherein the warp field is modified to become more penetrative. I understand the principles and I'm confident that I can duplicate the effect, but it involves a full starship's mass. Even with these warp shuttles it would be nigh miraculous for us to survive the trip in one of them, and I'm uncertain if we could achieve sufficient speed given the lesser mass to accomplish it."
The former engineer blinked a couple of times and tilted her head sideways, fascinated by the numbers and theory.
"The only alternative that I can see is to take a Constitution class back in time... there are a few that have not been refitted and updated, so if we wiped the memory banks of future events then it might not disrupt the time/space continuum too much, but even so, a duplicate of a vessel that already exists would likely be problematic. We have the Victory of course, but she would be twenty years ahead of her time, and that would definitely change history significantly."
With one hand the statuesque Starfleet officer stroked the rounded curve of the viewing window. Fiona could see she was already growing fond of the mighty vessel... Charybdis was nothing if not sentimental. "Stealing this ship from the future and returning it to the past would be wrong, Fi... for so many reasons... but..."
It was obvious that the comely captain was caught on the horns of a dilemma. On the one hand, she had given her word, and to her that was sacred, particularly to a friend. On the other hand, she had responsibilities... to Starfleet, to her crew and to the vessel herself, which oddly enough Fiona understood.
The engineer was reasonably certain that at this moment she held their destiny in her own hands... if she asked, her friend would offload the crew, make the calculations and on her mutineering orders Selune would slingshot the state of the art starship around Sol and hurl them back in time... and given the extensive calculations she could see, most likely with a healthy degree of accuracy, placing them back if not exactly then awfully close to when they came from.
Or if she gave the word, the newly-minted captain would shelve the plan and proceed, charting a course for them in the future in which they had found themselves unexpectedly thrust, making the best of the situation and validating the faith that Starfleet Command had placed in her.
Never one to mince words, Fiona McCray dropped down onto one of the two chairs in the room and asked " Are ye oot oov yer ever loovin pointy eared mind?" She shook her head " No... joost... no. Poot all this away an' stop it reet now," she glared across the room for a moment.
"Jaysus Char, I appreciate tha effort, boot goin back in time joost to spare me and mine a bit of tears is joost... a loovely insane jesture. I love ya fer tha thought auld girl, really I do boot... have ye stopped tae consider thet maybe we survived thet explosion and got sent here for a reason?"
Leaning forward she continued. "Aye... I feel out oov place and it's a bit strained at home boot we'll adjust, we McCrays always bounce back, it's a matter oov family pride. I'll get oover it, joost give me some time tae adjust and find my footing. I kin do it Char," the small woman's words were earnest.
"Have ye stopped tae think aboot the amount oov good our accident has caused already?" she asked quietly.
The scientist cleared it of marker pens and erasers then flopped down in the other simple temporary chair that she had appropriated for her use and sighed. "Yes... and according to the Temporal Prime Directive, All Starfleet personnel are strictly forbidden from directly interfering with historical events and are required to maintain the timeline and prevent history from being altered. I know, I know... but... Yuna... she's so sad, her life was altered so poorly by our leaving. Your mother, all of that time spent in the stockade... you, your whole family... Selune is just even more withdrawn so I can't tell how this is affecting her."
"I promised that I would find a way to fix it," she said quietly. "It isn't the best possible solution, but I found a way."
Fiona leaned forward, her elbows on her knees " Alreet... bravo... ye've kept yer word. Ye've found a way.... Now unfind it," she said firmly. "Christ Char, I love Dottie tae bits boot she had a choice oov how her stars were charted. Her current situation is of her own making. Wuid things have been different if we hadn't had the accident... maybe so, maybe not," she shrugged. "She has a choice now. Start livin' in tha here and now or keep blaimin tha past. Trills live long lives. She can shape tha hell oop and make her way... and stop usin the excuse oov us not bein there tae boot her in tha arse."
"Mum made her choices too. She knew precisely the risks when she went on her rampage and she's accepted tha karma. She wouldna do a thing differently knowin' what she knows now. She got her pound oov flesh and she's at peace with it. Me and mine will adjust. The clan's walked through fire before and come oot tha stronger for it. As for Selune... give her time tae find her feet. We're all joost floundering for a bit. I'll wager she'll be fine"
As the fiery-haired spitfire spoke, Charybdis was reminded of the very first time they had met, and how struck she was by how decisive the woman seemed. On or off, black or white- her moral compass never wavered, she trusted her own judgement implicitly, and she either liked you or she didn't... that was Fiona McCray. A smile slowly spread across her face, and when the first officer had finished, the smile turned into a put-upon smirk.
"I'm being an idiot, aren't ? A sentimental idiot, but still an idiot."
"Absolutely daft as a march cow in a plum field," Fiona said with a nod. " I appreciate tha gesture boot... Jaysus Christ, woman... get oover yerself!"
That got her a raised eyebrow. "Oh sure, I go to all this trouble to figure out how to bend the laws of time and space for you and now it's 'get over yourself?' Well that's a fine way to act!" Char couldn't even manage mock indignation without smiling and shaking her head.
"And who was it who told me tae kick her in tha seat oov tha pants when she was bein daft?" Fiona's expression was pious. "Joost doin me job."
"And doing it well. All right, boldly forward it is, and I will forget about reverse. Play the hand, perhaps we're supposed to be here, pioneer spirit, make our own beds, euphemism, euphemism. I'll get a work crew in here to paint over and clean all of this up and forget about it." She stood and tugged down on her uniform jacket. "And yes, Fiona... this is, in point of fact, your job. You may just have saved the spacetime continuum from one sentimental soft-headed scientist. Thank you."
"Eh... all in a days work" Fiona shrugged one shoulder. "Next time give me suimthin harder... like makin sense oot oov thet idiot Herod's filing system." She rubbed the bridge of her nose, "I've been goin oover tha manifests and... Jaysus it looks like he was skimmin oot oov every department."
"Fantastic. Well, that does give me fair warning of what to expect from the department heads today in our meetings... they will all have shortages, lack of supplies and manpower and morale will be at below rock bottom. Well, if the job was easy they wouldn't have sent us..."
"Aye... pretty mooch. It's goin tae be angry villagers with pitchforks an torches. Don't expect mooch in tha way oov cooperation until they get a feel for ya." Her friend heaved a sigh, "they've been pretty sorely used Char. " She handed her ever present PDD across the distance. "Look at these disciplinary reports... tha sheer frick volume oov them is... staggering. Moost oov tha charges are total shite."
"The man canned his XO for being ahead oov him in tha bloody chow line!"
The first officer gave a small stretch, "Speaking oov chow...have ye eaten anything since ye came on board?" She snapped her finger, "Oh thets another thing... we need to overhaul the hydroponic farms. He... well... lets joost say they aren't nutritionally balanced."
Rubbing her hand over her face, Charybdis smoothed out the few wayward hairs of her bangs that were fighting her new hairstyle and tended to spring up over her forehead now. "No, I haven't... I pulled the all-nighter with this, and I have a full day of meetings scheduled... I spent yesterday trying to be gentle about it and realized they come when I call, so I'm not bothering to ask for 'convenient times'. They need to be heard and they need to meet me, look me in the eye and get a gauge on me... you too, but I assume you're still busy saving me from a mountain of paperwork. From what I have seen going across your PDD it would take a miracle for this vessel to launch operationally in five months, let alone three weeks."
The XO's grin was puckish. "Oh ye oov little faith. You asked for a miracle... I bring you Clan McCray and its contacts. I plan tae lean on tha shipyard monkeys till they squeal fer mercy. Click on tha requisitions tab loovey... I need yer signature on me forms... then I kin go and kick sum arse and send you a sammich... not an arse sammich. I was thinkin ham and cheese with a salad on tha side... ya canna Captain if ya fall on yer butt frum hunger."
Chuckling, Char reviewed the requisitions with disbelief, authorizing them at high speed. "Unbelieveable. I suspect Siivas may have a few as well, I'll forward them. And you are right, I will need some blood sugar to deal with today- if you can make that ham and cheese sandwich a cheeseburger I might just be able to bear up under today's assault... oh, and a pot of coffee please." The comely captain tapped out a few additional items and added a few requisition forms of her own.
"Low priority for mine, but I really could use the workbench I've indicated in here... I'm planning on trying to solve a particularly difficult and classified project and I will need some computing power for simulations in here. Meanwhile I plan to hold my meetings for today in the enlisted mess on Deck Eleven... open that door and let them air their grievances and show I'm not planning to hide behind a lot of rules. Speaking of which, I'll be overturning most of the disciplinary reports for the past six months... I'll get the department heads and Yuna to tag anything that's substantiated, and anything else I am throwing out and wiping off their records. I'll not have these people's careers maligned for one man's temperamental vanity."
"I'll make it so," Fiona said as she hopped to her feet. "I'll set oop tha mess fer meetins while I'm duin there. Coffee - tea - water... the simple courtesies. Might as well have them start gettin used tae decency again."
She gave her friend a grin and a salute on her way out the door, PDD tucked under her arm. She moved like she was marching off to battle.
The renegade Romulan masquerading as a Vulcan who was now legitimately a Starfleet starship captain looked around the room at her labors, the equations that she had spent half the night constructing to hurl her friends back home and change history back to the course it might have followed had they participated in it. In truth she was relieved- she did not want to return to the past, for it held nothing for her. Whereas the future was bright and filled with promise.
A work crew would paint over her equations today, wiping them away as if they had never been, though of course she would remember them flawlessly. But she would move forward secure in the belief that the past was there for a reason, just as she and her friends were here in the future for a reason as well. She remembered a quote from the academy, from a comparative literature class she had actually enjoyed which seemed quite appropriate.
"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves."