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Old Ghosts, New Opportunities.

Posted on Sat Aug 28th, 2021 @ 5:10am by Lieutenant Osher Shouwei

Mission: Namesake

Osher listened with half an ear as the crew of the Rigorous reported Doomsday's progress. Across the galaxy...across the universe, really, the laws of physics were being twisted into logic pretzels and entire star systems and sentients were being wiped out by gods. No one knew what had set the Q off, other than it seemed that perhaps there were other nigh-omnipotent beings, perhaps even from other planes of existence, and that the universe was simply not big enough for all of them.

And this lab might have been the epicenter of the chaos.

Doctor Huli and her staff were all laying about as puddles of goo. The true horror was Osher's tricorder registered that they were still alive. Commander Beab-a Betazoid-had taken one look around his dark eyes wide with horror, and before Osher could do anything he had calmly taken out his phaser and blew his own head off. Osher could only imagine what the mental cries of a hundred anguished beings must have felt like to the XO's mind.

"Beab, report," Captain Zimmer said over the communicator. The way he kept his voice so calm was quite remarkable, Osher thought.

"Commander Beab is dead, sir," Osher replied, matter of fact, "I advise you keep all telepaths up there.

There was a pause, then, "Understood, lieutenant. Progress?"

Osher glanced at Shiri, who glanced back at him. With a nod she touched her own communicator, "Captain I believe the staff here opened a doorway to another universe and some...things came through. Beings of immense power. And I believe that our Q are fighting them, like antibodies fighting off a virulent plague. From what we have seen the beings possess the Q's power but not their intellect. And I am not sure if that makes them more or less of a threat."

"Understood, lieutenant. Any chance of sending them back with that equipment? Because it looks like at least one of them is coming back."

"One moment, sir," Shiri signed off and turned to Osher, "There's no way I can send them back. Our only hope is the Q and by the time they win this battle-if they win this battle-the universe will be in such a sorry state that I'm not sure if any sentients will still be alive. But this-"

She waved at some sort of array on the floor, a platform large enough to hold perhaps two people.

"-is where they came through. And with the notes here I've determined we can travel to a parallel universe, one almost exactly like our own."

"We, as in you and me," Osher replied, his face falling at the implications, "You are talking about abandoning our crew."

"Our crew are about to die," Shiri replied soberly, "This whole world is about to be obliterated and Rigorous will be wiped out as an afterthought."

Their comms chirped, Osher was about to touch his when Shiri touched his hand.

"Osher," she whispered, "Do you love me?"

Without hesitation he replied, "I love you."

"Do you trust me?"

"I trust you."

"Then get your ass down there and get on the platform. I will join you once I keyed in the sequence."

Almost robotically Osher obeyed, finding the ladder that led him to the lab below. He hesitated, then approached the platform and stepped onto it. It was then that he could sense it, feel it. An entity of immense power and appetite, a child-god ready to smash his toys. Osher turned and looked up at Shira, she smiled down at him. As always he felt something catch his chest when he looked at her and not for the first time he wondered how someone so intelligent could find anything of worth in someone like him.

"I'm keying the sequence in now," she called down, "It will be a universe almost exactly like ours," she paused, "Osher."

"Yes?"

"You remembered when you lamented that sometimes you felt like the unluckiest man in universe? All the trials you had endured, how tired you felt?"

Osher would never have admitted that to anyone but Shira. He just nodded.

"All those injuries, all those horrors, a lesser man would have cracked. I think you are the luckiest man alive for being able to survived so much," he smiled became sad, "And I am the luckiest woman who had ever lived for knowing you."

"Shira-!" A force field snapped up about the platform, Osher stared at the shimmering translucence in growing horror.

"The platform only has enough energy for one, Osher Shouwei. I'm sorry, you are going to have to somehow live without me."

The roof of the facility tore open and a thing of horrific light, of unimaginable shape flowed down. Shira turned, looked up, and made an ancient gesture of defiance with her right hand's middle finger.

"You don't get him!" she screamed at it as her other hand slapped the console, "You go to hell-!"

Osher screamed as the world went away...

And he awoke on the cot, body coated in sweat, his hands shaking as the all-to-real nightmare played out in his head again. He should have died. He should be dead. His wife should have been on that platform, telling him what buttons to press. But she was determined to save him, to face down a horror mortal brains could not comprehend.

He felt so unworthy of that level of love. And not for the first time he felt so ashamed for laying in a cave, wasting the life his wife had saved.

He slid out of bed, feeling the familiar aches. After morning stretches he prepared a cup of coffee, using beans he grew himself on the east side of the hill. After his morning jog he would perhaps head down to the creek and do some fishing, and afterwards-

The alarm beeped, he frowned and accessed the security system. The screen showed a pair of Starfleet officers standing outside the cabin he never used. One began to knock when the other, a young man who looked like he had just graduated from the academy, gently grabbed his wrist, motioned for him to stand to the side of the door, then he himself took position on the other side and with his hand on his holstered phaser gently knocked.

Nice, Osher thought with an approving nod. He hesitated, then activated the comm system.

"What do you want?" he inquired, his voice coming from a speaker over the door.

"Lieutenant Shouwei?" the first man inquired, "Captain Vir Traeger. I have come to see if you wish to return to Starfleet."

Osher was about to say 'no' and sign off. Then he remembered the dream. Shira.

"Five kilometers North of you there is a cave," he said, "I will disable the traps. There will be fresh coffee at the end of your journey. I hope you like it black."

As Osher signed off he sniff his arm pit. Perhaps he had enough time for a quick shower in the nearby water fall before his guests arrived...

 

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