Continuities » Sandboxes » like a hole in space
Jul 24, 2017 6:32 PM
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It's a routine little hop between a planet and its moon, right around the top of the range for the standard-issue subwarp shuttlecraft. This one's got dilithium onboard, in addition to the usual cargo of restaurants' samplers and perfumes and objets d'art and handcrafted miscellanea, which means that local regulations require a minimum crew, which in turn means that Jean and Zari are getting a ride on short notice for the trouble of waving phaser licenses at the pilot. (Zari's is even legitimate.)

It is, in other words, the outer-space equivalent of driving down the block to the corner store. There's no warrants out for their arrest under these identities, no explosives onboard, not even any space debris in the route. It would be utterly absurd for anything to go wrong.

So, of course, something does.

 

"What is that?" the pilot asks.

"I really feel like it's your job to know the answer to that," Zari says absently, not looking up from her PADD.

"No, really," he says. "I've never seen anything like that before. It's like ... it's like a hole in space."

 

They go through it. Of course they go through it. They try to steer around it but apparently the hole in space has a powerful gravitational field -- despite not having existed two weeks ago the last time someone flew this route -- and the tiny one-man shuttle isn't built to escape it. No matter how often the pilot tries to tack or overload the engines, they're sucked, irresistibly, in.

 

It's purple inside, and loud, and other things which outer space really oughtn't to be.

When they come out, the pilot has turned into a salamander.

 

"Huh," Jean says, looking between the lizard in the pilot's chair and the unfamiliar starscape.

"Yeah," Zari agrees. "You get on sending out a distress signal, I'll see if I can learn how to fly a shuttle in the next ... eight hours."

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Eventually:

"This is the Captain Isabella T'Mir of the Federation survey vessel Prometheus, what is the nature of your distress?"
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He's using his best Pan-American Standard accent for the airwaves; this is not the time to be making a point about national pride and alienating possible rescuers.

"Prometheus, this is the Germain, Federation shuttlecraft. We've passed through a spatial anomaly, our pilot is out of commission, we have no trained pilots onboard."

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"Are you in immediate medical or engineering danger?"
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...the salamander is probably not getting any worse.

"No. We have eight hours of oxygen. I don't know if the anomaly presents an ongoing threat."

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"Can you get out of - passthrough range - of the anomaly? How many aboard?"
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"Two passengers and the pilot. Possibly, but--" he glances at Zari for confirmation; she nods -- "neither of us know how to fly the shuttle and it's not sufficiently straightforward to guess at, especially when right next to an anomaly, the only thing labeled obviously enough was the emergency brake."

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"Can you patch me a view of the controls?"
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"Possibly, one moment--" murmuring to Zari -- "let me know if this comes through..."

 

 

Those are some outdated controls. As in, a hundred years out of date.

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Where did they even get this ship? Well. She can identify the buttons that go in directions and tell them what to poke to get away from the thing.
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Zari is perfectly competent to poke buttons according to instructions.

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And when they are safely clear of the thing: "I can get close enough to attempt to transport you aboard now, if you're willing to abandon the shuttlecraft at least for the time being."
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"Extremely willing. Thank you very much."

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The Prometheus approaches. "We'll be in close quarters but I have enough food and fuel to get us comfortably to Betazed or Elion 6, whichever you prefer. Could you each stand to the immediate right of the pilot's seat in sequence so I can grab you?"
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"...yes, but at this juncture I should probably mention -- I have not been trying to conceal information from you but it was a little implausible to mention up front -- our pilot seems to have been. Transformed. Into a salamander."

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"...well. If one of you could. Pick up the salamander. I probably have something a salamander can eat. And maybe the Betazoids can tell if they're feeling as salamandery as they look."
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"Yes, that sounds like a plan."

Rapid silent communication between Jean and Zari; Jean wins the argument.

Zari stands next to the pilot's seat.

"Ready when you are."

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"Transporting in five, four, three, two, one -"

Transport.
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Zari: is transported.

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"Hello. Next passenger, let me know when you're ready."
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He scoops up the salamander and takes Zari's spot. "With the -- pilot, ready."

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"Five, four, three, two, one," here he is. "Welcome to the Prometheus."
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"Hello! I'm Jean, this is Zari, this is Gustavo who is currently a salamander, thank you very much for your timely rescue."

He mysteriously has a French accent now.

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"Pleased to meet you. You may call me Isabella or T'Mir, whichever you prefer, and of course you're welcome. I think given the salamander anomaly I will not finish mapping this sector, Starfleet can handle that." She fiddles with her controls. "Do you need anything?"
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"...I am curious as to where we are, given that we were in a mapped sector before passing through the anomaly, and if you happen to have a suitable container on hand I could put Gustavo in that, but nothing urgent, no."

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"While his ongoing sapience is ambiguous I don't think I want to put him in anything very small, but I suppose we should at least be sure we are not in danger of stepping on him. I can consolidate some of the food and get a box." She gets up to do that once the course is laid in. "The sector is numbered Alpha 002-78-9092-12001 but more relevantly we're a few days from Betazed."
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