The End?

The End? was a mission carried out by Deep Space 101 between stardates 12.0602 and 12.1019.

Senior staff

CO: Captain Alyza
FO: Commander Zachary Michael Hogan
CNS/a2O: Lieutenant-Commander Pol Canon
CEO: Lieutenant JG Shawn Day
ASO: Lieutenant JG Dryden Hakon
OPS: Ensign Jenever Vana Tel'drak
CMO: Ensign Aniketos

Mission summary

written by Ruud Visser

It is stardate 12.0602. Except for Captain Alyza, DS101's senior staff is away to the Hetgarot Conference on the moon of Noo'ach. Things are quiet on the station, but that is all about to change when John Dennett, amateur archaeologist, historian, and collector, arrives at the Bajoran Shrine. Over the past time, he has studied ancient texts from a number of planets, including Earth and Bajor, and he has reached a conclusion: the universe is at an end.

He proclaims this in front of the Shrine, but very few people pay attention to him. Still, he manages to convince four people: Hodges (the station's drunk, and probably just following for the attention), Nat (a young Bajoran man thinking that perhaps Dennett was serious), Fran Turan (a female human looking for something to do on her vacation), and Ui Tolar (a Bolian male enlisted in Starfleet). They follow Dennet to his quarters and discuss what their group—which Dennett has named the New Universal Order—should do to spread the word. They have just agreed that they should build some kind of temple, when a sixth person joins. It is Mary Lofton, ex-girlfriend of DS101's CMO, with her baby son Andre. After hearing Dennett talk in front of the Bajoran Shrine, she started thinking that he might have a point, and decided to join the group to learn more.

Later that day, assistant-CSO Vance Seelbinder visits Captain Alyza. He informs her about a message from Bajor, sent by public relations. The message says that the 'mythical Orb of the End' has reportedly been stolen. This tickles the Bajoran/Vulcan CO and she accompanies the security officer to the Bajoran Shrine, where Vedek Hylan meets them. He tells them the Orb of the End does not exist, but he knows of an apocryphal text that mentions it. Seelbinder manages to get a copy of the text from Bajor and passes it on to Captain Alyza. The text reads:

"The orb will glow, time will cease to flow;
Soon the orb will flare, nothing will be left there;
Now the orb seethes, for the dwelling that breathes
Out among the stars—whelps, bruises, scars,
The universe will break, not bend:
And that will be the Orb of the End."

The next day, Alyza discusses the definition of life with Seelbinder. Both knowing that DS101 is partially organic, they realize that "the dwelling that breathes/ Out among the stars" could very well be the station. Alyza concludes that the Orb is already aboard or on its way. Unknown to them, John Dennett is reading the same text. Inside the case he has on his desk, is a Bajoran Orb.

For Alyza, normal life continues and she welcomes Mary Lofton aboard and checks her orders. When Lofton has left, the CO rereads the Bajoran prophecy mentioning the Orb of the End. She finds another interesting part:

"One missing, vanished in mist will appear and aid
The one from two worlds, of Bajor.
Time frozen, but not for all;
The key in the hands of one shimmering."

"And then will all be clear
To all who follow
The one who proclaims the end."

The captain ponders about the first part, and thinks of the energy being Tinkerbell, formerly counsellor on DS101. Tink would certainly fit the description "shimmering". Alyza also realizes that she herself might be the one the text is referring to. After all, she is "from two worlds, of Bajor".

The next day, Crewman Mary Lofton visits the captain to tell her about Dennett and his New Universal Order. Not knowing that Alyza already had the prophecy's texts, she also tells about them, adding that the captain might be the one referred to.

On the mall level, Dennett is trying to gain more followers, without much success. Among the people walking past him is Kari, Captain Alyza's sister and soon-to-be counsellor on the USS Nightingale. Dennett notices her and immediately relates her to the prophecy text. He grabs her arm, but Kari barely responds. She gets images of a mind longing for the end of the universe, and silently wishes for some guidance. She removes his lock on her arm and continues on her way.

Meanwhile, LtCmdr. Pol Canon is called back from the Hetgarot conference to DS101 because he will be reassigned. He spends the next three days doing his CGT and prepares for his new position: first officer aboard the new medical vessel USS Nightingale. Reinforcement of the senior staff arrives in the form of Lt<jg> Lyte Roan, who has been reassigned to DS101 as the new chief science officer after the drydocking of the USS Artemis.

After the conference has ended, the Hikaru heads back home, where Captain Alyza informs her senior staff about what happened when they were away. She sends everyone to work on gathering more information about John Dennett and his followers, and on the Orb itself. Archaeology specialist Dryden Hakon and CSciO Lyte Roan head to the science lab where they spot a mob of not-so-friendly people. Shouting slogans like "the end is near" and "Dennett was right", the mob comes after them. Dryden and Lyte start running and manage to escape the mad crowd. They report back to the Captain and discuss their findings so far.

CMO Aniketos is working on creating a personality profile of Dennett and his followers. Seeing the name of his girlfriend-for-one-night on his computer screen evokes such heavy emotions that he is unable to control them. His Klingon part rises up at the anger and he starts smashing his office to pieces. Dr. Morookian is able to sedate him before anyone else gets hurt. When Aniketos wakes up again, Captain Alyza is there to ask him about what happened. He nearly looses control again, but with the help of his CO, he manages.

Later that day, he wonders about the cause of his outburst. Thinking about the possible cause, his best guess is that the Orb is somehow responsible. After running some experiments, he finds out that a Vulcan/Betazoid crewmember has also been suffering from lack of emotional control. To get some answers, Aniketos and his staff begin questioning a large number of other people from a variety of races. Each interview supports the assumption that all Vulcans and Vulcan hybrids have recently experienced loss of emotional control, except for Vulcan/Bajoran hybrids. This also seems to support the hypothesis that the Orb is the cause of it all. They also find that the mind manipulation is indirectly caused by a restricted group of telepaths, each of them a follower of John Dennett.

After work, he decides that now is probably the best time to look up his ex-girlfriend. Upon seeing her, he looses control again and bursts out in apologies. To his surprise, Mary is no longer angry with him, and she comforts him. After a good talk and a night together, they decide to continue together again.

The station's new chief of operations, seventeen-years-old Lt<jg> Cady, arrives aboard and reports to Captain Alyza. Next to visit the CO is Ens. Aniketos, who receives a promotion to Lieutenant JG. While continuing as CMO, he also becomes the station's acting second officer, pending CGT.

The next day, a meeting of Dennett and his followers is being held. Mary no longer believes all of Dennett's claims, but she does attend the meeting in the hopes of learning more about the Orb. Ambassador Grayson returns to the station and, upon hearing about the Orb, tells that the threat is very real. Captain Alyza orders her crew to seize the Orb from Dennett & Co. before it can do any harm. CSciO Lyte pinpoints the location and CSO/FO Hogan takes a security team down.

Unfortunately, they arrive only seconds after Dennett opens the Orb casing, causing the station to start rocking violently. A lot of damage is done and a lot of people are injured before Hogan is able to close the casing again. Just when everyone thinks it is over, the Orb box falls to the ground and the Orb melts away into the deck plating, emitting a bright white light all over the station. About a quarter of the station's population, including Captain Alyza, disappears from the station, but both Tinkerbell (an energy being) and a voice from the walls (possibly Taavek's) say the captain is safe.

In the console room, young Lt<jg> Cady is forced to take command with the CO vanished, the FO/CSO interrogating Dennett and the CSciO down to help Hogan. The situation seems to have stabilized and repairs start. The newly commissioned USS Nightingale coincidentally arrives at this time and offers her help. Help also arrives for Cady, in the form of the station's new second officer, who feels he will be of better use in the console room than in sickbay.

Cady finds a way to restore 40% of their power and Aniketos grants him permission to go down to deck 37 to repair a ruptured conduit. What Cady does not mention is the fact that the area he is going to, is flooded with theta radiation. He manages to repair the conduit and collapses only seconds later.

Sensing that something is wrong, LtCmdr. Pol Canon, DS101's former CNS/a2O and currently the Nightingale's FO, beams directly over to Cady's location. When Cady no longer responds to his hails, Lt<jg> Aniketos goes down as well, only to see the OPS officer has already been rescued. They take him to sickbay, where the CMO is able to treat the injuries.

During a staff meeting on the Nightingale, CNS Kari, Alyza's sister, informs her crewmates about the Orb. She suggests that, as told in the prophecy, the people that have vanished from the station could be "frozen in time". Unknown to them, the people in question find themselves in an environment where time actually seems to be standing still. They head up to the console room in order to get some organised action, but they are not successful in finding a solution.

Back in 'real' space, Dennett is not willing or is not able to share any information about where the captain and others have gone. Together with the Nightingale, work is started on adapting a probe to scan beyond the normal space-time continuum, hoping to find some answers that way.

After another shockwave from the Orb, Pol Canon suddenly finds himself aboard the USS Zahal, a ship he has once served on. He is called to meet with the ship's CO, LtCmdr. Batya Bitzalel. Captain Alyza is there as well. During their conversation, he learns that in an alternate timeline, the Zahal discovered the Orb of the End. After the discovery, a rift appeared in the space-time continuum, revealing four different timelines. In one of them, DS101 would be destroyed. In two other ones, the entire Amgine sector, respectively the entire universe would be destroyed. In the fourth, only a few people aboard the Zahal would die.

Starfleet Command ordered LtCmdr. Bitzalel to take her ship into the rift in order to safe DS101, but she disobeyed. All three of them have now returned from the future, getting a chance to do the right thing this time. However, Batya still does not want to enter the rift, claiming that changing the timeline could have unforeseen effects. Alyza intends to destroy the Orb the moment they find it.

Meanwhile, three members of the Nightingale's senior staff take out in a shuttle to DS101 to actually do what they came for: take aboard a vaccine. On their way back to the ship, a small unidentified ship attacks them, and the three officers are only barely beamed out in time. As Captain Nemec orders a pursuit course, the attackers cloak and vanish from sensors.

On the Zahal, the sensors have picked up the Orb. Instead of destroying it, Batya orders Pol Canon and the Zahal's CEO to take a shuttle and bring the Orb aboard. Knowing that placing the Orb inside a heavy force field is exactly what they should not do, Batya sends Pol back to the science labs as soon as she hears about the force field. Pol is only seconds too late, and sees the Orb flaring up at the activation of the field. Using his strong mental abilities, he is able to calm the Orb, but he dies in the progress.

On the station, a2O Aniketos talks to FO Hogan about finding a way to get the missing crew back. Because of the indications of Taavek's involvement, he suggests that he may find answers inside the computer core. Knowing that no one would survive that, Hogan denies the request. To his surprise, the Curie's CO contacts him an hour later to inform him that Aniketos is headed for the computer core. Acting quickly, Hogan sends a security team to intercept the doctor. When they find him, he seems very absent, as if he has only just regained control of his mind.

He is escorted to the brig, where he later talks with Cmdr. Hogan. He has honestly no idea what has happened, and he has no memory of trying to get into the computer core. Referring to his recent absentmindedness, Hogan suggests that Aniketos may have been possessed. If that is true, the presence has now disappeared from his mind. Assigning a security guard to him, Hogan grants the doctor's request to go to sickbay to run some tests and get some answers.

Their hopes are answered, as Aniketos indeed finds evidence of an alien presence in his mind at the time of his heading for the core. The presence is now gone, however. Hogan connects these results to the attack on the Nightingale's shuttle, theorizing that these aliens, while leaving the station, attacked the shuttle.

Just as the last time Batya Bitzalel experienced the events with the Orb, the Zahal encounters a tear in subspace. Disobeying (again) Starfleet's orders and ignoring Alyza's pleas, she does not enter the rift, effectively causing the future destruction of DS101 and possibly more. While on their way to an escape pod, Batya realizes things are already happening differently from the last time. Alyza suspects her presence is the reason for the changes, and convinces Batya that they can safe DS101—and Pol—if they use the Orb to go back in time once again.

Acting in EVA suits from their escape pod, Alyza gets to the Orb and opens the casing. With a bright flash of light, they travel back in time, to the bridge of the Zahal, shortly before they would find the Orb. This time, however, the Orb is sitting on a table on the bridge. Not much later, a tear in subspace appears. Compared to the last time, a fifth timeline has been added, in which only a few injuries will occur, no death and destruction. Batya orders the ship into the rift, heading for this new timeline.

After scanning a representative part of the station's population, Dr. Aniketos comes to the conclusion he has not been the only one that has been possessed. In fact, the results show a familiar trend: only Vulcans and Vulcan hybrids have suffered from these possessions, the exact same group of people that had been losing their emotional control. Those symptoms had been attributed to the Orb of the End, but it now seems they were caused by a group of alien beings.

Unknown to everyone, a ship of these aliens has returned to get the Orb, something which they have been trying to do all the time. One of them beams aboard the station and makes his way to the Orb undetected. As the Orb dematerialises, his ship explodes, leaving the alien alone on the station.

Just as a party beams over from the Nightingale to set up a rescue mission for Pol Canon, the Zahal enters the new timeline inside the rift, thereby hitting a big reset button. All reports and memories of the Orb have instantly disappeared, but the events of the past few days have stayed the same for the most part. DS101 has suffered quite extensive damage from a random catastrophe, and the Nightingale arrived coincidentally just in time to lend a hand. Repairs are now close to complete and the Nightingale prepares her departure. The mind-possessing aliens are never to be heard from again.

However, not *all* memories of the Orb have been erased, for there remains one person to remember everything she experienced: LtCmdr. Batya Bitzalel. Captain Alyza and LtCmdr. Pol Canon will have to live with a few gaps in their memory, a fate which is obviously much better than the alternative timelines seen in the subspace tear. End well, all well.

Promotions

Ensign Aniketos: promoted to Lieutenant JG and acting second officer

Awards

None

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