These are the voyages of the USS Burketown. Her mission: to discover strange new worlds, meet new civilisations and to carry out her Federation orders despite being cobbled together from two different vessels, having lost its Captain and being run by a skeleton crew.
Will a glimpse into the future bring a sense of hope, or a reason to fear?
Churning, rolling, the dreamscape shifted around three humanoid figures. The eight-limbed purple creature named 421 stood by her colleague, Dr Lojika, who still wore her Starfleet Medical uniform, even in this place of memory and dream. Beside them stood a tall male figure, with the uniform and face of Captain Darcy, but both knew it was just something else using his shape. The real Captain Darcy was unconscious on board the USS Burketown.
A scene emerged from the swirling dreamstuff around them. They found themselves on an unfamiliar planet amongst a collection of Federation medical tents. The sound of bombardment echoed in the distance as Darcy bid them enter a nearby tent.
Inside, an older version of Dr Lojika was performing triage on wounded soldiers. Try as she might, the wounded continued pouring in and Lojika was struggling to cope.
One soldier in particular seemed to grab the attention of the Doctor as she assessed his wounds. It was a Bajoran man, his face badly scarred. He was unresponsive, but he bore no other signs of battle injuries. The medical readout above his head showed his lifesigns were dangerously low.
“That scarring,” present-day Lojika said to 421, “It’s a symptom of late stage Bajoran plague! He isn’t wounded but he’ll die for sure. But, wait, what is she doing?”
As they watched, future Lojika was furtively attaching a strange medical device to the Bajoran soldier’s arm. As the machine activated, the lifesigns on the biobed began to normalise.
“He’s recovering? How? There’s no cure. I must see!” present day Lojika said, rushing forward to get a closer look. The vision faded as she moved closer, but Lojika had seen enough to put it all together.
“My own blood…” she said. “I was infusing him with my own blood. Did my exposure on the medical station leave some form of antibodies in my system?”
“Your mentor was half-Bajoran,” 421 commented. “She suffered the scarring, but lived. Could the disease have somehow jumped species to you?”
“It might just be possible…”
“Can you heal the Bajoran people?” the figure of Darcy asked, while the mist solidified around them.
Now they were in a sloping, dark tunnel. Something was moving forward through the darkness in front of them, and they followed it onwards.
As the tunnel emerged into a large cave, they saw they were following another version of 421. The cave they were in had a very unique structure – the dome above them was made from twelve-sided panels, and a strange form of writing covered their surfaces. Each panel bore a different mark in the strange script.
421 recognised it from the tool that Hiktok Mu had stolen from her, the so-called Spanner from the Sky.
“Can you read any of it?” Dr Lojika asked.
“Some,” the engineer replied. “I see Stars, Universe, Peace…”
As the trio watched, future 421 approached the panel marked Peace and reached out with a furry hand. The panel reacted to its touch, the script blazing to light before the panel receded and another passageway was revealed. But before 421 could see what lay beyond the glowing passageway, they were engulfed in another wave of light and found themselves back in the cave with Hiktok Mu. The figure of Darcy was gone.
Hiktok Mu stood poised, still gesturing at the Orb nearby. It seemed that only a few short moments had passed. “What did the prophets show you?” the Priest asked.
“Many things,” Lojika said, breathless. “But first – your pilot. He died from the Bajoran plague! I need to scan you, to see if you’re…”
Before she could finish, Hiktok Mu grabbed at his chest. Something heavy fell from beneath his robes and clattered to the ground. It was the Spanner from the Sky, which he had stolen from 421 a decade ago. The priest’s face screwed up in agony and he fell to one knee, struggling to support himself, before collapsing completely on the stone floor.
Was Hiktok Mu infected with the dreaded Bajoran Plague? Would Dr Lojika be able to help him? And what would regaining the spanner mean to 421? Find out next time!