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Posted on Sun Jun 23rd, 2019 @ 1:54pm by Admiral Myrkul Sharr & Commander Ame Vovihl & Lieutenant Tadeo Kita & Lieutenant Marcus Eriksson

Mission: Shore Leave: Federation Day
Location: In transit to Earth, 3097
Timeline: Local Time: 00:02

The numbers quickly increased as the crew transported aboard, Sharr stood on the bridge staring at the view screen which showed the entrance to the base they had just stormed. The Clepsydra was cloaked but hovering about a mile above the surface to ensure a quick transport, they couldn’t take any chances and leave anyone or anything behind.

He’d given the order for everyone to be transported board as soon as they exited the facility, the equipment would soon follow. Unusually, the Admiral was a little pale with what had just transpired. He couldn’t quite recall if it had been hundreds, or thousands, of years since his first encounter with that beast, but it was far too soon.

A little short of half an hour and everyone, and everything, had been transported aboard in a show of the crew’s efficiency in executing the order. He was impressed at what they had achieved, especially as they had gone through one of the most traumatic experiences they would encounter so far.

An Ensign handed him a glass, “Sir, the senior staff have been told to be in the conference lounge in an hour, Commander Vovihl, Lieutenant Kita and Lieutenant Eriksson have been told to report to you in ten minutes as requested.” Sharr continued to stare at the view screen as the ship departed the planet to more convenient space to jump, he swirled the glass gently so the blue liquid casually caressed the sides, “Has course been set?” he asked the helm, “Aye sir, Sol System. Time period as you instructed, three days after the Clepsydra’s disappearance.”
“Jump once she is ready” he ordered, he swirled the glass once more before downing it and heading to the ready room to receive the other three officers.

Moments later a slight change in the ships vibration indicated she had jumped from their current time and dimension and would be back in their natural timeline in a few moments. He had just taken a seat when the ship juddered and came to a stop, sighing he listened to the message from the helm, “Sir, just a temporary glitch. The ship fell out of transit in 2396, we will scan and jump in a few moments.”

“Very well, send the report to me, I want to assess the damage to the timeline, if any.”

“Aye, Admiral.”

A few moments later and the three officers arrived in his office, “Welcome, take a seat” he gestured to the sofa’s around, “I am going to hazard a guess you have questions, it is time I tried to answer them. Pun intended, actually.”

Tadeo took to standing off to one side, arms across his chest as he entered. There was a lot the Admiral had to explain himself for. Putting the whole crew at risk, whether they let Winter get away or not, was at the top of the young engineer's pet peeves. He quietly stood, awaiting a question from the others.

As everyone entered he gave a heavy sigh, he'd gone through a bottle of his personal stash before they arrived and it had yet to even start to take the edge off the situation, "I must apologise to you all, to the crew. From the first day of arriving on this ship you have done nothing but clear up other people's shit, then suffering severe losses of crew mates and friends at the hand of a traitor that I failed to capture hundreds of times through his intricate game of hide and seek in the timelines." Sharr looked down, his failure and the current situation weighed on his mind, "So, you deserve answers. Let me give them to you." He took a seat and sat back, attempting to find some sort of comfort, "Winter has been known to us for a long time, he has tried to destroy the Federation and the galactic powers that police the timelines, but this was only his beginning.

"During one of his excursions he encountered a World Engine. The huge floating cube that you saw. They fascinated him and he knew there was something more to them than met his human eye. So he set about researching them and trying to find out what it was, how it worked and even what it was made from. We caught up with him and he evaded capture but could never find another Engine.

"As the years went on, Winter scoured hundreds of sources through countless timelines trying to find the smallest fragment of reference to them and their purpose but he failed to anything, let along find one again. His former desire to cause destruction and chaos was fuelled by something more, a burning need to discover the purpose of this Engine and how he could use it to his advantage.

"It was not until four years ago, in our natural time, that he discovered the location of one. Purely by chance, but before he could develop his plan into something more substantial a version of me from another dimension intercepted the threat neutralising them both." Sharr continued after taking a drink, talking about another version of himself sacrificing his life to stop Winter didn't phase him, or at least, didn't appear to, "However, Winter had already informed another incarnation of himself, one with better prospects at success, of his plans and information. This is the Winter you knew, a one more cunning and cold hearted than the one that was neutralised. He discovered that the Engines are shared throughout time and space, there is only one version of each which anchors reality, like pins in a garment ready to be sewn . These Engines, however, are far more than even he anticipated. They have the power over creation itself, they can reset anything, including all realities, back to the start. They can erase something from history, reforge something a new. A construct of an intelligence trapped between realities, creatures of power and minds that dwarf what you could imagine. Creatures that, through their own desire, both ceased to exist and remain. A shadow from another version of the cosmos that realised their own being was a threat to everything, including themselves. Something needed to guard this eternal machines so they faded into the shadows."

Another sigh before he finished, "That is as much as I can tell you"

"So, are there more?" Marcus asked from the sofa he'd seated himself on, not really intending to ask too many questions. "More Winters...'s? Or more crazy death machines?"

"Yes, there are more Engines. No there is no more Winter, since we left his gooey carcass next to the Engine, it will eradicate him. Each incarnation will be drawn to an Engine and then be erased. A reason I didn't want us there too long, I could feel it. Calling to me, to end everything." He gave a shudder at the thought and the memories attached to the creatures that forged those things.

"This sounds like my worst nightmare," Ame muttered as she took a seat finally feeling like her knees were going to buckle under her. Some of the words he used just didn't belong outside of books and fairy tales.

Tadeo was not as marveled by the thought of a person-ending world engine (or two, three, or more), throughout the systems. He had the exact opposite reaction everyone else did, jaw setting in annoyance. "Do we have any idea who created these?"

"Yes" came a sharp response to the question of their origins, "they are extict, by their own creations and their own design. We don't need to crack the walls of reality and allow that flood to overwhelm us."

"Sir, I'm not worried about cracking walls of reality," Tadeo explained, voice calm. "But if we encounter one again, it might do us well to see if we can find a way to prevent that call. If they called to Winter, and they're after you, then discovering one on our travels again may not be outside of our realm of thought. Nevermind the fact that it almost folded in and decimated the rest of the crew. We should be working to avoid them, not understand them. Clearly they don't want to be understood."

Sharr gave a heavy sigh, "Your enthusiasm to understand is exceptional, and I admire that. But I assure you, they called to Winter specifically for a reason, and once he's been erradicated they will slip out of sync with reality once more until they are need. They are made from the very fabric of reality, forged by creatures outside of it as a series of 'reset' options. Should all of them activate, it will eradicate everything and reset the physical existence back to 'Day 1' as it were. Winter wanted to trigger that."

"Well that's horrifying." Marcus commented. There were forces of unimaginable power in the universe, but this one felt more coldly malevolent than most. "So we got lucky this time, is there anything we can actually do to stop someone trying again?"

"I would think hiding all the information and not telling a soul is a good place to start," Tadeo commented, arms crossing over his chest. "But even our efforts won't thwart someone with enough gusto and resources. But," he continued, holding up a hand, "You would also think that if they're that powerful, they themselves would find a way to not be utilized. Seems like they're already working at it."

Ame listened to the others talking and what had been said the shock written all over her face. "Anyone need something hard to drink?" she said abruptly cutting across the tension that was rising by the second from the news that had just been explained.

Instinctively Sharr pointed to the poorly stocked makeshift drinks cabinet that was in the ready room, "Not a lot in there, but bottom shelf at the back, you'll find a few older bottles. For the special moments we have."

After a careful moment of deep consideration he'd made a decision, "I am going to ask that each of you keep this to yourselves, and out of your reports. If, and when, you are asked by Internal Affairs about Winter, you say that you know nothing and that I was the only one who encountered the body. You know of the body because I informed you of his demise but failed to provide you with any conclusive information other than he was 'dealt with' in a very permanent way. I do not want any of you being dragged through an Internal Affairs investigation more than you have too, and this information is too dangerous to be allowed to float around in the Federation's databases. Even the mystical Section 31" he rolled his eyes as he mentioned that department's name, "cannot get access to this data, and from your responses, I think you understand why."

Marcus exhaled slowly, this was quite the secret to keep between themselves. "Yes sir." He said quietly, rising from his seat.

Ame said nothing but she could understand why it was being asked even if she hated the fact she needed to lie out it in the first place. She just offered a salute with the glass of liquid she now had. She could keep it a secret.

Tadeo wordlessly rose from his own seat. He had a thought of his own, and it seemed he and the Admiral would disagree on multiple subjects. He was not likely to utter anything about a world engine to anyone, not until he had more information. If he never got that information, that was fine. Then no one had to know...

The conversation was interrupted by a flashing light on the Admiral's temporary desk. The room had been sealed when the last officer had arrived and the sensors had been disabled, but in the event of an issue, there was always a way to contact the boss, "It appears our ride is here"

Topping up his glass, which was now full of a dark blue liquid, and to anyone who had ever read a single page of his file, they would know what it was.

Sharr entered the Bridge promptly to be greeted by an older human female, dressed in pristine Timefleet uniform and a ship that wasn't being held together by willpower and space dust alone, "Clepsydra, this is Captain Aishani Nangavaran of the USS Meridian, it is good to find you. Is the ship ready for transit?"

"Good to meet you, Captain. Yes, the Syd is ready to go back home. I think the crew are sick of being down-time and stuck here."

"Very well, be prepared to depart in five minutes. Nangavaran out."

Turning to the crew on the bridge he smiled, "You heard the lady, let's go home"


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