360: Please, Please, Tell Me Now

by Commander Dabin Reece
Concurrent with Clarity: Part Two and The Order of the Day
-=Soundtrack: Is There Something I Should Know by Duran Duran=-

-=Bridge, USS Serendipity=-


Vast, limitless, cold.

The hollow vacuum through which tiny shells called "Starships" carried their fragile crews between minuscule specs of safety called planets.

The Serendipity seemed to be in space, traveling to one of those specs called Vulcan. But, alas she was not.

The ship was in fact trapped in a "bubble", of sorts, in the fabric of space-time. A ruse created by the Sylph to make it appear they were still en route to Vulcan, when in fact they were being held and experimented upon by this new race to the galaxy.

As sophisticated as their bubble was, it was designed to encompass one ship and one ship only. Were a second ship to appear, it would tear through the fragile boundary of the Sylph snare, collapsing subspace around both ships.

This would be bad.

Sylph scientists would have postulated a one in one hundred sixty five million chance of either ship surviving such an occurrence. Acceptable enough odds when you are placing one strip of latinum on the Ferengi Intergalactic MegaBucks. Not so much when you were wagering your existence.

Were the Sylph, who at the moment had their hands full trying to figure out what to do with the ever more baffling Humans and Bajorans, aware of what was happening in the Alchemy Bay, they probably would have been upset.

Had they any idea the Angosian male and Trill female were at the moment preparing to launch said ship to run scans, they most certainly would have intervened to put a stop to it.

Soon enough Rada Dengar and February Grace would complete their preparations to the ship and be on their way... to oblivion... taking the Serendipity with them.

With the Sylph too busy to notice, and the command crew hopelessly tied up trying to resolve all the issues created by the Sylph, that left one person on the ship with the time and clarity of thought to deal with the situation. One person who could find out about the "bubble" and put a stop to the Alchemy's voyage of destruction.

Yes, little did anyone know, it all depended on one person. Everything happening below between the Captain and her beloved crew could all be rendered moot in an instant in one giant, harmful, dangerous and totally sucky explosion that would all leave them dead.

All their fates depended upon the actions of one incredible man.

Thup thup thup thup thup thup thup thup...

Dabin Reece lay across the Command chair, one arm behind his head and the other working the paddleball he held. One foot dangled and swayed over the side of Zanh Liis' armrest as the other was propped up on the headrest on the back of Salvek's chair.

This, was boring.

Everything was happening below. There were fights breaking out, people, including the Captain now, all over Sickbay and the Alchemy was about to be launched. He had asked Salvek what he could do to assist, and been told the greatest help he could offer was to hold down the bridge while he sorted out matters below.

So here Dabin Reece lay, thupping away with his paddleball. He couldn't even flirt with his wife anymore. February had left the bridge to help Rada get the Alchemy ready.

He began to lose control of the ball and adjusted his wrist in an attempt to catch it. The ball glanced off the side of the paddle, and flew straight down onto Liis' control panel on the armrest. The computer beeped as the ball activated one of the touch controls.

A warning klaxon sounded for a moment, then stopped.

"Damn. Hope that wasn't anything important." Reece said, as he began bouncing the ball again, without bothering to check and see what he'd done.

At the Comm station, Tenney rubbed the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger, wishing that damn bouncing noise would just stop. She tried to gauge the length of the elastic band attached to the ball to determine if it had adequate size and strength to strangle Dabin Reece with.

"Where did you find that thing, anyway?" She asked.

"Under Salvek's chair." Reece said, chuckling at his own joke before telling her the truth. "Actually, replicator. Under gifts for juveniles." He admitted reluctantly.

"That seems like an appropriate place for it." Tenney replied tersely.

Zander Blakeslee entered the bridge from the lift, saw Dabin Reece sprawled out like a centerfold with the paddleball, and just shook his head.

"Howdy, Blakeslee." Reece said.

"Greetings Commander."

Blakeslee walked up to his station, and had to grab the panel as the ship briefly shook. Reece tossed the paddleball aside and sat up in the Command chair.

"What was that?" He asked.

"Scanning." Blakeslee said. "Curious, the computer is reporting we just lost telemetry from a probe. Did you launch a probe, Sir?"

Reece thought back to the unknown command he issued when the paddleball bounced of Liis' armrest. He checked now to see exactly what he had done, and sure enough the computer acknowledged the launch of a probe from the aft torpedo bay.

"Uh, yeah. I launched a probe."

"What were you looking for, Sir?" Blakeslee asked in a curious tone.

"Uh, well. Gaseous... nebulous... cloaking..."

"He did it by accident with the paddleball." Tenney said, cutting Reece off.

Reece stood up and glared at her.

"Yeah, cause I'm sure you've never launched a probe by accident either, Ensign." Reece said defensively.

"Huh." Blakeslee ignored the argument between Tenney and Reece, his curiosity piqued by the information he was getting from the computer. "Have a look at this sir."

Reece walked up to stand beside Blakeslee to see what he had. "The jolt we felt in the ship occurred at the same time the probe telemetry stopped. The probe recorded some sort of energy barrier just before it vanished.

"Can you get a reading on the signature of the barrier?" Reece asked, as he walked to the science station.

"No sir, its not in proper phase with our space time continuum, almost as if the probe fell through into some sort of pocket in subspace."

Reece stared at the readings himself and folded his arms across his chest. "Or fell out of it. If we were inside some sort of pocket in space time anything crossing over that plane would disrupt the bubble and threaten to collapse it, that could explain the jolt we felt when the probe vanished."

Reece considered their next move for a moment. He needed a way to test their theory.

"Mr. Blakeslee, launch another probe, this time from the forward bay."

Zander nodded, and launched the probe. The device accelerated away from the Serendipity at warp. After a few moments, the ship gently rocked once again.

Zander shook his head. "I lost it."

"Damn. Tenney, are we within hailing range of Vulcan?"

"We should be sir."

"Then hail them, all frequencies."

Tenney paused for a moment, waiting for a reply, but none ever came.

"No response from Vulcan sir."

Reece returned to the Command chair. Then, it hit him. The Alchemy. If there were indeed trapped, and the probe leaving their "bubble" was enough to seriously shake the Sera, what would happen if something the size of the Alchemy crossed the same barrier?

"Reece to Dengar, abort your mission and report to the bridge. Grace too."

[But Commander, we're almost ready here.]

"Sorry, will have to explain later. Helm, take us out of warp. Red Alert."

*So much for giving Liis and Salvek the night off.* He thought. *Let me mind the store for a while and we end up at Red Alert. They're going to be pissed.*

Commander Dabin Reece
Chief Science Officer
USS Serendipity NCC 2012