Alternate History (Artemis)

Alternate History (Artemis).png

"Tempus fugit, my dear Addison!"- CloQ of the Q Continuum


After a well-earned shoreleave on Betazed, the crew of the USS Artemis-A gather in the bar 'The Fifth Chalice' for an award ceremony to recognize the efforts of its crew in their conflict with the CIC Desdemona. During the ceremony and the following socializing, Crewman Fugit - who had thus far just been Cdr. Genkos Adea's personal headahe for the evening, sheds his disguise and reveals an enemy that Cpt. Addison MacKenzie had hoped to never encounter again. Now, the crew of the Artemis-A are displaced in time to an alternate version of 2375 where the Dominion's foothold on Betazed is more prominent than it ever became during the proper timeline. Can Cpt. MacKenzie's crew save the timeline, while also getting every member of her scattered crew back onto the Artemis and back to their proper time?

After the Snap

A Battletorn Betazed

That was CloQ. A rogue member of the Q continuum we’ve had the displeasure of dealing with before. ::He sighed.:: I had really hoped we’d seen the last of them. They are obsessed with time and get a sick sense of satisfaction out of sending us to history’s worst moments. ::His eyes swept the horizon.:: Though this time seems especially personal.

Displaced to another area of Betazed - Lt.Cmdr. Dakora's hometown of Medara - him and a team of Ensigns (Savel, Chevalier and Z'Vahme) are dropped into an active conflict zone between the Dominion occupying forces and the local resistance cells. After escaping a Jem'Hadar patrol by ducking into an abandoned building, the group comes face-to-face with a member of the Betazoid Resistance Network - Leera Dakora, Lt.Cmdr. Dakora's mother. While not supposed to be alive at this date in the real timeline, it becomes clear - beyond the occupation occurring outside - that all is not well with the timeline.

Mrs. Dakora realizes her son's identity immediately, but their reunion is cut short as a squad of Jem'Hadar blast their way into the community center where the group is holed up. Knowing that their fighting chance is slim with one phaser between five people, Mrs. Dakora leads the group to an access tunnel leading down to the resistance network below the city. After Ensign Chevalier leaves a dastardly chemical trap for their Jem'Hadar pursuers, Lt.Cmdr. Dakora leads his team down while his mother goes up to finish the mission she was on, involving the demolition of a major crossroads and a nearby building, aimed at delaying and obstructing the occupying Dominion force on Betazed. While his mother is out of earshot, the Lt.Cmdr. brings his team up to speed on the identity of their rescuer and the complication of her continued existence in this version of 2376. Realizing that the very reason for their displacement is likely intrinsically linked to her, the Starfleet Officers accompany her back to the Resistance Hideout below Lt.Cmdr. Dakora's childhood home.

All of which brings us to the crux of things. It’s clear that we’re losing the war. Not just the fight here on Betazed, but the fight for the entire Alpha Quadrant. Which means, we have to do what we can to help – and the biggest difference we can make right now, as a planet, is to destroy those facilities. It won’t be easy, but there are some… structural flaws in the construction of the buildings; Concessions made in the name of expediency. We need to exploit those weaknesses.

There, the group makes the acquaintance of the Resistance Cell that Mrs. Dakora heads. After introducing Lt.Cmdr. Dakora as a cousin, the Starfleet Officers are disguised and briefed on an upcoming operation to destroy the numerous Ketracel White factories that the Dominion has erected in the region. The chances of success are slim, but if successful, they will deal a severe blow to the Jem'Hadar soldiers' efficiency in their war against the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. After ensuring that his crew all have the chance to reject participating in the operation, Lt.Cmdr. Dakora and the Ensigns finalize the plan for the following day's operation with Nieran Dwayx, his mother's second-in-command.

That very night, Nieran Dwayx sells his soul to the Vorta overseer of Betazed in exchange for replicator credits, a sad affair brought on by the dismal conditions of a wartorn world.

The following day, the disguised Starfleet Officers board a Work-Sled heading to the factory, hoping their fake IDs are sufficient to earn them access into the factory. Unfortunately, an altercation with a Jem'Hadar security checkpoint outside the factory results in their cover being blown and they immediately have to shift to one of their numerous contingency plans. Thankfully, the Jem'Hadar are dispatched quickly enough that no alarm is raised within the factory itself, and after hiding and looting the bodies of the Jem'Hadar, the work sled continues its trek into the bowels of the factory complex. Once inside the factory proper, the group splits up, with Mrs. Dakora, Lt.Cmdr. Dakora and Ensign Savel heading for one target, and Nieran Dwayx and Ensign Chevalier heading for another.

This room should’ve been staffed with Dominion Engineers at all times, but as Talos and Savel’s weapons swept the blinking consoles and displays in the dimly lit space, there was no one to be found.

Dakora: ::To Savel:: Is this the right place? Where is everyone?

Even as he hoped they’d made a wrong turn somewhere, the bad feeling in his gut told him that they were in trouble. Without warning, the room lights illuminated fully and a gravelly, Jem’Hadar voice called out to them from a raised walkway above.

Enforcer: Drop your weapons or die!

Somehow the Dominion forces had been expecting them and as Talos stared up at the squad of Jem’Hadar Enforcers that had them pinned down, his mind raced frantically to try and find some way out of the hopeless situation.

Upon reaching the Heat Exchanger Control Room, Leera Dakora attempts to access the terminals with the code that the resistance cell acquired perviously, but just as the screen reveals that that code is no longer viable, they find themselves ambushed by a team of Jem'Hadar enforcers, and a firefight ensues. One of the resistance members goes down in quick order, and the team realizes that they have to do something quickly, as they won't last long against the more well-equipped and better trained Jem'Hadar soldiers. Ensign Savel realizes that the Jem'Hadar squad is positioned near a heat exhaust vent, and proceeds to do a mad dash for the controls, covered by the Lt.Cmdr. and Mrs. Dakora. Releasing piping hot steam into the face of the Jem'Hadar soldiers provides the group with a brief moment's diversion, which they use to catapult themselves into a service hatch, hopefully earning them an escape route in the process. With the likelihood of betrayal now all but a guarantee, Mrs. Dakora makes a final suggestion that will allow them to accomplish their goals and yet still allow Lt.Cmdr. Dakora and Ensign Savel the chance to find - and likely rescue - Ensign Chevalier. She and her fellow resistance member will stay behind, to die in their last-ditch attempt at bringing down the factory with them.

Ensign Chevalier and the resistance members going with him head towards the Industrial Exhaust Manifold after splitting from the rest of the group. Following the plan, Dwayx turns off the plasma vents to allow Ensign Chevalier and a fellow resistance members access to the key node that they're supposed to attach the explosives to, but this is when Dwayx' betrayal is set into motion. Killing the resistance member at his side with a Jem'Hadar disruptor that they looted from the security enforcers, Dwayx restarts the plasma vents, trapping the Starfleet Officer within as the plasma prepares to flood the manifold once more, and incinerate him. Desperate to find a way out, Ensign Chevalier shoots the interior of the plasma tube repeatedly with his coilgun, eventually triggering a structural collapse that carries the two trapped men down to the lower corridor and renders most of the area a broken, dusty mess of rubble. Dwayx, however, is nowhere to be seen.

Allowing the Lt.Cmdr. privacy to bid his mother a proper farewell, Ensign Savel heads directly for the location of the Industrial Exhaust Manifold that Ensign Chevalier was responsible for. Upon seeing the carnage caused by the explosions, the two Ensigns catch up on what has occurred, and Dwayx' betrayal is properly revealed, as the Lt.Cmdr. joins up with them once more. Motivated by anger and revenge for Dwayx's actions, Ensign Chevalier urges his fellow Starfleet Officers to head for the final target in the factory, to ensure that the Jem'Hadar cannot interrupt the group responsible for that area. Once there, they assist a group of Resistance fighters led by Gozman Illux, who in turn reveals that the presence of a Starship of a hitherto unfamiliar classification in orbit of the planet. The Artemis. Illux enables the Starfleet Officers to commandeer repaired Jem'Hadar transport so they may return to their Ship, before delving back into the factory to attempt to locate any survivors. Their escape from the factory proceeds without issue, but as they prepare to leave orbit, Ensign Savel realizes that their cloak has malfunctioned, and that they are now fully visible to the Jem'Hadar patrols surrounding the planet.

The shuttle is shot down...

Setting History Right

Sequestered to Cmdr. Genkos Adea's childhood home in Dekoa by CloQ - who also bars any attempts at leaving the homestead - the three officers find themselves thoroughly confused by the current state of affairs. Their confusion is not aided by the appearance of a young Tevet Elain, a childhood friend of the Commander's that Lt Jovenan and Cmdr. Adea know as a vet in the future. The young Betazoid - not even ten years of age in this time - has been taking care of the city's pet inhabitants while their owners are away in one of the numerous internment camps run by the Dominion forces.

Initially earning the child's tentative trust through veiled honesty and a clear desire to help, they are allowed into the basement to help with taking care of the numerous animals within. But maneuvering within one's own past, even an alternate one, can be fraught with dangers, and when Lt. Jovenan accidentally reveals too much, Cmdr. Adea reveals his identity to salvage the situation.

After gaining the Betazoid child's trust through a sharing of minds and memories, the three Starfleet officers - now unburdened with the task of keeping their true identities and purpose secret - set to discovering what CloQ has altered about history, and how to possibly rectify it. This quest leads them to the study of Cmdr. Adea's father, which is in disarray following a ransacking. After some unconventional engineering by the Commander, Lt Jovenan attempts to utilize the old terminal to peruse news reports and find any discrepancies with the timeline she knows. Meanwhile, Cmdr. Adea and LtJG Sadar attempt to clean the study and locate the reasoning behind the ransacking. Lt Jovenan discovers that the cause of the alteration is the absence of the Romulan Star Empire in the Alliance against the Dominion, which leaves the Alliance severely lacking in firepower. This discovery occurs moments before Cmdr. Adea finds a message on the back of one of his father's bookcases. "RIGHT ON TIME."

Purpose? ::their anger was barely concealed:: My purpose is to make your Betazoid friends confront their pasts. You’ve got mummy issues Dakora, and then the doctor here has been running from every trauma he’s ever had. He’s terrified that if he ever stops to confront any of them, well… ::they raised a brow at Genkos:: What do you think will happen, doctor?

Just then, CloQ manifested before them, taunting the crew members with their inability to comprehend their grand design and reasserting their desire for entertainment. Succeeding in their intention to rile up the Betazoid Commander, CloQ then promptly disappeared once more, leaving the group to ponder on their next move. Recalling his prior encounters with CloQ, Cmdr. Adea ordered his subordinates to search for portals or windows connected to another place or time - a gimmick which CloQ had once used before. Locating such a window was easier said than done, but the group eventually discover one leading to the Romulus Capital, Ki Baratan, on the day of Senator Vreenek's return from his diplomatic talks with the Dominion - an event that never happened in their timeline, as Senator Vreenek had been assassinated by the Dominion by that point. Leaving behind Tevet Elain to guard the window from the other side, the Starfleet trio cross over in the hopes of setting right what went wrong.

Whatever that means in context...

Heading through the temporal window, the trio arrives on a walkway up in the skies of the Romulan homeworld, a world long-dead by the time of 2401. In order to stop the derailing of history, the three officers must head towards the Senate and intercept Senator Vreenek, but as they discuss how exactly to accomplish this, a Dominion vessel soars overhead. Perhaps they are already too late? Deciding that nothing could be gained by standing on a walkway in indecision, Cmdr. Adea leads the group into one of the connected skyscrapers, where the group encounters a very confused and very solitary Ensign Gnai. Bringing the Ensign up to speed, the group are then surprised by a Romulan civilian nearly outing their presence on the planet, but between a bit of creative roadblocking by a clumsy LtJG Sadar and a handy canewhacking, their cover is maintained a while longer.

After disguising LT Jovenan as the now unconscious Romulan civilian, and managing to pull out a map of the building and the city-at-large, the group manages to locate a laboratory with funcioning replicators on one of the lower floors. While there, functional disguises, complete with wigs and prosthetics, are replicated to fit the Cmdr. and the LT, and Cmdr. Adea realizes that they have a relatively clear shot at one of likely numerous planetary defense turrets, and a reasonable idea on how to carry out the assassination starts forming.

Heading up towards the access point to the turret platform, the party's way is barred by a security checkpoint. Despite encountering some issues due to their inability to convincingly disguise LtJG Sadar, the party is delayed, but some convincing acting from the disguised Cmdr. Adea and LT Jovenan manages to gain them entry to the turret. Battling the clock, the four Starfleet Officers begin planting evidence to suggest that the Dominion are the ones responsible for the tragedy that's about to occur, while simultaneously gaining control of the turret itself. As the Senator's shuttle enters the atmosphere, Cmdr. Adea mans the controls and prepares to shoot it down. His junior officers still burdened with guilt and doubt in their hearts about the justice of their actions, their task is completed as the turret shoots off one violent burst that hits the shuttle, sending it careening off-course. And straight into the turret itself, burying the Senator's assassins under tonnes of rubble...

Or so it would have been.

Retaking the Artemis

We know the Artemis is close – while we can’t make contact, I would have to assume she’s still in orbit where we left her - and likely crawling with Dominion forces - if CloQ has tasked us with retaking the ship. We don’t have weapons, we don’t have contact with the ship, and from the sounds of things, we’re knee-deep in trouble if we stay here. We need ideas.

Left behind in the ruins of the Fifth Chalice - the bar where (in an alternate future) the crew of the Artemis-A were enjoying an award ceremony - Captain MacKenzie and her team is tasked with the attempt at retaking their futuristic vessel, currently in orbit of the planet and beset by Dominion forces. Realizing that they currently stand out like sore thumbs on the streets of the occupied world, their first order of business is finding a clothing store to procure disguises.

However, not long after arriving at the store and examining their options, LT Silveira reveals a concealed Jem'Hadar soldier who'd been following the officers into the store and the encounter immediately turns violent. The Tactical Chief of the Artemis deals with the situation in short order, before the group must turn their focus onto their next move: How to get to the Artemis? LT Yellir reckons that the only 'safe' way to do so is to commandeer a landlocked vessel in one of Betazed's shipyards, and the group heads off to do just this.

Getting to the shuttles prove a greater issue than getting to the shuttleport itself, but after employing some rather loud 'Vulcan lockpicking', Ensign Solas manages to gain the team access to the shuttleport, but now, the team is even more of a timecrunch than before. Surely, the loud groaning of metal being forcibly folded in on itself is bound to alert guards? In the haste brought about, LT Yellir locate a spaceworthy shuttle that should serve their purposes, but it's locked. And a Jem'Hadar squad is heading their way quickly. The Lieutenant and Ensign Solas manage to pry the shuttle doors open in time, and soon, the Betazoid shuttle veers off into the Betazed night sky, upwards towards the Dominion blockade surrounding the planet. Meanwhile, on the Artemis itself, Assistant CMO Morgan comes face-to-face with the commanding Jem'Hadar, Tark'iqbar, who seems particularly obsessed with the idea of capturing the elusive Captain.

Captain Addison MacKenzie! I am Tark’iqbar, First of the LV Mak’ro. I’ve claimed your Ship. I’ve claimed your crew. And in the name of the Dominion- ::fires::

In the Betazoid shuttle, the team brainstorms on possible ways for them to retake the Artemis. Deeming the hijacking of a Dominion freighter far too perilous, Cpt. MacKenzie puts her faith in a plan involving a spacewalk in environmental suits. The shuttle approaches the Artemis, seemingly making it all the way to the access hatch without being detected. The entire group abandons the shuttle in favor of gaining access to their Starship. Once inside, Cpt. MacKenzie is able to access the computer to learn of the situation as is. Troubled by the presence of hostile boarders on her vessel, the group then enter the Jeffries' Tubes with hopes of locating a means of self-defense to aid them in retaking the Ship. Meanwhile, the Jem'Hadar command realizes that the Artemis has been boarded, and sets out for the lower decks in the hopes of capturing the elusive Starfleet Officers. When such attempts are met with limited success, the Jem'Hadar opt for gassing the Jeffries' Tubes in order to smoke out them out, prompting the team out into the open in Main Engineering, where a firefight soon ensues. Outmanned and outgunned by the hostile boarders, LT Yellir opts to rupture a tube of warp core coolant, causing the computer to start containment procedures in Main Engineering. The four Officers narrowly escape Main Engineering before the blast doors seal in the Jem'Hadar, who opt to escape through the Jeffries' Tubes. It's now a race to the upper decks.

Heading for Security to better arm themselves, the group encounters Lt.Cmdr. Salkath - a recent addition to the crew - who has thus far avoided detection by the Jem'Hadar, and he joins their group as they start heading towards the environmental controls to begin a daring attempt at retaking the bridge. However, just as they approach their goal, a bright light blinds them, and LT Yellir considers - is this death?

If only it was so...

Shuffling the Bag

Facing the Empress

Do you know how long I waited? Do you know how long I kept my promise and stayed in guard? I still have troops posted before that window, with the sole order to shoot dead anyone or anything that were to come through it. [...] I finally have you surrounded, Genkos. Drop your shields and prepare to be boarded. I wouldn’t want to give the order to destroy you; my fleet that surrounds you would be more than happy to oblige. And I wouldn’t want you to jump through yet another window either.

Prison Break

Lead Betazoid Jailer: You are charged with High Crimes against the Dominion.

MacKenzie: And what high crimes might those be?

Lead Betazoid Jailer: Terrorism and conspiracy. You are to be put to death via hard labor.

Meeting the Gamemaster

CloQ: Currently your friends are stuck in a timeline that… ::they paused as they pointed at both the Mizarian and the Edo:: you two created with your little assassination. And I will keep them there forever unless you can beat me. ::They pressed their clockbadge and images flashed in all around them, a brief history of the changed timeline, the little girl growing up to be a fierce empress and a leader of the galaxy:: And it’s not a very nice timeline, I tell you that much.

Jovenan: ::to Sadar, quietly, teary:: Sorry.

CloQ looked at the Edo with a frowny face, almost mockingly so.

CloQ: Oh why so glum? You didn’t have a choice, did you? I created this world, I forced your hands, there was nothing else you could do, was there? You had to kill that senator, didn’t you? [...] At least, that’s what you want me to say. The truth is that Betazoid doctor of yours has all the imagination of a Ferengi tube grub, and about half as charming. There were any number of things that you could have done that wasn’t murder an innocent man… But ::they raised a slender finger:: if you can figure out what really happened in your timeline, I will reset this.

When the group comes to after their worlds go white, they stand in CloQ's domicile - a pocket dimension filled with timepieces from every culture in the universe - before their host. CloQ reveals that the efforts of LT Jovenan and LtJG Sadar in setting the timeline right by assassinating Senator Vreenak has backfired in the most spectacular of ways, and their fellow crew is now stuck in alternate reality far worse than the one CloQ had originally created for them. However, in all their grace and charity, CloQ offers to put the timeline back to how it's supposed to be, if the assembled team can accomplish one thing: discover what originally was supposed to happen to Senator Vreenak.

In order to accomplish this, CloQ moves the team to Deep Space 9 in 2374, the main staging ground for the Dominion War and the command of one Captain Benjamin Sisko - venerated war hero and the Bajoran religious figure known as the Emissary of the Prophets. Allowed free reign of the station thanks to CloQ having frozen time around them, the team get to work hacking into the Captain's terminal and accessing the multitude of PADDs in his office, trying to find out what role Deep Space 9 has to the Senator's assassination. While the team finds no evidence that Senator Vreenak's shuttle ever made it to Deep Space 9, they do find a peculiar individual aboard the station at the behest of Captain Sisko - Grathon Tolar, a criminal that Captain Sisko went to significant trouble to have extricated from a Klingon prison. In attempting to learn why this criminal is of such great importance, the team tracks Tolar to a holosuite belonging to the Ferengi-run bar onboard the station. Using his omnipotent capabilities, CloQ easily overrides the lock that Captain Sisko places on the holosuite, to reveal what is occurring withing.

Dakora: What? Why would he be making a fake scenario look like a real recording… ::He trailed off.:: Unless…

Sadar: ::deadpan:: He needs someone to believe it’s a real recording.

Within the holosuite, the team sees Grathon Tolar and a Cardassian Tailor known as 'Elim Garak' in the process of programming a Cardassian Datarod with a recording of a meeting between Cardassian and Dominion officials, planning a coup against the Romulans. As Lt.Cdr. Dakora - an experienced Intelligence officer - reveals how extremely rare these datarods are, the group starts considering exactly what this implicates. Putting together information that LT Jovenan and LtJG Sadar had from their time in Ki Baratan, the group arrives at a shocking conclusion: Captain Benjamin Sisko set up the Dominion in order to bring the Romulans into the Alliance, and turn the tide of the Dominion War in the Federation's favor. The real question that remains is, who killed Senator Vreenak? Was it the Dominion, when they realized that the Senator was heading home to bring his people into the war on their enemies' side? Or was it someone else?

CloQ moves them forward in time to when Senator Vreenak is aboard the station, and the team is placed inside the wardroom itself, where the Senator is stuck mid-rant, holding the datarod up high. "It's a fake." LT Jovenan accesses the terminal to ascertain the locations of the various players in the scenario, and realize that the tailor is nowhere to be found. Realizing that Captain Sisko is now caught in a situation where a venerated politician is going to go home to his people and get them to join the war on the Dominion side, the team has to face the uncomfortable truth that Benjamin Sisko - a man that LT Silveira has looked up to as one of the greats of Starfleet - was at least partially responsible for the Senator's assassination. He might not have pulled the trigger himself, but he enabled the murder and allowed it to pass by undetected for the sake of the Federation's war effort...

Any questions?

MSNPC CloQ - Time's Up - SD 240104.03

MSNPCs and NPC Mentions

  • Mentioned NPCs:

Kyle Morgan - Assistant CMO, Addison MacKenzie's PNPC

FNS Headlines

*  Stardate 240102.24: USS Artemis-A Missing with all hands following Awards Ceremony

Fun facts