8th December 1980
Stage Deli Restaurant
New York City
It was late evening when the famous pop musician John Lennon and his bride, Yoko Ono, walked into the Stage Deli. A waiter showed them to their table, where Paul and Linda McCartney were waiting for them. As they did so, they failed to notice the two gentlemen and their lady companion discreetly observing them from a nearby table. One of those gentlemen had the look of military services about him, and his Celtic face markings showed that he was from the newest European states that Khan had united into his brave new Terran Empire.
The more American-looking fellow looked casual, despite his smart clothes. He spoke to the one with the Celtic face markings, “Okay, Drustan, why has the TIC sent us here?” His drummed his fingers on his table.
“Because, HD, they believe an early Alliance time traveler will attempt to prevent John
Lennon’s assassination, so we’re here to make sure that in a few minutes at 11:15 pm, Lennon dies before he can release any more patriotic music in support of Khan’s reign and thus convince more people to go and die in Europe and further reduce future human diversity and numbers,” explained Drustan.
The waitress arrived with their food and put it down in front of the trio of time travelers, “Here you go, a taste of home for you Celtic friends,” snarled the waitress, cackling with malevolent laughter.
HD looked at the three bowls of gruel; they held no appeal to him. But after doing some time on Mirror Universe Temporal missions, he wasn’t surprised at the low quality of the meal nor that Drustan grabbed the pieces of bread on the table and attacked his gruel with relish. Genofeva picked up some bread and she began to shred it into her bowl of gruel. He shrugged. Mirror Universe people seemed to be better able to process the worst of it. Maybe it was in their genes.
HD looked at the bowl of gruel and began to wonder if he could beat McCartney to assassinating Lennon and avoiding having to eat any more of the awful Mirror Universe food, He looked up; it was clear that Paul McCartney was getting very upset about something.
“And another thing, John,” McCartney snarled, “You haven’t given me my fair share of The Beatles’ back catalogue rights payments.”
“Take it up with Epstein!” Lennon yelled back.
“I’ve got better things to do with my time,” McCartney snarled, “It’s a sign of weakness to even talk about this.” He was wearing a leather jacket and began reaching into it.
HD then spotted the Alliance-Cardassian agent, while his surgery made him passable for a human on the surface, his walking gait revealed him. “There’s our troublemaker, just coming in from the balcony” said HD.
“Show time,” said Drustan, with a twisted smile.
Chef Erika whimpered as Nahuel led her by the arm to the Agony Booth. “It is not my fault that the food gave Hoshi the runs,” she complained.
Nahuel interrupted her by twisting her arm hard and Erika screamed. “She is your empress; you are not fit to use any other term to describe her. You had one job. One! It was to create the food and serve it to the Empress. The Empress has been stuck on the toilet for the last solid hour, so you’re going to the Agony Booth for as long as the Empress is stuck there,” threatened Nahuel, shoving her along whenever she dawdled.
“I only want to give the Empress the best food; the recipes in this ship’s cookbook seem better than the normal food,” pleaded Erika. “But I just don’t have everything. I need better supplies.”
Nahuel and Erika arrived at the Agony Booth. At a simple nod from Nahuel, to his deputy, Philippe, a MACO corporal, opened the chamber door and moved over to the controls. Nahuel studied the machine for a second and then gave Erika a dark look. He said, “Hasn’t the Empress clearly said on numerous occasions that the people who made this ship are culturally inferior? They don’t even subscribe in a basic sense to the five signs of weakness. Every school child knows such things by heart.”
“Inferiors in every way,” sneered Philippe.
“Yes, Major,” agreed Erika.
“Yet you dare to use the Empress for your food experiments using their recipes? For that, you shall suffer more, you old hag,” snapped Nahuel. With no further comment, he pulled Erika by her arm and bullied her into the Agony Booth.
Erika screamed as Nahuel shut the door to the chamber and said to Philippe, “Start at level three and increase the level every quarter hour till I order her release, or she dies.”
“Yes Major.” Philippe saluted and rubbed his hands with glee. “This is gonna be fun.”
Temporal Integrity Commission Headquarters
Levi Cavendish stood at the transporter controls when with a hum and a flash of light Otra D’Angelo and Admiral Carmen Calavicci appeared on the pad. Their arms were loaded down with bags.
“Oh, uh, you went shopping?” asked Levi.
“We told you this four times,” Otra reminded him gently. “I even left you a note on your PADD, and a reminder.”
“Yes, I feel much better and ready to lead the TIC Thanksgiving Party,” said Carmen.
“Now, Levi, I managed to find some suitable gifts and a little something for when we next go to see your mother,” said Otra, “I think she’ll like the pentagram I picked out. It’s real silver.”
“We’re going to see my mother?” asked Levi. He then thought for a moment. “Oh, yeah, there were five notes on my PADD about that.”
“Who else is here so far?” asked Carmen.
“Oh, um,” he checked a display, “Right now we’re only missing Drustan, Genofeva, and HD, who are still covering Lennon’s murder in the Mirror Universe. But they do have the Mirror time-destroyer, DeLorren. So they should be here very soon regardless of the time it takes,” explained Levi.
The doors opened, and the huge half-Gorn Kevin O’Conner walked in and commented, “Admiral, Otra, I take it from all those bags that you were successful? Levi, go make yourself useful and beam the ladies’ bags to their quarters and then we can get the party started.”
“I suspect we both need to freshen up before the party. I need to change my clothes so no one thinks I’m Genofeva. So Levi, just beam us straight to our quarters,” said Carmen.
“Levi can beam my bags after you’ve gone, Admiral. I want to have a word with Levi and Kevin about the catering arrangements for our colleagues from the Mirror universe,” suggested Otra.
“As you wish, children, see you soon,” said Carmen as she stepped back up on to the transporter pad.
Levi worked the controls and the Admiral vanished in a beam of light. Otra put her bags down on the transporter pad and watch as they too disappeared in a beam of light. “Okay, Otra, what do you want to do to Drustan and Genofeva that you don’t want the Admiral to know about?” asked Kevin.
The TIC Party was in full swing and Admiral Carmen Calavicci sat at the head of the table watching her TIC team tuck into the banquet before them. Everything seemed normal, well, it was normal for a TIC event. Yet some sense was itching to tell her something below the surface wasn’t right. Carmen picked up her PADD and linked it to the main TIC computers and ran a check against temporal projections. It took the computers a moment to come back and reported that everything was as predicted with the exception that alcohol consumption was below expected levels.
Carmen raised her eyebrow at that conclusion and quickly looked again at the table trying to work out who wasn’t drinking at their normal rate. She looked at her female officers, in particular Otra and Genofeva, to see if they were on water, meaning they were going to break some new family news to her soon. However, both of them seemed to have their favorite tipple in front of them. A quick look around confirmed that an unexpected pregnancy wasn’t behind the lack of normal drinking.
Then Carmen spotted it: Drustan had nearly a full pint of mirror ale rather than his usual quench of whisky in front of him. That was very strange, normally give Drustan a chance to drink and watch the pints and whiskey bottles disappear in record time. Carmen reached the conclusion that it meant he was trying to keep a clear head, which meant he was planning something.
Her PADD beeped and she saw that she had an urgent message from the Head of the Daranaean Temporal Division, something to do with the USS Bluebird. Cursing, Carmen rose from the table and announced, “Sorry, children but something has come up in the Daranaean sector. I need to attend a briefing. So in my absence, play nice and I’ll try to be back in time for the disco.”
As she left the room, Carmen tapped her left ear, twice, to engage her implanted communicator. “Yes, Richard Daniels.”
“Agent Daniels, kindly keep an eye on Drustan; he’s unusually sober.”
“Got it. Daniels out.”
Carmen raced off to her office for the meeting.
Several hours later…
HD had the disco in full swing when he noticed Genofeva’s drunken antics meant she was now dancing with Daniels and flirting with every single male on the floor and not with Drustan. In fact he couldn’t spot Drustan in the room. That Mirror oaf must have passed out already from his drinking. It’s a shame; I lined up some classic Becki Patron disco and that Ozzy Osborne folk music he likes. I mean, yeah, I was a little over the line earlier supporting Otra in saying that Mirror Universe inhabitants have taste bud deficiencies, but I bet that explains their crap food, he thought quietly.
It never crossed HD’s or Daniels’s minds that Genofeva’s drunken antics was keeping them all distracted while Drustan carried out his plan in the nearby temporal transport room.
Drustan smirked as he placed a pair of books on the pad and re-checked his coordinates. He had correctly bypassed the security alerts. He quietly muttered to himself, “So Otra and HD think they can insult the Mirror’s staff by implying our food isn’t good enough to share at the staff party. Well, let’s see what they think when I beam these famous Federation cookbooks back to the ISS Defiant.”
Drustan stopped for a moment and try to decide how much trouble this would get him into if discovered. He looked at the temporal projections, which seem to suggest that the change would be limited to the ISS Defiant and the royal line. They would be no great change to the timeline.
“Now,” he said to himself, “when Otra says that elekai with Tellarite harvest vegetables was a luxury food that the Mirror had missed out on due to their lack of creativity, I’ll be able to prove her wrong.” He clicked around some more. “But I can’t save the Mirror version of Charlotte Lilienne O'Day from the house fire where she and her parents were killed. Saving that one life would create a massive unpredictable ripple in the timeline. Too megaotric.”
He stopped for a moment to consider if this was an overreaction and if just giving Otra’s chavecoi a pruning while she slept would be a better act of revenge. Then Drustan became aware of someone else in the room; he turned and found himself standing face to face with his Prime Universe double – Douglas Gorrim. “You’re a hallucination; you’ll disappear into the dark of the night forgotten by everybody after a few days,” said Drustan, hoping he was right about that.
“Maybe I’m a hallucination, but you know why your mind brought me forth, to remind you that for all my failings, I command through respect. I had people crying over my disappearance, while your command was based on fear. And your disappearance into the far future was greeted with all-night parties on the ISS Ares – led by Nahuel,” Gorrim reminded him.
“Why are you dragging up that painful truth?” asked Drustan.
“Because we both want to make things better for the common soldier, but while I did that, all you ever did was take petty vengeance on people. You have no courage in your convictions; that’s why you won’t beam those books back. You’re just going to take some gardening tools to Otra later,” noted Douglas.
“Is that so? Just watch me! I’m a Terran warrior; I’m prepared to improve the lot of the common soldier.” With that, Drustan hit the energize command.
The hallucination of Douglas vanished along with the cookbooks. Drustan had a moment of triumph before one of his temporal visions hit like a runaway train.
On the dance floor Otra dropped to the floor as she was hit by a similar vision, and together the pair screamed as they saw…
There was a parade of strangeness, mysterious and foreboding. Odd little scenes flashed in their minds. It was the Breen, and the Borg, and the Undine, fighting the Klingons. A new race, utterly unexpected, done up in whiteface and trapped in invisible boxes, a bit of lunacy spiked with menace. There was Empress Hoshi Sato, doubled up on a toilet and yelling; her face purple, something about … mimes? The two visions were close, nearly the same, except Drustan’s included the mime ship which, inexplicably, resembled a large hush puppy.
Carmen was on her way back to the party when she heard the two screams. “Oh, great! Visions; just what I don’t need,” she cursed and began to run.
Upon entering the mess hall, Carmen found the TIC was clearly divided into Prime and Mirror groups, each shouting loudly about the situation.
“CHILDREN, THAT’S ENOUGH!” Carmen shouted.
Meekly the TIC agents all turned and looked at Carmen. She put her hands on her hips and asked in a quiet voice. “What the devil is going on?”
“It seems that Otra and HD’s earlier insult about the Mirror Universe’s food has led to our Mirror colleagues getting together to beam cookbooks back to the ISS Defiant. Judging by the vision that Otra and Drustan just had, it caused a cascade temporally collapsing in both of our verses, after Mirror Erika Hernandez gave Empress Hoshi the runs for a couple of days, which meant she didn’t launch her invasion of Gorn space. While the Defiant’s crew was awaiting instructions, they were attacked by the Tholians and a race they were not supposed to meet, one they called the mimes. Without orders, the Defiant and its crew were destroyed, including the Empress. This ripped a hole into fluidic space and our universe. It was quite the megaotric event,” reported Daniels.
“Seriously? Sometimes I despair of the lot of you. Well, it should be an easy fix for once; just beam the books back before they are discovered,” said Carmen.
“Only it’s not,” said Kevin, as he entered the room with a visibly shaken Drustan over his shoulder.
“How come?” asked Carmen.
“The time drives on both ships don’t work and the temporally transporter can only beam things forward in time and not back,” explained Kevin. He turned to Drustan, “That was some stunt. Honestly, people, Deirdre and I won’t be able to fix any o’ this nonsense. Stupid ….”
“Ai yi yi,” said Carmen.
“Well, the answer is still obvious,” said Genofeva.
“It is?” asked Levi.
“Yes, going on the projections, all we need to do is make sure Erika doesn’t accidentally poison Hoshi. Since she can’t cook we just need to beam someone from before 2190, someone who can successful cook the recipes,” explained Genofeva.
“But there is nobody in the Mirror Universe who can cook,” said HD. The Mirror Universe staff shot him a hard look. A pint glass flew over his head. “Just saying,” added HD as he ducked down. The glass shattered on the wall behind him.
“I think you’ve said enough today, HD,” said Carmen.
“Oh, wait, I get it,” said Otra before adding, “But can we risk just beaming Lili O’Day onto the ISS Defiant to teach Erika to cook?”
“Looking at the temporal cascade speed, I think it’s our best option,” said Kevin.
“But my projections show she’d just be tortured to death by Major Nahuel as a stowaway if we beam her alone onto the ship,” reported Daniels, looking up from his PADD.
“Well, the temporal transporter is only capable of beaming two people at the moment and I can’t say how long we’ll have that ability, so who is the best option to beam with her?” asked Kevin.
“Her husband?” suggested Genofeva.
“Nope, he has been branded a traitor and would just join her in the booth,” explained Daniels.
“How about Douglas Gorrim? It’s his fault, he was taunting me,” said a groggy Drustan.
“Okay, who put cinnamon in his food? Don’t you people know it makes him hallucinate?” asked Carmen.
To avoid owning up to that one, Otra feigned further post-vision weakness.
“Got it,” said HD, “let’s sent Chef Naurr as the Major Nahuel will listen to him. Maybe.”
“The projections show that has over ninety percent chance of working,” reported Daniels.
“Okay, make it so,” commanded Carmen.