Jen Air: Frontier of Forever, Part Fourteen

Continuum-ing a special Star Trek inspired story to celebrate the show’s fiftieth anniversary.  An attempt is made to get everyone back to their own reality, but all does not go according to plan…

Part OnePart TwoPart Three Part FourPart FivePart SixPart Seven Part EightPart NinePart TenPart ElevenPart TwelvePart Thirteen

Jen Air: Frontier of Forever, Part Fourteen

“Hey, kiddos,” Kaya Cade said with a broad smile, bending forward with her hands behind her back.  “You having fun?”

“Well,” Tenley stretched.  “I have gotten to work out a bit I suppose, so not as bad a day as I thought it would be.”

“Still not sure that’s really getting into the right spirit, but good for you,” Kay said, turning to the boy.  “So, uh, Alex, is it?”

He nodded, avoiding eye contact with this strange newcomer.  “Y-yes… yes ma’am.”

“I’m not old enough to be called ‘ma’am’,” the woman corrected.  “Just call me Kay, ‘kay?”

“Um… okay…”

“Good.  So, you’re a Trek fan, eh?  Have you seen this,” she held out a book she’d been hiding that bore on it the logo of the United Federation of Planets.

“Uh-huh.  It’s a Star Fleet Technical Manual.  I have a few editions at home.”

“Some interesting stuff in here,” she said, leaning over so he could see the pages she’d had her thumb in.  “Says something about how the transporter makes all these subatomic measurements and quantum stuff.”

“I know…”

“Sure be good if we had one of those right now.  We could maybe just beam home…”

“Yeah,” Alex agreed, a little bit of agitation creeping into his voice.  “Look, I get it…”

“Just give him the stupid book,” Tenley chided.  Kaya handed it over, and for a moment Alex stared hard at the page.  And then…

Then was a little crash as one of the merchandise stalls was displaced.  In its place was a round platform divided into six sections with a light shining down on each of them, attached to a semi-circular wall.  There was a step down, and a short distance away stood the console.

Sturgeon sneered, “ridiculous.”

“Not here, doctor,” Jennifer said, grinning like a child.  “In this realm, anything can happen, remember?  Nothing is impossible.”

He ‘bahed’ but everyone ignored him, transfixed by the device.  Jennifer stepped toward it.  “Computer?”

There were a few beeps, and they heard a female voice from the console say, “Standing by.  Awaiting further instructions.”

“Do you think we can use it, then?” Kaya asked.

“Maybe,” Jen considered.  “We can’t beam home, but we can place any matter from our universe on the pads and if we narrow the angular confinement beam, maybe we can read the quantum frequency of our reality.”

Kay cocked a brow.  “Do you understand anything you just said?”

“This will work,” Jen insisted.  “I just need to run a cable over and tell this computer to interface with ours, then we’ll be almost good to go.”

“Almost?”

Jen smiled, gently running a finger down her friends arm before moving off and kneeling in front of Alex.  “After reviewing Sturgeons data, I know now why he needed you,” she said.  “It’s not just the harmony.  It’s your thoughts, your desire to escape was stronger than anyone else’s, apart maybe from his.  But he couldn’t use the machine on himself because his brain wasn’t in tune with this reality, the only one he knew existed, but also his thoughts are filled with nothing but contempt and hate.  What you’re thinking inside the machine causes all kinds of variations to occur… ripples… dissonance.  Now the machine is tuned to you, so to get us all back, you’ll have to stand inside it again and this time, just think of home.  Do you understand?”

Alex swallowed, pulling his arms tightly into his sides as he nodded.

“Good.  Well then, let’s give this thing a whirl.”

*****

A short while later, everything was ready for the attempt.  Kaya had gathered up some tacky merchandise and piled it all on the transporter then stood by the console.  Jennifer was by the controls for the simulator, with Alex stood back inside the cage as Sturgeon looked on hatefully.  In the control room Pasha and Harry waited for everyone to confirm they were ready.

“Alright, Will,” Harry said.  “Give us all the power you’ve got.”

“Aye, sir,” the engineer answered, switching the generators to maximum output.  “Full power!”

Kaya slid her hand over the three bars on the console.  The junk on the pad began to fade and sparkle as a high pitched whoop echoed from the device.

“I’m getting the frequency,” Jennifer confirmed.  “Alex… now!”

Alex thought hard.  Of home, his mother… school.  As before, the machine in the basement began to pulse and lightning flashed all around.  But something was wrong.  The building shook as if an explosion or earthquake had occurred outside and the lightning became far more violent than it had been before, a tremendous bolt striking a bridge above them tearing apart the rail.

“Why isn’t it working?” Kaya shouted through the noise.

Jennifer shook her head disappointedly, rushing to the cage.  “We have to get him out!”

“Listen!” Naomi cried, holding up her radio.  It was the same strange song they’d heard earlier that Doctor Sarkis suggested might be a pulsar or some such phenomenon.  It seemed she was mistaken, as now it was playing through every radio in the building.

“The gravity,” Jen wondered out loud.  “The air levels staying constant… there’s another intelligence here…”

Sturgeon laughed mockingly.  “I first made contact back in my lab.  It was quite a surprise, but more so for it.  You see, the beings that inhabit this realm are made of pure energy.  But, energy without matter is formless.  Without substance.  It just exists.  Until…”

“Until we came along,” Jennifer finished, a strong wind suddenly whipping at her.  “We’ve given it sentience.”

“It’s learning how to think and feel for the first time.  So you see, it’s not just going to let us go.  It wants to live.”

In the basement, lightning cracked and smashed the generators.  People everywhere screamed as the whole building plunged into total darkness.  At least the storm started to die down then, but not before a second bolt struck the bridge causing it to creak and collapse over Jennifer.

Fortunately, people still had phones and flashlights, so the complete didn’t last for long after the storm had passed.  Kays breathed in relief when she saw that Tenley had gotten Jennifer out the way of the falling bridge.

But, Sturgeon and Alex were gone.

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