Meeting the crew

They placed Alathea at the round part of the male sign designed into the conference table. The captain, a female, occupied the seat where the arrow of the sign pointed. It seemed like a designer had pulled an elaborate prank on her. The table, in its peculiar design, almost screamed at her she was an intruder. Alathea maintained a neutral expression, chuckling internally. Such a design must inject a bit of insecurity into a captain.

“…so we cannot use the wormhole that our guest used. The time dilation is too great. And there is also the question of her quantum variances.”

“Our probes registered nothing that would show the entrance to the other universe. However, our guest is correct. The other end of that wormhole is between galaxies, and the probe confirmed that the other end of the wormhole is shifted approximately twenty thousand years in the past,” explained Harry.

Alathea tilted her head. What that man said made little sense. It had taken over thirty thousand years for the known human civilization to reach the level where they were before the Bene Gesserit created her.

“But her cronition signature shows she’s from the future,” stated the Borg.

The room seemed to pause as if the universe itself was catching its breath. Alathea felt like she had just stumbled into a cosmic paradox, and the realization settled over her like a nebula fog. Future? Past? It was all a swirl of timey-wimey confusion, and she couldn’t help but wonder if the universe had accidentally pressed the rewind button on her existence.

Yes, I know," Harry said. “Maybe she is from our future. I mean, from our point in time, she seems to come from the future. So to get the correct time difference, we should consider the dilatation induced by the black hole and then add the dilatation we measured.”

“That would make her thirty thousand years out of our timeline,” the captain remarked.

“May I see the data you collected?” Alathea asked her curiosity now fully engaged in this time-bending puzzle. The room became a cosmic detective’s haven, and Alathea couldn’t resist digging into the data to unravel the enigma of her temporal conundrum.

Harry tossed a tablet toward her. She caught it and stared at the unfamiliar device. “How do you work this?”

Cook leaned in. “Here, let me show you.” He touched the tablet a few times, grinning at her, turning it on and off. The man had a peculiar appearance, with strange skin colorations and tufts of hair, but apparently, he thought he was quite the looker. She nodded back at him, turned the device on, and navigated through the data, searching for the patterns and telltale signs of astronomical phenomena. In the end, she could only conclude that the boy was correct. She put down the pad and glanced around the table. Everyone was staring at her.

“So, what do you think?” Captain asked.

“Conclusion seems correct,” Alathea replied.

“I gave you raw data. Did you analyze them?” Harry questioned.

Alathea stared him down. “Yes.”

“That’s impossible. There is a terabyte of collected data, and you went through them too fast for human eyes to process,” Borg interjected.

“I’m Bene Gesserit. Data analysis is the basic skill we learn. We don’t have any computers.”

“About that, what is Bene Gesserit?” the captain inquired, plunging into the intrigue of their mismatched universes.

“A school, an organization that trains females in certain skills, and then we serve.”

“What skills?”

“We are most known as truth sayers,” Alathea replied, keeping her answers succinct. The situation was getting more complicated by the moment, and the less these people knew, the better. Now she just needed to fix her ship and return to Empire territory. They didn't kill Gholas ten thousand years ago, but let them live a normal life. She would go home, more or less.

“What is the truth saying? “the captain began.

“I can tell if someone is lying or telling the truth,” Alathea interrupted.


“It is a technique one learns since childhood. A person speaks, I observe them and can tell whether they are telling the truth.”

Captain stared at her and then said, “I have a cat for a pet.”

Alathea smiled, “No, you do not.”

Captain turned towards Tuvok. “Test her.”

Tuvok turned towards her. “I’m married and have children.”

“That’s true.”

“Well, that’s a useful skill,” the captain remarked. “How about this? We will help you repair your ship, and you can help us during negotiations with various civilizations we’ll encounter around here.”

Alathea nodded and smiled. That was exactly what she needed.

“What about the quantum shift you detected?”

Borg looked around the table before speaking, “There’s something in her cells that increases the noise. Sometimes, it seems like different parts of cells have different quantum signatures. Neither I nor the doctor can work around it. So, at the moment, we don’t know.”

“Did you try to measure the ship?”

“That’s the strange part. I cannot. It is like it’s going off and on outside existence. I can physically touch it, and touch is constant, but any machine, even my implants, sometimes sees it, sometimes does not.”

Alathea suppressed a grin. That was her ship’s version of a cosmic game of hide-and-seek, brought to you by the Empire’s cutting-edge confusion technology. The null field, with its on-and-off shenanigans, was like the ship’s way of saying, “Catch me if you can, AI!” It worked like a charm, leaving artificial intelligence scratching their metaphorical head in bewilderment.

“Do you know why your ship does that?” Captain focused on Alathea.

Alathea shrugged, adding a touch of cosmic nonchalance. “Sorry, I know little about how ships function. Ship creation and maintenance were not my job. I just pilot the thing, and sometimes it plays a little hide-and-seek with reality.” The mysteries of the ship remained intact, cloaked in a veil of interstellar amusement.

“We’ll have problems repairing your ship if we cannot diagnose it.”

“Well, there is usually a manual inside it and some basic spare parts. I can do that. But I cannot answer why the ship does that with your devices.”

Captain stared at her for a moment and then nodded. “Thank you. Neelix will show you now where your cabin is and give you a tour of the ship. Will you, Neelix?”

“But of course, Captain, as soon as the meeting is over.”

“Now, Neelix.” The captain’s promptness suggested that in the cosmic hierarchy of urgency, showing the new guest around the ship trumped any further discussion about temporal anomalies and elusive null fields.

Alathea got up and bowed to the captain. The meeting was over for her. She smiled at the colorful man, who didn’t move from his chair. “She means that I’m not supposed to listen for the rest of the meeting and she is trying to be polite about it. You are supposed to go with me and ensure that I behave outside.”

“That might be a sign of your truth-saying abilities or just high intelligence,” Tuvok said.

Alathea bowed in his direction, not saying anything. Neelix finally got up and they left. The room stayed silent until the door closed softly behind them.



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