Chapter 4: Season 5: Episode 4 – Message from the future
As the Potemkin closes on the edges of the Hirogen hunting grounds the crew review the information that Voyager had gathered. From their first contact with the impressive communications array and how they had managed to contact a Federation Starship to the Voyager being captured and the crew being used in holographic simulations as prey.
The Alien array is impressive, it allows for almost instantaneous communications over vast distances; far out stripping anything that the Federation has. A sensor sweep shows a relay station nearby that is quiet, at least quite of Hirogen presence. Arriving a short time later the Potemkin sits in a parking orbit and scans the relay in greater detail. They discover that it is powered by a naked singularity and that while it has an array of communications capabilities its primary mode of communication is a quantum entanglement network with other relays! This is exciting as it means that Elli can interface her own QED with it giving them access.
Once it is synchronized, they start scanning for ally ships within range. There are none at first, they would need to increase the power output to the last station in the network to boost its sensor range. Doing so, though, could overload the reactor and might very well destroy the entire network so they would have to be very careful. Although it could be done without much problem accessing this level of the station would give away the Potemkin’s presence, Koolie manages to sneak his way into the deeper systems and buys them about 2 hours and the range of the sensors is extended… but… turns out it would only be possible for a few minutes, the drain in power would be greater than expected so they prepare messages and sensor logs to send as a burst transmission to any Federation ship on the other end.
A Starfleet ship is detected, but is at the extreme sensor range of the nearest station and the technology of the stations were just so far beyond their abilities there was no way to get any more out of them. They send the message, but with the excitement and very tight time limit they neglect to tune the message to be passed through time. It is sent as is to the Federation ship.
Even so, a few minutes later a message is received from the array, the Head of Starfleet Command, Fleet Admiral Kirsten Clancy was the sender. She is clearly a stern officer but the relief is clear in her expression, she says she hadn’t expected to wake that morning with a message, the last update from the Potemkin had been months before and it hadn’t been pretty. The Ship had been listed as MIA. The message in question was 25 years old and had included a time and date in which it should be opened.
While the resolution had been too poor to identify the ship they had sent the message to the Admiral confirms that it had been the Potemkin herself and commanded by Pax, a quarter century younger version. Present Pax had known it would be he who would get the message and had included a personal letter and instructions to his past self. Turns out that, just before their last mission before turning up in the Delta Quadrant he had sent a data package to Admiral Clancy, only with a time delay. It included everything their message did along with temporal coordinates gathered by his crew at the time.
He had considered trying to change… the future, his past.. Either way he came to the conclusion that if what Admiral Carter said were true then he would be unlikely to make a change and if he did who knows what would happen!
As the message ends and they consider their next move they are detected through the array, by the Hirogen, vessels are on an intercept course with the Potemkin! With no time to spare they jump to warp and try to outrun the powerful ships. Comm chatter indicates there are other ships on route and will try and box them in. Pax and the bridge crew are having none of it, their increase to maximum warp and out strip their pursuers and heading for a ‘small’ blackhole along their course. With the Potemkin’s enhanced shields they would survive the gravimetric sheer much better than the Hirogen could, the plan worked… mostly. The blackhole wasn’t static, it was moving… fast and something had briefly attracted it towards the ship and the gravimetric sheer tore at them. Their shields held but several secondary systems overloaded.
Hours later and the Potemkin leaves Hirogen hunting grounds and, for now they have disengaged leaving the Potemkin to continue on her way.