It started with a flash of light.
No, it started before that. It all began when Uhura received a distress call from a ship that had been attacked. Their engine was dead and life support was failing.
Kirk glanced at Sulu before nodding his approval. "Uhura, give Sulu the ship's coordinates and let them know we're on our way."
Uhura nodded before turning towards her console and sending the message. She also sent a message to sick bay to inform McCoy about possible injured passengers they might receive. The distress call hadn't been clear if there had been any injuries, but it was good to be prepared.
"Captain, we're nearing our destination," Sulu said.
"Good. Shields up twenty percent. I don't want to be surprised when we exit warp drive and there's trouble waiting for us." Uhura looked away from her console to glance at Kirk. It wouldn't be the first time the Enterprise had encountered trouble.
When they exited warp drive, Uhura immediately began to scan frequencies for signs of other ships. There was no one out there. She looked at the viewing screen and furrowed her brow when all that stared back was the vastness of space.
"Uhura, where is the ship?" asked Kirk. "There's nothing here."
Her fingers flew over her console. "We are in the right place, captain. A Federation ship sent a distress call from this exact location."
"Hmm. Spock, what is the likelihood that we are sitting in a trap?"
"It is a distinct possibility, captain."
"Raise shields to forty percent. Scan for any signs that a ship was here. At this point, signs of space trash will do. Something sent a distress call and we're not leaving until we rescue them." Kirk let out a chuckle. "Or we find ourselves in a trap and have to escape, but I'm trying for optimism here."
Uhura brought up the original distress call to analyze its data. There was nothing about it that differed from a normal distress call and she did not make a mistake when it came to the coordinates. She shook her head. Everything should have been fine, but it wasn't.
No one else could find a trace of any ships within or near their location. They were the only ship there.
Kirk stood up from his chair. "I think it's time we did some more hands-on investigation. Uhura, come with me. Spock, you have the con."
Uhura arched an eyebrow but didn't question Kirk as she followed him out of the bridge. They walked through the halls heading towards the shuttlecrafts.
"Captain?" she asked as Kirk sat in the pilot's seat and began punching buttons.
"There's something out there. I know none of our scanners can find it, but there is. That distress call didn't come out of nowhere and I trust you, Uhura. I need you to help me find out what's going on."
Uhura didn't expect Kirk to say that. She cleared her throat. "I trust you too, captain." Now. Before he had become captain of the Enterprise was a different story. "But what do you expect this will accomplish when our scanners on the ship didn't work?"
"Maybe nothing, but we won't know until we do it." Kirk piloted the shuttlecraft out of the Enterprise while Uhura checked the frequencies for signs of anything out there. "Sometimes you have to throw a wrench into the mix in order to accomplish anything."
"That makes sense." Uhura glanced at Kirk. "And if we find trouble instead of a ship losing its life support?"
Kirk grinned and she felt the urge to twitch her lips in response. "Then we cause trouble right back at them," he said. "What do you say?"
"As long as it doesn't involve our deaths, captain." She finally gave into smiling and Kirk laughed.
Kirk piloted to the exact coordinates that the ship was supposedly stranded at. "We should literally be inside their ship," Uhura said as she double checked the data. "I cannot detect anything near us. The Enterprise is the only sign of life out here, besides us."
Suddenly, the sensors came alive and the shuttlecraft began to shake. Uhura braced herself against the console as Kirk tried to steady them.
A bright light flashed and Uhura could hear Kirk's aborted shout before everything fell sharply into darkness.
When Uhura came to, it was to the sound of Kirk groaning in pain. She opened her eyes to find herself lying on the ground next to Kirk. Kirk's uniform was torn and dirty and there were traces of blood on his face. She imagined she would look similar if she looked into a mirror.
Uhura sat up, careful of how her body ached and took in her surroundings. They weren't on the shuttlecraft, that much was clear. It didn't look like the interior of any ship she was familiar with. There were crates surrounding them with labels that she couldn't focus on.
"Kirk?" She reached over to touch his shoulder. "Can you move?"
"I'll live. Ask me in a few minutes whether I can move. Where are we?"
"I don't know. We're not on the shuttlecraft and I doubt we're on any Federation ship."
"Do you think the passengers on that stranded ship are here too?"
"It's possible." They were the only ones in the room, but Uhura spotted a door in the corner. "Let's see if I can contact the Enterprise." She pressed her communicator on her uniform. "Enterprise, do you hear me? This is Lieutenant Uhura."
Uhura repeated her hail, but no one responded. She shook her head. "We're alone, captain."
"We'll get ourselves out of this mess. Can you help me up?"
Uhura took Kirk's hand and helped him up into a sitting position. There was pain etched on his face and he gripped Uhura's shoulder to steady himself.
"So we're in some strange ship, gained injuries while we were unconscious, unable to contact our own ship, and we don't know who is holding us. Did I get that right?"
"I like our odds." Kirk let out a bark of laughter. "Okay. First thing we need to do is get up and get out that door. Hopefully it's unlocked."
"If it isn't, I'll reroute their circuitry to make it open for us."
They hobbled towards the door and Uhura pressed her against the frame. Nothing happened.
"Kirk, brace yourself against the wall. We're locked in."
If the ship was anything like the other ships Uhura was acquainted with, there would be a panel near the door. Her fingers traced over the wall until she found it and she popped it open. There were wires and circuitry and Uhura began to rewire them. With a pop, the door opened.
They made their way down the hall, the two of them on alert, but there was no signs of life. Only an endless hall both forward and back.
"Why hasn't anyone stopped us?" Uhura asked. "We should have seen someone. We are not what one would call subtle right now."
"We should have. If not people, then alarms should be going off. I've been thinking about it and maybe the reason we haven't seen anyone is because we're the only ones here."
"Why do you say that?"
"Because of the crates where we woke up. Could you read the labels on them?"
Uhura shook her head. "I wasn't feeling right and I wasn't particularly looking."
"I couldn't read them. I should have been able to, but I couldn't read them." Kirk paused. "It felt like a dream. This feels like a dream."
Uhura wondered what sort of dreams Kirk would have that reminded him of this place. "There have been cases of mass hallucinations or even minds connected through technology, but on a small level, nothing compared to what we're going through currently. Then again, we do have a case of people from an alternate future timeline within our own timeline, so nothing is out of the question at this point."
"So let's put our brilliant minds together and figure a way out of this."
"The only door we've seen was the one we came out of. Perhaps we should head back and see what clues we missed."
They stumbled back towards the door and Uhura helped Kirk lean against the wall while Uhura popped open the panel. "It's a long shot, but I'm going to see what I can find through the circuitry."
"You do that. I'm going to investigate these crates. Maybe there's something in them that'll help us."
They worked in silence for several minutes until Kirk called Uhura's name. "Look at this." It was a holographic device that was projecting something that Uhura had never seen before.
"What is that?" she asked.
They looked like ships, but they were square shaped and large, and there were so many of them.
"I don't know," said Kirk.
The hologram changed to people exiting the ships and Uhura was hard pressed to call them people. They looked like machines. Kirk let out a noise and dropped the device. It crackled and sizzled as the hologram shorted out.
Uhura pulled Kirk back as the device continued to let out sparks. There was another flash of light before everything fell sharply into darkness.
Uhura woke up with her head pressed against a console. She groaned as she sat up. Kirk was rubbing his forehead next to her. They were back in the shuttlecraft and Uhura could see the Enterprise in the distance. Uhura glanced over to Kirk and met his gaze.
"We didn't imagine that, did we?" Kirk asked.
Uhura shook her head. "It happened. Possibly a chemical hallucination. We should have McCoy run a scan on us."
Back on the Enterprise, McCoy was muttering over Kirk's head as he ran his scans. Kirk had a concussion while both of them had bruising all over their bodies. According to Spock, every system on the Enterprise went haywire and the shuttlecraft disappeared. Five long minutes later, it reappeared.
"We don't know what exactly happened, captain," Spock said as he hovered near Uhura. "We're still trying to figure it out."
"I want the ship as far away from this place as possible."
"As soon as we retrieved your shuttlecraft, I had instructed Sulu to get us into warp drive. If I may, captain, I would like to let my other self know about the visions you and Lieutenant Uhura had. There is nothing within our database concerning the beings you saw, but perhaps he would know."
"He might not tell you, you know. He's from the future. It might mess up our timeline more than it already is." Kirk slapped McCoy's hand away when he started poking at his neck. "Which means this could possibly be something the Federation will face in the future."
"We don't know what they were to us, but captain, we also don't know who revealed those beings to us or why."
There was nothing but big questions and slim answers. Kirk rubbed his forehead. This hadn't exactly been the easygoing rescue mission he thought it was going to be. "We'll figure it out. All of us."