Once upon a time in the early years of the Enterprise D...
A repetitive trill sounded in the dark room. The lighting slowly got brighter and the computer voice flatly announced: “The time is oh-five-thirty. Your shift begins at oh-seven-hundred. You have one message waiting.”
Ensign Rebecca Donahugh groaned and rolled over. What the hell did I do last night? I feel like I have a hangover! She reached for the side table for the water bottle that she usually kept there and cursed when she knocked it over. Great, now it’s under the bed, she thought a heavy sigh. Resigning herself to actually getting up, she threw off the duvet and sat up. Her head felt heavy and her mouth felt worse. Yeah, definitely time to get moving.
She used the loo (she knew most people called it the ‘fresher these days, but some habits are hard to break), threw herself in the sonic shower, and brushed her teeth per her usual morning autopilot routine. After rinsing her mouth out, she said out loud, “Computer, set a reminder for me to talk to Commander Riker again about moving to second shift.”
“Acknowledged. Reminder set.”
It was as she was pulling on a fresh uniform that she hazily remembered the computer saying something about a message. She ordered breakfast and a double Raktajino from the replicator and said, “Computer, did you say something about a message?”
“Confirmed. You have one new message.”
She froze lifting a forkful of scrambled eggs to her mouth when the screen on her wall lit up and showed a large pot bellied man with dark red hair and no shirt. “Now darlin’! There was no need to run away like that last night! I was just borrowin’ you a little! Come and turn my program back on! I find this version of the mortal world quite interesting!”
Nana always said the gift would come without warning, but she didn’t mention that I could channel a god into the holodeck! Why couldn’t this have happened when I was on leave or something? Or never? Oh gods!
She wolfed down the rest of her breakfast without really tasting it. What’s the Celtic Father God going to do with a holodeck and a massive ship-sized computer at His disposal?
Rebecca ran down to Holodeck 3 as soon as her shift ended. She had checked the schedule earlier and luckily (was it really luck?) the holodeck was empty for the next hour. Given the time it would take her to get there, she’d have about 45 minutes to convince a god not to mess with the Enterprise and definitely not to modify all the replicators so that they only dispensed beef stew and beer. Although, O'Brien probably won’t mind that , she thought.
Scrolling through the most recent programs, she finally found the program she had created last night. Rebecca did remember coming to the holodeck to create a ritual room so she could at least attempt full moon rituals. Sure, she couldn’t be near Terra’s moon, but she was an engineer and had plenty of brains to calculate approximate stardates. Rebecca figured that even if the dates of the full moons weren’t correct, there would be a full moon somewhere in the galaxy and that was close enough.
She selected the program and the computer said “Enter when ready.” Taking a deep breath, she walked through the holodeck doors…
...and into the temple of her dreams. For a moment, as the doors closed behind her, she forgot about her little deity problem and stared in wonder.
“Oh, gods, I love the holodeck! Wow!”
The room was full of candles, incense, and other tools of a modern pagan. There was even a trance inducing device (she had always wanted one after she heard about a Native American tactical instructor who used to be in Starfleet having one to initiate trance states for his own spiritual work), a brass circle was set in the floor, and an altar with representations of all the deities she usually worked with. In the center of the altar was a very big cauldron that had a harp and a club in it.
It was then that she remembered why she was there.
“Ok, mister! Come out right now!” she demanded, hands on hips. “I mean it! We need to talk!”
She tapped her foot impatiently while she waited for the redheaded god to appear. He moved out from the shadows of the holo-temple, creating a nice dramatic entrance for Himself. Rebecca rolled her eyes, and sat down on the floor.
“Now, Lass, there’s no need to be mad. The captain needed a little pick-me-up and I thought the beer would help!”
She glared at him. “Are you kidding?! The man’s from France! Didn’t you know that?”
“Well…I suppose I should have given him whiskey, then.” He shrugged as He sat on the floor with her.
“Whisky?!” She gave a groan and then sighed. “Ok, listen. We need to set some ground rules. I know you invoked yourself in here and all, but I still have duties to perform. I’d rather not get transferred, thank you very much!”
He crossed His arms. “Hey, I wasn’t tryna get you fired! I was trying to help the poor man. He don’t know what’s coming, and he’s gonna need all the help he can get!”
“Well, good. So first….” Pausing, Rebecca realized what He just said. “Wait. What?”
The god shifted to lay on his side and, after materializing pints of beer for Himself and her, said, “Ye heard me. He don’t know what’s coming, and it’s gonna to tear him apart.”
“What do you mean? What’s coming?”
The Dagda took a long swig of his beer. He put it down carefully, and looked Rebecca straight in the eye. “The swarm is going to come and take him away, and it will break him. That’s all I can tell you, lass. It’ll be soon, you can be sure of that.”
“Swarm?” Her eyes became wide. “You mean…?”
“Oh gods!” Dammit, Nana, she thought, you were bloody right. She put her head in her hands. What do I do now? She had to tell someone, but who’s going to believe her? Starfleet wasn’t exactly rich in mystics and priests. Troi? Maybe. LaForge? Probably not. Definitely not Commander Riker.
“Oh, come on, girl. You know who you have to talk to.”
She let out a long suffering sigh. Yes, she did. “Yes, You’re right. But before I go and talk to him, we’re going to spend the rest of this hour setting up some ground rules. And the first one the list is: DO NOT mess with the Captain’s replicators! In fact, don’t mess with any systems AT ALL!”
“Don’t ‘aww lass’ me, unless you want your program to get downloaded into an isolated storage device and tossed out the nearest airlock!”
He downed the rest of the pint with a mischievous grin and a grunt of assent.
A couple hours later, after a good meal and a dose of oxy pills to help her recover from the negotiations with her patron god, she made her way to the senior officer’s side of the ship. She knew the Klingon was in his rooms, but, she had to admit, the tall warrior intimidated her. She’d only had a few random conversations with the man, but she did feel he was a kindred spirit. He took his spirituality very seriously, and if anyone was going to take a vision seriously, it would be Lt. Worf.
Rebecca took a breath to steady herself and touched the door chime. The Klingon’s deep voice answered “Come in!”
The door opened, and Worf was sitting on a chair that looked like a sculpture of black balls on sticks. Interesting chair , she thought, as she gazed around at the dimly lit room. It took her a minute to realize that Worf had asked her what she wanted.
“Oh, yes, sorry sir. I was just admiring your room.”
“Thank you, Ensign. What can I do for you?”
She cleared her throat, and asked, “Um, sir...well...you see...um...I know you believe that a person can have visions and that you wouldn’t dismiss them out of hand like other people…”
He looked at her for a moment, and Rebecca thought he was looking straight at her soul, assessing her. “Yes. I would not dismiss a vision. Are you saying that you’ve had some sort of vision, ensign?”
“I see. I cannot interpret it for you, Ensign. You’ll have to do that on your own.”
“Oh, no, sir! The vision wasn’t about me,” she blurted out, “it was about the captain!”
Worf practically jumped out of his chair and stood directly in front of her. “What about the captain?”
“Well, He, the spirit that is, said to me: ‘The swarm is going to come and take him away, and it will break him.’ I knew I had to tell you, because if it means what I think it means, then the captain is in danger!”
Worf’s stare seemed to bore into her as if he could read her mind. She knew that he wasn’t telepathic, but the way Worf was looking at her now, you’d think he was. Please believe me Commander!
“I believe you Ensign Donahugh. Please, sit and tell me how this vision came about.”
She did as she was told, and prayed that he wouldn’t ding her for invoking a Celtic Father God into a hologram. When she left for her own quarters an hour later in search of her bed, she wasn’t exactly happy, but definitely relieved that Worf had believed.
Standing in a meadow with green grass, she was wearing was one of her favorite summer dresses. The wind was blowing and the flowers were blooming. Then suddenly, a swarm of bees attacked her and the ground lurched under her. A voice was saying “Red Alert! All personnel report to duty stations.”
She woke up from the dream with a jolt, red lights flashing. Jumping out of bed, she reached for the nearest uniform, threw on her boots, and ran to engineering. She nearly knocked over LaForge, running as fast as he could to the nearest turbolift.
“Engineering’s closed off! I need you to get to one of the secondary stations and help keep those damn shields up! Man, I hate the Borg!”
“Yes sir!” she yelled at the turbolift doors. Oh, gods, the Borg! She made it to her duty station, and was knee deep in repairs when she heard in her head: Heads up, lass!
“Yes, sir!” She heard the duty officer yell over the noise of repairs. “Donahugh! Forget the shields! I need you over here to help with the deflectors!”
“Ok! What are we doing?”
“We’re going to make them into a weapon against the borg. Riker’s orders.”
The duty officer nodded. “Some new hotshot named Shelby on the bridge came up with it.”
Rebecca read the plans and started work on the deflector array. Her head was buried in a panel when things got quiet. She poked her head out and looked around. Her friend, Sonya, who was closest, was muttering “Oh my god!” over and over again.
“Sonya, what’s going on?”
She looked over at Rebecca with tears in her eyes. “The Borg took the captain. I can’t believe it.”
You’re big friend’s on it, lass. They’ll get him back.
But, you said it would break him, she thought to the god.
Rebecca shook her head. Bloody hell. Nana forgot to mention how much knowing these things before anyone else sucks. Nothing for it but to get the job done. “Come on, Sonya, we need to get back to work. They’re working on it upstairs, and you know they’ll get him back. You’ll have another opportunity to spill something on him soon.”
Sonya gave a nervous laugh. “I’ll never live that down, will I?”
“Nope! Hand me that hydrospanner, would you?” Sonya gave her the tool, and she stuck her head back into the open panel.