Episode 17: Anomaly
In Detroit, October 14, 1908, Agent Tawaki Penguin left Bennett Park and returned to the TARDIS, which looked like a large barrel. He had gotten to sit through the entire ballgame, and so gotten to see the Chicago Cubs' last World Series victory for [classified PPC information]. “For once Murphy left me alone,” he told Melpomene.
“Maybe this'll be a good day for once,” said Melpomene.
Suddenly, they heard a cheesy pipe organ soundtrack. They exited the TARDIS to find the Sunflower Official right outside the TARDIS.
Sit down, said the SO. Tawaki and Melpomene sat on boxes. There is something that urgently needs doing, it said.
“I figured,” said Tawaki.
You heard that Agent Len began working for Big Brother.
“So it's true.” Once someone pledges him/herself to BB, he/she will not permit anyone to restore him/her to sanity, ever.
It gets worse. Agent Len had found out about the Key to Canon, and was able to reveal its existance before the DES killed him.
“The what?” asked Tawaki and Melpomene simultaneously.
Of course you would not know. It is our greatest secret. Like the Key to Time, but with only four segments and the power to shape all multiverses. We have to collect the pieces and re-locate them. If it were to fall into the wrong hands...
“Oh no,” groaned Tawaki. “Given what Big Beelzebub already did to literature in 1984...”
Intelligence believes that he will commandeer four pre-existing Suefics to get them. Use this, here the SO presented Tawaki and Melpomene with a tracer similar to the one used to locate Key to Time segments in Doctor Who. You have both seen the Key to Time arc, so you know what to do with this.
“And since we've seen it,” asked Melpomene, “how do we know you're not Big Brother in disguise?”
You cannot. You can believe – or not.
“Well,” said Tawaki, “Aslan told me that a horrible vision I saw in the Mirror of Galadriel was what would come to pass if I botched a task I was soon to be given.”
They interfaced the tracer with the TARDIS, and it showed the first segment to be in a Star Trek Suefic. “Janeway's young daughter, in every single mission,” reported Melpomene.
“Let's go as security officers,” said Tawaki, setting the disguises. He prayed to Aslan for wisdom, and they entered the fic. For the time being, they remained in the TARDIS (in the form of a tree), watching the proceedings through the viewport and listening through a loudspeaker.
Captain Kathryn Janeway sat slumped on one of the benches in the garden outside Starfleet Command. She felt thoroughly drained. She had just returned from a command mission on the U.S.S. Perry, which had originally been a simple matter of transporting a diplomat to the planet Per’Eras but had changed in a nanosecond when rebels had attacked the ship. It had taken every ounce of her skill to keep the ship in one piece, fight off the rebels, contact the government, and help establish diplomatic relations.
Janeway was angsting because she'd had an inexplicable baby with no apparent father – “Who does the Suethor take Janeway for?” asked Tawaki, “Mary?” – and Mark had dumped her in a fit of rage.
“According to Velma and Hank in Mary Sues,” said Melpomene, “you can bounce the CAD signal off a satellite to get a reading.”
“As I recall, they argue to this day whether [the political figure they'd been testing] was genuinely OOC or not.”
“It does work, right?”
“Yes. But we don't know if Mark is even in-system,” said Tawaki.
The strange thing was, she wasn’t sure she actually was missing anything. After little Sarah Kathryn was born, she had taken a year’s leave from Starfleet to care for her infant daughter. In that year, Sarah was early for everything—sitting up on her own, smiling, and so on. So when she headed back to Starfleet not long after Sarah’s first birthday, she felt reasonably secure in the fact that her daughter was progressing as she should, and was even quicker than most. However, after her first mission back, a trip that lasted a month and a half, she had come home to find that in her absence Sarah hadn’t progressed at all. She still hadn’t spoken her first word and seemed reluctant to try anything else that she should have been trying at that stage in her development. Worried, Kathryn took a month’s leave and took her daughter to a specialist. He’d merely shrugged, said her daughter was normal in every way, and that she would talk when she was ready.
Then, of course, the Sue really matured. By age three she acted like an adult. Tawaki interfaced the tracer with the CAD.
Sarah Janeway. Human female. Non-canon. Mary Sue. No Key to Canon segment present.
Tawaki and Melpomene portalled to Sarah's birthday, June Twenty-Fourth.
“We missed her pulling The Raven into the fic,” said Melpomene.
“Noted,” replied Tawaki. They were in Janeway's home, and it was the Sue's birthday. The presents included Shakespeare and Sherlock Holmes, while her peers would just be learning their letters.
“Charge,” said Melpomene.
Admiral Hudson arrived with the news that the Val Jean had gone missing. Janeway broke the news to the Sue.
The words 'Voyager’ and ‘Badlands’ exploded in Sarah’s mind for some unknown reason and she found herself sitting bolt-upright in the hammock and shrieking “I have to go with you!”
Startled, Kathryn asked, “What?”
“I have to go with you on Voyager!” Sarah repeated.
“Charge for knowing in advance,” noted Melpomene.
“The Val Jean,” breathed Tawaki. “The segment we're looking for?”
“Could be Voyager.”
“I can turn it down… And besides, this could be dangerous. I don’t want you in harm’s way.”
“No! It doesn’t matter. You have to command this ship and I have to go with you!”
Kathryn was shocked. Her daughter never threw fits, yet here she was, pitching one over a command assignment. She had to ask, “Why?”
“I-I-I don’t know exactly. I just know I have to go with you.” Sarah stuttered.
Her mother sighed. “Sarah, that would take a lot of work. I would really have to pull some strings for them to allow that.”
“Please, mama. I have to.”
“You’d probably have to go in front of a board of admirals again.”
Her daughter’s eyes flashed. “I can do it.”
Under that kind of adamancy, what could Kathryn do? “All right. I’ll see what I can do.”
Sarah hugged her. “Thank you mama. They’ll say yes.”
Kathryn hugged her small daughter back. “I hope you know what you’re undertaking.”
“I do,” Sarah whispered. “Just not consciously.”
Then they got smacked with an author's note. Melpomene noticed the beginnings of a red mist in Tawaki's eyes. “Uh, Tawaki?” she asked.
“You're showing signs of the Bloodwrath.”
“Oh, [Romulan expletive]. I thought I took my meds this morning.”
“Go to the zero room to rest. I will follow the fic.”
As Tawaki left, Melpomene piloted the TARDIS to a generic conference room to avoid the time wrench and duplicate author's note. The TARDIS took the form of a desk.
Sarah Janeway sat nervously outside the room where her mother once again was asking something for her daughter. She didn’t want to be the cause of strife, but somehow, deep down in her soul, she knew without a doubt that she absolutely must be on that ship when it left for the Badlands. She couldn’t have told anyone why—she couldn’t even tell herself—but she just knew that she had to.
“Hmm,” said Melpomene. “Certainly the segment is in the Delta Quadrant.” The Sue was petitioning a board of admirals for permission to join the mission. “Permission,” snarled Melpomene. “I'll give her permission – permission to space herself in warp drive!”
Things were looking down for the Sue until Captain Janeway appeared. Melpomene skipped a flashback in which the Sue remembered beating Admiral Gates at chess.
“Sarah is not your average child. At three and a half, she beat me at chess, a game of which I’m considered a master. She has an extremely high I.Q. and maturity level.” He looked at her. “She reminds me of a thirty year old trapped in a four year old’s body. It wouldn’t surprise me if she had a more sensitive sense of intuition.” Looking back at the admirals, he concluded, “I really think she should be allowed to go.”
Melpomene logged the charge and flew the TARDIS (now in the form of another tree) to avoid another spatial wrench to a recapitulation of Janeway's conversation with Tom Paris in the penal colony, without the Sue. Then Melpomene flew the TARDIS to Voyager two days later, cloaked it with a Somebody Else's Problem field, and activated Techno-Dann's Fic-Tracking module for the viewscreen. The tracer indicated that Voyager was not, in fact, the segment. This was a relief to Melpomene, as she had no intention of spacing the crew.
Sarah's maturity vanished at the prospect of going to Sickbay, thus prompting a charge of inconsistent characterization. In Sickbay, she unconsciously anticipated the deaths of the Medical staff.
The two of them left Sick Bay and made their way to a turbo-lift and Kathryn instructed it to take them to the bridge. When the doors swished open at their destination, Sarah was awestruck. They stepped out and she got a better look at everything—the conn, the science station, the star-studded view screen, ops, tactical, and the command chairs. It was to these last two that Sarah gravitated. She ran her small hand on the arm of the captain’s chair.
Her mother came up behind her and whispered, “Go ahead. No one’s looking.”
Sarah grinned widely and carefully seated herself. In her freshly pressed red turtleneck, sleek black slacks, polished boots, and carefully French-braided hair, she looked just like a mini Starfleet captain. “Make it so!” she said, in an uncanny imitation of Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
“Bastardizing... Picard's... lines,” Melpomene noted. “And a red turtleneck? Indicates a TOS-era redshirt.” She laughed to herself.
After a few minutes, Kathryn announced that she needed to go to her ready room. Again, for some unknown reason, all the color drained from her daughter’s face as the girl touched the armrest of the first officer’s chair.
The mini-Tribbles Sick Bay and Turbo-Lift appeared, and Janeway told the Sue to go back to Sickbay. She met Tom Paris and Harry Kim, and followed them to Janeway's ready room. Then came a recapitulation of Harry and Janeway's “at ease before you sprain something” conversation with the Sue present.
At Janeway’s nod, Commander Cavit instructed Lieutenat Stadi to lay in their course and clear departure with Operations. Stadi confirmed it as they completed the pre-launch sequence.
At Captain Janeway’s command of “Engage,” Sarah could have sworn she felt the deck plates move beneath her feet, though she knew it had to be her imagination since the inertial dampers were on. This is it, she thought, feeling excited and scared as the ship departed Deep Space Nine for the Badlands, though she she somehow knew that the Badlands wouldn’t be the end of it. We’re on our way.
Unfortunately, the loudspeaker did not dull yet another pair of author's notes. Then Voyager left Deep Space Nine, and it was then that Janeway showed the Sue their quarters.
Sarah watched her mother leave, getting a small knot of dread in her stomach as she did. Shaking it off, she scampered off to their bedroom and began to pull things from her duffel bag. Much of the weight came from the multitude of books she had brought along. One at a time, she carefully transferred them to the bookshelf that her mother had requested for their quarters. Sherlock Holmes, Shakespeare, The Black Stallion, Harry Potter, The Belgariad, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy and numerous other titles stood neatly side-by-side on the shelves. Turning her back to the books, she pulled her art set, PADDs, and camera from the bag and then placed them carefully on top of the bookshelf. Her stuffed horse, which she had named Paint Voyager in honor of the ship, was produced from the bag along with a very mashed up and battered pillow—her favorite pillow that she took on every trip. These last two she carefully put on her bed and stepped back to survey the effect.
The Sue snuck out and went to the mess hall, where Harry Kim nearly spilled tomato soup on her. Sue then observed Harry Kim and Tom Paris' conversation on Paris' past, chiming in at the end with “bad choices don't make you a bad person.”
Voyager reached the Badlands, and before long Voyager was being scanned by the coherent tetryon beam. Just as in canon, Voyager tried, and failed, to escape the displacement wave.
The sudden swish of the turbolift, surprisingly enough apparently undamaged, interrupted her thoughts. She snapped her head around and was shocked to see that the occupant was her daughter. Shock turned to horror as Sarah stepped from the turbolift and she could see a large, angry red cut slashed across her forehead. The entire left side of her face was bruised and she moved stiffly, evidence that she possibly had more than surface injuries.
“Alf take this fic,” snarled Melpomene.
Unable to restrain herself, Kathryn ran to her sobbing daughter, not even wasting time on the stairs but rather climbing under the railing. “Sarah! You’re alive!” She gathered her little girl in her arms, shuddering at the bloody smudges that her daughter had left on the carpet.
“I knew this was going to happen,” the small child choked out. “Somehow I knew! We’re never going to get home!”
“Sarah, calm down. What are you talking about?”
With tearstained eyes, her daughter informed her in a quavering voice, “We’re in the Delta Quadrant.”
Icy fear settled in Captain Janeway’s stomach. Nervously, hoping her daughter was merely hysterical, she called out, “Where are we, Mr. Kim?”
“If the sensors are working correctly, captain,” he said disbelievingly, “We’re 70,000 lightyears from where we were.” He looked at her anxiously. “We’re in the Delta Quadrant.”
Eyes wide, she turned back to her daughter. “How did you know?” she asked in a whisper.
“I don’t know,” came the trembling reply. “I just knew.”
Melpomene recorded the charge of “knowing where Voyager is without sensors.” The story continued according to canon, but when the crew got pulled aboard the Array, the Sue saw through the disguises immediately. Furthermore, she had already been tested somehow. The Caretaker beamed her to Engineering, where she would be out for three days.
A few hours later, Tawaki emerged from the zero room. Melpomene brought him up to date on the fics. Suddenly, Melpomene's CAD emitted a jangle of clangings. Tawaki yelped a Norcadian expletive and read the display.
Warning: Control of fic no longer Suethor's. Big Brother. Extracanonical. No natural connection to fic. Completely in character, unfortunately.
Tawaki and Melpomene looked out the viewscreen. Even though the Words stated that the Sue was to be out cold, she was waking up. Tawaki and Melpomene watched her go to Holodeck One, and they exited the TARDIS and followed, SEP-fields activated.
They entered to find the Sue in an EV suit, going for a piece of debris after the battle with the Kazon. She picked it up and it turned into a corner of a crystalline tetrahedron. Then, the Sue turned to face the two agents. “Don't think I can't see you,” she said.
Melpomene deactivated her SEP-field. “Computer, delete program,” she ordered. Immediately, the scene vanished, leaving the holodeck walls visible. “Sarah Janeway,” she said, “you are charged with being a Mary Sue, with being Janeway's uncanonical daughter, with having an inexplicable existance, with being inexplicably precognitive, with being WAY too mature for your age, with being good at everything by age four, with beating an admiral at chess, with getting onto Voyager for an investigation, with knowing exactly who will live and who will die, with being inconsistently characterized, with creating mini-Tribbles, with knowing where the ship was without sensors, with being at an unrealistic reading level, with having a TOS uniform in TNG era, with bastardizing Captain Picard's lines, with escaping testing by the Caretaker, and with plotting to steal part of the Key to Canon. Any last words?”
They had forgotten that a devil had commandeered the fic. Tawaki and Melpomene found themselves gasping, held against the bulkhead. “Aslan...” prayed Tawaki. “help... us...”
Was it their imagination, or did Big Brother's influence slacken? Yes, it did, to the point where the Suethor's influence was dominant, and the Sue fell asleep. Was there divine intervention involved? It is likely Agents will argue that one as long as there is a PPC. Tawaki produced a d'k tahg and knifed the Sue.
“Now,” said Melpomene, “who has the tracer?”
“I do,” replied Tawaki. "I'll suit up, portal, and collect the segment. You collect the bit character from the next chapter. We rendezvous in the TARDIS now.” He got an EV suit, got into it, and portalled a few days ahead to the wreckage of the Array, the Kazon ship, and the Val Jean a few days later. She let the tracer lead her straight to the piece of twisted duranium from the holodeck. The tracer turned it into the crystal piece and she portalled back to the TARDIS, where Melpomene was showing a woman in a science uniform around. “Lieutenant Natalie Green, meet Agent Tawaki. Agent Tawaki, Lieutenant Natalie Green. She's a new recruit for the PPC.”
Melpomene produced the segment. “One down, three to go,” she said. She took it down to a storage chamber, while Tawaki dialed up his anti-Bloodwrath medication and took it.
He was glad he had when Melpomene returned, for Natalie interfaced the tracer with the TARDIS console, and they saw what they were going into next.
To be continued...
For the masochistic among you, the story can be found at http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3395479/1/Anomaly.