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Posted on Sat Jun 11th, 2022 @ 11:56am by Freya Mannerheim

Mission: Chapter V: The Calm Before The Storm
Location: S.S. Skidbladnir
Timeline: 238704.19

"Damnit!" Curses rang through engineering on the old freighter. "Gods help me, if this control panel crashes one more time, I'll rip it out!"

Captain Mannerheim shook her head as she walked up to the old man trying to realign the warp coils. "That's what you get for piecing your ship together from random pieces you find on junkyards, Eilif." She'd been on board the Nygardian ship all day, helping to get everything ready for its first evacuation run to a Romulan colony world on the edge of the Supernova's expected blast zone. Installing a cloaking device had taken its toll on the aging ship's power grid, and everyone had been hard at work trying to compensate.

Eilif punched the console screen in front of him and turned to face his "granddaughter". "Well, unless you can somehow overhaul the entire grid in an hour, we're stuck. As it stands, we need to either disconnect weapons, shields, warp, or the cloak. None of those are a good idea, considering where we're going."

Freya sighed and pulled out her tricorder, scanning the control panel. "I see what's wrong with it. Help me lift this off the wall."

A few moments later, the connectors behind the screen had been renewed, and the panel was once again operational. Eilif grunted. "Whoever taught you ship maintenance did a fine job."

"That would be you. Well, your counterpart in my universe, anyway."

"Hey, Gunnarsdottir! Need your help over here!" In order to hide her identity, Freya had assumed the identity of the daughter of a family friend, who happened to share Arnason's name. She turned to see who had called her name, and spotted someone she hadn't even been aware was on the ship. Standing at the door to engineering was a teenage girl with short, blonde hair, dressed in a tank top that showed that large parts of her left side were covered in barely healed burn scars.

Mannerheim turned to Eilif. "You said she was in hospital," she whispered angrily. "She was. When she heard where we were going, she insisted on coming along to help." He shrugged. "You of all people should know how insistent my granddaughter can be."

The Terran captain sighed and turned to the girl. "What do you need? We're in the middle of trying to get the power grid to not overload when we activate the cloak."

Young Freya nodded. "I know, I've had an idea, but I need a hand."

Mannerheim nodded and joined her counterpart at a maintenance panel just outside engineering, where the teenager had taken out a few power relays. "Okay, so how is ripping out the relays going to help us?"

The girl chuckled. "It's not, at least until we plug them back in. See, I had a look at the readings what happens when we engage the cloak, and where the overload is happening. Looks to me like the relays can't handle the added drain in this junction right here. So-"

The Captain held up a hand. "So you want to bypass the cloak around this junction and power it directly from the core. You know it's integrated into the deflector circuits."

"Yep." Her counterpart pointed at a connector. "And that's the relay that goes to the deflector. This junction feeds all defence systems as well as the deflector. I was thinking of bypassing it in-"

"A way that means we can either power the cloak, or shields and weapons, but not both at the same time. But since those don't work while under cloak anyway, it should prove a decent workaround." Freya smiled at her young counterpart. "I have no idea why I didn't come up with that myself." Technically, I did, she thought to herself, and chuckled. As the two got to work installing the bypass, she looked at the teenager and smiled. "Your grandfather told me you went through something pretty bad a few weeks ago. I'm surprised you're here, actually."

Young Freya shrugged. "I'm not going to let something like losing my family and a leg stop me, you know. Sure, I could have stayed in hospital feeling sorry for myself, but that's just not me."

The Captain nodded. "I can relate. I went through something similar when I was your age." She pulled up the left leg of her cargo trousers to show that her left leg was metal. "You've got it in you to go far, you know, with that kind of attitude."

Her counterpart smiled as she inserted the last relay and replaced the hatch. "I'm going to Starfleet Academy next year, once I'm old enough. I want to be a captain one day. Command one of those big Galaxy-class ships, go on exploration missions like my ancestors did back on Earth, centuries ago."

Suddenly, tears came to Mannerheim's eyes. She, of course, knew what was going to happen instead. Six years in the future, the young woman standing in front of her would die when her ship would encounter an ion storm in the Badlands, leading to Mannerheim taking her place in this universe. 'Never mess with your own timeline'was one of the key rules to time travel - but would it really be her own timeline she'd mess with?

With a firm nod, the Captain made a decision. "Freya, listen to me. Whatever you do, stay away from the Badlands."

The young girl looked at her, confused. "The Badlands? What... what are you talking about?"

Mannerheim reached into her pocket, and pulled out a Federation combadge, turning it around to show Freya the name engraved on the back - her name. "I come from the future, in a different timeline. I will not tell you why, I shouldn't even have told you this. Beware the Badlands. And look after your grandfather. I need to go."

Before the young girl could reply, the Captain double-tapped the tricom badge in her other pocket, and transported back to her ready room on Amelia. She had just broken the most fundamental rule of time travel - she had potentially changed her own past. After all, if her counterpart didn't die in the Badlands, her own path would change accordingly. Anxiously, she accessed the personnel files on the ship, and looked up Freya Svanirsdottir, Federation Starfleet, dated for a year after Freya's death in the Badlands - when Mannerheim herself was working with the Section. When she read the summary, she let out a triumphant scream.

Freya Svanirsdottir; Status: Active; Rank: Lieutenant Commander; Assignment: U.S.S. Neptune NCC-42697;


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