CHAPTER THREE – ALONE
ENTERPRISE NX-01, YEAR ASSUMED AS 2169, LOCATION UNKNOWN
I got up off the ground, and looked around. I was the only one standing. I rushed over to the Admirals. They were all unconscious. I felt for a pulse. There wasn’t one, not on any of them. They were all dead. In one swift move they were all dead. It was the largest number of people to die on my ship at any one time. I asked myself, why did I survive? Why was I lucky enough to be the one make it through? Why not any of them?
Still it wasn’t the time for thinking about these things. I went into action, ready to help anyone else on the ship. I ran to the intercom, “This is Archer. Is anybody alive out there?” Nothing. “I repeat. Can anybody hear me?” Nothing. “I repeat. Can anybody hear me?!” Nothing. There was only silence. Could I really be the only survivor? I saw my answer on T’Pol’s console. Life support had failed on all decks, except for the isolated bridge. I’d been out for 10 hours. The rest of the ship was uninhabitable. They truly were all dead. They weren’t my crew – just people preparing the ship to be a museum but still they were all gone.
I was alone in a room full of corpses. I went to T’Pol’s console. I had to find out what had happened. I owed them that. I ran through the sensor data and ran some new scans, my fingers racing across the console. There was no shining blue and green planet below me. That would explain the lack of help. There were no planets at all in range, just an endless void of empty space. I couldn’t even tell where we were. Enterprise must have been very far from anywhere we had explored.
There was nothing more to do. Nowhere to go. No more scans to run. The ship didn’t have supplies. There was no way I could make it all the way back to known space. Nobody would be within range for a distress call to be heard. I fell back into the chair – defeated. I considered staying there and just waiting for the ship to fall apart. It would be so easy. I was tired and battle worn. I had done more than any other Starfleet Officer. There was nobody to save me out here and I sure as hell didn’t want to go back to Earth. There wasn’t really a choice. Then the other guy spoke. The voice in my head that told me to never give up during the Xindi crisis or the Romulan War. It was the part of me hoping for a new adventure behind very planet – the explorer. It was the voice that got me through and it wouldn’t be put to rest, even after all these years.
It told me to get up. It told me the adventure of a lifetime was waiting. It was that inner determination that never stopped, no matter how hard I tried. I remembered what I felt when I fell to the ground. I started to work up a shred of motivation. Not enough to get me out of the chair, but a shred. As if on cue, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something had changed on the monitor. I couldn’t pick it at first, but then it slowly came into focus. A blip had appeared on the very edge of sensor range. Just one blip. It was a planet. It got me out of the chair. Without thought I knew it was my destination. It was a chance. My last hope. I pulled myself to my feet and went to the helm. I typed in the coordinates and activated the engines, taking the scarred vessel to warp 5.
The ship shook and moaned. After so many years in space, she was falling apart at the seams. I whispered to her, “It’s nearly over. Hang on for just one last adventure, then we can both be laid to rest.” The creaking seemed to subside. Maybe I had been imagining it or maybe she had heard me. I liked to hope she had.
A few hours later, I checked the sensors again. We were getting closer. No, I was getting closer. There was no ‘we’ anymore, just ‘I’, all alone. They had picked up more detail on the planet. It was M-Class. There were warp signatures – Lots of them. Even more than Earth or Vulcan. It was a miracle. Or was it? I had learnt not to believe in coincidences. A feeling was building in my chest – A feeling of excitement and fear combined.