Star Trek Alchemy: Temporal Investigations

"First things first." she said to herself. She checked the timestamp on a small hand-held device that, to the layman could only be described as a compass of sorts.
~From the post entitled Two Bajorans, a Vulcan, and a Betazoid by Zanh Liis


A note from the Managing Editor of Star Trek: Alchemy...


Ten years ago, when I started writing the role of undercover TI agent Zanh Liis, I tried to research the department and discovered that there was frustratingly little to find.

Aside from the one episode of DS9 in which two TI agents had appeared, there was really nothing else to go on.

I decided early on that there had to be some sort of tool that TI agents relied upon to know when something was wrong with the timeline- a beacon to call them to action and so I wrote about so-called Temporal Compasses. Additionally, like a sailor's compass it would tell them when they were going in the right direction; give them a way to navigate through time and space in a way so as to make everything 'right' again.

This is the first thing I remember ever writing about a Temporal Compass; from a post for the Deep Space 23 platform of Unity Fleet (here's to ya lads wherever ya are now...) The very first mention that I recall of the compass is a ways down (in bold text) but for those of you familiar with our crew roster here, I will leave a large portion of the post in-tact because I believe it'll amuse you. It's my goal to someday archive all of these in our central Alchemy database too.

The scene: Lair Kellyn is unexpectedly reunited with former crewmate and TI Agent Zanh and is asking her about recent fractures to the space-time continuum that have enveloped the station.


The following post was written on December 30, 2002 (Stardate 21220.00)

-=Aboard the TI ship Stella Polaris=-

A beeping sound emanated from a panel nearby, and Ledbetter rose to look at the screen. His brow furrowed. He tapped a few buttons, and the message he'd seen was relayed to the PADD in Liis' hand.

She read silently for a moment. Then sighed. After reading a little more, she opened her mouth and released an elaborate series of Bajoran obscenities.

Some of her curses were easily recognized by Kellyn. Others were antiquated, and after a moment of scanning her memory for the reason why they seemed vaguely familiar, Kellyn realized that she remembered her grandfather using a few of them when she was a child. Only when he was particularly frustrated, though, and never in front of her grandmother.

"What?" Kellyn asked, shaking her head in an attempt to clear it of these reveries. She began to rub her arms with her hands. She felt cold, a sense of foreboding, but couldn't have explained it if she'd been asked to try.

"Shit." Liis said, punctuating the end of her rant with the Terran swear. "Salvek is in jail."


"He made his way to Ops in the wrong timeframe, and they threw his illogical, hormonal ass in the brig."

Half of Liis' words went in one of Kellyn's ears and out the other. She was so distressed by the idea of him being imprisoned that she wasn't truly listening.

"He's acting like he's lost his mind." she interjected.

"He has. It's the blood fever." Liis said matter-of-factly, and Kellyn's eyes grew huge.

That was the one thing she hadn't considered. "No, it can't be. Not for another two years."

"Must I remind you, woman, that the two of you have been screwing around with temporal mechanics for the past several years?" Liis was just a shade this side of losing her temper entirely. "Think about it! All the timeline fractures that have enveloped the station, don't you think that could have an effect on his chemistry?"

"Oh no." Kellyn mumbled. She began to consider his behavior in the infirmary earlier, and she had to accept that Pon farr was the only explanation.

"Another update coming in, Commander." Ledbetter called from across the cabin. He had stayed where he'd been, all this talk of Vulcan mating cycles made him extremely uncomfortable.

Liis consulted her PADD again, and this time she physically reacted to what she saw by straightening up in her chair.

"Hello. What's this?" she read the next few lines of text. "It would seem that your friend Tues K'Raye has just materialized on the station in your timeframe, from a past one."

"You mean my vision of her was real?" Kellyn gasped, incredulous.

"Well, yes and no. You saw her all right, but that was another's all hard to understand but what you need to know is that Tues is now in your correct time frame. And, it would appear, she's stranded."

"How can that be? Isn't all of this entirely reversible?"

"No." Liis said simply, offering no further explanation.

Kellyn waited patiently for a moment, thinking Liis was just gathering her thoughts before continuing. But the silence lingered and finally, she shrugged.

"No? That's it?"

"Yep. That's it. I don't have time to give you the details of the situation in their entirety. Suffice it to say that though she doesn't realize it yet, K'Raye will be staying on DS23, in this time line."

Relief washed over Kellyn. She didn't care why, or how, but K'Raye was there. Alive. She felt like Zanh had just handed her hope as a tangible object she could cling to.

"I have to talk to her. She can help him. We have to get back to the station."

"Hold up a minute. You're not going anywhere." Liis replied with a shake of her head and a wag of her finger.

"S'cuse me?"

"You are one variable too many in this volatile situation. I need to keep you in one spot for awhile."

"My husband needs me. He could die."

"I know what blood fever does, Kellyn. Salvek is just going to have to cope for now."

"Will I get back to him in time?"

"Time. That word means such a different thing to me than you. You're going to have to trust me."

Lair remembered that this was the woman who had brought her back to Salvek four years ago to begin with, when she'd been 'dead' due to an error in that Mudor filament field nightmare. She sighed, then nodded. She had to trust her.

"Right, then. Ashton, you keep an eye on Commander Lair here, feed her something, have some tea, Twinkies, I don't care. But do not let her out of your sight. I'm going to break her husband out of jail."

"Any excuse to have tea is a good one." Ledbetter replied pleasantly. Kellyn folded her arms across her chest. She didn't want to be where she was.

"I'll keep you appraised of what's going on." Liis called as she adjusted her arm band.

"Often." Kellyn shouted after her as Liis' form began to shimmer in transport.

"Do you take cream in your tea? Perhaps a scone?" Ash asked, trying to politely break the silence that hung between them now.

"Shove it." Kellyn replied, turning away and closing her eyes.

"Whatever you say, Sir." Ledbetter replied, turning back to his console.

Kellyn rubbed her aching temples and tried to believe this wasn't happening. She couldn't escape what she saw in her mind's eye; Salvek, suffering.

He was all she could see.


On the Station:

Liis felt the dizzy, familiar feeling that lived somewhere between nausea and its physical result, and she cleared her throat several times. In a moment, the sensation passed, and she took a deep breath or two.

The older she got, the harder this was on her body. Sure, high-tech implants of future origin and regular injections of cellular stabilizers helped some.

At least they kept her frame from simply disintegrating from the constant strain of what those in T.I. casually called "frac-jumping."

Zanh Liis was one of the senior time travel veterans in the agency though, and having lived, backward, forwards, and sometimes laterally more than 327 earth years was rough.

"First things first." she said to herself. She checked the timestamp on a small hand-held device that, to the layman could only be described as a compass of sorts.

Satisfied she'd landed in the right place after her fracture jump, she looked up.

She was standing in Salvek's cell in the brig, and he was unaware of her presence. He'd taken to pacing, mumbling incoherently. He was trying to chant, to bring himself to a meditative state of mind, but found it was impossible to do.

The nondescript Klingon guard appeared annoyed to no end with the noise the prisoner was making. He had taken to sharpening the blades on the daggers he kept, one in each boot. Metal met metal with long, piercing sounds. The noise of the blades scraping reminded Liis of ancient forms of dentistry she'd rather forget. The hair on the back of her neck stood on end, but she tried her best to dismiss the din.

She retrieved an armband identical to the one she wore from the pocket of her jacket. She began to match her steps to the Vulcan's, falling into his exact cadence. Finally, she tapped him on the shoulder. He jumped and spun, startled into silence, which was exactly what she wanted.

She put her finger to her lips, and he staggered a little and tried to focus. He looked as if he'd been drinking. He blinked several times, certain he was hallucinating.

She slapped the band around his upper arm, and in an instant they were gone.

Suddenly aware of the silence in the cell, the Klingon guard stood up.

"Romulan." he said "Show yourself." He realized quickly that he was speaking to himself only, that the prisoner had somehow escaped.

He realized instantly that he had failed in his duty as jailer. His prisoner was gone, and he would be dishonored, as would his family. He looked at the blades he held in his hands, there was only one solution. Less honorable than a death in battle, but better than the death of a failure.

He didn't hesitate a moment, but thrust both blades into his chest and sank to the floor, where he died in a pool of his own blood.

Liis and Salvek materialized in his correct time on the station. The jump, sensation made Salvek's stomach lurch and he gagged several times, grateful he hadn't eaten recently.

"Deep breaths, Logic Boy." Liis said, patting him on the arm. She took out her tricorder and scanned him. "You'll be fine. I apologize for the fact that I just took three point five days off your lifespan with that jump, but it had to be done."

"Zanh Liis, I do not...understand." Salvek fought to get the words out, to stay coherent and in the moment. Maybe she knew where Kellyn was. "My wife. I must see my wife."

"Don't worry about Kellyn. She's safe for the moment. So is Arie. I'm more worried about you, my friend."

"Kellyn. Need. Kellyn." Salvek said, beginning to go weak in the knees.

Zanh matched his height inch for inch, and she put her arm around him to keep him from hitting the deck. "Let's have a seat, shall we?"

"Where?" Salvek asked as she sat him down on a small couch.

"Where are we?" he nodded.

"We're in Counselor Hood's office."


"What you would consider now, Salvek. Where you were when you woke up this morning."

Again, simply a nod from him.

"There is someone here you're going to want to talk to." Liis looked at her temporal compass once again, and located Tues K'Raye. She was in a transporter room with Dabin Reece. "Salvek, get Reece out of that room."

"I, I do not..."

Liis slapped him across the face. His hand instinctively went to his cheek, and he raised his eyebrow. "Stay with me, Commander. Use your combadge and signal Reece. Send him somewhere, I don't care where."

Salvek touched his badge. "Salvek to Reece."

{Where are you? Sacul is looking for you.}

"Meet me in his office."

{Acknowledged. Reece out.}

In the transporter room, Reece looked at the confused Counselor regretfully. "I apologize, I have to go. I'll send someone back to try to help you figure out what is going on."

Then he was gone, leaving Tues in the shock of what she thought she had just heard. That couldn't be Salvek's voice. Salvek was on the Independence, wasn't he? What the hell was going on?

With Reece out of the room, Liis activated her site to site transporter and suddenly, a very surprised K'Raye and her dog found themselves in Hood's office as well.

Tues drew her phaser, eyes darting around the room trying to understand her new surroundings. She saw Zanh first.

"Who are you?"

Liis held her hands up in a gesture of peace. "A friend."


Ever since Liis' creation back in early 1999 I have worked on a framework upon which to build stories about her adventures. I'm happy to say that since the stories were character driven they are still being read and enjoyed today and the characters, most of them anyway, are going stronger than ever.

Now, it's time to tell more of the story about the Agency that employed not only ZL for so long but Jonas Vox, Keiran O'Sullivan, William Lindsay, Gem Lassiter, and yes even Ashton Ledbetter.

We've fleshed out a lot more about TI in the past two years here on the Serendipity- and it's time to put all of that together into a reference library of sorts as only our writers can do it.

I'm going to need help on this.

Thankfully, we've got helpful people around here. Talented, too.

Captain Lindsay has volunteered to take on this project with me and has indeed already begun the process in this recent post which explains the basic concept of how 24th Central Temporal Compasses operate. Thank you, William.

Stay tuned for further updates as construction of this section of our site is underway and to be considered ongoing.

-=/\=- Captain Zanh Liis O'Sullivan
Commanding Officer
USS Serendipity NCC-2012
The Alchemy Project

Future (or past, depending on where you are in the timeline) Feature Articles to Include:

An Introduction to Temporal Investigations:
by Admiral Gemini Lassiter

Polaris: The Master Clock of Temporal Investigations

Temporal Compasses: The Tool of the Trade
by Director William Lindsay

Cascades, Paradoxes and Other Stuff You Didn't Want to Know About Time Travel,
by -=/\=- Zanh Liis

The Code of Conduct: Lessons Learned In and Outside of the Linear Timeline by Captain Keiran O'Sullivan

The USS Perseids: A Prototype Ahead of Her Time
by Dr. Azalea Adams

The Role of The Alchemy Project in the Future of the Federation:
by Jonas Vox