The timeline has changed. Sebastian died at the beginning of their mission – Selveth took over as XO. The Tiro was destroyed, the Sikarians are divided… Many things are the same, but many things are different. The chroniton wave, triggered by the Krenim weapon, affected everything, including the fleet.
The discovery that the fleet experienced a shift to a new timeline prompts Captain Tchang and the crew in the know to prepare to track down the weapon that caused the timeline change, and stop it from activating again. The Captain orders the fleet to retreat to a chaotic space anomaly nearby, using its effects on space as a place to hide while the fleet affects repairs. Leaving the ves’Targ to watch over them, the Odyssey separates from the fleet and starts investigating, heading first to the site of the first weapon detonation. Kalen establishes temporal shielding like the ves’Targ’s, and builds the tech into a handful of life support belts for an away team to be protected.
Arrival at the system where the weapon was used is heralded by severe subspace turbulence. Domino safely brings the ship out of warp, and the sensors and science teams aboard the Odyssey get to work. Analysis starts by comparing the system in two timelines, thanks to Zahl records before and after the timeline change – and the system’s third planet is missing. Celestial events in the system were altered by this, and the star is now dying. They do detect something though – an ion trail, seemingly fixed in time, not decaying. They can track the culprit.
With the temporal shielding only just working, the ship opts not to immediately engage the ship. They know too little, but at least now they can keep an eye. The ship launches one of its multispatial probes, using it at a distance to track the superweapon while they investigate further. With the intel they gained on Zahl, they identify a research station behind Krenim lines that is pursuing temporal research – that becomes their next stop.
Managing to avoid Krenim patrols, the Odyssey drops out of warp hidden behind one of this system’s two gas giants. The station orbits the other. Parker assembles an away team of Domino, Kalen, and Vulmos, and the four take the John Stewart over in order to learn what the Krenim have created. They stealthily beam aboard and take some readings, learning quickly that the station is civilian – none of the 13 Krenim aboard are armed, and none are wearing uniforms. Emboldened by the lack of obvious resistance, Parker leads the team to contact the researchers in person. Domino takes the lead, her genuine curiosity about their research and her honesty about not being from this timeline disarms the civilians, and they wind up investigating the chroniton residue left on the crew from their interaction with the weapon on Zahl.
The crew learns much – this timeline ceased research into temporal incursions, the weapon that removed that planet from time. A scientist 200 years ago named Annorax developed two incredible (and highly dangerous) theorems relating to time. The first was the method of creating incursions, and the second was a method of arresting entropy, preventing aging, systems breaking, or things decaying. Thanks to the Krenim building computers that exist slightly out of phase with normal time, the crew locates incomplete technical specs for the weapon Annorax intended to design. The ship itself is equivalent to Kirk-era tech beyond the weapon and its shields, which use the entropy arresting effect to prevent any weapons from penetrating its defenses.
They don’t have much time to process the information, as the Odyssey informs the away team that Krenim scouts are on the way – Krenim sensors aren’t as good as the Odyssey’s, so they have a narrow window to escape. Chief Hegrom starts to beam them up just as the station’s shields go up, almost trapping the team if not for the chief’s experience completing the transport around the interference. The station hails the Odyssey, and one of the senior researchers curses Captain Tchang and the Odyssey, calling them filthy aliens. She was the one who alerted the military, and the Odyssey leaves before they get close.
Their presence now known to the Krenim, the ship considers its options and heads for a Zahl anchorage in the records they retrieved. The possibility of munitions, fuel, and other tech would be a boon since in this timeline the Odyssey has half the torpedoes they did. The Anchorage sits on the far side of an energetic nebula, and after getting singed a bit heading through, the Odyssey finds the anchorage – along with a Krenim strike team boarding it.
Parker gathers another team – himself, Domino, Kalen, and Lt. Mackenzie. The Odyssey confirms that the Krenim’s troop transport is empty, and they’re the only life signs aboard the anchorage. So the team beams to the transport itself, docked with the station. Investigation confirms that the Krenim happened upon the secret base and are preparing to scuttle it with charges. Thinking quickly, Parker asks the chief to beam the charges planted into space. One activated one is beamed out a soldier’s hand, which alerts the soldiers to intruders. They race back to their ship, only to see it flying back toward the Odyssey, with the away team waving to the soldiers as they depart. Stuck on an airless base with limited oxygen available, it’s a quick process to prompt the soldiers to surrender and take them into custody.
Time now on their side, the crew takes inventory, and learns the true value of this anchorage – in addition to hundreds of photon torpedoes, weapons, antimatter, and spare parts, two Zahl heavy cruisers were docked here for repair, and the two thousand refugee Sikarians aboard the Odyssey are ready to get their hands dirty making them spaceworthy. Captain Tchang contacts the fleet and provides the location for the anchorage while the rest of the crew begins the fastest refit possible. The Krenim patrol won’t be missed for another two weeks – they have that long to prepare for war.