Digital Refresh

Chapter 4: Confusion

Buddy and Beta Shift off, off, and Away

Everything seemed quiet on the bridge. Beta shift had taken over the watch.

Alex stood up from the Captain's chair and began to walk to the various stations to check ships status also to check on his bridge crew. Of course, he was surprised to find Daddy Data sitting at the navigation station. "Daddy Data, not to be rude but, why are you still on duty?"

Data simply smiled and stated, "LT, I have already checked in on crewman Dax. He is currently on his way to the bridge. He already worked the Alpha shift in the Medical Bay. I informed him to take a moment to grab a bite of food and freshen up after his first shift." Daddy Data sensed he had upset Alex. "I was not trying to upset you but, he sounded beat."

"Daddy Data, I respect your decision in this matter and hopefully, he will be able to make it through the shift." Alex just rubbed his forehead, knowing when to stop.

Moments later crewman Bradley Dax, arrived on the Bridge and relieved Daddy Data. "Thank you, Daddy Data," then to data's surprise Bradley jumped up and gave Daddy Data a hug around his neck and then he sat down at his station.

Communications Relay Room

Randall and Devaintre were both enjoying a fantastic game of monopoly after finding the game in the replicator's list of games. Just as Randall bankrupted Devaintre a faint alert came from a panel on the far side of the room. Randall was up and running to the panel fast.

"Randall, what is going on? Why, is that system going off?" Devaintre asked confused due to the alert not registering on his system.

"Devaintre, it's the long-range alarm! When we entered this universe. I scanned all communications frequencies in use and made sure they were entered into the long-range scans," Randall, said while displaying a mix of emotions towards Devaintre.

Devaintre looked toward Randall for a moment with his mouth open, then asked: "Can I hear the message, so we can send it to the correct place?"

Randall pressed a few buttons on the panel and suddenly the small view screen came to life displaying a very garbled picture and the audio was barely understandable. "Thes ss Cadtain Vendran of the Transport Yerium, W.. a.e und.r A.ta.k...., .e ar. fam.ies to co.ony......"

Randall didn't even wait for Devaintre to react he forwarded a copy to the acting captain. "I have notified the Captain."

"Randall, I just brought Shay, Buddy, and Marky up to speed," Devaintre stated.


Captain Alex looked at the information on the display, and turned to communications officer "James, contact Alligator Alley HQ, apprise them of the distress call and see if we are to respond or wait for orders."

A few seconds later, James replied. "Captain, Alligator Alley has responded and sent word to a Federation ship in the vicinity that will do initial pickup and arrange the transfer of the rescues to our location. They stated our modifications should be completed, with final testing within the next three hours. We have been asked to continue scanning, as we are monitoring non-standard frequencies which could be used by other races not currently known to the Federation."

Captain Alex looked around the bridge and into the faces of his friends and colleagues. Many looked relieved while others were sitting on the edge of their sets; waiting for orders to begin the rescue. "I know some of us wanted to go to the rescue, but we must keep in our minds we are no longer alone in our beliefs. We are in a universe with other like-minded people. I am sure the rescue will go without any problems", Captain Alex said to the night shift, with hopes of easing their stress.

The search for Jessie begins

Harry slowly relaxed and leaned back in the chair while Reg continued to massage his shoulders. After a short while, Harry reached up and placed a hand on Reg's arm "Honey, we need to look and see if Jessie is alright in this Universe."

Reg turned and looked into Harry’s eyes, "Well then we will need some help."

Outside Club 99


"Hal, I think that is our cue," Randall said while looking at the motley crew they had gathered.

"Randall, do you think they really need all of us?" Hal asked, while breaking into a smile.

"Mmeowwrrr", Sparkles growled.

"Family", Franklin translated but, then remember the entire crew now had the language dump for Tiger.

Club 99 Table Six

Bradley sat quietly turning his glass of tea around watching the ice cubes spin, just as Data walked over and sat down.

Data looked over to Bradley "What is troubling you?" asked a worried Daddy Data.

Bradley looked up to Daddy Data. The fear was written on his face. "Daddy, what if I screw things up? I so want to help them both, but I’m terrified it will go bad".

Zamba, turned to look straight at Bradley, "RwWRRRAAA!" with a muffled roar.

"OK, I get it. I still have help!" said a startled Bradley.

"Bradley, you must remember if you need help, you have the entire crew and myself. We are all a family, and we will help those in need", said Daddy Data.

Bradley looked up to see Zackary and Franklin walking into the Club.

Club 99 Table Four

After having a nice meal together Naomi, Noland and Ezra start to have a little chat.

Naomi looked at Ezra and then to Noland, "Noland, we were wondering if you had found anyone you were romantically interested in?"

Noland first expressed shock on his face, then a bright red tinge developed, followed by an intriguing spluttering sound. "Ah, well, umm, I have feelings for two people but, I really want a lasting relationship with a young woman whom I have deep feelings for", said Noland. He spotted Naomi's expression falter and decided he must tell her everything. "Naomi, look at me. I want to be with you forever and have numerous children with you. But to be truthful, I also have feelings for Shay, I know he is with Buddy but, I want to be with you.

The radiant smile sparkled so bright, had any of the ferrets been on board they would have praised the gleam of the shine. "Noland are you serious? Oh, I have waited for this day for many months", said Naomi. "Yes!!!, I want us to be a couple and have children."

Ezra smiled a conspiratorial smile. "So when do you want to be hitched?"

As one voice both answered, "Now would be great but we need to see the Captain, don't we?"

"Not really just need a Clan Leader, Ah be right back," said Ezra as he popped out of the room with a loud crack.

A moment after the resounding crack, confetti began falling from just under the ceiling. "Happy Day! Our first wedding in this new Galaxy!" An excited hyper voice rang out. "Now if only the others will join in!"

Naomi turned to face Noland, "Was that Buddy’s voice? What in the heck would make an AI sound hyper?"

Nolan smiled and delicately spoke, "If he can get Hyper, I would hate to think of him Angry!"

They both turned at the sound of footsteps approaching, "Hello Hal, how’s it going today?"Naomi asked while holding Noland’s hand.

"Oh, everything is fine," Hal said energetically. Then in a conspiratorial whisper, "Although if you want to see an AI / VI having a tantrum watch this video chip. Just remember it was his response to someone trying to shut him down."

"Um Hal, Naomi needs to see it but, I know what you did," Nolan said while gently patting Hal’s back. "Besides, I completely understand."

Naomi saw the hint of tears, and pulled Hal over and wrapped him in a hug. "Hal, anytime you feel like talking, please come talk to me."

Hal was past speaking, he could only nod responses to Naomi. Between the heavy sobs and hiccups, Hal seemed to really need this but, he was worrying Naomi. "Naomi to sickbay"

"Sickbay, Please state... What's up Naomi?" Marky asked.

"I'm with Hal, he seems to be distraught and unable to speak," Naomi said looking at the worry in Noland’s eyes.

"I'll be right there, before you can say pizza!" Marky said as he ran out of sickbay.

Noland looked amused at Naomi and lost it as Marky came around into Club 99 running on the wall, "Marky, how are you running on the wall?"

"It's quite easy if someone edits the protocols for gravity control and sets it to adjust the gravity for three meters ahead and behind them. I have a keyword to switch it on and off" Marky rattled off.

Noland had a gleam in his eye, "PIZZA!"

With a loud thud, Marky fell to the floor while Noland, Hal, and Naomi landed on the wall. "Next time warn me first," Marky remarked then got back up and started checking Hal. "It looks like he just needs a talk and rest, let's just walk to sickbay."

As they got up Marky said, "PIZZA" yet nothing happened this time.

Naomi started walking toward sickbay upset about walking on the wall while Marky was walking on the floor. Just then, a ship-wide page went off.

"What mentally sick person adjusted the Gravity settings?" Belanna screamed, "If I find out who did this... Ewww... Arggg...!" The page ended suddenly. It was followed by the intercomm sounding like a bad AM Radio program.

"Belanna, please report to the bridge. Whoever adjusted the gravity please contact Daddy Data or report to the bridge at your earliest convenience." Bradley giggled out, "Belanna how long till you get the gravity fixed? The bridge staff would like to stop hanging around soon."

Brief Shot of Bridge

Bradley ended the page and laughed aloud at the site of the bridge staff hanging on to the various stations around the bridge. He himself was holding on to his seat, while his feet were pointing directly at the screen.

"If Belanna doesn't fix this soon I will have my first roll on the big screen", Bradley said with a smirk.

The sound of someone smacking their forehead echoed around the bridge followed was by: "Shit!" Lt Davis yelled as he lost his grip flying into the turboshaft.

"Please state your destination," was heard then the doors closed.

"I hope he went to medical after how hard he landed in the waiting turbo shaft lift." The Acting Captain mumbled allowed while trying to keep a hold of the chair.

Club 99, Rattling the Bulkheads 11:45pm

"Why did you listen to your parents they have always wanted us separated!" sobbed Jordan as he held the picture of Travis.

"Dammit, I loved you! We were one in everything we did. How could you just walk away?" Tears now streaming from his eyes as he began hiccupping.

"We were" 'hiccup' "one Dammit" 'hiccup' "I wish I could go back to the day we met" 'hiccup' "I would have walked away if I knew how this would end," screamed Jordan

Reg and Harry's cabin

"Harry, we need to go to the Club something is wrong, it's locked and nothing is responding," Reg spoke to a sleepy Harry.

"Locked, it can't be. The Club is open to anyone on board as long as they follow the rules." Harry said in a half yawn.

"Well, then you tell me why I am unable to log in and why even the playlist is offline, let alone the controls to the sound system." Reg, asked Harry.

"Impossible! Those controls have been tamper proofed by Daddy Data to prevent unauthorized changes. After determining that music would be good for the crew to help facilitate their successful integration into this universe and time structure." Harry, said quoting Daddy Data mildly.

"Come on let's go, we will use the back-door," Reg said with a smile. "Besides no-one knows it connects to the back of our quarters. Well except for Shay, Buddy and Daddy Data."

They walk toward the back entrance to the Club and notice the door is locked. Harry goes to the closet and grabs his kit.

"Harry, since when do you have an Engineering Kit?" Reg, asked keeping his smile restrained.

"Look, I got one from Nicky, while we were in the other universe in-case we were in trouble." Harry said a little on the defensive side till he looked at Reg and saw the endearing look of admiration on his face. "I'm sorry, I thought you were upset."

"Never could I be upset with you. Not after being chased down through numerous star systems." Reg said while caressing Harry's face.

Harry pulled out of his beloveds hold and began to fidget with the override on their door. "Sorry, but I'm curious who locked us out," Harry said as the door opened, and he felt his chest vibrating with the music booming through the door.

Reg walked into the club and straight over to the sound rack to land on his butt. "What the fuck, who put a force field up around the rack?"

Harry walked through the food prep area to the corner to look in the Club and heard a distinctive screaming from table three. Looking back toward Reg he gave exaggerated hand motions hoping to get him to stop whining about bumping his rump hard on the floor and come to the doorway.

Turning to Reg and speaking in a mock whisper, "Reg, is that Jordan?"

All Reg could do was nod.

Reg turned to Harry after a few moments. "Harry, find Daddy Data. Once you find him ask him to have Marky, Shay, and Randall join us down here."

"What about Buddy?" Harry asked confused.

"I expect him to come on his own accord, invited or not," Reg said with a small smile.

Harry left at a mild jog. Once in his apartment, he tried paging Daddy Data and found the communications terminal to be down. He reached for his communicator, on the nightstand and found it to be non-responsive after letting out a long sigh, he ran for the door pausing briefly so it would open. Once in the corridor, he tried the paging system to find it wasn't responding. He continued running till he reached the bridge. Once there "Daddy Data! We have a problem in Club 99, we need you now!" Harry said while trying to catch his breath, resting on one knee.

"Do you believe this could be part of the communications problems we are experiencing?" Data asked.

Harry nodded "Yes, but I need you to get Marky, Shay, and Randall."

"Interesting, you want me to get them with the communication systems down?" Data asked with interest. "Are you suggesting my positronic butt is getting big or something?"

Harry smacked his forehead loudly. "Is the private communications channels down too?"

The older sounding voice of Buddy responded: "I have notified all parties of your request and they are on route to Club 99."

Harry looked up at the ceiling in shock. "Buddy, they will need to enter via my quarters."

"Noted, once everything is settled would you please see to reconnecting all sensors and re-establish the communications grid. Hal is getting tired of relaying messages throughout the ship." Buddy stated with a snicker.

"If Hal is relaying messages, what is Devaintre working on?" Harry asked quietly.

"He and Belanna, are in Engineering trying to figure what the hell is going on with the ship." Buddy rattled off, "Whomever disabled communications disabled sensors, internal and external communications but apparently they were unaware of the private communications channels for Marky and the others."

"Either they knew it was there and didn't want to risk Shay catching them or they didn't know it existed," Harry said in a mock whisper as he walked toward the turbo lift.

Return to the rattling room

Harry arrived just as Shay, Buddy, Marky, and Randall had walked up. "Hi, guys welcome to the party one might say, at least from the music standpoint," Harry said while his expression stated something else.

"Party, Party, we were told it was an Emergency!" Buddy replied in exasperation.

"Buddy, Chill baby," Shay said while grabbing Buddy's hand to get his attention.

A twinkle could be seen in Marky's eye "Please state the nature of the Medical Emergency!" While striking his best vogue pose.

Between the resounding crack of Shays facepalm and Randall asking "Are you serious? Shit, come on what is going on?"

"Jordan, he is in there and he doesn't seem right," Harry said with a tremble as Randall being the negotiator shoved past.

Randall was the first one in and the second one to land on his butt by the audio rack. "Dammit, what asshole erected a defense screen around the rack?"

"I was meaning to warn you about that, but you shoved past before I could tell you!" Harry spoke at a rather loud level.

Harry then ran over to Reg. "How is he?"

"He won't respond to me, it's like he can't even tell I am here. He didn't respond to touch, shaking of his shoulder, yelling his name." Reg explained complete with hand gestures.

By this point, Marky had walked over with his tricorder and hypo-spray. "His emotions are wound up as you can hear, but his readings are off the scale!" Marky said as he prepped his hypo-spray and delivered the dose.

Just before Jordan's head hit the table, the lights came up and the music turned off. "I got it!" Shay said with enthusiasm.

"How did you get it to stop?" Reg asked dumbfounded.

Smiling "Well I guess it helps I found his personal datapad and hacked in past his weak password." Announced Shay.

Randall walked over to the closet and grabbed the emergency gravity stretcher. "Hey, Reg. I thought these closets were required to be fully stocked at all times?" Randall said as he turned the stretcher on and floated it to Marky.

Shay and Buddy had already started loading Jordan on to the stretcher as Marky ran a more thorough scan on Jordan. "Dammit, do I just need to start mandating a schedule for everyone on this ship to come by Medical, so we know they are healthy?" ranted Marky.

Randall had already grabbed a broom and began cleaning up all the broken glass from the posters. While Harry was fiddling with the sound rack and playlist settings.

Everyone stopped when Belanna's voice rang out. "Captain all systems have returned to normal!"

Shay responded first with his hand's palm to palm tapping his fingers together and in an eerie voice said, "Excellent!" and then walked back to the bridge.

Reg looked over at Harry and winked, followed by, "Well, he is watching cartoons apparently in his free time."

Breaking into a hysterical fit of laughter, Buddy stopped long enough to calm down and tell Reg, "He is importing entire TV series into his memory and watching multiple episodes at the same time. He finished that series in a matter of moments, well until Ezra brought him more from, who knows where."

Marky turned looking for his patient and panicked, or at least till Randall shouted, "Come on Dr.! Do you want to help this patient, or shall I let Bradley?"

Turning for the exit Marky noticed Daddy Data staring at his wrist and tapping a finger on it. "Marky step lively and get with your patient." Data said, "I'm tapping on my imaginary timepiece."


Randall arrived to see Nicky, and his family animatedly chatting with Bradley and Devaintre.

"Finally, your here, what took so long?" Bradley asked. "Did you run into traffic in the abandoned hallways from Club 99 to here or what?"

"No, I had to stop and make sure Marky was coming!" Randall announced with mirth.

Marky ran into the room right as the door began to close. "Hey, Who's the Dr. Here?" Marky asked then noticed Nicky standing by Bradley.

Nicky looked to Marky "Umm, no as far as I remember you are the one certified to be the Chief Medical Officer on this ship. However, if you wish. We can see if he can take the required test and see if he would like your position."

Communications Lab 9 am Nov 7th

Randall just woke up and started checking the systems when Buddy walked into the room.

"So, Randall didn't sleep well in the cabin?" Buddy asked with a smirk on his face.

"No, I just wanted to know why we aren't picking up any local feeds with our equipment?" Asked Randall very sleepily.

"I know we were told it was part of my core rebuild, but are you able to get any other feeds?" Buddy asked

"I find it odd every time someone mentions breaking or the latest news from earth the channel goes dead."

"Well, we have thirty minutes till my upgrade is finished and then we will find out what's up?" Buddy explained calmly.

Shay and Buddy’s Cabin twenty-nine and a half minutes later

"Buddy, do you think Nicky and his kids are alright?" Shay asked concerned.

"Shay, why are you worried. They wanted off this ship. They have friends here and on Earth. If they have a problem, then we should expect they will ask someone. Besides have you forgotten they are still on the private channel if you needed them or they needed us." Buddy, said while massaging circles in Shay’s back then suddenly he stopped abruptly.

"Shay call a meeting of all the crew, don’t worry about leaving stations empty," Buddy stated very sternly.

"Honey, just who is the Captain here?" Shay asked but then received the news dump straight from Buddy and cringed. "On it!"

All across the ship


Bridge 9:35 AM

Tom looked around the bridge, "Alright everyone, we are apparently staying put until otherwise informed."

Just as he finished the night and mid shift bridge crews started arriving on the bridge as well as engineering leads.

Annika stepped on to the bridge and announced "Captain on the Bridge"

"Randall, please display all information you have gathered since zero nine thirty on all displays across the ship!" Shay said while looking at his friends.

"Yes sir, all information will begin in fifteen seconds," Randall stated while the sound of buttons frantically being pressed could be heard.

Ship Wide broadcast compilation begins

A news reporter appears on the screen of the bridge. His appearance is neat, but he has bags under his eyes and looks to need sleep. "Good morning, the events of the last three days have taken a toll on the citizens of the planet Earth. However, the efforts of Family Clan Short of Vulcan, The Federation, The Cardassians, The Breen, The Ferengi and The Eryradain responded to the hostile attack on Earth. Even the Klingon's offered to help without a thought about treaties. While the details are still being worked through, help is still needed for families trying to put the pieces back together of their lives."

The camera switches to scenes of destroyed neighborhoods, crumbled roadways with burnt remains of vehicles scattering the streets. One of the most haunting images was of a school, the building was a smoldering pile of bricks with the playground melted and warped from extreme heat. What was once a place of fun and education was ruined. People who lived near the building where thankful since there was no one lost in the attack. Due to a diligent evacuation of everyone in the building to a local bomb shelter. The main loss, in this case, was the building and the historic library and books.

The next scene Des Moines, those affected by the attack are being processed through the system, to help locate their families and help people rebuild their lives and start again. "As we can see here, The Family Clan Short of Vulcan are seeing to the needs of those affected. The most shocking part is that these children are able to pull people together better than most adults, but they have the ability to cut through all the red tape."

"We are asking anyone who can help out to please contact Family Clan Short of Vulcan at the numbers following this newscast or go to our website for a full list of contact information." The newsman said while running his hand through his graying hair.

Randall’s face appears on the screen. "Guys this just happened a day prior to us arriving in this universe! This is the first time an attack on Earth has occurred and they received all this kind of support from so many. But the Clan has been attacked before, it was horrible. I have added it to our database of the clan with help from the Earth-based AI’s. They are cool to work with." Randall’s Image Blushed for a moment then the screen went black.

When the screen came back up, Shay’s Image was on screen. "When we entered the universe, it was decided the crew of the Saratoga, were not ready to take action. However, our ship is now operating at a fully functional status. Our computers and systems have been fully updated. We are ready and able to help! I know we have a few crew members down due to stress, but let's join the effort." Shay said while keying up the communications terminal. "This is Captain Shay of the CSV - Saratoga, contacting Alligator Ally"

Planetside same time as ship wide announcement

Luka was searching throughout his town trying to find anyone who was still alive after the attack on Earth, after three days he was starting to lose hope. He had spent his time searching all the known shelters in his small town of PlumVille. He made his way to the local town hall and found the building was no more just a set of large steps, his legs sore and weak from searching without sleeping or eating or taking a break. He sat on the steps with his head held in his hands. He only looked up due to hearing a transporter beam finalizing a few meters in front of him.

Plum Ville: Nine Fourty-Seven AM

"Captain this way!" Shouted Franklin as he ran to the teenager sitting on the steps. " Please, don't move we have cookies!"

"Hello, my name is Marky. I am with the CSV - Saratoga. I am here to help. Can you tell us your name?" Marky rattled off rapidly.

Shay walked up to the boy and knelt. "Hi, my name is Shay." Waiting for a few seconds for the teenager to respond. "We are here to help."

"Shay?" the teenager looked into Shay's eyes. "My name is Luka, I haven't seen anyone else in three days." Luka, said tears escaping his blue eyes as the small teen reached out and latched on to Shay. He buried his face into Shay's chest, while Shay rubbed circles on his back in hopes to calm him down.

After a few moments, Luka pulled back from Shay and dug a photo out from his pocket. "Marky, I'm sorry it took me a second to understand everything you said." Said Luka, as he turned toward Marky. "Please help me find them." Luka, held out a picture to Marky.

After looking at the picture briefly, Marky had searched the local database with help of Buddy's systems and enhancements.  "Luka, have you checked the old mine at the end of town yet?"

End Chapter 4

Author Notes: Sorry it has been a while since this story has been updated but life happens, but now I am back, so I am trying to get back to my writing.

PS, I want to give a shout out to my editor and friend, The Story Lover. Without your diligent editing, this story would still be sitting collecting digital dust on the hard drive.


Clan Short Archivist's Review Note:

A chapter full of Cliffhangers or is it? We now no more than we did before, or do we really? Who is attacking Earth and why? Stay tuned for more exciting action and possible confusion.