Chapter 1 - Essentials

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When sports teams are tied, at the end of regulation play, many sports allow for at least one overtime period. The participants get a chance to break the tie and have one team or the other establish its superiority. This is the essence of overtime.

But the other meaning is about working past one's allotted hours. Often, pay is increased, although the United Federation of Planets didn't officially have money on September 23rd of 2379. Still, some small pockets of space and some systems did. But that is immaterial – back to the teams.

It was more than two teams – factions, really – that were vying for supremacy. But their battle wasn't over points or yards or goals. Instead, their focus was on time.

A Temporal Cold War was raging, and the battlefield was time itself, all the way from their present time, in the 31st century, to 2379 and even earlier, and everything in between. Technology did have its limitations, but the factions pushed the temporal envelope anyway.

Or they would have their attention diverted by something of interest in time, or they would seek an advantage by assuring that someone or other who stood in their way could never be born.

Fortunately for the Temporal Integrity Commission – the agency tasked with mopping up the many temporal spills and side effects of the conflict – their operatives were protected by a temporal field. Their ancestors back to the proverbial Adam and Eve could be wiped from existence, but the agents themselves would remain intact, and able to pitch in and restore their own ancestries.

Richard Daniels, an agent of the Temporal Integrity Commission, had originally been sent to 2380 to prevent and divert a temporal shock wave that had made the prime, correct timeline jump its tracks. His boss, Admiral Carmen Calavicci, had come along to help, as there were issues in the Mirror Universe. She and Rick agreed that 2380 had been caused by a rather specific issue in 2379.

It was, in part, just an accident. A certain piece of equipment, unknown and unfinished, and improperly calibrated, had been engaged. It was a modified pulse cannon, a kind of combination dark matter collector and drive, and a pulse shot generator. Combined, these elements could allow anyone to travel in time, or even a ship to do so. But the article wasn't properly calibrated and so instead it had wrought some temporal havoc.

A Temporal Cold War faction run by a man known only as 'Future Guy' had sat up and taken notice at this firing of a pulse shot, so many years before the technology was truly perfected. And that was when the fun had really started.

But back to 2379. A woman named Misty Dana MacKenzie – 'Mack' to most – owned an odd Gorn ship and used it to ferry around her barnstorming sports team, The Black Sheep. The Sheep were a ragtag group, fitting in perfectly with the ship, which was cylindrical, and resembled a sandwich cookie. Mack herself had dubbed it the Cookie, and it and her team fit in with her – she had been a baseball player, and was also an ex-convict, only recently exonerated. Formality was not in her nature, and any semblance of protocols had been left behind long ago, in Canamar Prison.

Her team included members of several species, including a graceful Calafan woman named Yi'imspi. Yi'imspi – who superficially looked human, except for her silver extremities and very, very short hair – was lovely enough to have done modeling on Tellar. But she was also canny enough to have studied several languages. In the age of universal translators, there were only two reasons why anyone would bother to study a foreign tongue. One was if you were going into communications. After all, technology could still fail at times. The other reason was espionage. Yi'imspi wasn't in communications.

Mack didn't know this when she had hired Yi'imspi. It was only in an alternate timeline that anyone had learned this. Rick, protected by the temporal field, was able to both remember events and consult records from alternate lines. But Mack and the others could not.

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