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[2010: MAY-JUN] *WINNER* "Circle"


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((Day 28 - 1400 hrs))

It was an unremarkable planet. Ryan and Christine had been marooned on it for nearly one month. They had been making final repairs for the last week when his condition became undeniable. Ryan's condition: anomalititis.


- Anomalitis:

"Starfleet Medical has no official understanding of the phenomenon which affects: memory, cognition and time recognition. In rare case studies subjects can experience highly focused lapses of consciousness. Some subjects have lived years of their lives in the span of minutes complete with full memories of significant events recited at verbatum. With no known cure those presumed stricken with the condition always travel with a companion or guardian."


The two person team made repairs to their Runabout in the hopes they could successfully get the ship into space. Their efforts were hindered by a massive energy rupture from the Runabouts power relay system.

Ryan found himself laying on his stomach. His hands were cradled around his head. He slowly arched his neck back. Tilting his head forward his surveyed his grim surroundings. When the Runabout crashed through the atmosphere the impact with the surface managed to cripple many of her systems. Sparks flew as a console exploded. Ryan threw his head to the floor and covered up once again. Gathering himself he reached up with his left arm and tried to activate the emergency beacon at the side console. A falling piece of debris knocked his arm to the ground and crashed into his left knuckle. As the debris fell away he grasped his knuckle in agony. Several of his fingers were broken. He dragged himself to the wall console and leaned against it. A power conduit behind the bulkhead must have overloaded because Ryan soon found himself across the room on his stomach once more. He had to get hold of himself before the Runabout was completely useless to him. He dragged himself to his feet and stumbled over charred wires and broken glass towards the [...]pit. He fell and grabbed onto the communications chair. He pulled himself into it and accessed the still functioning panel. He brought up short and long range distress frequencies and sent out a message.

"Lt Ryan Pierce. Ship in distress, to whoever finds this message..."

The message was still recording but Ryan's jaw had dropped open. To his left: the helm and science stations. Seated there slumped over was the Runabouts pilot. He had to send out the message quickly but he also had to immediately attend to her wounds. She was not just his pilot...


((Day 1))


By the time Ryan figured out that the snap he heard was LT Cmdr Lester he barely had time to stop himself from instinctively breaking her fingers. She nearly jumped as his grip on her hand loosened and she brought her other hand to grasp his. She brought his hands - held in hers - to eye level and spoke slowly.

"Who are you?"

His focus was slowly returning to normal and between breathes he answered her questions.

Lester: Who are you?

Pierce: Pierce, LT Ryan Pierce.

Lester: OK, do you know where you are?

Pierce: USS Miranda, sickbay.

Lester: Well you're almost there...

Pierce: I don't understand.

Lester: A moment ago you were unconscious on that bio bed... then all of a sudden you jumped up and froze right on that very spot you're standing now.

Pierce: I'm sorry, I don't know what happened.

Lester: Do you know who I am?

Pierce: Of course I do Christine.

Lester: Ryan, we talked about this... not while we're on duty.

Pierce: I'm sorry, a joke sir. Won't happen again.

Lester: Darn right it wont, I don't want rumours about my personal life. Now LT... prop your butt onto that bio bed and lay down. I'm going to perform brain surgery.

Pierce: Yes sir.

Under his breath he whispered in her ear as she passed by his arm. "Christine, my dream."


((Day 7))

LT Ryan stepped into the Captain's Ready Room and stood at attention until he was given at ease. The Captain - a stocky but well read man - James Christoper Watt laughed and reminded Ryan that he was on light duty and didn't need to stand at ease. Ryan was offered a seat on the couch and sat as Captain Watt poured himself a scotch. Ryan turned down an invitation to join the Captain in a drink. Watt sat down on the couch at the opposite end and began.

Watt: How have you been feeling?

Pierce: Dizziness if I'm up and about for too long, but I can't seem to stay still when there is so much work to be done.

Watt: I admire you're enthusiasm young man. You're a model officer. Some advice thought... don't push yourself too hard. You'll blow your relays. This ship wont be around forever you know...

Pierce: Why sir?

Watt: Take a look at this.

Pierce: What is it?

Watt: Orders. Proceed to Utopia Planetia Shipyard for Decommissioning.

Pierce: Starfleet wants to s[...] the Miranda?

Watt: I'm afraid the orders are final. The Miranda had a good run. First ship I served on: 15 years now and 7 as her Captain.

Pierce: She's a fine ship sir.

Watt: No, she's a bucket of s[...] metal. But she does have a fine crew.

Pierce: What will become of the crew?

Watt: I've got a dozen PADDs here full of lists. Some will be assigned to other ships, some will come with me to the USS Melbourne and so on and so forth.

Pierce: Are we to leave for the ship yards immediately?

Watt: Actually no. We've one more mission to complete before this girl and I part ways. There is a planet about 2-3 weeks journey from here. We are the only ship in range of this planet and will be departing immediately.

Pierce: Our mission?

Watt: An energy field of unknown composition and origin appeared on the surface of the planet not long after your episode in Sickbay. I believe the two events interlink. Therefore I've ordered Helm to take us to the planet. It's my hope the answer to your mysterious incident is there. Dr Lester gave me her final report on you and I think you can return to regular duty for the remainder of the mission if you like?

Pierce: I would sir.

Watt: Then take the lead Science station for this shift and get me some information on this planet from the long range sensors.


((Day 14))

Ryan stumbled into his quarters with his date: Christine Lester. She was his Doctor and a superior officer but with the Miranda about to be decommissioned caution was being thrown to the wind. They had been drinking much of the evening. They had went to dinner in public and tried to be dignified but open about their relationship. They had played racquetball and walked along the shores of the Nile River on the holodeck. They embraced each other slowly and Ryan ran his hand along her face softly. He leaned in and she titled her head up ever so slightly as their lips pressed against each other. After a moment Christine drew back still unsure of herself. Ryan brought his hand to her shoulder but she stopped him and began to speak.

Lester: No, please don't...

Pierce: Why?

Lester: I've... been having second thoughts.

Pierce: About us?

Lester: Yes, but about everything. I'm nervous...

Pierce: We took a big step today, it's only natural right?

Lester: I'm just afraid that... if we keep going... if things became more serious...

Pierce: We can deal with all of that, we have so far.

Lester: I don't know what to say Ryan. I feel vulnerable right now.

Pierce: I love you.

Lester: What?

Pierce: I needed some time ever since the incident to sort out what I remember. But I remember that I love you. I think I always have.

Lester: Ryan, please... I love you too but we have to be realistic. After this mission people will be debriefing us.

Pierce: Then let me get it all out of the way now so we have time to focus: I have this feeling I can only describe as love. It overwhelms me at times. I draw strength and conviction from it. It soothes my soul. It embraces me in the cold and shades me from the heat. You complete my thoughts and my dreams, you connect with me in ways I never imagined. I want you in my life, and I want you to want me in yours. I'll do anything to aid you in your pursuits and I'll come with you... if you'll have me.

Lester: Of course I will Ryan.

The two kissed again and went to sit. They were deeply in love but they lived with a terrible apprehension about what was yet to come.


((Day 21))

LT Cmdr Higs was having none of Ryan's idea. He got up from his chair and paced around the conference room. Dr Lester and Captain Watt remained seated as Ryan explained again.

Pierce: There are a number of things I still simply do not remember. As my memories resurface things have also become a bit more... confusing to me. For the last month I've been on the ship... I've gone about my normal business. Nothing was wrong at first. The last week however... I've begun having memories that don't correspond with my previous statement.

Lester: What do you remember Ryan?

Pierce: I remember you. When my memories resurface they overwhelm me... how I feel about you.

Lester: Ryan, please...

Watt: Relax Christine, I did manage to notice. What else do you remember Ryan?

Pierce: It's... the planet we've arrived at. My memories take place on the planet.

Higs: How can your memories take place on a planet you've never been too?

Watt: Perhaps we are dealing with some kind of temporal anomaly in subspace.

Higs: Or Lt Pierce here is suggesting we make a serious suspension of our collective disbelief.

Pierce: You will believe what you will, I have no doubt of that. What I remember "is" what I remember.

Higs: But see... how do you know that? You were fine... then all of a sudden you black out. For over a minute you're catatonic, no one can wake you. Then out of nowhere... you're awake! You nearly break Dr Lester's fingers and then... you are fine?!

Watt: Mr Higs please-

Higs: This needs to be said sir, let me have my peace and then I will follow any orders you have.

Watt: Very well Matt.

Higs: Ryan, you want to take a Runabout down to the planet. You want to do this because you've been having contradictory memories... you say your memories happened on that planet... so what do you think you're going to accomplish with all this?

Pierce: When the Runabout reaches the surface my memory should stabilize. As we've gotten closer to the planet they have been resurfacing exponentially faster. I know that planet is the key to a complete restoration.

Higs: You mean recovery don't you?

Pierce: Well... yes I suppose I do.

Higs: This is ridiculous, you think some healing property of the planet can help you? It's a god-forsaken rock. Devoid of anything.

Pierce: All I know is that planet is where this all began.

Higs: No... what you fail to realize is that planet is where 'this' all will end!

Watt: That's enough Matt. You've had your say but the final decision is mine. If LT Ryan truly believes that stepping foot on that planet will bring about a complete restoration of his memory then the Runabout is his for the attempt. LT Pierce can leave when he is ready.

LT Cmdr Higs left the room in a hurry. The man was visibly angered by the decision but powerless to defy the Captain's orders. Ryan looked to the Captain who stood and straightened his tunic. He nodded to them and gave a salute to his fellow officers before he too departed from the conference room. Dr Lester looked to Ryan whose eyes betrayed his hidden information to her.

Lester: What happens on the planet?

Pierce: I don't know... exactly.

Lester: Don't try to lie to me Ryan, I know you better than that. Just take a deep breath and tell me everything.

Pierce: I know what happens on the planet until a certain point. I remember spending a week working on the power relay system. The ship was in bad shape but I had managed to get everything working.

Lester: So we managed to launch from the surface?

Pierce: No. There was a power surge in the relays and explosions in the [...]pit. I think there must have been a burnt out converter I missed.

Lester: We're you hurt?

Pierce: I... had my fingers broken by a piece of the roof that came down.

Lester: Am I fixing the Runabout with you... in your memories?

Pierce: Yes.

Lester: Was I injured?

Pierce: Yes. You were at the Helm when your station exploded.

Lester: My god! Was I killed?

Pierce: I... I don't know.

Lester: What do you plan to do when we arrive on the surface?

Pierce: Complete the circle.

Lester: Even if we die?

Pierce: With a few modifications that is...

Lester: Is there something you want to ask me first just in case?

Pierce: Will you marry me?

Ryan and Christine were unaware of what was going on around them. Like star crossed lovers their story was each other. Every universe had Ryan and Christine, like every other universe before them they spent their story madly in love with each other. As Ryan knelt to one knee and brought the ring to her hand she smiled looking down upon his face. To her Ryan still was as bright and naive as the day they met. Ryan began to feel the connections building and he looked down at the paradox unfolding in front of him. For on Christine's finger there was already the ring he held now in his. He slid the ring up her finger and the two rings linked and became one. A flash of light poured out of them and as Ryan blacked out he heard Christine's answer.

Lester: Ryan, we're already married.


((Day 28 - 1403 Hours))

She was not just his pilot... but his wife. Ryan looked at her finger and it indeed bared the ring he gave her many years ago. Ryan looked up at Christine. Her face had a large bruise across the left cheek and her uniform was burnt. She opened her eyes and looked at Ryan.

Christine: Are you OK?

Ryan: My middle finger is broken, are you OK?

Christine: Yes, just a little woozy. Let me see your fingers.

Ryan: This is going to hurt isn't it?

Christine: The middle one is broken, but the other two are just sprained. Don't bite your tongue.

She snapped the second and then the forth finger back into place. Ryan let out an agonizing yell but it was momentary. The pain dulled as he held onto her hand. Christine gave him a funny look and leaned her head in towards him.

Christine: You asked me to marry you. Do you remember?

Ryan: Of course, I still remember the time and place on Earth...

Christine: Not on Earth Ryan, just a moment ago.

Ryan: Just... a moment ago?

Christine: Where were you a moment ago Ryan?

Ryan: I was with you.

Christine: Here?

Ryan: Yes... but... I was also with you... on a ship in orbit.

Christine: A ship?

Ryan: USS Miranda.

Christine: How did we get there?

Ryan: We spent a month travelling to this planet.

Christine: Why?

Ryan: So that... I could get my memory back.

Christine: What do you remember about the past month?

Ryan: Only... you.

Christine: Ryan, a month ago we crashed on this planet. We spent that entire time working up to this moment. If we can't get off the ground and into space it may take weeks or months for rescuers to find us.

Ryan: I know.

Christine: Are the engines fried?

Ryan: No. The relays are blown but we could Gerry-rig something.

Christine: Do you want to try again?

Ryan: Of course, I do.

Christine: I do, too.

Ryan and Christine moved closer and kissed. She held his head to hers and kissed his forehead. He wrapped his arms around her and she wrapped hers around his head. Together they sat for a while. The sound of each others breathing seemed enough to keep them content. Outside the Runabout sat on the plains. It had no neighbors. The planet was unremarkable.

Ryan: Those memories aboard the USS Miranda... they seemed so real to me.

Christine: I think that's all that matters. Your still the same person no matter what the reality of the situation is. You've always been and always will be... the man I fall in love with.


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