That Sinking Feeling

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Star Traks: Waystation
Episode name That Sinking Feeling
Season
Episode number
Writer(s) Alan Decker
Year 2373
Stardate 50786
Chronology
Previous in series Close To Home
Next in series Gridlock
Previous in timeline Beaming There [TRK]
Next in timeline Optimum Interface [TRK]


A figure from Leximas' past comes for revenge, and this time she's brought along the power of the Q. In short order, the crew of Waystation are fighting for their lives, their station, and, in the case of Commander Lisa Beck, her very soul. Can the crew figure out some way to stop a demi-god? Will Bradley Dillon's holodeck fantasies get him killed? Is Beck willing to leave Starfleet for a higher level of existence? Will Colonel Martin Lazlo ever stop being a weaselly slimeball? Is Lieutenant Sean Russell the only one who can sort this mess out?


Summary

Out in the Beta Quadrant, a former pupil of Leximas', Karyna is travelling looking for new pleasures to experience when she encounters a Q who has grown tired with the universe. Karyna decides to show him that there are new sensations for him to discover and joins with the Q.


On Waystation, Lieutenant Sean Russell's security forces have their hands full with a Klingon dress thief who has robbed Krilik's Klingon Formal Wear Shop. They are able to stop the thief, Qolesh, with Bradley Dillon's help. Bradley's main reason for being in the area was to invite Leximas to join him for an ocean cruise in the holodeck on a little ship called the Titanic. Qolesh manages to escape from Russell and attempts to take Commander Lisa Beck hostage. Beck escapes, clobbering Qolesh in the process, but she is none too pleased with her Chief of Security. She orders Russell to go with Lieutenant Commander Walter Morales to attend to a diplomatic chore on the colony Geranis Two. Russell has no interest in going (and he has a date he doesn't want to miss) and gives the assignment to Yeoman Tina Jones, who is thrilled at the chance to get off the station. In the holodeck, Leximas experiences a flash of dread.


Beck discovers that Russell disobeyed her orders and gives him twelve hours to get off the station. In her anger, she makes Colonel Martin Lazlo of the Federation Marines the new Chief of Security. Karyna finishes her joining with Q and now has Q powers. The result of the joining is an energy surge that disables Morales' and Jones' runabout. Karyna turns her newfound abilities to the task of finding Leximas, who she blames for her exile from their homeworld, and leaves a despondent Q. Lieutenant Craig Porter detect the energy surge as well and sees that it's now heading directly for Waystation. Leximas also senses that something is coming. Karyna enters Ops. She's immediately taken with Beck, but she has a bit of business to attend to first. She vanishes from Ops. Porter's scans reveal that she is part Q.


Karyna confronts Leximas in the holodeck and informs the guru that she is going to kill her. She sends Leximas and Bradley to the real Titanic in 1912, moments before the ship strikes the iceburg, and strands them there to die. As an added bit of fun, she put a Grecin, an alien assassin, on board to make sure that Leximas dies. The lonely Q that Karyna abandoned finds Morales and Jones and decides that they will now keep him company. Karyna returns to Waystation, where Lazlo has mobilized his marines to take her out. She toys with them, injuring several in the process, then meets up with Russell. She tells him that she knows all about what Beck did to him and that she's going to make it all better. Russell thinks he's being seduced, but instead she takes him to Ops, where she grabs Beck, and all three of them vanish, leaving Porter alone in Ops.


As Bradley and Leximas try to get off of the Titanic before it sinks while avoiding the Grecin and Morales and Jones try to entertain Q, Karyna puts Russell aside for a while and focuses her attention on Beck, taking her to a recreation of Beck's parents' beach house in North Carolina and offering her the chance to see the universe unfettered. Beck, who has been feeling dissatisfied with her life in Starfleet of late, is seduced by the offer to live without responsibilities and accepts. Meanwhile, Lazlo seizes control of the station, throwing all of the Starfleet personnel in the brig.


Karyna's first act is to take Beck to Russell, so that Beck can punish him for angering her. Beck tortures him briefly, but can't continue once she realizes what she is doing. She asks Karyna to get Russell away from her. Karyna sends Russell back to Waystation. She then takes Beck to Romulus, a place Beck never thought she would see. She offers Beck the power to go anywhere and do anything that she wants. Beck readily accepts, and Karyna gives her the power of the Q. Beck sets out across the galaxy to enjoy herself, tormenting the Founders and the Borg as she goes.


Russell realizes that Waystation has been taken over and goes to free Porter and Dr. Amedon Nelson from the brig. The marines catch up with him just as he reaches Porter and Nelson and throw him in the brig as well. Morales and Jones are able to get their Q to talk about what happened to him. Learning about Karyna and that she was heading toward Waystation, Morales and Jones get Q to take them to the station as well. Russell is able to free Porter, Nelson, and himself from the brig, and the trio use Waystation's intruder suppression system to take out most of the marines before heading to Ops to confront Lazlo. Beck reaches out with her powers looking for others that she has a grudge against and discovers what Lazlo is doing on Waystation. In a flash, she takes herself and Karyna there. Bradley is able to get Leximas onto a lifeboat while he remains behind to deal with the Grecin. He kills the creature and is about to go down with the ship when a levitating Leximas hoists him to safety.


Beck, Karyna, Morales, Jones, Russell, Porter, and Dr. Nelson all converge in Ops to face Lazlo. A chaotic argument ensues. Tired of the din, Karyna traps the crewmembers inside airtight bubbles, leaving only her, Beck, and Q free. She also reveals that Leximas and Bradley were left in the past to die. She tries to send Q away, but Q's powers outstrip hers. Karyna attacks Q, but Q is able to battle back. Karyna asks Beck to help her. Beck comes to the full realization of what is happening and what she's done. Her friends are slowly suffocating, all because of Karyna. Beck frees the others and attacks Karyna. While Q is more powerful that Karyna, Karyna is far more powerful than Beck and quickly gets the advantage over her would-be protege. Russell tackles Karyna then dives away as the others open up on her with phasers. They have no effect, but the distraction gives Q enough time to step in and remove Karyna's powers. He then says that he will be taking Karyna away with him. She has no interest in going and even less in the musical number Q performs to romance her. Q is going to take her anyway, but before he goes, he removes Beck's powers as well. Beck has him return Leximas and Bradley to the present. Leximas takes the opportunity to repay Karyna with a solid punch. Q and Karyna then vanish.


Beck has a meeting with all of the involved parties, where, due to the potential negative repercussions on their careers if the events of the last couple of days were to become known, they decide to erase all records and pretend it never happened. Beck thanks Russell for saving her from Karyna and apologizes for what she did to him. Leximas offers to show Bradley a holodeck program of her homeworld. And Karyna is dragged across the cosmos by a Q, who now wants to see everything.

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Author's Comments

"That Sinking Feeling" is really the point where Waystation differentiates itself from Star Traks: The Original Series. For the first several short stories, I was trying to write the same sort of stories I did in the original series but with different characters. The Waystation crew has a very different dynamic, though, and Beck is not like Alexander Rydell. I hesitate to say that they have more depth, but they're certainly closer to Starfleet's norm than most of the Secondprize crew. They deal with the weird quite a bit, but they could handle the more Star Trek-style of story as well. While it does have some humor in it, "That Sinking Feeling" leans far more toward Star Trek than Star Traks in my mind. It also goes to some darker places than any Traks I'd written prior to this point. And originally it was going to be even darker. Karyna as I originally invisioned her would have had a sexual sadism that would have fit in more on Farscape than in Traks. I decided that I didn't want to go there, though. Traks has always had elements that aren't exactly for kids, but I don't think there are many times I push beyond a PG-13 point (unless you count Scott Baird's language). Karyna would have gone a bit beyond that.


The musical number at the end of the story was written to the tune of "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morrisette. I couldn't figure out a smooth way to say this in the text, though. I should probably go back and put it in anyway.

Links

That Sinking Feeling