What was in my list of New Year's resolutions?
Never, NEVER go near a dimensional rift.
Why do I ignore it, then?
We are investigating disturbances in the Revallan Sector; when we get there, we see a rift that is starting to shrink.
My first reaction is to do a 180 degree turn and head back at Warp Nine, but I ask foolishly where it is linking to.
I order to find out, Data sends a probe and comes up with the answer.
"It is a parallel universe, Captain." he tells me, "Also the signature tells us that it is the very Mirror Universe encountered by Captain Kirk a century ago, and those on Deep Space Nine."
"They are trouble." murmured Riker.
"I agree, Number One." I reply, "We don't want to get sucked into there. Let's turn and get away from here."
"The rift is closing." Data informs me, "In a few moments there will be nothing there."
"There is something coming out of the rift!" shouts Deanna as we look at the videoscreen, "It looks like an Escape Pod."
"Can't we send it back the way it came, Mr Data?" I ask desperately.
"No, sir." he replies, "The rift is sealed. We are too late."
More trouble; why does it seem to follow us around like a dog chasing a bone?
A tractor beam is fixed on the pod, which is encased in solid ice, and it is bought into one of the cargo bays.
"It look over two centuries old." comments Riker, when we view it "Yet sensors have detected there is a lifeform inside."
I advise them to be careful. If it's someone from the Terran Empire, when they are unlikely to greet us with open arms.
The lasers cut their way through and we find a young Vulcan woman slumped over the controls.
"She is in typical Mirror Universe uniform." Beverly remarks, "An exposed midriff, a badge with a dagger through the Earth."
"Yes." I say, "But it looks very close to the uniform worn by Captain Jonathan Archer's crew when the first Enterprise went out in 2150."
We agree to put the woman in restraints while Beverly wakes her up.
As she gradually comes to, the woman looks around sharply.
"Where am I?" she shouts aggressively, "You will remove these restraints immediately! I am a member of the Terran Empire and Imperial Starfleet. You will pay dearly for imprisoning me."
She seems to have the same sort of charm as Seven does. Not exactly graceful is she?
"Who are you?" I ask.
"I am Lieutenant Commander T'Pol of the ISS Enterprise!" she tells me dismissively, "And who are you that dares to capture me?"
"I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise." I reply sharply, "You have been in that Escape Pod for over 200 years and have crossed over into a parallel universe. Welcome to the 24th Century!"
T'Pol is lost for words, and looks around, probably noticing the more advanced technology around her. I see she is the mirror version of the Vulcan who served with Captain Archer in the 22nd Century.
"You will take me back to the Terran Empire immediately, Picard." T'Pol tells me, after some thought, "I will tell the Empire to have mercy on you for escorting me."
Beverly giggles behind me, T'Pol looks disgusted.
"You will tell your woman to respect your guests!" says T'Pol.
Beverly blushes at her remark.
"I can't take you back, T'Pol." I tell her, "The dimensional rift between our universes is closed. You will have to stay here. Besides that, I have had reports from Deep Space Nine that the Terran Empire is in turmoil at the moment. It would be nothing like it was when you left it. Even if you could be returned, you would be out of your time."
After a while, T'Pol agrees to remain calm, and the restraints are removed.
We place her in some guest quarters.
"Well, Captain." asks Riker as we walk away, "What are we going to do with T'Pol?"
To be continued...