Public Affairs Office Personnel Profiles:
Sam Archer   |   Tessa Kensington   |   Cassie Queen

Friday, November 8

A Distant Place Of Survival

From October 29 through November 20 (in our future), I survived here, in this place (above), completely alone -- just me, the wind, the storms, and a few small animals. This is the planet I arrived on after I stepped through the "Iconian Gateway". This was my home for three weeks.

In fact, as of today -- November 8, 2364 -- the past version of me is still struggling to survive on that planet. He won't make it back to Iconia for another another twelve days. On that day, he will discover an ancient stone artifact that refers to itself as "The Guardian of Forever". That abandoned artifact has the capability to communicate, but it also has the ability to send people through time. The past me will discover that if he steps through the Guardian, he can travel into the past, and escape that planet. When he does step through the Guardian, he will arrive back on Iconia, ten days ago, where he became the me now writing this.

I survived for three weeks -- into our future, and I escaped back to the past. I would not be here today, if it wasn't for that strange, stone artifact that called itself "The Guardian of Forever."

Now, you're probably wondering, am I going to show photos of this Guardian? Unfortunately, no. I did take a digital camera with me on the away team down to Iconia, and I still had it when I stepped through the "Iconian Gateway", but the power cell had been drained by the time I found the Guardian, three weeks later. The photos, in this post, were taken before my camera lost power. I can tell you, though, that the "Guardian of Forever" was a big flat stone with a circular hole carved through it, and that hole was the portal through which I traveled. The stone glowed from internal colored lights when it was activated, and the entire artifact was surrounded by ancient ruins that were likely thousands of years old.

This photo (above) shows the desolation of the plateau/hills that I called home. The grass, for as far as I could see, was a rich golden color, and in the past few thousand years, it had grown over, and covered, the ruins of a vast city that once existed there. This is an up-close view of some of those ruins. This was just one building, though. There were ruins everywhere. You can see some of the other ruins in the background.

Here is another photo of the ancient hills I called home. Notice the stone wall in the middle of the image, on top of a rectangular platform? There were quite a few of these platforms, and hundreds of walls all over the place -- most of them buried over the years. If I hadn't been trapped on this planet, and preoccupied with surviving, this would have been an archaeological gold mine.

If you look closely in this image (above), you'll also see a distant area of caves in the hillside. That was is the area where I found shelter. I lived in a cave, within that hillside, for three weeks.

In fact, this cave (above) is the cave I lived in. Thousands of years ago, this was probably someone's home. The cave was clearly dug out out the rock, and you can see the back of the cave in the center of this image. This photo was taken before I made the back of that cave my survival residence. I brought in a few rocks for "furniture", made a grass mat to sleep on, and set up a fire pit at the mouth of the cave. It wasn't as comfortable as my quarters here aboard the Enterprise, but it kept me out of the storms that frequently passed over these hills.

The green moss on the cave wall was actually edible. I have my tricorder to thank for that analysis. Of course, my tricorder lost power by the end of those three weeks as well, but it did help me determine what was edible and available to eat before it died. Some of the grass, and a few flowers that I found, were edible, and I even managed to catch a few small animals and fish (from the nearby ocean). In fact, oddly enough, those small animals were almost identical to rabbits and groundhogs on Earth. Even the fish reminded me of Earth species.

The temperatures on this planet were usually brisk, with strong winds whipping up every once in a while. It got cold at night, and my uniform rarely kept me warm, but I did discover that when the grass was woven tightly together, it provided reasonably good insulation. I would have greatly preferred a Starfleet excursion jacket, though. Grass only goes so far when it comes to clothing.

This image (above) shows the edge of the hilly plateau I lived on. You'll notice the cliffs that drop down to sea level. Those cliffs surrounded most of the terrain I was on, and were incredibly steep in most places. I did manage to find my way down to the bottom, although, there wasn't much down there other than a vast and almost endless black sand beach. The ocean itself was, maybe a mile away, at best. Whenever I went fishing, it took the better part of a day just to walk there and back. Thankfully, a little stream near by cave provided most of my fresh water.

When I did make to down to the ocean, I discovered impressive waves, and plenty of snow-white foam. The undertow from the waves constantly crashing onto the shore, were too powerful to swim in, but they did bring in small fish that made fishing relatively easy. Whatever fish I didn't catch were washed back into the sea when the waves retreated.

The sand on that beach was like nothing I have ever seen. In fact, it was less like sand, and more like tiny round, black pebbles. Whenever the white sea foam washed over them, it created a stunning interaction of black and white mixing together. I spent two or three days just walking along that beach, marveling at the beauty of the surf. It almost made me forget that I was trapped there, and I would probably be trapped there for the rest of my life.

Of course, I was lucky. I found the "Guardian of Forever", and I made it back home. I even brought back a handful of those little black pebbles -- as a momento of my time spent there.

My three weeks, on that planet, were frightening, and awe-inspiring at the same time. I don't know who made the Guardian, or the ancient city around it. I don't know where that planet is located. I don't even know if anyone else from the Federation will ever find it again. But I do know that we live in a vast universe of mysteries that we cannot imagine. I found one of those mysteries, through a physics-defying Iconian portal, and I made my way home through the mind-boggling time portal of another civilization. I've had my adventure....

Now, I am deeply relieved to be back home aboard the Enterprise.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Thursday, November 7

The Iconian Gateway

On October 29, our Enterprise Away team discovered a control room on the surface of the dead planet of Iconia. Inside that room was a series of operations consoles. Lieutenant Dexter Ridden, one of our away team engineers, inadvertently activated a console, and it powered up the entire room. At that moment, a purple-blue portal flickered into existence, and we witnessed the opening of an "Iconian Gateway". I had my digital camera with me, so I took a few pictures.

The photo (above) shows the first planet location that the portal revealed. The architecture on the other side looks like an Ancient Greek or Roman ruin to me. That style of ancient architecture is only found on Earth, so I have wonder.... did this "Iconian Gateway" lead back to Earth? And if it did, could the theories about the Ancient Humans who left Earth -- before the Biblical Flood -- be true? And did they establish a portal that allowed them to return?

Or was this just a random connection to Earth that had nothing to do with the Iconians?

After it was opened, the "Iconian Gateway" started cycling through a variety of locations every minute or so. I don't know if this was intended behavior, or if it was an accidental result of the functions Lieutenant Ridden had activated. One of the next locations to appear (above) looked like stone city structures on some desert planet. I didn't recognize the imagery, but I am certain that it isn't a place I'd want to visit.

This subsequent gateway location (above) shows a cloudy beach on another planet somewhere. What caught my attention (unseen in this photo) were the people on the beach. They looked Human, and were all wearing swimsuits similar to those worn on Earth. The group I saw looked like a family preparing to leave the beach before a storm rolled in. I doubt they had any idea that our away team was watching them -- from a completely different planet light years away.

After a few more planet locations appeared, our away team must have activated a bad sequence of commands, because the entire control room went into lock-down, sealing the doors, and trapping us inside. Our tricorders registered a massive power overload -- most likely from the malfunctioning control room equipment, so, with nowhere else to go, Lieutenant Idella Haas ordered us all to go through the portal, and find our way home from wherever it sent us.

Unfortunately, the portal locations had begun fluctuating more rapidly at this point. It was almost certain that we wouldn't all arrive on the same planet. The three Starfleet officers that stepped through the gateway before me probably arrived at the same place. I caught a glimpse of the planet on the other side -- it showed a vast forest. The next two officers who stepped through (one of whom was Lieutenant Ridden) went somewhere else -- all I could see was a sunny ocean beach on the other side. I stepped through, and ended up on the planet I'll show you tomorrow.

I don't know where Lieutenant Commander Haas or the two Marines, that were with us in the control room, went -- or even if they survived the explosion. The overload hadn't reached critical yet when I stepped through, so there would still have been time for them to escape.

I spent three weeks on my deserted planet, and I had the lucky happenstance of finding the strange time travel device that called itself, "The Guardian of Forever". It sent me back to Iconia, three weeks earlier -- minutes after the explosion. I made it back to the Enterprise because I was lucky. I hope to God the rest of the away team is faring better than I did.

Time travel is extremely rare. Aside from the Enterprise, and our experience with the Devron Anomaly (and, of course, myself via this experience), there are no records of anyone else traveling through time. As far as I can tell, no one else has ever seen, discovered, or experienced the "Guardian of Forever". I'm the only one, and I don't even know where that planet is located. I could have been deep in the Delta Quadrant for all I know.

My heart goes out to the other members of our away team. I made it home; they're still out there somewhere. We'll find them. We have to. They're our crew. We won't leave them behind.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Monday, November 4

Sam Archer: Back On Duty

Well, friends, followers, and fellow Starfleet personnel, I am back in the office, and slowly getting back to work. I won’t write much tonight, since I’m still taking it easy. However, in the next few days, I’ll share more about my experiences, and I do have some photos to post. To be honest, I wasn’t sure anyone would get to see them.

For me, the last four weeks have been extremely challenging. It looked like I was going to live out the rest of my life, alone, on a desolate plateau, on some random planet far from the Federation. I can’t even put into words how heartbroken and frightened that made me feel. For as far as I could see, it was just me and the grass, the cliffs, the ocean, the cold, the storms…. just me and a few small animals. You don’t truly realize how blessed you are, until you have nothing but a tattered uniform on your back, and whatever tools you can make out of rocks and grass. But, I survived. I made it back to the Enterprise.

I will never again take for granted this life that I have been given.

I can only hope the rest of our away team survived – somewhere out there, and that whatever planets they arrived on, they don’t have to go through anything as desolate as I did – or, as I suppose I am, right now, considering the fact that I came back in time via the “Guardian of Forever” (after three weeks on that planet), and the earlier me is still on that planet, starting week 2 of his – my – survival experience.

Week 2 was brutal for me. Absolutely brutal.

But, I’m home, I’m warm, and I am in the company of friends I never thought I’d see again. I am lucky, blessed, and humbled beyond anything that I could ever imagine.

I’m home. I’m safe. I won’t die alone, on an abandoned planet in the cosmos.

-Lieutenant Sam Archer

Saturday, November 2

Back On Patrol

The Enterprise is back on our previous patrol duties along the Neutral Zone. We’ve sent a commship back to Earth with news of the USS Yamato’s discovery of Iconia, and our visit to the planet. We’ve also shared any information we have on the possible whereabouts of the rest of our away team, in the hopes that they can be found and returned to us.

In other news, Lieutenant Archer could be back in the office as early as Monday or Tuesday. He’s feeling better – and looking healthier too. We’re glad he’s recovering so quickly. The Public Affairs Office isn’t the same without him.

-Lieutenant (JG) Tessa Kensington