Finally, Charley spoke. "You should have left us in subspace," he commented dryly. "I would've rather stayed there than face this horror."

"Indeed," R'Sharn, an Andorian, replied. "Die in peace instead of in chaos."

Chris sighed at the two's comments. "Come on, that's not the Dragon crew I remember!"

R'Sharn's gaze pierced at Chris. "Chris, you weren't stranded in subspace for a couple of years. Our moral has degraded so much we might as well resign!"

"I won't accept your resignation," Chris stated. "Not because we need more crew members, but because you are fine Starfleet officers." R'Sharn, with her usual angry demeanor, scowled. "All you need is a family that isn't dying off to get you back into spirits."

Charley chuckled. "Trust me, she's more into her normal mood now than she ever has been," he said, referring to her angry demeanor.

Chris smiled, despite himself. Then his face turned to that of seriousness.

"I know you both are very competent officers, but I'm afraid there are no positions for senior officer available," Chris stated. Charley had expected this, but R'Sharn glared at him.

"What about ops officer," she asked. She was senior ops on both the original Dragon and the Frontier.

Chris kept a steady 'poker face.' "I have confidence in your abilities, R'Sharn, but I also am more familiar, right now, with another officer."

"And who's a better ops officer than me," R'Sharn asked.

Chris sighed. "Before I tell you, I'm going to tell you three something only myself and a few higher-ups knew. I hope it doesn't have to be to some of you, but it is ordered that you not tell any one with out my permission."

Every one nodded. With that, Chris continued.

"The Dragon IS the most advanced starship Starfleet has ever conjured up," Chris began. "The main reason we are able to achieve such high warp speeds is because the ship's structure was, from the start, designed to handle such stresses. That was why it was originally designed with experimentally high raised nacelles. To see if that increased warp capability. With the destruction of that Constitution class starship, and the USS Intrepid having an incident with traveling at Warp 10, which resulted in a few losses, including the CO, they were lowered.

"In the end, Starfleet decided to make me CO of the ship…under a few conditions. One being that the ships primary goal was to achieve high warp speeds with out the same incident the Intrepid had. Another being that, no matter what, even during negotiations with another planet, our primary mission was to defend any thing Federation that was attacked. Third, I was to not speak to any one of the reasons for the Dragon remaining on the side lines during the Dominion war."

Suddenly R'Sharn and Charley became intent on hearing the full story. "So there WAS a reason?"

Chris nodded. "Section 31." Every one was surprised when Chris said that. "Section 31 had risen in the ranks. As a matter of fact, Rear-Admiral Shivar was the one who made my promotion possible. She made an offer I couldn't resist."

Sarah suddenly glared at him. "Knowing what Section 31 has done in the past, knowing what your promotion would most likely cost people, you still did it?!?"

Chris sighed yet again. "I didn't have much of a choice in the matter. Since I had found out the reason the Dragon remained on the sidelines, I was to either accept or be killed…or become part of Section 31 all together. I chose the most appealing choice."

Sarah now had a look of sympathy on her face. She stood and walked over to the couch Chris was sitting on and sat down next to him. She took his hand and said, "I'm sorry."

Chris shook his head. "I know information that can have Section 31 destroyed."

"Why WAS the Dragon patrolling the Neutral zone, despite peace with the Romulans," R'Sharn asked.

"Because our Captain, Captain Bratar, had also found out secrets about Section 31," Chris stated. Every one showed even greater surprise than before. "Lieutenant Trenton was part of Section 31, and was there to keep an eye on the Captain. They wanted to be sure she didn't tell any one. That was also the reason the Dragon patrolled the Neutral Zone.

"When Captain Bratar tried to get a message out to Command about what she knew, she was killed…as was most of the crew on the Dragon."

Realization came over Charley's face. "No, you can't mean…!"

Chris sighed yet once again. "Yes… That Jem Hadar ship found out where we were because of Section 31. It came and attempted to destroy every one, but we defeated it, after the Captain's death."

Tom, who was silent the entire time until now, frowned. "Just because you knew Section 31 was involved with the Captain?"

Chris shook his head. "No, because Captain Bratar had given me all of her data on Section 31."

Suddenly, silence once again engulfed the holodeck. "For all I know, one of my senior officers could be working for Section 31."

"Well, I'm not that one," Sarah said, squeezing Chris's hand.

Chris smiled. "That I'm positive of."

"Neither am I," Tom stated.

Chris looked to him and said, "I also know that. I've known you both for far too long to ever believe that either of you works for Section 31. And since you two," Chris said, looking at R'Sharn and Charley, "were stuck in subspace, and since you are my friends, I can't believe either of you are."

All smiled at Chris. "Now, back on to track, as I said, this is the most advanced starship ever," Chris said. "And so, THE absolutely best crew was put on this ship…at least, that was available. All others, such as the Enterprise and Argus crew, were kept where they were because they were the best together, and on those ships. That and my deal with Section 31. Which included choosing my first officer," Chris said, smiling to Sarah. Sarah smiled back.

"Now, I prefer to look on the bright side of things, and be optimistic," Chris finished. "I think that we will some how pull through this war alive and well. All we need to do is perform our best."

"Perhaps we will," Sarah said, resting her head on Chris's shoulder. "Perhaps we will…"

Star Trek Dragon graphics and written material copyright Jon Wasik. Star Trek is a registered trademark
of Paramount Pictures, a Viacom company. No copyright infringement intended