When he finally entered the stratosphere, he kicked the engines to full, causing the ship to suddenly jerk up to a speed .9c's below the speed of light. The ship usually could get up to .2, but not this close to a planet, not while trying to directly escape it's grasp.

What atmospheric gases were up this high were producing very little resistance to the fighter as she continued to gain speed, trying to create as much distance between the other fighter as possible.

He then reached an orbital position, and entered that position, though keeping his speed up. He then pointed the nose a bit towards the planet's atmosphere, and then let the ship go straight.

He began gaining speed, though ever so slightly. He knew he was attempting a dangerous feat.

The fighter was gaining speed very fast now, and with in moments, the planet disappeared, and the stars became elongated. He had done a slingshot maneuver, using the planets own gravity to throw him into light speed, with out even activating his warp engines.

He was pressed hard against his seat as the stars then began streaking by as rainbow-colored streaks. However, he didn't go far, and the stars went back to normal. While he did this, he began a complete shield restart.

It took a few minutes of traveling at a speed of just .2c's under the speed of light before the shields came back online…just in time to be hit by a Quantum Torpedo.

James then banked hard to port, and with in seconds was going nose-to-nose with Chris' Bladerunner.

He fired five Quantum torpedoes at his fighter, then veered off to avoid Plasma blasts from Chris's fighter, as well as to avoid Chris's fighter altogether.

His sensors confirmed that Chris' fighter had sustained two hits, enough to bring his shields down to 67%.

James immediately set a course back to the planet, which was growing larger by the second. Chris was hot on his tail within half of a minute and was spewing energy out at James' fighter.

He set in an automatic evasive pattern, then looked at his scans of the planet, looking for the ideal spot. With in seconds, he had found it.

He put in the proper course and took the controls again. Chris wasn't gaining on him, but he also wasn't losing distance. The planet's outer atmosphere was already only one hundred thousand Kilometers away, and at this speed, he was on top of the planet's atmosphere in seconds.

Instead of a normal reentry, one which would take him to the desired coordinates, he banked the fighter sharply and headed straight into the atmosphere.

He powered down the main Plasma drives and allowed his fighter to fall like a rock. As he had expected, the atmosphere slowed him down enough so that he wouldn't cause any thing to go wrong with the M-class planet's atmosphere, but still fast enough to keep Chris at bay.

It didn't take long to reach the troposphere, and in turn didn't take him long to break the clouds. The ground was rushing up at him, and a quick look at his sensors showed Chris hot on his tail.

So, he waited patiently for a few seconds, then pulled up at the last second. He knew he probably caused the ground 'explode' up, causing Chris some temporary blindness.

How ever, Chris was a good pilot, and he didn't plow into the ground, despite temporary blindness. He was instead still hot on James' tale.

They were in hills right now, a large mountain range dead ahead. James was maneuvering low to the ground, keeping below the hills and maneuvering in between them so that Chris couldn't get a clear shot off at him.

It didn't take them long to reach the mountains, and it actually only provided James with more cover. And to his satisfaction, Chris disappeared off of his sensors, which most likely meant Chris couldn't see James on his sensors.

He continued heading into the mountain range a full speed, maneuvering low. The mountain was full of valleys, wide ravines, and the like, providing plenty of low places for James to stay in.

He began searching for another part that could help him. Like last time, it didn't take him long to find the spot. He immediately killed the plasma drives and put full port rudder. He then put full reverse thruster and came to a full stop.

He turned the ship 180 again and backed into a cave. He set his fighter down and killed the main power systems. He then waited.

Chris was easily following the atmospheric distortions created by the other Bladerunner's intense speed and maneuvers. He had no doubt he could catch up to the other quite easily, as he found he didn't have to concentrate too much to keep up full atmospheric speed and follow the trail.

How ever, to his dismay, the trail suddenly came to an end. He slowed the fighter down to just below the speed of sound and scanned the area. The other fighter couldn't have gotten far, but still did not show up on sensors.

He continued to scan the area, wondering what happened. Did he land some where? If so, Chris couldn't see his fighter anywhere.

He then realized that indeed there were places to hide…

James kicked it to full power and flew out of the cave, and then set his cross hairs on where Chris's fighter should've been…only to find it was not there.

Sensors confirmed that Chris should've at least been in the vicinity, but was no where to be seen. He began scanning, looking for the other Bladerunner, but could find nothing.

However, he realized too late that he had fallen for his own trap. A sensor alarm sounded and he saw Chris's Bladerunner come flying out of a cave at full speed, and immediately fired seven Quantum torpedoes.

James, stricken with surprise, didn't react in time. Five impacted on his shields and they fell, giving way for the last two, which impacted his fighter hard.

His fighter flew out of control, but luckily was flying upwards, due to momentum.

Plasma bursts then hit his undefended ship, causing further damage. This in turn caused the main plasma drives to deactivate.

With only emergency thrusters online, his fighter nose-dived back towards the mountains. He looked for a valley or some flat area to crash land on, but couldn't find any thing.

So instead, he dove further, heading straight for the side of a mountain, the top of the fighter facing the base of the mountain.

When he was close to hitting the mountain side, he pulled back hard, and his fighter's bottom skipped across the mountain face. He applied full reverse thrust, but he knew it wasn't enough.

His fighter then crashed into the base of another mountain, causing a few console's to explode and the heated hull of the fighter to crumple.

Finally, it came to a full stop, causing James's restraining straps to snap. He hit his head hard on the console, but as the safety features were fully engaged, felt little or no pain…except to his pride.

He popped the cockpit open with the press of an emergency button, and jumped out of his ship. He then jumped down onto the ground, and kicked at a rock in fury.

Chris's fighter then came into a low hover right in front of where James was standing, and the cockpit opened.

Chris sat up in his seat, a huge smile on his face. He jumped down for his fighter and moved to confront James.

James stood almost at attention as Chris approached.

When Chris was standing directly in front of him, he clapped James on the shoulder and stated, "You're a good pilot, indeed. You almost fooled me with the caves back there."

James was about to give a remark to that when they suddenly heard clapping. They both looked to one side to see the Holodeck doors open with Sarah and Tom standing there, clapping.

"Bravo!" Sarah exclaimed as she and Tom moved towards Chris.

Chris was confused for a minute, then asked, "Something to report?"

Sarah raised an eye brow before replying, "Indeed, but do we have to discuss it right now?"

"If it's important, yes," Chris replied. He turned to fully face her and Tom, James doing the same.

Sarah rolled her eyes before Tom began. "We've figured out how to get the Destroyer's shields down for a brief period of time."

Chris moved his face to the side, a frown deepening on his face. "A brief period of time?"

Tom sighed before continuing. "We can fire tachyon bursts into the shield grid. They'll have to reset shield harmonics, and they'll have to drop shields for a moment to do that."

Sarah then finished for him. "During that time, we can beam a team onto the ship to take out the shield generators."

Chris thought it over for a moment, then replied, "So what do we do after that?"

Tom cocked his head to the side and stated, "Simple. Target it's temporal crystal. It may take out the entire system, and that system will be uninhabitable for generations, due to the temporal distortions, but…it should destroy it."

Chris took in a big breath, smiled, and stated, "Looks like we have a plan!"

Sarah smiled. "I knew you'd like this news."

Ada looked up to see who had entered the bridge to find it was Kalia. "Commander Tarkent, could you come over here for a minute?"

Kalia stopped halfway to the engineering console and moved to join Ada. "Yes?" she asked.

"I was wondering if we could take power from the warp core to add power to phasers, so that…"

"Out of the question," Kalia interrupted suddenly, appalled by the very idea of what Ada was saying.

Ada frowned, trying to control her anger. "We could easily spare the power, as the warp nacel…"

"I said that we couldn't do it!" Kalia bit back.

Ada was ready to explode after that. She clenched her teeth momentarily before saying, keeping her voice down by sheer force, "I think I know what I'm doing, and I think we can spare…"

"Who's the engineer on this ship?" Kalia asked calmly, apparently satisfied that she was getting on Ada's nerves.

"But we could use…"

"Who?!" Kalia asked.

"Commander, forget I talked to you," Ada said, looking back to her console. She said under her breath, "I'll just talk to the Captain."

"He'll agree with me," Kalia said, walking away.

With that remark, Ada spun around, ready to scream at Kalia. How ever, she remembered that she was on the bridge. Instead, she turned to her console again, and barely resisted the urge to smash the console.

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