She was obviously thinking hard about those words. Her face was saddened, yet determined. Chris knew he was fully getting through to her now. He hoped it was enough.

He stood up and circled around the desk, then put his hand on her shoulder. She looked up at him, tears forming in her eyes. He smiled warmly at her and said, “Some day, we will make Section 31 pay for what they did. Until then, don’t allow your emotions about the past overtake you.”

She smiled back, wiped a tear from her eye, then nodded. “Thank you, Captain.”

Chris frowned and said, “We’re friends. We aren’t on the bridge. The name is Chris.”

She smiled, nodded, and amended, “Chris it is.”

Chris nodded and said, “All right, we’ve got work to do.”

She nodded again, wiped a final tear from her eye, and stood. “Thank you, Chris.” She turned and then left his ready room.

Chris smiled, then went back to his desk to finish reading the section reports.

R’Sharn felt free. A large burden had been freed from her. When she left the Ready Room, she immediately headed over to ops.

She put her hand on Perkin’s shoulder, who in turn looked up in surprise. R’Sharn smiled warmly and said, “I’m sorry.”

Perkins was obviously baffled by the sudden apology, a questioning frown forming upon her face.

R’Sharn looked then to Sarah, nodded, and headed for the turbolift. They had a long battle ahead of them.

“Approaching the planet D-4,” James confirmed.

Chris nodded in reply. He tapped his comm badge and stated, “Harriman to Marquet, we’re approaching the planet.”

“Copy, we’re all set down here,” Ada’s voice came back.

Chris tapped his badge again, then ordered, “Helm, slow to one-forth.”

“Dropping out of warp,” James confirmed a moment later. On the view screen, the stars stopped streaking by. Ahead, the looming orb of the planet could be seen eclipsing its sun.

“Status of the cloaking device,” Chris asked, his blood and adrenaline pumping rapidly in anticipation.

“Stable,” Perkins replied. “No power fluctuations of any kind.”

“Take us into a stationary high orbit,” Chris ordered. “Directly above the platform.”

“Course laid in,” James replied. “How ever, the Destroyer is in a stationary orbit around that same location.”

Chris smiled at his mistake. He then mentally scolded himself for the error, as this was an important mission.

“Correction, then,” he said. “Take us into a high stationary orbit behind the Destroyer.”

Chris’s smile faded immediately when he looked at the view screen again. The Destroyer was looming ahead. For the second time in only a few days, he was personally seeing the monstrosity. The latticework of support structures did little to conceal the glowing dark-blue temporal crystal.

Larger than life, Chris thought, referring to an old Earth saying.

As if it weren’t large enough from a distance, and as if it didn’t strike up enough fear in the bridge crew, the Dragon took up a synchronous orbit behind it. It loomed ahead of them, blocking out much of the starscape.

It was easily over seven kilometers in length. The crystal alone had a diameter of a kilometer. The support structures extended up to a quarter of a kilometer off of the huge crystal.

Chris tapped his comm badge. “Bridge to transporter room one,” Chris said. He momentarily paused before finishing, “Proceed.”

With those words, he took Sarah’s hand in his own. He imagined the people of 20th century Earth would no doubt start praying about now.

“Final weapon’s check complete,” the Britar officer known as B’Lantar confirmed, strapping a Britar pulse rifle to himself.

“Make sure all weapons are set to kill,” Ada stated. “Besides which I don’t think stun would do anything to these guys.”

Kara finally moved to Ada and scanned the small device attached to her arm. After a moment, she said, “All bio dampers are working properly.” She closed her scanning device, looked at Ada, and finished, “However, don’t forget they do an intense scan every half hour, and your dampers won’t do much to conceal you from that scan.”

“I’m well aware, Doctor,” Ada stated. She nodded and said, “Thank you.”

Kara nodded back and headed for turbolift doors. Ada tapped her comm badge and said, “Marquet to transporter rooms two and three. Disembark in thirty seconds.”

She deactivated the comm channel then stepped up onto the transporter pad, the Britar special ops officers following. Among her small group were merely four Britar. Each team was comprised of five Britar.

Her experience as a special ops had taught her that if they caught a single group of people, they wouldn’t think to look for another. However, if a second was found, they would immediately look for more, so more than three teams was rarely warranted.

“Energizing,” the transporter chief confirmed.

Ada was momentarily blinded as the transporter beam engaged, but within a few seconds, the bright light ceased. They immediately took cover and got their bearings.

“We’re right where we should be,” B’Lantar said, examining a scanning device of Britar origin.

“Any Vorkalai near by?” Ada asked, looking cautiously around the corridor they had materialized in.

B’Lantar shook his head. “None with in scanning range. How ever, scans are limited to a forty meter radius due to the materials the walls ahead are made of.”

“As expected,” Ada whispered. “Keep your voice low, and keep your bodies low. Move out!”

She then proceeded, in a half crouch, in the direction of the power core. B’Lantar kept a close eye on his scanning device while everyone kept their hands on their weapon.

They traveled rather quickly through the complex. It was obvious that the four Britar with Ada were well in shape. She wasn’t even nearing a state of being tired, and apparently, neither were they.

“Wait,” B’Lantar suddenly stated after they’d gone for about a kilometer. Every one immediately stopped movement and crouched down.

“Two life signs heading this way,” he whispered.

Ada signaled for every on to take cover. She stood up and put her back to a bulkhead. She could hear the two people talking as they approached.

Finally, they emerged. They went past her without seeing her, and she immediately took the advantage. She used the butt of her rifle to knock one unconscious. The other spun around only to have his face meet her rifle.

Without even a word or a signal, the Britar came out of hiding in the rather obstructed corridor and hid the two green-skinned Vorkalai.

Ada checked her chronometer, and whispered, “We’re running out of time, we’ve got to move!”

She then began leading the way at a jog, knowing that the slow crouch was too slow for them to reach the generator before their thirty minutes was up.

They went about another two kilometers before B’Lantar stopped them again.

“Four life signs apparently standing guard up ahead,” he stated.

“Damn,” Ada whispered back. She thought a moment, wondering how they would get past them. “Are there any internal sensors in this corridor?”

“No,” B’Lantar stated. “That’s not any untill a little farther in.”

“Good,” she stated. She lifted her phaser rifle up and ordered, “Ready weapons.”

She smiled and then stood. Walking at a brisk, but noiseless pace, she walked further up the corridor. She could only hope the others were following her.

She rounded the curve and brought her rifle to bear on the first Vorkalai she saw. She fired immediately, not giving him time to react. However, the others immediately reacted, giving her no time to pick off another one.

Another pulse blast followed hers and took out another guard as she moved for cover. A few stray shots were fired from the remaining two Vorkalai, but they were taken out by the other Britar.

“Move!” Ada ordered almost above a whisper.

They then went out into a jog that could almost be considered a run. She was starting to tire, but they were only a kilometer away.

They passed what appeared to be a maker of some sort marking that they were now in the section of the platform that was closely monitored for energy discharges.

It didn’t take them long to reach a surprisingly unguarded door that led to the power room.

She pressed her ear against the door to see if she could hear what was going on while B’Lantar began a scan.

She heard a sudden commotion, and then a rather loud high-pitched noise. She clenched her teeth as she pulled away from the door and covered her ears.

When the sound subsided, she brought her hands away and looked to B’Lantar for answers.

“I’m reading Britar life signs within the room,” he stated excitedly. “And the Vorkalai are unconscious.”

Ada motioned for every one to get on either side of the door, doing the same herself. She then palmed the control that opened the door.

For a moment, no sound came out. Finally, she stated, “Infiltration group 1. Code three twenty-seven alpha.”

No reply came back for a moment, and for a moment, she wondered if the Britar were merely scanner ghosts.

Finally, and rather suddenly, a gruff voice replied, “Second infiltration group. Code Fifty-five Beta.”

“Third infiltration group,” another voice joined in. “Code seven seven five two Delta.”

Ada smiled and immediately walked into the room. Indeed, the other two infiltration groups were present.

However, there was no time for pleasantries. “Overload process is ready to commence,” one of the Britar stated from a console near the immense power core. It was obviously not a matter/antimatter core, for it reminded Ada nothing of one.

“We’ll wait here till the scan is finished,” the leader of the second infiltration group said. “The reactor will block them from detecting us.”

“Agreed,” Ada replied, allowing her rifle to hang loosely from her shoulder.

“The scan will pass over us in thirty seconds,” another Britar commented.

“Move towards the core,” Ada ordered suddenly, wanting to make sure they weren’t detected.

Everyone moved quickly and moved to the platform that hung directly by the tall, circular core.

Not long after, the same Britar confirmed, “The scan’s passed over us…and they didn’t detect us!”

“Then let’s get the hell out of here!” Ada ordered quickly. A Britar moved to the main console back in the control room, hit a control, then looked at Ada and nodded.

“Follow me,” she stated. She moved back out the door they had come in and broke into a full run. They had four kilometers to go before they could escape, and she certainly didn’t want to be around when the core went.

“Captain, I’m reading a power increase in the core,” Perkins said, her senses now alert. “It appears to be on a build up to detonation.”

“How long?” Came Chris’s immediate reply.

Perkins examined the information displayed on her console before stating, “I’d say two minutes.”

Chris was now inbetween the Helm and the Ops stationed. “And the teams?”

She brought up another sensor scan. “They appear to be engaged in a fire fight only fifty meters away from the beam out point.”

She heard Chris tap his comm badge as she stared intently at her screen. “Bridge to transporter room 1, can we beam the team up from their current location in any way?”

There was no reply for a moment. Finally, a voice replied, “No, sir.”

As Chris cussed at the current situation, an idea sparked in Perkins’ head. She looked at Chris and stated, “We could launch a cloaked relay probe.”

Chris immediately looked at the view screen out of habit. “Make it so.” He headed back for the command chair and ordered, “Coordinate your efforts with the transporter rooms.”

Another Britar took a direct hit to the head, sending him down to the ground. Ada fired a few shots over the top of the crate her and B’Lantar were hiding behind, then fully concealed herself again.

“Less than a minute left!” B’Lantar shouted over the energy discharges. “We need to finish that fifty meters now!”

“We’re pinned down!” Ada shouted back.

A grenade suddenly flew over the crate and landed next to Ada. She immediately picked it up and threw it back over. Not more than a moment after it had left her hand, it exploded. She pulled her hand back in pain, not wanting to look at it.

“There’s no way out of this!” she shouted. “But at least we finished our mission!”

Suddenly, the whole platform shook violently. More so than she had ever felt aboard the Dragon. She knew what was coming.

A bright white light seemed to consume her as she hit the floor hard. She wondered if she was dying, and the rumors about the bright light was true…

However, that idea was destroyed when she suddenly found herself lying on a transporter pad.

Moments later, the intense pain she felt caused her to lose consciousness.

“We have the team aboard,” Perkins stated.

“Helm, break orbit!” Chris shouted, adrenaline pumping again. On the view screen, the view of the large planetary explosion and the Destroyer moved to show an empty starfield.

“Send a message to the fleet,” Chris ordered. “We’ve engaged the Destroyer, and the platform has been destroyed.”

“Sending message,” Perkins confirmed.

Chris nodded and stated, “Decloak and raise shields. Full impulse, evasive maneuvers.”

With that order, both James and Perkins began to work at the consoles. The Dragon began a wild set of maneuvers as green energy blasts were coming from seemingly every side of the ship.

However, it was only that. No temporal distortions. Chris knew they wouldn’t waste that much energy on one ship.

“How’s the communications jamming?” Chris asked.

“They’ve attempted to send out three distress calls, but none have gotten passed our jamming,” Perkins replied. “They now seem to have given up on sending a distress call.”

“Good,” Chris said, instinctively nodding. “Can we disrupt their long range sensors?”

Perkins was looking over her console for a moment, then stated, “I think so. We could emit a dispersion field into the area using our tertiary deflector dish. It’ll take a few minutes, but once the area’s completely flooded, it’ll make long range sensors useless.”

“How long will the field stay in place?” he asked.

Perkins checked her console again, then said, “about forty five minutes.”

“Good,” Chris approved. “That should give the fleet enough time to get here. Make it so.”

He then smiled at his own words. He had just unconsciously coined a phrase from Captain Picard. Perhaps he was finally becoming a regular at captaining…

The ship suddenly shook violently as the Dragon took the first hit. It was quite obvious the Destroyer had a lot of power backing its weapons systems. It then shook again, not even allowing the shuddering from the last one to stop.

Chris held on to the armrests for his dear life, knowing that he could very well be thrown into the air and land wrong, causing his neck or another bone to snap. But it was nothing compared to what it could have been.

Chris waited for the shuddering to stop. He then ordered, “Helm, set a course for the planet.”

“Captain?” James asked.

Chris stood and went over to the helm. “I’ll take it from here,” he said. “What I want done can’t be relayed in the amount of time we have.”

James nodded, concentrating on the helm. He stood, tapped in a few last commands, then allowed Chris to take over.

Chris did it immediately, giving no transition time, and began a set of his own maneuvers as he pointed the ship right back at the Destroyer. He punched the impulse engines up to 103% and even activated a few of the aft maneuvering thrusters for added power.

It might seem odd to the Vorkalai that the Dragon was attacking, but it certainly didn’t show, as the Destroyer continued it’s lethal barrage. Chris didn’t let them even scratch the shields. There was all ways an advantage of taking a small ship head on towards a larger enemy ship. It seemed harder to target the smaller craft that way.

The Dragon was instantly skimming close to the shields of the Destroyer as it went full speed towards the planet behind the Destroyer. With in moments, the ship was by, and wasn’t allowing the Destroyer time to turn around.

They hadn’t gone far from the planet, and with in minutes, they were on top of it. But instead of breaking off into an orbit, Chris continued on towards the planet. Perkins looked over at him, a look of horror on her face.

“Captain, I must remind you, this ship is not meant for planetary reentry!” she stated.

Chris smiled before replying, “Don’t worry, Commander.”

He was concentrating on the sensor scans, waiting for the right moment…when it came.

He pulled the ship up hard, even causing some g forces before the inertial dampers to compensate. He pulled hard for a few moments, then let the ship go straight. He then found that the ship was right where he wanted it…in the planet’s upper atmosphere.

Up here, they weren’t too close to the planet, and there wasn’t much ‘air’ to cause friction. However, it was a place the Destroyer could not go with out being pulled too far into the planet’s gravity well.

He checked sensors to see the Destroyer was indeed forced to keep its distance. However, he knew they could use other weapons, other than their normal green energy blasts.

“Ada, make sure none of their torpedoes don’t get through,” he ordered. He stood up from the helm, allowing James back at the controls, and turned around. Ada wasn’t there.

He frowned and tapped his comm badge. “Harriman to Marquet.” There came no reply.

“Trieal to Harriman,” Kara’s voice finally replied. “Ada’s been injured.”

Chris nodded as he headed back for the command chair. “Right, keep me posted on any negative occurrences with her situation.”

He sat down and tapped his comm badge to deactivate it. “Helm, maintain current position and speed. And so, Commander Cantor, please carry out my orders.”

“Aye, sir,” the junior tactical officer replied.

“So now what?” Sarah asked, looking him in the eye.

He looked back at her, sighed, and stated, “Now, we wait.”

Her head hurt. To her, that’s all that mattered. She attempted to open her eyes, but the light hurt too much. She didn’t know where she was, and she couldn’t think straight enough to remember.

All she knew was that her head was in pain.

She started hearing things. People talking, the sound of what could only be a hypospray.

Then, she remembered. They had been on the planet, and a grenade had injured her. Then, when the reactor had started to blow, they were beamed back to the Dragon.

She felt a slight pressure on her neck, and then heard the sound of a hypospray again. Immediately, the headache cleared a little, but only a little.

She opened her eyes again, and forced them to stay open so they could adjust to the light. “Get that damn light out of my face,” she heard herself command angrily.

Immediately, the lighting dimmed, and she could see that she was indeed in sick bay. Kara was hovering over her.

“How are you feeling?” she asked.

“I’ve got a head ache,” was all Ada could manage.

Kara nodded and stated, “You’ll have one for a while. There’s nothing I can do about that.”

Ada attempted to sit up, but found it impossible. Now she noticed that she couldn’t feel her right arm. She looked at it to see that micro-shrapnel was still being removed. So it was obvious they hadn’t even repaired the burns.

“That’s not the half of it,” Kara commented. Ada looked back at her, curious to know what could be worse. “The shockwave from the grenade caused a lot of your synapse to go out of alignment. We were forced to inject nanites into you to repair the synapse, and they only recently finished.”

Ada could only nod in reply. “Now I’m going to put you out again,” Kara said, bring a hypospray to her neck again. “I only wanted to see if your synapse were properly aligned or not.”

She heard the hiss of the hypospray and then immediately succumbed to darkness again.

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