“Is that bad?” Kalia asked, completely illiterate when it comes to medical terms.

“It is,” Kara commented, pulling out a device. She passed it momentarily over Kalia’s foot, then put the device down and scanned her foot again.

“Well, the bone’s healed, at least,” she commented. “I can repair the tendons, but you’re going to have to stay off of your feet for a while.”

Kalia rolled her eyes. “Just what I need when the ship needs me the most,” she said dryly.

“You have competent engineers,” Kara commented, pulling out another device from her med kit. She scanned her foot one last time, then began passing it over her foot again, only this time in concentrated areas.

“Yeah, one’s who enjoy spying on my nude body at night,” she said, half laughing.

“What?” Kara asked, pausing and also laughing.

“When the light blew out, Palzen came to check to see if every thing was all right last night,” Kalia said. “In fury, I sat up in bed, wondering who would invade my quarters. Little did I know, I had thrown the covers from the top of my body, and there was Palzen.”

Kara laughed almost as heartily as Kalia had last night after the incident, then returned to work. “I must say,” Kara commented. “Being on this ship always manages to give me a surprise a day…”

“That, my friend, is an understatement,” Kalia said. She thought about her terminology of ‘friend’ for a moment, not sure if indeed she was friends with Kara. Kara, on the other hand, didn’t seem to mind the terminology. Kalia shrugged it off, and guessed they were at least close to being friends, if not already.

Kara stopped and then put the device away, then pulled out a device Kalia did recognize. Kara began passing the dermal regenerator over the wound, and with in moments, the wound was gone, without even a scar.

Kalia was about to stand once Kara had finished, but Kara stopped her. “Easy there,” she said, pushing Kalia back down. “I said stay off of the foot. Which means no more work for at least twenty four hours.”

“And what am I supposed to do for twenty four hours, sleep again?” Kalia remarked.

Kara smiled as she put her materials away and stood. “Listen to music, read a book…I don’t know, think of something.”

“Well, thanks for the house call, anyway,” Kalia commented as Kara began to leave.

“No problem,” Kara replied as she left.

Kalia looked around her quarters then slumped in her chair. As she sighed, she though, this is going to be a LONG day…

An alarm woke Chris from his slumber. He opened his eyes and saw that he, with his ‘stolen’ craft, was approaching the coordinates he was going to meet the pirates at. He sat up and said, “Computer, stop music.”

Immediately, the classical music he had been listening to stopped. He dropped the craft out of warp and took a full sensor scan, knowing it would attract the pirates in the near-by nebula.

Hintaru ‘classical’ music sure is…different, he thought to himself as he passed his scans over the nebula. He then took a closer look at the nebula, then continued the scan. Hopefully, it would make the pirates think he hadn’t detected them, which he hadn’t.

His attention was suddenly diverted to a small…something, not more than fifty meters off of his starboard bow. He concentrated his scans there, then jumped in surprise as a ship suddenly decloaked. He immediately recognized it as an old defense ship, which the pirates apparently favored.

Any one in this situation would’ve raised shields and made a run for it, but Chris had different plans…

They didn’t even attack at first, no doubt confused by Chris’s lack of action. However, they decided they’d better act on their good fortune and put Chris’s ship in tractor, then used the beam to drain most power.

A hail came in, and Chris acknowledged it. A rather pretty Hintaru woman appeared on the screen with a poker face. “You are quite strange for a military officer,” She said calmly. “Most people, especially officers, would’ve reacted by trying to escape while doing damage to my ship.”

“That is because I have no desire to run from you,” Chris said in a calm voice. “In fact, it is the opposite of what I wish to accomplish.”

“And what is it you want to accomplish?” the pirate asked.

“To join your group,” he said matter-of-factly.

She eyed him suspiciously, not knowing what to make of this person. Chris was wearing tattered clothes, a sign that he had struggled. His ship had also been slightly damaged to make it look like he had stolen the craft and been pursued.

“How do I know you’re telling the truth?” the pirate asked.

“Look at my ship,” Chris said. He indicated to his clothes and finished, “My clothes.”

The pirate seemed to consider it for a minute, then said, “You realize you will start out in a low position, IF your reason for joining is good enough to us.”

“Of course,” Chris said accepted. “Otherwise, there’d be no way I could go up in the ranks.”

The pirate smiled at Chris’s last words. “Perhaps you will make an asset to our group. I like that kind of arrogance.” She paused, then nodded to someone off-screen. Chris’s shuttle began to move towards the pirate craft.

“You may come aboard for a questionnaire,” the pirate said.

She moved to close the channel, but Chris stopped her. “Wait!” She paused and looked at Chris. “What is your name?”

She started at him momentarily, then said, “You will find out soon enough. And if you are lying, I swear that I will never let you forget who and what I am.”

She closed the channel, allowing Chris a smile as his shuttle entered the Pirate’s landing bay. “Perfect,” Chris said as the craft came to a stop on the deck and the tractor beam disengaged.

He wiped the smile off of his face and went to the hatch. Instead of making them open it, he readily opened the hatch. The hatch slowly opened, but what he saw he didn’t like.

Five people were standing in combat positions, pulse rifles aimed directly at Chris. He gave himself a look of surprise, but he didn’t have any time to react.

Someone decided to pull the trigger. Chris’s last thought was that he hoped they had put it on stun…

“Bridge to Commander Caft,” Perkins’ voice came over the ship’s intercom.

Sarah sighed and put down the novel she was reading. She was ready to sleep, not deal with bridge problems. “Go ahead,” she called out.

“A communiqué from Admiral Piarn is coming in,” Perkins said. “Priority 1.”

“Put it through to my quarters,” Sarah said, closing the channel. She went to the workstation in a corner of the room and sat down.

“Authorization Caft 2 2 Theta 1,” she told the computer.

Immediately, the blue face of Admiral Piarn came onto the screen. “What can I do for you, Admiral?” Sarah asked.

“Commander, as soon as repairs are finished, we need you to begin helping with the war effort,” Piarn ordered.

Sarah frowned, concern growing in her. “Why the urgency so suddenly?” she asked.

“The Vorkalai have decided to make another stand,” Piarn reported. “They’ve begun to hold a perimeter, and it’s doing wonders against us.”

Sarah nodded and replied, “Well, we hope to finish testing all repairs by mid-afternoon tomorrow. Anything else, Admiral?”

“Just inform me when you’ve finished repairs and we’ll give you orders then,” Piarn finished. His image was replaced by that of the Alliance symbol, then by the UFP symbol.

She swiveled the chair around and stared out the forward-facing window, deep in thought. She hoped Chris was OK…

He woke up with a start, but found himself bound to a chair. Chris opened his eyes wide to see three people standing in front of him, one of which was the female pirate he had talked to.

I guess it was on stun after all, Chris thought to himself.

“Who are you?” Chris asked, breaking silence.

“We’ll be asking the questions, for now,” the female pirate said, moving closer. “First, who are you?

“Jahkarr,” Chris said simply.

“How did you obtain that vessel?” she asked.

“I…lent it from the Hintaru officials,” Chris replied with a smile.

“Answer her with straight answers!” someone told Chris in a strict voice.

“No, I rather enjoy his answers,” the woman replied, smiling. Chris noticed for the first time that she was rather tall, by human standards. Then again, most Hintaru women were as tall as the men.

“How did you find us?” another man asked. Chris couldn’t see where he was, but the origin of his voice was covered in shadow.

“I was once with the military,” Chris said matter-of-factly. “So I knew where most of your raids took place. I simply put myself in a position to be raided.”

“Why do you want to join us?” the woman, who was quite obviously the leader, asked at last.

Chris sighed at the question. He had prepared himself for the question his entire trip from the defense perimeter. “Because I despise the Hintaru government. They squabble their resources on petty things.”

“That’s all?” the first man asked.

“Isn’t it enough?” Chris bit back. “I’ve had to deal with idiot generals and admirals since I first joined the military. They wouldn’t know strategy if it bit their heads off. Someone needs to get control and get rid of those morons.”

Chris had never talked like that before, never insulted anyone like he just had. He found he did the job well…

“That sounds offly like our goal,” the first man said suspiciously.

“Hence the reason I came to you,” Chris replied.

The two moved into the shadows, and then Chris could hear the whispers of the group. Someone was obviously against Chris, but the other two maintained that Chris be let in.

Finally, the two figures approached and joined the third person who had remained to study Chris.

“Very well, you may join us,” the woman said. “But in order to be under close supervision, you will be my assistant…for now.”

“Fair enough,” Chris said as the third person, who had thus remained silent, untied Chris’s hands. “But it would help if I knew your name.”

“Falarr,” the woman replied. “And this is my second, Chek,” she finished, motioning the man by her side.

Chris suddenly heard the sound of a door closing, and quickly looked to the exit. The person who had been in the shadow had left the room, not allowing Chris to see…it. Chris decided that pressing the matter of who that person was would not be wise right now.

Instead, he stood up and looked Falarr in the eye. “Then, Falarr, let us get to work.”

“Come,” Ada replied to the door chime to her quarters. She smiled as Tom entered her quarters, an equally large smile on his face.

“Sorry I was a few minutes late,” Tom said as he came towards Ada. “We were finishing up the testing of the repairs to astrometrics.”

“No apologies necessary,” Ada said as she embraced Tom and pressed her lips to him. They stood there kissing for what seemed like an eternity, then pulled away from each other.

“So, what’s on the menu tonight?” Tom asked.

Ada raised her eyebrows questioningly and asked, “Oh? I thought you were cooking.”

“If you aren’t still too sick from the last meal I conjured up,” Tom replied, smiling.

Ada was about to reply, but the alert klaxon suddenly sounded. “Senior officers to the bridge,” Sarah’s voice came over the intercom. “All hands prepare for emergency departure.”

Ada sighed in anger, clenching her teeth and closing her eyes. “Come on, let’s go,” she said in annoyance.

She stormed out of her quarters, Tom in hot pursuit, and summoned a turbo lift. When the doors to the ‘lift opened, she saw Perkins examining a small PADD.

As Ada and Tom entered, Ada asked, “Any idea what’s going on?”

“Huh?” Perkins asked, looking up from her PADD and noticing Ada for the first time.

“What’s going on?” Ada asked in a restrained voice, barely concealing her annoyance. Perkins just shrugged in reply, then went back to studying her PADD.

Ada sighed in annoyance again, and was glad when the turbolift doors opened and permitted her onto the bridge. She went directly to tactical, Tom heading for science, and Perkins, staring at the PADD, stumbled to ops.

She finally put the PADD down and took the junior officer’s place at ops.

“Vendar, put Alliance frequency 182 on audio,” Sarah ordered from the command chair. Immediately, the bridge was filled with talking.

“They’re coming out of warp!” someone said in an alarmed voice.

“Deploy, formation Delta 2.” another person ordered.

“They’re breaking warp formation and going into a battle stance,” the first person reported.

And then, several voices began filling the comm.


“Direct hit! What the?!?”

“They’re returning fire!”

Several explosions could suddenly be heard as the talking continued.

“We’ve been hit! ……losing po……fast!”

“Why aren’t we going straight through their shields!?”

“Defense base, this is Advance Group 13, we are in need of reinforcements. We are unable to immediately penetrate their shields, and we are taking a severe beating!”

“Hull breach!”

“Alliance starships, surrender at once,” a new voice came over. “We’ve figured out how to stop you from penetrating our shields, and we’ll destroy you if you do not surrender.”

“Sir, all stations report ready,” Perkins suddenly interrupted above the talking. “Engineering reports that we are ready to disengage from dock, and the Defense Base says we are clear to launch.”

“Then do it,” Sarah said, standing.

“We would rather die…”

“Shut off the channel,” Sarah ordered, fear gripping her voice. The channel obediently died.

“We’re clear,” Perkins reported.

“Engaging impulse engines,” James then added.

“Get us to that battle, now!” Sarah finished, finding her nerves again and sitting back down.

“Clearing the Perimeter now,” James reported.

For the third time, Sarah’s heart leapt into her throat. She cleared her throat audibly, then ordered, “Warp 17.”

James tapped in the commands, and then in a blinding streak of light…nothing happened.

Sarah looked around the bridge, a baffled look on her face. She opened a comm channel to engineering and shouted, “Kalia!”

“Sorry, Commander,” Kalia replied. “But it looks like we won’t be able to go to warp for an additional three hours. The dilithium crystals are still out of alignment, and we’ve got a plugged power conduit leading to the nacelles. If I hadn’t caught it when I did, we would’ve had an exploding nacelle on our hands.”

Sarah sighed and slumped in her chair. “Very well, take us back to the Perimeter. Let’s keep the primary bay open for the incoming damaged ships.”

“Aye, sir, setting course for Secondary bay Delta,” James replied.

Sarah stood and headed for Chris’s ready room. “Take the bridge, Tom,” she said as she entered the ready room.

As Chris entered Falarr’s office, he checked back over the last day mentally. He had almost let out his secret that he was indeed Captain Harriman, and was wondering if Falarr suspected him.

That was why he was fearful when he entered her office. She had suddenly called him into her office, saying to drop whatever he was doing and to come to her office.

She looked at him grimly as he stood in front of her desk. “I have some bad news,” she said, indicating for Chris to sit down.

Chris sat in the chair and looked at her curiously, hiding his fear.

“It turns out that the Vorkalai have found a way to stop our weapons fire from penetrating their shields,” Falarr said glumly. “This may mean we have to go with our secondary plan.”

Chris had been briefed on that plan. If all else failed, the pirate group would submit over to the Vorkalai and offer any assistance in exchange for freedom. He hoped it wouldn’t come down to that. He would now have to devise a plan to convince Falarr to do other than the secondary plan.

Out of the frying pan for the Alliance, but right into the fire… Chris thought to himself. Again, as hope shined upon the Alliance…the chance of winning was snatched away…

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