"The next day, I got a communiqué from Ada, who was yelling at me for stealing Sam from her. I had no idea what she had been talking about, and she seemed to get madder at me because of it. She had said that Sam had come to her house that day and said he had fallen for me, and just couldn’t marry her."

Terry stopped Kalia in her story and turned to Ada. "What exactly had he said?" he asked her.

Kalia listened intently, wanting to make sure Ada told him exactly what she had told her.

"He just came over that day," Ada began. "I jokingly told him how he wasn’t supposed to see me the day before the wedding. First he corrected me, saying that it was the day of the wedding I wasn’t supposed to see him. Then he had said that he wanted to talk to me about the wedding.

"He started going on and on about how much he had fallen for Kalia, how she was the perfect woman for him. He apologized, but I still slapped him and kicked him out."

Kalia, not liking Sam herself, tried to hide a grin from forming on her face with her hand.

"What happened after words?" Terry asked.

"He came to me after that," Kalia said. "Said he loved me and wanted to marry me instead. I told him that he should not have hurt Ada like he had." Kalia paused for a moment, looking into surprised eyes that belonged to Ada. "I yelled at him for doing it, saying that, if he would do that to Ada, what would stop him from doing it to me? And, with him doing that to you, why should he be worthy enough for either of us? I then told him he was slime and kicked him out as well."

Ada smiled at the thought of him getting more than just one kick in the rear, even though it was metaphorical.

She then shook her head, looking ashamed. "I’m sorry," Ada said quietly.

"Hey, you couldn’t help it," Kalia said soothingly. "You were blinded with fury, and I knew that it simply was just who you were. I tried to tell you, but even in ten years, never got the chance to till now."

"Well I’d heard a rumor from a friend that you two had gotten together," Ada replied. "In fact, she said she’d seen you two together at a park."

"He had tried to win me over again there," Kalia replied, half-laughing. "Let’s just say that, after what I told him, he didn’t want to have anything to do with me again."

The two women laughed together for the first time in ten years, and then became silenced, both sorry for the things they had done and said. "I’m sorry, too," Kalia said.

Ada smiled, then stood, Kalia doing the same. They embraced in a friendly hug. Kalia could feel tears beginning to form in her eyes, emotions of regret, sadness, and happiness dominating her emotions.

They both parted, looked at Terry, and said unanimously, "Thanks, Terry."

Terry smiled knowingly. "My pleasure ladies."

"Come on," Kalia said. "Let’s get those weapons fixed."

The two women, the friendship they had held so dear ten years ago returned, left the office, happier than they’d been in a long time.



"Amazing," Terry said quietly after the women had left. "Gets me every time how one session can completely change a person…or persons."

Watching the two hug was like watching two sisters who hadn’t seen each other for ten years coming together. It was like two lost people finding each other…

He laughed to himself, then sighed. "Two down, one to go…" He checked his PADD to see that Vendar’s appointment wasn’t scheduled till tomorrow. He took comfort in that fact, and decided he’d head for one of the crew lounges.



Lieutenant Commander Vendar Perkins entered Terry’s office for the second time since their ordeal a few days back. She was still very shaken up from the event. However, thanks to the first session she’d had with him, she was capable of continuing her duty.

After she sat down, he immediately asked, "How are you doing?"

Normally, that question would be easy to answer. However, the emotions coursing through her made it rather difficult.

"I’m not sure," she replied. "After all, I murdered at least two people."

"Remember how we discussed yesterday…" Terry began.

"Yes, yes, I know!" she said in an annoyed voice. "It wasn’t my fault. But in a way, it will always be a part of my life. I physically, though maybe not mentally, took at least two lives." She shook her head, anger filling her. "That’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I don’t have a choice about it."

"But you can choose how to live with it," Terry replied. Vendar shot him a quizzical look.

"How so?" she asked.

"By doing what we do every day: learn from our mistakes," Terry replied. "True, this wasn’t a mistake, but it is an experience you can learn and extrapolate upon."

Vendar thought about those words for a minute. "I suppose I’ll be the one who has to figure out how I can learn from it."

Terry nodded. "Yes…but remember, you have your friends here to help you."

She smiled at those words. "Perhaps that’ll be enough," she said.

They both remained silent for a moment, Vendar contemplating how she could learn from the experience, and Terry no doubt wondering how he should ask his next question.

Finally, he asked, "How do you feel about the Vorkalai?"

Anger started to well up in her. "I blame them," she replied. "Not as individuals, but as a whole. I know they live by a strict code to which they believe in. To them, our code is wrong, but to us, it is right. Its also the other way around."

She took in a big breath, trying to qualm the anger, knowing it would do her no good. "I know that they will all eventually be killed, unless taken prisoner. I don’t take comfort in that fact…to do so would indicate I am someone who even I thought I wasn’t. And I won’t allow that to happen."

"So you feel anger, but not to the point of wanting revenge?" Terry asked, surprised.

Vendar nodded. She knew it sounded crazy. After all, she was human. And in a sense, she did want revenge. She wanted to make them pay for ruining her life like that.

But she had more control than that. Just as she had constantly done with attraction to men, she would suppress a natural urge. She would not allow her anger to take over, and she would not indulge upon revenge.

"Damn…I wish all of my patients thought like you do," Terry said, smiling.

Vendar smiled, then stood. "Thank you counselor. I really must be getting back to the bridge."

"If you need anything, my door’s as open as the Captain’s," he said.

Vendar gave him a nod, then left. She would retain control of herself. She would use her mind, her intelligence, and not her rage…



Captain’s Log, Supplemental

I’m pleased to say that, thanks to counselor Latrael’s help, Lieutenant Marquet and Commander Tarkent are once again getting along. Their getting along together should hopefully dramatically increase our chances of winning this battle…this war. Though there might be tension left between the two, they certainly are working together more like friends than simple colleagues.

The battle takes place tomorrow. Today is the final briefing, where the details of the battle will be sorted out…

Sarah is still in critical condition…



Commander Kara Trieal slumped into the chair in her office. She motioned for Chris to sit down in front of her desk.

When he was settled in, she decided to tell him.

"I think I know what’s wrong with Sarah," she said. Chris immediately took a bigger interest in the meeting.

When Kara didn’t continue, he asked, "Well?"

Kara sighed, frowning. "Yesterday, Ada approached me and told me that internal sensors were picking up a large amount of subspace activity in sickbay. They localized it to be coming from Sarah’s body.

"With Vendar’s help, we were able to trace a subspace signal directed at her. Our theory is that the signal is somehow causing something inside of her to continue to make her ill. Probably another form of virus that the creature who hurt her deposited, one that reacts to that subspace signal."

Chris brought his right hand up and rubbed his chin, concentrating. "Did you find a way to disrupt the signal?" he asked.

Kara shook her head. "No, the signal’s far too strong."

"So then how do we help her?" Chris asked, fearing the worse no doubt.

"Well, we traced the signal back, trying to figure out its location," Kara said. "It appears to be coming from the home world of the Vorkalai. So, we have to destroy the signal from its origin."

Chris’ face lit up when he heard her say that. "So tomorrow’s battle will hopefully bring her out of critical condition?" he asked.

Kara nodded, smiling as Chris smiled. "Yes, it looks that way."

Chris stood up in a hurry, his movements seeming to take on a new energy. "Thank you, doctor!" he said, rushing out of the room.

Kara let out a small laugh at her departing captain. "My pleasure," she said.



Terry sensed a new form of energy growing in Chris as he stood up in the briefing room. He didn’t know why, but something told him it probably had something to do with Sarah.

"Well, tomorrow’s the big day," Chris said in a vibrant voice. "Tomorrow, this war ends."

As he moved toward the briefing screen, he said, "I just got back from a meeting on the Perimeter’s main base. We’ve discussed the final outline of the battle, and are prepared to do battle at 10:00 tomorrow."

He pressed a command into the screen, which showed a tactical display of the Perimeter, the remainder of the Alliance ships, and the Vorkalai fleet.

As the tactical display began to animate the battle, Chris became the narrator. "Tomorrow at 10:00, the Perimeter will quickly expand outward and attack the Vorkalai fleet. Hopefully, this will scramble the fleet."

On the screen, the perimeter started pouring as much firepower into the Vorkalai fleet as it could, causing the fleet to scatter.

"It will then compress again, and our fleet will go through. Once through the Perimeter, the fleet will form into a spearhead, and break through the confused Vorkalai fleet. Once we are clear, we will jump to maximum warp."

The screen then moved to display the Vorkalai system, which was heavily guarded.

"We’ll come out of warp just behind the planet’s only remaining moon," Chris continued, which the screen showed. "We’ll maneuver along the surface, taking out mining stations and the like along the way, until we are clear to head for the planet. Along the way, one of our ships will leave a smaller, timed antimatter bomb along the way, which will take out the core and cause the moon to blow apart…hopefully with out the explosion going outside of the planet and hurting the fleet."

"Once we reach the planet, we get the Alliance’s Pride, a new, advanced starship, to get into the atmosphere of the planet and beam the bomb to the core. Once it’s in, we’ll evacuate and watch the fireworks."

Chris shut down the screen, then sat back down at the head of the table. "Any questions?"

"What sort of opposition are we looking at?" Ada asked.

Chris smiled sheepishly. "I almost forgot," he said. He keyed in a command, causing a three-dimensional hologram of the planet and surrounding space to appear in mid air.

As Chris began to describe the opposition, the computer highlighted the opposition.

"There’s a small perimeter of heavily armed defense ships all around the planet, but it’s very sparse," Chris began. "No doubt, the perimeter will condense toward the moon when we come out of warp.

"Also, the moon has several defense installations along its surface. A course was plotted that would allow us to rarely encounter these, but the ones we do encounter will be very deadly, and will have to be taken out quickly.

"The last, and most dangerous defense are four rings of defense platforms rotating around the planet."

On the screen, the four rings could be seen rotating. It almost appeared as if the planet were an atom, with four electron paths shown, equally spaced apart and intersecting in only two places.

"Those platforms create a shield grid that completely surrounds the planet," Chris continued. "If we are to allow the Alliance’s Pride to get through, we need to take out at least one of them, and even that will be difficult."

"Do we have anything going for us on this mission?" Kalia asked.

Chris smiled in reply. "One thing. The planet used to have several moons, or so Vorkalai records show. Those moons were over-mined and exploded, much like the Klingon moon Praxis did. Hence, the entire planet is surrounding with an asteroid field. If it weren’t for the shields, the planet’s surface would no doubt be highly pockmarked. We can use those asteroids for plenty of cover, and can even direct some of them toward the platforms to help weaken its shields."

"How many Alliance ships do we have left?" Tom asked.

"Forty nine," Chris replied solemnly.

The room became silent after that. Each and every person knew this mission would result in a lot of losses…

"So do we even have a snow ball’s chance in hell of succeeding?" Ada asked.

Chris smiled wryly. "I’m afraid that actually describes our odds quite well," he replied.

After another minute of silence, Chris stood. "We’ve prepared three weeks for this battle," Chris said. "Let’s make sure it was for nothing, and go over everything one last time. Then…get a good night’s sleep tonight. We’ll be in the lead of this assault, so we need all the rest we can get… Dismissed."



"That’s it," Chris said in annoyance. He threw off his covers and stood up out of bed. In annoyance, he moved over to his closet and took out a tan colored pair of pants and tan colored shirt.

He slipped into them, then headed for sickbay. He’d not been able to get any sleep at all, and it was already 01:00.

With in minutes, he was in sickbay, which was deserted except for one nurse. The nurse immediately put down the test tube she had been examining, then approached Chris.

"Can I help you, sir?" she asked, smiling kindly.

"I need something to help me sleep," Chris replied.

She smiled, heading for a tray with several hyposprays. "Of course," she replied.

As Chris waited, he asked, "I take it you hate the graveyard shift as much as I do?"

"Actually, tonight more than ever," she replied. "I’ve probably given hypos to about five hundred people tonight to help them sleep."

Chris gave a surprised expression. "I never thought a battle like this would worry everyone so much."

"Well, we all know the odds," she replied, walking back toward Chris. "Many of us aren’t going to live, and we know it."

"I’m sure we’ll all pull through somehow," Chris said reassuringly.

He then looked over to a secure bay. Through a window, he could say Sarah lying unconscious on the bed, her wounds somehow not healing…

"How’s Sarah?" he asked.

She administered the hypo, then looked into the bay. "She’s doing a little better, actually. Commander Trieal thinks its because there’s probably an increase in subspace traffic in the area as we prepare for battle."

"Yeah, we’ve been sending a lot of communications back and forth in this region today," Chris replied. "I hope we don’t damage the barrier between space and subspace…the last thing we need is a subspace rift to start right when he go to warp."

"No argument here," the nurse replied, moving back to the tray and placing the hypo on it. "Have a good night, sir."

Chris didn’t reply for a moment, his attention fixed on Sarah. Don’t worry, Sarah, he replied. We’re here for you.



"All stations report," Chris ordered, the time of battle approaching fast.

"Helm standing by," Lieutenant James Trikal stated.

"Ops ready," Vendar added.

"All weapons are functioning properly," Ada said. "In fact, better than usual."

"I tweaked them a little," Kalia said over the comm system. "Hope you like my little present."

"Perfect," Ada replied, probably smiling behind Chris. It was nice having all senior officers getting along…

"Any way, all three engine rooms are ready."

"Science standing by," Tom finished. "Though I doubt you’ll need me much."

Chris smiled, leaning forward. "Don’t worry, Tom." He patted the seat to his right. "You get to play first officer again for this battle."

"Of course, sir," Tom replied, moving for the chair.

After he sat down, Chris asked, "Time?"

"One minute," Vendar replied, smoothly working her console. "The entire fleet has reported in as being ready."

"Then let’s get comfy," Chris said, leaning back in his chair. "We’ve got a long battle ahead of us."

Not long after, Vendar reported the thirty second mark. Then the twenty second mark. Finally, she began counting down.

Tension mounted on the bridge as she continued on. "…five…four…three…two…one…"

On the view screen, the Perimeter suddenly shot forward. Not long after, torpedoes streaked away left and right. The Vorkalai ships, which were tiny green specks, began to scramble this way and that.

As suddenly as it had moved forward, the Perimeter reversed. That was their cue…

Here goes nothing… "Full impulse!" Chris ordered. It was time for the Dragon and the crew to function like it never had before. It was time to function as a family…the family they had become in the 1+ year they’d been stranded here…

In an instant, they were past the Perimeter. "Form up," Chris ordered. On the tactical display on his console, the fleet immediately began to form the spearhead.

Not long after, they encountered the scrambled Vorkalai fleet. The spearhead didn’t even adjust course. It simply speared right through the scattered ships, firing at one that was unfortunate enough to get into an Alliance ship’s sights.

Finally, the Dragon blew through. The rest of the fleet followed quickly, undaunted by the now-pursuing Vorkalai fleet.

"Helm, warp 16," Chris ordered, keeping his calm. I’ll be tenser later…right now, we’ve got a five minute trip to get damage reports.

After a few moments, Vendar confirmed, "That’s it, the entire fleet made it, and is following."

"Damage report," Chris ordered.

After a moment of working her console, she said, "One Hintaru ship, the Defender, reports minor shield damage, but that’s it."

Chris smiled, a sense of ease entering him. "So far…so good."

"Four minutes until we come out of warp," Vendar reported.

Chris opened a ship wide channel. "Well, everyone…we just passed the easiest part of this battle with flying colors. I’m sure you all know the importance of this battle, so I’ll spare you the inspiration I fail at trying to give you each time I make a speech.

"All I can say is that, in just over a year, we’ve become a living, breathing family together. I know and trust that each and every one of you will perform to the best of your ability in this battle…and beyond. You all have become my friend…but more so…you are my family. And I thank you all for being there."

He immediately closed the channel, not wanting to ruin the little inspiration he may have given his crew. I’m getting better…but I still am no good at speeches, he thought to himself.

"Three minutes."

"Any last minute suggestions?" Chris asked his bridge crew…his friends…his family…

"Yeah, cross your fingers," Ada replied.

Chris smiled at her comment, and nodded. "If it helps," he replied sarcastically.

"Two minutes."

"These minutes are just going by fast," Tom commented slowly.

"Oh, time flies, when you’re scared to death," Chris replied, smiling. "Oh, I definitely think this’ll be a battle for the record books…"

"No objections to that prediction," Ada said. "What we are about to go through…we should be as famous as the Enterprise."

"We can only hope…" Chris replied.

"One minute."

"All hands, prepare to come out of warp," Chris said.

"Transwarp," James commented.

"Whatever, we’re still using conventional warp drive," Chris said.

"But at Transwarp velocity," James lectured.

Chris sighed, shaking his head. "James, we’ve been calling it normal warp for a year now. Why do you suddenly object to it being called that?"

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