James shrugged from his station. "Just trying to give you a hard time, sir," he said.

"It’s working."


The streaking stars suddenly became pinpoints in the blackness of space as a moon suddenly filled the entire view screen. The Dragon rotated and began to bank up, showing the moon its bottom.

"Maintain full impulse," Chris ordered.

The Dragon came to within literally just a few meters of the moon’s surface. James kept his full attention on sensors, dodging mountains and the edge of craters. Ada continually fired at bases and factories along the way. In a way, the Dragon was leaving its mark…and wasn’t leaving any room for debate, at that. Having the fleet backing it up and also leaving a mark didn’t help the Vorkalai any, either.

In a moment, the fleet crossed the terminator, and the Vorkalai home world came into view… To Chris, it was the ugliest planet he’d ever seen. Though they were mostly on it’s dark side, he could see a sliver of it in full light. The atmosphere was green-hued mostly, with varying degrees of light and dark green.

Four distinct rings of light surrounded the entire planet, which Chris knew were the platforms. The moon’s ground suddenly left the viewscreen as the fleet stopped its three-meter high orbit and headed straight for the ‘right’ side of the planet.

"Vorkalai ships, incoming!" Ada stated.

"Fire when in range," Chris ordered, keeping his eyes on the viewscreen. As was just stated, several green dots quickly formed into ships. In fact, the ships were the exact same types of ships the Dragon has first encountered. And they still looked like oil lamps painted an ugly green.

There were others that were the standard Vorkalai shape, but the ones that Chris could see brought back memories of that nasty first encounter with the Vorkalai. They’d lost a lot of good crew members then, and made Chris want to get this battle over quickly.

"Tell the fleet to remain in spear-head formation, and keep us on course," Chris ordered.

"Aye, sir," James replied.

"The bomb was just beamed into the moon’s core," Vendar stated.

A feeling of satisfaction washed over Chris. He tried to suppress it, but couldn’t. After all, they’d hurt his wife…his true love. But that was not who he was. He was not fighting this battle for revenge, but to end a war.

Phaser fire and torpedoes began streaming away from the Dragon and the fleet, hitting Vorkalai ships left and right. The Dragon lurched slightly from weapons impact, but was undaunted by the powerful little ships.

"How long until the moon goes?" Chris asked.

"Five minutes," Vendar replied.

"Jeeze, we’ll be at the home world by then," Tom said, staring at a tactical display on his console.

"Good enough, so long as it goes," Chris commented.

Chris then noticed the rotation of the planet for the first time. Unlike Earth, the planet rotated in the opposite direction. In this case, the sun sets in the east and rises in the west, Chris thought, somehow amused by the thought. Guess it just seems odd to me…

Oh, come on Chris! He thought. Think a little harder! Just roll the ship a hundred eighty degrees and it’d be the exact opposite! ALL a matter of perspective.

The fleet quickly blew through the Vorkalai vessels, which were quickly destroyed…but the immense number of them was enough to take out four of the Alliance vessels. The Dragon itself lurched several times, and, more often then he would have liked, almost threw him out of his chair.

"Shields at seventy-eight percent," Ada reported.

"Begin evasive maneuvers," Chris ordered. "Tell the fleet to remain in this general formation, but they now have more room to maneuver if they need to. Remain on course for platform twenty-two B."

"Aye," several replies came back.

Chris then also noticed that the home world orbited its sun in the opposite direction of that of Earth. This planet is just a complete opposite of Earth…I wouldn’t surprised if the Vorkalai breathed Carbon Dioxide!

"The asteroids are starting to get denser," Vendar said, worried.

"Very well, tell the fleet to break up, but to head for the same location," Chris said as James began to move out of the way of an asteroid. "Make sure at least five ships stay on the Alliance’s Pride."

Vendar simply nodded as she relayed the orders. The Dragon was beginning to maneuver wildly through a very dense asteroid field. Chris normally would have taken the helm, had he been on any other ship…but he trusted James. James was a very, very good pilot. He’d almost beaten Chris in a dogfight with the Bladerunners once.

Speaking of which… "How long until the point where we release the Bladerunners?" he asked.

"Actually, just reached that point," Vendar said. She then added, "There goes the moon."

The viewscreen switched to a view of the moon, which was dotted with asteroids, small and large alike. Chris was hoping just to see the planet break apart, but was dismayed when he saw a bright flash.

Too much antimatter! He thought. When the flash receded, several pieces of the moon were flying away, but very little of it was left. Instead, an intense theta radiation zone was glowing bright as the shock wave hit the Dragon.

The Dragon lurched forward intensely, and this time, Chris couldn’t remain in his seat. He flew across the bridge, landing hard on the deck. He pushed up off the deck, his head spinning.

"Report!" he shouted as he attempted to get back to his feet.

"Shields are down to fifty percent!" Ada stated, barely holding on to her console.

He looked up to see James just getting back into his seat, and barely maneuvering the Dragon out of the way of a rather large asteroid, which was careening violently toward the planet…as were several other asteroids.

"Launch Bladerunner fighters!" he shouted, still trying to get to his feet.

Chris eventually got back to his seat, and stared in awe at the view screen. The asteroids were causing a fireworks show as they impacted on the shields. One actually hit one of the platforms, causing its destruction.

"There’s a gap in the shields," Vendar stated.

"Get the Alliance’s Pride in there!" Chris ordered.

The ship lurched hard again, and for a moment, Chris felt weightless. Finally, inertial dampers took over and settled him back into his chair.

"Someone just collided with our upper shields," Ada stated. "We’ve lost shields around sections ten through fifty-two!"

Chris looked back at her, stunned. "That leaves the bridge open to attack!" he stated. Ada simply nodded.

"Evacuate the bridge," he ordered. "Report to the Battle Bridge, now!"

Everyone began abandoning their stations, heading for the turbolifts and the one emergency turbolift near the viewscreen.

Half of the senior staff, Chris included, used the emergency turbolift. "Battle Bridge," Chris ordered.

The turbolift immediately moved, but the ship jolted severely, throwing everyone to a heap on the turbolift’s deck. After a moment of failed attempts, everyone finally got to their feet in time for the turbolift doors to open.

The smaller, darker, more efficient Battle Bridge reminded Chris of the bridge on an intrepid class starship. The layout was similar, including the lack of one chair in the center, leaving only the captain’s chair and the first officer’s chair.

Everyone moved to their stations as Chris sat in the left chair. On an Intrepid class vessel, this would be a first officer’s chair, he thought.

The viewscreen immediately activated to show that they were very near the planet.

"Report," Chris ordered.

"The Alliance’s Pride made it in, and is delivering the package," Vendar reported. She looked back to Chris. "And deck one is completely gone. There’s a hull breach on deck two."

"Forcefield," Chris replied. Good thing I thought to leave right away, or we’d all be dead, he thought.

"How much of the fleet is left?" Chris asked.

After a moment, Vendar replied, stunned, "Nineteen ships."

The bridge took on a stunned silence…the majority of the fleet…gone… "The Admiral’s ship?" Chris asked.

"Still holding its own," Vendar reported. She then diverted her attention to another part of her board. "The Vorkalai fleet is entering the planet’s area."

"Status of the Alliance’s Pride?" Tom asked.

Vendar nodded her approval. "She just delivered her package."

"As soon as she rejoins us, head out of here," Chris ordered. "Tell the ships not to go to warp until ten seconds before the planet goes."

"Sir?" Vendar asked. "Isn’t that an unnecessary risk?"

"Hell no," Chris replied. "If the Vorkalai fleet doesn’t realize what we’ve delivered, they’ll think we’re just running, and pursue us until we go to warp. Hopefully, they won’t join us in warp in time to escape the blast, which is going to be twenty times more powerful than the moon’s."

"Course laid in for the Defense Perimeter," James said.

"The Pride’s with us," Vendar reported.

"Then engage at full impulse, James," Chris ordered.

The planet immediately left the view screen as the Dragon maneuvered through the asteroid field. The Vorkalai fleet soon reached them, and started to severely hinder their progress.

It didn’t take too long, however, to clear the asteroid field.

"Time?" Chris asked.

Twenty seconds!" Vendar replied, alarm in her voice.

"Go to warp on my mark," Chris ordered, staring at his console. He watched intently as the seconds passed by slower than ever.

This is it…this decides if we win, or if we lose. Will the bomb go off, or will the Vorkalai somehow stop it? His mind went to Sarah, who remained in critical condition in sickbay.

"Shields are down!" Ada stated as the ship suddenly lurched.

"Warp power’s fluctuating!" James added.

"The fleet just went to warp," Vendar stated. "Nine seconds!"

"Engineering, warp power, NOW!!" Chris ordered.

"I think I can give you warp five for ten minutes," Kalia replied. "But we’ve lost a lot of people down here, so I can’t guarantee anything."

"Do it!" Chris ordered.

He stared intently at the view screen…at the planet. In a second, this planet would decide their fate…as would the warp drive on this ship…his ship…

Time stopped for a moment…and he could almost live in that moment as he stared fate in the eyes.

The planet became a bright flash, and that’s when Chris knew they were too late. They were dead, and he seemed to accept that fact. Him being dead wasn’t all that bad. It just meant he would no longer endure life…and might possibly be with Sarah again. This time, forever.

Then he thought of something else. Something Q had once told him. "You have potential, Harriman, he had said. Right then and there, he knew he would not die. Q was not done with him, and would not allow them to die.

In that instant, the flash receded, and Chris could see streaking stars on the view screen. His heart skipped a beat as he realized that they’d lived.

The bridge was silent, no one wanting to talk as the flash on the view screen died. Not long after, the Dragon came out of warp, unable to maintain speed.

"Keep us at full impulse," Chris said quietly. "Call for one of our people to pick us up before the shock wave hits us."

"Aye," James and Vendar replied.

"The planet?" he asked.

"Gone," Vendar simply replied.

Chris smiled, knowing that it was over. What was left of the Vorkalai would easily fall from here, and they could relax again. Once again, they had endured a war. Once again…they had lived to see the end. Once again………freedom prevailed.

"Chris," a familiar voice said.

Instead of skipping a beat, Chris’ heart stopped all together. He looked toward one of the turbolifts…and saw the most beautiful sight in the universe.

Though she looked very tired, and was accompanied by a nurse…it was Sarah.

Chris leapt out of his chair and quickly embraced her hard in a hug. "Sarah!" he exclaimed.

"Oh, Chris," she said, her voice trembling. "I love you!"

Everything ceased to exist to Chris except for Sarah. To him…she’s all that mattered. "I love you too," he whispered, never breaking his hug. "I was afraid I was going to lose you…"

"Never," she replied. "You’ll never lose me…I promise…"

To Chris, he knew that day would forever be retained in his memory. It was…without doubt…the happiest day of his life.



Captain’s Log, Supplemental.

Today saw the end of the bloodiest war in Hintaru, Britar, and Federation history. Many people died in this war, and they died because they believed in a cause…they believed in living…and in freedom. They sacrificed their lives just so we could enjoy the freedom we so often take for granted. After this war, I don’t think I could ever take my freedom for granted again.

I’m happy to report that my wife is making a full recovery, now that the signal from the home world is gone. She’ll be able to return to duty in a week…but by then, everyone will be on shore leave.

The Dragon took a real beating during that battle. Deck’s one through three are completely gone, and only half of deck four remains. The port nacelle is going to have to be completely replaced, and much of the hull will also have to be stripped and replaced. The Dragon will also undergo a slight refit. Weapons will be upgraded, as will scanners. Plus, Commander Tarkent believes she can modify the warp cores to produce more power, hence upping our warp…Transwarp capability. I look forward to exploring this galaxy at warp nineteen.

Repairs and upgrades are estimated to take five months, as much of the fleet is under repair and reconstruction. I understand the low priority the Dragon must now have, and accept the fact that I’m going to have half of a year of shore leave. All I know is that I’ll be happy to spend five months with Sarah on some beautiful, deserted planet of some sort…

One last note is that we lost all but five Bladerunner fighters. The rest couldn’t get away before the planet blew… We lost a lot of good people… As a matter of fact, this crew has been reduced to less than half now. It’s tragic…but hopefully…we’ll manage…

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