Her head hurt. That’s all she knew right now. Long ago, during the very first final she’d ever taken in school, she had experienced a migraine headache. It was probably the worst head pain she’d ever experienced… But it didn’t hold a candle to the headache she was experiencing now.

She tried to open her eyes, but a light blinded her, causing her eyes to scream at her in pain. She immediately shut her eyes…no, she clenched them shut, now unable to block all of the light. Her eyes continued to scream in pain, but that wasn’t all.

Other pain sensations became notable, though her head remained the most overwhelming pain. She opened her mouth, trying to intake more oxygen, but noticed for the first time how dry her throat really was. She cleared her throat, but that made the dryness seem only more painful.

"Can you hear me, Commander?" a totally unfamiliar voice suddenly asked. All she could identify was that the voice belonged to an Australian woman.

In a scratchy, barely audible voice even to herself, she managed, "Water…"

"Right here," she said. Someone picked up her hand and placed a cool glass in it. Keeping her eyes closed, she attempted to sit up. She found it extremely painful, but could identify most of the pain as being in her muscles.

She eagerly brought the glass to her lips, not caring that she was spilling it everywhere. The cool liquid coursed down her throat, relieving at least some of the pain, and somehow giving her entire body a little more energy.

"Can you open your eyes?" the woman asked.

Her throat now cool and moist, she replied, and quite clearly this time, "I’ll try again."

This time, as she opened her eyes a slit, the light didn’t hurt as much. "My eyes do hurt because of the light…but not as bad this time," she commented.

Everything was blurry, no matter how far she managed to open her eyes. "Not surprising, considering how long you were in cryostasis."

"Cryostasis?" she asked.

The woman seemed to hesitate for a moment before replying, "I…I think I’ll have Admiral Riker explain it to you more."

"Who?" she asked, the name sounding unfamiliar along with the rank. "I thought Commander Riker’s father wasn’t in Starfleet."

"Sorry," the woman said, her image now coming into focus. "Either way, I’ll let Riker explain it to you. The important thing is: do you know who you are?"

The question had never entered her mind…but now that it did, she found it difficult to remember. She remembered she was at the rank of Commander, and was stationed on some prototype ship…but that was all she knew.

She delved deeper into her mind, trying to come up with an answer. She began filing through all names that she could remember in her mind, trying to find the most familiar one.

Chris…Ada…Tom…Kalia…Sarah……… And then it hit her.

"I…I’m…Commander Sarah Caft…" She was hesitant about it, not fully positive, but it sounded right somehow…

The woman, who she could now clearly see, smiled. "Yes, that’s correct. You were First Officer aboard the starship Dragon."

Memories from her life began flooding into her mind. They all were familiar…but still…somehow…they seemed old. As if she hadn’t thought about them for years.

Sarah heard the familiar…yet somehow different…hiss of doors parting then closing. "Good, she’s fully awake," a voice that sounded like Commander Riker’s said.

The woman, who no doubt was a doctor, moved to the left side of Sarah’s bed, looking at someone. "Yes, but just barely. Go easy on her, she’s still having trouble remembering."

"Of course, Doctor," Riker replied.

Sarah finally looked to Riker…only to see someone who didn’t quite exactly match her memory of Commander William Riker of the Enterprise E.

"Who are you?" she asked. Sure, he looked somewhat like Riker…but he couldn’t be Riker! He was only about maybe ten years older, though… A cousin of Riker’s? But I didn’t know he had a cousin…

"I’m Admiral Wesley Riker," the man said.

Sarah felt herself frown in great confusion. "I know of no one in Starfleet by that name…nor of any Riker with that name."

"Of course you don’t," Riker stated, moving to her bedside.

For the first time since she had awakened, Sarah noticed that the sickbay she was in was…different. Far more advanced than anything she had ever seen. It was amazing, to say the least.

"Where am I?" she asked, looking at medical tools she had never seen before. "What is this, what’s going on?!"

She began to crawl up the bio bed, as if that could somehow keep her safer from something evil.

"Easy, easy, Commander!" Riker said, grabbing her arms. "I’ll explain it all if you’ll just let me!"

"Then explain it!" she demanded, staring him down.

"Just calm down for a minute first," Riker said, placing his hands back on the bio bed. "What I’m about to tell you will be very difficult for you to accept."

"Just get it over with!" she demanded again.

"All right," Riker said in a quiet voice. "What was the last memory you had?" he asked.

Unsure as to why he was asking, she began searching her memory. "It was on the Dragon…We had just launched from Hintaru dry dock. But…that’s as far as I can remember."

"I’ll try to reconstruct what happened after that," Riker began. "I don’t know everything, though…just some fragmented logs and some extrapolation."

He sighed, no doubt recalling what he knew. "Apparently, the Dragon had encountered some sort of high-level intelligent beings while they began a trip core-ward of the Kalium Galaxy. These beings offered, for free, the technology that would allow the Dragon to get home.

"I have no doubt that you and the crew were enigmatic about the whole thing," Riker said, smiling. "To say the least. The technology had been installed, and the Dragon prepared to activate the system…

"That’s where things went bad," he said, his smile fading quickly. "The species somehow took an insult to something the crew had done. They decided to attack the Dragon right when the drive was activated. But the course had already been set…"

He gave a sympathetic look to Sarah…and she feared the worst. "All aboard had been killed…all but you, Commander."

Her heart skipped a beat…her breathing stopped…her mind went blank… She could think of nothing…anything at all…as if a great void had overcome her entire body. She started to feel queasy as the room began to spin.

"No…" she said quietly, disbelieving. "NO! IT’S NOT POSSIBLE!!" She shouted the same thing over and over…disbelieving… "IT CAN’T BE!!!!!!"

Riker grabbed her arms again, trying to stop her as she thrashed about the bio bed. "You’re lying!" she shouted. "No, get away from me!!"

"Doctor!" Riker yelled

The doctor ran over with some sort of a medical device. She didn’t even press it against her, but simply pointed it at her and pressed a button.

A moment later…serene blackness engulfed her raging mind…



She woke with a start, almost jumping out of her bio bed. She looked around the darkened room, her side beginning to hurt. How long have I been lying on my side? She thought. She rolled over onto her back and looked to her right…to see Wesley Riker.

"Then it wasn’t a dream…" she said calmly. Riker simply shook his head.


"I’m afraid so," Riker replied. He stood up from his chair and moved to her side. "Are you going to be all right?"

Somehow, her telepathic abilities had been nonexistent when she had first awakened. Now, they were back. Now, she could sense that Riker was telling the truth…and that he was sincere.

"I’m not sure," she replied. She then frowned, something confusing her. "The doctor had said something about cryostasis."

Riker nodded his reply. "Yes, the Dragon had come out of its…what ever it was it had been in, prematurely. The warp cores were about to breach, and you were the only life sign left. An alien species we now know as the Brunalin took you off of the ship before it went, but they were unable to stabilize you. The only option they had was to put you in some sort of cryostasis. They barely had the technology to put you in, and they never had developed the technology to get you back out."

"And then they encountered the Federation," Sarah said, an even more dreadful thought entering her mind. "But how long after words was that?"

Riker didn’t say anything at first. Once again…she knew she wouldn’t like the answer.

"Let me just put it this way," Riker said, hesitating with each word. "The Dragon was destroyed…over forty years ago."

Sarah sat up quickly, the enormity of the fact engulfing her mind. The shock was almost as bad as when she had found out that her friends and husband had died…but this time, she kept herself under control. "Forty years ?!?" she whispered.

"Forty three, to be exact," Riker said. "You are now in the early twenty fifth century."

Stunned, Sarah looked up at the ceiling… Her mind wandered to all of her relatives, all of her friends. If any of them were still alive…they were now very old. She, on the other hand…still looked like she was thirty…

Knowing there was no way she could go back…she decided it was time to be brought up on current events. She looked back at Riker and said, "Tell me everything. Everything I’ve missed…"

Riker smiled, a smile that very closely resembled his…fathers?"

"Your father is William Riker, isn’t he?" Sarah asked.

Riker nodded, his smile broadening. "Yes…old Dad has been retired for quite some time now. He actually was head of Starfleet Command for several years."

Sarah smiled in return. "I always knew he would. I knew that, once he allowed himself promotion, he’d move up the ranks very quickly."

Riker cocked his head to the side questioningly. "You knew him?"

Sarah hesitated for a moment. "Very well," she finally said. "I served aboard the Enterprise E with Chris when we were both at lower ranks."

Both remained silent for a moment, staring into each other’s eyes, remembering old times…

When Sarah broke the silence, she said, "Which reminds me, which Enterprise is currently running in service?"

"NCC-1701-H," Riker replied matter-of-factly. "The Enterprise E lasted for about ten years, then the Enterprise started its own class. The Enterprise F only lasted a month before it was destroyed in the beginning of a war. Immediately, the second Enterprise class starship was named the Enterprise G, and that lasted till about four years ago, when she was finally decommissioned."

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