"Actually, they are hailing us..." Vendar reported. "Audio only."
Chris was surprised, knowing that the Dragons sensors were superior, in both the Alpha and Beta quadrants as well as in the new UFP territory. "On speakers," he quickly recovered.
Suddenly, a series of clicks and ear-splitting squeaks sounded through out the bridge. Chris cringed at the sound, finding it more annoying than nails across an old chalkboard.
After a moment of recovering, he thought about the situation for a moment. Obviously, they are close to three other species who speak basic, he thought to himself. If they are as advanced as I think they are, they will have basic programmed into their universal translators...assuming they have universal translators, that is.
"This is Captain Chris Harriman of the Federation starship Dragon," he said.
After a pause, an odd, but understandable voice replied. "We are the Kiklar," the voice said. "We understand your basic language. We mean you no harm."
Thats a relief, Chris thought to himself. "We also mean you no harm," he said. "We are part of an organization of planets known as the United Federation of Planets. We explore our galaxy only to make peaceful coexistence with other sentient species."
"Your mission is noble, Captain Chris Harriman," the voice replied. "We too are on a mission to explore, but we usually refrain from contact with other species."
Chris frowned and asked, "Then may I ask why you contacted us?"
"We sense your ship is moving at speeds greater than possible while using subspace. We only know how to achieve this speed using hyperspace. We are curious as to how you can obtain such speeds. Does it not accelerate your evolution?"
Confused, Chris frowned and replied, "No. What ever effects high warp speed may have on anything, we use a specially modified deflector shielding that protects us from the changes."
There was a pause on the other end, but moments later the monotone metallic voice came over the comm system. "We assume your reference of warp speed is traveling faster than the speed of the midar spectrum of light. We are curious as to whether or not you would be willing to share this deflector shielding technology with us."
Chris shrugged out of habit and said, "Of course. But you seem technologically advanced, or at least by our standards. I was wondering if you might be able to assist us in return?"
Again, there was a pause on the other end. After about a minute, the voice replied, "A trade is agreeable. What assistance do you require?"
"We do not originate from this galaxy," Chris began. "We come from what we know as the other side of the known universe. We were stranded here when subspace interference disrupted our subspace propulsion field. For a year...erm, I mean, for quite a while, weve been stranded here, and have been searching for a way back."
Again, another pause, only this one was several times longer. Chris almost inquired if the comm link was still up, but was stopped before he could ask. "We have the technology to send you home. However, this technology of ours is treasured. We have shared it with no one, and we consider it to be valuable. Additional materials on your part of the trade is required."
"By now, Im sure youve sensed the interior of our ship," Chris said, trying to use their form of basic. "Do we have anything on our ship that is of any value to you?"
"Only one," the voice immediately responded. "We are explorers, and though we keep away from other species, we are still curious of other cultures. If you were to allow us to learn your entire data base, we would be willing to trade."
This proposition caught Chris off guard. Though he would have been willing to hand over parts of the Dragons data base, giving up the entire database would mean giving up tactical information about both the Dragon and the UFP. Not only was this stupid, but it would result in a full reprimand.
However, he was teeming with excitement. With this trade, he would be able to get the Dragon home! In doing so, the charge might be dropped. The regulation wasnt part of the prime directive, and so he wouldnt be stripped of rank or thrown in prison. However, it might be severe enough to take a demotion.
Think of the crew, though! He thought. They are what matter, not you and your rank! If Starfleet saw that you did it for your crew, they might go easy on you!
After another moment of hesitation, Chris said, "Ill need a moment to confer with my officers. In fact, Ill need several moments. What you ask is of...great value to us. We usually would be willing to share most of our database, but never have we given consent for a new species to have it all."
"That is understandable," the voice replied. "However, know this. If you refuse to hand over your entire database, the trade is off, and we will leave you to your search."
Chris almost let out a retort, mad that they made such a threat at him and his ship. But then he remembered that this was a first contact, and he was to treat the new species with respect. "Understood. Dragon out."
The channel closed, and Chris gripped his armrests as tightly as he might an enemys throat. He was still angered by the threat, but somehow he managed to calm himself down.
"Drop us out of warp," he ordered as he stood. "Senior officers report to the briefing room immediately." As he approached the entrance to the briefing room, he decided to satisfy himself one thing. "And go to yellow alert. Be prepared in case they try anything, but dont raise defenses."
"Aye, sir," the junior tactical officer whod just taken Adas place replied. As bulkheads took on a yellow color, the lights on the bridge darkened a bit.
"We cant just give them our entire core!" Ada voiced her opinion. "That would give them a great tactical advantage over us and the Federation!"
"I agree," Kalia added. "We give them everything, and in turn they give us one piece of their technology! I know I miss Earth, but not to where Id give up tactical information!"
"They did offer us a technology that would not only get us home, but give the Federation technology to explore a lot more of the universe than we ever thought," Tom countered. "And that would also give us a great advantage over the Borg and any other hostile species."
"But what about Kiklar?" Ada asked, surprise at Toms counter on her face. "They would have an even greater tactical advantage over us!"
Chris raised his hand before any one else could say anything. "Ada, we have yet to see an aggressive move from them."
"Hes right," Sarah added. "They are an extremely intelligent species, and history shows that a species that is as intelligent as the Kiklar, sometimes even less, are peaceful."
"But the Borg are intelligent," Kara stated, silencing every one elses argument. "Far more so than any other species we know of. Still, they are aggressive."
Silence engulfed the briefing room as everyone took that into account. Chris thought about that for a moment, then remembered reading all of the reports on the Borg from Captain Picard. The one that came to mind was where he had talked about the Borg Queen.
"First of all, that is a completely different situation from this," Chris began. "And second, just like Dominion was, the Borg are just misinformed, or have a lack of information. To them, they are perfect and they only wish to bring others into their supposed perfection. The Dominion believed humans to be inferior, but not technologically. They believed we were socially and mentally inferior, and as such didnt deserve to exist. All it took was the merging of DS9s security officer with the leader of the Founders to convince them they were wrong."
"And in this case," Lieutenant Commander Terry Latrael added. "We are giving them everything we are, so that there can be no misjudgments. If they were violent, they would have already destroyed us. They havent. As such, them knowing everything about us would probably make them appreciate us, just as it first did with the Founders."
"An entire war stopped once the Founders found out that we werent as inferior as they thought," Chris said. "And according to the last logs we received from DS9, Odo went into the great link to show all Founders that we arent. In this case, giving them information about ourselves might stop a war before it even begins."
"I agree," Tom said. He glanced at Ada a moment, and Chris noticed it was the first time hed actually made eye contact with her the entire meeting.
The briefing room fell silent for a moment. Suddenly, Vendar spoke up. "This might be our only chance of making it home," she said in her calm, soft voice. "We dont have much of a choice in this matter." She looked at Chris and continued with, "Though you might be reprimanded, sir, they might dismiss the reprimand due to the fact that you brought all of this new, wonderful technology to the Federation R&D section." She shook her head while smiling. "I mean, think about it. New, powerful weaponry, new warp drive, new deflector dish modifications and new sensors. And to top it off with a ten gigaton cherry, a technology that would, as was said, allow us to explore a whole lot more of the universe and give us a tactical advantage over our enemies. Instead of a reprimand, we all might get commendations!"
Chris smiled at her enthusiasm, but knew it was too good to ever be true. "We wont get commendations," Chris replied. "But to reprimand all of us here who dont object to this would be passed off without a second thought." He took in a large breath while straightening up in his chair. "I agree with Vendar. We dont have a choice. Therefore, my decision is to give them our database. Any objections should be said now and Ill note it in my log."
Surprisingly, the entire table remained quiet. Ada seemed a bit agitated, but she didnt object.
"Good," he said as he stood up. "Kalia, you and Vendar have to set up a stable subspace link with the Kiklar ship after I inform them of our decision. As a show of good faith from us, well give them our database before they send us their technology."
"Aye, sir," Kalia said as she pushed her chair back and stood up. Vendar joined her as she left the briefing room.
"The rest of you will do your duty," Chris ordered. "I want to get us home as quickly as possible after this. Dismissed."
With a renewed sense of hope, the senior officers stood up from their chairs and piled out of the room, excitement permeating their discussions.
Sarah stopped as she passed by Chris and held his hand for a moment. "Were going to do it, Chris," she said. "Well make it home."
Chris looked into her beautiful eyes and smiled. "I know, my love. The best part is, we all are going to make it." He squeezed her hand reassuringly, then watched after her as she left the briefing room. He smiled one last time, then moved to the wall of glass.
"I hope Im doing the right thing..." he said to himself quietly. After a moment of staring into space, he headed for the bridge, ready to face his decision head on.
"I guess they trusted us," Sarah said. "After we gave them our database, they gave us their technology. We never made direct contact with them, they simply sent us a device that we could directly attach to our warp core that would fully interface with our core and drive. Then they left us immediately.
"It took us less than a day to set up the device, and the next day, we were set to go. Ten seconds before the countdown ended to activation of the device, the Kiklar came from out of no where! They fired shots that penetrated our shields and went right through our hull! However, they only got four shots off, of no tactical value really, and the device activated. That was the last thing I remembered."
Kristine and Jean-Luc were both silent as they stared solemnly at the briefing room table.
"The ship that found you said that all three warp cores were on the verge of breaching when it found you," Kristine commented quietly. "Some weird device interfered with his transporter, but he somehow managed to get you off just before the core went and put you in stasis."
Kristine and Jean-Luc gave Sarah a moment of silence as she tried to remember if she had dreamed while in stasis. She knew it was ignorant to do so, as when in stasis, everything was frozen, including mental pathways.
"Do you remember the time when the attack began?" Jean-Luc asked.
"I can only tell you the time, of which the ship went by," Sarah said. She frowned as this might make it a bit difficult. "The countdown was to end at fourteen hundred hours. According to the ships chronometer, it happened exactly one year six months and seventeen days after we had been stranded. However, we think we might have moved through time during our trip to the Kalium Galaxy."
Star Trek Dragon graphics and written
material copyright Jon Wasik. Star Trek is a registered