"According to early projections, three years back in time, by our clock," Kristine said. "At least, thats what they figured by what little debris they found of the Dragon, and by your communicator."
"They finished the temporal displacement tests on it?" Jean-Luc asked.
Not knowing what was going on or what they were talking about, Sarah listened intently, wanting to find out as much as she could about the events that occurred after the attack.
Kristine nodded and replied, "Yes, just before I went to bring Sarah to the Dragon, I received the results. Tests show that the extreme velocity caused the ship to slowly move back in time three years. However, temporal scanners have shown that there is an odd temporal disturbance between our galaxy and the Kalium galaxy. Going to it at that velocity would make anything move back in time. Coming back, the disturbance somehow alters the functioning of time and allows the ship to pass through linear time. Therefore, they would not move any faster forward than linear time allows us."
Sarah suddenly felt a huge headache coming on while listening to the odd talk. "Would you two mind talking about temporal physics later? You see, it isnt my forte, and its giving me a headache."
They both looked at her, then smiled. "Of course, Sarah," Jean-Luc replied, amusement creeping into his voice. He looked at the chronometer displayed on the table and stood up from his chair. "We have less than an hour before our time aboard the Dragon is up. Lets get set to leave."
Sarah and Kristine stood in tandem and followed Jean-Luc onto the bridge. "Kristine, take the engineering station and monitor all systems. Sarah, man the Ops station and prepare to transmit the signal Picard One on my mark."
Used to taking orders from a Captain, and not a soon-to-be fugitive, Sarah nodded and said, "Aye, sir." She sat down in Ops, finding it a station shed rarely used, even in her days as a Lieutenant. Jean-Luc sat at the helm and began keying in commands.
"Now they are going to realize something is wrong the moment we begin to undock," he commented. "Luckily all systems were already running when I got on, so well have more time than we originally planned on. The moment we are clear of the dock, regardless of being inside of the bay, raise shields."
Again, Sarah replied with, "Aye, sir."
Tension started to build up in her as she began keying in preparations for releasing the umbilical and clearing the moorings.
"All systems read green," Kristine reported. Sarah started to feel her palms sweat, knowing that if they were caught, all hope of rescuing her ship was lost. Shed be sent to prison for the rest of her life, as would Kristine and Jean-Luc.
That was the first time she realized how much they were risking. Their lives, their reputations, put on the line for simple friendship. She knew she was doing the same, risking her life for her friends...but more than that, she was also risking her life for the man she loved.
"Release umbilical, clear all moorings," Jean-Luc ordered. "Prepare to raise shields."
"Umbilical released," she said immediately as she keyed in the commands. She waited a few moments, knowing that each second counted. Right now, she had no doubt that security in the web was scrambling to get a team to a transporter room to beam over. Hopefully, they wouldnt give them the chance.
"All moorings are clear," Sarah said. "Were clear to engage shields."
"Make it so," Jean-Luc ordered.
She keyed in the command, something usually reserved for tactical, and confirmed the raising of the shields. "Shields up." Then to her horror, sensors detected a beaming signal impact on the shields...and disintegrate! "I think we just killed seven security officers!" she said in absolute horror.
"Dont worry," Jean-Luc said calmly. "If we succeed, theyll have never had to do this, and will go on living. Engaging impulse engines."
Shocked, Sarah realized he was
right. Temporal physics may not be my forte, she thought. But
Ive dealt with time enough to know better!
The ship moved off to its port side, then moved forward and swung around to face the space doors as they were called.
Quietly, Jean-Luc commented, "Right about now, the people at the comm station here are wondering why their command codes arent over-riding our control."
"You changed the codes, didnt you?" Sarah asked.
Jean-Luc smiled and replied, "Of course! Otherwise we would have been stopped the moment we killed those security officers."
Tension suddenly took hold again, as did fear, as Sarah read something horrid on her sensor screen.
"Weve got company!" she stated in a tense voice. "The Paris is powering up and undocking as we speak!"
"Their weapons are far superior to our shields!" Kristine commented from the back of the massive bridge. "One hit from their weapons and we can say goodbye to this little trip!"
"Dont worry!" Jean-Luc replied. "I may be old, but I still know a trick or two about piloting ships!"
"I just hope you live up to your reputation," Sarah commented, a grin crossing her face. "Were being hailed by the Paris." She paused as she took a look at the readings. "Its....its Admiral Riker!"
"Might buy us a few more seconds," he commented. "On screen."
The familiar face that Sarah had first awoken to appeared on the screen. "Sarah Caft, Jean-Luc Picard, and Kristine Scott," he commented with a grim look on his face. "I had a feeling you might try something when I noticed you booked yourselves on the Dragon for that long a period of time."
"Dont try to stop us, Wesley," Jean-Luc said. "You know we are doing the right thing."
"For who?" he asked. "Yourselves, the Dragon crew, or the rest of the universe? You realize that, should you succeed, an infinite amount of lives will be altered?!"
"We realize the consequences of our actions," Jean-Luc stated as he worked the helm. Sarah caught out of the corner of her eye a signal from Jean-Luc. She immediately interpreted it as a sign to open the space doors...that and the fact that they were closing on the doors fast made her carry out the command.
Sarah keyed in the command, and immediately the doors began to part.
"I cant let you do this, Picard!" Riker stated. "I dont care how good a friend of my fathers you were, that still gives you no right to break the prime directive!"
"Perhaps not, but I made a promise to a young Lieutenant-Commander once," Jean-Luc said quietly. "I told him that, no matter what ship he served on, I would treat him like he was still a part of my crew, and as such, if I could ever prevent his death, I would take measures to do so. And I never break my promises."
Riker hesitated for a moment as he looked at Jean-Luc. "I think...I understand," he said hesitantly. "However, you have to understand that I have to use any force necessary...to stop you from succeeding."
"I would expect no less from William T. Rikers son," Jean-Luc replied with a huge smile on his face. "Picard out."
"Weve cleared space doors," Sarah reported, keeping her eyes glued to her station now.
"Setting course one-one-two mark oh-one-five and engaging full impusle," Jean-Luc stated. "Bring the temporal displacement drive online."
"Bringing the drive online," Kristine stated.
"If you can, Sarah, please provide Kristine with the exact coordinates that the Dragon was at before it activated the device," he said.
"I think I remember," she replied as she punched in the coordinates and sent them to Kristines console.
"Entering coordinates now," Kristine said. "Setting course for temporal unit one-five-oh-seven-four-two by two-one-seven-six-three-two-eight. Ten minutes till activation of drive."
"The Paris is clear and is preparing to fire!" Sarah stated in an alarmed voice.
"Warp core is running normally," Kalia said from the Bridge Engineering console. "Twenty minutes until the countdown is finished."
Tension rose in Chris as he checked the chronometer on his console. He fidgeted in his chair, knowing the moment of truth was upon them.
"Power up sequence of the device is running normally, according to the Kiklars."
"Keep us on a steady course, helm," Chris commented.
"Aye, sir," James replied. "Keeping a course of one-five-two mark one-eight-eight and maintaining half impulse."
"Partial damage to the starboard nacelle!" Kristine reported after they recovered from the near miss.
"Engaging evasive pattern Picard-One," Jean-Luc stated.
"Somehow our shields are holding!" Sarah reported. "But they are at sixty percent!"
"Eight minutes until temporal displacement!"
The bridge shook violently again as a phaser blast from the Paris grazed the Dragons shields again. An auxiliary console to Sarahs left overloaded and exploded sparks all over the port wall.
"Were venting plasma!" Kristine shouted above the sound of a ruptured power conduit.
"Deploy the hull nanites," Jean-Luc ordered. Surprised that such a thing existed, Sarah found the right command, and had the nanites target the starboard nacelle.
"Emergency forcefields are up!" Kristine reported. "We arent venting plasma, but we wont be going to warp or Slipstream velocity until the breach is repaired! Six minutes until temporal displacement!"
The ship began to shudder as the device began to modify the warp core. Kalia kept an eye on the power output, and dropped her jaw as the readings skyrocketed. "The cores being modified," she reported. "Full activation in fifteen minutes!"
"Keep an eye on the core," Chris ordered. "The moment something goes wrong, eject the core, regardless of any possibilities of fixing the problem!"
"Aye, sir," Kalia replied, punching in a few commands.
"Hull breach on deck thirty one!" Kristine shouted as an EPS conduit ruptured, sending sparks and flame across the bridge.
"Secondary nanites deployed!" Sarah shouted. "Repairs on the nacelle will be complete in thirty seconds! Shields are at ten percent, one more hit and we wont have anything to stop them from destroying us! Lets see some of that pilot stuff you claim to do so well, Captain!"
Ignoring her error, she smiled when Jean-Luc replied, "Im moving a ship thats over a kilometer long, what do you expect?!"
"If Chris can outmaneuver a shuttle craft in an Intrepid class starship, then you can outmaneuver an Excalibur class starship with an Excalibur class starship!" she shouted in reply.
"Its a bit hard to outmaneuver controlled energy bursts," Jean-Luc stated. The ship lurched again, but not nearly as bad as any of the other hits.
Star Trek Dragon graphics and written
material copyright Jon Wasik. Star Trek is a registered