"Is there anything up there!?" Sarah shouted up.

Both Tom and Ada looked at each other for a moment, then looked back. Immediately, they stood up, obviously staring at something.

"What is it?!" Chris shouted up.

Ada looked back down, her smile barely perceptible in the down poor. "Some sort of artificial shelter! Come on!"

Relieved that his instincts had been correct, Chris began to climb with a renewed energy, using all his strength to help Kalia up. Finally, with a little help from Ada and Tom, they both made it up.

There, standing not more than fifteen meters in a small depression in the top of the tree-strewn hill, stood what appeared to be some sort of artificial dwelling. Surprisingly sophisticated in design, it appeared to fit humans quite well. The one doorway Chris could see seemed like the usual height for humans.

Ada immediately drew out her tricorder and began scanning. "I can’t get a clear scan yet, I’m going to have to move in closer!"

Drawing his phaser, Chris ducked down behind a soaked, moss-strewn log. "We’ll cover you, but be careful!"

Not bothering to draw her phaser, knowing it would be useless to do so, Chris watched as Ada slowly approached the building, keeping her tricorder pointed towards the building. She was waving it back and forth, making sure nothing would sneak up on her.

After several anxious moments passed by, Ada finally made it to the building. Chris saw her tap her comm badge.

"*arquet to Ha**iman. Ca* you hear *e?"

Chris tapped his comm badge and replied, "Barely. But I understand what you’re saying."

"Un**rstood. Ho*d on…" Ada seemed to be doing something on her tricorder for a few moments, then tapped her comm badge again. "Is that better?"

"Much, what’d you do?"

"I used my tricorder to boost my communicator’s subspace range."

Chris smiled for a second. "I never knew you were an engineer, too."

"I’m not, but I understand subspace well," she replied. "It comes with working on black ops missions. Anyway, as far as I can tell, there are no life signs in the building."

"Any defenses present?" Chris asked.

"None," Ada stated, continuing to scan. A deafening thunderclap suddenly echoed over the hill, making Chris jump a meter off of the ground in surprise! "But there appears to be some sort of scanning device on the entrance. Some writing I’ve never seen is above it. Hold on, I’m scanning the writing in now. Maybe the universal translator can decipher it."

Chris could see Ada scan her tricorder over something on the door, then began tapping in commands. A moment later, an audible gasp made its way over the comm channel.

"What is it?!" Chris asked.

"You’re not going to believe this, but this type of writing is a form of Hintaru writing!" she replied. "Not nearly an exact match, but that isn’t the surprise."

Curious, Chris asked, "There’s more?"

"Yes…you aren’t going to believe what it says!"

He waited a moment, wanting Ada to hurry up and state what it said. Finally, impatient, and overly curious, he said, "Well?! What does it say?!"

"It says…well… ‘Humans Only.’"

The logical part of Chris’ mind suddenly kicked in. Automatically, he stated, "That’s not possible…run it through the translation matrix again!"

"I just did, three times," Ada replied. "It comes back the same way each time."

Chris thought for a moment, wondering just how any human until the Dragon could have made it out here, on the other side of the known universe.

"Hold on, we’ll be right there," he said, closing the channel. Keeping his phaser drawn, he began to move slowly towards the building. A few minutes later, he and the rest of the senior staff were at the door with Ada.

"Well," he said, examining the door, trying to find a solution in the door itself. "No harm in trying."

He stuck his finger into the scanner and impatiently waiting. A light seemed to emit from the scanner for a moment, and then a holographic panel shot up. Though slightly disrupted from the rain, he could clearly make out the symbols on it.

Ada quickly ran her tricorder over it and then began translating.

As the sound of an unlocking bolt sounded, Ada read off: "Eighty percent DNA match. Access granted."

"Only eighty percent?" Chris asked, looking to Kara.

She shrugged in confusion. "Don’t look at me. Ever since humans could actually analyze DNA, there has only been, at most, a seven- percent change in our structure. I can’t account for the thirteen percent difference."

Chris looked back to the door, and let his mind delve into instinct. In it, he found now sense of danger, no apprehension what so ever.

Shrugging, he grabbed the latch on the door, and gave it a tug. Nothing happened. So instead, he pushed. Again, nothing happened. Finally, he tried the only other thing he could think of, pushing it from side to side. Finally, it gave, and the door slid into the wall.

Inside, he heard the sound of some sort of power cell activate. Lights suddenly turned on, filling the nearly empty interior with light.

"Oh yeah," Ada said sheepishly. "Did I mention that there was an inactive fusion-based power source in there?"

Chris gave her a playful glare, and replied, "No, you didn’t."

Finally, his phaser out in front of him, he slowly entered the room. Heat, generated from and unknown source, welcomed him in, and for a moment he felt good. Finally, he was out of the cold rain. He slowly panned the room, and all he saw was a small metal desk with some sort of cylinder on the top of it.

Satisfied, he put his phaser in its holster and waved everyone in. Not long after the sound of several people rushing in, he heard the door close behind him, and the raging sound of the storm could no only be heard as rain pelting the roof above their heads.

"Well, it certainly is nice and warm in here," Kara stated, helping Kalia over to a wall. She sat her down against the wall and began examining her foot.

"How is she?" Chris asked, a noticeable look of pain on Kalia’s face worrying him.

"The venom’s beginning to travel through blood system," Kara stated, running her tricorder over Kalia’s body. "She won’t last much longer if we don’t get her back to the ship."

"Well," Chris said, looking to the cylindrical device on the desk. "Let’s see if this thing can help us cut through the subspace interference."

He moved to the desk and began examining the device. All he could find on it was one button. Thinking that it might have some sort of holographic interface, he pressed the button.

The top depression in the cylinder suddenly lit up, and the holographic figure of someone began to take shape. He felt his jaw drop at the sight of the person in the hologram. He looked human!

The human male began to say something, but the vocal part seemed cut. Before he could begin to guess what was wrong, however, the voice of a human, speaking basic, cut in.

"…ight," the hologram finally started. "If you are seeing this message, I have no doubt that it will only be viewed by someone decades from now, if not centuries. If you are here, I’m going to make the assumption that you are trying to use the storm’s subspace interference to hide from the Kiklar."

Suddenly, Chris froze with horror. Just the mention of the Kiklar was enough to quicken his pulse!

"I’m not sure that, at this time, any records of the Kiklar’s past remains. I don’t have much memory on this, so I can only tell you a little. At one time, they were a peaceful people, who were never violent except in self-defense. They were also indigenous to only one planet, but sometimes visited the capitol planet. Finally, however, they were sick and tired of being killed off, caught in the middle of a struggle for a highly valued healing material known as B…"

Without warning, the vocal part cut off again. "Must be partially degraded," Tom suggested.

"All I can say about them now is that they are bent on ridding the galaxy of humans, as well as anyone else who was part of the R…" Again, it cut off. "…ave an image of them stored on here. They have not shown themselves personally in decades. Instead, they use ships to bombard planets and to destroy other ships."

"They have become vicious people now. All I can say is that you must never give up hope. There will always be a way. Good luck in your struggle, and may the…" Finally, the vocal cut off, and a moment later, the hologram cut off. In its place came a barely perceptible image.

Tom immediately took out his tricorder and scanned the device. "It appears that the image of the Kiklar has severely degraded." He seemed to go silent for a moment and peered at his tricorder. "This doesn’t make sense…"

"What?" Chris asked, wondering how things could get any deeper than they already were.

He looked at Chris and said, in astonishment, "The materials of this desk and the holoprojector…appear to be several millennia old! And I don’t just mean one or two!"

Chris suspiciously looked at the holoprojector, curious as to how humans could have existed so long ago…and as to how the metal hadn’t degraded by now.

"It’s amazing that much of the holoprogram was left," Tom commented, storing his tricorder.

"This is confusing as hell," Sarah said quietly. "A building with Hintaru writing…one that contains a holoprogram that seems to suggest that humans once existed throughout this entire galaxy at one time."

"Could we be wrong about Humanity’s origins?" Chris asked.

"We can’t be wrong about it," Tom said. "The crew of the Enterprise D found that out. All people, at least in the alpha/beta quadrant region, come from a common ancestry. Probably the entire Milky Way Galaxy, as they suggested that no one existed in our galaxy during their life time."

"What were their names again?" Ada asked.

"Who, our ancestors?" Tom asked.

"They never said," Kara suddenly pitched in from Kalia’s side. Chris realized that she had been silent almost this entire conversation. "All they said is that they were probably extinct by now, and that everyone in our home galaxy was a part of them…"

"Could it be possible that a species evolved much like humans did?" Ada asked. "Even called themselves human?"

Kara shrugged and replied, "It’s possible…but the odds of that happening are probably incalculable."

Chris found himself rubbing his chin, curiosity killing him. "This is very peculiar…"

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